Poland and weapons of mass destruction

Poland and weapons of mass destruction

During the Cold War, Poland had active programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction. Poland was also working with Russia to help eliminate the large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons developed by the Warsaw Pact countries. Poland ratified the Geneva Protocol on 4 February 1929.

Chemical weapons

Poland's chemical weapons production originates from before World War II. Prior to the outbreak of the war Poland had developed and stockpiled a large quantity of mustard gas, but never authorized its release during combat. After the war stockpiles of the agent were increased, and current estimates of remnants of these range from hundreds to thousands of tons. Other chemical agents that were stockpiled during the Cold War by Poland included lewisite, VX, sarin, soman, tabun, SN gas, CS gas, nitrogen mustard gas, phosgene, CN gas, BZ gas, botulin, saxitoxin, and enterotoxin. After the fall of communism Poland greatly reduced its weapons stockpiles, and undertook a proactive program of disarmament. Poland ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention on 23 August 1995. In 2004 during the G8 Summit the Polish-Russian agreement in the sphere of chemical weapons destruction was reached. The chemical weapons agreement will assist Russia in disposing of its Lewisite stockpiles.

Biological weapons

The extent of Poland's biological weapons production is unclear, although research was done by both the military and communist regime laboratories during the Cold War on various dangerous agents. Military research of biological agents included Encephalitis, Influenza, Yellow Fever, Typhus, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Cholera, Plague, Typhoid, Dysentery, and limited access to smallpox through cooperation with the Soviet Union laboratories. Poland ratified the Biological Weapons Convention on 25 January 1973. After the fall of communism Poland undertook the destruction of its biological weapons, along with its general policy of disarmament. In 1997 a NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) entitled "Conversion of Former Biological Weapons Facilities: Development and Production of Prophylactic, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Measures for Countering Diseases" was held at the "Frederic Joliot-Curie" Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene with Poland, Russia and Ukraine agreeing to the conventions of the workshop.


In 1991 Poland announced they would remove the nuclear capable delivery systems from their weapons inventory. This would have included 60 FROG-7 and 32 Scud B launchers. They decided to keep about 40 of the Frog 7 for "self defense".cite book
last =Kapstein
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =Ethan B. Kapstein, Michael Mastanduno
title =Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War
publisher =Columbia University Press
date =1999
location =
pages =page 403
url =http://books.google.com/books?id=68s2k0ztkCMC&pg=PA403&dq=Poland++%22weapons+of+mass+destruction%22+%22cold+war%22&client=firefox-a&sig=eO2Rg4CYt6GsmmVapjIIjEplHOk
doi =
id = ISBN 0231113080
] These launchers have now been completely retired. As have the four Tochka (SS-21) launchers.


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