Saturday, November 26, 2005

Nuclear War military exercise and Poland, 1979

World War Three seen through Soviet eyes

David Rennie in Warsaw

Daily Telegraph 26/11/2005

The nightmare of nuclear war in Europe - a spectre that haunted the world for half a century - stood revealed yesterday in terrible detail.
In a historic break with the past, Poland's newly elected government threw open its top secret Warsaw Pact military archives - including a 1979 map revealing the Soviet bloc's vision of a seven-day atomic holocaust between Nato and Warsaw Pact forces.
The defence minister, Radek Sikorsky, showed off the map at an emotional press conference.
He described it as a "personally shattering experience", pointing to a long line of nuclear mushroom clouds neatly stamped along the Vistula, where Soviet bloc commanders assumed that Nato tactical nuclear weapons would rain down to block reinforcements arriving from Russia.
About two million Polish civilians would die in such a war, and the country would be all but wiped off the face of the Earth, he said.
On the map, western Europe lay beneath a chilling overlay of large red mushroom clouds: Warsaw Pact nuclear strikes, using giant warheads to compensate for their relative lack of precision.
Soviet bombs rain down on cities from northern Denmark down to Brussels, the political headquarters of Nato. Large red clouds blot out cities such as Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Baden Baden, Haarlem, Antwerp and Charleroi, above the Franco-Belgian border.
On the map, smaller blue mushroom clouds showed expected Nato targets - most of them relatively precise attacks - including strikes on Warsaw and Prague.
The map dates from a time when the balance of power was radically different from now. In Washington the vacillating Jimmy Carter was suffering a series of defeats - the Iranian revolution and the subsequent seizure of the United States embassy in Teheran. Britain was at a low ebb, racked by strikes, and just putting its faith in Margaret Thatcher.
The Kremlin, however, was stretching its muscles - preparing for its ill-fated takeover of Afghanistan.
Perhaps because the map shows a limited war game exercise, entitled Seven Days to the River Rhine, rather than full invasion plans, troops stop at the Rhine, and there are no attacks or bomb strikes on Britain, or on France.
Large blue Nato nuclear bombers are shown flying out of bases in East Anglia, and squadrons of Nato fighters are shown scrambling from Danish bases into combat over the Baltic.
The decision to unveil the Warsaw Pact documents is one of the first moves of Poland's new conservative government. Mr Sikorsky described it as an attempt to draw a line under the country's Communist past, and "educate" the Polish public about the old regime.
He did not deny that the opening of the archives will be seen as a provocation in Moscow. Russian-Polish relations have sharply deteriorated recently, amid rows over a planned oil pipeline, and Polish support for democratic revolutions in Russia's backyard, first in Ukraine, and now Belarus.
Mr Sikorsky, a former dissident who studied at Oxford University, said: "These are documents that are crucial for educating the public, and showing how Poland was kept as an unwilling ally of the Soviet Union. This government wants to end the post-Communist period.
"It's important for citizens to know who was a hero, and who was a villain. It is important for the civic health of society to make these things public."
The files being released would include documents about "Operation Danube", the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. They also included files on an army massacre of Polish workers in Szczecin in the 1970s, and from the martial law era of the 1980s.

Planowano nuklearną zagładę Polski

Paweł Wroński, PAP

Gazeta 26-11-2005

Dwa miliony zabitych i rannych, przeszło 40 miast polskich zrównanych z ziemią po ataku atomowym NATO. Tak wyglądał scenariusz III wojny światowej w dokumentach Układu Warszawskiego.

