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The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a
collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement In music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal ...
treaty signed in
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Warsaw
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...
between the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and seven other
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
socialist republics of
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southe ...
in May 1955, during the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the
socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borro ...
s of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 19 ...
into
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
"In reaction to West Germany's NATO accession, the Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955." Citation from: in 1955 per the
London and Paris Conferences The London and Paris Conferences were two related conferences held in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames ...
of 1954.The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
, 1955–1969 Laurien Crump Routledge, p. 21–22, 11.02.2015
The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power to NATO. There was no direct military confrontation between the two organisations; instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in
proxy war A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actorNon-state actors include organizations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed by, or funded through the government. The interests, structure, and influence o ...
s. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. Its largest military engagement was the
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–1 ...
in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...
and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...
), which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the
Revolutions of 1989 The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is often also called the Fall of Communism, and some ...
through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the
Solidarity Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes, which rejects the class conflict Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class ...
movement in
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...
, its electoral success in June 1989 and the
Pan-European Picnic The Pan-European Picnic (german: Paneuropäisches Picknick; hu, páneurópai piknik; sk, Paneurópsky piknik) was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungary, Hungarian border near Sopron, Sopron, Hungary on 19 August 1989. The opening of ...
in August 1989. East Germany withdrew from the Pact following
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
in 1990. On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, the Pact was declared at an end by the defense and foreign ministers of the six remaining member states. The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the
Collective Security Treaty Organization The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO; russian: Организация Договора о коллективной безопасности, Organizatsiya Dogovora o kollektivnoy bezopasnosti) is an intergovernmental military allia ...
shortly thereafter. In the following 20 years, the Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO (East Germany through its reunification with West Germany; and the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It ...
and
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
as separate countries), as did the
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic states
which had been part of the Soviet Union.


History


Beginnings

Before the creation of the Warsaw Pact, the Czechoslovak leadership, fearful of a rearmed
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
, sought to create a security pact with East Germany and Poland. These states protested strongly against the re-militarization of
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 19 ...
. The Warsaw Pact was put in place as a consequence of the rearming of West Germany inside
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
. Soviet leaders, like many European countries on both sides of the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
, feared Germany being once again a military power and a direct threat. The consequences of German militarism remained a fresh memory among the Soviets and Eastern Europeans."When the Federal Republic of Germany entered NATO in early May 1955, the Soviets feared the consequences of a strengthened NATO and a rearmed West Germany". Citation from: As the Soviet Union already had bilateral treaties with all of its eastern satellites, the Pact has been long considered 'superfluous', and because of the rushed way in which it was conceived, NATO officials labeled it as a 'cardboard castle'. The USSR, fearing the restoration of German militarism in West Germany, had suggested in 1954 that it join NATO, but this was rejected by the US and UK. The Soviet request to join NATO arose in the aftermath of the
Berlin Conference The Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, also known as the Congo Conference (german: Kongokonferenz) or West Africa Conference (), regulated European colonization and trade in Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most pop ...
of January–February 1954. Soviet foreign minister
Molotov Molotov may refer to: * Vyacheslav Molotov (1890–1986), Soviet politician and diplomat, and foreign minister under Joseph Stalin * Molotov cocktail, hand-held incendiary weapon Arts and entertainment *Molotov (band), a Mexican rock/rap band * ...
made proposals to have Germany reunified and elections for a pan-German government, under conditions of withdrawal of the four powers' armies and German neutrality, but all were refused by the other foreign ministers,
Dulles Dulles may refer to: * John Foster Dulles John Foster Dulles (; February 25, 1888May 24, 1959) was an American diplomat, lawyer, and Republican politician. He served as United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of stat ...
(USA),
Eden Eden may refer to: *Garden of Eden, the "garden of God" described in the Book of Genesis Places and jurisdictions Middle East * Eden, Lebanon, a city and former bishopric * Camp Eden, Iraq Oceania * Eden (New Zealand electorate), a former ...

Eden
(UK), and (France). Proposals for the reunification of Germany were nothing new: earlier on 20 March 1952, talks about a German reunification, initiated by the so-called ' Stalin Note', ended after the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
, and the United States insisted that a unified Germany should not be neutral and should be free to join the
European Defence Community The Treaty establishing the European Defence Community, also known as the Treaty of Paris, is an unratified treaty signed on 27 May 1952 by the six 'inner' countries of European integration European integration is the process of industrial ...

