Courtesy Reuters

It was the third week in August 1968 and the North Atlantic allies were relaxing on their beaches, in their mountains and in their chancelleries too. There was plenty to relax about, for 1968 had started as a big year for détente in Europe. The East-West exchange in political leaders was at an all-time high; a Western leader who had not recently been in Poland or Rumania was hardly alive politically unless he was home preparing to receive his opposite number from Hungary or Bulgaria. The Mayor of Moscow was in The Hague; the Red Army Choir was about to entertain

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