The Politics of Global War: Dueling Dangers in Moscow D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part II

The Politburo meeting continued into the early afternoon hours. As time went on, the news from Poland had taken on a life of its own. More significantly, it was developing into a cautionary legend passed down from generation to generation. The details were ambiguous and slid farther from reality with every passing moment. Only its core lesson remained intact and unscathed from the false conjecture now swirling around the conference room like secondary smoke. In the minds of at least some of the fourteen full members of the Politburo the lesson was simple: Soviet distraction with the war had directly led to the first crack in the East Bloc. The dissent came from the minority to be certain. But the members of this particular minority included some of the body’s most powerful and respected members. Their opinions might not necessarily win the day, yet their voices would be heard.

The information on Poland now on hand in the Kremlin revealed a major split forming in the Warsaw Pact. This would certainly bring about major consequences for the Soviet war effort. Poland was essential to continued combat operations in Europe. Jaruzelski’s defection had not only magnified the missteps in Soviet policy towards Poland over the past decade. It also highlighted the rapidly declining conditions between Moscow and its reluctant allies in Eastern Europe.

The meeting had by now transformed into a heated debate. Romanov’s most hardline supporters favored an immediate crackdown in Poland in order to minimize future disruptions to the Soviet war effort. A crackdown would also serve as a stern warning to the other Pact members. Other members talked up a negotiated settlement with Jaruzelski, recognizing that an invasion and subsequent occupation of Poland was not possible with a global war now underway.

Romanov’s thoughts were in alignment with this faction of Politburo members. The large number of combat units needed to pacify Poland were not available. Every spare soldier, tank, artillery shell, and aircraft was needed in Germany. His concerns were justified. The conflict on the Central Front was nearing a final climax and Romanov was anxious to make sure nothing impeded or distracted the Red Army from crossing the Weser in force. 

With nothing definitive having been decided on by 1400, Romanov brought the meeting to an end. He announced that a full Politburo meeting would be held at 0900 on the next day. In between, a Defense Council meeting was scheduled for 2000. This gave the KGB and Defense Ministry time to gather more data on what was going on in Poland and lay out contingency plans. Romanov was going to select one tonight and order its implementation immediately. Tomorrow morning, the general secretary would apologetically explain to his Politburo comrades that with the situation on the Central Front hanging in the balance he was compelled to make the decision without consulting them further.

Author’s Note: I was not happy with yesterday’s post and it bugged me all night. So, instead of waiting until tomorrow I wrote up the second part today. Part III will be up on Wednesday now, and Chapter One of the manuscript goes up Friday.

4 Replies to “The Politics of Global War: Dueling Dangers in Moscow D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. *makes popcorn*

    Interesting Romanov is thinking negotiated…. At least he understand they don’t have the ass to do both a crackdown AND take the West on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s rather serendipitous that my playlist decided to spit out The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as I return to this to offer some thoughts…!

    Anyway, if Moscow thinks they can handle Poland and Czechoslovakia being in full retreat, they need to clean out their headgear. And honestly, if both of them go rogue it’ll just take a little shove for E. Germany to slip away. Then you have three hostile nations between you and all of NATO. Might as well pack it in and go home at this point. Play the 4th quarter for honor, but admit you got your asses kicked and try not to get any bad injuries on the team.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, this does seem like 4th quarter garbage time. But that’s only at 1st glimpse. Still some considerable stakes to play for, as the entry I’m about to post will show

      Liked by 1 person

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