European Defence Community
(EDC) and rearm. James Dunn (USA), who met in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
with Eden, Adenauer, and
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
(France), affirmed that "the object should be to avoid discussion with the Russians and to press on the European Defense Community". According to John Gaddis "there was little inclination in Western capitals to explore this offer" from the USSR. While historian Rolf Steininger asserts that Adenauer's conviction that "neutralization means sovietization" was the main factor in the rejection of the Soviet proposals, Adenauer also feared that German unification might have resulted in the end of the CDU's dominance in the West German Bundestag. Consequently, Molotov, fearing that the EDC would be directed in the future against the USSR and "seeking to prevent the formation of groups of European States directed against the other European States", made a proposal for a General European Treaty on Collective Security in Europe "open to all European States without regard as to their social systems" which would have included the unified Germany (thus rendering the EDC obsolete). But Eden, Dulles, and Bidault opposed the proposal. One month later, the proposed European Treaty was rejected not only by supporters of the EDC but also by Western opponents of the European Defence Community (like French
Gaullist Gaullism (french: link=no, Gaullisme) is a French political stance based on the thought and action of World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1 ...
leader Gaston Palewski) who perceived it as "unacceptable in its present form because it excludes the USA from participation in the collective security system in Europe". The Soviets then decided to make a new proposal to the governments of the US, UK, and France to accept the participation of the US in the proposed General European Agreement. As another argument deployed against the Soviet proposal was that it was perceived by Western powers as "directed against the North Atlantic Pact and its liquidation", the Soviets decided to declare their "readiness to examine jointly with other interested parties the question of the participation of the USSR in the North Atlantic bloc", specifying that "the admittance of the USA into the General European Agreement should not be conditional on the three Western powers agreeing to the USSR joining the North Atlantic Pact". Again all proposals, including the request to join NATO, were rejected by the UK, US, and French governments shortly after. Emblematic was the position of British General
Hastings Ismay General (United Kingdom), General Hastings Lionel "Pug" Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay (21 June 1887 – 17 December 1965), was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat, remembered primarily for his role as Winston Churchill's chief military assista ...
, a fierce supporter of NATO expansion. He opposed the request to join NATO made by the USSR in 1954 saying that "the Soviet request to join NATO is like an unrepentant burglar requesting to join the police force". In April 1954
Adenauer Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer (; 5 January 1876 – 19 April 1967) was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berli ...

Adenauer
made his first visit to the USA meeting
Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president di ...

Nixon
, Eisenhower, and
Dulles Dulles may refer to: * John Foster Dulles John Foster Dulles (; February 25, 1888May 24, 1959) was an American diplomat, lawyer, and Republican politician. He served as United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of stat ...
. Ratification of the EDC was delayed but the US representatives made it clear to Adenauer that the EDC would have to become a part of NATO. Memories of the Nazi occupation were still strong, and the rearmament of Germany was feared by France too. On 30 August 1954, the French Parliament rejected the EDC, thus ensuring its failure and blocking a major objective of US policy towards Europe: to associate West Germany militarily with the West. The US Department of State started to elaborate alternatives: West Germany would be invited to join NATO or, in the case of French obstructionism, strategies to circumvent a French veto would be implemented in order to obtain German rearmament outside NATO. On 23 October 1954 – only nine years after the Allies (UK, USA, and USSR) defeated
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
ending
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in Europe – the admission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the North Atlantic Pact was finally decided. The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as "a decisive turning point in the history of our continent" by
Halvard Lange Halvard or Hallvard is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The ...
, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time. In November 1954, the USSR requested a new European Security Treaty, in order to make a final attempt to not have a remilitarized West Germany potentially opposed to the Soviet Union, with no success. On 14 May 1955, the USSR and seven other Eastern European countries "reaffirming their desire for the establishment of a system of European collective security based on the participation of all European states irrespective of their social and political systems" established the Warsaw Pact in response to the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into NATO, declaring that: "a remilitarized Western Germany and the integration of the latter in the North-Atlantic bloc ..increase the danger of another war and constitutes a threat to the national security of the peaceable states; ..in these circumstances the peaceable European states must take the necessary measures to safeguard their security". One of the founding members,
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
, was allowed to re-arm by the Soviet Union and the
National People's Army The National People's Army (german: Nationale Volksarmee, ; NVA ) were the armed forces of the East Germany, German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990. The NVA was organized into four branches: the ''Landstreitkräfte'' (Ground Force ...
was established as the armed forces of the country to counter the rearmament of West Germany.


