Almost Hopeless

Srpen 68 (r. Jan Svoboda, 2003)/ August 68 (dir. Jan Svoboda, 2003)


  • What forms of resistance against the occupation did Czechoslovak citizens choose? What goals did they pursue by resisting?
  • What role did the political leadership of the country play in the opposition?
  • Do you know any similar historical cases of an unequal fight? In your opinion, is there any point in resisting a superior military? What methods of resistance would you choose?


The documentary juxtaposes the memories of Czechoslovak Television employees with footage of the military invasion of August 1968 that they recorded.

The military invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union was unexpected and very shocking for the vast majority of people. Soviet troops did not have information about the political developments in Czechoslovakia and expected a country where a revolution was taking place. Instead of heavily armed forces prepared to fight, they encountered people who tried to talk with the soldiers or who opted for symbolic forms of protest against the Soviet occupation.

The narration takes place in the centre of Prague – at the radio building that played an important role during the occupation (see Stay tuned), in the symbolically significant location of Wenceslas Square and near the former headquarters of the Communist Party, whose leaders had been kidnapped by the Soviet Union. Beforehand, Czechoslovak Radio had issued a statement denouncing the occupation but urging calm. A witness recalls that the protests mainly involved young people; a section from Almost Hopeless shows the experience of another witness. There were conflicts, especially in Prague, but also in other cities. By the end of 1968, over a hundred people had died in accidents and clashes with the occupying forces.