GENERALS DISCUSS WARSAW PACT SECRETS
Generals Jaruzelski, Siwicki, Tuczapski, and 6 other top-ranking
Polish insiders of the Soviet military alliance reveal unprecedented
details about its functioning and plans against NATO during
the Cold War. 350 pages of interviews are made public today
on the Zurich-based website of the Parallel History Project
on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP), an international consortium
of scholars dedicated to the study of the historical dimension
of European security, www.isn.ethz.ch/php.
Interviewed in 1999-2001 by leading Polish military historians,
the generals discuss the role of their strategically located
country in planned Soviet military operations against Western
Europe, their own loyalty to the Soviet alliance, their perceptions
of the Western enemy, preparations for a nuclear war, and disputes
between Moscow and its allies.
The main findings:
- Bound by their oath of loyalty to the former Polish communist
state, the generals still refuse to reveal the details of
the Warsaw Pact operational plans, which remain classified
in Poland despite its NATO membership.
- The plans nevertheless appear in stark clarity from the
interviews, supplemented by records of military exercises,
showing the key role of the "Polish Front" in the
Soviet-planned "liberation" of Denmark during a
war against NATO.
- The orders were to be issued by the Soviet General Staff,
relayed through the Polish command, and the generals believe
they would have been obeyed.
- The plans envisaged an offensive operation in response to
a NATO attack, which the planners improbably assumed would
fail within a few days regardless of the enemy's use of nuclear
weapons against dozens of Polish targets.
- In cooperation with Soviet and other Warsaw Pact armies,
the Polish forces were also to participate in a thrust through
northern Germany, aimed at occupying the Netherlands and Belgium
within two weeks and preparing for further advance toward
the English Channel.
- In the generals' opinion, the outcome of the offensive against
Denmark was uncertain because of the lack of sufficient air
transport and landing craft, as well as of NATO's superiority
in the air.
- In the course of the operations planned by the Warsaw Pact,
half a million Polish troops were expected to perish, mainly
because of the massive use of nuclear weapons by both sides.
- The generals believe that membership in the Warsaw Pact
was nevertheless in Poland's best interest under the circumstances
of the time.
The collection is introduced by PHP coordinator Vojtech Mastny.
transcripts of the interviews, in Polish, are accompanied
by a topical
selection of the highlights in an annotated English translation,
with references to the original texts. A "Discussion
Forum" invites comments by readers in any language.
Visit the PHP website at http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php
to read the interviews, express your opinion, and find out more
about the PHP's other activities. The website is part of the
Relations and Security Network (ISN), operated by the Swiss
Security Studies and Conflict Research at ETH Zurich.
For further information, contact Vojtech Mastny, PHP coordinator,
Mst3696@aol.com, or Andrzej
Paczkowski, Research Director at the Institute
of Political Studies in Warsaw, at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Pawel Piotrowski, military historian at the Institute of
National Remembrance in Wrocław, at email@example.com.
PARALLEL HISTORY PROJECT ON NATO AND THE
WARSAW PACT (PHP)
Sponsored 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 for Strategy and
Security Politics in Vienna, the Machiavelli Center for Cold
War Studies (CIMA) in Florence, and the Norwegian Institute
for Defence Studies in Oslo
In association with the Cold War International History Project
of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, Institute for
Contemporary History, Munich, Federal Military Archives of Germany,
Research Group for the Study of the Stasi Archives, Cold War
Research Group, Sofia, Institute of International Relations,
Prague, Cold War History Research Center, Budapest, Institute
for Political Studies of Defense and Military History, Bucharest
Affiliated with the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense
Academies and Security Studies Institutes