Members

The eight-member countries of the Warsaw Pact pledged the mutual defense of any member who would be attacked. Relations among the treaty signatories were based upon mutual
non-intervention Non-interventionism or non-intervention is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationship ...
in the internal affairs of the member countries, respect for
national sovereignty Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is a principle in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nati ...
, and political independence. The founding signatories of the pact consisted of the following communist governments: *
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...
(withheld support in 1961 because of the Soviet–Albanian split, but formally withdrew on 13 September 1968) * * * (officially withdrew on 24 September 1990 in preparation for
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited natio ...
, with Soviet consent and a "remarkable yet hardly noticed" ceremony, ceasing to exist altogether at midnight on 3 October) * (temporarily withdrew from 1–4 November 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution) * * (the only independent permanent non-Soviet member of the Warsaw Pact, having freed itself from its Soviet satellite status by the early 1960s) *


Observers

: In July 1963 the
Mongolian People's Republic The Mongolian People's Republic ( mn, Бүгд Найрамдах Монгол Ард Улс (БНМАУ), ''Bügd Nairamdakh Mongol Ard Uls'' (''BNMAU''), ) was a unitary sovereign socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or s ...

Mongolian People's Republic
asked to join the Warsaw Pact under Article 9 of the treaty. Due to the emerging
Sino-Soviet split The Sino-Soviet split was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by Doctrine, doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretati ...
, Mongolia remained in an observer status. In what was the first instance of a Soviet initiative being blocked by a non-Soviet member of the Warsaw Pact, Romania blocked Mongolia's accession to the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet government agreed to station troops in Mongolia in 1966. At first,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
, and
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
had observer status, but China withdrew after the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s.


During the Cold War

For 36 years,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
and the Warsaw Pact never directly waged war against each other in Europe; the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies implemented strategic policies aimed at the containment of each other in Europe, while working and fighting for influence within the wider
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
on the international stage. These included the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It b ...

Korean War
,
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
,
Bay of Pigs invasion The Bay of Pigs Invasion (; sometimes called ''invasión de playa Girón'' or ''batalla de Girón'', after the Playa Girón) was a failed landing operation Allied invasion of Sicily, 1943 A landing operation is a military A military ...
,
Dirty War The Dirty War ( es, Guerra sucia) is the name used by the military junta A military junta () is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
,
Cambodian–Vietnamese War The Cambodian–Vietnamese War ( km, សង្គ្រាមកម្ពុជា-វៀតណាម, vi, Chiến tranh Campuchia–Việt Nam), known in Vietnam as the Counter-offensive on the Southwestern border ( vi, Chiến dịch Phản ...
, and others. In 1956, following the declaration of the
Imre Nagy Imre Nagy (; 7 June 1896 – 16 June 1958) was a Hungarian communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally ...
government of the withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw Pact, Soviet troops entered the country and removed the government. Soviet forces crushed the nationwide revolt, leading to the death of an estimated 2,500 Hungarian citizens. The multi-national Communist armed forces' sole joint action was the
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–1 ...
in August 1968. All member countries, with the exception of the
Socialist Republic of Romania The Socialist Republic of Romania ( ro, Republica Socialistă România, RSR) was a Marxism–Leninism, Marxist–Leninist One-party state, one-party communist state that existed officially in Romania from 1947 to 1989. From 1947 to 1965, the st ...
and the
People's Republic of Albania Albania (, ; sq, Shqipëri/Shqipëria; aln, Shqipni/Shqipnia, Shqypni/Shqypnia), officially the People's Socialist Republic of Albania ( al, Republika Popullore Socialiste e Shqipërisë), was ruled by a Marxist-Leninist government from 1946 ...
, participated in the invasion. The
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
provided only minimal support.


End of the Cold War

In 1989, popular civil and political public discontent toppled the Communist governments of the Warsaw Treaty countries. The beginning of the end of the Warsaw Pact, regardless of military power, was the
Pan-European Picnic The Pan-European Picnic (german: Paneuropäisches Picknick; hu, páneurópai piknik; sk, Paneurópsky piknik) was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungary, Hungarian border near Sopron, Sopron, Hungary on 19 August 1989. The opening of ...
in August 1989. The event, which goes back to an idea by
Otto von Habsburg Otto von Habsburg (given names: ''Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius''; 20 November 1912 4 July 2011), was the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, of ...

