Cold War Generals: The Warsaw Pact Committee of Defense Ministers,
by Christian Nünlist
For much of the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact was regarded by the West as an extended arm of the Soviet ministry of defense. After its creation in 1955, the Pact had first been projected by the Soviet party chief Nikita S. Khrushchev as an official counterpart to NATO and as a tool in East-West diplomacy. The shift toward military cooperation among the member states occurred only six years later, when the Warsaw Pact’s defense ministers met on 8-9 September 1961 to prepare for the first multilateral exercise of the allied forces. This demonstration of the coalition’s military power was designed to impress the West at the height of the Berlin crisis as well as to foster the Soviet authority in the Eastern alliance after the split with Albania and the growing Chinese dissent. The defense ministers started to hold periodic sessions as a group in the 1960s, but only in 1969 were they formally constituted as an advisory body on defense policy and named Committee of Defense Ministers (CDM). At this stage, the Warsaw Pact was finally transformed into a classical military alliance.
In the 1960s, Soviet plans for a reform of the Warsaw Pact had been blocked by Romanian, Polish, and Czechoslovak dissent. Only at the meeting of the Political Consultative Committee in Budapest on 17 March 1969 did the East European party leaders agree upon institutional changes. The so-called "Budapest reforms", through which the Committee of Defense Ministers, a military council, and a committee on technology were established, seemed to take into account their complaints about a Soviet preponderance in the coalition. These first innovations in the structure of the Warsaw Pact since 1955 took place shortly after the intervention in Prague had demonstrated the Soviet control over the alliance. On the one hand, the reforms led to a stronger formal East European representation in the communist coalition. On the other hand, the USSR insisted on a closer military integration in return for the greater opportunities for non-Soviet member states to participate in the decision-making of the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union, having learned a lesson from the NATO crisis in 1966-67, succeeded at reforming the Warsaw Pact by containing intra-bloc (e.g. Romanian) dissent.
The CDM represented the highest military decision-making body of the Warsaw Pact. Its members were the seven defense ministers of the coalition as well as the supreme commander and the chief of staff of the Joint Armed Forces. Their task was to coordinate the national defense policies of the East bloc countries and to strengthen the defense capacity of the Warsaw Pact. The CDM records are an excellent starting point for the understanding of some of the key issues, mostly of military nature, which the Warsaw Pact had to confront in the latter half of the Cold War.
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The following essay considers the evolution and the significance of the CDM from 1969 to 1990. Drawing on the East German records of the CDM meetings, preserved at the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg i.Br., it focuses on the interdependence between militarization and détente, intra-bloc tensions under conditions of hegemonic decline, the Polish crisis of 1980-81, the image of NATO in the East and NATO's technological challenge, and the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev's "New Thinking". The reader should take into account that the military leaders, who constituted the CDM, were, as a rule, more disciplined and less contentious than their political counterparts and more thoroughly loyal to the party line.
The Ironies of Détente
The establishment of the Committee of Defense Ministers in 1969 conformed with Leonid I. Brezhnev’s idea of détente according to which the militarization of the Warsaw Pact and additional pressure against the West through support of wars of national liberation in the Third World had to precede any relaxation of East-West tensions. Already one year after the Budapest reforms, Brezhnev’s twin strategy of militarization and détente seemed to be more successful than Khrushchev’s previous demilitarization strategy. Instead of proposing to mutually dissolve the two military blocs, the USSR now tried to legitimize the territorial status quo in Central Europe – Brezhnev’s Westpolitik picked up momentum in the early 1970s. In a communiqué in December 1970, NATO mentioned the communist coalition for the first time as legitimate counterpart in disarmament negotiations. Thus, the reforms that had made the Warsaw Pact a credible equivalent of NATO helped to set in motion East-West arms control negotiations in the 1970s. The Soviet Union could claim with some credibility that its attempts to maintain détente and to pursue arms negotiations had paid off. Moscow presented the outcome of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1975), which ratified the existing political division of Europe, as a major victory of Soviet diplomacy. In diverse ways, however, East-West détente posed a significant challenge to Soviet control of Eastern Europe. Détente blurred the bipolarity of the Cold War by exposing East Europeans to greater Western influence. Diminished threat perceptions also reduced their need for Soviet protection and put at risk the cohesion of the Warsaw Pact.
The defense ministers and Warsaw Pact commanders did not trust the relaxation of tensions between Washington and Moscow. They thought that the threat to security was still caused externally and militarily – and blamed NATO for it. They perceived NATO as an enemy even at the high tide of détente and regarded disarmament proposals as risky. In their view, détente entailed the danger of reducing the military effectiveness of the Warsaw Pact.
Already at the first CDM meeting in 1969, the Soviet defense minister, Marshal Andrei Grechko, presented NATO as the main danger for peace in Europe, although he admitted that there was no immediate danger of war (Meeting I, 1969: 45f.). In 1971, Grechko lectured again about the international situation, which, according to him, had not become more peaceful and allowed no ground for optimism: “In 1971, the international situation deteriorated. In recent years, it has hardly been more serious, tense, and turbulent as now.” (Meeting III, 1971: 113, 121). At their next meeting, the defense ministers agreed that NATO’s “imperialist tendency” remained unchanged “despite some détente” (Meeting IV, 1972: 3). The GDR defense ministry added that the “aggressive” role of Western Germany and NATO, which continued the arms race qualitatively by modernizing its forces even while reducing them quantitatively, threatened the relaxation of tensions in Europe (Meeting IV, 1972: 56f.). A year later, Grechko admitted that tensions in Europe had been reduced and that détente was growing, but emphasized that the Soviet army maintained and enhanced its defense efforts in spite of all tendencies towards détente. He encouraged all Warsaw Pact members to strengthen their armies as well and warned that the West was more active in the ideological struggle because the pursuit of its goals by military means seemed more difficult (Meeting V, 1973: 5).
The military’s perception of NATO remained substantially unchanged during the whole era of détente. In 1975, the GDR defense ministry concluded its report about the present and future evaluation of NATO as follows:
Die NATO und ihre Streitkräfte verstärken ungeachtet des sich vollziehenden Entspannungsprozesses in Europa ihre militärischen Vorbereitungen gegen die Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages. Sie bleiben eines der Hauptinstrumente der aggressiven Politik des Imperialismus in Europa. [...] Durch die Modernisierung der Bewaffnung und Kampftechnik [...] sollen die Gefechtsmöglichkeiten und die Gefechtsbereitschaft der NATO-Streitkräfte weiter vervollkommnet werden. Zustand und Entwicklung der NATO-Streitkräfte zeigen, dass die Möglichkeiten zur plötzlichen Verschärfung der militärpolitischen Lage sowie zur überraschenden Aggressionsauslösung bestehen bleiben. (Meeting VII, 1975, 74f.)
