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22 January 2019

Invasion 1968 – The Intentions of Intervention and the Shadow of 1956 – Part II


 

FAILURE

 

The problem with the assertions and assurances issued by the hard-line Czechoslovak plotters and their sponsors was not just that they failed to materialise, but that they were contradicted clearly and publicly. The events from the late night of 20 August through to the 23rd, stripped all potential legitimacy from the actions of the domestic pro-Soviets and the invaders, isolating the former as supposed quislings and freezing them in political stasis – the support of the armies that had just militarily seized control of Czechoslovakia could not overcome the “stigma of treason”1 that they had simultaneously imposed upon Biľak, Indra and the “healthy forces”.

The failure of the plan to legitimise the Soviet-led invasion had begun at the Presidium meeting upon which so much of it hinged. The method that the pro-intervention conspirators had landed upon for achieving a victory for their position within the Presidium was to force a vote on a report produced by Kolder and Indra. The report mirrored the criticisms which the Warsaw letter of 15 July – issued at the Warsaw meeting of Communist parties criticising the Czechoslovak reforms – had levelled at political developments in Czechoslovakia. But the main and urgent business of the meeting was preparation for the crucial Party Congress that was less than three weeks away. When Kolder attempted to postpone further discussion of these matters in favour of his report, only Biľak and Rigo supported him. Furthermore, the invasion manoeuvres began to unfold a few hours early, so that the Kolder–Indra report had not even been voted on by the time dramatic reports began filtering into the Presidium. Once it was clear that the country was being invaded by the five armies, work began on drafting a statement denouncing the invasion. The strongly worded condemnation left no room for doubt. None of Czechoslovakia’s leaders or the official organs they represented, it categorically affirmed, had been forewarned of the military incursions. The Presidium, the statement continued, believes that “the border crossing not only contravenes all principles governing relations between socialist states, but also violates the fundamental provisions of international law”. At 1:30 a.m. on 21 August the Presidium approved the declaration by seven votes to four. The supposed majority for Soviet intervention had evaporated, leaving only Biľak, Kolder, Rigo and Švestka refusing to condemn the invasion.2

The Presidium’s vote specifically refuted the Soviet line of the previous few days and the TASS statement that was at that moment being disseminated in Czechoslovakia and beyond. But this serious setback for the collaborators might have been overcome had the media aspect of the plot been implemented. What was the use of a Presidium statement repudiating the invasion if no-one ever heard of or read it? However, the Soviet confidence that its Czechoslovak allies would seize control of media outlets proved even more mistaken. After the brief success of the pro-intervention Minister of Communications, Karel Hoffmann, in preventing the Presidium’s proclamation from being announced on the radio, the Czechoslovak Radio broadcast the statement from 4:30 in the morning until its studios were occupied at 8:45.3 During that time, responsive statements of support for the current leadership and opposition to the intervention from regional Party committees were likewise broadcast. And the occupation of the radio studios merely caused the headquarters to be replaced by the services of mobile transmitters that continued to broadcast news independent of the occupiers’ wishes.4 A similar process was unfolding in the press. Chervonenko had told Brezhnev on 18 August that “after the Presidium meets, the printing house and offices of the paper Rudé Právo will be seized and everything will be made ready for a special edition of the paper to appear”.5 This was a reasonable expectation since Švestka was the editor-in-chief of the Party newspaper, and he indeed ordered the staff to refrain from putting the Presidium’s proclamation in print while he produced his own version. But on Smrkovský’s authority, the paper published the proclamation over Švestka’s objections and other dailies soon followed suit.6