Otto von Habsburg
, caused the mass exodus of GDR citizens and the media-informed population of Eastern Europe felt the loss of power of their rulers and the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
broke down completely. Though Poland's new Solidarity government under Lech Wałęsa initially assured the Soviets that it would remain in the Pact, this broke the brackets of Eastern Europe, which could no longer be held together militarily by the Warsaw Pact. Independent
national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
politics made feasible with the ''
perestroika Perestroika (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ...
'' and ''
glasnost In the Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languag ...
'' policies induced institutional collapse of the Communist government in the USSR in 1991. From 1989 to 1991, Communist governments were overthrown in
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...
,
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
,
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
,
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. As the last acts of the Cold War were playing out, several Warsaw Pact states (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary) participated in the US-led coalition effort to liberate
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regi ...

Kuwait
in the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
. On 25 February 1991, the Warsaw Pact was declared disbanded at a meeting of defence and foreign ministers from remaining Pact countries meeting in Hungary. On 1 July 1991, in
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
, the Czechoslovak President
Václav Havel Václav Havel (; 5 October 193618 December 2011) was a Czech statesman, playwright, and former dissident A dissident is a person who actively challenges an established Political system, political or Organized religion, religious system, doctrine, ...

Václav Havel
formally ended the 1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance and so disestablished the Warsaw Treaty after 36 years of military alliance with the USSR. The USSR disestablished itself in December 1991.


Structure

The Warsaw Treaty's organization was two-fold: the Political Consultative Committee handled political matters, and the Combined Command of Pact Armed Forces controlled the assigned multi-national forces, with headquarters in
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. I ...

Warsaw
, Poland. The Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, which commanded and controlled all the military forces of the member countries, was also a First Deputy Minister of Defence of the USSR, and the Chief of Combined Staff of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization was also a First Deputy
Chief of the General StaffThe Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is a post in many armed forces (Military, militaries), the head of the Staff (military), military staff. List * Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (United States) * Chief of the General Staff (Abkhazia) * C ...
of the
Soviet Armed Forces The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union (, Вооружённые Силы Советского Союза) were the armed forces of the Russian SFSR ...
. Therefore, although ostensibly an international
collective security Collective security can be understood as a security treaty, arrangement, political, regional, or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and therefore commits to a collective response to ...
alliance, the USSR dominated the Warsaw Treaty armed forces, analogous to the United States' domination of the NATO alliance.


Romania and Albania

Romania and - until 1968, Albania - were exceptions. Together with Yugoslavia, which broke with the Soviet Union before the Warsaw Pact was created, these three countries completely rejected the Soviet doctrine formulated for the Pact. Albania officially left the organization in 1968, in protest of its invasion of Czechoslovakia. Romania had its own reasons for remaining a formal member of the Warsaw Pact, such as
Nicolae Ceaușescu Nicolae Ceaușescu ( , ;  – 25 December 1989) was a Romania, Romanian communism, communist politician and dictator. He was the Romanian Communist Party#General Secretaries (1921–1989), general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party ...

Nicolae Ceaușescu
's interest of preserving the threat of a Pact invasion so he could sell himself as a nationalist as well as privileged access to NATO counterparts and a seat at various European forums which otherwise he wouldn't have had (for instance, Romania and the Soviet-led remainder of the Warsaw Pact formed two distinct groups in the elaboration of the Helsinki Final Act.). When
Andrei Grechko Andrei Antonovich Grechko (; – 26 April 1976) was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area ...
assumed command of the Warsaw Pact, both Romania and Albania had for all practical purposes defected from the Pact. In the early 1960s, Grechko initiated programs meant to preempt Romanian doctrinal heresies from spreading to other Pact members. Romania's doctrine of territorial defense threatened the Pact's unity and cohesion. No other country succeeded in escaping from the Warsaw Pact like Romania and Albania did. For example, the mainstays of Romania's tank forces were locally-developed models. Soviet troops were deployed to Romania for the last time in 1963, as part of a Warsaw Pact exercise. After 1964, the Red Army was barred from returning to Romania, as the country refused to take part in joint Pact exercises. Even before the advent of
Nicolae Ceaușescu Nicolae Ceaușescu ( , ;  – 25 December 1989) was a Romania, Romanian communism, communist politician and dictator. He was the Romanian Communist Party#General Secretaries (1921–1989), general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party ...

