CITIES TARGETED FOR NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION
Munich, Verona, and other European population and cultural centers
were to be "completely destroyed," according to 1965 Warsaw Pact
plans for war in Europe made public today on the Zurich-based web
site of the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP)―an
international consortium of scholars dedicated to the study of the
historical background of European security, www.php.isn.ethz.ch
the Hungarian archives, the documents are vivid reminders of the
menace posed by the Cold War nuclear arsenals that Presidents Bush
and Putin are only now beginning to significantly dismantle. Also
published on the website is a confidential report from 1981 in which
Soviet minister of defense Marshal Dmitri Ustinov identifies the
Soviet SS-20 missiles as tools of the nuclear destruction of
strategic targets in "all European NATO states."
Western European cities were always suspected as being targeted,
this is the first time that obliteration of specific cities
is confirmed from top-secret planning records. The Hungarian
document describes a highest-level command exercise indistinguishable
from actual war plans―such as was the
1964 Warsaw Pact plan for an attack on Western Europe
published on the PHP website in May 2000.
The Warsaw Pact planners never clarified whether the launching of
nuclear weapons should precede or follow a surprise nuclear attack
by the enemy―the crucial ambiguity that beset also NATO
planners, casting doubt on the validity of nuclear deterrence.
The Warsaw Pact plans presumed the destruction of Budapest and other
Hungarian cities by NATO nuclear bombs but did not elaborate on the
3. In the event of war, the Warsaw Pact forces were prepared to ignore
the neutrality of Austria on the assumption NATO would ignore it as
4. The detailed descriptions of probable Western military operations in
the exercise suggest its authors having had access, through Warsaw
Pact spies, to NATO's top-secret plans for war, none of which has
been made public thus far.
The plans for nuclear war in Europe remained in effect despite the
ups and downs of East-West détente.
the PHP website at www.php.isn.ethz.ch to read the documents in the original and in English
translation, and to find out more about the PHP's other activities.
Introductory essays by Imre Okváth, Leopoldo Nuti, and Erwin
Schmidl address the Hungarian, Italian, and Austrian aspects of the
Warsaw Pact operations. The Ustinov document was found in the German
military archives in Freiburg by PHD coordinator Vojtech Mastny. The
website is part of the International Relations and Security Network
(ISN), operated by the Swiss Center for Security Studies and
Conflict Research at ETH Zurich as a major Swiss contribution to
NATO's Partnership for Peace.
further information, contact: Csaba Békés, director, Cold
War History Research Center,
phone 1-212-998-3621, Cb91@nyu.edu, or Vojtech Mastny,
PHP coordinator, phone 1-703-469-1777, Mst3696@aol.com.
PARALLEL HISTORY PROJECT ON NATO AND THE WARSAW
by the Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research of the
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the National
Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington,
DC, the Institute of Military Studies in Vienna, the Machiavelli
Center for Cold War Studies (CIMA) in Florence, and the Norwegian
Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo
association with the Cold War International History Project of the
Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC,
for Contemporary History, Munich, Federal Military Archives of
Germany, Research Group for the Study of Stasi Archives, Cold War
Research Group, Sofia, Institute of International Relations, Prague,
Cold War History Research Center, Budapest,
for Political Studies of Defense and Military History, Bucharest
with the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and
Security Studies Institutes