Cardboard Castle?

Cardboard Castle?: An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact

Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 786
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  • Book Info
    Cardboard Castle?
    Book Description:

    This is the first book to document, analyze, and interpret the history of the Warsaw Pact based on the archives of the alliance itself. As suggested by the title, the Soviet bloc military machine that held the West in awe for most of the Cold War does not appear from the inside as formidable as outsiders often believed, nor were its strengths and weaknesses the same at different times in its surprisingly long history, extending for almost half a century.

    eISBN: 978-615-5053-69-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xvi)
  3. Editors’ Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    The Editors
  4. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  5. Chronology of Events
    (pp. xxv-l)
  6. The Warsaw Pact as History
    (pp. 1-74)
    Vojtech Mastny

    When the Warsaw Pact was founded in 1955 as a counterpart of NATO, Western officials disparaged it as a “cardboard castle.”*¹ Fifteen years later, they had come to respect it as a military machine capable of overrunning most of Europe and perhaps defeating the West. Yet in another fifteen years, the machine fell apart and disappeared—with a whimper rather than a bang. Such a story is worth pondering not only for its drama but also for its value as a cautionary tale.

    The history of the Warsaw Pact, recounted and documented in this book, bears on some of the...

    • Document No. 1: The Warsaw Treaty, May 14, 1955
      (pp. 77-79)

      The following document, signed in Warsaw, formally established the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Drafted by the Soviets without consultation with their allies and accepted without meaningful discussion, the treaty was drawn up as a counterpart to NATO’s Washington treaty of 1949. The two documents bear many formal similarities: calling on the signatories to refrain from the threat or use of force, to consult and to render any assistance deemed necessary in case of enemy attack. There were also important dissimilarities. Mainly, whereas the NATO charter emphasized a commitment to common values as an expression of a more egalitarian partnership, the Warsaw...

    • Document No. 2: Statute of the Warsaw Treaty Unified Command, September 7, 1955
      (pp. 80-82)

      The Statute of the Unified Command governed the structure and division of authority within the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Like the treaty itself, it was supplied by the Soviets and imposed on their allies. Unlike the treaty, it was kept secret throughout the Cold War, although it was occasionally referred to in public, for example in 1956 and in 1968 when the Poles and Czechoslovaks, respectively, criticized it for assigning all prerogatives to the Soviet Union and all obligations to the East European signatories. In fact, the provisions of the statute were left deliberately vague so that the Soviet Union could...

    • Document No. 3: Imre Nagy’s Telegram to Diplomatic Missions in Budapest Declaring Hungary’s Neutrality, November 1, 1956
      (pp. 83-83)

      This document reflects the first instance of a Warsaw Treaty member declaring its intention to withdraw from the alliance. This took place during the course of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, after an initial intervention by Soviet forces. Imre Nagy, the Hungarian communist leader, attempted to declare his country’s neutrality and have it recognized by the United Nations in hopes that this would deter the Soviets from mounting a second invasion of the country. For many years, it was widely believed that the Soviet move came in response to the neutrality declaration; however, recent archival evidence shows that Moscow had already...

    • Document No. 4: Gen. Jan Drzewiecki’s Critique of the Statute of the Unified Command, November 3, 1956
      (pp. 84-86)

      One of the more sensational documents to come to light after the Cold War, this critique of the Statute of the Unified Command shows how far the Poles, in this instance, were willing and able to go to question the very foundations of the Warsaw Treaty just over a year after it was established. In the fall of 1956, Jan Drzewiecki was in charge of operational planning for the Polish army when a committee was formed in the Defense Ministry concerned with the reform of military relations between Poland and the Soviet Union. This was a controversial issue because the...

    • Document No. 5: Polish Memorandum on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 10, 1957
      (pp. 87-90)

      This memorandum, also prepared by Polish Gen. Drzewiecki, deals with the question of reform of the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Prepared for Polish leader Władysław Gomułka for discussion with the Soviets, the memo does not question the need or the merits of the alliance—a highly sensitive topic in view of the Hungarian and Polish crises of 1956—but it does point out deficiencies within the organization. These include the obligations imposed on the East European members and the burden of high military spending which undercut the policy of raising living standards in the region. Of course, the attempt at reform...

    • Document No. 6: Gen. Drzewiecki’s Interview regarding Memorandum on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, May 8, 1997
      (pp. 91-92)

      This interview with Gen. Jan Drzewiecki, the author of Documents Nos. 4 and 5, is of interest because he is able to explain the origins and significance of those documents after the end of the Cold War. Despite his later modesty, his efforts to press for greater Polish independent action within the Warsaw Treaty were, in the setting of 1956, quite daring. It is interesting to note that in 1956 the Polish military was in the forefront of challenging the Soviets whereas in 1980–81, at the time of the Solidarity crisis, it was a reactionary force, having by that...

    • Document No. 7: Soviet Directives to the Czechoslovak Army on Operational and Combat Preparations, September 25, 1957
      (pp. 93-94)

      This Soviet directive to the Czechoslovak army enumerates general operational principles that are to form the basis for training in 1958. It is one of the few descriptions of how the Soviets prepared themselves and their allies for a war in which nuclear weapons would be used. Unlike later documents that are available, this one does not reflect offensive intentions or strategy, but emphasizes a basically defensive orientation in trying to adapt to war conditions after the onset of nuclear strikes by the enemy. At this time, the management of East European forces was still taking place on a bilateral...

    • Document No. 8: Draft of a Warsaw Pact–NATO Non-aggression Treaty, May 24, 1958
      (pp. 95-96)

      During the early years of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev presented various proposals for the simultaneous dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty and NATO, indicating that the original purpose of proclaiming the Eastern alliance was to eliminate, or at least weaken, its Western counterpart. Khrushchev’s proposals were calculated to soften Western public opinion and to pressure politicians to be more amenable to Soviet arguments. Generally, Warsaw Treaty meetings, in this case a meeting of the Political Consultative Committee (PCC), were used as a platform for launching these initiatives. Khrushchev was at a minimum hoping to prod the West...

    • Document No. 9: Marshal Ivan Konev’s Analysis of a Czechoslovak Army Operational Exercise, March 31–April 7, 1959
      (pp. 97-99)

      This speech by Warsaw Pact Supreme Commander Ivan S. Konev analyzes a bilateral exercise with the Czechoslovak army. It is included here because it provides insights into how Soviet military leaders viewed—and rationalized—NATO’s plans. Konev asserts that NATO exercises are based on a false scenario—an attack from the East requiring defensive operations. He rejects the implication that the East would be the aggressor, and declares that any war would actually begin with an attack from the West. This line of argument illustrates the kind of approach the Soviet military used to try to reconcile its conception of...

    • Document No. 10: Conclusions from the Operational Exercise of the Czechoslovak Army, March 31–April 7, 1959
      (pp. 100-101)

      Command post exercises have always been an important part of military preparedness training. These drills were carried out on maps, mostly by officers, with the basic purpose of preparing the command structure for actual war. Maneuvers involving large numbers of troops were a different undertaking with their own specific objectives, for example training soldiers for combat conditions and gauging their performance, as well as impressing the putative enemy. While obviously important from a military point of view, these maneuvers are not as useful as command post exercises for understanding actual leadership plans and intentions.

      This particular command exercise, run by...

    • Document No. 11: East German Description of a West German Plan for the Occupation of the GDR, July 29, 1959
      (pp. 102-104)

      This very interesting document, found in the East German archives, quotes verbatim from a supposed West German record describing the occupation of the GDR in case of war. According to the memoirs of East German spy chief Markus Wolf, East German intelligence obtained it as early as 1955.⁶ In 1959, during the first year of the Berlin crisis, the document was published to show the aggressive intentions of the FRG, but it was widely regarded in the West as a forgery and a propaganda move. The trouble with this interpretation is that the East Germans, as seen from their internal...

    • Document No. 12: Warsaw Pact Views of NATO’s Plans and Capabilities, April 28, 1960
      (pp. 105-107)

      This Czechoslovak General Staff description shows what information the Soviets and their allies had about NATO’s views of war and how they interpreted them. NATO’s strategy is accurately described as including the option of a surprise attack, but what is left out is the fact that the West contemplated this action only in response to an imminent Soviet offensive. Considerable detail is provided about NATO’s preparedness to launch massive nuclear strikes against Warsaw Treaty air defenses and command centers, in order to prevent Soviet bloc forces from advancing beyond the Vistula and Danube rivers and Carpathian mountains. NATO’s aim is...

    • Document No. 13: The Soviet–Albanian Dispute, March 22–June 3, 1961
      (pp. 108-115)

      The following materials help to understand the background of the dispute between the USSR and Albania. The clash arose in 1960 from incidents that took place at the Vlorë naval base in the Adriatic, the Warsaw Pact’s only such base in the Mediterranean basin. It is not entirely clear who started the quarrel but it was more likely the style than the substance of the Soviets’ overbearing behavior—mirrored in the Albanian defense minister’s almost insolent tone in his letter to Soviet Marshal Grechko—that provoked Tirana to seize several Soviet vessels, including submarines. No doubt the Albanians believed they...

    • Document No. 14: Political Consultative Committee Resolution on the Restructuring and Modernization of Warsaw Pact Forces, March 29, 1961
      (pp. 116-117)

      This PCC resolution, which came from the same meeting at which the Albanian crisis was discussed, reveals some of the effects of the Berlin crisis. The two emergencies happened at the same time but there was no causal connection. The resolution calls for restructuring and modernizing Warsaw Pact forces over the next five years, 1961–1965. It also recommends, among other steps, improving the ability of member-states to mobilize their economies for military production in time of war. The purpose of the resolution appears to be to prepare Warsaw Pact members, as the Berlin crisis continued to deteriorate, for the...

    • Document No. 15: Czechoslovakia’s Strategic Position in a European War, April 1961
      (pp. 118-119)

      This lecture is intended to acquaint officers of the Czechoslovak General Staff with the Soviet view of what the next European war might look like. In this scenario, Czechoslovakia is especially important because of its location. Exposed geographically, it would have to fight alone, at least at the beginning, because its allies would be able to arrive only after several days. Interestingly, the Soviets expect the Czechoslovaks to be able to handle matters on their own to a considerable extent. There is nothing in the document about any pursuit of the enemy further west....

    • Document No. 16: Speech by Marshal Malinovskii Describing the Need for Warsaw Pact Offensive Operations, May 1961
      (pp. 120-121)

      Soviet Defense Minister Rodion Ia. Malinovskii delivered this speech on the occasion of the evaluation of a joint Soviet-East German command post exercise. Presented at a time of growing crisis several weeks before construction of the Berlin Wall, the speech shows the developing transition from a defensive to an offensive Warsaw Pact military strategy. Malinovskii tells the participants in the exercise that it is now important to deploy ground forces capable of destroying, by rapid action, and by employing nuclear arms “very sparingly,” any enemy nuclear weapons before they can be used. But at the same time, Warsaw Pact forces...

    • Document No. 17: Czechoslovak Politburo Resolution on Mobilization Readiness with Respect to the Berlin Question, July 25, 1961
      (pp. 122-125)

      This resolution of the Czechoslovak party Presidium reflects a decision to increase defense readiness in view of the possible consequences of the signing of a separate peace treaty with East Germany. Coincidentally, the resolution comes on the same day as President John F. Kennedy’s important speech announcing a troop buildup in Europe. Clearly, the Czechoslovak decision was not in response to the American move but it shows that even before the United States raised the ante the Soviets had already been preparing the Warsaw Pact for the possibility of a military confrontation arising from the expected sharpening of the crisis....

    • Document No. 18: Joint Declaration of the Warsaw Treaty States on the Berlin Wall, August 13, 1961
      (pp. 126-128)

      The construction of the Berlin Wall was one of the most dramatic acts of the Cold War. At its core, the decision to build it was taken out of desperation as the only feasible way to stem the flow of refugees from East Germany to the West, over 2 million of whom had already fled. Of course, that is not how the declaration below presents things. Rather, it accuses the West of behaving with such aggressive intent against the interests of the socialist camp, and East Germany in particular, that “protective measures” were urgently needed. With astonishing understatement, the declaration acknowledges...