Nicolae Ceaușescu
, Romania was in fact an independent country, as opposed to the rest of the Warsaw Pact. To some extent, it was even more independent than
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
(a Communist state that was not a member of the Warsaw Pact). The Romanian regime was largely impervious to Soviet political influence, and Ceaușescu was the only declared opponent of ''
glasnost In the Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languag ...
'' and ''
perestroika Perestroika (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ...
''. On account of the contentious relationship between Bucharest and Moscow, the West did not hold the Soviet Union responsible for the policies pursued by Bucharest. This was not the case for the other countries in the region, such as
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
and Poland. At the start of 1990, the Soviet foreign minister,
Eduard Shevardnadze Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze ( ka, ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე, ''Eduard Ambrosis dze Ševardnadze''; 25 January 1928 – 7 July 2014) was a Georgian politician and diplomat. He served a ...
, implicitly confirmed the lack of Soviet influence over Ceaușescu's Romania. When asked whether it made sense for him to visit Romania less than two weeks after its revolution, Shevardnadze insisted that only by going in person to Romania could he figure out how to "restore Soviet influence". Romania requested and obtained the complete withdrawal of the Red Army from its territory in 1958. The Romanian campaign for independence culminated on 22 April 1964 when the Romanian Communist Party issued a declaration proclaiming that: "Every Marxist-Leninist Party has a sovereign right...to elaborate, choose or change the forms and methods of socialist construction." and "There exists no "parent" party and "offspring" party, no "superior" and "subordinated" parties, but only the large family of communist and workers' parties having equal rights." and also "there are not and there can be no unique patterns and recipes". This amounted to a declaration of political and ideological independence from Moscow. Following Albania's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, Romania remained the only Pact member with an independent military doctrine which denied the Soviet Union use of its armed forces and avoided absolute dependence on Soviet sources of military equipment. Romania was the only non-Soviet Warsaw Pact member which was not obliged to militarily defend the Soviet Union in case of an armed attack. Romania was also the only Warsaw Pact member that did not have Soviet troops stationed on its soil. In December 1964, Romania became the only Warsaw Pact member (save Albania, which would leave the Pact altogether within 4 years) from which all Soviet advisors were withdrawn, including those in the intelligence and security services. Not only did Romania not participate in joint operations with the KGB, but it also set up "departments specialized in anti-KGB counterespionage". Romania was neutral in the
Sino-Soviet split The Sino-Soviet split was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by Doctrine, doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretati ...
. Its neutrality in the Sino-Soviet dispute along with being the small Communist country with the most influence in global affairs enabled Romania to be recognized by the world as the "third force" of the Communist world. Romania's independence - achieved in the early 1960s through its freeing from its Soviet satellite status - was tolerated by Moscow because Romania was not bordering the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
- being surrounded by socialist states - and because its ruling party was not going to abandon Communism. Although certain historians such as Robert King and Dennis Deletant argue against the usage of the term "independent" to describe Romania's relations with the Soviet Union, favoring "autonomy" instead on account of the country's continued membership within both the Comecon and the Warsaw Pact along with its commitment to Socialism, this approach fails to explain why Romania blocked in July 1963
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
's accession to the Warsaw Pact, why in November 1963 Romania voted in favor of a UN resolution to establish a nuclear-free zone in Latin America when the other Socialist countries abstained, or why in 1964 Romania opposed the Soviet-proposed "strong collective riposte" against China (and these are examples solely from the 1963-1964 period). Soviet disinformation tried to convince the West that Ceaușescu's empowerment was a dissimulation in connivance with Moscow. To an extent this worked, as some historians came to see the hand of Moscow behind every Romanian initiative. For instance, when Romania became the only Eastern European country to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, some historians have speculated that this was at Moscow's whim. However, this theory fails upon closer inspection. Even during the Cold War, some thought that Romanian actions were done at the behest of the Soviets, but Soviet anger at said actions was "persuasively genuine". In truth, the Soviets were not beyond publicly aligning themselves with the West against the Romanians at times.


Strategy

The strategy behind the formation of the Warsaw Pact was driven by the desire of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
to prevent
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...

Central
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of , geographical, ethnic, cultural, and connotations. , located in Eastern Europe, is both the ...

