P R E S S R E L E A S E: 29 NOVEMBER 2001
EUROPEAN CITIES TARGETED FOR
Vienna, Munich, Verona, and other European population and cultural centers
were to be “completely destroyed,” according to 1965 Warsaw Pact plans
for war in Europe made public today on the Zurich-based web site of the
History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP) -- an international
consortium of scholars dedicated to the study of the historical background
of European security, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php.
Found in the Hungarian archives, the documents are vivid reminders of
the menace posed by the Cold War nuclear arsenals that Presidents Bush
and Putin are only now beginning to significantly dismantle. Also published
on the website is a confidential report from 1981 in which Soviet minister
of defense Marshal Dmitri Ustinov identifies the Soviet SS-20 missiles
as tools of the nuclear destruction of strategic targets in “all European
Although Western European cities were always suspected as being targeted,
this is the first time that obliteration of specific cities is confirmed
from top-secret planning records. The Hungarian document describes a highest-level
command exercise indistinguishable from actual war plans -- such as was
the 1964 Warsaw Pact plan for an attack on Western Europe published on
the PHP website in May 2000.
The main findings:
1. The Warsaw Pact planners never clarified whether the launching
of nuclear weapons should precede or follow a surprise nuclear attack by
the enemy -- the crucial ambiguity that beset also NATO planners, casting
doubt on the validity of nuclear deterrence.
The Hungarian documents have been made available by the Cold War History
Research Center in Budapest, a member of the PHP network.
2. The Warsaw Pact plans presumed the destruction of Budapest and other
Hungarian cities by NATO nuclear bombs but did not elaborate on the consequences.
3. In the event of war, the Warsaw Pact forces were prepared to ignore
the neutrality of Austria on the assumption NATO would ignore it as well.
4. The detailed descriptions of probable Western military operations
in the exercise suggest its authors having had access, through Warsaw Pact
spies, to NATO’s top-secret plans for war, none of which has been made
public thus far.
5. The plans for nuclear war in Europe remained in effect despite the
ups and downs of East-West détente.
Visit the PHP website at http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php
to read the documents in the original and in English translation, and to
find out more about the PHP’s other activities. Introductory essays by
Imre Okváth, Leopoldo Nuti, and Erwin Schmidl address the Hungarian,
Italian, and Austrian aspects of the Warsaw Pact operations. The Ustinov
document was found in the German military archives in Freiburg by PHD coordinator
Vojtech Mastny. The website is part of the International Relations and
Security Network (ISN), operated by the Swiss Center for Security Studies
and Conflict Research at ETH Zurich as a major Swiss contribution to NATO’s
Partnership for Peace.
For further information, contact: Csaba Békés,
director, Cold War History Research Center, Cb91@nyu.edu,
or Vojtech Mastny, PHP coordinator, VMastny@aol.com.