Wczoraj na wspólnej konferencji prasowej z prezesem IPN Leonem Kieresem minister obrony Radek Sikorski przekazał akta Układu Warszawskiego z Centralnego Archiwum Wojskowego do archiwów Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej. Powstały w 1955 roku w Warszawie sojusz wojskowy podporządkowywał ZSRR armie tak zwanych państw socjalistycznych. Był w latach 70. największą potęgą wojskową i stale przygotowywał się do nuklearnej konfrontacji z Zachodem. W apogeum zimnej wojny po stronie Układu Warszawskiego pod bronią stało około 5 mln żołnierzy, dziesiątki tysięcy czołgów i tysiące bomb i rakiet nuklearnych.Wczoraj na konferencji prasowej minister Sikorski przedstawił część już odtajnionych dokumentów. Były to sztabowe zapisy ćwiczeń wojskowych z 1976, 1982. Największe wrażenie na dziennikarzach zrobiła jednak mapa sztabowa ćwiczeń z 1979 roku - "gra wojenna kierowniczej kadry MON". Scenariuszem tego ćwiczenia jest wizja wielkiego konfliktu nuklearnego między NATO i Układem Warszawskim, tak jak sobie go wyobrażali sztabowcy radzieccy. Minister Sikorski wspominał, że właśnie o tej mapie mówił mu kiedyś płk Ryszard Kukliński. Według Kuklińskiego radziecka strategia zakładająca, że właśnie Polska będzie największą ofiarą starcia komunizmu z Zachodem skłoniła go w latach 70. do podjęcia współpracy z Amerykanami. Ćwiczenia z 1979 r. zakładały, że Związek Radziecki dokona w odpowiedzi na atak NATO potężnego uderzenia nuklearnego na Niemcy zachodnie, Belgię i Holandię. Przez ten napromieniowany rejon miały atakować na Zachód pancerne dywizje Układu Warszawskiego. Sowieckie rakiety miały spaść na niemal wszystkie większe miasta Niemiec zachodnich - Hamburg, Bremę, Monachium. Właśnie ta część mapy przykuła uwagę licznie zgromadzonych w Urzędzie Rady Ministrów zachodnich dziennikarzy. Polacy skoncentrowali swoją uwagę na naszym kraju. Generałowie radzieccy przewidywali, że to właśnie Polska stanie się głównym celem kontrataku jądrowego NATO. Nasz kraj miał zostać zniszczony po to, by żeby uniemożliwić przemieszczanie drugiego rzutu wojsk radzieckich atakujących na Zachód. Sztabowcy Układu przewidywali, że w pierwszym etapie wojny rakiety z głowicami jądrowymi spadną na 43 polskie miasta. Z powierzchni ziemi miały zniknąć Warszawa, Poznań, Wrocław, Szczecin, a także miasta Górnego Śląska. Przewidywana liczba ofiar cywilnych to 2 mln zabitych i rannych. Duża część kraju miała pozostać napromieniowana i skażona chemicznie.Według mapy Polska miałaby się stać zapleczem frontów północnego i północno-zachodniego. Pierwszą linię koncentracji jednostek wojskowych miała być Odra, okolice Wrocławia i Poznania. Przez Polskę miało przemaszerować około 2 mln żołnierzy radzieckich. - Ktoś mógłby powiedzieć, że to była tylko gra wojenna. Ale my mieszkaliśmy, żyliśmy w tym kraju. Nie wiedzieliśmy, że nasze życie było przedmiotem tego rodzaju gier wojennych - mówił prezes IPN Leon Kieres. Polska do tej pory nie ujawniła dokumentów Układu Warszawskiego ze względu na klauzulę z 1991 r. Została ona przyjęta przez wszystkie państwa w momencie rozwiązania Układu Warszawskiego podczas szczytu w Pradze. To właśnie ta klauzula zakładała, że wszystkie dokumenty w byłych krajach członkowskich pozostaną tajne. Zdaniem Sikorskiego to ustalenie Polski nie obowiązuje.- Prawnicy MON uznali, iż to porozumienie nie zostało ratyfikowane przez Polskę, a zatem prawo krajowe ma przed nim pierwszeństwo - zaznaczył minister obrony narodowej. Dodał też, że prawo międzynarodowe dopuszcza wycofanie się z traktatów "przy znaczącej zmianie okoliczności". A takimi okolicznościami jest fakt, że nie istnieje Związek Radziecki, Polska jest członkiem NATO. - Społeczeństwo ma prawo wiedzieć o swojej przeszłości - zaznaczył minister, dodając, że odtajnienie akt Układu Warszawskiego jest symbolem końca postkomunizmu w Polsce. W zasobach Centralnego Archiwum Wojskowego znajduje się około 1700 zespołów akt Układu Warszawskiego, wśród nich tajny statut Układu zawierający jego schemat organizacyjny, protokoły narad, dokumenty związane z interwencją w Czechosłowacji w 1968 r., liczne zapisy sztabowe z ćwiczeń.- Podjąłem decyzję, by ujawnić prawie wszystkie akta - zapowiedział Sikorski. Szef MON zaznaczył, że niewielka część dokumentów pozostanie tajna ze względu na interesy obronności współczesnej Polski. Do oceny dokumentów zostanie powołany specjalny zespół, który 2 stycznia 2006 przedstawi ministrowi wykaz, które z nich mogą mieć zniesioną lub obniżoną klauzulę tajności. Sikorski zapowiedział, że decyzje w sprawie każdej konkretnej teczki podejmie on sam.Co znajduje się w tych dokumentach? Paweł Piotrowski z wrocławskiego IPN, który bierze udział w międzynarodowym projekcie badawczym "Historia porównawcza NATO i Układu Warszawskiego", ma nadzieję, że będą to nie tylko zapisy ćwiczeń, ale elementy prawdziwych tajnych planów Układu przygotowane na wypadek wojny.- Być może będą również dokumenty dotyczące tak zwanego frontu polskiego - dodał Piotrowski. Chodzi o plany operacyjne frontu północno-zachodniego, który miał być dowodzony przez polskiego generała i w którym większość jednostek atakujących na Zachód miała być polskich. Nasi żołnierze mieli atakować północne Niemcy, forsować Łabę i uderzyć na Holandię. Część wojsk miała uderzać na Danię, która dodatkowo miała być opanowana dzięki desantowi morskiemu i lotniczemu.Historyk ma też nadzieję, że w polskich archiwach pozostały ślady sprawy "Wisła". Chodzi o przechowywanie w bazach radzieckich na terenie Polski bomb, w które miało być wyposażone lotnictwo, i pocisków nuklearnych.