    • Document No. 19: Resolution by the Czechoslovak Party Military Defense Commission on the Introduction of Emergency Measures, September 14, 1961
      (pp. 129-130)

      This document is another resolution by the Czechoslovak party Central Committee. Unlike the document from July 25 (See Document No. 17), this one was prepared after the construction of the Berlin Wall. By now it was clear that there would be no immediate strong reaction forthcoming from the West, but it was still an open question whether Khrushchev would follow up with a separate peace treaty with East Germany, which would surely spark an even more serious crisis. This resolution relates to the implementation of emergency measures intended to deal with the possible consequences therefrom. There is still debate as...

    • Document No. 20: The “Buria” Exercise Preparing for an Advance into Western Europe, September 28–October 10, 1963
      (pp. 131-136)

      “Buria” was the first major exercise conducted by the Warsaw Pact as a coalition. It was widely publicized at the time. Contemporary observers interpreted this as a message that the alliance was prepared for any potential Western military response to the signing of a separate peace treaty with East Germany. There are other records that relate to this point, but one interesting aspect of this first document, a secret speech by East German Defense Minister Heinz Hoffmann, is that it gives the starting point of the exercise as October 1, which points to the possibility that the Soviets had plans...

    • Document No. 21: Organizational Principles of the Czechoslovak Army, November 22, 1962
      (pp. 137-139)

      This set of organizational principles for the Czechoslovak army is included because it shows clearly how the emphasis of Warsaw Pact strategy had shifted to offense. (See Document No. 7 by comparison.) Offensive combat is seen as the main form of combat, and the Czechoslovaks continue to be expected to fight independently for at least 10-12 days before Soviet reinforcements would appear. The new stress on offense was one of the important consequences of the Berlin crisis....

    • Document No. 22: The “Mazowsze” Exercise for Nuclear War and Interview with Gen. Tuczapski on Soviet Bloc Planning of Exercises, circa April 23, 1963
      (pp. 140-148)

      One of the changes in Warsaw Pact strategy after the Berlin crisis was to account for the possible heavy use of nuclear armaments. The first document here describes a Polish military exercise from April 18–22, 1963, which was designed to prepare for a war involving the detonation of huge numbers of such weapons. The exercise takes for granted that practically every major Polish city would be hit, causing massive casualties, yet presumes that fighting would continue and that enemy forces would actually be repelled. In retaliation against NATO’s initiation of hostilities, including its first-use of nuclear weapons, the Warsaw...

    • Document No. 23: Polish Command Post Exercise Rehearsing an Advance to Northern Germany, Low Countries, and Denmark, June 14, 1963
      (pp. 149-151)

      This is a particularly good example of a command staff exercise report because it shows in some detail how the Warsaw Pact imagined the advance of its forces into Germany and the Low Countries. One feature of special interest is that the document reveals a presumption that before the onset of war the Warsaw Pact would match the secret preparations being made by NATO—a highly dubious proposition. As early as the second or third day following a NATO attack, according to the exercise, its forces were supposed to be in a position to reverse the tide.

      This is one...

    • Document No. 24: Mongolian Request for Admission to the Warsaw Pact, July 15, 1963
      (pp. 152-153)

      By the early 1960s, the Sino-Soviet rift had taken on military implications. Because of its geographical location, Mongolia became a potential battleground between the two powers, the Soviet Union and China. Although Mongolian leader Tsedenbal, no friend of the Chinese, may have taken the initiative in applying for membership in the Warsaw Pact by writing this letter to Polish Premier Józef Cyrankiewicz, the history of his country’s relationship with the Soviet Union—outsiders sometimes derisively called Mongolia the 16th republic of the USSR—makes it seem unlikely that he would have done so without at least strong support from Khrushchev....

    • Document No. 25: Polish Foreign Ministry Memorandum regarding Possible Mongolian Accession to the Warsaw Treaty, July 20, 1963
      (pp. 154-156)

      The idea of admitting Mongolia to the Warsaw Pact, presumably backed by Moscow, met opposition from other alliance members. In this memorandum for the Polish Politburo, Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki argues that membership should be limited to Europe, and that adding Mongolia would be an unnecessarily provocative move. The Romanians were also unhappy with the idea. It is not clear whether the Soviets knew of these views or whether the dissent influenced Moscow’s thinking. In any case, when the PCC discussed the subject a week after this memorandum was prepared, the Soviet representative no longer supported Mongolia’s application, claiming that...

    • Document No. 26: Czechoslovak Drafts of Orders and Appeals to be Issued in Occupied Western European Territories, June 29, 1964
      (pp. 157-159)

      Part of the planning for war entailed what to do after the immediate fighting had subsided. These annexes to Czechoslovak planning materials include drafts of orders and public appeals that would be issued in parts of Western Europe after their occupation by Warsaw Pact forces. For example, the order of the commander of victorious forces in Germany called for treating citizens and prisoners humanely. Leaflets in the form of safe-conduct passes were to be dropped over NATO-held territories to encourage enemy soldiers to desert. A specific appeal to French soldiers, included here, provides an example....

    • Document No. 27: Warsaw Pact War Plan for the Czechoslovak Front, October 14, 1964
      (pp. 160-169)

      This now-famous document is the only actual war plan of either alliance that has thus far surfaced in the public domain. Others have either not been declassified or have been destroyed. This is a fully developed scheme as opposed to the imaginary scenario of an exercise. It is not an overarching plan for the entire Warsaw Pact alliance, but one designed for the Czechoslovak front, describing the Czechoslovak army’s role within the general operations of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact armies in case of a European war. It shows the considerable degree to which the Soviets had to rely on...

    • Document No. 28: Warsaw Pact Intelligence on NATO’s Strategy and Combat Readiness, 1965
      (pp. 170-174)

      This paper by the Intelligence Department of the Czechoslovak General Staff examines the United States’ flexible response strategy under consideration by NATO. President John F. Kennedy had introduced the new strategy soon after entering the White House in 1961, intending to replace the doctrine of massive retaliation. Although it would take NATO until 1967 to make the switch, the Warsaw Pact assumed that this would eventually happen and began to prepare for what was to come. This paper, obviously based on Soviet materials and marked for restricted circulation, concludes that the appearance of the new strategy is an indication that...

    • Document No. 29: Albanian Note to the Political Consultative Committee, January 15, 1965
      (pp. 177-178)

      The Albanian government sent this note to other Warsaw Pact members in advance of a PCC meeting. The note was presented as a substitute for the Albanians’ presence at the session. In it, the Albanians declare that Khrushchev, who was recently deposed, violated the principles of the Warsaw Pact by arbitrarily obstructing their participation in the alliance, and argue furthermore that the Soviet Union broke bilateral treaties with Tirana. They particularly criticize the Soviet military for appropriating eight submarines the Albanians claimed were theirs. For this and other breaches, the Albanians appeal to the PCC to condemn Moscow, and ask...

    • Document No. 30: Minutes of Discussion at Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, January 20, 1965
      (pp. 179-188)

      This gathering of the PCC turned out to be the most contentious to date. It was the first session after the downfall of Khrushchev in June 1964, and also the first to be convened at the initiative of a member other than the Soviet Union—the GDR. One of the controversial subjects of discussion was non-proliferation. This was an important issue because it represented the next phase in the process of establishing some control over nuclear weapons following the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty. The matter had particular resonance for the Warsaw Pact in the context of the MLF, since...

    • Document No. 31: Plan for Hungarian Command-Staff War Game, May 1965
      (pp. 189-191)

      This war game involving Hungarian army action on the southwestern front provides valuable detail on Warsaw Pact expectations of Budapest’s role. The Hungarians were to participate in an operation first directed at confronting NATO in Germany by advancing through Austria (which would represent a violation of that country’s neutrality), and then into northern Italy. The game posited that at least three major cities—Vienna, Munich, and Verona—would be either totally destroyed or largely devastated by nuclear attacks. But in an example of utterly unrealistic thinking—what might be called nuclear romanticism—the planners presumed this would in no way...

    • Document No. 32: Transcript of Ceauşescu–Deng Conversation, July 25, 1965
      (pp. 192-194)

      This account of a meeting between Nicolae Ceauşescu and Chinese Politburo member Deng Xiaoping describes aspects of Soviet policy toward the Warsaw Pact, but also gives telling indications of China’s and Romania’s viewpoints on the subject. Ceauşescu informs Deng that the Soviets want to reorganize the Warsaw Pact’s command structure to tighten its centralized control but that Romania’s position aims at making the alliance into a framework for more genuine collaboration between independent countries. Deng responds that the Chinese fully agree and expresses the hope that Romania could serve as an intermediary between Beijing and the other East European countries....

    • Document No. 33: Hungarian Proposals for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 18–19, 1966
      (pp. 195-199)
      János Péter

      The next several documents (Documents Nos. 33–35) are proposals from key East European countries relating to reform of the Warsaw Pact. In January 1966, the Soviets had sent their own ideas on the subject to the other member-states, but in part because Moscow’s conception amounted to reform from above, a number of them were unreceptive and decided to present counter-proposals. The first document reproduced here was written by Lajos Czinege, the Hungarian defense minister, and sent to the Hungarian Politburo for consideration before being submitted to an upcoming meeting of Warsaw Pact defense ministers. This particular version is a...

    • Document No. 34: Polish proposals for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 21 and 26, 1966
      (pp. 200-207)

      Much like their Hungarian colleagues (see Documents Nos. 33a and b), the Poles also prepared proposals for reorganizing the Warsaw Pact. The diversity of views evident in these documents was not apparent to the outside world during the Cold War. While not necessarily directed against the Soviet Union, these propositions by essentially loyal allies are at the same time explorations of how far they could go in defining room for independent action within the alliance. In the first example below, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki’s sophisticated submission presents several arguments. He agrees that the Warsaw Pact needs reorganization. In military...

    • Document No. 35: Czechoslovak Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, February 1966
      (pp. 208-209)

      This Czechoslovak document offers another East European perspective on the subject of Warsaw Pact reorganization. While still fairly accommodating of the Soviet position, the Czechoslovaks by now were already experiencing a liberalizing trend that would shortly lead to the Prague Spring, and their views here are not as submissive and pliable as they once were. The general staff officers who composed the document propose allowing national armies to be directed without the intercession of the Warsaw Pact command. They also complain that the Soviets are being excessively secretive about important matters such as the supreme commander’s exact role and the...

    • Document No. 36: Statement by the Romanian Chief of Staff on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, February 4–9, 1966
      (pp. 210-211)

      The controversies over Warsaw Pact reorganization, revealed in the previous several documents, were the most fundamental the alliance faced in the latter 1960s. Of the various forums for hammering out these issues, perhaps the most important were the meetings at the deputy level of the defense and foreign ministries. This record from a meeting of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff—who simultaneously served as deputy ministers of defense—is representative of the kinds of working-level sessions that focused primarily on military affairs. (See Document No. 37 for an analogous record of discussions in the political sphere.) Of particular interest is...

    • Document No. 37: Summary of Discussion at Conference of Warsaw Treaty Deputy Foreign Ministers, February 17, 1966
      (pp. 212-214)
      M[arian] Naszkowski

      As the previous document description indicates, Warsaw Pact officials at the deputy minister level carried out some of the most crucial work involving such highly contentious issues as Warsaw Pact reorganization. This deputy foreign ministers’ meeting, held in Berlin, was a forum for hashing out the various political counter-proposals presented by the East European member-states. Hungarian and German records of the session also exist, but the Polish version is the most informative.

      Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Leonid Ilichev opened the session with a speech that acknowledged the need to improve Warsaw Pact organization. On one of the key issues of...

