'); else base.writeln(''); base.writeln('
'); base.close(); } } //-->
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: “Tsentral´nomu Komitetu Kommunisticheskoi Partii Chekhoslovakii,” Pravda (Moscow), July 18, 1968, p. 1; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 297-300.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This is the letter composed at the meeting in Warsaw (see doc. 52) July 14-15 to the Czechoslovak authorities approved by Hungary, Poland, the GDR, Bulgaria and the USSR.
TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA
On behalf of the Central Committees of the communist and workers' parties of Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, Poland, and the Soviet Union, we are sending you this letter, which is motivated by sincere friendship based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, and by concern for our common aim of strengthening the positions of socialism and the security of the commonwealth of socialist states.
The course of events in your country arouses great apprehension. We are firmly convinced that the stance adopted by reactionaries against your party and the foundations of the social system in the ČSSR, a stance backed by imperialism, is threatening to divert your country from the road of socialism and, consequently, is endangering the interests of the whole socialist commonwealth.
We aired this apprehension at the meeting in Dresden and at many bilateral meetings, as well as in the letters that our parties recently addressed to the CPCz CC Presidium.
Recently we suggested that the CPCz CC Presidium hold another joint meeting on 14 July in order to exchange information and views on the situation in our countries, including the events in Czechoslovakia.
Unfortunately, the CPCz CC Presidium did not attend that meeting and thus did not take advantage of the possibility of the joint, collective, and comradely appraisal of the situation that has arisen. We therefore deemed it necessary to tell you sincerely and frankly our common point of view in this letter.
We want you to understand us well and evaluate our intentions correctly.
It was not and is not our intention to interfere in matters that are purely the internal affair of your party and state, or to violate the principles of respect for independence and equality in relations between communist parties and socialist countries.
We are not speaking to you as representatives of an old order that would seek to prevent you from remedying mistakes and shortcomings as well as the violations of socialist legality that have occurred.
We are not interfering in the methods of planning and running Czechoslovakia's socialist economy, nor are we interfering in the measures you have adopted to improve the structure of your economy and promote socialist democracy.
We welcome the basing of relations between Czechs and Slovaks on sound foundations of fraternal cooperation within the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
But at the same time we cannot agree that hostile forces should push your country off the socialist path and threaten to detach Czechoslovakia from the socialist community. This is no longer your affair alone. It is the common cause of all communist and workers' parties and states, which are bound by alliance, cooperation, and friendship. It is the common cause of our countries, which have united in the Warsaw Pact to safeguard their independence, to preserve peace, to maintain security in Europe, and to erect an impregnable barrier to the intrigues of aggressive and vengeful imperialist forces.
The peoples of our countries won a victory over Hitlerite fascism at the price of immense sacrifices. They have won freedom and independence and the opportunity to advance on the road of progress and socialism. The borders of the socialist world have been transferred to the center of Europe, to the Elbe and the Šumava mountains. We can never agree that these historic gains of socialism and the independence and security of all our peoples should be threatened. We can never agree that imperialism should break through the socialist system by peaceful or violent means, from within or from without, and change the balance of power in Europe to its advantage.
The strength and solidity of our ties depend on the internal strength of the socialist system of each of our fraternal countries, as well on the Marxist-Leninist policy of our parties, which are playing a leading role in the political and social life of their peoples and states. Policies that undermine the leading role of the communist party will lead to the destruction of socialist democracy and of the socialist system. Thus, the foundations of our ties and the security of the community of our countries will be placed in danger.
You know that the fraternal parties reacted to the decisions of the CPCz CC's January plenum with understanding, believing that your party, with a firm grip on all levers of power, would direct the entire process to serve the interest of socialism and would not permit anti-communist reaction to exploit the process for its own objectives. We were convinced that you would defend the Leninist principle of democratic centralism as the thing closest to your hearts. Ignoring either aspect of this principle, whether democracy or centralism, inevitably weakens the party and its leading role, and changes it into either a bureaucratic organization or a debating club. We spoke of these matters more than once at our meetings and always received your assurances that you were aware of all these dangers and were determined to deal with them.
