Mongolian Archives

I received a letter from Henryk Lapczynski, along with the following article, “Mongolian Archives”. The letter is an interesting supplement to the article and appears here with minor changes with the permission of the author.

Stanisław Kwiatkowski

Dear Stanisław,

I have enclosed a text about the Mongolian Archives. I have written only a brief account, although there is much more to write about.
It is possible, that if this subject interest readers, I will write more on this interesting topic. One of the possible questions a reader may have is: why didn’t I publish this earlier? As the youngest officer involved, I did not feel authorized to do so. I remember that after a lecture in Murnau (POW camp- eds.) the issue was not generally discussed. At this time, such knowledge was still not discussed openly.

An interesting detail in Murnau was that General Gąsiorowski was in charge of the camp. General Gasiorowski was a Chief of the General Staff in the 1920s. He was regarded as one of the most intelligent officers in the army. The general was the author of the work “Military Psychology,” a pioneering work in the field of psychological techniques.

This work was used first in Switzerland and later in Poland, as well as other places. American General Bradley recognized the success of this work. After the end of World War II, he stated in a radio address: “the work of Polish General Janusz Gąsiorowski, ‘Military Psychology’, shortened the time it took to organize the military forces of the USA by several months.”
I am very grateful to General Gąsiorowski. He shaped me as a leader and as an independent thinker, hungry for truth and knowledge. I remember him with deep gratitude as one of my best teachers.
With best wishes for you and your family,

Henryk Łapczyński


I heard the story of the “Mongolian Archives” twice. The first time was in 1938 at a Military Academy – SPP in Komorow. The second time was as a prisoner of war of the Germans – in Murnau, Oflag VII-A, at the seminar on Military Psychology. It should be noted that Murnau was a POW camp for officers and during almost 6 years of incarceration, the captured officers (some of the reserve officers where university professors) organized various type of activities, including education on the higher level for younger officers. Military Psychology seminar was a cover up for underground General Staff Academy. Officially these activities were under supervision of Brigadier General Janusz Gąsiorowski and the actual direction of the Division General Tadeusz Kutrzeba, who was now allowed to be openly involved.

In Military Academy in Komorow, an elderly general in retirement (whose name I do not remember) gave a lecture to my class of thirty-three officer cadets on the topic of the Archives. As an introduction, he declared that until World War I he served as a General in the Russian army as a member of the General Staff.

It was in this position that he became familiar with the contents of the Mongolian Archives located in a special section of the state library and closed to the public. He discussed the secret and skillful implementation of the secrets of the Mongolian Empire by Russian politicians during the Tsarist and Communist era. He also noted that access to the archives was limited exclusively to members of the tsar’s family, members of the governing cabinet and select members of the military, indicating the special significance the archive held for the Russian state. The general requested that we not take written notes of his lecture.

The Mongolian Archives include collections of instructions related to the techniques of building and expanding the Russian empire. The contents of the archive can be divided into two general sections: instructions for a specific chronological period and instructions of a more general, strategic, and timeless nature.

To the first group belong instructions and regulations related to the present standards of armaments and equipment of military forces. I should mention that these standards were ahead of European armies by several centuries. The Mongolian armies employed practical and useful military maps of conquered territories several centuries before Europe. Their communication was more efficient than the post of Benjamin Franklin during the time of the American Revolution of 1775-1783.
The armies also possessed standardized technical equipment for the taking of fortified cities. This equipment was so light that horses or camels could be used to transport them.

The instructions relating to technical matters point to the heights the Mongolian state and civilization had reached in the time of its development, yet do not alone account for the significance of the Archives. The leadership of Russia regarded the special importance of the Archives as relating to the acquiring of new territories, territorial administration, maintenance of power, and preparation for further conquests through the use of reconnaissance (offensive intelligence), technical preparation, and psychological warfare preceding a military operation as. These instructions are an application of eternal strategic principles that were the creation of Asian cultures.

An important element of the myth of the Mongols that has stood the test of time and continues today is “wild terror.” This terror, however awful in our imagination, was applied with cold calculation, supported by knowledge of the human psyche, and limited only to the actual needs of the rulers. The successors of the Mongols, with Stalin and Hitler leading the way, distorted the techniques and applied only complete wild terror.

An important part of the instructions in the area of military psychology (according to our contemporary understanding) applied by the Russians are teachings related to influencing the enemy and disinformation.** The instructions suggested the use of agents pretending to be merchants, beggars, and wanderers – with the goal of getting to know the territory marked for conquering. Attractive goods made it easy for merchants to acquire the trust of women, material information and to spread disinformation. It was essential to understand geographic conditions (farm culture, density of population, number of animals, defenses, etc.) and internal relationships (the manors of the magnates, social conflicts, characters of the leaders, etc.). Acquired material was used to deepen disorganization, mistrust, and conflicts in the enemy camp. Simultaneously, the goal was to spread the belief that any defense would be senseless, in light of suspected large regiments reinforced by evil forces (pyrotechnics).

A large section of the Archives is dedicated to instructions for management of the population in conquered countries. These instructions foresaw the creation of what is known today as “nomenklatura” or “new class” created by marriages with upper classes of the conquered tribe or nation.

The history of conquered Russ offers an illustration of Mongolian (using today’s terminology) regulations. Occupation without the use of military force and only by the applied system known as the “seniorat” – is the great achievement of imperialism. Russ was divided into principalities led by great princes ruling with the will of the occupier and protected by the leadership of the Khan. These were aided by the efficient working of the tax system on which the principalities were dependent. As the princes fought for the position of Grand Duke they continually outdid each other in their use of base tactics of servility and the practice of informing which had no limits. (Where do we know this from?)

The importance of the Mongolian Archives as one of the essential secrets of the Russian state was the fact that Russian politicians were the sole beneficiaries of the teachings of the Mongolians. The teachings in the Archives explain the continuation of Russian politics once associated with the myth of the Third Rome and then again with the myth of the “fatherland of the world proletariat”. What will be the next myth?

Henryk Łapczyński


* „Masters of the art of war conquer without fighting. They take a city without attack and conquer countries without prolonged military operations.” – Sun-Tsu, a Chinese Clausewitz, from the fifth century before Christ.
** Two examples of influencing the enemy serve to illustrate this interesting problem: During World War I, in an effort to address the loss of life and materiel, the French staff broke through the front in the Verdun region with significant cost, gaining the possibility of attacking on the sides and rear of the German front. This inspired the German staff to undertake a range of costly offensives; the Germans lost many thousands of lives and materiel. The calculation of the French staff was on target: the Verdun action was an advantageous one. Such an action can be called an inspiration – getting the enemy to act against itself.
This was an act of French genius. But the inspiration of Vietnam did not demand Soviet genius – it was enough to apply the teachings of the Mongolian Archives. The invasion from North Vietnam, synchronized with a network of agents in the United States and involved in political action without a declaration of war, which at the same time made the use of military force problematic. A crisis arose, and the consequences are still felt after so many years.
“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” can serve as an example of disinformation prepared by the tsarist secret police during the 1905 revolution and they are still used today by certain groups in Poland.

Forum, 4/2003