Soviet plans to annihilate Europe revealed

Stephen Castle in Warsaw

Independent 26 November 2005

A Cold War map detailing the Warsaw Pact's training plans for a nuclear war has been released by the new Polish government, which pledged to confront the nation's Communist past.
Dating from 1979, the map reveals how Soviet forces could respond to a Nato assault by invading Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Red and blue mushroom clouds are marked on the map, showing Soviet nuclear bombs raining down on cities including Brussels, Antwerp, Munich and Stuttgart, and Nato nuclear strikes on Warsaw and a line of Polish territory, cutting the country in two. The Nato objective was to halt a second wave of Soviet troops sweeping westwards from Russia. Polish military chiefs said yesterday that about two million people would have died in Poland alone. Meanwhile, Britain and France appeared to have escaped unscathed, so separate plans may have existed for them.
The right-wing Polish government sent a powerful political message by releasing the map from the military archives, reinforcing its tough, nationalistic and anti-Russian rhetoric.
The Law and Justice party emphasised that key figures in the previous social democratic government had been members of the Communist regime.
Radoslaw Sikorski, the Defence Minister, said there had been no prior discussions with Moscow about the release. Explaining how the Soviets had made Poland the main target for Nato, he argued: "We need to know about our past. Historians have the right to know the history of the 20th century. If people did some things they were not proud of, that will be an education for them too.
"I think it is very important for a democracy for the citizens to know who was who, who was the hero and who was the villain. On that basis we make democratic choices.
"I think it is also important for the health of civic society for morality tales to be told: that it pays to be decent and that if you do things that did not serve the national interest, one day it will come out and you might be called to account."
Mr Sikorski promised to release 1,700 documents including the statute of the Warsaw Pact, protocols from its political and military committees and documents relating to the suppression of the Prague Spring uprising in 1968.
The model for openness is that of the Gauck Institute in Berlin, which made public the files compiled by the Stasi, the East German secret police. "This government wants to end the post-Communist period in which the files of the Warsaw Pact were secret,'' Mr Sikorski said.
Asked whether the release of archive material would recreate social divisions, and antagonise those who regard Poland's last Communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, as a hero, Mr Sikorski replied bluntly: "He is not considered to be a hero by me.''
Interestingly, the Warsaw Pact training map illustrates a defensive military operation in response to a Nato nuclear strike, and the Soviet forces appeared to stop at the English Channel. French territory is also avoided, a fact which Waldemar Wojcik, head of Poland's central military archive, explained by the fact that France was outside Nato's integrated military command structure.
Britain does, however, feature on the map and Nato bombers are shown flying over Bridlington and Ipswich on the way to the Continent, as a separate force sweeps in from Denmark.
Mr Wojcik added that, on a visit to Washington, Polish military officials had seen plans from Nato that were "a mirror image" of the Warsaw Pact's own deadly war plan.


Russian sacrifice: Poland

Graham Rowley

International Herald Tribune November 25, 2005

In a early test of its relations with Russia, Poland's new government opened up on Friday previously sealed Warsaw Pact military archives, including a 1979 map showing Soviet plans to sacrifice Poland in the event of nuclear war with the West.

Just four weeks into power, the rightist government of President Lech Kaczynski is putting a priority on rebuilding relations with its big European neighbors, Germany and Russia, which were frayed during the time of the previous government, according to senior ministers interviewed here.

But the opening up of the archives now - a decade and a half after independence and 19 months after joining the European Union - reflects the new government's attempt to play to its more conservative, anti-Russian supporters and to underline Poland's break with its Communist past.

"This government wants to end the post-Communist period," said Radoslaw Sikorski, the defense minister. "It is crucial to educating the public in the way that Poland was kept as an unwilling ally in the Cold War. It is important for people to know who was the hero and who was the villain."