In the mid-70s, détente collapsed mostly for reasons related to Soviet internal pressures. Western recognition of the Warsaw Pact’s military strength diverted attention from political, economic, and structural weaknesses of the Soviet system. Moscow’s decision in 1977 to deploy new SS-20 missiles in Eastern Europe aimed at signalling to Washington that, due to the SS-20’s limited range, a nuclear war could remain limited to Europe. Moscow seemed unable to understand that NATO could feel threatened by the military build-up of the Warsaw Pact. The SS-20 deployments galvanized NATO into accepting modernized American theater nuclear forces consisting of Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles. Although there was no equivalent for the Soviet SS-20 on NATO’s side, the Warsaw Pact’s military opined that NATO’s “double-track” decision of December 1979, which threatened to install missiles in Western Europe in case the Soviets would not withdraw their SS-20 missiles, was totally unjustified.
Within days of NATO’s “Euromissiles” decision, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan reawakened NATO to Soviet threat and buried détente. The Warsaw Pact generals failed to grasp the Western criticism of the Soviet support for wars of national liberation from Asia over Africa to Latin America, which was in the Western view the main cause for the collapse of détente at the end of the 1970s.
The East German reaction to the stationing of the Euromissiles in 1983 showed that the special relationship between East Berlin and Moscow was not without strains. By 1981, East Germany had finished its transformation from a defeated enemy to the most important ally of the USSR, made possible by its importance in the Soviet military strategy and its eager promotion of Soviet interests in the Third World. Heavy Soviet military presence and close economic ties with Moscow manifested the GDR's importance in the Pact. While the GDR's strong economy gave it a measure of autonomy, it was politically dependent on the USSR because of the German question. Since the GDR feared absorption by West Germany, the East German political leadership saw no alternative to subordination to the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.
The response to NATO’s 1983 Euromissile deployment in response to the Soviet SS-20s proved to be the most divisive issue for the Soviet Union and its East European allies in the first half of the 1980s. After the failure of the Soviet campaign against the deployment, East Germany, Romania, and Hungary indicated their intention to “limit the damage” to East-West ties that would result from the the deployment of the new NATO missiles. They saw an independent role for the smaller countries of both alliances in reducing the potential for conflict between the two superpowers. In particular, East Germany did not want to jeopardize its profitable economic ties with West Germany, established throught détente, against the general deterioration in East-West political relations. But Moscow did not permit its allies to become mediators between East and West and forced the GDR to accept “counterdeployments” of Soviet SS-21 and SS-23 missiles. It made SED general secretary Erich Honecker cancel his planned visit to West Germany. The intra-bloc relations became so tense that, in 1984, no PCC meeting was held as the USSR sought to prevent the GDR, Romania, and Hungary from publicly voicing their opposition to the Euromissiles.
In comparison with this critical rift in the Eastern coalition, the continued obstruction by the maverick Romania was considerably less threatening to Moscow.
The Romanian Dissent
Already in 1958, Romania had achieved the withdrawal of Soviet troops, advisers, and special military representatives from its territory and barred the transit of coalition troops as well as military exercises on its territory. After the Cuban missile crisis, Romania continued to distance itself from the Warsaw Pact, even publicly, while adopting a territorial national defense strategy. Romania even gave secret assurances to the United States that it would remain neutral in a superpower conflict. After the 1968 intervention in Czechoslovakia, Bucharest considered the USSR the main threat to its national security. In the 1970s, Romania continued its independent national defense strategy and cultivated relations with the West, China, and the Third World.
In 1972, the Romanian defense minister Ion Ioniţa refused to discuss measures against hostile propaganda directed at Warsaw Pact forces, since this was not within the CDM mandate (Meeting IV, 1972: 64f.). Two years later, President Nicolae Ceauşescu criticized the building of a regional command post of the Warsaw Pact in Bulgaria that had already begun; he was willing to share in its costs but not its maintenance. He was also opposed to a unified Warsaw Pact communication system (Meeting VI, 1974: 21). In the internal report about the sixth CDM meeting in Bucharest, the GDR defense minister Heinz Hoffmann noted how Ceauşescu in his toast ostentatiously neglected to thank the Soviet Union for safeguarding the security of the Warsaw Pact, emphasizing instead the principles of sovereignty and non-interference (Meeting VI, 1974: 9).
The Romanian defense minister seldom missed an opportunity to voice his country’s dissent from the Soviet party line. In 1978, he opposed military assistance to developing countries, since the Warsaw Pact was limited to Europe only. He declared that Romania would not increase its own military expenditures and condemned the accelerating arms race between East and West. Romania repeatedly proposed the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Central European states and the dissolution of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact (Meeting XI, 1978: 21). In 1979, in a letter to the defense ministers a month ahead of their meeting, Warsaw Pact supreme commander Marshal Viktor G. Kulikov noted Romanian opposition to the proposed statutes on unified command in wartime (Meeting XII, 1979: 425-429). At the CDM meeting, the Romanian defense minister Ionut Coman urged unilateral reductions and cuts in military budgets, and presented demilitarization and disengagement plans (Meeting XII, 1979: 37-41)
In the 1980s, Romania’s severe economic problems and dependence on Soviet economic support were successfully exploited by the Soviet Union, which bribed Romania with energy supplies to gain its assent, or at least acquiescence, to Warsaw Pact decisions. Transformed into a more cooperative ally, Romania in the 1980s limited its obstruction to the opposition against the Soviet counterdeployments of the SS-21 and SS-23 missiles to the GDR and ČSSR in 1983-84. By neither inviting warships and jet squadrons of allied armies nor transmitting the speech of the Warsaw Pact supreme commander over Romanian television, it "sabotaged” the ceremonies celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Warsaw Pact in 1985 (Meeting XVII, 1984: 8-9).
As Mihail Gorbachev’s revision of Soviet security policy was already underway, Romania inserted in 1988 a proposal for the “improvement of the organization and the democratization” of Warsaw Pact institutions. Romania wanted to limit the membership of the CDM to the defense ministers and shorten the supreme commander’s time of office to 1-2 years. His position was to be filled by rotation including all Warsaw Pact members. The new Soviet defense minister Gen. Dmitrii T. Iazov conceded that the supreme commander need not be, as before, a Soviet deputy minister of defense (Meeting XXII, 1988: 143), but criticized the tendency of the allies to deal with technical military questions according to their own interests without mutual consultation. Following chief of staff Gen. Anatolii Gribkov’s lead, all other participants unanimously rejected the Romanian proposal (ibid.: 110-156).
