Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Poland Plans to Become the Most Powerful Military Power in Europe

The war in Ukraine has become a powerful driver of the militarization and rearmament of NATO member countries. Poland now plans to double its military spending with the goal of building the largest land army in Europe.

Sasha Yaropolskaya

February 6, 2023
Facebook Twitter Share
Polish soldiers, a zoom-in on a Polish flag on their uniform.
Polish patch flag on soldiers arm. Poland military uniform. Poland troops

Poland was recently in the midst of a crisis that threatened a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia: a missile launched by Ukrainian air defense, but manufactured by Russia, fell on its territory, killing two civilians. When the origin of the missile was not yet identified, the Zelenskyy government blamed it on the Russian army. The tension of these first hours provoked a fear of nuclear conflict among many journalists and observers. The escalation never materialized, but the incident highlights the geographical proximity of Poland, a country bordering Ukraine, to the military conflict currently tearing Eastern Europe apart.

Yet the Polish army is already one of the most powerful and best equipped in Europe: unlike a number of NATO members, Poland was allocating 2.4 percent of its GDP on military spending even before the war in Ukraine began. The Polish military has 150,000 soldiers — just 20,000 fewer than Germany — 30,000 of whom are in territorial defense units similar to the Ukrainian model. But Poland wants to go further, setting a goal of spending 5 percent of its GDP on the military and, as Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak promises, building “the largest land army in Europe” with 300,000 soldiers.

In its race to rearmament, Poland  is relying heavily on artillery and armored troops, and the Ministry of Defense said it is relying on information shared by the Ukrainian army about the experience of defensive warfare in Ukraine. To do this, Poland is boosting orders for the national arms industry and placing orders with the United States and especially South Korea, with which it has a strategic partnership, Blaszczak explains. 

Last spring, Warsaw signed a 4.9 billion euro purchase contract for 250 Abrams tanks and a 4.6 billion euro contract for 32 F-35 aircrafts with the United States. Poland intends to buy 10 to 12 billion dollars worth of weapons from Seoul: 180 K2 tanks, 200 K9 Thunder howitzers, 48 FA-50 aircraft and another 218 Chunmoo K239 rocket launchers. But that’s only the beginning: before the end of the decade, Korea must provide the country with 1,000 K2 tanks and 600 K9 howitzers.

As Politico notes, Poland’s ambitions for military hegemony in Europe will not immediately translate into political strength, as the state led by an ultra-nationalist PiS party (Law and Justice Party) remains a secondary force in the European Union for the time being. But Poland is part of a process of NATO rearmament that has been greatly accelerated by the war in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described this dynamic as “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.” More than 19 NATO members want to meet the military spending target of at least 2 percent of national GDP — a target that was set in the NATO agreements but has so far been poorly met by its member states.

The war in Ukraine has indeed given certain countries the opportunity to carry more weight on the global stage. Their governments are taking advantage of this new reality to strengthen themselves both internally and internationally. But Poland’s push toward rearmament is welcomed by the imperialist powers of NATO. Germany, for example, would benefit from an armed Poland, since it constitutes a geographical “buffer zone” between Germany and Russia. In Washington, this rearmament is also well received, as it fits in its strategy of arming its partners against its international rivals to avoid having to engage directly in wars with uncertain outcomes.

This shifting public spending, as part of a militaristic escalation, bodes ill for the working class, foreshadowing wars, cuts to public service, and national repression.

First published in French on December 21 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Emma Lee

Facebook Twitter Share


“Antideutsche”: The Aberration of Germany’s Pro-Zionist Left

As Germany persists in its unwavering support of Israel and the total denial of its genocide, the German Left is conflicted over the issue. While leftists all over the world are showing solidarity with Palestine, a segment of the German Left is historically pro-Zionist. How did this movement, the so-called Antideutsche (Anti-Germans) come to be?

Seb Zürcher

February 21, 2024

Why German Media are Lying About the Palestine Solidarity Movement at the Free University of Berlin

A rally in front of the Free University of Berlin had as many journalists as demonstrators. This is yet another example of the international campaign to defame all protests against Israel's genocidal military campaign.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 16, 2024

Protests in Germany: “The Whole Regime Is Shifting to the Right”

In Germany, over 1.4 million people took to the streets to protest the Far Right this weekend. Left Voice interviewed Inés Heider, a social worker in Germany and activist of Klasse Gegen Klasse, our sister organization in Germany, about the mobilizations in recent days and the current political dynamics in Germany.

Inés In

January 25, 2024

The German Government Is Paving the Way for the Far Right

Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating against the AfD. But the government of Olaf Scholz is already implementing many of the AfD’s policies.

Nathaniel Flakin

January 19, 2024


The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

Zionists have long wielded their influence and power in New York City, but the anti-zionist movement is finally taking an unapologetic stand against them.

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024

With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024