Assess The Importance Of The Political And — страница 3

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wrong impression from the Soviets, however I believe that Czechoslovakia at this stage should have started acting more carefully, Kremlin s stand was obvious by mid-May. Czechoslovakia had received enough hints and warnings from USSR, but all was ignored. According to P. J. Mooney: despite Czechoslovak protestations, it must have looked to Moscow as though Czechoslovakia was going the way of Hungary in 1956 . Brezhnev and his colleagues did not take long to decide that they might have to intervene by force. It is not known exactly when this decision was reached, however several factors indicate there were hesitations within the Soviet party about what approach to take towards Czechoslovakia. On May 17th Kosygin (the Soviet Prime Minister) visited Dubcek for a ten-day

work-and-cure meeting at Karlovy-Vary, while simultaneously Marshall Grechko was meeting for a six-day round of conversations with defense officials in Czechoslovakia. T.W. Wolfe believes Kosygin s surprise visit and his desire to assess the current situation suggested that at least some elements of the Soviet leadership were still hopeful that Dubcek could be prevailed upon to assert stricter party control over the reform movement, sparing USSR from intervention. However P.J. Mooney has a different opinion on this. Kosygin visited Prague to discuss the strengthening of the Warsaw Pact , or closer control over Czechoslovakia . Moscow continued following a two-track policy. Pressure was exerted on Czechoslovakia to slow down reforms, and at the same time USSR was preparing for the

invasion. By the end of May it was announced that Warsaw pact maneuvers would take place on Czechoslovak territory in June. This helped USSR to test grounds during June and July, and became a major pressure tool. Nonetheless reforms continued. On June 27th, National Assembly voted to abolish censorship, one of the key promises of the Action Program was now realized. As well as that the same day a manifesto calling for more radical reform was published: The 2000 Words . According to T.W. Wolfe, The 2000 Words confirmed the soviet fear of what would happen to the press once censorship was abolished and no longer fell under the control of the party . He also states that June 27th can be identified as one of the major turning points in the Soviet response to Czechoslovak reforms.

From the early days of July throughout the remainder of the month, Moscow mounted a steadily intensified war of nerves against the Dubcek regime, against the backdrop of military moves which implied that the Soviet Union was preparing for an armed intervention should the Czechs persist on their democratization course . June was followed by a period known as the July Crisis. On July 11th an article by I. Aleksandrov was published in Pravda, attacking The 2000 words as evidence of activation of right wing and counterrevolutionary forces in Czechoslovakia and drawing a comparison with the situation that developed in Hungary in 1956 calling for Soviet intervention. As USSR became more worried about the situation, it was decided to express the concerns in a form of a written warning.

Along with Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Poland on 15th July a letter was written addressing the Czechoslovak leadership: we cannot agree to have hostile forces push your country away from the road of socialism and create a danger of Czechoslovakia being severed from the socialist community. The ideological grounds for intervention were prepared – Czechoslovakia was the concern of the whole socialist camp. The letter also laid emphasis on Party s loss of control of mass media. The Warsaw Letter served as an unambiguous warning . It was one of USSR s final attempts to pressurize Czechoslovak leadership into slowing down the reforms. This was followed by a demand from Moscow for an immediate meeting of the full Soviet Politburo and the Czechoslovak Presidium. However, due

to the fact that the West was becoming aware of the situation the political considerations were becoming more evident. Brezhnev couldn t afford to follow a soft policy towards a rebellious satellite country. At the time of the Cold War USSR had to be seen as a major power with strong support of the Warsaw Pact allies. Also considering the development of the Sino-Soviet relationship throughout the sixties and USSR s loss of influence in Albania, Kremlin had to be careful not to loose more communist allies. According to Edmonds USSR politically had every reason to be concerned at the effect on the world communist movement. Poland and Eastern Germany put the Soviet Union under pressure. The leaders of these countries, Gomulka and Ulbricht, insisted on USSR s interference into