As late as 1988, the defense ministers – except for the Romanian – were thus willing to rally unreservedly behind the Soviets. The Warsaw Pact was not threatened by discord among its military leaders, regardless of Romanian dissidence. Moscow could afford to disregard it because of Romania’s not bordering on any NATO country, lacking strategic strategic significance comparable to that of the GDR, Poland, the ČSSR, or Hungary. The Polish situation, in particular, was very different.
The Polish Crisis of 1980-81
In 1980, the rise of the independent trade union Solidarność challenged Soviet control over Eastern Europe. Because of Poland's central geographical position, this crisis threatened to isolate the GDR and to cut the Warsaw Pact’s vital communication lines. Like in 1968 against the ČSSR, Moscow used the Warsaw Pact to exert military pressure on the Polish leadership. In 1980-81, the USSR organized more multilateral Warsaw Pact exercises around Poland’s borders than ever since 1968 in an attempt to compel the Polish regime to suppress Solidarność. The Warsaw Pact’s supreme commander, Marshal Kulikov, played an important role in rallying the allies behind these efforts. While maintaining close contact with the Polish leadership, he consulted with the party leaders of Bulgaria, the GDR, and Romania about possible multilateral military steps against Poland.
From 1 to 3 December 1980, the CDM met in Bucharest to discuss an agenda that had mostly been prepared prior to the Polish crisis. Despite the escalation of the economic and social crisis, Poland was not discussed at the meeting. Did the location of the meeting in Bucharest and the presence of Romanian representatives preclude discussing any specifics? In the East German records, the only mention of the Polish crisis is in the talking points prepared for Hoffmann’s meeting with the Soviet minister of defense, Marshal Dmitrii Ustinov. Hoffmann was to raise concern about the developments in Poland and discuss the security of transport and communications across Poland (Meeting XIII, 1980: 362).
The party leaders discussed the international situation resulting from the Polish crisis on 5 December 1980 in Moscow. At the same time, Ustinov ordered Kulikov and Gribkov to start the Warsaw Pact exercise “SOIUZ-80” between 8-10 December. Already on 3 December, Kulikov had asked Polish minister of defense Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski for the green light to start movement of armed forces consisting of Soviet, Czechoslovak, and East German troops on 8 December. SOIUZ-80 thus seemed designed as a cover for a Warsaw Pact intervention. Washington reacted to its prospect with a strong warning to the Kremlin over the Hot Line. On 5 December, Polish party first secretary Stanisław Kania met with Brezhnev in Moscow. His presentation impressed the Soviet leadership sufficiently for the pending intervention to be called off.
A year later, at the CDM session from 1-4 December 1981 in Moscow, the Polish crisis was discussed only on the third day, despite the desperate situation in the country. Jaruzelski was unable to travel to Moscow, but was represented by his deputy, Chief of staff Gen. Florian Siwicki, his closest aide. In his memoirs, Jaruzelski claims that he wanted Siwicki to obtain the CDM's support for the proclamation of martial law as the only alternative to Soviet military intervention.
At the CDM’s meeting on 3 December 1981, Siwicki on the behalf of Jaruzelski urged the defense ministers to address the “very complicated situation” in Poland. He wanted them to issue a strong statement that would demonstrate to the world that the Polish Communists had the backing of their allies (Meeting XIV, 1981: 5). While discussing the draft of such a declaration, the opinions of the defense ministers, however, varied. Siwicki wanted the CDM to accept a declaration justifying the imposition of martial law by actions of the counterrevolution and NATO’s interference in Poland’s internal affairs. While others agreed, the Romanian defense minister Gen. Constantin Olteănu withheld his consent. The ministers then consulted with their political superiors at home. The Hungarian defense minister Gen. Lajos Czinege stated that Hungary would only support such a declaration if all others did. On the evening of December 3rd, the draft of the communiqué was altered several times. The final text, adopted in the early morning of December 4th, referred to “the fulfillment of alliance obligations by the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact member states” while declaring that “the Polish nation can rely completely on the support of the socialist states.” (ibid.: 9). Yet all ministers except the Romanian agreed that the original communiqué was not to be supplemented by a special declaration on Poland, and that only select excerpts should be published in the press.
Then Ustinov explained the substance of Jaruzelski’s request. The Polish leaders needed the Warsaw Pact’s support to counter Western claims that they could no longer count on their allies. Siwicki elaborated that “support” did not signify concrete military steps but moral and political support. Czinege repeated that his consent to the publication of a declaration depended on the unanimous consent of others. The meeting was very emotional. In a rage, Czinege invoked the Soviet invasion of Budapest in 1956. Romania persisted in its opposition to any reference to Poland in the communiqué and, joined by Hungary, vetoed the Polish proposal. The other ministers decided not to release a document that was not approved unanimously (ibid.: 6f.). Informed about the disapointing results of the meeting, Jaruzelski complained that “the allies left us on our own”; he could not understand why “the allies do not want to shoulder any of the responsibility even though they have constantly asserted that the Polish problem is a problem for the whole Warsaw Pact, not just for Poland.”
Jaruzelski retrospectively defended his imposition on 13 December 1981 of martial law in Poland as a "tragic necessity", the "lesser of two evils" necessary to forestall a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion. Bu the CDM records lend no support for this contention. Instead, they confirm the testimonies by Kulikov and Gribkov who embarrassed Jaruzelski at a 1997 conference about the Polish Crisis by their insistence that the invasion had not been discussed at the Moscow meeting or seriously considered. The East German report on the 1981 CDM meeting is consistent with the latest evidence, according to which the Soviet Union by mid-1981 ruled out a military intervention in Poland while Jaruzelski was reluctant to impose martial law without Soviet military assistance. The documents further suggest that Jaruzelski requested Soviet military backing should he run into difficulties after imposing martial law and that he was disappointed when the Soviet leaders informed him that they did not consider sending troops. Far from having “saved” Poland from a Soviet invasion, Jaruzelski was in fact soliciting its promise as a last resort.
In 1981, the Brezhnev Doctrine was effectively dead. Moscow decided not to intervene in Poland because of the likely negative repercussions for world opinion and the USSR’s own internal difficulties. The USSR seemed ready to accept a Poland under a Solidarność leadership regardless of the conseauences for the integrity of the Soviet empire.
The Image of NATO
In the speeches of the defense ministers, the descriptions of NATO’s forces and operational plans were made conform to the ideology-driven image of an aggressive NATO, which served to legitimize the Warsaw Pact's own offensive military doctrine and resulting military plans. Yet the image presented at the meetings of the ministers was not mere propaganda. It was genuinely shared by the military, as is abundantly clear from their internal discussions.
