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GDR Justification of the Warsaw Pact Intervention in Prague (August 21, 1968)

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The plan of the anti-socialist groupings and clubs consisted in undermining the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and rendering it unfit for action, so as to clear the way for the goal they were striving for: toppling socialism and establishing a state capitalist regime in Czechoslovakia oriented toward the imperialist Western powers. All of this was supposed to transpire under the social democratic slogan of “democratic socialism.” This is, incidentally, nothing new. Ever since the Great Socialist October Revolution, imperialist forces in different countries have repeatedly abused the concept of socialism that has become so dear to people everywhere in order to strangle socialism and democracy.

For every citizen of the GDR, a glance at the map will make it clear that this would have become an unbearable situation for our republic and for the other fraternal socialist countries, if the anti-socialist forces who were particularly inspired by West German imperialism had been able to pursue their counterrevolutionary activity from the south, in other words, from our [southern] flank.

In the interest of their security, in the interest of other nations and of world peace, the socialist brother countries can and may not permit the ČSSR to break away from the community of socialist states. By immediately answering the Czechoslovak patriots' urgent call for help, the governments of our countries are providing a shining example of socialist internationalism, and with all the energy at their disposal they are realizing the solemn duty of the declaration of Bratislava, whereby the support, consolidation, and protection of the socialist achievements of our peoples is the common international duty of all socialist states. [ . . . ]

Source: “Das Zentralkomitee der SED, der Staatsrats und der Ministerrats zur Intervention in der ČSSR” [“The Central Committee of the SED, State Council, and Council of Ministers on the Intervention in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic”], Neues Deutschland, August 21, 1968.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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