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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. Prague, May 1968
1. Political and Military Doctrine
1.1. The political doctrine of a socialist state is primarily influenced by the choice of wider goals within the international community and its relationship with the diverse forces representative of social progress.
The principle of socialist internationalism is organically linked with the national responsibility of a sovereign state. This is normally the more important as well as more difficult the smaller is the physical power of the state. The choice cannot solely depend on “national interest,” which cannot be defined in a pure form-neither as an interest of one's own state, nor as an interest of the leading state of a coalition. Decisive is the interest of the societal movement, of which sovereign states are part, specifically the interest of European socialism and its dynamic development. Mere defense of what has been accomplished fosters stagnation and degeneration; wrong choice of an offensive strategy has a destructive effect on the progress of the whole societal movement.
1.2. Military policy as an aggregate of actions in military matters implements military interests and needs through a chosen strategy. In regard to national interest, the military doctrine of the state can be described as a comprehensive formulation of its military interests and needs.
The doctrine is a binding theoretical and ideological base for the formulation of military policy and the resulting measures as well as for negotiations with the alliance partners. It amounts to a compromise between the maximum requirements and actual resources, between the dynamics of the evolving military knowledge and the findings of the social sciences, between the development of technology and the requirement of an effective defense system corresponding to the military circumstances at any given time.
1.3. The formulation of the state's military doctrine influences retroactively its political doctrine and strategy. It substantially affects its capability to project itself internationally by nonmilitary means. Giving up one's own military doctrine means giving up responsibility for one's own national and international action. A surrender to spontaneity, this entails depoliticization of military thought, which in turn leads to a paralysis of the army. It is the fundamental source of crisis of the army organism by tearing it out of society. It disrupts the metabolism between the army and the society. It deprives the army of its raison d'être for the national community by limiting the interaction between national goals and the goals of the socialist community.
2. The Past, Present, and Future of Czechoslovakia's Military Policy
2.1. The foundations of Czechoslovakia's present defense systems were laid at the beginning of the nineteenfifties, at which time the responsible political actors of the socialist countries assumed that a military conflict in Europe was imminent. It was a strategy based on the slogan of defense against imperialist aggression, but at the same time assuming the possibility of transition to strategic offensive with the goal of achieving complete Soviet hegemony in Europe. No explicit reassessment of this coalition strategy by taking into account the potential of nuclear missiles has ever taken place.
2.2. The Czechoslovak army, created with great urgency and extraordinary exertion, became a substantial strategic force by the time when Europe's political and military situation had fundamentally changed. Although in 1953 we noted a relaxation of international tension and in 1956 introduced the new strategy of peaceful coexistence, no formulation of Czechoslovakia's own military doctrine or reform of its army took place. Invoking the threat of German aggression, the alliance continued to be tightened up. Increasingly the threat of German aggression has taken on the role of an extraneous factor employed with the intent to strengthen the cohesion of the socialist community. Once the original notions about the applicability of a universal economic and political model had to be revised, military cooperation was supposed to compensate for insufficient economic cooperation and the inadequacy of other relationships among the socialist countries.
2.3. In politics, there is a lack of clarity about the probable trends of development in the progressive movement to which we belong. There is a prevailing tendency to cling to the obsolete notions that have become part of the ideological legacy of the socialist countries. There is a prevailing tendency to try to influence all the segments of the movement, regardless of the sharply growing differences in their respective needs resulting from social and economic development.
In 1956 and 196159 we proved by our deeds that we were ready to bear any global risks without claiming a share of responsibility for the political decisions and their implementation. By doing so, we proved that we did not understand even the European situation and were guided not by sober analysis but by political and ideological stereotypes. (Hence also the surprise with regard to Hungary in 1956 and the inadequate response in 1961.)
2.4. Our military policy did not rest on an analysis of our own national needs and interests. It did not rest on our own military doctrine. Instead it was a reflection of the former sectarian party leadership, which prevented the party from conducting a realistic policy of harmonizing the interests of different groups with national and international interests for the benefit of socialism. The development of the army was deprived of both rational criteria and an institutionalized opposition. Military policy
be clectis ale nie A1000 WIT the parameters ane'alt
/ sexting: methods
was reduced to the search for optimally matching our resources with the demands of the alliance. Devoid of
-absolute war (in different variations),
- limited wars (of several types), principles, it was bound to create contradictions and crises within the army.