The 1,700 files, which have been kept in Warsaw's central military archives, include details of Operation Danube - the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by Warsaw Pact troops. The plans dating from 1979 were made at the height of Cold War tensions, coming at time when a new pope, John Paul II, was publicly pressing the Communist nations of Eastern Europe to grant greater freedoms.

At a press conference Friday, Sikorski unveiled a map showing hypothetical plans in the event of a NATO attack on Warsaw Pact nations which called for a Soviet counterattack that would have included the nuclear bombing of Munich, Brussels, Dutch ports and other targets. This in turn, according to Soviet military thinking, would precipitate NATO nuclear attacks on forces concentrated on the Vistula River, attacks that the Polish government now estimates would have killed two million Poles.

The map showed the widespread destruction of Western Europe, including mushroom clouds over key areas of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. Cities such as Brussels would have been destroyed as Soviet troops advanced to the Western shores of the Continent, although Britain and France would have been left unscathed.

"Poland was being asked to participate in an operation that may have resulted in the destruction of Poland," said Sikorski, who came into the government from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group in Washington.

Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said that he supported the publication of the files and added that he doubted it would worsen relations with Russia.

"I think that opening all the files is an important element in discovering our history and also our international relations," he said in an interview with journalists here. "I am sure that all countries want to build their presents and futures on the truth."

After its sometimes radical pre-election rhetoric, the new government in Warsaw is trying to define itself in the eyes of the world, as well as prove its domestic stability since the governing Law and Justice Party has been forced to forge an alliance with two extreme radical groups.

Ministers interviewed here stressed that they would continue the policies of the previous government, including a strong commitment to European integration, economic reform and balanced relations with Russia.

"The pre-election period in every country is a special period, not only in Poland," said Stefan Meller, the foreign minister. "I would like to assure you that this is without doubt a pro-European government and a government that wants to be perceived as pro-European."

But ministers also stressed that they would put renewed pressure on both Russia and Germany to reconsider the path of a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline to bring gas to Western Europe, an issue of sharp controversy between the three countries.

The decision by Russia and Germany to route the pipeline under the Baltic Sea rather than through Poland has exacerbated tensions between the countries, amid anxiety in Poland about its reliance on Russia for much of its energy needs and worries that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, could use Russia's energy resources to exert influence.

"The pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic might create environmental problems, since there are chemical weapons from the Second World War on the sea bottom," said Marcinkiewicz.

Poland's stance comes at a time of increasing tensions between Russia and the former Soviet vassal states on the Baltic, including some bitter border disputes. The new government wants to make forging stronger alliances between Poland and the Baltic countries a priority.

The Polish government, which is perceived as strongly pro-American, confirmed Friday that it would proceed with the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq next year, a move that the previous government agreed to in talks with the United States and Britain.

Poland currently has about 1,400 troops in three southern provinces of Iraq. Sikorski and Meller are due to visit Washington next month, and they said a decision on the troop withdrawal would be made in December after the Iraqi elections set for Dec. 15. The withdrawal could come as early as January or February, they said. But Sikorski held out the possibility of a delay until next summer.

Sikorski also said that Poland would be eager to act as host to American military operations that might be moved from Germany. "If the U.S. is rethinking its global posture and global network of military bases, and there are facilities in Germany where I am told there is concern, then perhaps some of them could be more cheaply run in Poland," he said.

"I have a long list of mayors who would love to have U.S. bases, but it would be the U.S. that would have to take the initiative."

The government, which has promised higher social spending, has also faced questions from business about its openness to foreign investors and commitment to economic reform.

Earlier this month, the finance minister triggered a drop in the stock market after suggesting the government would resist further investment by foreign supermarkets in Poland.

She has since been shifted out of the public spotlight, but Marcinkiewicz added to the uncertainty on Friday when he suggested that the government might begin to favor domestic Polish investors more over foreign investors in Poland.

"We have concentrated on facilitating investment possibilities, mostly for creating good conditions for foreign investors," he said. "We want all investors to have equally good opportunities. I have never seen a foreign investor lose in Poland."

Sikorsky said Warsaw Pact records held by the former nation of Czechoslovakia and Hungary had also been released, but Waldemar Wojcik, head of the central military archives in Warsaw, said Poland was the first Warsaw Pact country to release full records.

He said they were technically declassified a couple of years ago but had remained unseen.

Jan Rokita, a leader of the opposition party Civic Platform, said instability in the minority government, and particularly its reliance on extreme radical parties, could lead to a collapse of the government next year.

"It is very possible that we have a political crisis next year," said Rokita. "It could lead to a general election or a coalition between Civic Platform and Law and Justice."

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