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Cardboard Castle?

An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact

Edited by Voitech Mastney and Malcolm Byrne

Publication Year: 2005

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.

Published by: Central European University Press

Series: National Security Archive Cold War Readers

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-xvi

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Editors’ Preface and Acknowledgements

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pp. xvii-xx

This volume is the first to gather in one place a comprehensive documentary record of the elusive and controversial history of the Soviet-led Cold War alliance from the inside. The product of a multi-year research effort, the book brings together formerly secret records from the archives of every member-state of the communist military grouping. ...

Acronyms and Abbreviations

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pp. xxi-xxiv

Chronology of Events

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pp. xxv-l

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The Warsaw Pact as History

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pp. 1-75

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. ...

Part One – The Formative Years

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Document No. 1: The Warsaw Treaty, May 14, 1955

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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. ...

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Document No. 2: Statute of the Warsaw Treaty Unified Command, September 7, 1955

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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, ...

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Document No. 3: Imre Nagy’s Telegram to Diplomatic Missions in Budapest Declaring Hungary’s Neutrality, November 1, 1956

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pp. 83-134

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 ...

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Document No. 4: Gen. Jan Drzewiecki’s Critique of the Statute of the Unified Command, November 3, 1956

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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. ...

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Document No. 5: Polish Memorandum on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 10, 1957

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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 ...

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Document No. 6: Gen. Drzewiecki’s Interview regarding Memorandum on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, May 8, 1997

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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. ...

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Document No. 7: Soviet Directives to the Czechoslovak Army on Operational and Combat Preparations, September 25, 1957

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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. ...

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Document No. 8: Draft of a Warsaw Pact-NATO Non-aggression Treaty, May 24, 1958

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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. ...

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Document No. 9: Marshal Ivan Konev’s Analysis of a Czechoslovak Army Operational Exercise, March 31–April 7, 1959

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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. ...

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Document No. 10: Conclusions from the Operational Exercise of the Czechoslovak Army, March 31–April 7, 1959

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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, ...

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Document No. 11: East German Description of a West German Plan for the Occupation of the GDR, July 29, 1959

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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 ...

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Document No. 12: Warsaw Pact Views of NATO’s Plans and Capabilities, April 28, 1960

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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. ...

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Document No. 13: The Soviet–Albanian Dispute, March 22–June 3, 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 14: Political Consultative Committee Resolution on the Restructuring and Modernization of Warsaw Pact Forces, March 29, 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 15: Czechoslovakia’s Strategic Position in a European War, April 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 16: Speech by Marshal Malinovskii Describing the Need for Warsaw Pact Offensive Operations, May 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 17: Czechoslovak Politburo Resolution on Mobilization Readiness with Respect to the Berlin Question, July 25, 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 18: Joint Declaration of the Warsaw Treaty States on the Berlin Wall, August 13, 1961

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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. ...

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Document No. 19: Resolution by the Czechoslovak Party Military Defense Commission on the Introduction of Emergency Measures, September 14, 1961

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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, ...

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Document No. 20: The “Buria” Exercise Preparing for an Advance into Western Europe, September 28–October 10, 1963

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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. ...

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Document No. 21: Organizational Principles of the Czechoslovak Army, November 22, 1962

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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. ...

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Document No. 22: The “Mazowsze” Exercise for Nuclear War and Interview with Gen. Tuczapski on Soviet Bloc Planning of Exercises, 1963–1964

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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. ...

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Document No. 23: Polish Command Post Exercise Rehearsing an Advance to Northern Germany, Low Countries, and Denmark, June 14, 1963

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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. ...

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Document No. 24: Mongolian Request for Admission to the Warsaw Pact, July 15, 1963

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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 ...

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Document No. 25: Polish Foreign Ministry Memorandum regarding Possible Mongolian Accession to the Warsaw Treaty, July 20, 1963

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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. ...

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Document No. 26: Czechoslovak Drafts of Orders and Appeals to be Issued in Occupied Western European Territories, June 29, 1964

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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. ...

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Document No. 27: Warsaw Pact War Plan for the Czechoslovak Front, October 14, 1964

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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. ...

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Document No. 28: Warsaw Pact Intelligence on NATO’s Strategy and Combat Readiness, 1965

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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. ...

Part Two – The Crisis

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Document No. 29: Albanian Note to the Political Consultative Committee, January 15, 1965

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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, ...

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Document No. 30: Minutes of Discussion at Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, January 20, 1965

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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. ...

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Document No. 31: Plan for Hungarian Command-Staff War Game, May 1965

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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. ...

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Document No. 32: Transcript of Ceaușescu–Deng Conversation, July 25, 1965

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pp. 192-194

This account of a meeting between Nicolae Ceaușescu 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. Ceaușescu informs Deng that the Soviets want to reorganize the Warsaw Pact’s command structure to tighten its centralized control ...

