'); else base.writeln(''); base.writeln('
'); base.close(); } } //-->
Pravda Editorial Justifying the Invasion, August 22, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: “Zashchita sotsializma-vysshii internatsional´nyi dolg,” Pravda (Moscow), August 22, 1968, p. 1.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This article was published in Pravda and distributed as a pamphlet throughout Czechoslovakia.
The Defence of Socialism Is the Loftiest Internationalist
Party and state leaders of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic have asked the Soviet Union and other allied countries to give the fraternal Czechoslovak people urgent assistance, including assistance through military force.
The request was motivated by the existence of counterrevolutionary forces acting in collusion with external forces hostile to socialism. These forces combined, have created a threat to the existing socialist system in Czechoslovakia and to the statehood of Czechoslovakia as determined by the Constitution.
The need to adopt a historic decision in connection with the request to the Soviet Union and other fraternal socialist countries for help has been fully justified in the appeal by a group of members of the CPCz Central Committee, the ČSSR government, and the ČSSR National Assembly, which is published in today's Pravda. This need was brought about by the danger of a fratricidal struggle that was being prepared by reactionary forces in the ČSSR.
/.../ The governments of the USSR and of other allied countries have decided to comply with the above-mentioned request and to lend all necessary aid to the fraternal Czechoslovak people. The fraternal socialist countries are thus fulfilling their joint internationalist duty. /.../
The fraternal friendship and military alliance between the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia were codified in the Treaty on Friendship, Mutual Assistance, and Post-war Cooperation, which was first signed in 1943 and then renewed in 1963. In accordance with this treaty, our states, our parties, and our peoples are obliged to come to each other's assistance whenever a threat emerges to the security of our borders and to the cause of socialism. /.../
As time passed /.../ an atmosphere of disarray, vacillation, and instability was beginning to take shape in the CPCz itself and reactionary, anti-socialist elements, backed by international imperialism, were beginning to rear their heads.
At the Dresden conference, the Czechoslovak comrades did not deny that certain negative phenomena were emerging in the country and that the radio, television, and press had eluded the party's control and were in fact under the control of anti-socialist elements. Nor did they deny that rightist forces were consolidating their positions. Even so, Czechoslovak officials asserted that overall the party was still in control of the situation and that there was no reason for alarm.
The Soviet officials at the conference and all the delegations of the other fraternal parties indicated as candidly as possible that they viewed the situation differently. They argued that a real danger existed in the emerging situation. Based on what was going on, they concluded that there was evidence of developments that could result in a counterrevolutionary coup. /.../ The whole subsequent course of events substantiated the conclusions drawn by the fraternal parties and failed to vindicate the optimism expressed by CPCz leaders. /.../
Unfortunately, the hopes of the healthy forces in the party and the country, as well as the hopes of all the friends of the Czechoslovak people, were unwarranted. The decisions of the May plenum were not carried out. /.../ The incidence of anti-Soviet outbursts increased. The wave of the anti-socialist forces attack intensified further in late June, when the counterrevolutionary forces published the “Two Thousand Words” statement in the press, which included an open summons to struggle against the CPCz and against the constitutional order. /.../
The CPSU CC has always emphasized that decisions can be successfully adopted only through the realization of the party's leading role and the retention of full party control over events. In this regard, we repeatedly noted that the slackening of party leadership was creating conditions conducive to stepping up the activity of right-wing forces and even of overtly counterrevolutionary forces, whose main task was to discredit the Czechoslovak Communist Party and dislodge it from power, to tear the ČSSR out of the socialist commonwealth, and ultimately to transform the whole socialist system in Czechoslovakia.