-situation between war and peace resulting from the Inevitably the twenty years of deformed development
long-term legalization of an originally temporary armistice affected the ability, or rather inability, of the cadres to
as a result of which the adversaries are no longer fighting overcome the deformations. Theoretical backwardness
but peace treaties have not been concluded either, in military theory and the formulation of a military
-potential war, i.e. indirect use of instruments of armed
violence as means of foreign policy, doctrine has been a great obstacle to the overcoming of the past errors.
--peace among potential adversaries, 2.5. Czechoslovakia's military policy will continue
-peace among allied sovereign states, being built upon the alliance with other Warsaw Treaty
-peace among neutrals,
—absolute peace through general and complete partners, above all the U.S.S.R. At the same time,
disarmament. however, it will be a policy based on state sovereignty,
This description is a distillation of specific situations, and designed to provide our input into developing the
which are in turn combinations of an indefinite number of alliance's common positions. A modern conception of the Warsaw Treaty can only have one meaning: increased
possible situations that make sovereign states and military external security of its member states to foster the
coalitions implement their foreign and military policies. development of both the socialist states and the states of
3.3. The stereotype of class struggle, with its
dichotomy of friends and foes, has reduced substantive Western Europe. Our military policy will not shun global
political distinctions among sovereign states to basic class risks, but only in the role of a partner rather than of a
antagonism, with pernicious consequences for our political victim of a development that it cannot influence. It will essentially be an European security policy,
strategy and tactics. Yet the Leninist postulate of specific supportive of international détente in Europe, all-European analysis of a concrete situation differentiates according to
actual distinctions. cooperation, and Europe's progressive forces. It will serve as an instrument of a broader, but not self-serving policy.
At the very least, the typology should consider:
-actual and potential allies, A military policy that needs to construe and exaggerate an
-neutrals, enemy threat fosters conservative tendencies in both
-potential adversaries, socialism and capitalism. While in the short run it
-actual adversaries, may seem to “strengthen” socialism, in the long run it
war enemies. weakens it. 2.6. Czechoslovakia's military policy must rest on a
Czechoslovakia's state interests and needs require scientific analysis of a whole range of possible war
giving justice to different situational variants while
rejecting illusions and dangerous simplifications. situations in Europe, formulate its own sovereign interests and needs accordingly, estimate its military capabilities in
4. Possible Formulation of Czechoslovakia's Military particular situations within the framework of the coalition, and act on its own scientifically elaborated strategic
Interests and Needs Related to the War-Peace Situation
in Contemporary Europe doctrine.
The doctrinal formulation and constitution of 3. The Contemporary War-Peace Situation
Czechoslovak military interests and needs first requires a 3.1. The naively pragmatic realist approach considers
substantive analysis of particular war-peace situations, relations among sovereign states from the point of view of
especially in Europe. Our own military interests and needs
should then be formulated accordingly. This should be the either war or peace. In actuality there is a whole range
of situations whose common denominator is the availability
point of departure for practical measures in accordance of instruments of armed violence but which differ in the
with the doctrine. Following is a brief outline of how one
might proceed in some of the basic situations. manner of their use. As a result of substantive social and
4.1. Absolute war in Europe political changes and the scientific-technological
Given the accumulation of nuclear missiles by both revolution in military affairs, such a range of situations is considerably more complex and diverse not only in
major military coalitions, the possible outbreak of such a
war in Europe is wrought with catastrophic consequences comparison with the situation before World War II but also with the situation in the early fifties.
for most of its European participants. At the same time, the Yet, at this very time of incipient gigantic
permanent lead time in the offensive rather than the
defensive deployment of nuclear missiles, as well our transformations of social and political as well as scientific and technological nature, our military policy and doctrine
unfavorable geographical position, make it impossible to
substantially limit the destructiveness of enemy first applied the Soviet model as universally valid. 3.2. The above-mentioned range of possible situations
strikes against our territory to an extent compatible with may be summarized as follows:
the preservation of our national and state existence. It must
be said openly that the outbreak and conduct of a global strained economic situation, with too negative
a military and political crisis at the present time,
- our interest in reducing the possibility of a transition formulate Czechoslovakia's military interests and needs as from the absence of war to a limited war while searching a matter of primary existential importance:
for a solution of the German question as the key question -preventing the conduct of a nuclear war on our territory of contemporary Europe. is a fundamental existential need of our society;
This further postulates measures to be taken in both -Czechoslovakia has a strategic interest in actively military and foreign policy, above all through the Warsaw contributing to the reduction of the real possibility of Pact, with the goal of normalizing relations between absolute war in Europe.