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Document No. 33: Hungarian Proposals for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 18–19, 1966

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pp. 195-199

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. ...

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Document No. 34: Polish Proposals for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, January 21 & 26, 1966

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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 ...

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Document No 35: Czechoslovak Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, February 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 36: Statement by the Romanian Chief of Staff on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, February 4–9, 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 37: Summary of Discussion at Conference of Warsaw Treaty Deputy Foreign Ministers, February 17, 1966

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pp. 212-214

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. ...

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Document No. 38: Study of Special Features of a Surprise Outbreak of War Prepared for the Hungarian Military, February 22–23, 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 39: Memorandum of the Conference of Defense Ministers, May 27–28, 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 40: Memorandum of the Conference of Foreign Ministers, June 14–15, 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 41: Minutes of Summit of Warsaw Pact Leaders in Bucharest, July 5–7, 1966

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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. ...

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Document No. 42: Transcript of Gathering of Warsaw Pact Leaders in Karlovy Vary, April 25, 1967

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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. ...

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Document No. 43: East German Analysis of the NATO “Fallex 66” Exercise, 1967

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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. ...

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Document No. 44: Report on the State of the Bulgarian Army in the Wake of the Middle East War, October 7, 1967

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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. ...

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Document No. 45: Memorandum of Results of the Chiefs of General Staff Meeting regarding Reorganization of the Warsaw Treaty, March 1, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 46: Czechoslovak Report on the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of March 6–7, 1968, March 26, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 47: Remarks by the Czechoslovak Chief of Staff on the Theory of Local War, March 13, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 48: Record of Gomułka–Iakubovskii Conversation in Warsaw, April 19, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 49: Report to Nicolae Ceaușescu on the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee in Sofia, June 3, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 50: Memorandum of the Academic Staff of the Czechoslovak Military Academies on Czechoslovakia’s Defense Doctrine, June 4, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 51: Action Program of the Czechoslovak Army, June 11, 1968

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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. ...

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Document No. 52: Czechoslovak Central Committee Study of Security Policy, June 24, 1968

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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, ...

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Document No. 53: Reports on the “Šumava” Exercise, July 1968

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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, ...

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Document No. 54: Transcript of the Meeting of Five Warsaw Pact States in Warsaw, July 14–15, 1968

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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 ...

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Document No. 55: Czechoslovak and East German Views on the Warsaw Pact, July 1968

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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 ...

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Document No. 56: Report by East German Defense Minister on the Invasion of Czechoslovakia, August 22, 1968

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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 ...

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Document No. 57: Record of Meeting between President Ludvík Svoboda and Czechoslovak Army Officers, August 28, 1968

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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, ...

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

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pp. 311-362

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. ...

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

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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 ...

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Document No. 60: Czechoslovak–Soviet Agreement on the Stationing of Soviet Nuclear Forces, November 13–14, 1968

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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 ...

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Document No. 61: Czechoslovak General Staff Study on the Warsaw Treaty, December 21, 1968

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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, ...

Part Three – The Alliance at Its Peak

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Document No. 62: New Secret Statutes of the Warsaw Pact, March 17, 1969

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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 farreaching consequences in coming years. ...

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Document No. 63: Appeal for a European Security Conference, March 17, 1969

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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, ...

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Document No. 64: Report by Ceaușescu to the Romanian Politburo on the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Budapest, March 18, 1969

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pp. 332-338

Despite the main import of the March 1969 PCC session (see Documents Nos. 62 and 63), Nicolae Ceaușescu 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. ...

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

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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. ...

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Document No. 66: Speech by Marshal Grechko at the “Zapad” Exercise, October 16, 1969

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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. ...

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Document No. 67: Hungarian Foreign Ministry Memorandum of Soviet–Hungarian Consultations on the European Security Conference, October 18, 1969

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pp. 347-349

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). ...

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Document No. 68: Polish Proposals for the Conference on Security and Disarmament, October 24, 1969

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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.) ...

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Document No. 69: East German Evaluation of Polish Proposal for a European Security Treaty, November 13, 1969

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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. ...

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Document No. 70: Speech by Grechko at the First Meeting of the Warsaw Pact Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 22, 1969

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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 ...

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Document No. 71: Hungarian Report of Warsaw Pact Summit on Policy toward West Germany, January 7, 1970

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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. ...

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Document No. 72: Minutes of Romanian Politburo Meeting Concerning the Ceaușescu–Brezhnev Conversation, May 20, 1970

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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 Ceaușescu 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. ...

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Document No. 73: The Surrender of Hannover according to the Polish Army’s “Bison” Exercise, April 21–28, 1971

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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 ...