At the first CDM meeting in 1969, the Soviet defense minister Marshal Andrei Grechko presented his view of NATO’s intentions and strategy. According to Grechko, the West was in an increasingly difficult situation in the Third World, to which it intended to respond aggressively by limited wars and subversion. In line with its shift from a strategy of massive retaliation to that of flexible response, NATO made great efforts to strengthen and modernize its conventional forces and shorten its mobilization times. But NATO continued to emphasize the massive use of nuclear weapons. Grechko noted that NATO would still escalate any conflict in Central Europe after 2-6 days of hostilities into a general nuclear war, knowing that its conventional capabilities were inferior to those of the Warsaw Pact. While planning for an initial conventional defense, NATO considered nuclear weapons decisive and therefore fuelled a potential nuclear arms race (Meeting I, 1969: 44-51). Fearful of conducting conventional war in Europe while at the same time expecting rapid escalation into general nuclear war, the Warsaw Pact generals demanded increasing both conventional and nuclear capabilities.
In the early CDM meetings, the USSR invoked the threat of a rearmed and vengeful West Germany, bent on reversing its defeat in World War II. Moscow thus sought to cultivate the gratitude of its Warsaw Pact allies for the Soviet liberation of their countries and ensure their respect for Soviet security interests. In 1971, Grechko judged Western “imperialism” as unpredictable and a global war by a NATO surprise attack consequently possible, with West Germany playing a key role (Meeting III, 1971: 114). After the USSR had formally accepted West Germany as a legitimate state following the conclusion of the Moscow Treaty, the GDR defense ministry in its analyses of West German intentions and the capabilities of the Bundeswehr still harped on persisting West German threat (Meeting IV, 1972: 52-56). In 1978, Chief of Military Intelligence Gen. P.I. struck the same note in commenting on West Germany’s power inside NATO:
Bereits jetzt ist jeder zweite NATO-Soldat in Mitteleuropa ein Westdeutscher. Das Anwachsen der militärischen Stärke der BRD verstärkt zusammen mit dem ökonomischen Potential die führende Position Westdeutschlands (gemeinsam mit den USA) im Nordatlantikrat. (Meeting XI, 1978: 64f.).
The military in their assessments of NATO's strengths did not ignore its weaknesses. Drawing on intelligence about NATO’s strategic exercise ”WINTEX 71” of January-February 1971, the GDR defense ministry pointed out, for example, that NATO’s economically weaker members were unable to fulfill Brussels' demands for increasing their defense budgets or that the intra-allied dissent grew as the Benelux and Nordic member countries increasingly questioned both the hegemonic position of the United States and the West German growing role and influence within NATO (Meeting IV, 1972: 052-54).
With the decline of détente, the respect for and worry about NATO’s strength were rising. At the heart of the Warsaw Pact generals’ debates from 1975-85 was NATO’s military-technological challenge and the realization that the Warsaw Pact’s advantage in conventional forces was slipping away.
NATO’s Military-Technological Challenge
In the mid-70s, the Warsaw Pact’s top military men realized that they were lagging behind in advanced conventional weaponry. Already in 1971, chief of staff S.M. Shtemenko had praised NATO’s system of command posts, stationed partly underground, partly mobile or airborne. NATO’s largely automatic communication system was being updated with the introduction of a satellite communication system, as a reliable unified network in the event of war. The Warsaw Pact, on the contrary, did not have a comparable unified command system. When Shtemenko proposed measures to catch up with NATO in this regard (e.g. to create two central command posts in Poland and Bulgaria, to include directional and tropospheric radio, and to create uniform communications networks), the Hungarian defense minister reminded his colleagues to take into account the economic possibilities in the member countries (Meeting III, 1971: 107-109). The Soviet military tried to catch up by introducing statutes for the command in wartime by 1973, but East European dissent prevented its implementation until 1980 (Meeting XII, 1979: 145-73).
In 1975, the GDR defense ministry described the modernization efforts of NATO in detail, commenting not without envy on NATO’s new ways of electronic warfare. These included the Vietnam-tested placing of sensors along train tracks and military roads to enable intelligence to locate military transports and movements as targets for missile and bomber attacks. The GDR report stressed the enourmous investment in the modernization of NATO’s forces – financed mostly by the United States and the FRG (Meeting VII, 1975: 67f.). By the end of 1976, there was a palpable sense of extreme and imminent danger. Commenting on the modernization of NATO’s fighting, intelligence, and command capabilities, the GDR defense ministry called the extent of this revolution in military affairs the “most significant modernization since the equipment of NATO forces with nuclear weapons”. It commented with respect on the growth of NATO’s conventional capabilities as a result of its developing new technologies of target acquisition and precision guidance, which meant that NATO was nearing a first-strike capability (Meeting IX, 1976: 88-117, here 103).
The Warsaw Pact’s concern about losing in the technological competition with NATO permeated the eleventh meeting of the CDM in Berlin on 4-7 December 1978. Ivashutin reported on NATO’s modernization program launched after its Washington summit in May 1978 as a harbinger of a “return to the ‘Cold War’” (Meeting XI, 1978: 61). Ivashutin took it for granted that the NATO program aimed at military superiority by attaining a “military technological surprise moment as a result of the development and deployment of new weapon systems” (ibid.: 82). Herein was the NATO threat in their minds. From the analysis of emerging technologies and the changing military balance, the military planners drew the conclusion that the new technologies enhanced NATO’s surprise attack capabilities-
In a significant reversal of NATO’s worries from the early 1950s, Ivashutin argued that the NATO command believed the alliance capable of fighting a prolonged war with its 69 divisions and over 14,300 tanks. Another 50 divisions could be mobilized within a month (ibid.: 82). Regarding NATO on the verge of a qualitatively new stage of development and taking into account the crucial importance of electronic warfare, Kulikov noted that the Warsaw Pact was lagging behind NATO particularly in army and navy command systems (ibid.: 157-64). The nature of the American military-technological challenge in the late 1970s struck the Warsaw Pact at its weakest spot – industrial innovation. The military saw the technological threat within the context of a rising political danger. In their view, Western advances in technology such as the B-1 bomber, the Trident submarine, and the MX missile were linked to a new escalation of American anti-Sovietism (as manifested in concepts as the Presidential Directive no. 59, PD-59).
In 1981, in a bilateral meeting with Gen. Heinz Hoffmann ahead of the CDM meeting, Kulikov described Ronald Reagan’s security policy as adventuresome and unpredictable:
It is extremely complicated to prepare effective and comprehensive countermeasures against this policy in the short run. (Meeting XIV, 1981: 290).
At the CDM meeting, Ustinov conceded that the balance of power between NATO and the Warsaw Pact was “at the moment not in our favor”. He demanded a 10-20 per cent expansion of Warsaw Pact forces by 1985 in order to restore the East-West military equilibrium (ibid.: 4).
