Why Did the Warsaw Pact Intervene in Czechoslovakia in 1968 but Not in Poland in 1980?

1951 Words Feb 24th, 2013 8 Pages
Why did the Warsaw Pact intervene in Czechoslovakia in 1968 but not in Poland in 1980?

When conducting a comparative analysis there are several arguments that need to be developed in order to come up with a feasible conclusion. Therefore by using a three-fold approach I will be exploring the question of why the Warsaw Pact intervened in Czechoslovakia but not in Poland. One could begin by focusing on the origin of the reforms in both countries. Czechoslovakia adopted a “top down” approach headed from within the Communist Party by the liberal reformist Alexander Dubcek, the First secretary of the party. This is contrasted with the reforms in Poland as they spurred out of “Solidarity” that consisted of the working class and
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Being the only movement connected with the Catholic Church, it combined the values of “democracy, participation, justice, equality, human dignity and socialism”. Therefore it was the only non-violent movement capable of absorbing so many issues. This shows how the movement never posed a direct threat to the Soviet Union, unlike Czechoslovakia in 1968. Walesa, Head of the Solidarity movement, constantly emphasised that the trade union only wanted to exert pressure on the ruling bureaucracy, not overthrow it. One could therefore argue that the Soviet Union didn’t feel vulnerable to the proposals of the movement unlike Czechoslovakia in 1968, where Dubcek was planning reforms from within the party and was trying to democratize it from the centre.

In order to further analyse what exactly triggered the decisions behind Warsaw Pacts invasion lies within the comparison between the international relationship of the USSR and the West in the years in question.

It is important to focus on the political tension between the western world and Russia. Since the Cold War was based around economic and political differences, the USSR used Czechoslovakia as a basic tool to uphold its international status demonstrating its power and military might.

Unlike Poland in 1980, the USSR was not concerned about its friendly image to the outside world, due to the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962 and NATOs watchful eye over the Soviet Union, 1968 would be

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