Therefore when Dubček was detained by StB and KGB agents at nine in the morning – along with Kriegel, Smrkovský, Špaček and Simon – in “the name of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government led by Comrade Indra”7, that supposed entity was already retreating further into the realms of fiction. It was at this time that a heavy Soviet military presence began to be felt in the centre of Prague, but the word was already out that the popularly supported Presidium of the KSČ had defined that presence not as invited friendly assistance but as an outrageous and unlawful imposition.8 Not only had things not proceeded well at the Presidium for the supporters of intervention, President Svoboda had also refused to acquiesce or approve, although he instructed the army – as the Presidium had also counselled all citizens in its proclamation – not to fight against the invaders. But during the course of the day, the various institutions of the state aligned themselves with the Party’s organs in legal and moral opposition to the invasion and its pretentions. In the early afternoon, a plenary session of the National Assembly called for the withdrawal of the foreign troops and the release of arrested leaders, while in the evening the government issued its own condemnation of the invasion.9 Meanwhile, the Czechoslovak leader was being shuffled around; first to Ruzyně Airport around noon, then eventually onto a plane at night, before being put on a different plane and finally flown as far as Transcarpathia. At that point”, Dubček recalls, “I became aware that something had probably gone wrong with their plans, because they seemed not to know what to do with me.”10

But if the plan to legitimise the invasion of Czechoslovakia from within was teetering on 21 August, it utterly collapsed the following day. While the Presidium and Secretariat members who had not been arrested and removed scrambled to come up with a viable plan for a provisional government, the Fourteenth Congress was astonishingly assembled at a factory in the Prague district of Vysočany, much to the Soviets’ surprise and chagrin. The clandestine and emergency gathering of the Congress had been put into motion in the very first hours of the intervention. Soon after the Presidium voted on denouncing the Soviet-led invasion, Dubček discussed calling the Congress with the First Secretary of the KSČ in Prague, Bohumil Simon.11 In the hours to come, the Prague Party organisation took the lead in canvassing the opinions of Party committees across the country and making arrangements, but it was far from being only its initiative. Before the invasion, the Party Secretary in Brno, Jaroslav Šabata, had already established a plan with Jaromír Litera of Prague that they would call the Congress early in the event of an invasion.12 As early as 6:48 a.m. on the 21st, the radio station in Brno issued a call for the Congress to immediately convene, similar demands from several Party organisations were announced in the hours to come, and at 9:50 that morning, “Bratislava Television broadcast an urgent appeal to all delegates to the Congress to use all available means to reach Prague”.13 By the afternoon of the invasion day, the KSČ organisation in Prague was appealing to Congress delegates from around the country to make their way to the capital and assuring them of overnight accommodation in the homes of local Communists.14

Therefore, on Thursday, 22 August, while President Svoboda was rejecting requests to give his legal imprimatur to a provisional government led by Alois Indra and then to one led by himself, the delegates of the Congress, which wielded decisive authority in the KSČ constitution, were condemning the invasion and electing a new Central Committee.15 All those who had collaborated with the intervention and who were simultaneously trying to turn that cooperation into power, were removed from the Central Committee. The Congress went as far as to refuse to acknowledge “even as Party members those members of the former Central Committee who fail in this difficult test”.16 Despite its rapid and clandestine convocation, the Congress was incredibly attended by 1,219 of the 1,510 delegates who had been selected by the Party’s regional and district committees earlier in the summer.17 And while the pro-Soviet rump of the now superseded Presidium and Central Committee was gathering in secret, the proceedings in Vysočany were broadcast live on the radio. In short, the Vysočany Congress had something powerful that the likes of Biľak and Indra huddled at the Soviet Embassy did not have: the legitimacy that comes with being unequivocally in tune with the spirit of the moment expressed in numerous spontaneous acts and gestures across the country. When the Congress re-elected the ominously absent Dubček as First Secretary and chose a uniformly pro-reform Central Committee, it was seen in Czechoslovakia to be the act not of renegades, let alone of counter-revolutionaries, but the authentic voice of Czechoslovak Communism, and even of the occupied country in general. As Svoboda told the conspirators and Chervonenko when they sought his support in vain, “ninety-five per cent of the population are behind Dubček and Černík”.18