As the logic of strategic parity and mutual assured destruction (MAD) cast doubt on the merits of a new round in the nuclear arms race, the modernization of the conventional forces became decisive. The Warsaw Pact defense ministers saw developments in conventional armaments in the early 1980s as even more ominous than the strategic change, largely because those developments were complemented by NATO's revitalization and the redesigning of its doctrine to prepare for conflicts more lekely than a global nuclear war. Its ”Rogers Plan” envisioned using NATO's air superiority and its high-technology advantages to offset Soviet numerical superiority without resort to nuclear war (Follow-On Forces Attack, FOFA). Rear-area Warsaw Pact forces were to be disrupted or destroyed before they would reach the front.
At the meeting in December 1984, Marshal Sergei F. Akhromeev, at that time Soviet deputy defense minister, discussed the impact of the Euromissiles and the Rogers Plan on the East-West equilibrium. In his opinion, the U.S. missiles in Europe could be used to launch a crippling nuclear first strike. Echoing the Soviet war scare of the previous years, he pointed out that it was increasingly difficult to judge the difference between NATO exercises and the possible preparations for an aggression (Meeting XVII, 1984: 107f.). A year later, Gribkov mused that NATO’s operational training was increasingly shaped by the offensive U.S. military doctrine, presumably designed for surprise attack. Serving to exercise actual mobilization, the training had become more intense as well as effective (Meeting XVIII, 1985: 169, 176). Kulikov imputed the United States with the desire to destabilize the military balance by achieving superiority in military technology. Washington allegedly developed its not only nuclear but also conventional (precision) weapons in order to be ready to commence hostilities “practically against the entire depth of our forces deployed in the Western and Southwestern theaters” (ibid.: 45f.).
In 1987, the defense ministers of the Eastern alliance reluctantly acknowledged that the Warsaw Pact was unable to match NATO in electronic warfare. Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which aimed at protecting the United States from a nuclear surprise attack through a space-based missile defense system, and the development of smart weapons demonstrated the West’s economic superiority. Commenting on the Western capabilities for electronic warfare, Soviet defense minister Iazov noted: “We do not possess the requisite means. We have to think about this.” (Meeting XX, 1987: 9).
The Warsaw Pact archives amply document the deep impact of NATO’s “high-tech” precision weapons on the defense ministers’ deliberations in the 1970-80s. Since the 1970s the Warsaw Pact generals became increasingly concerned with the conventional rather than nuclear arms race; in 1983, however, the SDI challenged them with both new nuclear strategy and new technology. The Warsaw Pact's inability to compete because of its economic weaknesses callef for a demilitarization of the Cold War – as Khrushchev had attempted in the 1950s.
Gorbachev’s “New Political Thinking” and the Demise of the Soviet System
As the USSR in the late 1970s and early 1980s was preparing for a new Cold War in Europe, which it believed the West to be provoking, East European leaders were more concerned to preserve détente. They initially resisted raising their military budgets by 3% as proposed by the USSR in 1979 to match the same increase of the defense budgets of NATO states. Although they finally agreed to the planned rise of military expenditures, in practice only the GDR expanded its defense budgets in the 1980s as desired by Moscow. Romania refused to increase its military expenditures and opposed expansion of armaments (Meeting XI, 1978: 21). At the CDM meeting in Bucharest in 1980, Ceauşescu declared:
If we can’t catch up with the capitalist states and if we can’t increase the standard of living and the cultural needs of our people, then even missiles won’t help. (Meeting XIII, 1980: 6).
In 1980, Gribkov noted with frustration that the armament decisions of the Political Consultative Committee and the CDM were being fulfilled “too slowly and not in every aspect”. He also stated that the Warsaw Pact's material sources necessary to respond to NATO’s arms race posed “a serious problem” (Meeting XIII, 1980: 35-41). Romania unilaterally declared a three-year freeze of its military budget, and proposed unilateral reductions of the Warsaw Pact's arms expenditures. Hungary, too, opposed the Soviet armament requirements and demanded an efficient use of existing resources. This refusal by the junior allies to fulfill their financial commitments was a clear sign of the diminished cohesion in the Eastern coalition. The East European leaders argued that in an era of economic crisis they could not excede their existing allocations for arms development and procurement (Meeting XIV, 1981: 4). The richer NATO member states could better afford increasing their military expenditure.
In response to the approval of the Euromissile deployments by the West German parliament, the new Soviet leader Yurii V. Andropov in 1983 complied with the request of the Soviet foreign ministry to withdraw from the Geneva disarmament negotiations. He also began to deploy additional missiles in Eastern Europe as demanded by his generals. These decisions were only reversed after the leadership and succession crisis following his death. At the 16th CDM meeting in late 1983, Ustinov emphasized the need for measures to preserve the equilibrium because of the incipient deployment of the Euromissiles. He pointed out that the new arms race meant that the Warsaw Pact countries had to raise their defense budgets and hence neglect non-military sectors of the economy (Meeting XVI, 1983: 92f.).
As a result of a re-evaluation of Soviet security policy under Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, the USSR returned to the Geneva disarmament negotiations and froze the missile deployments in Eastern Europe. The driving force behind this “new thinking” was the perception that the Soviet Union's weak economy did not allow a new arms race against the West in the long term. But the Warsaw Pact’s defense ministers still saw the United States as striving for military superiority and ignoring Soviet disarmament proposals. After the Gorbachev-Reagan meeting in Reykjavik, Soviet defense minister Marshal Sergei Sokolov warned his colleagues that the United States were still pursuing a policy of strength. He argued that the SDI was designed by Washington to exert political pressure on Moscow by threatening a nuclear first-strike. To prevent weakening their bargaining position at the Geneva disarmament negotiations, the Warsaw Pact countries were encouraged by Sokolov not to reduce their defense budgets. He insisted that the Warsaw Pact had to preserve strategic parity with the West (Meeting XIX, 1986: 88-92).
Gorbachev drew different lessons from Reykjavik. He intended to respond to the Reagan challenge and the NATO armament by reassuring the West of the USSR's defensive intentions. By convincing the West that there was no Soviet threat, he hoped to slow down Reagan's armament program. At the Berlin meeting of the Political Consultative Committee in May 1987, Gorbachev made the Warsaw Pact leaders adopt the new military doctrine of “reasonable sufficiency”. This meant the maintenance of the East-West equilibrium at the lowest possible level and the mutual reduction of the military potentials to the minimum necessary for defense. The prevention of war became the main goal of the new doctrine. The change from an offensive to a defensive military strategy implied that the USSR no longer regarded control over Eastern Europe vital for Soviet security, thus rendering the Soviet sphere of influence in the area obsolete. The new military doctrine formed the basis for confidence-building in the East-West dialogue leading to the reversal of the arms race.