    • Document No. 38: Study of Special Features of a Surprise Outbreak of War Prepared for the Hungarian Military, February 22–23, 1966
      (pp. 215-216)

      This document is rare among the publicly available materials dealing with the possible consequences of a Western nuclear strike. Its unusual aspect is in the admission that there is really no defense against such a strike. The text does not say this outright but clearly indicates there is no realistic possibility of defense. The authors of the study predict that Western-launched Polaris missiles would reach Hungary in 8–10 minutes. Some 20–30 minutes later, tactical air force strikes would ensue, followed some six hours later by strategic bombers taking off from the United States. Local air defenses, particularly fighter...

    • Document No. 39: Memorandum of the Conference of Defense Ministers, May 27–28, 1966
      (pp. 217-219)

      After two earlier meetings of Warsaw Pact deputy defense ministers and deputy foreign ministers had ended in deadlock (Document Nos. 36 and 37), Moscow communicated informally with some of its allies, particularly the Poles, to make them come up with generally acceptable proposals for reorganizing the alliance. The main obstacle, of course, was the Romanians, who had previously raised a variety of challenges to the Soviet position. This document records a subsequent meeting of the Pact’s defense ministers where the new proposals were discussed in an attempt to find a compromise. Among other points of interest, it gives a more...

    • Document No. 40: Memorandum of the Conference of Foreign Ministers, June 14–15, 1966
      (pp. 220-224)

      Because of the lack of consensus on how to improve the functioning of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviets decided to shelve the issue temporarily in order to focus on other pressing matters at the important foreign ministers’ conference recorded here. One priority was the question of a conference on European security. The Soviets had prepared a declaration on the subject but had not been able to build a consensus among the partners. At this meeting, the issue became intermingled with reform of the Warsaw Pact when Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko submitted a draft declaration on European security and the Romanians...

    • Document No. 41: Minutes of Summit of Warsaw Pact Leaders in Bucharest, July 5–7, 1966
      (pp. 225-236)

      After a series of unproductive meetings of the allies, this PCC session finally produced agreement on certain issues important to the Soviets. The relatively free-wheeling discussion prompted a senior Romanian official to later comment that this was the first high-level gathering where widely divergent views were both discussed and accepted. The issue of Vietnam prompted loud arguments between the Soviets, Romanians and Poles. At one point, Brezhnev became so upset at Ceauşescu —who had proposed 20 separate amendments to a Soviet declaration on the Vietnam War—that he threatened to sign the document even without Romania. Ceauşescu retorted that he...

    • Document No. 42: Transcript of Gathering of Warsaw Pact Leaders in Karlovy Vary, April 25, 1967
      (pp. 237-241)

      This conference of Warsaw Pact leaders at Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, received significant attention in the West at the time, but it was only recently that the transcript of most of the sessions became available. Officially, it was not a Warsaw Pact meeting, but it dealt extensively with socialist bloc political strategy vis-à-vis NATO. Significantly, the Romanians refused to attend, allegedly because Ceauşescu had not been properly consulted, but in reality because he did not want to commit to what the Soviet Union would dictate on behalf of the other member-states. Ceauşescu also wanted to avoid being associated with an anti-NATO...

    • Document No. 43: East German Analysis of the NATO “Fallex 66” Exercise, 1967
      (pp. 242-244)

      Each autumn, NATO held a major command post exercise known as “Fallex.” This East German analysis of Fallex 66, carried out on West German territory, provides an interesting perspective of NATO capabilities from the point of view of the adversary. One of its main conclusions is that the Western alliance showed an impressive ability to defend the Federal Republic. According to the scenario of the exercise, Warsaw Pact forces would be able to penetrate up to 110 kilometers inside the country before being forced to retreat and deal with a counter-offensive on East German and Czechoslovak territory. The study found...

    • Document No. 44: Report on the State of the Bulgarian Army in the Wake of the Middle East War, October 7, 1967
      (pp. 245-248)

      The June 1967 Arab–Israeli war came as a shock to the Warsaw Pact. Because Israel was armed and backed by the United States, the performance of the Israeli army in its crushing defeat of the Arabs was seen as indicative of how NATO might perform in war time. At least two high-level meetings evaluated the war’s impact from the military, political, and economic points of view. At a July 11 conference of party chiefs, Brezhnev complained about Middle Eastern clients he could not control: “It’s not Europe, where we have the iron thumb.”¹¹ The document presented here, from the...

    • Document No. 45: Memorandum of Results of the Chiefs of General Staff Meeting regarding Reorganization of the Warsaw Treaty, March 1, 1968
      (pp. 249-251)

      Since 1965 the Soviets had been trying, without much success, to bring about greater institutionalization and a tightening of controls within the Warsaw Pact. By the end of 1967, the matter had taken on added importance with NATO’s recent steps toward greater consolidation following recommendations made by the Harmel Report¹³ prepared by Belgium’s former foreign minister. As a result, Moscow convened several important meetings of its allies, one of which is summarized in this memorandum. A key issue in reorganization of the Pact was the creation of a Military Council, which was supposed to be the counterpart to the NATO...

    • Document No. 46: Czechoslovak Report on the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of March 6–7, 1968, March 26, 1968
      (pp. 252-257)

      This meeting of the PCC is interesting in several respects. It was the first to be convened at Romania’s initiative, the Romanian goal being to discuss both the ongoing conundrum of Warsaw Pact reorganization and one of the hot issues of the day—nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The meeting also revealed aspects of the internal dynamics underway in Czechoslovakia at a time of growing political ferment in the country. As with earlier meetings, the Soviets were unable to achieve any satisfaction on alliance restructuring and the delegates once again shunted the matter off to higher levels. Romania’s main problem with...

    • Document No. 47: Remarks by the Czechoslovak Chief of Staff on the Theory of Local War, March 13, 1968
      (pp. 258-260)

      These remarks by Chief of General Staff Gen. Otakar Rytíř are one of several examples of the critical views of various Czechoslovak military and party officials toward the overall Soviet strategy being imposed on the Warsaw Pact. Rytíř’s comments are compelling not only because of his blunt language but also because he was not a reformer. His criticism of Moscow’s position is based on the belief that its policy undermined the interests of both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. For one thing, the defensive tasks assigned to Czechoslovakia within the framework of the Warsaw Pact were, he believed, beyond the...

    • Document No. 48: Record of Gomułka–Iakubovskii Conversation in Warsaw, April 19, 1968
      (pp. 261-263)

      Because of the continuing stalemate over Moscow-backed reforms within the Warsaw Pact, the Kremlin sent Supreme Commander Ivan I. Iakubovskii to Eastern Europe to lobby each country’s party leader. This is a record of his meeting with Władysław Gomułka in Poland, the first stop on his tour. Iakubovskii brought with him a Soviet draft of several proposed new statutes regarding the Military Council, the unified command and the unified air defense system. By this time, the reform movement that came to be known as the Prague Spring was in full stride in Czechoslovakia, a situation that alarmed Gomułka because of...

    • Document No. 49: Report to Nicolae Ceauşescu on the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee in Sofia, June 3, 1968
      (pp. 264-269)

      After his visit with Gomułka in Poland (Document No. 48), Soviet Marshal Iakubovskii traveled to East Berlin and Budapest to try to win support for Moscow’s plans to reorganize the Warsaw Pact. Given the problems raised by Romania at earlier meetings (see, for example, Document No. 45), he deliberately bypassed Bucharest. The Soviets did send a copy of their proposal to Romania, however, and this letter from Defense Minister Ion Ioniţă to Nicolae Ceauşescu reflects the Romanian military’s positions on the matter. Ioniţă believes it is quite possible other allies will accept the Soviet proposals, in which case Romania should...

    • Document No. 50: Memorandum of the Academic Staff of the Czechoslovak Military Academies on Czechoslovakia’s Defense Doctrine, June 4, 1968
      (pp. 270-278)

      Sometimes referred to in Western literature as the Gottwald memorandum, this document was prepared by the staffs of the Klement Gottwald Military Political Academy in Prague and the Antonín Zápotocký Military Technical Academy in Brno. Its authors were official theoreticians who by this time had become reformers, and as such had moved in their thinking much farther than the Dubček leadership. Although the memorandum was originally intended for party leaders, it also was published in the newspapers on July 2, which must certainly have alarmed the Soviets because its ideas were quite unorthodox. Despite the use of Marxist jargon it...

    • Document No. 51: Action Program of the Czechoslovak Army, June 11, 1968
      (pp. 279-282)

      During the Prague Spring, no segment of Czechoslovak society, not even the military, was immune to pressures for reform. As seen elsewhere (Document No. 47, for example), elements of the Czechoslovak Army wanted to move much farther than the delegation to the PCC meeting in March was willing to go. This draft action program, prepared within the Defense Ministry, offers interesting details of the reformers’ thinking. It shows the authors’ clear interest in demonstrating fundamental loyalty to the Warsaw Pact. Thus, the program reflects support for structural and statutory changes in the alliance and for the proposed Military Council. But...

    • Document No. 52: Czechoslovak Central Committee Study of Security Policy, June 24, 1968
      (pp. 283-285)

      At the same time that elements of the Czechoslovak army were pressing a nationally oriented reform agenda with respect to the Warsaw Pact, upper layers of the Communist Party put forward an even more controversial critique of the alliance. Prepared by the Eighth [Defense and Security Policy] Department of the Central Committee, this study of Czechoslovak security policy was sent by the head of the CC State Administration Department, Gen. Václav Prchlík, to Dubček for discussion by the Presidium. However, before that debate could take place, Defense Minister Martin Dzúr objected that the study was “politically incorrect”²¹ and should not...

    • Document No. 53: Reports on the “Šumava” Exercise, July 1968
      (pp. 286-293)

      These three documents relate to the “Šumava” maneuvers, which became the military cover for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The first item is a memo by Gen. Tadeusz Tuczapski, one of Poland’s more outspoken military officers. Tuczapski does not try to hide the difficulties or problems that emerged during the exercise, which was intended to intimidate the Dubček leadership, although it did not entirely succeed. The maneuvers resulted in near chaos when Polish movements interfered with an ongoing Czechoslovak reconnaissance exercise. Soviet Marshal Ivan Iakubovskii’s intervention created a “very unpleasant atmosphere” and delays ensued. Other problems arose, partly because the...

    • Document No. 54: Transcript of the Meeting of Five Warsaw Pact States in Warsaw, July 14–15, 1968
      (pp. 294-301)

      The July 14–15 Warsaw meeting involving the leaders of the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria was the venue at which the so-called “Warsaw Five” came to a consensus on the likely need for military intervention in Czechoslovakia. This excerpt from the minutes of the session²⁶ shows that the Soviets at the time believed they could not rely on the Czechoslovaks (for obvious reasons), the Romanians or the Albanians when the time came to act. Polish leader Gomułka was the most vocal in his criticism of Czechoslovakia at the meeting. He feared that the spillover effect of the...

    • Document No. 55: Czechoslovak and East German Views on the Warsaw Pact, July 1968
      (pp. 302-304)

      The two documents reproduced here show the different perspectives held by the Czechoslovak reformers and the conservative East Germans. Both records are from July 1968, when the Czechoslovak crisis had already escalated. The first document precedes the crucial July 14–15 Warsaw meeting of Warsaw Pact members—minus Czechoslovakia and Romania—at which the remaining five countries’ leaders reached a consensus on the probable need for military intervention in Czechoslovakia (see Document No. 54). The memorandum is intended to preempt the spreading criticism of Czechoslovakia as being disloyal to the alliance. It apparently resulted from a conference of representatives of...

    • Document No. 56: Report by East German Defense Minister on the Invasion of Czechoslovakia, August 22, 1968
      (pp. 305-307)

      This report by East German Defense Minister Heinz Hoffmann deals with the invasion of Czechoslovakia. It is an internal report addressed to his country’s National Defense Council and although it is undated it clearly was written very soon after the intervention had begun. Of particular interest are Hoffmann’s comments about NATO’s attitude toward the invasion and about the role of East German forces in the operation. He reports, accurately, that NATO intelligence and command staffs were completely taken by surprise, but he cautions that this does not mean NATO has poor intelligence capabilities. Both remarks are fully consistent with what...