Czechoslovakia and the Federal Republic of Germany. Our fundamental needs and interests in the event of
4.4. Potential war in Europe such a war should determine a foreign policy aimed at
At issue is the indirect use of the potential for armed limiting the possibility of a nuclear attack against
violence as an instrument of foreign policy, as implied in Czechoslovakia. The appropriate measures are, for
the policy of deterrence, practiced especially by the example, the conclusion of a nuclear non-proliferation nuclear powers. Czechoslovakia cannot use deterrence treaty, the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Central against the Western powers. Its deterrence posture is Europe, and supplementary guarantees of the status quo in declaratory and politically ineffective if it is not supported Europe.
by strategic measures against potential adversaries 4.2. Limited war in Europe
geographically distant from us. At the same time, the use The analysis of the possible scenarios in Europe of deterrence against Czechoslovakia by some of its obviously starts with the recognition of a growing danger potential adversaries forces us to respond in kind. of such a war and its growing strategic and political
These characteristics determine the formulation of significance.
Czechoslovakia's needs and interests, namely:
reciprocity, i.e. our interest in its exclusion as an
In this situation, we aim at the conclusion of legally territory and population.
binding agreements with potential adversaries that would The formulation and constitution of Czechoslovakia's ban the use of the threat of force in mutual relations. This particular interests and needs will determine the practical can be realized in the relations between Czechoslovakia measures to be taken:
and Austria, Czechoslovakia and France, and - Preparation of Czechoslovakia's armed forces and its Czechoslovakia and the Federal Republic of Germany. entire defense system within the framework of the Warsaw 4.5. Peace among potential adversaries in Europe Treaty for the different variants of enemy attack with the This is the situation obtaining in Europe among goal of repelling it, defeating the adversary, and
potential adversaries who have no mutually exclusive compelling him to settle peacefully.
interests and do not apply the policy of deterrence against -Reduction of the real possibility of war by reciprocal one another. military and political acts of peaceful coexistence aimed at Here Czechoslovakia's interests and needs lay in the eliminating the use of force as a means of the settlement of legal codification of the state of peace with a growing disputes.
number of potential adversaries. 4.3. Situation between war and peace in Europe
Our practical goals should be the conclusion with This is the situation resulting from the failure to such partners of non-aggression treaties and arms conclude a peace treaty with Germany and from the great- limitation agreements. In this way, we can contribute to power status of Berlin inside the territory of the GDR. the reduction of tensions between potential adversaries, Herein is the possibility of a sudden deterioration leading the growth of peace in Europe, and the reciprocal gradual to severe military and political crisis. At the present time, neutralization of instruments of armed violence. such a crisis would have catastrophic consequences for our 4.6. In other possible peace situations in Europe, as economy, as had happened during the 1961 Berlin and enumerated earlier, military interests and needs represent a 1962 Cuban crises. This would substantially worsen our share in Czechoslovakia's overall interests and needs. The
closer the peace, of course, the lower the share. Absolute peace entails the abolition of the material and technological base for war, and thus also of the base for the military interests and needs.
In view of Czechoslovakia's current foreign and military policy predicament, our main task is the formulation and constitution of its military interests and needs pertinent to the situations referred to in points 4.2 through 4.5.
If the formulation of Czechoslovak military doctrine is to be more scientific, the main question is that of choosing the right approach and avoiding the wrong ones.
5. Systems Analysis and the Use of Modern Research Methods
5.1. In constituting a Czechoslovak military doctrine, the most dangerous and precarious approach is the onesided use of simple logic and old-fashioned working habits.