Senior military officers resisted the Gorbachev new thinking and the defensive slant of the new doctrine. The policy of coexistence with the West and the slashing of military budgets were anathema to the military establishment. The Warsaw Pact’s military leadership dwelt on persisting growth of Western threat and imperialist aggressiveness.
The Warsaw Pact generals pleaded for catching up with NATO in acquiring high-potency fuel with new chemical properties, conventional explosives five-to-six times more powerful than those previously used, and precision-guided munitions allowing to substitute conventional weapons for the destruction of targets that could previously only be eliminated by using nuclear weapons. (Meeting XX, 1987: 5). After the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plants, the military feared Western cruise missiles being used against power stations and chemical factories, with effects similiar to nuclear strikes (ibid.: 7f.).
In 1987, Iazov pressed the defense ministers to increase their defense allocations to preserve strategic parity with the West. He contented that the NATO armies were bigger than the Warsaw Pact armies, calculating that in a future “people’s war” the 649 million inhabitants in NATO countries far exceeded the 330 million population of the Warsaw Pact countries (ibid.: 5-6).
The members of the CDM were unwilling to adopt the new defense strategy. At their meeting in 1987, the Warsaw Pact top military stressed that for the event of a NATO attack, they still trained the armed forces to destroy enemy troops by means of “offensive” counter-attacks into enemy territory (ibid.: 41).
The disagreement between Gorbachev and the military continued into 1988. At the CDM session on 7 July 1988, Gorbachev conceded that every communist party was responsible for its own affairs and that in the future there should be no interference in each country’s interal affairs. He admitted that the situation in Eastern Europe was better than in the USSR since the East Europeans had been more successful at freeing themselves from command and administrative methods. He declared that every country was unique and should go its own way, thus replacing the Brezhnev doctrine by the “Sinatra doctrine” (Meeting XXI, 1988: 9). Fearful that the Western goal was destroying socialism by an arms race, Gorbachev wanted to emphasize political rather than military aspects of the competition (ibid.: 98). Kulikov, however, continued to insist on the need for further modernization of the Warsaw Pact forces since the NATO potential was still growing and the threat persisted (ibid.: 22).
The disagreement between the new thinking of the Gorbachev leadership and the old strategic thinking of the military led to an uneasy compromise. In a large-scale Warsaw Pact exercise in March 1988, some changes towards defensive orientation had been made, but most of the offensive capabilities were retained. From the Western standpoint, Gorbachev’s December 1988 announcement at the United Nations of unilateral force reductions signaled for the first time that he was serious in diminishing the Soviet capability for a large-scale attack on Western Europe.
In late 1988, at least Iazov began to follow Gorbachev’s new course. He discussed the unilateral reductions of Soviet forces at the CDM. In view of the improvement in international relations, these measures were intended to reassure the Western public opinion about the earnestness of the new defensive doctrine (Meeting XXIII, 1988: 27-30). But the Polish and the Hungarian defense ministers dwelt on the great economic difficulties resulting from the planned restructuring and noted a growing offensive threat by NATO (ibid.: 34, 39). While discussing the new strategy of radical force reduction on the principle of “reasonable sufficiency”, the military leadership demonstrated its unwillingness to go along with the new political thinking advocated by Gorbachev.
According to Gen. Heinz Kessler’s report on the 23rd CDM meeting, ”what and how much is sufficient, is primarily not decided by us, but by the war preparations of NATO and the necessity to preserve the strategic-military balance and not to permit the opponent to have a military superiority.” The military believed that parity was more important than sufficiency. This opposition by the Warsaw Pact’s top military against the new thinking precipitated the dismissal of Kulikov and Gribkov, besides other generals.
As late as 1989, the Warsaw Pact defense ministers maintained that unspecified “imperialist sources of aggression and war” still existed and that NATO still regarded the Warsaw Pact as an enemy. According to their view, NATO aimed at technological breakthrough and military superiority, and the Warsaw Pact needed to be kept at a level that ruled out a NATO nuclear strike (Meeting XXIV, 1989: 63-75). The new East German defense minister, Adm. Theodor Hoffmann, added that the military détente was not yet irreversible and remained a “complicated” matter (ibid.: 92).
The new thinking only won the defense ministers' confidence and acceptance in 1990. The communiqué of the last CDM meeting before the final demise of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 noted for the first time the growing trust between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It also mentioned the possibility of gradually developing a nonconfrontational relationship between the two military blocs. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact were to be responsible for building up a new all-European security structure (Meeting XXV, 1990: 22).
The Soviet Union demanded that German unification must be made compatible with the security interests of all concerned and that the Warsaw Pact continue having an important role. The other members of the CDM were split among themselves. Poland – though no longer ruled by a communist government – agreed that NATO and the Warsaw Pact must remain as long as no other security system existed. For Bulgaria, united Germany’s membership in NATO was unacceptable. Hungary, however, announced the gradual withdrawal of its troops from the Warsaw Pact by the end of 1991, while Czechoslovakia demanded a reform of the Warsaw Pact on the basis of sovereignty and independence, to allow each country defend its own territory (Meeting XXV, 1990: 12-16).
The new East German defense minister Rainer Eppelmann believed that a unified Germany was certain to enter NATO because the Western system had proved superior. But he thought that, in the long term, both NATO and the Warsaw Pact would become obsolete. Looking back on the occasion of the 35-year anniversary of the Warsaw Pact, he criticized harshly its past record and its control of the defense ministries by the military, whose hatred of the West had led to militarized thinking on security (ibid.: 23-31).
Faster than expected, Eppelmann’s twin prophecy became reality: Germany entered NATO, and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist although NATO persisted. Shocked by the Soviet-provoked violence in the Baltic states in February 1991, the foreign ministers of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary demanded the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact's military structures. The 25 February 1991 meeting of the Warsaw Pact’s foreign and defense ministers terminated all of its military functions as of 31 March 1991. Gorbachev’s attempts to preserve the alliance by changing it into an instrument for political dialogue had failed.
As the archives of the former Warsaw Pact countries become more and more accessible, it is possible to get a better insight of the inner workings of the Eastern alliance. Although its dynamics are best reflected in the records of the Political Consultative Committee, the records of the meetings of the Committee of Defense Ministers from 1969 to 1990 illuminate the role of the Warsaw Pact generals in the East-West confrontation, particularly during its final stages.
The militarization of the Warsaw Pact in the mid-1960s enhanced the USSR's superpower status and the alliance's transformation into a military counterpart of NATO helped make détente possible. The CDM, however, resisted improvement in East-West relations even at the height of détente, painting the international situation in dark colors. At the same time, the influence of the military in the heyday of the Brezhnev era concealed structural weaknesses of the Soviet system that eventually led to the demise of the Warsaw Pact.
