Author’s Note: Sorry, folks. Had to shorten this post due to real life butting into my writing time today. But I think I can safely say this is the last time it will happen in 2020. 😊 Part II on Tuesday will be longer than usual.
23 July, 1987 is the point in time that the Soviet government discovered itself to be in mortal danger. Two individual exigencies arrived on Moscow’s doorstep practically at the same moment, starting a competition for the full, undivided attention of Soviet leadership. Either danger could inflict fatal damage upon the Soviet Union, and the Warsaw Pact entirely on its own. A failure by the upper echelon of Soviet leadership to successfully recognize, assess, and react to the impending blows could result in the gravest of consequences for the Soviet Union, and in the worst-case scenario, for the entire world.
Respectively, the imperilments were the present situation in Poland, and the deteriorating strategic balance between the Soviet Union and the United States.
News of Jaruzelski’s speech arrived at the Kremlin thirty minutes before the start of a previously scheduled meeting of the Politburo. The meeting was intended to be focused on military operations in Central Europe. General Secretary Romanov did not intend to alter this, but immediately after the meeting came to order, the morning’s events in Poland took center stage and remained there. Most of the Politburo members were not current on what had been taking place in Denmark, and by association in Poland over the past two days. Whether this was by design, or simply owing to the ignorance that Politburo members generally imbibed, the morning’s news shook them.
Demands for accurate, and current information were put forth immediately by the members at the table. As it became clear there was no solid information yet available, the meeting devolved into a two-hour melee of accusations, frustration, and anger. Poland had been an ulcer for the Soviet Union since the late 1970s. Solidarity’s initial rise, coupled with the Polish government’s reluctance to adopt a hardline approach to it had rubbed many of the present Politburo members the wrong way at the time. Brezhnev’s refusal to authorize a Soviet intervention in order to end the Solidarity matter once and for all was another sore spot for many of the old guard Communists such as Romanov. In his eyes, and those of his comrades, what worked in Czechoslovakia in 1968 would’ve also been successful in early 1980s Poland. The end result of a confrontation between Soviet tanks and Solidarity was a foregone conclusion. But Brezhnev had balked, and embraced the compromise of martial law proposed by Jaruzelski.
Now, the same man who imposed martial law on his country to save it from Soviet occupation six years earlier now announced to the world that Poland was in full revolt and he would do nothing to stop it.
2 Replies to “The Politics of Global War: Dueling Dangers in Moscow D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part I”
“He would do nothing to stop it.”
More like even he had enough of holding Moscow’s water…. and has presented what’s transpired to Poland’s Sons after the blatant knife in the back it was. In turn, he is actively encouraging extraction from the Warsaw Pact and their control.
You hint at the Czechs developing a measure of “nope, I’m out”…. and I don’t think you’ve touched on the Hungarians, who in real life never forgot 1956. As Poland’s change in status becomes more well known, they too might say “Nope, I’m out too…”
I’m pretty sure someone among the Politburo will recall these things as events start to snow ball.
Strategic Balance disparity… yeah. I recall reading that IRL, the Soviet Rocket Forces were actually a mess along with their Nuc Bomber fleet. That their bomber fleet also is part of the other assets attacking US/Nato assets…. and some of them just took it in the teeth…. Does NOT help matters.
We discussed the sub part of it a while ago…. and that is also a mess.
I said by D17 this was done…. and I stand by that. I sincerely doubt it ends in Nuclear Fire though- because the fallout would harm the Rodina more than it would the West. And they knew it.
Chemical Weapons though…. but that’s something you use either 1st and assault through it (soviet gear is/was supposed to be pretty good for that) or use to counter an enemy thrust. Both are risky as hell though.
LikeLiked by 3 people
“I recall reading that IRL, the Soviet Rocket Forces were actually a mess along with their Nuc Bomber fleet.” – Can you expand on that a bit John?