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The Soviet Politburo´s Resolution on the Final Decision to Intervene in Czechoslovakia, August 17, 1968
Our Source: Our
Source: Navratil, Jaromir. "The Prague Spring
1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998, pp. 376-383
Original Source: APRF, Prot. No. 38.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: After the meetings on 15-17 August, the Soviet Politburo accepted this resolution and the accompanying documents to invade Czechoslovakia for the purpose of assisting their fraternal country in their struggle against anti-socialist elements.
Proletarians of all countries unite!
Communist Party of the Soviet Union. CENTRAL COMMITTEE
To: Cde. Brezhnev
Extract from Protocol No. 95 of the Session of the CPSU CC Politburo on 17 August 1968
In regard to the situation in Czechoslovakia.
1. After comprehensively analyzing the situation and events in Czechoslovakia in recent days, and after reviewing the request from members of the CPCz CC Presidium and the ČSSR government to the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the GDR to offer them military assistance in the struggle against counterrevolutionary forces, the CPSU CC Politburo unanimously believes that in recent days the course of events in Czechoslovakia bas become as dangerous as possible. Rightist elements, relying on both overt and covert support from imperialist reaction, have carried out preparations for a counterrevolutionary coup and pose a threat to the socialist gains of Czechoslovak labourers and to the fate of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
Bearing in mind that all political means of assistance from the CPSU and the other fraternal parties have already been exhausted in an effort to get the CPCz leadership to rebuff the rightist and anti-socialist forces, the CPSU CC Politburo believes the time has come to resort to active measures in defense of socialism in the ČSSR, and has unanimously decided to provide help and support to the Communist Party and people of Czechoslovakia with military force.
A proposal to the fraternal parties of the socialist countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, and Poland – to convene in Moscow on 18 August for a meeting of party and state leaders to review the given matter would be desirable.
1. To affirm the draft instructions to the Soviet ambassadors in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Sofia (see attached).
2.To affirm the text of the letter from the CPSU CC Politburo to the CPCz CC Presidium, as amended by the session of the CC Politburo (see attached).
To affirm the text of the instructions to the Soviet ambassador in the ČSSR on this matter (see attached).
3.To endorse the drafts of the following documents:
- An appeal to the citizens of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic; and
- An appeal to the Czechoslovak People's Army.
To introduce these documents for review at the forthcoming meeting of the leaders of the fraternal parties.
4.To endorse material for the text of the declaration (see
To affirm the draft instructions on this matter to the Soviet ambassador in the CSSR (see attached).
5.To instruct Cdes. Suslov, Ponomarev, Katushev, Gromyko, and Rusakov to prepare an information text for communist and workers' parties, taking account of the exchange of opinions at the CC Politburo session. :
6.To instruct Cdes. Demichev, Katushev, Kapitonov, and Rusakov to prepare information for the members of the CPSU CC, the candidate members of the CPSU CC, the members of the CPSU Central Accounting Committee, and the CC first secretaries of the communist parties of the union republics, the regional party committees, and the oblast party committees.
8.To instruct Cdes. Kosygin, Suslov, Demichev, Ponomarev, Katushev, and Rusakov to prepare the draft of a document (Appeal of the CSSR Government).
9.The information provided by Cde. A. A. Grechko is unanimously endorsed by the CPSU CC Politburo.
10.To instruct the CPSU CC Secretariat to prepare the travel arrangements for comrades to perform on-site work, taking account of the exchange of opinions at the CC Politburo session.
To invite to Moscow on 18 August the CC first secretaries of the union – republic communist parties, the chairmen of the union-republic Supreme Soviet Presidia, and the chairmen of the union – republic Councils of Ministers.
Regarding point 1 of Prot. No. 95
Promptly go in person to Cde. Gomulka (accordingly, Cdes. Kádár, Ulbricht, and Zhivkov) and transmit the following in accordance with the CC Politburo's instructions:
In connection with the unusually complicated situation that has emerged in Czechoslovakia and the need for urgent advice, the CPSU CC Politburo requests that you come to Moscow on Sunday, 18 August, at 10:00 A.M. Moscow time, acting at your own discretion.