The successful convocation of the Fourteenth Congress in Prague, hours after Soviet tanks had occupied the city’s major landmarks and thoroughfares, disarmed the political plan of the invasion in two crucial ways. Firstly, in concert with the failure of the plotters to form even a puppet government, it completed the public delegitimisation of the prominent Communists who had invited and welcomed the invasion. Secondly it equally publicly undercut a major rationale behind the invasion and its timing. The delegates gathered at Vysočany assumed, correctly as it turned out, that the Soviets had specifically wished to prevent the Fourteenth Congress from meeting as planned on 9 September because it, in Jiří Pelikán’s summary, would have confirmed the final victory of the post-January course”.19 Although in the context of occupation, no victory, final or otherwise, could be declared, the Congress made it abundantly clear that the Communist Party itself defiantly stood by the policies that the Soviets had invaded Czechoslovakia to curtail. As the Czech Communist, Zdeněk Hejzlar later wrote from exile, the occurrence and proceedings [of the Congress] were without doubt decisive for the recognition of the Soviet leadership that, in contrast to the original plans, a solution was only to be found in negotiations with Alexander Dubček”. If the Soviets continued to follow the political strategy with which the invasion had been launched, “the danger of a confrontation with the [KSČ] in its entirety would have threatened”.20 Dubček summarises thatthe unanimous character of the resistance had already forced the collapse of the political framework for intervention”.21

So it was that Dubček himself, having been assured during his apprehension on the morning of the invasion that he would imminently stand before a revolutionary tribunal under the authority of “Comrade Indra”, and then having spent two nights at a KGB facility in Uzhhorod (Ungvár), was transported on 23 August to the Kremlin.22 Compelled to negotiate,” Zdeněk Mlynář recounts, “Moscow had no one else to negotiate with in the end but the Dubček leadership. Its agents had failed to carry off an internal putsch, and it was out of the question for Moscow to deal with the leadership elected by the Fourteenth Congress.”23

 

THE SITUATION IN HUNGARY WAS BETTER”

 

Of all the major justifications of the invasion of Czechoslovakia that were penned and issued in the two days before and after the tanks rolled in, only one specifically referenced Hungary’s 1956. It was, significantly, the joint letter from the Central Committees of the five invading Communist parties to the Central Committee of the Party in Romania on 21 August. The Romanians had been entirely absent from the deliberations of the five and on the same day as the letter, Ceauşescu delivered a blistering public excoriation of the invasion. As was common on the first day of the invasion, the letter claimed that “most of the members of the Presidium [of the KSČ] and of the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic” had requested the military intervention. But it also made a point of emphasising that “the tactics of the counter-revolution in Czechoslovakia [are] different from the one[s] applied in Hungary in 1956”. Continuing, the letter explained: “In Czechoslovakia, the reactionary forces started by discrediting the Communist Party, the entire cause of socialism, in order to raise the masses against them and to defeat then the Communists in elections.”

This was a defensive contrast with 1956, made to strident Communist critics of intervention, arguing once again that despite the overt peacefulness of the Prague Spring, its purposes and the forces behind it were the same and required the same response. Not only was this a reiteration of the creeping counter-revolution thesis that had begun to dominate references to the Hungarian uprising among the five once the Soviet use of it had shifted from warning to justification, this was its strange, logical denouement. For in this and other statements of these days, the intervening parties mostly abandoned suggestions that the quiet counter-revolution could culminate in a more open and bloody manifestation. It was “elections” that would have, in this view, completed the counter-revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the Fourteenth Congress, which the five believed they had forestalled, would have paved the way.