Unfortunately, events have moved in a different direction. By exploiting the party's weakened leadership in the country and by demagogically using the slogan of “democratization,” reactionary forces have unleashed a campaign against the CPCz and against its honest and dedicated cadres, with the evident intention of destroying the leading role of the party, undermining the socialist system, and setting Czechoslovakia against the other socialist countries.
The political organizations and clubs that have recently emerged outside the National Front have essentially become staffs for the reactionary forces. The social democrats are arduously seeking to ensure that their party is formally established. They are organizing illegal committees and trying to split the labor movement in Czechoslovakia and force their way into the running of the state with the aim of restoring a bourgeois system. Anti-socialist and revisionist forces have seized the press, radio, and television and turned them into a tribune for attacks against the communist party in order to disorient the working class and all working people. They engage in unrestrained, anti-socialist demagoguery aimed at undermining Czechoslovakia's friendly relations with the USSR and other socialist countries. Some in the mass media are genuinely intent on perpetrating systematic moral terror against people who oppose the forces of reaction or who are voicing concern at the course of events.
Despite the resolution of the CPCz CC's May plenum, which cited the threat posed by right-wing and anti-communist forces as the main danger, reactionary attacks have escalated without encountering any resistance. For this very reason, the reactionary forces were given the opportunity, in public, to publish their political platform under the title “Two Thousand Words,” which contains an open call for a struggle against the communist party and against the constitutional system, as well as a call for strikes and chaos. This appeal is a serious threat to the party, the National Front, and the socialist state. It is an attempt to foment anarchy. The declaration is, in its essence, the organizational-political platform of counterrevolution. No one ought to be misled by its authors, who claim they do not intend to overthrow the socialist system, that they do not wish to act without the communists, and that they do not want to undermine ties with the socialist countries. These are merely empty phrases, aimed at legalizing the platform of counterrevolution and overcoming the vigilance of the party, the working class, and all working people.
This platform, which has been widely circulated in the demanding period leading up to the Extraordinary CPCz Congress, was not only denounced, but found wholehearted supporters in the ranks of the party and its leadership, who are backing anti-socialist appeals.
Anti-socialist and revisionist forces are denigrating all the activities of the communist party, conducting a campaign of slander against its cadres, and discrediting honest communists who are dedicated to the party.
This has brought about a situation totally unacceptable for the socialist countries. In this atmosphere, attacks also are being launched against the ČSSR's foreign policy, and abusive comments are being made about the ČSSR's alliance and friendship with the socialist countries. Voices are heard demanding a revision of our common and coordinated policy vis-à-vis Federal Germany, even though the West German government has been pursuing a grim course hostile to the security interests of our countries. The enticing appeals by the FRG authorities and revenge-seekers are meeting with a positive response from leading circles in your country.
The entire course of events in your country during recent months demonstrates that the forces of counterrevolution, backed by imperialist centers, have launched a comprehensive assault on the socialist system and have not been rebuffed or opposed by the party and the people's regime. There is no doubt that centers of international imperialist reaction have become involved in the events in Czechoslovakia, doing everything possible to aggravate and complicate the situation and to incite anti-socialist forces. Under the guise of praising “democratization” and “liberalization” in the ČSSR, the bourgeois press is conducting a subversive campaign against fraternal socialist countries. The ruling circles of the FRG are particularly active and are trying to exploit events in Czechoslovakia, to provoke friction between the socialist countries, to isolate the GDR, and to carry out their revanchist objectives.
Comrades, can you not see this danger? Is it possible to remain passive under the circumstances and to confine yourselves to declarations and assurances of loyalty to the cause of socialism and commitments of alliance? Can you not see that counterrevolution is seizing one position after another from you? And that the party is losing control over the course of events and is retreating further and further under pressure from the anti-communist forces?