Regarding point 1 of Prot. No. 95
We are transmitting the text of a letter from the CPSU CC Politburo to the CPCz CC Presidium (sent by separate telegram).
You must deliver it by Sunday morning.
Confirm by telegram.
Regarding point l of Prot. No. 95
You are instructed to meet Cdes. V. Bilák and Indra and to pass on to them the text of the attached document, having indicated to them that the material in this document might be helpful to the friends in drafting an Appeal to the People.
Confirm by telegram.
OF THE CPCz CC PRESIDIUM AND THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK SOCIALIST REPUBLIC
Czechs and Slovaks,
Citizens of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic!
Our motherland is going through a critical time. Socialism and the workers' regime are in danger. The counterrevolution is making a bid for power. It is trying to liquidate our socialist gains and turn the country back into the bourgeois path of development.
At this grave moment, the CPCz CC Presidium and the ČSSR government are appealing to you – the workers, peasants, representatives of the popular intelligentsia, soldiers and officers, and guards from the People’s Militia – with a call to rise up in defense of the socialist gains that were achieved through the heroic struggle of Czechs and Slovaks against the Hitlerite tyranny and the selfless labor of our people during the years of socialist construction.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which at the January CPCz CC plenum came out in support of the perfection of forms of management of the national economy, the development of socialist democracy, and the rectification of mistakes and shortcomings from the past, firmly declared its resolve, on the basis of Marxist-Leninist teachings and the successes achieved during the twenty years of popular rule, to continue a course aimed at building socialism in Czechoslovakia.
Unfortunately, events in the country have moved in a different direction. Forces that were always hostile to the cause of socialism in Czechoslovakia, the very forces that on the eve of World War II betrayed the Czechoslovak people to German Nazism, are now trying to commit new treachery. Their goal is to wrest the gains of popular rule away from the workers and to tear Czechoslovakia out of the commonwealth of socialist states and return it to its bourgeois past.
Organized, hostile forces led by certain centers, who are seeking to bring about a fundamental disruption of the existing social and state order by means of a “cold coup” or, if needs be, by military force and resort to civil war, are active in the country. Hostile and unstable elements, having penetrated into the leadership of the party and government, have begun to yield one position after another, thus paving the way for the rise to power of the counterrevolution. In the capital, the cities, and the regions, a large number of legal and underground hostile groups have emerged, under the sway of non-proletarian classes and diehards from the exploiting classes.
The borders of the Czechoslovak state have been rendered vulnerable to penetration by foreign agents, spies, and subversives. The anti-socialist, counterrevolutionary forces have directed their main blow against the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, seeking to vilify it and undermine its leading role in society. They have inflicted a stream of slanders against honest communists and have done everything they can to disparage the achievements of the CPCz, the working class, and all those who have labored for the construction of socialism.
The lack of necessary and timely rebuffs to the intrigues of the enemies of socialism has caused events to reach the point where these forces have east aside all restraint and pose a threat to the further existence of the very foundations of the socialist order. The rightist, revisionist elements, who have infiltrated the leadership of the party and state and who have heaped all sorts of promises on the people, have in fact shown themselves to be politically bankrupt. Their ascendance to power signaled an attack against the vital interests of the workers. They raised prices on a number of essential goods. Communists, laborers of the country, and all others to whom the cause of socialism is dear are decisively rejecting their position of accommodation with the counterrevolution.
Workers! Peasants! Popular intelligentsia! Soldiers of the People's Army, employees of the State Security organs, and warriors from the People’s Militia! Young people and students! The duty of every citizen is to grasp the full extent of the danger and to safeguard the gains of socialism in Czechoslovakia.
The CPCz CC Presidium and government of the country are taking the initiative to unite all patriotic forces in the name of the socialist future of our motherland. The threat of a fratricidal struggle, which the reactionaries have prepared, has given us no choice but to appeal for help to the Soviet Union and other fraternal socialist countries. Our allies have responded to this request. They dispatched their troops to our country to offer us help during this arduous moment of travail.
The CPCz CC Presidium and the Revolutionary Government urge all citizens to offer assistance to the military units of our allies. After the threat from the counterrevolutionary forces is eliminated, the allied forces will be withdrawn from the territory of Czechoslovakia.