If Czechoslovakia is to be preserved as an entity, giving absolute priority to the possibility of a general war in Europe that involves the massive use of nuclear weapons makes no sense, for this entails a high probability of our country's physical liquidation regardless of how much money and resources are spent on its armed forces and regardless even of the final outcome of the war.
5.2. For each of the variants under 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5, systems analysis and other modern methods of research allow us to determine the correlation between, on the one hand, the material, financial, and personnel expenditures on the armed forces (assuming perfect rationality of their development) and, on the other hand, the degree of risk of the state's physical destruction and the loss of its sovereignty, while taking into account the chances of a further advance of socialism, or even the elimination of the threat of war.
At issue is the attainment of pragmatic stability in national defense and army development, corresponding to political needs and related to foreign policy by striving to avert war by increasing the risks for the potential adversary while preserving the sovereign existence of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, thus giving substance to its contribution to the coalition in fulfillment of its internationalist duty.
Managing the development of our armed forces solely on the basis of simple logic, empiricism, and historical analogy, perhaps solely in the interest of the coalition without regard to one's own sovereign interests, is in its final effect inappropriate and contradicts the coalition's interests.
Besides the reconciliation of our own and the coalition's interests in our military doctrine, we consider it necessary to utilize systems analysis and all other available methods of scientific prognosis, including model-building. Thus the preparedness of our armed forces in different variants can be assessed and related to the evolving political needs and economic possibilities. This concerns
not so much tactical, operational, and organizational issues as the confrontation of political and doctrinal problems with the reality.
We regard systems analysis as the new quality that can raise the effectiveness of our armed forces above the current level.
5.3. At the most general level, we can see two possible ways of managing our army's development:
- The first way is proceeding from the recognition of the personnel, technological, and financial limitations imposed by society upon the armed forces toward the evaluation of the risks resulting from the failure to achieve desirable political goals under the different variants of European development described in the preceding section. The decision about the extent of acceptable risk must be made by the supreme political organ of the state.
-The second way is proceeding from the recognition of the acceptable risk as set by the political leadership toward the provision of the necessary personnel, technological, and financial means corresponding to the different variants of European development.
Either of these ways presupposes elaboration of less than optimal models of army development for each of the variants, applying the requirements of national defense regardless of the existing structure of the system. Confrontation of the model with the available resources should then determine the specific measures to be taken in managing the development of the armed forces and their components.
The proposed procedure would not make sense if we were to keep the non-systemic, compartmentalized approach to building our armed forces without being able to prove to the political leadership that the available personnel, financial, and technological means are being used with maximum effectiveness to prepare our armed forces for any of the different variants of European development rather than merely show their apparent preparedness at parades and exercises organized according to a prepared scenario.
5.4. Increasingly strategic thought has been shifting away from seeking the overall destruction of all enemy assets to the disruption of the enemy defense system by destroying its selected elements, thus leading to its collapse. In some cases, such as in the Israeli-Arab war, the theory proved its superiority in practice as well. Its application in developing our army, elaborating our strategy, and designing our operational plans can result not only in substantial military savings but also increased effectiveness of our defense system. In case of a relative (but scientifically arrived at and justified) decrease of those expenditures, it may help limit the consequences of the exponential growth of the prices of the new combat and management technology. Most importantly, it may help impress on the armed forces command and the political leadership the best way of discharging their responsibilities toward both the state and the coalition.
5.5. The proposed procedures and methods toward the opinions of their own. See Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and constitution of Czechoslovak military doctrine can of Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years (New York: Oxford University course be implemented only through a qualitatively new
Press, 1996), p. 32, and Giuliano Procacci, ed., The Cominform: utilization of our state's scientific potential. We regard
Minutes of the Three Conferences, 1947/1948/1949 (Milan:
Feltrinelli, 1994). science as being critically conducive to working methods
? “Protokoll über die Schaffung eines Vereinigten Kommandos
7 that practitioners are inhibited from using because of their
der bewaffneten Streitkräfte der Teilnehmerstaaten am Vertrag particular way of thinking, their time limitations, and
über Freundschaft, Zusammenarbeit und gegenseitige Hilfe,” 14 for reasons of expediency. We regard science as a
May 1955, AZN 32437, Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, Freiburg. counterweight that could block and balance arbitrary
8 Tadeusz Pióro, Armia ze skaza: W Wojsku Polskim 1945tendencies in the conduct of the armed forces command 1968 (wspomnienia i refleksje) [The Defective Army: In the and the political leadership. In this we see the fundamental Polish Army, 1945-1968 (Memories and Reflections)] (Warsaw: prerequisite for a qualitatively new Czechoslovak military
Czytelnik, 1994), pp. 210-13; copy of the minutes provided by
Gen. Pióro. doctrine and the corresponding management of our
9 Khrushchev to Bierut, 7 September 1955, KC PZPR, 2661/2, armed forces.
16-19, Archiwum Akt Nowych (Modern Records Archives), Warsaw (AAN).