Is not the campaign by the press, radio, and television against the staff exercises of the Warsaw Pact armed forces aimed at sowing mistrust and hostility toward the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries? Things have deteriorated so far that the staff exercises by our troops with the participation of a few additional units of the Soviet army, a perfectly normal part of any military cooperation, are being cited in unsubstantiated allegations about supposed violations of the ČSSR's sovereignty. And this is happening in Czechoslovakia, whose people honor the memory of Soviet soldiers who perished for the freedom and sovereignty of that country. Maneuvers by the military forces of the aggressive NATO bloc are taking place in the vicinity of your western borders, yet not a word is being said about this.
The inspirers of this hostile campaign, as is self-evident, wish to poison the minds of the Czechoslovak people, disorient them, and deflect attention from the fact that Czechoslovakia is able to preserve its independence and sovereignty only as a socialist country and as a member of the socialist community. Only the enemies of socialism can today put forward the slogan on “the defense of the sovereignty” of the, ČSSR against the socialist countries-that is, against the very countries whose alliance and fraternal cooperation create the most reliable foundations of the independence and free progress of each of our nations.
We are convinced that a situation has arisen in which the threat to the foundations of socialism in Czechoslovakia also threatens the common vital interests of the other socialist states. The peoples of our countries would never forgive us if we remained indifferent and passive in the face of such a threat.
We live at a time when peace, security, and the freedom of peoples require the unity of all socialist forces more than ever. International tension is not lessening. American imperialism has not abandoned its policy of strength and open intervention against peoples fighting for freedom. It continues the criminal war in Vietnam, backs the Israeli aggressors in the Near East, and obstructs a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The feverish arms race has in no way been halted. The Federal Republic of Germany, where neo-fascist forces are on the rise, is attacking the status quo and demanding a revision of borders. It has no intention of abandoning its objective of devouring the GDR and obtaining access to nuclear weapons, and is thus opposed to disarmament proposals. In Europe, where huge quantities of weapons of mass destruction have been amassed, peace and security are maintained primarily as a result of the strength, cohesion, and peace loving policy of the socialist states. We all are responsible for the strength and unity of the socialist countries and for the destiny of peace.
Our countries are linked by treaties and agreements. These major commitments of states and peoples are based on a common effort to defend socialism and guarantee collective security of the socialist states. Our parties and peoples have historic responsibility not to permit the revolutionary gains we have achieved to be shattered.
Each of our parties is responsible not only to its working class and its people but to the international working class and the world communist movement, and we cannot escape the commitments this entails. That is why we must show solidarity and be united in defending the achievements of socialism, our security, and the international positions of the socialist common- wealth.
That is precisely why we maintain that firm resistance to anti-communist forces and a decisive battle for the preservation of the socialist system in Czechoslovakia are not only your duty but ours as well.
The defense of the power of the working class, of all working people, and of socialist achievements in Czechoslovakia demands:
- a decisive and bold stand against right-wing and anti-socialist forces, and the mobilization of all means of defense created by the socialist state;
- an end to the activities of all political organizations acting against socialism;
- a reassertion of control by the party over the mass media-the press, radio, and television – so that they will be used in the interests of the working class, of all working people, and of socialism,
- a closing of the ranks of the party on the foundations of the principles of Marxism- Leninism, unflinching adherence to the principles of democratic centralism, and a struggle against those whose activity aids hostile forces.
We know that in Czechoslovakia there are forces capable of defending the socialist system and defeating anti-socialist elements. The working class, working peasants, the progressive intelligentsia, and the overhearing majority of the working people of the republic are prepared to do all that is inevitable for the future advancement of socialist society. The task of the day is to give these healthy forces a clear perspective, lift them to action, and mobilize their energies in the struggle against the forces of counterrevolution in order to save and consolidate socialism in Czechoslovakia.
Confronted by the threat of counterrevolution, the voice of the working class must resound with full strength in response to a call by the communist party. The working class together with the working peasantry has expended maximum efforts for the victory of the socialist revolution. The preservation of the socialist achievements is something they cherish most.
We are convinced that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, aware of its responsibility, will take urgent measures to block the road to reaction. In this struggle you can count on the solidarity and comprehensive assistance of the fraternal socialist parties.