 

The counter-revolutionary, anti-Socialist forces and organisations intend, by pressure on the delegates to the Fourteenth Extraordinary Congress through the mass media and by other ways, to obtain the election of the new Central Committee mainly from the ranks of the rightist revisionist elements, and after the Congress to announce early elections for the National Assembly and the local bodies of power, under the slogan “Communists shall not be elected!”24 They aimed at removing the Communist Party from power and promoting the ascent of the anti-Socialist forces.25

 

This idea was repeated in the voluminous defence of the invasion printed in Pravda on 22 August: “The representatives of right-wing organisations took matters to the point of seeking to defeat the Communist Party in the elections. In other words, what was involved was an open attempt to stage a counter-revolutionary coup.”26 This was an extraordinary position to have ended up at the moment that the intervention was actually taking place; the covert counter-revolution long warned about was supposed here to have been openly and imminently completed through the means of a Communist Party congress and an election. In order to maintain this position and the assumption that an intervention would swiftly change the dynamic, the Soviets and their allies had to claim – and at least on some level believe – that a congress and election was only capable of producing counter-revolution because the minority who supported the reform positions of Dubček and Černík had succeeded in intimidating the majority who did not. If this was the case, then military intervention ought to have swiftly cowed the minority who were attempting to intimidate the majority and delivered a swift political victory to the intervention. But what the months of one-sided intelligence and assessments had not prepared the Soviets for was that the Communist Party and Socialism did indeed have the support of a majority in the country and that this position was in alignment with, not contradicted by, an equally firm commitment to Dubček’s radically reforming Action Programme and an equally resolute opposition to Soviet interference.27 As a supporter of reform mused on 26 August (reprinted within the Czechoslovak Black Book in October), with some justification, “in spite of all the fabrications about a counter-revolution and a collapse of the socialist order in Czechoslovakia, it is precisely the Communist Party that had demonstrated its tremendous vitality and [...] assumed its position at the head of the national resistance in this fateful hour”.28

Therefore, the repudiation of the initial political part of the invasion plan pushed advantageous (to the invaders) parallels with Hungary’s 1956 even further into the abstract at the very moment when the reality of a military intervention made comparisons unavoidable. Could comparisons be of any further service to those still seeking to justify the invasion; and what of those opposing it? As the leader who had been vilified only the day before as the head of a “right-wing minority” (Dubček) was taken to the Kremlin on August to be a negotiating partner, the decisive justifications and political cover for the invasion were shifting under the Soviets’ feet, and the defining powers and purpose of Hungary’s 1956 vis-à-vis the Czechoslovak situation were likewise in flux. This situation meant, firstly, that the Soviets attempted to persuade Dubček and the rest of the Czechoslovak leadership (in addition to the major figures apprehended and brought to Moscow against their will, Svoboda arrived on the 23rd on his own initiative with a large delegation) to retroactively both repudiate the Fourteenth Congress and approve of the invasion as a legitimate response to counter-revolution. But although the Soviets were certainly in a position to force Dubček’s hand, they also now required his agreement and ongoing role (which they had not anticipated) in order to grant any legitimacy to a post-invasion arrangement. This gave the still de facto detained Dubček a degree of leverage, since he could see as clearly as anyone that, in his words, “with their failure to replace our legitimate leadership with an obedient Party-state hybrid on the 1956 Hungarian model, the Soviet assertion that we had asked for the invasion had lost all credibility”.29

It was in this context that, while reversing his recent portrayals of Dubček – now assuring him that it was clear that he had not been involved in “right-wing” plans and urging the Czechoslovak leaders to come to a new settlement based on the current situation, Brezhnev made new and unusual use of Hungary’s 1956. “Let’s remember the Hungarian events”, Brezhnev told Dubček. “It was worse then. There was no one but Kádár. Over the years our friendship has grown stronger, and now, in these days of trouble, everything is normal in Hungary. I spoke with Kádár today. The people have grown, learned.”30 This was, as we will see, a use of Hungary’s 1956 that Brezhnev could and would at this point only make to Czechoslovak representatives. The message of the statement was this: despite the fact that both the Soviet–Hungarian relationship and the position of Communism in Hungary was worse in 1956 than the equivalent situations in 1968 Czechoslovakia, the consequences had been positive, therefore, a similarly positive outcome could be optimistically expected from the unpleasant and divisive present. It was Hungary’s 1956 as a parable of Soviet bloc happy endings utilised to persuade Dubček to proceed with the pursuit of a “solution” and overcome his gloomy assessment that “not only in Czechoslovakia and Europe, but in all Communist movements this act [the invasion] will cause us to suffer the greatest defeat”.31