Today, at a time of daunting tribulations for the cause of socialism in the country-the cause to which Czechoslovak communists and all laborers gave and continue to give their energy, knowledge, and political experience-the newly formed CPCz CC Presidium and Revolutionary Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, having taken upon themselves full responsibility for supervising the affairs of the Czechoslovak state, have decided to issue this declaration on the internal and foreign policy of the country.
1. Internal Policy
The socialist order of the ČSSR is the unshakeable basis for the development of our state. The party and government will always regard the consolidation, development, and defence of the gains of socialism as their highest priority and most important duty.
In taking active steps to promote socialist construction, the party and government will strictly and consistently adhere to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and, above all, will strengthen the leading role of the working class and its communist vanguard. The leading and directing role of the communist party in the development of society is not the privilege but the duty of communists, and they will honorably fulfill it in the name of the present and the future of their people.
In creatively resolving the tasks of future socialist development, while taking full account of the specific national features and conditions in our country, the party and government will adopt measures to safeguard the dynamic development of socialist relations, the union of democracy with scientific leadership, the consolidation of the socialist way of life, the support of working-class and public discipline, and the exclusion of methods of subjectivism and willfulness in the leadership. The party will consistently pursue a line aimed at bolstering the role of the National Front in the socio-political life of the country. The National Front is a tried form of cooperation among all the forces of our society who are committed to the cause of socialism.
The anti-socialist forces have made an effort to stir up nationalist passions, seeking to introduce and ignite discord between Czechs and Slovaks. The party and government will do everything to strengthen fraternal friendship of the Czech and Slovak peoples.
The party and government, as was indicated in the CPCz Action Program, will adopt all necessary measures to take advantage of all internal resources and opportunities that allow for the development of fraternal relations with the other socialist countries. In the process they will seek to achieve a higher rate of industrial production, increased productivity in our economy, and higher living standards for blue-collar and white-collar workers. Efforts will be carried out to perfect the supervision of the national economy, to improve planning, to develop the financial independence and initiative of state enterprise collectives, and to speed up the introduction of the achievements of modern science and technology in our productive base.
We are aware that current living standards still do not fully satisfy the growing demands of laborers. This applies both to the working class and to other segments of the population. The party and government decisively reject as incompatible with the fundamental interests of workers the suggestions by rightist forces to raise economic productivity at the expense of reduced living standards for the working class and other employees. These suggestions envisage market competition and mass dismissals of blue-collar and white-collar workers. Instead, the party and government will adopt measures to boost the real earnings of workers, to increase salaries and benefits from social funds, and to improve the pensions and medical care of workers on the basis of the development of social production. The government revokes the decision of __________ to raise prices on essential goods, regarding it as a measure directed against the interests of workers. Swing in _________, the government will set prices back to where they were before this decision was adopted.
Constant attention will be given to problems of socialist agriculture and to increasing the welfare of the rural population.
One of the most important tasks for the party and government will be to consider how to achieve significant improvements in the country's housing stock. Great emphasis will be given to the urban planning of Prague and Bratislava.
The party and government will take all necessary measures to develop higher education, primary education, and elementary school education, as well as to develop science and culture in accord with progressive national traditions.
The state will display solicitude toward all segments of the intelligentsia, to people who perform intellectual labor, and to students and all young people, broadly encouraging them to take part in social and state affairs. The working intelligentsia, having proved its commitment to the cause of socialism, must occupy and will attain a worthy place in the life of the country and its political, social, and cultural activity.
The process of socialist democratization will unfold inexorably, aimed at attracting all segments of Czechoslovak society to take an active part in the building of socialism.
The party and government in their activity will broaden their reliance on mass organizations of laborers, seeking to encourage in every way possible the active participation of trade unions and youth organizations in state life and the process of socialist democratization.
The party and government will constantly pursue the rehabilitation of individuals who were condemned earlier without sufficient legal basis. The results of all cases of individuals that are reopened will be subject to public scrutiny.
All individuals who were the victims of slander or who suffered during the violation of laws will be given the opportunity to receive employment in accordance with the constitutionally guaranteed right to work.