10 Records of the meeting, 26-28 January 1956, A 14696, (Source: Antonín Benčík, Jaromír Navrátil, and Jan Ministerium für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der DDR, Paulík, ed., Vojenské otázky československé reformy, Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes, Berlin. 1967-1970: Vojenská varianta řešení čs. krize (1967-1968) " Robert Spencer, “Alliance Perceptions of the Soviet Threat, [Military Problems of the Czechoslovak Reform, 1967- 1950-1988," in Carl-Christoph Schweitzer, ed., The Changing 1970: The Military Option in the Solution of the
Western Analysis of the Soviet Threat (New York: St. Martin's Czechoslovak Crisis), (Brno: Doplněk, 1996), pp. 137-44.
Press, 1990), pp. 9-48, at p. 19.
12 Declaration of 30 October 1956, J.P. Jain, Documentary Translated by Vojtech Mastny.)
Study of the Warsaw Pact (London: Asia Publishing House, 1973), pp. 168-71.
13 Arkadii Sobolev at the UN Security Council meeting,
4 November 1956, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations Dr. Vojtech Mastny is currently a Senior Research Scholar of the United States, 1955-1957, vol. 25, p. 388. with CWIHP. As NATO's first Manfred Woerner
1* Chen Jian, “Beijing and the Hungarian Crisis of 1956," Fellow and a Research Fellow with the Institute for
paper presented at the conference “The Sino-Soviet Relations Advanced Studies in Essen (Germany), Dr. Mastny is
and the Cold War,” Beijing, 22-25 October 1997, pp. 7-9. engaged in a larger research project on the history of the
15 "Uwagi i propozycje odnośnie dokumentu p.n. ‘Polozhenie
ob obedinennom komandovanii vooruzhennymi silami Warsaw Pact.
gosudarstv-uchastnikov Varshavskogo dogovora’” [Reflections and Proposals Concerning the Document Entitled “Statute of the Unified Command of the Armed Forces of the Member States of
the Warsaw Treaty"), and “Analiza strony prawnej dokumentu Matthew Evangelista, “Why Keep Such an Army?:”
p.n. `Protokol soveshchaniia po planu razvitiia Vooruzhennykh
of the Legal Aspects of the Document Entitled, “Protocol on the
16 Vice Minister of Defense Bordziłowski to Gomułka, 7 3 Draft of mutual defense treaty by Gromyko, Zorin, and November 1956, KC PZPR 2661/53, AAN; “Memorandum w Semenov, 31 December 1954, Sekretariat Ministra/14/12/1/1-6, sprawie Układu Warszawskiego oraz planu rozwoju Sił Arkhiv Vneshnei Politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii (Foreign Policy Zbrojnych PRL” (Memorandum Concerning the Warsaw Treaty Archives of the Russian Federation), Moscow (AVP RF).
and the Plan for the Development of Poland's Armed Forces), * Decision by CPSU Central Committee, 1 April 1955,
microfilm (o) 96/6398, reel W-25, LC. Sekretariat Ministra 14/54/4/39, AVP RF.
17 Cf. Drzewiecki, “Wykaz zagadnień wojskowych 5 Khrushchev to Ulbricht, 2 May 1955, J IV 2/2021-244 Bd 1,
wymagających omówienia i uregulowania na nowych zasadach" Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR [An Outline of Military Problems Requiring Discussion and im Bundesarchiv, Berlin (SAPMO).
Regulation according to New Principles), 8 November 1956, KC • Stenographical record of meeting, 12 May 1955,
PZPR 2661/137-38, AAN.
Journal of Contemporary History 33 (1998), p. 203.