Brezhnev’s use of Hungary’s 1956 to contrastingly define the current situation was loaded with pertinent and telling assessments of both the Hungarian past and Czechoslovak present. Even though the pre-invasion promises of a pro-Soviet majority on the KSČ Presidium had failed to materialise, it seemed broadly accurate for Brezhnev to imply that the Soviets had more places to look for support within the governing structure of the 1968 Czechoslovak Party and state than they did in the Hungarian equivalents of 1956. Certainly the robustness of the KSČ in August 1968 compared favourably to a Hungarian Party in October 1956 that was utterly disintegrating, but that was a current strength that the Soviets had mostly refused and failed to recognise thanks to their assessment of the Party’s abdication of the responsibility to lead, and now could not take advantage of thanks to the Vysočany Congress’ firm rejection of the invasion. However, while Kádár probably was the outstanding candidate to lead a post-invasion regime in Hungary in 1956, it was a peculiar and disingenuous exaggeration for Brezhnev to claim that “there was no one but Kádár”, which owed more to the Soviet myths of 1956 than the realities. Although Kádár had by no means been a disciple of Nagy in 1956, he was also thoroughly implicated in his government’s decisions, including the declaration of neutrality that followed Soviet military actions on 1 November 1956. Furthermore, Kádár was accompanied throughout his secret Moscow discussions at the beginning of November by another member of both government and Politburo, Ferenc Münnich, as well as eventually by Foreign Minister Imre Horváth, and was joined in his declaration of a new revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ government by Münnich, Antal Apró (Deputy Prime Minister and Politburo member), and another minister, István Kossa. In his discussions with Kádár on 3 November, Khrushchev mentioned ten additional candidates to serve in the new regime. Kádár certainly was not the only one the Soviets could turn to in 1956 to form a new regime.32 But while Brezhnev was exaggerating the lack of political options in 1956, he was also knowingly overestimating the options in the present, which the public failure of his own political plan had significantly narrowed. The fact that Dubček was talking face to face with Brezhnev on 23 August and not either dead or imprisoned was testament enough to that. The next day, Brezhnev himself admitted to his fellow bloc leaders that “Dubček and Černík had to be included in the negotiations because otherwise there would be no one to talk to”.33 All the senior members of the Czechoslovak Party and government who had supported the invasion had proven themselves unable to seize the reins of power.

But Brezhnev’s use of a comparatively negative assessment of the “predicament” facing the Soviets and their allies in 1956 only made sense, of course, in connection with a positive portrayal of the result. Everything is normal in Hungary. The people have grown, learned. This was the outcome that Brezhnev was appealing to Dubček to work towards and it demonstrates once more how little he understood his Czechoslovak counterpart. Leaving aside the matter of how much Hungary’s status at this point could be regarded as normal, it was by no means an enticing goal for a reformer whose purpose as leader had been to overturn the entrenched modus operandi of Party and state in Czechoslovakia. Brezhnev’s assessment also turns the Soviet military intervention in Hungary into an almost pedagogical act that succeeded in leading to a more informed and mature Hungarian citizenry. This was a kind of “education” that Dubček was not seeking for his people.

