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Off Track: How the Molotov Cocktail Got Its Name

November 6, 2016

molotov-cocktailMo·lo·tov cock·tail
a crude incendiary device typically consisting of a bottle filled with flammable liquid and with a means of ignition. The production of similar grenades was organized by Vyacheslav Molotov during World War II.

Alexander Dubček’s slate of liberalizations inspired the young while laying a framework for splitting Czechoslovakia in two. They also pissed off the U.S.S.R., and in 1968 Soviet tanks rolled into Prague, where they were met with a wave of rebellion.

Dubček preached nonviolence, but angry youths ignored him, moving to protect the city’s radio center, the communication hub of the resistance. As the tanks opened fire, the protesters did what civilians can when faced with a tank: They threw Molotov cocktails.

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