17 – Eyewitness to the Prague Spring

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Album Jan Culik

Welcome to episode 17 of Cold War Conversations

In 1968 today’s guest was 15 year old at the same school in Prague as Czech communist leader Alexander Dubček’s son.

Jan Čulík provides a valuable eyewitness account of the heady days of the Prague Spring and the subsequent Warsaw Pact invasion. He provides some insightful views that I found challenged my understanding of the Prague Spring.

He details the situation in Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s, the Prague Spring, his experiences as the reformers were suppressed to the late 1970s and his arrest by the STB, the Czech secret police.

The interview starts as we talk about the level of censorship in Czechoslovakia before the Prague Spring.

Two part Radio Prague Interview with Jan

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/jan-culik-part-one

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/one-on-one/jan-culik-part-two

 Books

The Logic of Normalization

Contemporary Film of the Prague Spring

Pathe news report on the Prague Spring

Josef Koudelka’s photos of -Prague’68

Rare colour film of 1968 Warsaw Pact Invasion

Prague 1968 Seven Days To Remember

Unused Pathe news footage

Contemporary footage of the Warsaw Pact invasion

Czechoslovakia Vs Soviet Union 1969 Ice Hockey Match

Documentary Films

Documentary in english on the Prague Spring

Documentary on the End of the Prague Spring

Extra Content

Available on our Patreon page here

14 – The Prague Spring

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Prague 68 AlbumWelcome to Episode 14 of Cold War Conversations.

Today we have with us Lani Seelinger of Socialism Realised which is an excellent website and learning environment that uses multimedia content as teaching aids about the communist regimes in Europe. Using the Czechoslovak example, they describe the specifics of life in the Eastern bloc. Their material attempts to bring the experiences, thoughts, feelings and problems of people who lived during this era to life. Their aim is to reproduce the complexities and dilemmas of life under communism. I do recommend you check them out at www.Socialismrealised.eu

In today’s episode we return to Czechoslovakia and one of the most iconic moments of the Cold War – The Prague Spring of 1968.

Some of you will have seen the film of Alexander Dubcek and the adoring crowds as well as the powerful images of the Warsaw Pact invasion. Our chat shows that beneath those images there’s more nuances and I hope you find the episode insightful and entertaining.

I am delighted to welcome Lani Seelinger.

Contemporary Film of the Prague Spring

Pathe news report on the Prague Spring

Josef Koudelka’s photos of -Prague’68

Rare colour film of 1968 Warsaw Pact Invasion

Prague 1968 Seven Days To Remember

Unused Pathe news footage

Contemporary footage of the Warsaw Pact invasion

Czechoslovakia Vs Soviet Union 1969 Ice Hockey Match

Places:

National Monument at Vitkov Hill:

Jan Palach memorial on Wenceslaus Square:

Jan Palach memorial off Jan Palach Square:

Soundtrack to the Prague Spring

Karel Gott in 1968:

Lady Carneval

Tausend Fenster, which he oddly sang in German, representing Austria in Eurovision in 1968

Marta Kubišová in 1968:

Modlitba pro Martu (Prayer for Marta), which the opening of the video says is the “song of the year”:

Books:

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Kundera

Nightfrost in Prague, Zdeněk Mlynář

Czechoslovakia’s Interrupted Revolution, Skilling

The Prague Spring and its Aftermath, Kieran Williams

Documentary Films

Documentary in english on the Prague Spring

Documentary on the End of the Prague Spring

Ceske Stoleti – The Czech Century

Other Films:

Those Wonderful Years That Sucked

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Pelisky (Cosy Dens)

Rebels

Episode 9 – Cloak & Dagger in Prague

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Arno albumWelcome to Episode 9 of Cold War Conversations.

Mark Baker is an independent journalist and travel writer who’s lived in Central Europe for more than two decades.

I heartily recommend his travel website

www.markbakerprague.com which is an eclectic mix of stories about his adopted hometown of Prague and stories from when Central Europe was the “Eastern bloc” and he was a full-time journalist trying his best to cover it.

Mark tells an intriguing and compelling story and I urge you to listen right to the end. I hope you enjoy our chat and I welcome Mark Baker. (the drawing is by Stewart K Moore and is a representation of Mark’s Czechoslovak fixer during the 1980s)

Mark’s  blog is www.markbakerprague.com but https://markbakerprague.com/category/tales-from-the-past/ will take readers directly to the stories about the 1980s.

Books

William Crisp – The ex Vietnam Vet who was Mark’s boss in Vienna and wrote spy stories

Under a Cruel Sky – Mark’s highly recommendable book from an author who survived Auschwitz and ended up marrying a Communist who was executed in the show trials.

Ivan Klima’s author page on Amazon:

Video

Costa Gavras drama film about the Slansky trial “The Confession”

The HBO mini-series on Jan Palach

Youtube Czechoslovak pop songs from the 1960s and ‘70s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7ZmhEGFHj8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgt7AxlC988

Milada –  drama film of Milada Horáková, democratic pre-WW2 Czech politician first arrested and tried by the Nazis during the War and then the post-war Communist government for her refusal to cease her opposition activity and leave the country.