Contrary to frequent invocation of the “brotherly bounds” between the Soviet Union and its East European allies, their relations were not always as fraternal as sworn. In the CDM, however, the divergence from the Soviet line was more rare than in the Political Consultative Committee. Occasional Romanian efforts to paralyze the CDM were contained by the Soviet Union with the support of its other allies. The worst intra-bloc tensions evolved from the situation in Poland in 1980-81 and from the GDR's reaction to the counterdeployments to NATO’s Euromissiles in 1983. The CDM records from December 1981 whow how the Romanian and Hungarian defense ministers opposed Jaruzelski's attempt to secure an excuse to justify his introduction of martial law as the “lesser evil”.
The CDM threat assessment depicted NATO as bent on attacking and dominating the socialist camp, even in the era of détente. NATO’s military doctrine was consistently regarded by the CDM as offensive, NATO's military capabilities and force deployments were viewed as evidence of aggressive intent. The installation of Pershing II and cruise missiles as well as the concept of follow-on-forces attack were considered particularly alarming. The threat of a nuclear surprise attack appears as a constant theme in the CDM threat perceptions.
In the mid-70s, the CDM members realized that NATO was superior in technologically advanced conventional weapons (not nuclear arms). The Warsaw Pact longstanding military advantage in conventional forces was slipping away as it was offset by NATO’s new high tech weapons systems. The Warsaw Pact military never figured out how to respond.
Although Gorbachev’s initiatives to end the Cold War took place mostly outside of the Warsaw Pact structures, the CDM was, inevitably involved. The Warsaw Pact countries followed the Soviet lead in reducing conventional forces and incorporated other features of Gorbachev’s foreign and security policy. The shift in the Warsaw Pact military doctrine from an offensive strategy to a strategy of “defensive sufficiency”, proclaimed in the Berlin declaration of 1987, was a revolutionary move, as evident from the bewildered reactions of the alliance's high-ranking military officers before their forced retirement in late 1988.
The Warsaw Pact generals were as unable to adapt to Gorbachevian ”new thinking” as they had been unable to grasp détente in the early 1970s. Relics of the “old thinking”, they became in the end hapless spectators of the disintegration of the alliance they had served. They remained the most loyal defenders of the Soviet system well past its time.
CHRISTIAN NÜNLIST is research assistant at the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, working on NATO's international history in 1955-67 and the Parallel History Project. Having specialized in transatlantic relations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, he is writing a PhD dissertation on NATO's reaction to disengagement proposals and plans for a new security order in Europe in 1955-63. For the Parallel History Project, he has surveyed the CDM records in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg i.Br. and selected the documents published in this collection.
Dana H. Allin. Cold War Illusions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).
Christoph Bluth. The Collapse of Soviet Military Power (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1995).
Raymond Garthoff. Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 1994).
Raymond Garthoff. The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institutions, 1994).
Anatoli Gribkow. Der Warschauer Pakt: Geschichte und Hintergründe des östlichen Militärbündnisses (Berlin: Edition Q, 1995).
James Hansen. Correlation of Forces: Four Decades of Soviet Military Development (New York: Praeger, 1987).
Beatrice Heuser. "Warsaw Pact Military Doctrine in the 1970s and 1980s: Findings in the East German Archives." Comparative Strategy 12, no. 4 (1993): 437-57.
Wojciech Jaruzelski. Mein Leben für Polen: Erinnerungen (Munich: Piper, 1993).
Vojtech Mastny. Reassuring NATO: Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Western Alliance (Forsvarsstudier 5/1997). Oslo: IFS, 1997.
Vojtech Mastny. Learning from the Enemy: NATO as a Model for the Warsaw Pact. Zürcher Beiträge zur Konfliktforschung 58, ed. Kurt R. Spillmann and Andreas Wenger (Zurich: Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research, 2001).
Militärische Planungen des Warschauer Paktes in Zentraleuropa: Pressekonferenz des Verteidigungsminister Stoltenberg am 13. Januar 1992 (Bonn: Der Bundesminister der Verteidigung, 1992). English translation in Cold War International History Project Bulletin 2 (1992): 1, 13-19.
Thomas M. Nichols. The Sacred Cause: Civil-Military Conflict over Soviet National Security, 1917-1992 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).
Lothar Rühl. ”Offensive Defence in the Warsaw Pact.” Survival 33 (1991): 442-450.
Odd Arne Westad (ed.). The Fall of Détente: Soviet-American Relations during the Carter Years (Oslo:
Scandinavian University Press, 1997).
 Vojtech Mastny, Learning from the Enemy: NATO as a Model for the Warsaw Pact, Zürcher Beiträge zur Sicherheitspolitik und Konfliktforschung 58, ed. Kurt R. Spillmann und Andreas Wenger (Zurich: Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research, 2001), pp. 19-31.
 In the course of German unification, some 500’000 top secret East German military (NVA) documents fell into the hands of West German authorities. See Lothar Rühl, ”Offensive Defence in the Warsaw Pact,” Survival 33 (1991): 442-450; Karl Feldmeyer, “Die Angriffspläne des Warschauer Pakts gegen Deutschland und die NATO,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (1-2 February 1992); Militärische Planungen des Warschauer Paktes in Zentraleuropa: Pressekonferenz des Verteidigungsminister Stoltenberg am 13. Januar 1992 (Bonn: Der Bundesminister der Verteidigung, 1992), English translation in Cold War International History Project Bulletin 2 (1992): 1, 13-19; Beatrice Heuser, "Warsaw Pact Military Doctrine in the 1970s and 1980s: Findings in the East German Archives," Comparative Strategy 12, no. 4 (1993): 437-57; Julian Isherwood, “Warsaw Pact Planned to Nuke Its Way Across Europe,” Armed Forces Journal International (June 1993): 15.
 North Atlantic Council Communiqué, 4 December 1970, http://www.nato.int/docu/comm.
 James Hansen, Correlation of Forces: Four Decades of Soviet Military Development (New York: Praeger, 1987), pp. 103-138.
 Vojtech Mastny, Reassuring NATO: Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Western Alliance (Oslo: IFS, 1997), pp. 28-35.
 "NATO and its armed forces strengthen their military preparations against the Warsaw Pact states regardless of the process of détente in Europe. They remain one of the main instruments of the aggressive policy of imperialism in Europe. [...] Through modernization of the armament and combat equipment [...] the combat potentials and combat-readiness of the NATO forces shall be further perfected. Status and development of the NATO forces show that the possibilities for the sudden aggravation of the politico-military situation as well as for the surprising release of an aggression remain existing."