While Brezhnev’s positive comparison of the present situation regarding Czechoslovakia with the initial situation in Hungary was ineffective with Dubček, it was absolutely untenable with the Warsaw Pact allies that gathered in Moscow the following day, 24 August. Not only were the hard-liners within the “five” who had pushed for intervention in Czechoslovakia not receptive to any positive assessments of the Czechoslovak present compared with the Hungarian past, they even reversed the formula Brezhnev had tried out with Dubček the day before. Brezhnev himself was far more realistic, although he still characteristically construed all the developments that demonstrated the Soviets’ misunderstanding of the Czechoslovak situation as evidence of their ideological prescience. “Political work has still not begun”, the Soviet leader admitted, and “the healthy forces did not succeed in launching their own activities.”34

But Gomułka, Ulbricht and Zhivkov were both far more alarmed about the short-term political failure of the invasion and insistent that more direct measures would and should be adopted. An armed struggle is probably inevitable”, the Polish leader predicted. “Our troops must be ordered to combat the counter-revolution.” The basis of this doom-laden assessment was his astonishing misconception that “in Czechoslovakia there is no Communist Party today. The right-wing leadership is acting in collusion with the counter-revolution.” Echoing the misleading justifications that had long been used regarding Hungary’s 1956, he added: “In effect, Czechoslovakia has already left the Warsaw Pact, as the rightists and counter-revolutionaries demand neutrality for the country.” Then, arriving at the stark summary his analysis had been leading to, Gomułka concluded: “The situation in Hungary was better than in Czechoslovakia today.”35

This is a strangely apt note on which to conclude our consideration of the use of Hungary’s 1956 in defining the Czechoslovak events of 1968. On the afternoon of 23 October 1956 when no one knew that an uprising was in the process of spontaneously emerging young Hungarian men and women had marched to the square in Buda that bore the name of a Polish general, with the name of Gomułka on their lips. A reformer, a vindicated victim of Stalinism, had ascended to power in Warsaw, overcoming the intimidation of the Soviet Union. This was their inspiration on that momentous day. Only twelve years later, Gomułka looked back on the Soviet martial imposition of a new dependent regime on Hungary, just twelve days after that hopeful protest on Bem Square, and suggested to the leaders of five fellow Communist countries that this had been a clean and satisfactory way to re-establish control from which they could learn in 1968.

Hungary’s 1956 had been a ghostly presence throughout the Czechoslovak crisis. Even for those adamantly opposed to the Prague Spring, it had mostly represented a situation to be avoided. Both the allegedly counter-revolutionary events and the Soviet military response in 1956 were explicitly utilised as a warning about what could happen in 1968. By July and August, however, for the Soviets and those disposed to intervention, the references became defensive justifications for what would happen. In response, it was mostly left to the Czechoslovaks themselves to distinguish between the two events, often vociferously. But here in Moscow – in the view of a former Polish reformer – three days after the five armies had invaded Czechoslovakia – Hungary’s 1956 became another trophy of Communist power; a model of how to get things done.

* The present chapter edited by Hungarian Review is from David A. J. Reynolds, Revising History, Constructing Counter-revolution: The Meaning of Hungary’s 1956 and the Definition of the Prague Spring, March 2016, unpublished manuscript.

 

 

Notes:


1 Indra himself used this term to describe the fate of new leaders in this situation.

2 Alexander Dubček, Hope Dies Last: The Autobiography of Alexander Dubček, trans. Jiří Hochman (New York: Kodansha, 1993), 175–181; Karen Dawisha, The Kremlin and the Prague Spring (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 320–322; Galia Golan, Reform Rule in Czechoslovakia: The Dubček Era, 19681969 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), 235; “Document No. 115: Discussion Involving Certain Members of the CPCz Presidium and Secretariat, at the Soviet Embassy and the CSSR President’s Office, August 22, 1968 (Excerpts)”, Jaromír Navrátil, ed., The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader. (Budapest: Central European University Press, 1998), 463; “Document No. 100: Statement by CPCz Presidium Condemning the Warsaw Pact Invasion, August 21, 1968”, Navrátil, 415–416.

3 In June 2004, Hoffmann was sentenced to four years in prison for “abuse of office” for his actions in the early hours of 21 August that prevented the broadcast of the Presidium’s proclamation, and any other broadcasts, for a few hours. After both Hoffmann and the prosecutor appealed, the High Court changed the charge to sabotage and increased the sentence to six years (“Top communist loses appeal, gets raised sentence for aiding Soviet invasion”, Radio Prague: www.radio.cz/en/section/ curraffrs/top-communist-loses-appeal-gets-raised-sentence-for-aiding-soviet-invasion).

