Soviet plans to annihilate Europe revealed

Dating from 1979, the map reveals how Soviet forces could respond to a Nato assault by invading Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Red and blue mushroom clouds are marked on the map, showing Soviet nuclear bombs raining down on cities including Brussels, Antwerp, Munich and Stuttgart, and Nato nuclear strikes on Warsaw and a line of Polish territory, cutting the country in two. The Nato objective was to halt a second wave of Soviet troops sweeping westwards from Russia. Polish military chiefs said yesterday that about two million people would have died in Poland alone. Meanwhile, Britain and France appeared to have escaped unscathed, so separate plans may have existed for them.

The right-wing Polish government sent a powerful political message by releasing the map from the military archives, reinforcing its tough, nationalistic and anti-Russian rhetoric.

The Law and Justice party emphasised that key figures in the previous social democratic government had been members of the Communist regime.

Radoslaw Sikorski, the Defence Minister, said there had been no prior discussions with Moscow about the release. Explaining how the Soviets had made Poland the main target for Nato, he argued: "We need to know about our past. Historians have the right to know the history of the 20th century. If people did some things they were not proud of, that will be an education for them too.

"I think it is very important for a democracy for the citizens to know who was who, who was the hero and who was the villain. On that basis we make democratic choices.

"I think it is also important for the health of civic society for morality tales to be told: that it pays to be decent and that if you do things that did not serve the national interest, one day it will come out and you might be called to account."

Mr Sikorski promised to release 1,700 documents including the statute of the Warsaw Pact, protocols from its political and military committees and documents relating to the suppression of the Prague Spring uprising in 1968.

The model for openness is that of the Gauck Institute in Berlin, which made public the files compiled by the Stasi, the East German secret police. "This government wants to end the post-Communist period in which the files of the Warsaw Pact were secret,'' Mr Sikorski said.

Asked whether the release of archive material would recreate social divisions, and antagonise those who regard Poland's last Communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, as a hero, Mr Sikorski replied bluntly: "He is not considered to be a hero by me.''

Interestingly, the Warsaw Pact training map illustrates a defensive military operation in response to a Nato nuclear strike, and the Soviet forces appeared to stop at the English Channel. French territory is also avoided, a fact which Waldemar Wojcik, head of Poland's central military archive, explained by the fact that France was outside Nato's integrated military command structure.

Britain does, however, feature on the map and Nato bombers are shown flying over Bridlington and Ipswich on the way to the Continent, as a separate force sweeps in from Denmark.

Mr Wojcik added that, on a visit to Washington, Polish military officials had seen plans from Nato that were "a mirror image" of the Warsaw Pact's own deadly war plan.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones