Communist Poland had universal conscription and the armed forces were huge by contemporary standards. The Polish People’s Army, Navy, and Airforce had just over 400,000 troops for most of the 1980s in a country of 36 million.
Tom was a conscript in Polish People’s Army from 1987-89. He served as a radio operator in Legnica for the rocket artillery.
His service was at an interesting time when the communist dominance ended as Poland began to embrace democracy in its first free elections before World War 2.
Tom shares details of his conscription process, selection, and initial training. We also hear of training exercises, attempts at political indoctrination, and his role if the Cold War had ever turned hot.
I’m very keen to expand our library of Warsaw Pact voices, so if you know of any other English speakers who served in the Warsaw Pact Forces during the Cold War do let me know.
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