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Document No. 74: Transcript of Romanian Politburo Meeting on Ceaușescu’s Trip to Asia and Moscow, June 25, 1971

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pp. 382-389

In this set of minutes, the Romanian Politburo discusses Ceaușescu’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. ...

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Document No. 75: Comparison of Warsaw Treaty and NATO Positions concerning the European Security Conference, December 1, 1971

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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. ...

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Document No. 76: Hungarian Memorandum on the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Moscow, February 3, 1975

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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. ...

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Document No. 77: Iakubovskii Report on the State of the Unified Armed Forces, December 31, 1975

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pp. 395-396

In an earlier account of a meeting between Ceaușescu 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. ...

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Document No. 78: Evaluation of the Helsinki Final Act by the Czechoslovak Party Presidium, April 28, 1976

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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 ...

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Document No. 79: Czechoslovak Analysis of the “Soiuz 77” Exercise, March 21–29, 1977

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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. ...

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Document No. 80: Description of Activities of an East German Spy inside NATO, April–May 1977

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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. ...

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Document No. 81: Marshal Ogarkov Analysis of the “Zapad” Exercise, May 30–June 9, 1977

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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. ...

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Document No. 82: Report by Marshal Kulikov on the State of the Unified Armed Forces, January 30, 1978

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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. ...

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Document No. 83: Soviet Statement at the Chiefs of General Staff Meeting in Sofia, June 12–14, 1978

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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, ...

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Document No. 84: Speech by Brezhnev at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Moscow, November 22, 1978

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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. ...

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Document No. 85: Minutes of the Romanian Politburo Meeting, November 24, 1978

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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. ...

Part Four – The Incipient Decline

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Document No. 86: Statute of the Unified Command in War Time, March 18, 1980

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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. ...

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Document No. 87: Ceaușescu’s Speech at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, May 14–15, 1980

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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 Ceaușescu 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, ...

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Document No. 88: Summary of the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ Preparatory Meeting for the CSCE Madrid Conference, July 8–9, 1980

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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. ...

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Document No. 89: Bulgarian Report on the Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Bucharest, December 8, 1980

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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. ...

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Document No. 90: The Soviet Military’s Attempts to Gain Polish Leadership Cooperation to End the Polish Crisis, January–April 1981

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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. ...

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Document No. 91: Report on Conversation between Marshal Kulikov and Senior East German Military Officials, June 13, 1981

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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. ...

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Document No. 92: Information by Marshal Ustinov on Soviet Strategic Offensive Forces, September 1981

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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 ...

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Document No. 93: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Moscow, December 1–4, 1981

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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 mediumrange 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; ...

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Document No. 94: Transcript of the Soviet Politburo Meeting on the Crisis in Poland, December 10, 1981

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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. ...

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Document No. 95: Memorandum of Conversation with Marshals Ustinov and Kulikov concerning a Soviet War Game, June 14, 1982

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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, ...

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Document No. 96: Report on Speech by Marshal Ogarkov at a Warsaw Pact Chiefs of Staff Meeting in Minsk, September 8–10, 1982

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pp. 466-468

Speaking to a meeting of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff in Minsk, Soviet Marshal Nikolai 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. ...

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Document No. 97: East German Intelligence Report on the Operational Planof the U.S. 5th Army Corps in War Time, December 16, 1982

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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. ...

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Document No. 98: Speech by Andropov at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Prague, January 4–5, 1983

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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. ...

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Document No. 99: Scenario of the “Soiuz-83” Exercise, June 9–August 2, 1983

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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. ...

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Document No. 100: East German Summary of Warsaw Pact Summit in Moscow, June 28, 1983

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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. ...

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Document No. 101: Summary of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Sofia, October 20, 1983

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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” ...

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Document No. 102: Statement by Marshal Ustinov at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Sofia, December 5–7, 1983

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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. ...

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Document No. 103: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Budapest, April 26, 1984

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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. ...

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Document No. 104: Transcript of Honecker–Chernenko Meeting in Moscow,August 17, 1984

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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. ...

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Document No. 105: Report by the Head of Soviet Military Intelligence to the Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 3–5, 1984

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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. ...

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Document No. 106: Speech by Gorbachev at the Warsaw Treaty Summit in Moscow, April 26, 1985

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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. ...

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Document No. 107: Warsaw Pact Information concerning Improvements in NATO Military Technology, November 11, 1985

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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. ...

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

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pp. 513-564

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, ...

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Document No. 109: East German Intelligence Assessment of NATO’s Intelligence on the Warsaw Pact, December 16, 1985

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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. ...

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Document No. 110: Scenario for the “Granit-86” Exercise, December 23, 1985

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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. ...

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Document No. 111: Summary of the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw, March 19–20, 1986

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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, ...

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Document No. 112: East German Intelligence Assessments of an FRG Appraisal of the National People’s Army, April 28 and May 27, 1986

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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. ...

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

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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. ...

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Document No. 114: East German Ideas concerning a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in Central Europe, May 21, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 115: Minutes of the Political Consultative Committee Party Secretaries’ Meeting in Budapest, June 11, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 116: Report to the Bulgarian Politburo on Romanian Arms Reduction Proposals, September 22, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 117: Czechoslovak Summary of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Bucharest, October 18, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 118: Summary of Statements at the Military Council Meeting in Bucharest, November 10–11, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 119: Summary of Soviet Statement at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Warsaw, December 1–3, 1986

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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. ...

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Document No. 120: Outline of a Czechoslovak Command Post Exercise, January 27–28, 1987

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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. ...

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Document No. 121: Report on the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Moscow, March 24–25, 1987

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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. ...

Part Five – Disintegration

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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

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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). ...

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Document No. 123: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Berlin, May 27–29, 1987

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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. ...

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Document No. 124: Summary of a Consultation of Chiefs of Staff in Moscow, October 14, 1987

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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, ...

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Document No. 125: Speech by General Iazov at the Ministers of Defense Meeting in Bucharest, November 26, 1987

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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. ...

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Document No. 126: Proposal to Establish a Warsaw Pact Information and Propaganda Department, March 11, 1988

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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.) ...

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Document No. 127: Memorandum of Akhromeev–Kessler Conversation, March 19, 1988

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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 ...

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Document No. 128: Speeches at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Sofia, March 29–30, 1988

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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 ...

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Document No. 129: Draft of a Revised Statute of the Unified Command in War Time, March 30–31, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 130: Summary of Statement by Marshal Akhromeev on Exchange of Data between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, May 17, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 131: Transcript of Romanian Party Politburo Meeting, June 17, 1988

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pp. 594-597

At this Romanian Politburo meeting, Nicolae Ceaușescu 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. ...

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Document No. 132: Memorandum of Kulikov–Honecker Conversation, June 27, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 133: Romanian Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Pact, July 4–8, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 134: Summary of Gorbachev’s Speech at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Moscow, July 7, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 135: Speech by Gorbachev at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, July 15, 1988

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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 ...

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Document No. 136: Summary of Discussion among Defense Ministers at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, July 15, 1988

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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, ...

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Document No. 137: Summary of Discussion at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Prague, October 17–18, 1988

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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 ...

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Document No. 138: East German Evaluation of NATO’s 1988 Exercises, November 15, 1988

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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 ...

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Document No. 139: Record of Conversation between Erich Honecker and the East German Defense Minister, December 4, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 140: Minutes of the Sofia Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Defense, December 17, 1988

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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. ...

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Document No. 141: Report by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister at the Unofficial Meeting of Foreign Ministers at Niederschönhausen near Berlin, April 10, 1989

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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. ...

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Document No. 142: Summary of Statement by the Soviet Defense Minister to Warsaw Pact Chiefs of Staff, April 28, 1989

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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 ...

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Document No. 143: Czechoslovak Description of “Vltava-89” Exercise, May 23, 1989

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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. ...

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Document No. 144: Bulgarian Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Treaty, June 14, 1989

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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. ...

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Document No. 145: Letter from the Bulgarian CC to the Romanian CC, June 21, 1989

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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.” ...

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Document No. 146: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Bucharest, July 7–8, 1989

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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. ...

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Document No. 147: Records of the Foreign Ministers’s Meeting in Warsaw, October 26–27, 1989

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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. ...

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Document No. 148: East German Statement at the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting in Budapest, November 27–29, 1989

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pp. 664-715

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. ...

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

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pp. 665-716

The violence that led to Nicolae Ceaușescu’s overthrow in Romania was sparked initially by a protest on December 16 in the Transylvanian city of Timișoara 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. ...

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Document No. 150: Czechoslovak Report on a Meeting at the Soviet General Staff, January 29, 1990

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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. ...

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Document No. 151: East German Summary of the Ottawa Meeting of NATO and Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers, February 12–13, 1990

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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. ...

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Document No. 152: Memorandum of Eppelmann–Iazov Conversation, April 29, 1990

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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. ...

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Document No. 153: Records of the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Moscow, June 7, 1990

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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. ...

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Document No. 154: Recollections of Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry Adviser Jaroslav Šedivý, 1990–1991

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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. ...

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Document No. 155: Agreement on the Cessation of the Military Provisions of the Warsaw Pact, February 25, 1991

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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. ...

Main Actors

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pp. 685-692


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pp. 693-706


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pp. 707-726


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pp. 778-785

Back Cover

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p. 786-786

E-ISBN-13: 9786155053696
Print-ISBN-13: 9789637326080

Page Count: 786
Publication Year: 2005

Edition: 1st
Series Title: National Security Archive Cold War Readers