4 Fred H. Eidlin, The Logic of “Normalization”: The Soviet Intervention in Czechoslovakia of August 21, 1968 and the Czechoslovak Response (Boulder: Eastern European Monographs, 1980), 106–112; Dawisha, 323.

5Leonid Brezhnev’s Speech at a Meeting of the ‘Warsaw Five’ in Moscow, August 18, 1968 (Excerpts)”, Navrátil, 391.

6 Eidlin, 113.

7 Dubček, 183–184.

8 Eidlin, 121–122.

9 Navrátil, xxxv.

10 Dubček, 184.

11 Ibid., 181–182.

12Vysočany Congress”, (English subtitles by Learning Film Group), Fiks Budraitskis Oleynikov (2008): https://vimeo.com/27149238.

13 Eidlin, 230–231.

14 Ibid., 235.

15Document No. 115: Discussion Involving Certain Members of the CPCz Presidium and Secretariat, at the Soviet Embassy and the CSSR President’s Office, August 22, 1968 (Excerpts)”, Navrátil, 461–462.

16 Eidlin, 236–237.

17 Grzegorz Ekiert, The State against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 182.

18Discussion Involving Certain Members of the CPCz Presidium and Secretariat, at the Soviet Embassy and the CSSR President’s Office, August 22, 1968”, Navrátil 463.

19 Charles Andras, “Pelikan’s Book: Key Documents in Recent Czechoslovak History” (Radio Free Europe Research, 3 February 1970), Open Society Archive: osaarchivum.org/files/holdings/300/8/3/ text/20-3-345.shtml (accessed 8 March 2016).

20 Eidlin, 239.

21 Dubček, 203.

22 Ibid., 183–187.

23 Dawisha, 329.

24 Of all the exaggerations expressed by the invading powers, this may have been the most egregiously counter-factual. The idea that the Central Committee elected by the Fourteenth Congress would adopt an anti-Communist stance was utterly contradicted by the following day’s improvised convocation of the Congress.

25Letter from the Central Committees of the Bulgarian, East German, Hungarian, Polish, and Soviet Communist Parties regarding the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia”, Wilson Center Digital Archive: digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110458.

26Document 46: Defence of Socialism is the Highest Internationalist Duty”, in Remington, 319. It should be noted that this statement was still followed with a caveat regarding violent counter-revolution that began: “The counterrevolutionaries sought to win power peacefully, without an armed conflict, but they also foresaw other possibilities.”

27 This conclusion is objectively underlined by the remarkable results of public opinion polling before the invasion: Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz, “Public Political Opinion in Czechoslovakia During the Dubcek Era”, in E. J. Czerwinski and Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz, eds., The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia: Its Effects on Eastern Europe (New York: Praeger, 1972), 13–41.

28Document 64: The Czechoslovak ‘Black Book’”, in Remington, 409.

29 Dubček, 204.

30 Ibid., 197.

31Document No. 116: Stenographic Account of Alexander Dubcek’s Talks with Leonid Brezhnev and Other Members of the CPSU CC Politburo, August 23, 1968 (Excerpts)”, Navrátil, 468.

32Stenographic record of a 4 November 1956 meeting of Party activists”; “Document No. 79: Working notes of Imre Horváth from the Session of the CPSU Politburo, November 3, 1956”, in Csaba Békés, Malcolm Byrne, János M. Rainer, eds., The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents (Budapest: CEU Press, 2002), 359–60.

33Document No. 118: Minutes of the First Post-Invasion Meeting of the ‘Warsaw Five’ in Moscow, August 24, 1968”, Navrátil, 476–477.

34 Ibid., 475.

35 Ibid., 477.




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