Eastern Europe
being used as a base for its enemies. Its policy was also driven by ideological and geostrategic reasons. Ideologically, the Soviet Union arrogated the right to define socialism and communism and act as the leader of the global socialist movement. A corollary to this was the necessity of intervention if a country appeared to be violating core socialist ideas, explicitly stated in the Brezhnev Doctrine.


Notable military exercises

*"
Szczecin Szczecin * sv, Stettin * Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
" (
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...
, 1962) *"Vltava" (
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
, 1966) *Operation "Rhodope" (People's Republic of Bulgaria, Bulgaria, 1967) *"Oder-Neisse" (
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
, 1969) *Przyjaźń 84 (
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in . It is divided into 16 , covering an area of , and has a largely climate. Poland has a population of nearly 38.5 million people, and is the fifth-most populous . ...
, 1984) *Shield 84' (
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...
, 1984)


NATO and Warsaw Pact: comparison of the two forces


NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in Europe


Post-Warsaw Pact

On 12 March 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia joined in March 2004; Albania joined on 1 April 2009. Russia and some other post-USSR states joined the
Collective Security Treaty Organization The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO; russian: Организация Договора о коллективной безопасности, Organizatsiya Dogovora o kollektivnoy bezopasnosti) is an intergovernmental military allia ...
(CSTO) in 1992, or the Shanghai Five in 1996, which was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after Uzbekistan's addition in 2001. In November 2005, the Polish government opened its Warsaw Treaty archives to the Institute of National Remembrance, which published some 1,300 declassified documents in January 2006, yet the Polish government reserved publication of 100 documents, pending their military declassification. Eventually, 30 of the reserved 100 documents were published; 70 remained secret and unpublished. Among the documents published was the Warsaw Treaty's nuclear war plan, ''Seven Days to the River Rhine'' – a short, swift counter-attack capturing Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands east of the Rhine, using nuclear weapons, in self-defense, after a NATO first strike.


See also

*
Collective Security Treaty Organization The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO; russian: Организация Договора о коллективной безопасности, Organizatsiya Dogovora o kollektivnoy bezopasnosti) is an intergovernmental military allia ...
(CSTO) – Modern military alliance between six former Soviet states. * Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – Modern Eurasian political, economic and military organization. * Treaty of Friendship


References


Works cited

* * *


Further reading

* Faringdon, Hugh. Confrontation: the strategic geography of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.) * * Mackintosh, Malcolm. ''The evolution of the Warsaw Pact'' (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1969) * Kramer, Mark N. "Civil-military relations in the Warsaw Pact, The East European component," ''International Affairs,'' Vol. 61, No. 1, Winter 1984–85. * * * A. James McAdams, "East Germany and Detente." Cambridge University Press, 1985. * McAdams, A. James. "Germany Divided: From the Wall to Reunification." Princeton University Press, 1992 and 1993.


Other languages

* * – Original Ed.:


Memoirs

* *


External links

*
The Woodrow Wilson Center Cold War International History Project's Warsaw Pact Document Collection

Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security


(1989) * [http://omniatlas.com/maps/russia/19550921/ Map of Russia and the Warsaw Pact (omniatlas.com)]
Soviet Nuclear Weapons in Hungary 1961-1991
*
The Warsaw Pact, 1955–1968.
' by Hugh Collins Embry. Contain extensive documentation of the Pacts first 13 years. {{Authority control Warsaw Pact, Eastern Bloc 1991 in politics 20th-century military alliances Bulgaria–Soviet Union relations Cold War alliances and military strategy Cold War treaties Marxism–Leninism Foreign relations of the Soviet Union Former international organizations Germany–Soviet Union relations History of Poland (1989–present) History of Warsaw International military organizations International political organizations Military alliances involving Bulgaria Military alliances involving Czechoslovakia Military alliances involving Hungary Military alliances involving Poland Military alliances involving Romania Military alliances involving the Soviet Union Late modern Europe Organizations established in 1955 Organizations disestablished in 1991 Poland–Soviet Union relations Treaties concluded in 1955 Treaties entered into force in 1955 Treaties of East Germany Treaties of the People's Republic of Bulgaria Treaties of the Hungarian People's Republic Treaties of the Polish People's Republic Treaties of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania Treaties of the Socialist Republic of Romania Czechoslovakia–Soviet Union relations Hungary–Soviet Union relations Treaties establishing intergovernmental organizations Cold War terminology 1955 establishments in Poland