A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 50: Memorandum of the Academic Staff
of the Czechoslovak Military Academies on Czechoslovakia's
Defense Doctrine, June 4, 1968

Sometimes referred to in Western literature as the Gottwald memorandum, this docu- ment was prepared by the staffs of the Klement Gottwald Military Political Academy in Prague and the Antonín Zápotocký Military Technical Academy in Brno. Its auth- ors were official theoreticians who by this time had become reformers, and as such had moved in their thinking much farther than the Dubček leadership. Although the mem- orandum was originally intended for party leaders, it also was published in the news- papers on July 2, which must certainly have alarmed the Soviets because its ideas were quite unorthodox. Despite the use of Marxist jargon it contained some very common- sense judgments, many of which were ahead of their time. Among its noteworthy points are the argument that nuclear deterrence was irrelevant to small countries like Czechoslovakia that were not in a position to implement it; the statement that future security policy should be European-based and aimed at reducing tensions; and the view that crises such as in Berlin and Cuba must be avoided because of their adverse economic effects quite apart from the terrible military threats they engender.


Formulation and Constitution of Czechoslovak
State Interests in the Military Area

The draft of the action program of the Czechoslovak People's Army poses with particular urgency the question of elaborating the state military doctrine of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In our opinion, the point of departure ought to be the state interests of Czechoslovakia in the military area which, however, have not yet been formulated and constituted.

The signatories of this memorandum, who are scholarly associates working for the Czechoslovak armed forces, wish to contribute to the scientific examination and formulation of those state interests. In sections 1 and 2, they express their position concerning the present state of our military doctrine and military policy. In sections 3 and 4, they outline the procedure for a theoretical examination of the data aimed at the formulation of doctrinal conclusions. In section 5, they justify the necessity of using scientific methods to solve these problems.

They are sending this memorandum to provide the basis for an exchange of opinion. They consider a dialogue necessary for the development of scientific research.

-270-

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A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991
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