The CPSU Central Committee contended, and still contends, that the fate of the socialist gains of the Czechoslovak people, and the fate of Czechoslovakia as a socialist state linked by alliance obligations to our country and the other fraternal countries, are not merely the internal affair of the CPCz. They are the common affair of the entire commonwealth of socialist countries and the whole communist movement. That is why the CPSU Central Committee believes it has an internationalist duty to take every possible step to promote the consolidation of the CPCz, the preservation and strengthening of socialism in the ČSSR, and the defence of Czechoslovakia against the intrigues of imperialism. /.../
Unfortunately, some leaders of the CPCz Central Committee failed to draw the necessary conclusions from the fact that the country was being engulfed by a fierce anti-communist campaign directed by counterrevolutionary forces and overtly inspired by imperialist propaganda. Far from acting decisively to rebuff these attempts to destroy the party, they have continued to act in a way that is transforming the CPCz into an amorphous, impotent organization that is little more than a discussion club. /.../
/.../ In addition to a grave weakening in organizational and political work, an equally grave threat to the cause of socialism in Czechoslovakia has come from the CPCz’s relinquishment of control over the mass means of ideological influence to right-wing, anti-socialist forces. Many newspapers as well as the radio and television in Czechoslovakia were effectively controlled by certain groups whose objectives were manifestly anti-socialist. /.../ The vilification of the communist party, especially its activities over the last 20 years, the attacks against cadres, the transfer of control over the mass media to elements hostile to the party, and the violation of the principle of democratic centralism – all these phenomena undermined the morale of the large majority of communists, caused them to lose hope and confidence, gave rise to confusion in party organs, consolidated the influence of right-wing forces, and spurred increased activity on the part of counterrevolutionary forces.
Under the Soviet-Czechoslovak bilateral treaty, our countries have committed themselves to joint efforts and close cooperation in protecting their security and the security of other states of the socialist commonwealth. These obligations, together with the obligations of the other socialist states under bilateral treaties and the Warsaw Treaty, constitute a strong foundation that reliably protects the security of each of the members of the pact. /.../
It is impossible to tolerate a breach in this pact. Such a development would be inimical to the vital interests of all the member states of the Warsaw Pact, including the vital interests of the USSR. /.../
/.../ Recent developments show that anti-Soviet propaganda and anti-Soviet phenomena have been sharply increasing in Czechoslovakia. /.../
There is no question that the instigators of this malevolent anti-Soviet campaign will fail in their attempts to deny that Czechoslovakia can preserve its independence and sovereignty only as a socialist country and a member of the socialist commonwealth.
By attempting to undermine the CSSR's relations with the USSR and the other socialist countries, the reactionary forces have been seeking to compel the Czechoslovak people to return to slavery under the imperialist joke....
As a result of the actions of right wing, anti-socialist, and counterrevolutionary forces, a serious threat arose in Czechoslovakia that a counterrevolutionary coup would take place and the gains of socialism would be forfeited. /.../
Far from being spontaneous, the counterrevolutionary, anti-socialist phenomena that occurred in Czechoslovakia were highly organized. The moments of action, the directions and targets of the attacks by anti-socialist forces, and the sequence and coordination of the actions were all carefully planned, linking together the right-wing revisionists in the CPCz, the anti-socialist and overtly counterrevolutionary forces inside the country, and their external supporters.
The line-up of forces in the CPCz CC Presidium became apparent during the Čierna nad Tisou meeting. A minority of the members of the presidium, headed by A. Dubček, espoused overtly right-wing opportunist positions, while the majority adhered to a principled line and recognized the necessity of undertaking a resolute struggle against the reactionary and anti-socialist forces and against collusion with the reactionaries.
However, right-wing revisionist elements in the CPCz leadership and the ČSSR government prevented the Čierna nad Tisou and Bratislava agreements from being carried out to defend the gains of socialism in Czechoslovakia, combat anti-socialist forces, and thwart the intrigues of imperialism. /…/
Everything that Czechoslovak workers have created over the last twenty years, and all the gains of socialism in Czechoslovakia, are endangered. A threat exists not only to the path of socialist democracy pursued by the Czechoslovak people since January, but also to the very foundations of socialism and to the republic itself.
A situation has emerged that is absolutely unacceptable to the socialist countries. In these circumstances, it was essential to act-and to act purposefully and decisively-before it was too late. That is precisely why the Soviet Union and the other socialist states have decided to meet the request made by ČSSR party and state officials to provide urgent assistance, including military assistance, to the fraternal Czechoslovak people. /.../
The defence of socialism in Czechoslovakia is not just an internal affair for that country's people alone; it is a collective problem of how to defend the positions of world socialism. /.../
In providing fraternal internationalist assistance to our CPCz comrades and the entire Czechoslovak people, we are fulfilling our internationalist duty to them and to the entire international communist, workers', and national liberation movement. This duty, for us, is the loftiest of all.