The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 16: Open Letter from 134 Czechoslovak Writers
and Cultural Figures to the CPCz Central Committee, March 25,1968

Source: "Otevřený dopis 134 čs. spisovatelů a kulturních pracovníců ÚV KSČ," Literární listy (Prague), No. 5 (March 28, 1968), p. 1.

Published in the immediate aftermath of the Dresden meeting, this open letter dramatizes the extent of
support that the reform process had generated among the intelligentsia and cultural elite in Czechoslo-
vakia. Signed by many of the country's most celebrated artists and writers, including Jaroslav Seifert (later
a Nobel Prize winner), the letter urges the CPCz Central Committee to preserve and build on the reforms
that had begun with the January 1968 plenum. The signatories referred directly to the Dresden commu-
nique when they exhorted the CPCz leadership to continue "standing up to pressure motivated by doubts
about the nature and objectives of our internal measures" and to bear in mind "that your responsibility
for this country is above all for its own people."

The pressure that CPCz leaders encountered at Dresden was one of the major factors behind the letter's
publication; another important consideration for the 134 signatories was the high-level personnel changes
that had occurred in late February and March, especially the dismissal of Novotný from the presidency.
Although most of the new appointees were of a distinctly reformist bent, the signatories of the letter wanted
to "democratize "the selection processthrough public input and discussion of nomineesso that popular
support for reform would have a direct bearing on those responsible for governing the country.

25 March 1968

Esteemed Comrades!

We are appealing to you at a time when, we believe, political developments in Czechoslovakia are entering a new phase. The resignation of Antonín Novotný as president of the republic was a sign of important change at home, while the preceding phase was marked by growing political activity among our citizens. And the reputation of communists has also improved thanks to those who have been carrying out the proposals of the December and January sessions of the CPCz Central Committee soberly, judiciously, and with determination. The great majority of the citizens of our state are confident that things will turn out for the better—by this they understand unequivocally the socialist character of our society. What is most gratifying in this process is that the project for democratic socialism has been taken up by the younger generation, who consider it exciting and remarkable.

Nevertheless, comrades, we would like to draw your attention to several points whose solution will be viewed as a litmus test of the sincerity of all statements about democratic socialism. The first point concerns international relations. We know and understand that on various occasions delegations of the CPCz are obliged to explain the nature of the democratization process in our country to other communist parties. We realize what we owe the socialist countries and our allies. However, the Dresden communique, for example, has made it clear to us that the CPCz CC must stand up to pressure motivated by doubts about the nature and objectives of our internal measures. Thus, although we want to assure you that you have our full support in all your statements, we emphasize that the need to maintain international solidarity among socialist states should not cause you to forget that your responsibility for this country is above all to its own people.

We see the current democratization process as a road that will lead to permanent democracy, and not as a process in which certain people are to be replaced by others while their thinking and working methods remain unchanged. That is why we attach major importance to the question of who will be appointed to vacated high posts in the state, and to the way this is going to be done. We believe it would not be appropriate to the situation if decisions on this matter were made exclusively after internal discussions in certain organs—in other words, decisions made

-76-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 596

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.