    • Document No. 57: Record of the Meeting between President Ludvík Svoboda and Czechoslovak Army Officers, August 28, 1968
      (pp. 308-310)

      This internal Czechoslovak record of a meeting following the August invasion shows genuine confusion among senior Czechoslovak military and civilian officials over the reasons for the Soviet-led move. Throughout the Prague Spring, the country’s leaders had repeatedly claimed that the party was loyal to Moscow and the socialist camp, and had no intention of leaving the Warsaw Pact, unlike the Hungarian leadership in 1956. (See Document No.3) However, newly available Warsaw Pact records show increasing suspicion of Czechoslovak motives on the part of Brezhnev and his colleagues to a point where they concluded Dubček was simply trying to deceive his...

    • Document No. 58: Letter from the East German Deputy Defense Minister to Erich Honecker about His Conversation with Marshal Iakubovskii, August 31, 1968
      (pp. 311-311)

      This letter from Gen. Heinz Kessler to GDR leader Erich Honecker provides a perspective on the delicate matter of East German participation in the Czechoslovak invasion. The issue was sensitive given the Czechs’ memories of German occupation during World War II. In a conversation between Kessler and Warsaw Pact Supreme Commander Iakubovskii about how to treat the NVA’s participation in public, the Soviet marshal decided, apparently on his own initiative, that it should be mentioned only in general terms, and not include any references to specific deployments. Iakubovskii reveals that reconnaissance and transport units were in fact deployed on Czechoslovak...

    • Document No. 59: Report by the East German Defense Minister on NATO’s “Fallex 68/Golden Rod” Exercise, November 21, 1968
      (pp. 312-313)

      Defense Minister Hoffmann’s report on NATO’s “Fallex” maneuvers in October 1968 reveals the interesting notion that Warsaw Pact leaders felt the need to provide further justification for the intervention in Czechoslovakia. The interpretation Hoffmann offers, clearly reporting what the Soviets have told him, is that NATO had been preparing to take advantage of internal developments in Czechoslovakia to interfere in the country’s affairs, and was only prevented from doing so by the Warsaw Pact action. (See also Document No. 56.) Thus the argument now is that there were military as well as political reasons for invading. Since this was not...

    • Document No. 60: Czechoslovak–Soviet Agreement on the Stationing of Soviet Nuclear Forces, November 13–14, 1968
      (pp. 314-316)

      This document is a report by Chief of Gen. Staff Rusov to President Svoboda about the secret agreement governing the stationing of Soviet nuclear missiles in Czechoslovakia. The issue of Soviet nuclear deployments on the territory of other Warsaw Pact states was one of the most sensitive that arose within the alliance.³¹ With respect to Czechoslovakia, the Soviet-led invasion added a new twist. A Czech author, Jiří Fidler, has asserted that one of the main reasons for the invasion was to force Czechoslovakia to accept the Soviet missiles.³² In fact, the two countries had signed agreements on the matter well...

    • Document No. 61: Czechoslovak General Staff Study on the Warsaw Treaty, December 21, 1968
      (pp. 317-320)

      The Czechoslovak General Staff prepared this study about the role of the country in the military organization of the Warsaw Pact four months after the Soviet intervention. As such it presents a somewhat different point of view from critiques prepared only months before during the height of the Prague Spring, although it also tries to preserve some of the ideas from that period (see Document Nos. 51 and 52). This study argues that Czechoslovakia has always played a major role in the Warsaw Pact, and should continue to do so. It emphasizes that the country has been second only to...

    • Document No. 62: New Secret Statutes of the Warsaw Pact, March 17, 1969
      (pp. 323-329)

      The March 1969 Political Consultative Committee meeting was a watershed for the Warsaw Pact. After years of trying, the Soviet Union finally managed to achieve agreement on the reorganization and consolidation of the alliance, which would have far-reaching consequences in coming years. The statutes of the new institutions approved at the session are reproduced here. The first item is the statute of the Committee of Defense Ministers, one of the new entities created at the meeting. The ministers had held meetings before but these were now to be regularized, following NATO practice.

      The second document aimed at responding to deficiencies...

    • Document No. 63: Appeal for a European Security Conference, March 17, 1969
      (pp. 330-331)

      One of the issues discussed at the March 1969 PCC meeting was an appeal for a European security conference. This appeal was important because it eventually opened the way to the Helsinki conference and the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. The Soviets had raised the idea time and again in previous years but always under conditions that were patently unacceptable to the West, such as excluding the United States or requiring restrictions of West Germany. This time Moscow issued the appeal without preconditions. It was still controversial, as Romanian President Ceauşescu’s later comments indicate (see Document No....

    • Document No. 64: Report by Ceauşescu to the Romanian Politburo on the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Budapest, March 18, 1969
      (pp. 332-338)

      Despite the main import of the March 1969 PCC session (see Documents Nos. 62 and 63), Nicolae Ceauşescu in this very colorful report to the Romanian Politburo chooses to focus on areas where disagreements took place, and on which the Romanian delegation managed to have an impact. One example was an appeal for holding a conference on European security (later known as the CSCE), which the Soviet Union wanted the PCC to issue. But Ceauşescu objected, complaining that the appeal’s tone toward the West was far too harsh. In another example, Romanian opposition blocked a Polish proposal to reject West...

    • Document No. 65: Polish Army Report on East German Misbehavior during the “Oder–Neisse-69” Exercise, October 22, 1969
      (pp. 339-341)

      Despite efforts at the leadership levels to find common ground within the Warsaw Pact, relationships among the supposedly fraternal parties at lower echelons were often quite raw. This Polish report describes with some feeling a variety of transgressions committed by German soldiers on Polish territory during the recent “Oder–Neisse” exercises. The document, from the Main Political Administration of the Polish Armed Forces, mentions that the East Germans still have a guilt complex about the last war but also show scorn for Polish organizational abilities and suspicion that the Poles are seeking rapprochement with West Germany over their heads. East...

    • Document No. 66: Speech by Marshal Grechko at the “Zapad” Exercise, October 16, 1969
      (pp. 342-346)

      This speech by Defense Minister Andrei Grechko at the end of the annual “Zapad” (“West”) exercise shows that since the onset of détente little had changed in Warsaw Pact military planning. As always, the exercise began with a NATO conventional attack. Even with French participation, the offensive succeeded in penetrating only 10–70 kilometers into Warsaw Pact territory before being repulsed all the way back to the Rhine. According to the scenario, the West would prepare to use nuclear weapons while the East would try to prevent their use.

      Speaking about the international situation, Grechko admits that no immediate threat...

    • Document No. 67: Hungarian Foreign Ministry Memorandum of Soviet–Hungarian Consultations on the European Security Conference, October 18, 1969
      (pp. 347-349)
      Károly Erdélyi

      Between March and October 1969, the Soviet-bloc appeal for a European security conference made considerable progress; several West European countries responded favorably and Finland offered to host the preparatory meetings (although it is still not entirely clear whether this was a Finnish or Soviet initiative). During the Fall, the Kremlin engaged the Hungarians more and more in contrast to the Poles and East Germans who were each espousing proposals for the conference that for different reasons made Moscow decidedly uneasy (see Document Nos. 68 and 69). The document below gives an idea of the issues on which the various sides...

    • Document No. 68: Polish Proposals for the Conference on Security and Disarmament, October 24, 1969
      (pp. 350-353)

      The Warsaw Pact member-states held numerous meetings to discuss a common strategy for the CSCE conference, including how to sell it to the West. But before anything could be agreed, the Poles prepared their own unilateral proposal without prior clearance from Moscow. (Ever since the Rapacki Plan,⁶ security of its western border had been a particular concern for Poland.)

      This proposal, which was not just an idea for a conference but a draft of a treaty, is reproduced here. Among its features is a provision for compulsory consultation among signatories (including smaller countries), which could be read as putting constraints...

    • Document No. 69: East German Evaluation of Polish Proposal for a European Security Treaty, November 13, 1969
      (pp. 354-355)

      In this reaction to the Polish proposals on European security and disarmament (see the previous document), the East Germans clearly grasped what the Poles were up to, concluding that if their proposal were implemented it would be much more onerous for the Soviets and the Warsaw Pact than for the United States and NATO. The discussion over what exactly the CSCE should look like continued mainly because the Soviets themselves were unsure of what they wanted or believed they could accomplish. The initial Soviet idea was for a conference that would make general statements essentially confirming the territorial and political status...

    • Document No. 70: Speech by Grechko at the First Meeting of the Warsaw Pact Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 22, 1969
      (pp. 356-357)

      Soviet Defense Minister Grechko’s speech at the first meeting of the recently created Committee of Ministers of Defense can be regarded as representative of Soviet military thinking during the early period of superpower détente. Clearly uncomfortable with the new approach, Grechko believed (as his hard-line counterparts in the United States did about the Soviet Union) that the West was using the cover of a relaxation of tensions to build up its military capabilities for limited wars and subversion, primarily in the Third World, but possibly in Europe as well. At the same time, Grechko seems to contradict himself on the...

    • Document No. 71: Hungarian Report of Warsaw Pact Summit on Policy toward West Germany, January 7, 1970
      (pp. 358-364)

      This Hungarian report of a meeting of Warsaw Pact heads of state deals mainly with policy toward West Germany in the wake of Willy Brandt’s election as chancellor and the initiation of Ostpolitik.⁷ The meeting provides another example of Moscow’s changed approach toward alliance members. Rather than simply announcing its decision, the Kremlin found it advisable first to consult about the meaning of the new FRG policy and how to respond, in hopes of gaining maximun support for its preferred policies. The document, which is typical of the high quality of Hungarian diplomatic reporting, records a rather lively debate at...

    • Document No. 72: Minutes of Romanian Politburo Meeting Concerning the Ceauşescu–Brezhnev Conversation, May 20, 1970
      (pp. 365-379)

      Several of the documents in this volume illuminate Romania’s unique role as maverick within the Warsaw Pact. This report by Nicolae Ceauşescu to the Romanian Politburo about a meeting with Leonid Brezhnev gives a fascinating look—albeit from one side—at the personal relationships between the Romanian and Soviet leaders, and at Romanian opinions of the Soviets. Although he may tend to embellish his account, Ceauşescu probably also felt a need to be reasonably accurate in conveying such important information to his colleagues.

      Not surprisingly, Brezhnev’s main purpose at the meeting was to complain about Romania’s position within the Warsaw...

    • Document No. 73: The Surrender of Hannover according to the Polish Army’s “Bison” Exercise, April 21–28, 1971
      (pp. 380-381)

      Among the many documents now available about Warsaw Pact exercises, this Polish example provides a particularly optimistic depiction of what was planned. For example, in describing the aftermath of the surrender of Hannover, West Germany, it was anticipated that the Polish army would establish a loyalist administration in cooperation with the Social Democrats, traditionally reviled by communists. This account also shows the level of detailed planning that went into these exercises....

    • Document No. 74: Transcript of Romanian Politburo Meeting on Ceauşescu’s Trip to Asia and Moscow, June 25, 1971
      (pp. 382-389)

      In this set of minutes, the Romanian Politburo discusses Ceauşescu’s recent trip to China and Moscow. At the time, the Chinese factor was becoming increasingly important for the Warsaw Pact, as well as divisive since it did not have the same immediate significance for Eastern Europe as it did for the USSR. Not surprisingly, Romania differed from Moscow more than the other partners did. During his meetings with the Chinese, Ceauşescu explained the Romanian position on the Warsaw Pact, specifically Romanian opposition to the transformation of the alliance into a supranational entity. He also told the Chinese that they were...

    • Document No. 75: Comparison of Warsaw Treaty and NATO Positions concerning the European Security Conference, December 1, 1971
      (pp. 390-392)

      At the time this document was written, preparations for the European security conference had been underway for almost two years and the respective positions of the Warsaw Pact and NATO had crystallized. Those positions are reflected clearly here and point to some very different conceptions of the CSCE and its purpose. The Soviets wanted to convene the conference soon, whereas the Western side favored discussing the agenda first, and proposed adding to it a range of subjects including human rights. For its part, the East wanted to limit the agenda to security issues but excluding arms control negotiations. In the...

