Vienna would have been one of the first victims of a Soviet nuclear strike on Western Europe despite its neutral status, according to documents detailing the cities to be attacked during a third world war.
The Austrian capital was joined by Munich and Verona in the list of population centres earmarked for destruction by Warsaw Pact planners preparing for war in 1965.
The documents, unearthed in Hungarian archives by a team of Swiss researchers, give an insight into the attitudes of the Soviet high command.
Officers conducting a high-level command exercise did not clarify whether the use of Soviet nuclear weapons had been preceded by a Nato strike, raising the suspicion that the Russians were not impressed by the concept of nuclear deterrence.
The planners assumed that Nato would be equally ruthless, with Budapest and other Warsaw Pact cities meeting the same fate as Vienna in the early stages of a war.
Austria’s neutrality, established after the Second World War, was not even considered, it being assumed that Nato would violate her territory at the first opportunity.
The target list is contained in a joint Soviet-Hungarian planning document. In one scenario the Warsaw Pact looses off 7.5 megatons of nuclear weapons on Western targets.
Vienna is completely destroyed by two 500 kiloton bombs, while Munich is destroyed by one. The Italian cities of Verona and Vicenza follow, together with a host of military targets including airfields and military formations.
Read More of the 2001 article from The Telegraph UK.