NATO ruled out Martial Law intervention

NATO-Poland Flags

From Warsaw Business Journal: NATO has declassified a number of documents that show it was not prepared to intervene militarily if the Soviet Union had invaded Poland during the period of Martial Law in the early 1980s.

The authoritarian People’s Republic of Poland introduced Martial Law in December 13, 1981, in an attempt to quell anti-government opposition. Martial law ended in July 22, 1983. Many in the West feared that the Soviets would invade if the Polish government did not manage to put down the opposition.

NATO, however, had no plans to launch a counter-strike to repel a possible Soviet invasion.

Speaking on national television, Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski said of the documents’ revelations that, NATO “did not want to take risks” for the Poles who fought for freedom.

NATO’s rationale, according to Mr Sikorski, would have been that because it was (and is still is) just a defensive alliance, it did not have a mandate to intervene in the Soviet bloc’s internal affairs.

In total, 65 documents concerning NATO policy towards Poland in the years 1980-1985 were declassified.

Work on declassifying the documents began in December 2010, on the initiative of Mr Sikorski.

“The aim was to declassify materials covering the years 1980-1985 about the possible USSR intervention in Poland, the introduction of the Martial Law in Poland and NATO’s reaction to these developments,” Poland’s foreign ministry wrote in a statement.

In this case, the current Polish government requested the NATO speed up the declassification process. “The documents come many years earlier than expected,” the ministry wrote.

“NATO also set a precedent by allowing a Polish Foreign Ministry archives officer to take part in the declassification work.”

Work on declassifying the rest of the documents is in progress.

The documents have been published on the Polish foreign ministry’s website and can be viewed here.


Image: NATO-Poland.jpg