The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 67: Alexander Dubček's Recollections of the Crisis:
Events Surrounding the Čierna nad Tisou Negotiations

Source: "Alexander Dubček vzpomí'ná: Původní rozhovor pro Občanský deník o pozadí
srpnových událostí roku 1968," Občanský deník (Prague), Part 1, August 3, 1990, p. 3 and
Part 2, August 10, 1990, p. 3.

The four-part interview with Alexander Dubček that appeared in Občanský deník in August 1990
provides his most elaborate recollections of the 1968 crisis. These first two sections cover the period from
the Warsaw Meeting to the Bratislava conference. Dubček's personal memory offers a behind-the-scenes
account of the Čierna talks and his own role, thoughts, and decisions.

In the interview, Dubček recounts his private meeting with Brezhnev, in the Soviet's leaders' private
railroad car at Čierna nad Tisou, when no other officials were present. Describing what that meeting was
like, he discusses the way the whole episode fit into the Soviet leader's broader negotiating strategy.
Dubček also gives a detailed presentation of the demands that Brezhnev and other Soviet officials were
seeking to extract from him, and he deals at some length with the question of whether "concessions" on
his partsuch as the reimposition of censorship, the dismissal of prominent reformers, and the dissolution
of political groupsmight have altered the Soviet decision. Dubček expresses skepticism that anything
short of the wholesale repudiation of the Prague Spring and a reversion to "neo-Stalinism" would have
been enough to mollify the Soviet Politburo. "Should I have used an iron hand?," he asks, and answers:
"If I had I would have betrayed myself, the people, the nation, and everything we stood for."


PARTI

Memories of Dresden and Warsaw and of meetings at Čierna nad Tisou and Bratislava in the spring and summer of 1968 are still swathed in mystery, and many questions remain. This is even more the case with regard to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the armies of five countries, as well as the Moscow talks between our delegation and representatives of the Kremlin. We asked the person who knows most about those events—Alexander Dubček—for a testimony and some personal memories.

Občanský deník: The threat to the renewal process from the Warsaw Pact actually began with the meeting in March 1968—the meeting at Dresden. But a more urgent threat arose at the meeting of the five communist parties in Warsaw in July 1968, when they drafted a letter. How would you characterize the situation at that time?

Dubček: As I see it, the Warsaw Letter was a turning point. A watershed. Until then, in my view, no decision was made on intervention. Brezhnev and the others were still working to find a "fifth column" in our country, including some elements from the State Security as well as some in the army and the CPCz. They wanted to do everything they could to stir up internal unrest in our country. But intervention had not yet been decided on. In my view, this was the logical progression of events.

And in this situation they prepared the Warsaw Letter, which was supposed to be the signal that a "fifth column" had been found. At that time they said we were refusing to negotiate with them. That's nonsense, we didn't refuse. We said we wanted the joint meeting to be preceded by bilateral meetings. We received threatening letters from individual parties. In particular, what Ulbricht wrote me was awful. So we said that first we wanted to meet these parties individually, and then these bilateral meetings would culminate in a joint meeting.

But they insisted on holding these meetings in such rapid sequence that it took us aback.

They did not accept our proposal, and decided to meet without us, without the bilateral meetings, and without having the Romanians and Yugoslavs present, contrary to what we had proposed. There is, in my view, another point to be made here, namely, that they attempted to

-300-

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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.
    Buy instant access 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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.