For once, the Communist and non-Communist worlds and some countries that find themselves in be tweenjoined in a general condemnation of Soviet force. The free world is accustomed to condemning Russian inroads and intransigence, from the brutal putdown of the Hungarian revolt to the erection of the Berlin Wall. In the past, most Communist countries and parties have either wholeheartedly supported such transgressionsor at least closed their eyes to thembut no longer. Last week, in one country after another, Communists found themselves on the side of the Czechoslovaks.
Of the world's 88 Communist parties, only ten endorsed the Soviet action, and many of those were Eastern European countries within range of Soviet tanks. Never in the 100-year history of the international Communist movement had a single act so stunned, dismayed and divided the followers of Marx and Lenin. "Communism as an instrument of Soviet foreign policy is dead," said a former European Ambassador to Moscow. New Left Phi losopher Herbert Marcuse spoke for many sympathizers of Leninism when he called the Russian invasion "the most tragic event of the postwar era."
Flagrant Violation. The reaction throughout the free world was predictably bitter. Charles de Gaulle, his bridge building to the East in ruins, deplored the attack on "the rights and destiny of a friendly nation" and rapped the Russians for still being so old-fashioned as to think of Europe in terms of blocs. Prime Minister Harold Wilson called the attack "a flagrant violation of all accepted standards of international behavior." In New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi expressed her "concern and anguish," but her statement was not strong enough to please members of Parliament, who filled the chamber with cries of "Dubcek! Dubcek!" Dem onstrations took place throughout the free world. In Bonn, German students mobbed the car of Soviet Ambassador Tsarapkin. In Tokyo, leftist students for the first time in history marched on the Soviet embassy in protest.
The protests were laced with a deep sense of disappointment that the Soviets had regressed to their bad old ways. "It turns the clock back to the darkest days of the cold war," said New Zealand's Prime Minister Keith J.
Holyoake. Most Western experts saw the invasion as a cruel blunder. Said British Sovietologist Victor Zorza: "The rape of Czechoslovakia, which was intended to preserve the old order, will only speed up its disintegration."
In Eastern Europe, Alexander Dubcek's two Communist allies were, if anything, stronger in their protest. "The attack on Czechoslovakia," said Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito, "is a significant historical rupture in the relations among Socialist countries." Rumanian Presi dent and Party Boss Nicolae Ceausescu called it "a great mistake, a grave danger to peace."