2014/12/01

Who looked more like planning a strategic surprise attack?

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This is a map from a declassified 1970's CIA document:


The scary story in NATO was about endless waves of reinforcements of Communist divisions which could grind down what little forces NATO had in Central Europe.

I suppose the graphic looks more scary from Moscow's perspective; the Warsaw Pact's deployments were far from typical deployments for strategic surprise attacks, but NATO's forward presence looked menacing.

The reasons for the different deployments were apparently the Soviet experience with forward-deployed forces back in summer of 1941 and the insistence of West Germany's government on a forward defence. Battles or withdrawals on German territory were to be avoided even in an all-conventional conflict. 

The terrain at the German-Czechoslovakian border (hilly if not mountainous woodland) and the fact that the Soviet occupation zone ("Eastern Germany") was supposed to be spared if possible as well made this demand a dubious if not silly one.



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