In 1968, Czech photographer Josef Koudelka captured images of the Prague Spring – it would take 40 years before he could publically acknowledge he was the author.

In 1968, Koudelka was a 30-year-old acclaimed theatre photographer who had never made pictures of a news event. That all changed on the night of August 21, when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the city of Prague, ending the short-lived political liberalization in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as Prague Spring.

In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet-led invasion, he took a series of photographs which were miraculously smuggled out of the country. A year after they reached New York, Magnum Photos distributed the images credited to “an unknown Czech photographer” to avoid reprisals. The intensity and significance of the images earned the still-anonymous photographer the Robert Capa Award. Sixteen years would pass before Koudelka could safely acknowledge authorship.

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Dave Patterson is a content marketer. A writer by day and a reader by night. Coffee addict.