All the so-called political clubs and societies, which recently emerged and became havens for enemies of socialism or fell under their direct supervision or hidden influence, are declared illegal.
The party and government will ensure that the press, radio, and television will be placed at the service of society and not exploited further by groups and individuals to the detriment of the Czechoslovak people, the cause of socialism, and the communist party, as well as to the detriment of the Soviet Union and the other fraternal socialist countries.
In view of the extraordinary circumstances that have emerged as a result of the anti-socialist acts of the counterrevolutionary forces, and bearing in mind that the question of convening a party congress was decided upon without necessary preparation, the CPCz CC has adopted a decision to defer the bolding of the 14th Party Congress until a later date.
Steadfast devotion to Marxism-Leninism, the rearing of the popular masses in the spirit of socialism and proletarian internationalism, and an unflagging struggle against bourgeois ideology and against all anti-socialist forces-these are the guarantee of success in consolidating the positions of socialism and in thwarting the intrigues of imperialism.
2. Foreign Policy
The ČSSR is an indissoluble part of the socialist commonwealth of states. In the future it will continue to pay strict heed to the obligations that arise from this status in regard to foreign policy. The party and government declare their resolve to abide unwaveringly by the principles and clauses laid out in the declaration from the Bratislava Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries, as well as to strengthen the solidarity of the socialist states and their fraternal friendship, which were and remain a reliable basis for resolving socioeconomic and political tasks that lie before the socialist countries.
The fundamental basis of the country's entire foreign policy activity is friendship with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with other socialist countries, as well as fidelity to the obligations undertaken by the ČSSR along with the other socialist states in the Warsaw Treaty and corresponding bilateral treaties based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and internationalist solidarity. The party and government will be unswervingly guided by the interest of consolidating the sovereignty and independence of the ČSSR and expanding cooperation with the fraternal socialist countries.
Policy with respect to European security remains unchanged. The necessity of such a policy is dictated not only by the experience of the past and by the joint interests of the socialist states, but also by the fact that the main threat to European peace and to the security of the ČSSR still comes from West German militarism and revanchism, as is evident from the fact that the FRG still does not acknowledge that the Munich agreement was illegal from the very start. All of this increases the threat to the security and independence of Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia will conduct a policy of peace and friendship among the peoples. It will take its place among the states that are forming a powerful anti-imperialist front, and will work alongside countries that are waging a struggle to respect the rights of peoples, to bring about the final elimination of colonialism, and to promote the Charter of the United Nations.
Czechoslovakia was and remains committed to a policy of stopping the arms race, a policy of disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, and a policy of doing away with this type of weapon and of achieving a complete ban on nuclear testing.
The ČSSR stood and will stand for a policy of peaceful coexistence between states of differing social systems and for the resolution of international disputes only by peaceful means.
In its foreign affairs, the ČSSR will strictly observe the international obligations it has undertaken in multilateral and bilateral treaties and agreements concluded with other states.
In the interests of developing the economy and boosting the people's welfare, the leadership of the country will devote great attention to the further development of economic and scientific- technical cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries both within the CMEA framework and on the basis of bilateral agreements. Normal economic ties will be made with other states on the basis of the mutual benefit principle.
The CPCz CC Presidium and government of Czechoslovakia urge you to display maximum responsibility and patriotism and to fulfill your duties honestly and calmly. We urge each of you at your workplace to gather closely around the communist party in putting an end to the counterrevolution and carrying out the internal and foreign policies proclaimed in this declaration.
To resolve all these tasks, the Czechoslovak people will rely on the fullest possible help and support of our tried and true friend, the Soviet Union, and of the other fraternal socialist countries. Every sincere patriot, every Czech and every Slovak, is well aware that the Soviet Union is the most reliable guarantor of the sovereignty, freedom, and independence of socialist Czechoslovakia.
All men and women of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic!
The CPCz CC Presidium and the government triumphantly declare that they will apply all their strength and energy to protect the socialist gains of the working people, to raise the living standards of all laborers, to proceed with the further development of the democratic bases of society, and to enable our socialist motherland to flourish!