P R E S S R E L E A S E: 20 SEPTEMER 2002
POLISH 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.
The National Security Archive at George Washington University is the primary
U.S. sponsor (with partners in Zurich, Oslo, Vienna and Florence) of the
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:
1. 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 collection is introduced by PHP coordinator Vojtech Mastny. The complete
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,” located on the website, invites
comments by readers in any language.
2. 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.
3. The orders were to be issued by the Soviet General Staff, relayed
through the Polish command, and the generals believe they would have been
4. 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
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. The generals believe that membership in the Warsaw Pact was nevertheless
in Poland’s best interest under the circumstances of the time.
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 International Relations
and Security Network (ISN), operated by the Swiss Center for Security Studies
and Conflict Research at ETH Zurich.
For further information, contact Vojtech Mastny, PHP coordinator,
VMastny@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 Wroclaw, at email@example.com.