Seven Days to the River Rhine

Seven Days to the River Rhine (Russian: «Семь дней до реки Рейн», Sem' dney do reki Reyn) was a top-secret military simulation exercise developed in 1979 by the Warsaw Pact. It depicted the Soviet bloc's vision of a seven-day nuclear war between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces.[1][2][3]

Training Exercise "Seven Days to the River Rhine"
Part of Cold War
Probable Axes of Attack

A 1976 map of probable axes of attack for the Warsaw Pact forces into Western Europe
Central Iron Curtain
Result Unknown; never attempted. SALT II treaty.
Austria, Denmark, Germany Luxembourg Belgium and the Netherlands east of River Rhine to the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
Group of Soviet Forces in Germany
Soviet Army Northern Group of Forces
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev
Soviet Union Col. Gen. Yuri Zarudin
Soviet Union Gen. Yevgeni F. Ivanovski
Soviet Union Dmitriy Ustinov
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Poland Florian Siwicki
East Germany Erich Honecker
East Germany Heinz Hoffmann

United States Jimmy Carter
United States Harold Brown

West Germany Helmut Schmidt
West Germany Hans Apel
Belgium King Baudouin
Netherlands Queen Juliana
Denmark Anker Jørgensen
Austria Rudolf Kirchschläger
Austria Bruno Kreisky
Casualties and losses
Would be carried out in response to a NATO first strike on Poland. Such a strike was estimated to cause 2 million immediate Polish deaths near the Vistula If carried out, heavy losses in West Germany
The Rhine is one of the most important rivers in Europe.


This possible World War III scenario was released by the conservative Polish government following their election in 2005, in order to "draw a line under the country's Communist past", and "educate the Polish public about the old regime." [2][4][3]

Radosław Sikorski, the Polish defense minister at the time the documents were released,[4] stated that documents associated with the former regime would be declassified and published through the Institute of National Remembrance in the coming year.[2][4]

The files released included documents about "Operation Danube", the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.[2][3] They also included files on the 1970 Polish protests, and from the martial law era of the 1980s.[2][4][3]

The Czechs[5] and Hungarians[6] had declassified related documents in the 1990s.

Battle outline

The scenario for the war was NATO launching a nuclear attack on Polish cities in the Vistula river valley area in a first-strike scenario, as well as Czech cities, which would prevent Soviet bloc commanders from sending reinforcements to East Germany to forestall a possible NATO invasion of that country.[2][4][3] The plan expected that as many as two million Polish civilians would die in such a war and Polish operational strength would be completely destroyed.[2][4][3]

A Soviet nuclear counter-strike would be launched against West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark.[2][3]

Nuclear response

Maps associated with the released plan show nuclear strikes in many NATO states, but exclude both France and the United Kingdom. There are several possibilities for this lack of strikes, the most probable being that both France and the United Kingdom are nuclear weapons states, and as such retain nuclear arsenals that could be employed in retaliation for nuclear strikes against their nations.[2][3][7][5][8]

The French forces employed a nuclear strategy known as dissuasion du faible au fort (weak-to-strong deterrence); this is considered a "counter-value" strategy, which implies that a nuclear attack on France would be responded to by a strike on Soviet-bloc cities. See Force de frappe for more information on the French conceptualization of nuclear warfare.[2][3]

The Guardian newspaper, however, speculates that "France would have escaped attack, possibly because it is not a member of NATO's integrated structure. Britain, which has always been at the heart of NATO, would also have been spared, suggesting Moscow wanted to stop at the Rhine to avoid overstretching its forces."[9][2][3]

There are many high-value targets in Britain (like RAF Fylingdales, RAF Mildenhall, and RAF Lakenheath) that would then have to be struck in a conventional manner in this plan, though a nuclear strike would be far more effective (and, as the plans show, a preferable option for the Soviet leadership as shown by their strikes in Western Europe). The plan also indicates that USAF fighter-bombers, primarily the long-ranged F-111, would be employed in nuclear strikes, and that they would launch from those British bases.[2][3]