    • Document No. 76: Hungarian Memorandum on the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Moscow, February 3, 1975
      (pp. 393-394)

      This memorandum from Hungarian delegate József Marjai on the meeting of Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers in Moscow from January 29 to 30 is of interest mainly because it shows how the split between Romania and its allies had widened. Eventually it reached the point where it was impossible to hold joint celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the Pact. The Romanians had objected to the event because they opposed virtually all joint activities, favoring national celebrations instead. In this case, they proposed a meeting of parliamentarians to discuss the issues of security and cooperation in Europe. The absence of...

    • Document No. 77: Iakubovskii Report on the State of the Unified Armed Forces, December 31, 1975
      (pp. 395-396)

      In an earlier account of a meeting between Ceauşescu and Brezhnev in 1970 (Document No. 72), the Romanian leader boasted that he had easily prevailed over the Soviet general secretary one-on-one. But in the larger picture Moscow ultimately had the upper hand over Bucharest. In this document, Warsaw Pact Supreme Commander Iakubovskii reports on the state of the Unified Armed Forces. He indicates that operational plans and the coordination of forces are being handled without Romania’s participation, and that while Pact members have signed agreements to develop their forces over the next five years (1976–1980), this plan excludes Romania....

    • Document No. 78: Evaluation of the Helsinki Final Act by the Czechoslovak Party Presidium, April 28, 1976
      (pp. 397-401)

      While the West won a number of concessions in the lead-up to the 1975 Helsinki conference (see Document No. 75), the Warsaw Pact believed it had achieved much of what it wanted out of the process, as this Czechoslovak evaluation of the Final Act shows. Written half a year after the signing of the Act, the document may be regarded as close to the Soviet position since it originated with a staunchly conformist regime and was based in part on discussions held in Moscow during the intervening period. An important aim of the document was to outline a strategy for...

    • Document No. 79: Czechoslovak Analysis of the “Soiuz 77” Exercise, March 21–29, 1977
      (pp. 402-403)

      One of the themes that has become apparent with the recent availability of East European military files is that Warsaw Pact exercises often operated on fundamentally unreasonable assumptions. Thus, the 1977 “Soiuz” (Unity) exercise in Czechoslovakia and Hungary presumes, as usual, a NATO attack, this time making use of Austrian territory. As early as the second day, the Warsaw Pact is already in a position to start a counter-offensive and push the enemy back. This is particularly surprising given the signals Soviet bloc intelligence was receiving about NATO’s growing conventional and nuclear capabilities at the time. It also seems clear...

    • Document No. 80: Description of Activities of an East German Spy inside NATO, April–May 1977
      (pp. 404-405)

      Much has been written about the murky world of espionage on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. It is well established that East and West tried, and often succeeded in, placing “moles” (double agents) inside each other’s camps. Rarely, however, is there hard evidence of their operational activities. This excerpt from the memoir of East German intelligence officer Heinz Busch gives an example, offering an absorbing, if brief, account of the exploits of Ursula Lorenzen, alias “Michelle”, an agent who operated inside NATO for years, extracting some of the Western alliance’s most closely held military secrets....

    • Document No. 81: Marshal Ogarkov Analysis of the “Zapad” Exercise, May 30–June 9, 1977
      (pp. 406-412)

      The 1977 “Zapad” (“West”) maneuvers, which took place in East Germany, were intended to assess the Warsaw Pact’s ability to counteract the marked progress in NATO’s combat readiness. The Western alliance had recently completed the comparable “Wintex” maneuvers, the largest ever, and according to an East German report, the results showed the Pact falling short of its objective

      Adding to the significance of “Zapad,” the scenario assumed that NATO would initiate hostilities under the guise of maneuvers (such as Wintex). This theme appears with greater frequency in the late 1970s. Warsaw Pact intelligence was well aware of NATO’s actual plans,...

    • Document No. 82: Report by Marshal Kulikov on the State of the Unified Armed Forces, January 30, 1978
      (pp. 413-414)

      In 1977, Marshal Viktor Kulikov had taken over as Warsaw Pact supreme commander. Here he reports on the condition of the Pact during a period when the alliance was taking steps to counter what it perceived to be a shift in the military balance in NATO’s favor. He places particular emphasis on combat readiness and modernization of armaments of all kinds. By 1978, détente had already begun to deteriorate over a variety of issues from the SALT process to conflicts in the Third World, notwithstanding the interest of both superpowers in reducing tensions.⁴⁹ The Kremlin’s main response was to increase...

    • Document No. 83: Soviet Statement at the Chiefs of General Staff Meeting in Sofia, June 12–14, 1978
      (pp. 415-417)

      As part of the continuing effort to establish a war time chain of authority and procedures within the Warsaw Pact, Soviet Gen. S.F. Romanov tries to explain to his counterparts why a statute on these matters is needed. His statement starts with a repetition of the standard Soviet view that a future war will be a decisive confrontation between the two systems, that it will most likely be fought with all available weapons and that the goal of the Warsaw Pact side will be complete victory. (By this time NATO had already abandoned that goal in favor of terminating war...

    • Document No. 84: Speech by Brezhnev at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Moscow, November 22, 1978
      (pp. 418-421)

      Addressing his fellow Warsaw Pact leaders, Brezhnev reflects an increasingly dour view of the world situation, deploring the deterioration of détente with the United States. He notes that among other things the Western allies are increasing their military spending, which he ascribes to the correlation of forces turning against them. He is troubled by indications that China and NATO may be starting to develop closer economic and military cooperation, and he invokes the socialist camp’s “sacred duty”—not to disturb the equilibrium of military power. As the decade of the 1970s came to a close, Brezhnev was not alone among...

    • Document No. 85: Minutes of the Romanian Politburo Meeting, November 24, 1978
      (pp. 422-424)

      These Romanian Politburo minutes deal largely with a recent PCC meeting where the USSR had pressed for affirmation of the rights and prerogatives of the Warsaw Pact supreme commander in war time. In 1969, the alliance had approved a similar statute for peace time (Document No. 62b), but the war time equivalent had been postponed for several years because of ongoing objections by member-states.

      As this record shows, the Romanians continued to oppose the idea. They argued that there was no trend toward war, as the Soviets were insisting, and demanded cuts in military spending instead. They specifically criticized “Soviet...

    • Document No. 86: Statute of the Unified Command in War Time, March 18, 1980
      (pp. 427-434)

      The statute of the Unified Command in war time finally won approval by the Warsaw Pact members after nearly a decade. In part, the delay grew out of its members’ concerns that any steps that might be taken to prepare for war could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By late 1978, however, the international situation had deteriorated, détente was foundering, and the West appeared to be taking a more aggressive stance, mainly through its conventional rearmament program. Even then, Romania continued to oppose the statute, and never actually signed it, the main objection being that it gave the supreme commander too...

    • Document No. 87: Ceauşescu’s Speech at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, May 14–15, 1980
      (pp. 435-437)

      At this meeting of the PCC, Romania found a great many things to disparage, including its handling of the MBFR² and its criticisms of China, West Germany and the Camp David accords.³ Ceauşescu proposes to proceed toward dissolving both the Warsaw Pact and NATO, and meanwhile requiring unilateral cuts in military spending of 10–15 percent by 1985, as well as a reduction in conventional forces and abolition of foreign bases on the territories of Warsaw Pact member-states. He also asserts that it was not necessary for the Soviet Union to send troops to Afghanistan and that Romania would be...

    • Document No. 88: Summary of the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ Preparatory Meeting for the CSCE Madrid Conference, July 8–9, 1980
      (pp. 438-440)

      The purpose of this meeting of Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers, held at Soviet initiative, was to prepare a joint strategy for a CSCE follow-up session in Madrid. That session would begin in 1980 and drag on for over three years. The Soviets’ basic goal in Madrid was to weaken NATO politically and undermine support in Western Europe for the Atlantic alliance’s military reorganization program. Within the Eastern bloc, this strategy was known as military détente. Moscow was most interested in emphasizing Basket I issues, namely, the basic political–military aspects of East–West relations, and shifting attention away from...

    • Document No. 89: Bulgarian Report on the Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Bucharest, December 8, 1980
      (pp. 441-442)

      Bulgarian Gen. Dobri Dzhurov’s report, not terribly informative on its face, is interesting precisely for that reason—because of what it reveals about Warsaw Pact thinking about the Polish crisis at this time. At bottom, even during this critical period, the alliance was still undecided about what to do. According to the CIA informant, Polish Col. Ryszard Kukliński, Soviet-led forces were finally supposed to intervene against Solidarity on December 8, the day this report was written. But the Warsaw Pact summit of December 5 ended with the decision not to take military action for the time being. In fact, an...

    • Document No. 90: The Soviet Military’s Attempts to Gain Polish Leadership Cooperation to End the Polish Crisis, January–April 1981
      (pp. 443-445)

      The first document below is a letter from East German Defense Minister Heinz Hoffmann to SED leader Erich Honecker reporting on a telephone conversation Hoffmann had with Warsaw Pact Supreme Commander Viktor Kulikov. During that conversation, Kulikov described the Soviet military’s position on Poland at the time. Moscow was still interested in staging maneuvers on Polish territory to get rid of Solidarity but wanted to do so by involving rather than ignoring the Polish army. Kulikov had therefore been trying to persuade Kania and Jaruzelski to hold joint exercises, and to include East German participation, but the Poles were evasive...

    • Document No. 91: Report on Conversation between Marshal Kulikov and Senior East German Military Officials, June 13, 1981
      (pp. 446-448)

      In this colorful account of a conversation between Soviet Marshal Viktor Kulikov and East German generals in Dresden, Kulikov reveals a great deal about both Soviet military strategy and thinking toward Poland, and quite a bit about his own personal views as well. His reference to a Soviet operational group working at the base at Legnica is significant because by the following month there is evidence that it had been withdrawn, which indicates the timing of the Kremlin’s decision to give up on a military solution, at least for the foreseeable future. On the personal side, Kulikov sprinkles his remarks...

    • Document No. 92: Information by Marshal Ustinov on Soviet Strategic Offensive Forces, September 1981
      (pp. 449-450)

      In this statement during the annual “Zapad” exercises, Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Dmitrii Ustinov provides a description of the purpose of certain Soviet armaments, which basically confirms Western assessments that they were first-strike weapons. Specifically, he says that the SS-20 missile is meant for both first and subsequent nuclear strikes against strategic military targets in “all European NATO states and the adjacent seas.” Ustinov underscores that the United States and NATO have no equivalent and that SS-20s are particularly secure because they are on mobile launchers. He also talks about the Kiev aircraft carrier, making it clear that it was...

    • Document No. 93: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Moscow, December 1–4, 1981
      (pp. 451-455)

      At this meeting of the Committee of Defense Ministers in Moscow, the main topic is not Poland but the Reagan administration’s proposal for a zero option on medium-range missiles in Europe. Soviet Marshal Dmitrii Ustinov declares that the correlation of forces is not in the Warsaw Pact’s favor—except in the area of nuclear weapons; therefore the U.S. proposal is unacceptable. On the third day of the session, Poland is discussed. Polish Defense Minister Florian Siwicki asks the group to approve a draft communiqué regarding a declaration of martial law he has brought with him, referring to the need for...

    • Document No. 94: Transcript of the Soviet Politburo Meeting on the Crisis in Poland, December 10, 1981
      (pp. 456-461)

      This extraordinary document records a Soviet Politburo meeting just three days before the declaration of martial law in Poland. The main topic of discussion initially is Poland’s economic situation and Jaruzelski’s earlier request for economic assistance. It appears from the discussion that Moscow is not certain whether martial law is finally imminent. Of the many important points raised here, one of the more significant is the Soviets’ indication that they have no intention of introducing forces into Poland to back up a Polish crackdown. This directly contradicts Jaruzelski’s ex post facto rendition of events, in which he contends Moscow was...

