Jaruzelski the Traitor?

The General
The General

News that Jaruzelski was ready to open Poland’s borders and let in the Soviet army comes as a shock to some but to many more it is not surprising. For them, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, last head (and President) of the (communist) People’s Republic of Poland was a traitor in every sense of the word. News of Jaruzelski’s so-called treachery comes after the CIA decided to release classified cold war documents telling of Jaruzelski’s plans during the 1980-81 period.

Top Secret
The documents totalling over a thousand pages, published by the CIA, are detailed reports prepared by Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, a close aide of Jaruzelski, who clandestinely worked for the CIA between 1971 and 1981 passing important military information over to the Americans. As well as countering the planned Warsaw Pact invasion of western Europe and what would have been the start of World War III by allowing NATO to be one step ahead of the Warsaw Pact, Kukliński also supplied the Americans with a detailed psychological profile of General Wojciech Jaruzelski.

The Generals
The Generals

Power Hungry
In his reports, Kukliński claims that Jaruzelski had impeccable morals, shied away from the luxuries craved by most  communist leaders and was incredibly polite and well-spoken. However, his lust for power and fear/respect for the Soviet Union was inevitably his undoing. The CIA reports claim that Jaruzelski had been preparing to enforce martial law (December 1981) for a long time before it was actually imposed and it was in no way motivated by the threat of a Soviet invasion which Jaruzelski has claimed for years. Moreover, the General had pleaded with the Russians for military assistance which the Soviets rejected.

Soviet Invasion
In fact, what comes as the greatest surprise is the fact that the Soviets were very close to invading Poland not in 1981 but in 1980, a full year before martial law was imposed. The Soviet regime were irked with Solidarity’s growing power and influence. They feared that the Solidarity movement could well sweep through the Polish military, government and, even worse, the Party itself. They had already begun moving heavy arms into Poland. Russian troops stationed within Poland were known to be regularly performing military manoeuvres and several armed divisions had been re-stationed around the vicinities of Warsaw, ready to take the capital.

American Rescue
It seems that Kukliński’s report averted the danger as the American government, knowing the full scale of the imminent invasion which would have de facto reduced Poland to S.S.R. status, put immense pressure on the Soviet regime to not attempt an invasion of Poland as any such invasion would lead to the USA declaring war on the USSR. Kukliński appears to have saved the day. Wojciech Jaruzelski, however, may have ran out of arguments justifying his imposition of martial law. The Russians have stated on numerous occasions that they never had any intention of invading Poland in the winter of 1981 (when martial law was imposed). This CIA report seems to have put yet another nail in his coffin.


8 thoughts on “Jaruzelski the Traitor?

  1. There are plenty on the left who’ve always maintained that Kuklinski was a traitor; selling your secrets to a foreign power, for them, is a criminal act, irrespective of the nature of the home regime. Nothing revealed in these documents will change their minds. And meanwhile, with one of their favourite arguments now punctured, the power of any kind of leftist movement in Poland will be weakened yet further. Are we turning into the USA, with only a centre-right and a farther-right party to rule us for the foreseeable future?

    Tell me, lord Rafster, are you in a position to recommend a biography of Kuklinski (in English or Polish) which is not a hagiography of the man?

  2. Jim, I was also prone to support Jaruzelski as a tainted ‘saviour’ of sorts. Unfortunately, it seems he wasn’t and unhappily the left has taken a huge body blow. I’m not particularly in favour of SLD and all of Napieralski’s (Olejniczak’s) minions, but a country without a balanced politcal scene is in danger of going too far in the other direction.
    As for Kukliński… hmm… haven’t seen any decent objective literature about the man. It’s either “Kuklinski – saviour of the West” or “Kuklinski – Polish traitor”. Ho hum…

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