CIA not surprised by Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, documents show

Alexander Dubček

Alexander Dubček

Newly declassified CIA documents from 1968 show that the Agency had warned the Lyndon B. Johnson administration that the USSR was preparing to invade Czechoslovakia later that year. Some of the documents have been released before, but were presented for the first time in an organized, searchable format last Friday, at a symposium held at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, on University of Texas campus. The symposium, entitled “Strategic Warning and The Role of Intelligence: Lessons Learned from the 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia”, included participants from academia, as well as from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Among documents presented at the gathering was a May 10, 1968, CIA memo, which termed Soviet-Czechoslovak relations a “crisis” and warned that the possibility of an armed Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia could “no longer be excluded”. On August 2, the CIA noted that the USSR had assembled an invasion-capable force near the Czechoslovak border, and on August 20, that Soviet leaders had canceled the remainder of their summer vacations and were hastily returning to Moscow. On that day, Director of Central Intelligence, Richard Helms, visited President Johnson and told him that the Soviets were preparing to invade Czechoslovakia in order to put an end to the reforms of Czechoslovak Communist Party leader Alexander Dubček. Johnson, however, dismissed Helms’ warning. Later on that night, Soviet Airborne Troops forces captured Prague’s Ruzyne International Airport, signaling the beginning of the invasion of the country by 250,000 Warsaw Pact troops.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to CIA not surprised by Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, documents show

  1. ME says:

    This helped me so much on my project thanks!

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