'); else base.writeln(''); base.writeln('
'); base.close(); } } //-->
Josef Smrkovsky's Address to the People of after His return from Moscow, August 29 1969
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: Sedm pražských dnů, pp. 401 ff.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This text, written by Josef Smrkovský, was broadcasted over Czechoslovak radio on the date of August 29, 1968.
/.../ Our negotiations in Moscow were of an unusual nature. You know that we did not go there all together at the same time, and you are also aware of the circumstances under which each of us went there and negotiated there. I think I need not elaborate on this any further; for me as for Comrade Dubček and the others this is still a subject that is too difficult and painful.
Under the circumstances, as everyone will agree, deciding what to do was highly problematic. The occupation of the country by the Warsaw Pact armies was a cruel reality. Our contacts with home were limited, at first we had little, indeed almost no, information, and suddenly we had to rely more on our faith in the firm position of our people than on any knowledge of the facts of the situation. On the other hand, the position of our partners was conveyed to us very accurately. We even detected certain political difficulties that the military intervention was creating. We knew that the world was sympathetic toward us, but we also knew that the great powers prefer compromise solutions over everything else.
Under these circumstances we were faced by a dilemma to which there was no way out.
We could have rejected any compromise and forced events to the point where the foreign troops would remain on our territory permanently, with all the implications this would have for the sovereignty of our state, for political rights, for the economy, and possibly for greater human sacrifices, which such a deepening of the conflict would have clearly entailed. I want to point out that we even considered rejecting any accommodating solution, that sometimes it is better to face bayonets head-on in the interest of the honour and character of one's nation.
Nevertheless, we believed that such an extreme moment had not yet been reached, and that despite everything that had happened, there remained a second alternative, which we, as politicians responsible for the future of the state, could not forsake. That is why we eventually tried to find another solution via an acceptable compromise. But even as we did so we were aware of the consequences, above all the moral and historical consequences that such a solution could have /…/