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The role of Hungary in 1968 in the “Danube” operation: minimal

(B2) Operation “Danube”, this is how the intervention aimed at putting down the Czechoslovak revolution in 1968 was called, quite ironically, by the Soviet forces. In fact, it is not August 21 1968, but on August 18 the operation began with Soviet paratroopers taking possession of Prague airport. Those responsible in Moscow did not skimp on resources: nearly 400.000 soldiers and 6000 tanks supported by 800 planes participated. In addition to the USSR, four countries of the Warsaw Pact participated in the offensive: Poland, the GDR, Hungary, Bulgaria. But most of the offensive was carried out by Soviet troops: the 7th Airborne Division of the Red Army, army parachute units and the KGB. At the political level, if the main leaders of the Pact approved, even insisted, on intervention, fearing a movement that would spread, the Hungarian Janos Kadar was the one who firmly opposed intervention in the preliminary discussions ( the Romanians and Albanians refused to participate). This intervention was not entirely unexpected but was preceded by intense preparation on both a political and military level. Several military maneuvers took place on the fringes or in Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring. Several dates were successively set for the intervention. And the complicity of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak army consented to the invasion plan, as revealed by testimonies and several studies: none of the resistance plans was launched.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).