The Soviets planned to use about 7.5 megatons of atomic weaponry in all during such a conflict.[6]

Known targets

Vienna was to be hit by two 500-kiloton bombs, while Vicenza, Verona, Padova, and several bases in Italy were to be hit by single 500-kiloton bombs.[6] Hungary was to capture Vienna.[5]

Stuttgart, Munich, and Nuremberg in West Germany were to be destroyed by nuclear weapons and then captured by the Czechoslovaks and Hungarians.[5]

In Denmark, targets would include Roskilde and Esbjerg. Roskilde, while having no military significance, would be targeted for its cultural and historical significance to break the morale of the Danish population and army, while Esbjerg would be targeted for its large harbour capable of facilitating delivery of large NATO reinforcements.

Additional plans

The Soviets planned to have reached Lyon by day nine and to press on to a final position at the Pyrenees.[5] The Czechoslovaks thought it to be too optimistic at the time, and some present-day Western planners believe that such a goal was difficult or even unattainable.[5] There were also plans of a naval operation in the North Atlantic against NATO shipping.[4]

See also


  1. ^ ISN Editors. "Poland reveals Warsaw Pact war plans". International Relations And Security Network. Retrieved 23 December 2014.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Nicholas Watt in Warsaw (2005-11-26). "Poland risks Russia's wrath with Soviet nuclear attack map | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rennie, David (2005-11-26). "World War Three seen through Soviet eyes". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Poland Opens Secret Warsaw Pact Files". 2005-11-25. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Samuel, Henry (2007-09-20). "Soviet plan for WW3 nuclear attack unearthed". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  6. ^ a b c Tweedie, Neil (2001-12-01). "Vienna was top of Soviet nuclear targets list". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  7. ^ "Moscow's blueprint resembles thriller's plot". 26 November 2005.
  8. ^ Nicholas Watt. "Poland risks Russia's wrath with Soviet nuclear attack map". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Nicholas Watt in Warsaw (2005-11-26). "Poland risks Russia's wrath with Soviet nuclear attack map | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
ASEAN Declaration

The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.

Arms race

An arms race occurs when two or more nations participate in interactive or competitive increases in "persons under arms" as well as "war material". Simply defined as a competition between two or more states to have superior armed forces; a competition concerning production of weapons, the growth of a military, and the aim of superior military technology.

The term is also used to describe any long-term escalating competitive situation where each competitor focuses on out-doing the others.

An evolutionary arms race is a system where two populations are evolving in order to continuously one-up members of the other population. This concept is related to the Red Queen's Hypothesis, where two organisms co-evolve to overcome each other but each fails to progress relative to the other interactant.

In technology, there are close analogues to the arms races between parasites and hosts, such as the arms race between computer virus writers and antivirus software writers, or spammers against Internet service providers and E-mail software writers.

More generically, the term is used to describe any competition where there is no absolute goal, only the relative goal of staying ahead of the other competitors in rank or knowledge. An arms race may also imply futility as the competitors spend a great deal of time and money, yet end up in the same situation as if they had never started the arms race.

Asian Relations Conference

The Asian Relations Conference took place in New Delhi in March-April 1947. It was hosted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who then headed a provisional government that was preparing for India's Independence, which came on 15 August 1947. The Asian Relations Conference brought together many leaders of the independence movements in Asia, and represented a first attempt to assert Asian unity. The objectives of the conference were "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding."

In his writings and speeches, Nehru had laid great emphasis on the manner in which post-colonial India would rebuild its Asia connections. At this conference Nehru declared: "... Asia is again finding herself ... one of the notable consequences of the European domination of Asia has been the isolation of the countries of Asia from one another. ... Today this isolation is breaking down because of many reasons, political and otherwise ... This Conference is significant as an expression of that deeper urge of the mind and spirit of Asia which has persisted ... In this Conference and in this work there are no leaders and no followers. All countries of Asia have to meet together in a common task ..."