    • Document No. 95: Memorandum of Conversation with Marshals Ustinov and Kulikov concerning a Soviet War Game, June 14, 1982
      (pp. 462-465)

      This Soviet war game, described to East German Defense Minister Heinz Hoffmann by Soviet marshals Dmitrii Ustinov and Viktor Kulikov, envisioned several air and sea landings—on the Danish islands, in the Lower Saxony area of West Germany, and in France. Interestingly, one of the Soviet assumptions in this exercise, which took place immediately after the Polish crisis, was that Poland and Romania would want to leave the Warsaw Pact. The Russians pointed out that Romania had recently refused permission to Warsaw Pact troops to cross its territory in order to take part in an exercise in Bulgaria. Ustinov remarks...

    • Document No. 96: Report on Speech by Marshal Ogarkov at a Warsaw Pact Chiefs of Staff Meeting in Minsk, September 8–10, 1982
      (pp. 466-468)

      Speaking to a meeting of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff in Minsk, Soviet Marshal Nikola Ogarkov draws an alarming picture of the state of the world, comparing it to the conditions that immediately preceded the outbreak of World War II. Referring to the sanctions the West imposed against Poland and the USSR, he asserts that the United States has already declared war on the Soviet Union and its allies. The U.S. goal, he says, is to destabilize the Warsaw Pact countries through economic warfare while at the same time planning to wage limited nuclear war. The danger of war, he...

    • Document No. 97: East German Intelligence Report on the Operational Plan of the U.S. 5th Army Corps in War Time, December 16, 1982
      (pp. 469-471)

      At the beginning of the 1980s, the KGB’s top priority was to acquire Western intelligence that could help warn of a surprise attack against the Warsaw Pact. The agency’s head, Iurii Andropov, had been convinced for some time that nuclear war was a genuine possibility and he worried that advances in NATO technology and armaments would give the West a fatal advantage. The discovery of the U.S. Army and NATO operational plan described in this East German intelligence report provided invaluable information about Western strategies and objectives. Approved by the Department of the Army and adopted by NATO as of...

    • Document No. 98: Speech by Andropov at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Prague, January 4–5, 1983
      (pp. 472-479)

      Iurii Andropov delivered this important speech to the PCC soon after becoming general secretary of the CPSU. His comments mark another stage in the Soviet leadership’s endeavors to understand the changes in American and NATO policies from the Carter to the Reagan administrations. Andropov’s interpretation is that the West is compensating for both recent losses in the Third World and the ongoing internal crisis of capitalism. At least the first part of the argument, though not the second, is directly in line with Reagan’s own thinking. Implicitly criticizing the stagnant policies of his predecessor, Leonid Brezhnev, Andropov also asserts that...

    • Document No. 99: Scenario of the “Soiuz-83” Exercise, June 9–August 2, 1983
      (pp. 480-482)

      Two excerpted descriptions of the “Soiuz-83” exercise appear below. The first document, a Czechoslovak military analysis, describes how the maneuvers fit with new Soviet military plans. It explains that the exercise presumed a Western ability to launch surprise attacks in all European theaters simultaneously. This same estimate of enemy capabilities can be found in early NATO and American documents from the 1950s where 175 Soviet divisions were believed to be ready to attack almost anywhere yet still remain capable of defending the homeland. A further assumption in the document below is that the West would resort to launching over 5,000...

    • Document No. 100: East German Summary of Warsaw Pact Summit in Moscow, June 28, 1983
      (pp. 483-484)

      The main purpose of this Warsaw Pact leadership meeting in Moscow was to assess the impending introduction of Euromissiles—intermediate-range missiles intended to counter the same kind of missiles already deployed by the Soviet Union—which by now was regarded as all but certain. If the missiles were deployed, the Soviet Union would have to live up to its stated intention to walk out of the Geneva talks, the only still ongoing East–West arms control negotiations. Andropov’s message to his colleagues is that the Warsaw Pact must not allow the West to achieve military superiority through deployment of the...

    • Document No. 101: Summary of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Sofia, October 20, 1983
      (pp. 485-489)

      One aim of this meeting of the Warsaw Pact’s Committee of Foreign Ministers held on October 13–14, 1983, was to decide on ways to warn NATO against another round of the arms race. Most of the treatment of that subject focuses on a speech by Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko who emphasizes the desirability of exploring “a convergence of interests between European socialist and capitalist countries” in order to influence U.S. policy. But this summary also devotes extensive attention to the problems Romania’s persistent opposition to Warsaw Pact proposals poses for the Eastern alliance’s own attempts to present a unified...

    • Document No. 102: Statement by Marshal Ustinov at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Sofia, December 5–7, 1983
      (pp. 490-491)

      This meeting provided a forum for Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Dmitrii Ustinov to speak to his Warsaw Pact colleagues about the dangers posed by the West’s decision to deploy Euromissiles.³⁴ He declares that the move calls for measures to preserve “equilibrium”—which ironically was the West’s rationale for deploying them in the first place. This view was the Warsaw Pact’s public position but was apparently genuinely believed by its leaders because Ustinov’s remarks were made during a closed meeting. Commenting that the West is undertaking unprecedented preparations for war, he wonders aloud how the alliance should respond. He cites Soviet...

    • Document No. 103: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Budapest, April 26, 1984
      (pp. 492-495)

      The main significance of this Czech summary of the foreign ministers’ meeting is that it gives a clear picture of the concern that the Reagan administration’s rearmament policy provoked within the Eastern alliance. Foreign ministers’ meetings were generally characterized by very candid discussions. As usual, the Romanians created significant difficulties for the Soviets and their closer allies, in this case by effectively backing Reagan’s proposal for an “interim solution” of freezing NATO Euromissile deployments at current levels while requiring the Warsaw Pact to remove all of its previous missile installations. This discussion came at a time when the Soviet Union...

    • Document No. 104: Transcript of Honecker–Chernenko Meeting in Moscow, August 17, 1984
      (pp. 496-499)

      This remarkable set of minutes of a meeting between top Soviet and East German leaders shows how assertive the GDR had become by this time, and simultaneously the degree to which respect for Moscow’s authority had eroded in some East European capitals. At the meeting, Erich Honecker faces sharp criticism from several Soviet leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev, for allegedly succumbing to West German influence. But he defiantly answers the charges and manages to put Soviet party boss Konstantin Chernenko on the defensive. The bluntness of the exchanges is particularly striking for the GDR, which had started out as the most...

    • Document No. 105: Report by the Head of Soviet Military Intelligence to the Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 3–5, 1984
      (pp. 500-506)

      As the political leadership in Moscow was on the verge of adopting “new thinking” under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet military remained vested in presenting an alarmist view of the international scene. Here, Gen. Petr I. Ivashutin, head of Soviet military intelligence, gives his perspective on NATO’s long-term armament program. The Western alliance by this time had successfully implemented the program adopted in 1979, which included the introduction of “smart” (high-precision) conventional weapons and the AirLand strategy of deep thrusts behind the lines of advancing enemy forces, along with its attendant build-up of military capabilities. Ivashutin argues that these developments show...

    • Document No. 106: Speech by Gorbachev at the Warsaw Treaty Summit in Moscow, April 26, 1985
      (pp. 507-510)

      The April 1985 Warsaw Pact summit was the first since January 1983, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s first in his position as general secretary of the CPSU. The intervening period was one of disarray within the Soviet leadership, which Gorbachev hoped to bring to an end. Among the views he expresses here is that the Warsaw Pact’s attainment of strategic military equilibrium with NATO was a historic accomplishment, yet it had so far produced no visible improvement in international relations. Instead, the West continued its struggle for superiority, including in the area of conventional arms, which would allow it to destroy Warsaw...

    • Document No. 107: Warsaw Pact Information concerning Improvements in NATO Military Technology, November 11, 1985
      (pp. 511-512)

      This East German document, prepared for a session of that country’s National Defense Council, provides information on the latest improvements in NATO’s military technology. It argues that NATO is aiming to achieve superiority in that area, and then, interestingly, specifies the equipment and new conventional weapons systems the Warsaw Pact considers critical. At the time, the Western alliance was stepping up the introduction of so-called “smart” munitions and technically superior tracking systems, such as AWACS reconnaissance aircraft....

    • Document No. 108: Speech by Marshal Kulikov at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Strausberg, December 2–5, 1985
      (pp. 513-513)

      In this speech, Kulikov declares in shrill tones the warning that the United States is essentially preparing the ground for an attack against the Warsaw Pact, and forcing the rest of NATO to go along with it. It is interesting to compare his viewpoint with that of East German leader Erich Honecker, by no means soft on the West, who is much more at ease during this period (see Document No. 109). The timing of Kulikov’s speech is also of interest, coming one week after the Geneva summit between Reagan and Gorbachev, which while initiating a process of dialogue between...

    • Document No. 109: East German Intelligence Assessment of NATO’s Intelligence on the Warsaw Pact, December 16, 1985
      (pp. 514-515)

      This Stasi document shows that the East had an accurate indication of how NATO evaluated the Warsaw Pact. The authors judge that NATO’s knowledge is “mostly accurate and reliable,” and that the west has concluded that Warsaw Pact military strength and war preparations are constantly on the rise. Intelligence information, such as that compiled in this kind of document, usually came from various sources, mainly West German, thus showing that East German spies and their informants had an extensive run of the FRG Defense Ministry as well as of NATO headquarters....

    • Document No. 110: Scenario for the “Granit-86” Exercise, December 23, 1985
      (pp. 516-517)

      The Warsaw Pact’s “Granit 86” exercise aimed at creating a permanently functioning air defense system in both peace time and war time. As was often the case, the alliance presumed for purposes of the exercise that a NATO attack would take place under cover of maneuvers, and that it would lead to substantial Warsaw Pact casualties. Unlike many earlier exercises, this one assumed that no nuclear weapons would be used. In this respect, it seems the Warsaw Pact was taking account of the West’s AirLand Battle concept—an innovation during the Reagan presidency, which involved the coordination of air and...

    • Document No. 111: Summary of the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw, March 19–20, 1986
      (pp. 518-521)

      Eduard Shevardnadze’s presentation at this foreign ministers’ meeting aimed at demonstrating to the other Warsaw Pact members that Gorbachev was serious about encouraging input from the allies in negotiations on common security policy toward the West. After providing background to the Soviet leader’s recent proclamation on eliminating nuclear weapons, Shevardnadze made recommendations for expanding cooperation within the alliance. The following remarks by other ministers are rather wide-ranging and free-flowing, ending with detailed proposals on disarmament by the Romanian representative....

    • Document No. 112: East German Intelligence Assessments of an FRG Appraisal of the National People’s Army, April 28 and May 27, 1986
      (pp. 522-525)

      Providing more evidence of the depth of the spy-versus-spy operations that took place between the two Germanys (see Documents Nos. 80, 97 and 109), the following two reports document East Germany’s acquisition and assessment of a secret West German evaluation of the GDR’s army. The first report was prepared for Chief of Staff Fritz Streletz to solicit his evaluation of the accuracy of the FRG’s information. In the second document, he concludes that it was mostly on the mark, although he offers some corrections. Streletz provides his views to Erich Mielke, Minister of State Security, responsible for the Stasi security...

    • Document No. 113: Bulgarian Memorandum on the Bulgarian–Romanian Proposal for a Chemical Weapons-Free Zone in the Balkans, March 21, 1986
      (pp. 526-527)

      This Bulgarian document refers to a proposal by Bulgaria and Romania to create a nuclear-free zone in the Balkans. It shows that by this time the Soviets came to regard such initiatives by their allies not only as acceptable but consistent with their own goals. This particular proposal met with a reserved response from Turkey and, not surprisingly, Albania. Greece, and especially Yugoslavia, were more positive in their reactions....

    • Document No. 114: East German Ideas concerning a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in Central Europe, May 21, 1986
      (pp. 528-530)

      The following two East German documents exemplify the range of proposals that emerged in the mid-1980s to reduce the confrontation along the East–West fault line. They also reflect the prominence of the GDR which, though the most conservative and anti-Western Warsaw Pact member-state, took the lead role in trying to demilitarize the confrontation in Central Europe. One proposal was to create there a zone free of tactical nuclear weapons. This was a variation of the Rapacki Plan⁴⁶ but under entirely new circumstances. Formally it was a proposal by the East German SED and the West German Social Democratic Party...

