"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Speech by Secretary-General Brezhnev (Brezhnev Doctrine)

[Date] November 12, 1968
[Source] Modern International Relations: Basic Documents, Volume 1, Kajima Institute of International Peace, pp.792-794.
[Full text]


The experience of struggle and a realistic appraisal of the situation that has taken shape in the world also attest very clearly to the fact that it is vitally necessary that the Cmmunists of socialist countries raise high the banner of socialist innternationalism and constantly strengthen the unity and solidarity of the socialist countries.


Imperialism places its chief stake in its struggle against us precisely on disuniting the socialist countries and calculates on weakening our unity. Our countries' solidarity is a blow to these hopes of the enemy. And this solidarity is winning splendid victories.


Socialist states stand for strict respect for the sovereignty of all countries. We resolutely oppose interference in the affairs of any states and the violation of their sovereignty.

At the same time, affirmation and defense of the sovereignty of states that have taken the path of socialist construction are of special significance to us Communists. The forces of imperialism and reaction are seeking to deprive the people first in one, then another socialist country of the sovereign right they have earned to ensure prosperity for their country and well-being and happiness for the broad working masses by building a society free from all oppression and exploitation. And when encroachments on this right receive a joint rebuff from the socialist camp, the bourgeois propagandists raise the cry of "defense of sovereignty” and “noninterference.” It is clear that this is the sheerest deceit and demagoguery on their part. In reality these loudmouths are concerned not about preserving socialist sovereignty but about destroying it.

It is common knowledge that the Soviet Union has really done a good deal to strengthen the sovereignty and autonomy of the socialist countries. The C.P.S.U. has always advocated that each socialist country determine the concrete forms of its development along the path of socialism by taking into account the specific nature of their national conditions. But it is well known, comrades, that there are common natural laws of socialist construction, deviation from which could lead to deviation from socialism as such. And when external and internal forces hostile to socialism try to turn the development of a given socialist country in the direction of restoration of the capitalist system, when a threat arises to the cause of socialism in that country--a threat to the security of the socialist commonwealth as a whole--this is no longer merely a problem for that country's people, but a common problem, the concern of all socialist countries.

It is quite clear that an action such as military assistance to a fraternal country to end a threat to the socialist system is an extraordinary measure, dictated by necessity; it can be called forth only by the overt actions of enemies of socialism within the country and beyond its boundaries, actions that create a threat to the common interests of the socialist camp.

Experience bears witness that in present conditions the triumph of the socialist system in a country can be regarded as final, but the restoration of capitalism can be considered ruled out only if the Communist Party, as the leading force in society, steadfastly pursues a Marxist-Leninst policy in the development of all spheres of society's life; only if the party indefatigably strengthens the country's defense and the protection of its revolutionary gains, and if it itself is vigilant and instills in the people vigilance with respect to the class enemy and implacability towards bourgeois fastly pursues a Marxist-Leninist policy in ideology; only if the principle of socialist internationalism is held sacred and unity and fraternal solidarity with the other socialist countries are strengthened.