Eisenhower Doctrine

The Eisenhower Doctrine was a policy enunciated by Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 5, 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a Middle Eastern country could request American economic assistance or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression. Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces "to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism". The phrase "international communism" made the doctrine much broader than simply responding to Soviet military action. A danger that could be linked to communists of any nation could conceivably invoke the doctrine.

Exercise Verity

Exercise Verity was the only major training exercise of the Western Union (WU). Undertaken in July 1949, it involved 60 warships from the British, French, Belgian and Dutch navies. A contemporary newsreel described this exercise as involving "the greatest assembly of warships since the Battle of Jutland."

General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Генеральный штаб Вооружённых сил Российской Федерации, Генштаб – Genshtab) is the military staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It is the central organ of the Armed Forces Administration and oversees operational management of the armed forces under the Russian Ministry of Defence.

As of 2017 the Chief of the General Staff is General of the Army Valery Gerasimov and the First Deputy Chief of the General Staff is Army General Nikolai Bogdanovsky.

General Staff is located in Moscow on Znamenka Street in the Arbat District. Together with the Ministry of Defence building and several Staff directorate office buildings nearby, it forms the so-called "Arbat military district" as it is often referred to among the military personnel to outline the highest supreme command of the Russian Armed Forces.


In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s. After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.

Jamaican political conflict

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.

NDF Rebellion

The NDF Rebellion was an uprising in the Yemen Arab Republic by the National Democratic Front, under Yahya Shami, between 1978 and 1982.

Operation Dropshot

Operation Dropshot was the United States Department of Defense codename for a contingency plan for a possible preventative nuclear and conventional war with the Soviet Union and its allies in order to counter the anticipated Soviet takeover of Western Europe, the Near East and parts of Eastern Asia expected to start around 1957. The plan was prepared in 1949 during the early stages of the Cold War and declassified in 1977. Although the scenario did make use of nuclear weapons, they were not expected to play a decisive role.

At the time the US nuclear arsenal was limited in size, based mostly in the United States, and depended on bombers for delivery. Dropshot included mission profiles that would have used 300 nuclear bombs and 29,000 high-explosive bombs on 200 targets in 100 cities and towns to wipe out 85 percent of the Soviet Union's industrial potential at a single stroke. Between 75 and 100 of the 300 nuclear weapons were targeted to destroy Soviet combat aircraft on the ground.

The scenario was devised prior to the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and even included the note that the entire plan would be invalidated if rocketry became a cheap and effective means of delivering a nuclear weapon. These documents were later declassified and published as Dropshot: The American Plan for World War III Against Russia in 1957 (Book title, ISBN 080372148X).

Operation Unthinkable

Operation Unthinkable was a code name of two related, unrealised plans by the Western Allies against the Soviet Union. They were ordered by British prime minister Winston Churchill in 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces' Joint Planning Staff at the end of World War II in Europe.

The first of the two assumed a surprise attack on the Soviet forces stationed in Germany in order to "impose the will of the Western Allies" on the Soviets. "The will" was qualified as "square deal for Poland" (which probably meant enforcing the recently signed Yalta Agreement). When the odds were judged "fanciful", the original plan was abandoned. The code name was used instead for a defensive scenario, in which the British were to defend against a Soviet drive towards the North Sea and the Atlantic following the withdrawal of the American forces from the continent.

The study became the first Cold War-era contingency plan for war with the Soviet Union.

Both plans were highly secret at the time of their creation and it was not until 1998 that they were made public, although the British spy for the Soviets, Guy Burgess, had passed on some details at the time.

Plan Totality

Plan Totality was a disinformation ploy established by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower in August 1945 on the direction of President Harry S. Truman, after the end of the Potsdam Conference.

The plan envisioned a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union with 20 to 30 atomic bombs. It earmarked 20 Soviet cities for obliteration in a first strike: Moscow, Gorky, Kuybyshev, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Saratov, Kazan, Leningrad, Baku, Tashkent, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Tagil, Magnitogorsk, Molotov, Tbilisi, Stalinsk, Grozny, Irkutsk, and Yaroslavl. However, this plan was actually a disinformation ploy; it was only in 1946 that the United States could boast even nine atomic bombs in its inventory, along with twenty-seven B-29s capable of delivering them. Plan Totality was part of Truman's 'giant atomic bluff' aimed primarily at the Soviet Union. The bluff spectacularly succeeded. Following Truman's ultimatum in 1946 to evacuate troops from Iran within 48 hours, the Soviets did so within 24 hours.

