Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 24. October 1, 1968

Bert Fisher writes on the dilemma of Czechoslovakia

Bert Fisher writes on the dilemma of Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia was the concern of Wellington students recently when they demonstrated outside the Russian Legation.

Czechoslovakia was the concern of Wellington students recently when they demonstrated outside the Russian Legation.

The best protection against allowing people to learn the truth is a good supply of propaganda.

In a way one could argue that it does not matter to New Zealanders whether the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia, or the Czechs invaded Russia.

One could also argue that if children want to believe that tides are caused by whales splashing in the sea, and not by the moon, one should let them believe it.

But as Joyce said,"It is base to sit dumb and let peasants talk."

I think that Czech blood has been used for cheap propaganda. The New Zealand press, true to the feudal value of playing tunes to people whose bread they eat, give me the feeling that they would have been happier if more blood was flowing.

But self-interest is the crucial element of the Czech dilemma. The press. C.I.A., Dubcek, the Russians, myself and Rothmans all had vested interest in the conflict, and were not absolutely fair.

The Russians were caught red-handed, and yet I believe that all they really tried to do was to prevent another Hungary and bloodshed. Although I do not think that West German troops were in Czechoslovakia in any great numbers, the Russians knew that things could move pretty fast as they did in Hungary.

The C.I.A. in real 007 style have shown they are pretty good, by directing nonexistent troops, during a non-existent invasion, with non-existent transmitters.

The situation in Europe is such, that the Russians have good reasons for being jumpy. The German neo-Nazi movement is strong. And as one member of it put it to me: ". . . When we get into Warsaw we will have the 'platz' with the skulls of the Poles . . ."

When I was in Germany and criticised the Nazi practices of World War II, I harvested a hiding from a few fit Hitler-Jugend old boys, and my friends advised me to desist.

My misadventures happened in 1950 and since then, judging by reports the neo-Nazi movement has grown. There are many potential warriors in Germany ready to pay lip service to other ideologies only to get a crack at the nasty people behind the iron-curtain.

Although Russian Intelligence is not worth their cyanide bullets, it must have some inkling of what the German revanchists could do to their European allies. And when it comes to Nazis the Russians are liable to shoot first and ask questions afterwards but this time, they might have seriously wounded an ally.

The Czechs may not have been aware of the Nazi ambitions or perhaps they felt that they could deal with them without Russian help. In any case they wanted to gain the benefit of the Western economy. As one Czech labourer said to pretty waitress in a fish and chip shop ". . . I want to make your companie . . ."

But alas, the rolling pin of his Russian wife slopped him in his overtures.

I do not subscribe to the philosophy of the excluded middle and cannot agree with the Western observer that the situation is the same as it was in Hungary. The Russians took effective steps to stop it becoming such.

Western propaganda has done nothing to clarify the situation. Neither has communist propaganda. The propagandists aim has always been that of annihilating his opponent not of just disarming him.

The situation from a strategic and economic point of view is similar to that of Vietnam. It seems lhat the Russians have not met the opposition in Czechoslovakia that Americans are meeting in Vietnam but I have no doubt they would have met it if they were as napalm-happy as the Yanks. During the last war the Czechoslovak guerilla warfare, with the exception of the Slovaks, did not get under way until the Germans started using cruelty to suppress the people. The Czech nationalist movement probably lacks enthusiasm for Russian Sovchoz and doctrine as much as for American Unemployment and air conditioned brothels.

As the Americans in Asia provide the impetus for a man to become a Communist, will the opposite be true of the Russians in Czechoslovakia?

—Bert Fisher.