 See the following statements: Meeting XII, 1979: 28-36, 63-66; Meeting XIII, 1980: 35f; Meeting XIV, 1981: 53-72; Euromissile-Meeting, 1983: 55-66, 75-88; Meeting XVI, 1983: 88-97.
 Thomas M. Nichols, The Sacred Cause: Civil-Military Conflict Over Soviet National Security, 1917-1992 (Ithaca / London: Cornell University Press), pp. 104-108; Odd Arne Westad (ed.), The Fall of Détente: Soviet-American Relations during the Carter Years (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997); Raymond Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 1994).
 In the late 1950s and early 1960s, with Poland and Hungary now suspect allies, the Soviet Union had turned to the ČSSR as its most reliable junior partner. Between 1968 and 1980-81, Poland had become the USSR’s principal East European ally. After revolutions in Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw, the Soviet Union relied on East Germany as its most trusted partner.
 Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (ed.), Die DDR im Warschauer Pakt und im Rat für Gegenseitige Wirtschaftshilfe (Berlin, Verlag Neue Gesellschaft (2)1987), p. 3. The GDR was the Warsaw Pact’s most Western region with the longest border to NATO. A conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be fought in its initial phase on the territory of the GDR and West Germany.
 Ronald Asmus, East Berlin and Moscow: The Documentation of a Dispute (München: RFE, 1985).
 Raymond L. Garthoff, "When and Why Romania Distanced Itself from the Warsaw Pact", Cold War International History Project Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995): 111.
 See Anatoli Gribkow, Der Warschauer Pakt: Geschichte und Hintergründe des östlichen Militärbündnisses (Berlin: Edition Q, 1995), pp. 163-191.
 Vojtech Mastny, “The Soviet Non-Invasion of Poland in 1980-81 and the End of the Cold War,” Europe-Asia Studies 51, no. 2 (1999): 189-211.
 Wojciech Jaruzelski, Mein Leben für Polen: Erinnerungen (München: Piper, 1993), p. 290.
 Andrzej Paczkowski and Andrzej Werbłan, On the Decision to Introduce Martial Law in Poland in 1981: Two Historians Report to the Commission on Constitutional Oversight of the SEJM of the Republic of Poland, Cold War International History Project Working Paper 21 (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center, 1997): 33-39.
 Mark Kramer, “Jaruzelski, the Soviet Union, and the Decision to Introduce Martial Law in Poland: New Light on the Mystery of December 1981," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 11 (1998): 9-14.
 Malcolm Byrne, Pawel Machcewicz, Christian Ostermann (eds.), Poland 1980-1982: Internal Crisis, International Dimensions: A Compendium of Declassified Documents and Chronology of Events (Washington DC: National Security Archive, 1997); Raymond L. Garthoff, "The Conference on Poland, 1980-1982: Internal Crisis, International Dimensions," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 10 (1998): 229-232. See also articles on the Polish Crisis in Cold War International History Project Bulletin 11 (1998): 1-133, including a comment by Jaruzelski (at 32-39).
 Wilfried Loth, "Moscow, Prague and Warsaw: Overcoming the Brezhnev Doctrine," Cold War History 1, no. 2 (2001): 103-118. See also Matthew J. Ouimet, “All that Custom Has Divided: National Interest and the Secret Demise of the Brezhnev Doctrine, 1968-81,” PhD Dissertation (University of Washington, 1997).
 "Military Planning of the Warsaw Pact in Central Europe: A Study," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 2 (1992): 1, 13-19.
 "Already now, every second NATO soldier in Central Europe comes from West Germany. Increasing the military strength of the FRG, together with its economic potential, strengthens the prominent position of West Germany (together with the U.S.) in the North Atlantic Council."
 In 1984, the Warsaw Pact’s estimate that NATO by the end of the 1980s could field 102 divisions was reminiscent of NATO's estimates of Soviet strength in the early 1950s; whereas the latter had been wrong, however, the former was accurate (Meeting XVII, 1984: 132).
 Thane Gustafson, ”Responses to Technological Challenge, 1965-1985,” in Soldiers and the Soviet State: Civil-Military Relations from Brezhnev to Gorbachev, ed. Timothy Colton and Thane Gustafson (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).
 PD-59 aimed at enabling the United States to conduct a general nuclear war successfully at all levels of escalation.
 Nichols, Sacred Cause, 116.
 See Bernard Rogers, ”Greater Flexibility for NATO’s Flexible Response,” Atlantic Community Quarterly (Fall 1983); ”Enhancing Deterrence - Rainsing the Threshold,” NATO Review (February 1983): 6-9. See Ivashutin’s analysis of the changed NATO strategy at the CDM meeting in 1984 (Meeting XVII, 1984: 81-83)
 Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), p. 583. In 1981, KGB chief Yurii V. Andropov issued a war alert to find out whether the U.S. were actually preparing for nuclear war. In the so-called Operation “RYAN” ( acronym for Raketno-Yadernoe Napadenie: nuclear missile attack), all KGB stations were put on alert and told to watch for any signs of imminent nuclear attack against the USSR. See also Ben B. Fischer, A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare (Center for Study of Intelligence, September 1997).
 On the SDI, see Sanford Lakoff and Herbert F. York, A Shield in Space? Technology, Politics, and the Strategic Defense Initiative (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989); Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI, 1944-1983 (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1992).
 For the importance of Gorbachev’s New Thinking for the peaceful transformation of the international system, see Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Raymond Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institutions, 1994); Jack Matlock, Autopsy on an Empire: An American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Random House, 1995); Jacques Levesque, The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997). For the argument that Reagan’s pressure on the USSR won the Cold War, see Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996); Peter Schweizer, Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy that Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994). An excellent overview over the debate is Vladislav Zubok, "Why Did the Cold War End in 1989? Explanations of ‘The Turn’," in Reviewing the Cold War, ed. Odd Arne Westad (London: Franc Cass, 2000): 343-367. See also Geir Lundestad, "'Imperial Overstretch', Mikhail Gorbachev, and the End of the Cold War," Cold War History 1, no. 1 (2000): 1-2.
 Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 36-40; Raymond L. Garthoff, “New Thinking in Soviet Military Doctrine,” The Washington Quarterly (Summer 1988): 131-158. For a detailled analysis of the Soviet military doctrine, based also on East German documents, see Christoph Bluth, The Collapse of Soviet Military Power (Aldershot et al.: Dartmouth, 1995), pp. 60-75.
 For a detailled analysis of the feud between Gorbachev and the military see Nichols, Sacred Cause, 130-236.
 For a discussion of Kulikov’s public campaign against the new doctrine in 1987-88, see ibid.: 180-183.
 Cf. Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 42-49.