    • Document No. 115: Minutes of the Political Consultative Committee Party Secretaries’ Meeting in Budapest, June 11, 1986
      (pp. 531-538)

      This East German document records a revealing discussion among Warsaw Pact party secretaries on the question of disarmament. Taking place within weeks of the April 26 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, it shows how that accident influenced Soviet and East European perceptions of what a nuclear war in Europe might look like. As Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski put it, “No one should have the idea that in a nuclear war one could enjoy a cup of coffee in Paris five or six days later.” The document also shows that the Soviet Union was pursuing across-the-board nuclear and conventional force reductions although the...

    • Document No. 116: Report to the Bulgarian Politburo on Romanian Arms Reduction Proposals, September 22, 1986
      (pp. 539-540)

      In this report to the Bulgarian Politburo, Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov describes the state of recent Romanian efforts to get the Warsaw Pact to initiate unilateral arms cuts. Despite Gorbachev’s more open attitude on such questions, the rest of the alliance, including the Soviets, balk at the idea once more. Mladenov suggests that the issue be tabled temporarily....

    • Document No. 117: Czechoslovak Summary of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Bucharest, October 18, 1986
      (pp. 541-545)

      Following shortly after the Reykjavik summit between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, this Warsaw Pact foreign ministers’ meeting provided a forum for the Soviets to explain the content of the summit to the allies and to solicit their cooperation in taking follow-up action. In answer to the Soviet call to retain the initiative in international affairs, the ministers agree to wage a “broad offensive” not only in the ongoing Geneva talks but also at the CSCE. Each Warsaw Pact representative proceeds to advance proposals for how to accomplish this task....

    • Document No. 118: Summary of Statements at the Military Council Meeting in Bucharest, November 10–11, 1986
      (pp. 546-548)

      At this gathering of the Military Council, Marshal Kulikov continues his refrain of warning about the relentless growth of NATO’s military potential. A large part of Kulikov’s concern is over the prospective “perfection of strategic nuclear forces” although, in his view, Euromissiles also represent an increased danger of war. Even if an arms control agreement is eventually reached, he says, the imperialists will continue to pose the threat of war. While this is not a new position for Kulikov, it was in line with Gorbachev’s own pessimistic attitude towards the prospects for arms control following the recent Reykjavik summit, where...

    • Document No. 119: Summary of Soviet Statement at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Warsaw, December 1–3, 1986
      (pp. 549-550)

      In these remarks, Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Gen. J.F. Ivanovskii reveals some of the improvements the Warsaw Pact plans to make in its conventional forces in order to counter advancements on the NATO side. Not a political speech, the statement is a straight description of how the alliance plans to upgrade its forces. One innovation would be the addition of new airborne assault troops, which he says would “make offensive operations more dynamic.” Another would be the introduction of marine amphibious units. There is little sense here that the Warsaw Pact is falling significantly behind NATO, which is a more...

    • Document No. 120: Outline of a Czechoslovak Command Post Exercise, January 27–28, 1987
      (pp. 551-553)

      This command post exercise appears to mark a transitional phase in Warsaw Pact strategic planning. The scenario consists of an act of aggression by NATO, together with Austria, whose forces would advance 100 km into Czechoslovakia while Turkish and Greek troops would enter Bulgaria and Italian units would go into Hungary. French, Spanish and other NATO forces would also take part. The emphasis of this battle plan is to pursue the defense of Warsaw Pact territory only by conventional means. Even after 15 days of hostilities, the enemy is presumed to still be using conventional forces as it attempts to...

    • Document No. 121: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Moscow, March 24–25, 1987
      (pp. 554-556)

      At this Warsaw Pact foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow, the allies continue discussions on how to implement Gorbachev’s new initiatives on arms control. They agree that the main goal is to support the Soviet Union in its attempts to reach an accord on the removal of intermediate-range missiles from Europe. Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze says that the Pact should seek a compromise on SDI rather than expect the United States to abandon it. An arms race must be prevented at all costs, he says. He adds that the Warsaw Pact should formulate a common position on the CSCE so...

    • Document No. 122: Soviet Explanation of the Warsaw Pact’s New Military Doctrine at the Chiefs of Staff Meeting in Moscow, May 18–25, 1987
      (pp. 559-561)

      These two statements by Soviet marshals Sergei Sokolov and Sergei Akhromeev were intended to explain to their Warsaw Pact military colleagues the important impending shift in strategy by Gorbachev from offense to defense. The meetings they are addressing preceded by a few days the full PCC session at the end of May 1987, at which the new concept was adopted (see Document No. 123). While the two officers are constrained to follow the orders of their civilian leadership, Sokolov in particular betrays the military’s reluctance to accept unilateral reductions in armaments or give up the capability to “definitively crush” the...

    • Document No. 123: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Berlin, May 27–29, 1987
      (pp. 562-571)

      This top-level PCC meeting took place shortly after the Soviet Union had adopted the American-proposed zero option on INF¹ (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces), a step which proved embarrassing to the Reagan administration because U.S. officials never expected Moscow to agree to it. The substance of this meeting was to approve a military doctrine that could supplement the Soviets’ new peace campaign and make it more credible. The several speeches and stenographic record of the sessions excerpted below reflect a variety of viewpoints, including Gorbachev’s, Kulikov’s, the East Germans’, and Romanians’. Of particular interest are Gorbachev’s opening comments at the May 29...

    • Document No. 124: Summary of a Consultation of Chiefs of Staff in Moscow, October 14, 1987
      (pp. 572-573)

      At this meeting of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff, an array of top Soviet military officials–Pavlov,⁵ Kulikov, Akhromeev, Gareev⁶–took turns informing their colleagues of the changes in military doctrine agreed to by the recent PCC meeting (see previous document). While they dutifully present the official Gorbachev position, it is clear they disagree with important parts of it, especially such concepts as yielding territory to NATO in case of war....

    • Document No. 125: Speech by General Iazov at the Ministers of Defense Meeting in Bucharest, November 26, 1987
      (pp. 574-576)

      At this Bucharest meeting of Warsaw Pact ministers of defense, Soviet Gen. (soon to be Marshal) Dmitrii Iazov argues against the notion that the Warsaw Pact armies are too large and should be cut back. Instead, he insists NATO’s forces are larger and that the East needs to catch up both in terms of size and in terms of technical capabilities. He therefore opposes making any change in the kinds of data on Warsaw Pact military strength to be provided to the West, and urges the allies to increase their financial and other contributions to the alliance....

    • Document No. 126: Proposal to Establish a Warsaw Pact Information and Propaganda Department, March 11, 1988
      (pp. 577-578)

      Reflecting growing Soviet awareness of the need to enhance the Warsaw Pact’s image, as well as both to propagate its goals and policies abroad, and justify them to its members Army Gen. Anatolii Gribkov informs East German Chief of Staff Gen. Fritz Streletz about a proposal to establish an information department for the Pact. (NATO had always had one.)...

    • Document No. 127: Memorandum of Akhromeev–Kessler Conversation, March 19, 1988
      (pp. 579-581)

      One-on-one conversations between Soviet bloc officials are often very informative for outside observers because they sometimes take place in an informal setting where the parties are more likely to reveal personal points of view. Here, Soviet Chief of Staff Sergei Akhromeev expands openly on various problems the Soviet Union is facing—economic, administrative and morale-related—to East German Defense Minister Heinz Kessler. Akhromeev evidently supports Gorbachev’s reform program, which many of his senior military colleagues vehemently opposed. Yet he also hastens to add that perestroika is not for everyone, and that each socialist country has to find its own way....

    • Document No. 128: Speeches at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Sofia, March 29–30, 1988
      (pp. 582-588)

      Two speeches from this meeting of the Committee of Foreign Ministers in Sofia are excerpted below. Both deal, from different perspectives, with the broader implications of disarmament for the Warsaw Pact. Eduard Shevardnadze’s speech makes the point that the Warsaw Pact must prevent NATO from trying to compensate for the removal of missiles under the INF treaty by modernizing its conventional forces. He proposes that the East set an example by reducing Warsaw Pact military expenditures without fear of political consequences. East German Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer is skeptical, implying that such a move would be very risky....

    • Document No. 129: Draft of a Revised Statute of the Unified Command in War Time, March 30–31, 1988
      (pp. 589-591)

      This is from the draft excerpt of a revised 1980 war time statute, which had been so unpopular with the Soviet allies (see Document No. 86). Although Moscow felt the need to loosen up the degree of control by the supreme commander, the revisions ended up being rather insignificant. For a detailed critical analysis of the revised statute by the Romanians, see Document No. 131....

    • Document No. 130: Summary of Statement by Marshal Akhromeev on Exchange of Data between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, May 17, 1988
      (pp. 592-593)

      Ever since the beginning of the MBFR negotiations in 1973, NATO and the Warsaw Pact had been unable to agree on data about each other’s military strength. This meeting, held at the invitation of the Soviet General Staff and Foreign Ministry, shows how the Pact prepared for the exchange of data and what difficulties and problems this posed for the Soviet military. Marshal Sergei Akhromeev provides some of the background, noting that the Americans had opposed swapping data with the Soviet Union, having insisted instead on an exchange between the two alliances, which would compare their overall strength. Although this...

    • Document No. 131: Transcript of Romanian Party Politburo Meeting, June 17, 1988
      (pp. 594-597)

      At this Romanian Politburo meeting, Nicolae Ceauşescu and his colleagues discuss the draft revision of the 1980 war time statue (see Document No. 129), and find little difference from the original. Having refused to sign the 1980 document, the Romanians conclude there is no reason to sign the revised one either. There follows a discussion of the kinds of data Romania will provide on the state of its armed forces. Ceauşescu insists that it go directly to the Warsaw Pact, not to the Soviet Union....

    • Document No. 132: Memorandum of Kulikov–Honecker Conversation, June 27, 1988
      (pp. 598-599)

      Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision to change Warsaw Pact strategy met continued resistance from elements of the Soviet military. Here, almost a year later, Marshal Viktor Kulikov describes to GDR leader Erich Honecker the continuing problem of how to stop a potential NATO attack. Notwithstanding the new defensive orientation of Warsaw Pact strategy, he declares that the only possible way is to launch a counter-offensive....

    • Document No. 133: Romanian Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, July 4–8, 1988
      (pp. 600-604)

      Despite Romania’s history of carping at the Soviets over the organization and structure of the Warsaw Pact, Bucharest eventually produced a serious proposal for improving the alliance, described in the letter below to the party central committees of the member-states. Along with promoting “democratization” through such steps as separating the PCC from the alliance’s other institutions and establishing a rotating presidency that would include non-Soviet representatives, the Romanians wanted to make membership open to any European communist country. This was an attempt to keep the door open to new members, such as Yugoslavia and Albania, who could all be expected...

    • Document No. 134: Summary of Gorbachev’s Speech at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Moscow, July 7, 1988
      (pp. 605-606)

      Gorbachev’s previously unpublished speeches at Warsaw Pact meetings, such as this one before a gathering of defense ministers, offer an enlightening glimpse of the behind-the- scenes context in which events during this period were taking place, and provide new evidence on Soviet leadership thinking. In this address, Gorbachev outlines his vision of a Warsaw Pact with significant differences from what the organization was before. One of the key new features he foresees is that each member-state will be “independently active.” In effect, he is allowing other members to follow their own policies. But, contrary to the belief held by many...

    • Document No. 135: Speech by Gorbachev at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, July 15, 1988
      (pp. 607-614)

      Speaking to the PCC, Gorbachev by this time has begun to develop more fully some of his ideas about reducing world tensions, armament levels, and especially mutual hostility between the two major military groupings. His remarks represent something of a dress rehearsal, or perhaps an internal justification, for his famous speech at the United Nations on December 7.¹² Among the many interesting comments he makes are references to the growing power of the European Community, which he says the Soviet Union had made a mistake in underestimating, to the necessity of building bridges with the new American administration after the...