Square Leg

Square leg is also a fielding position in cricket; see Fielding (cricket).Square Leg was a 1980 British government home defence Command Post and field exercise, which tested the Transition to War and Home Defence roles of the Ministry of Defence and British government. Part of the exercise involved a mock nuclear attack on Britain. It was assumed that 131 nuclear weapons would fall on Britain with a total yield of 205 megatons (69 ground burst; 62 air burst) with yields of 500 KT to 3 MT That was felt to be a reasonably realistic scenario, but the report stated that a total strike in excess of 1,000 megatons would be likely.

Mortality was estimated at 29 million (53 percent of the population); serious injuries at 7 million (12 percent); short-term survivors at 19 million (35 percent).

Square Leg was criticised for a number of reasons: the weapons used were exclusively in the high-yield megaton range, with an average of 1.5 megatons per bomb, but a realistic attack based on known Soviet capabilities would have seen mixed weapons yields, including many missile-based warheads in the low hundred kiloton range. Also, no targets in Inner London are attacked (for example, Whitehall, the centre of British government); towns such as Eastbourne are hit for no obvious reason.Operation Square Leg was one of the exercises used to estimate the destructiveness of a Soviet nuclear attack in the 1984 BBC production Threads.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland between the Soviet Union and seven Eastern Bloc satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power or counterweight to NATO; there was no direct military confrontation between them. Instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. Its largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except Albania, Romania, and East Germany), which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the Revolutions of 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland and its electoral success in June 1989.

East Germany withdrew from the Pact following the reunification of Germany in 1990. On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in the Hungarian People's Republic, the Pact was declared at an end by the defence and foreign ministers of the six remaining member states . The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization shortly thereafter. Throughout the following 20 years, the seven Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO (East Germany through its reunification with West Germany; and the Czech Republic and Slovakia as separate countries), as did the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) that had been part of the Soviet Union.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

World War III

World War III (WWIII or WW3) and the Third World War are names given to a hypothetical third worldwide large-scale military conflict subsequent to World War I and World War II. The term has been in use since at least as early as 1941. Some have applied it loosely to refer to limited or smaller conflicts such as the Cold War or the War on Terror, while others assumed that such a conflict would surpass prior world wars both in its scope and its destructive impact.Because of the development and use of nuclear weapons near the end of World War II and their subsequent acquisition and deployment by many countries, the potential risk of a nuclear devastation of Earth's civilization and life is a common theme in speculations about a Third World War. Another major concern is that biological warfare could cause a very large number of casualties, either intentionally or inadvertently by an accidental release of a biological agent, the unexpected mutation of an agent, or its adaptation to other species after use. High-scale apocalyptic events like these, caused by advanced technology used for destruction, could potentially make the Earth's surface uninhabitable.

Prior to the beginning of the Second World War, the First World War (1914–1918) was believed to have been "the war to end all wars," as it was popularly believed that never again could there possibly be a global conflict of such magnitude. During the Interwar period between the two world wars, WWI was typically referred to simply as "The Great War." The outbreak of World War II in 1939 disproved the hope that mankind might have already "outgrown" the need for such widespread global wars.

With the advent of the Cold War in 1945 and with the spread of nuclear weapons technology to the Soviet Union, the possibility of a third global conflict became more plausible. During the Cold War years, the possibility of a Third World War was anticipated and planned for by military and civil authorities in many countries. Scenarios ranged from conventional warfare to limited or total nuclear warfare. At the height of the Cold War, a scenario referred to as Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD") had been calculated which determined that an all-out nuclear confrontation would most certainly destroy all or nearly all human life on the planet. The potential absolute destruction of the human race may have contributed to the ability of both American and Soviet leaders to avoid such a scenario.

Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also

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