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The Soviet Decision to Invade Czechoslovakia

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Advanced research paper

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A review of events leading to the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, focusing on factors which influenced the Soviet governments decision to use military force to resolve a growing political problem. The role of intelligence and security forces in reporting events taking place within Czechoslovakia is described as are the parts played by the Soviet military leadership and the various political positions and pressures exercised by the USSRs Warsaw Pact allies. Finally the decision itself is examined in terms of its timing and the known or suspected stands of the Politburo membership. NATO reactions to the events preceding invasion, and to the invasion itself, are discussed. The paper asserts that intelligence and inept diplomacy provided Moscow with distorted information regarding events in Czechoslovakia, raising alarms that influenced the decision that the Soviet military leaders preferred a political resolution of the Czechoslovak problem that the Warsaw Pact allies were divided on the issue but that the conservative were more influential and that the Politburo membership was divided and did not make its decision until some 10-15 days before invasion. With regard to NATO, its position was clearly and openly one of noniterference--expecting no threat from the action and avoiding all possible provocation of the USSR. The paper closes with a warning that this reaction to the Warsaw Pacts internal troubles, although correct in this instance, could be exploited by the USSR in a future situation, to mask a first strike against Western Europe.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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