    • Document No. 136: Summary of Discussion among Defense Ministers at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, July 15, 1988
      (pp. 615-617)

      As part of this discussion among Warsaw Pact defense ministers, the issue of sharing military data with NATO receives further attention. By this time, the internal debate has changed significantly (see Document No. 130, for example). Soviet Defense Minister Iazov specifically declares that the East must be truthful in its reporting because the enemy knows the real figures, down to the order of tens of thousands of men and thousands of tanks. If less or more were published, he argues, the Warsaw Pact would be open to accusations of lying before all humankind. One cannot keep anything secret anymore, he...

    • Document No. 137: Summary of Discussion at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Prague, October 17–18, 1988
      (pp. 618-620)

      The main topic of discussion at this defense ministers’ meeting was the Romanian proposal for reform of the Warsaw Pact (see Document No. 133). Most of the ideas proposed in it failed to generate support from the other member-states. For example, there was little interest in abolishing collective decision-making at a time when most of them believed that unilateral arms reductions required even greater coordination within the alliance. During the discussion, according to other records, Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Iazov nevertheless conceded, among other points, that the supreme commander did not have to be a Soviet citizen. The prevailing view...

    • Document No. 138: East German Evaluation of NATO’s 1988 Exercises, November 15, 1988
      (pp. 621-622)

      This report of various Western maneuvers continues in the vein of previous assessments of the threat of a surprise attack. Throughout the 1980s, these fears persisted, encouraged by NATO’s growing ability to stop advancing enemy forces by swift air attacks to their rear, and by events such as NATO’s “Able Archer 83” exercise which was meant to simulate the release of nuclear weapons, but because of its use of encrypted codes could have been misread as an indication that a surprise attack might be forthcoming. During the Gorbachev period, the Warsaw Pact continued to upgrade, including maritime operations forces such...

    • Document No. 139: Record of Conversation between Erich Honecker and the East German Defense Minister, December 4, 1988
      (pp. 623-625)

      Three days before Mikhail Gorbachev’s United Nations speech (see Document no. 135), GDR leader Erich Honecker describes for his defense minister, Heinz Kessler, a conversation he has just had with Soviet Ambassador Viacheslav Kochemasov about the new directions of Soviet policy. The Soviet leadership has concluded that arms cutbacks based on reciprocity with the West are not feasible, therefore the Warsaw Pact must make unilateral reductions, as long as they do not affect defense readiness. Furthermore, the Soviets imply these cuts should take place before the next round of conventional force reduction talks (CFE) in Vienna, otherwise those talks will...

    • Document No. 140: Minutes of the Sofia Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 17, 1988
      (pp. 626-628)

      At this Warsaw Pact defense ministers’ meeting 10 days after Mikhail Gorbachev’s U.N. speech (see Document no. 135), Iazov and Kulikov explain the Soviet rationale for making unilateral arms cuts. Although they do not say so below, they were themselves deeply worried about the consequenses of such a move, as were many of their colleagues. Not coincidentally, more than 100 Soviet officers, including Kulikov, were fired within weeks of this meeting....

    • Document No. 141: Report by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister at the Unofficial Meeting of Foreign Ministers at Niederschönhausen near Berlin, April 10, 1989
      (pp. 629-631)

      In a fascinating reversal of past practice, the foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact met—without their Soviet counterpart—to discuss subjects of mutual interest. Meeting at a government castle outside Berlin, the so-called “closed circle” focused on the implications of Gorbachev’s reforms, including his unilateral force reductions. Not only did the meeting, described here by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov, show that they recognized their interests did not always coincide with Moscow’s, but it placed the foremost supporters of the Warsaw Pact, the East Germans, uncharacteristically in agreement with the Pact’s main detractors, the Romanians. Of course, those two...

    • Document No. 142: Summary of Statement by the Soviet Defense Minister to Warsaw Pact Chiefs of Staff, April 28, 1989
      (pp. 632-633)

      Speaking to his alliance colleagues not long after Gorbachev’s purge of hard-line military officers, Marshal Dmitrii Iazov defends Moscow’s policy of going ahead with unilateral military reductions. He advocates opening the East’s military secrets to Western scrutiny and inviting closer ties to the capitalist states—all based on a revised conception of the international situation that no longer foresees the prospect of war. (Two years later, Iazov would take a dramatically different stand by playing a leading role in the August 1991 coup attempt to restore hard-line communists to power in the Soviet Union.)...

    • Document No. 143: Czechoslovak Description of “Vltava-89” Exercise, May 23, 1989
      (pp. 634-635)

      The 1989 “Vltava” exercise in Czechoslovakia differed significantly from previous such maneuvers. It showed that the Warsaw Pact had already begun to implement the transformation from an offensive to a defensive strategy introduced by Gorbachev. It exposed a number of practical implications that resulted from this important change. For example, there were difficulties in timing the retaliatory measures that were anticipated in the event of a NATO attack. Exercise directors also found it hard to simulate the release of nuclear weapons because their staffs no longer knew how to do so—one of several signs at the time that the...

    • Document No. 144: Bulgarian Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Treaty, June 14, 1989
      (pp. 636-641)

      The Bulgarians, after consulting with Moscow, made this counter-proposal in response to the 1988 Romanian proposal for Warsaw Pact reform (see Document No. 133). The Bulgarians proposed retaining the PCC but expanding its agenda, and providing for informal meetings at various levels, among other points. For the first time, the Soviets supported the idea of creating a unified secretariat with a rotating secretary general slot, similar to NATO. The bottom line, however, was that both the Bulgarians and Soviets wanted to maintain the Warsaw Pact—incorporating reforms as they deemed necessary—in hopes this would help strengthen the present regimes...

    • Document No. 145: Letter from the Bulgarian CC to the Romanian CC, June 21, 1989
      (pp. 642-643)

      In this letter to the Romanian Central Committee, the Bulgarian CC argues its case for a different approach to reforming the Warsaw Treaty (see Document Nos. 133 and 144). It particularly regards the Warsaw Pact as a “key factor for security and stability in Europe.”...

    • Document No. 146: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Bucharest, July 7–8, 1989
      (pp. 644-654)

      Although the substance of this PCC session was recognized at the time from its public statements,²⁶ the speeches delivered there by the main participants behind closed doors have never been published before. Together they provide a unique, multi-dimensional view into the deliberations of the Warsaw Pact at a key moment late in its existence. Among the conclusions that can be drawn is that Gorbachev is virtually alone in predicting the imminent end of the Cold War. Despite the generally positive tone of the other speeches, the recollections of Heinz Kessler, below, reveal that they glossed over serious issues and concerns...

    • Document No. 147: Records of the Foreign Ministers’s Meeting in Warsaw, October 26–27, 1989
      (pp. 655-663)

      This late October 1989 foreign ministers’ meeting in Warsaw was an attempt to find joint solutions to a number of difficult problems that the PCC had been unable to resolve before. The speeches cover a range of topics which help to understand the differing perspectives of the member-states just days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. While differing in their particulars, most members shared the view that the Warsaw Pact’s role should evolve in the light of recent global developments toward new priorities, from promoting all-European integration to fighting the war on drugs....

    • Document No. 148: East German Statement at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Budapest, November 27–29, 1989
      (pp. 664-664)

      The statement below, delivered by East Germany’s Defense Minister Adm. Theodor Hoffmann to his fellow Warsaw Pact defense ministers shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, shows that the East German army had become paralyzed by events and was in danger of disintegrating. His call for reform in order to draw the army closer to the people and confirm its loyalty to the Pact alludes to the delicacy of the situation, but he clearly still believes that the GDR and the alliance can and should be preserved. Gorbachev, too, held to this view at the time....

    • Document No. 149: Memorandum of Conversation between Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Aboimov and the Romanian Ambassador to the USSR, December 21, 1989
      (pp. 665-665)

      The violence that led to Nicolae Ceauşescu’s overthrow in Romania was sparked initially by a protest on December 16 in the Transylvanian city of Timişoara after government officials tried to deport a local priest. That protest grew exponentially despite, and indeed in the wake of, bloody reprisals by the Securitate secret police. Ceauşescu’s own reactions grew increasingly extreme as his security forces proved unable to stop the unrest from spreading to the capital. Typically, when Soviet bloc leaders faced significant domestic opposition, for instance in 1953, 1956, 1968 and 1980–81, they professed to see the causes in imaginary foreign...

    • Document No. 150: Czechoslovak Report on a Meeting at the Soviet General Staff, January 29, 1990
      (pp. 666-667)

      After their transition to non-communist rule, some Warsaw Pact member-states immediately sought talks with Moscow about withdrawing Soviet troops from their territory. At this January 1990 meeting, Soviet officials lay out their plans for keeping 275,000 troops in Central Europe, specifically in the GDR and Poland. Mikhail Gorbachev had already accepted Hungarian and Czechoslovak demands for a swift pullout, but at this meeting, the Polish delegate confirms that Warsaw has made no similar request. The Poles were worried about obtaining final recognition of their Western border from united Germany and believed—wrongly—that they might need leverage....

    • Document No. 151: East German Summary of the Ottawa Meeting of NATO and Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers, February 12–13, 1990
      (pp. 668-669)

      The Ottawa meeting of NATO and Warsaw Pact foreign ministers, originally convened to discuss President Bush’s May 1989 “Open Skies” proposal for greater transparency of the two alliances, was a landmark event in the process of diminishing mutual hostility between them. It may be surprising, given their historical antagonisms, that high-level officials on both sides were willing to go to such considerable lengths to preserve the two organizations, but by this time East and West generally saw them as contributing to international stability. Among the important particulars discussed in Ottawa was the status of Germany, one of the core issues...

    • Document No. 152: Memorandum of Eppelmann–Iazov Conversation, April 29, 1990
      (pp. 670-673)

      One of many striking signs of how much had changed in Eastern Europe by early 1990 was the fact that the first non-communist defense minister to be appointed in the GDR, Rainer Eppelmann, was a Protestant minister and a pacifist. Here he discusses the future of East Germany’s army with his staunchly communist Soviet counterpart, Dmitrii Iazov. Eppelmann hopes that Germany can serve as a bridge between the two alliances, and expects, among other things, that Soviet forces will remain in the GDR, with West Germany taking over their financial support. Iazov remarks that maintaining two German armies in one...

    • Document No. 153: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Moscow, June 7, 1990
      (pp. 674-677)

      The materials presented below record the last formal meeting of the PCC. That historic session produced a public declaration asserting that the ideological enemy image in both East and West has been overcome and conditions have been created for peaceful cooperation. Internal discussions at the meeting, however, show that differences among the members remained over how the Pact could or should be reformed. Czechoslovakia went the farthest in favoring elimination of its military structures and eventually played an influential role in steering the group toward dissolving the alliance. But for the time being, the members were prepared to see the...

    • Document No. 154: Recollections of Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry Adviser Jaroslav Šedivý, 1990–1991
      (pp. 678-681)

      Jaroslav Šedivý, an adviser to the first post-communist Czechoslovak foreign minister, Jiří Dienstbier, was involved in negotiations with the Soviets over the withdrawal of their troops from Czechoslovakia. He also attended the last meeting of the PCC. His memoir provides an excellent account of how the withdrawal was accomplished—essentially by pressing the Soviets when they were most susceptible (see also Document No. 150)....

    • Document No. 155: Agreement on the Cessation of the Military Provisions of the Warsaw Pact, February 25, 1991
      (pp. 682-684)

      This historic document provided for an end to the military provisions of the Warsaw Pact, a key step in the eventual dissolution of the alliance. It was prepared at a meeting of foreign ministers of the treaty’s member-states. Unfortunately, this was also the meeting where members agreed to withhold all important Pact documents from third parties unless the signatories unanimously consented to their release. Not only did they neglect to formulate any declassification procedures, but they failed to anticipate the very disappearance of some of the signatory states themselves—the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia....

  12. Main Actors Leading Officials of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and its Member-States, 1955–1991
    (pp. 685-692)
  13. Selected Bibliography on the Warsaw Pact
    (pp. 693-706)
  14. Index
    (pp. 707-726)
  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 727-727)