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Battle of Ideas Expert Analyses III Republic Poland's History Recommended

In 1990 German government wanted to break up the political parties in Poland

Professor Bogdan Musiał reveals a secret
1990 Polish intelligence


Professor Bogdan Musiał has made public a 1990 ciphertext of the Polish intelligence service. It says that “it is advantageous from the point of view of Germany to break up political groupings in Poland, assure the emergence of no dominant political party and support divisions within Solidarity.”

Ciphertext No. 3398 was drawn up in June 1990 by a Polish intelligence officer on the basis of information revealed to him by a German agent codenamed “Wolf.” Professor Bogdan Musiał, currently acting director of the Jan Karski Institute for War Losses, says he came across the report during his research work.

Ciphertext No. 3398

The ciphertext reads: “According to ‘Wolf’ and the circles of political and economic advisers to the German government, it is advantageous from the point of view of Germany to have a splitting up of political groupings in Poland, with no dominant party and supporting divisions in Solidarity itself. According to ‘Wolf, the optimum scenario for a then-unifying Germany would be the final disintegration of Solidarity and the rebirth in Poland, from a significant part of its members, of a strong peasant grouping, consisting of several peasant parties supported by the Church.”

The report continues: “According to these assessments, this will effectively hinder the rebirth of stable political life in the Republic of Poland and the emergence of a social stratum of small and medium-sized Polish industrialists on the basis of the reprivatization laws. Thus, a middle class, which in the West plays a decisive role in the country’s development. For Germany, this would create an opportunity for economic expansion (as was the case in the Second Republic) and enable industrial investment in Poland by small and medium-sized German capital. It would also bring Poland closer to Germany’s sphere of direct influence in Eastern Europe.”

Professor Bogdan Musiał admitted that he had learned the contents of the ciphertext some time ago, but decided to reveal it after the publication of the German weekly “Der Spiegel.”  “When ‘Der Spiegel’ wrote about documents of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1991, they showed that the then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl wanted to prevent the eastward expansion of NATO and the independence of Ukraine and the Baltic states. He called the collapse of the Soviet Union a ‘catastrophe.’ Reading about this reminded me of a report from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) archives. This document also dates from those crucial times and says a great deal about the attitude of the Germans towards Poland at the time. I think that now when there is a war in Ukraine, which called to question Germany’s eastern policy, the time is ripe for the public to learn the contents of this ciphertext,” said the professor.

The professor further pointed out that “the report was received by headquarters on June 11, 1990, i.e., practically a year after the partially free elections in Poland, where Solidarity achieved a huge victory. It seemed to everyone that Solidarity would be a strong bloc, which would mean that Poland would become politically stable.”

“We all hoped for some kind of unity, but that is something our western neighbors rather didn’t want, and obviously Russia didn’t either,” he said.

“We don’t know who the agent was”

Professor Bogdan Musiał said it was not known who the Polish officer’s informant, i.e., agent “Wolf”, was. “We also do not know exactly whether ‘Wolf’ realized that he was talking to a Polish agent. My impression is that he did not realize this. However, we know that especially in the Free Democratic Party (FDP) there were agents close to Genscher (German Foreign Minister from 1974 to 1992), his closest collaborator or even he himself was an agent,”  explained Prof. Musiał.

“I have a Russian note of a conversation between Genscher and Gorbachev in early December 1989. This conversation looks as if Gorbachev was Genscher’s superior, as he even chastised him. But this is just my impression; we don’t know that until the end. What we do know is that Genscher was, for example, against Solidarity,” he added.

German decision-making circles wanted a political breakdown in Poland

Referring to the content of the report, the professor stressed that it shows that “the German government of the time was interested in a political split in Poland so that no dominant party would emerge, as was the case in Germany, where there was a stable situation and one time one party and another time another won the elections, but it was always possible to create a stable government, which is very important for political stability and the development of the country.”

“As far as Poland is concerned, the German decision-making circles were absolutely interested that the political situation should not stabilize there, that the political groupings should split up, and in particular that a strong party should not emerge from Solidarity. The optimal status from their point of view would have been the eventual break-up of Solidarity and the emergence of peasant parties,” he said.

The middle class is the key

Asked why such an arrangement suited the German authorities best, he pointed out that it was calculated that it would “effectively inhibit the rebirth of stable political life in Poland” and assure “the emergence of a class of small and medium-sized Polish industrialists on the basis of reprivatization laws.”

“This is an indication that, without this re-privatization, the middle class, which is of enormous significance for the development of the country, will not be created. We know that in democratic countries the middle class is crucial for economic life,” he said.

Why didn’t the Federal Republic of Germany want a middle class to emerge in Poland along Western lines?  The answer is to be found in the ciphertext. Because it would create opportunities for German economic expansion. It would create investment opportunities in Poland on the part of small and medium-sized German capital, i.e., not only large corporations could enter the Polish market. “This would bring Poland closer to the zone of direct German influence in Eastern Europe,”  the professor quoted from the report.

Professor Bogdan Musiał stressed that “we must have a realistic view of Berlin and its interests, be aware of them, and then it may turn out that these interests are to some extent common and we can act together. We must be aware, however, that Germany has cynically pursued its own interests, and has added to this a moral and ethical packaging.”

The original in Polish was published here:

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