It has long been a rumour – but now we know that the Soviets planned to make Poland a nuclear playing field.
Two daily newspapers on Friday front page documents (still marked ‘Top Secret' as late as 1990) showing that the Soviet Union had nuclear missiles placed in three sites in northwest Poland from 1970 till sometime towards the end of the 1980s.
Each fortress containing the weapons - which were under Soviet control, although to be used by the Polish army - was camouflaged by trees, giving them the appearance of small forests to any satellite photography.
Built between 1967 and 1970 at a cost to Poland of 180 million zlotys, the missiles were pointed at targets in western Europe.
In the event of a war between the West and the Soviet Union the documents, revealed by Dziennik and Gazeta Wyborcza, show that 178 missiles would be fired at Nato countries in Europe, 14 of which had the strength of 500 kilotons (the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had the strength of only 15 kilotons).
The newspapers also write that the Soviet Union was seriously considering invading western Europe in the mid-1960s.
Poland would be used as the site of nuclear confrontation, leaving the country a radioactive wasteland.
General William Odom, Chief of US Military Intelligence under the Reagan administration, is quoted in Dziennik as saying:
“[Poland] became a nuclear target of Nato’s. At the moment of a Soviet invasion, Nato nuclear missiles would be aimed at central and western Poland, in an attempt to stop the march of Soviet troops."