Warsaw Pact

Warsaw Pact

Overview
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (1955–1991), or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

s in Eastern Europe. It was established at the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's initiative and realized on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

.

In the Communist Bloc, the treaty was the military analogue of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the communist (East) European economic community.
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Encyclopedia
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (1955–1991), or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

s in Eastern Europe. It was established at the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's initiative and realized on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

.

In the Communist Bloc, the treaty was the military analogue of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the communist (East) European economic community. The Warsaw Pact was the Soviet Bloc’s military response to West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

’s May 1955 integration to the NATO Pact, per the Paris Pacts
Paris Pacts
The Paris Pacts are four international agreements signed in Paris on 23 October 1954.The first treaty ended the occupation of West Germany and restored its full sovereignty under the name "Federal Republic of Germany"...

 of 1954.

Nomenclature


In the West, the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance is often called the Warsaw Pact military alliance; abbreviated WAPA, Warpac, and WP. Elsewhere, in the member states, the Warsaw Treaty is known as:
    • Romanized Bulgarian
      Romanization of Bulgarian
      Romanization of Bulgarian is the practice of transliteration of text in the Bulgarian language from its conventional Cyrillic orthography into the Latin alphabet. Romanization can be used for various purposes, such as rendering of proper names and place names in foreign-language contexts, or for...

      : Dogovor za druzhba, satrudnichestvo i vzaimopomosht
    • Romanized Russian
      Romanization of Russian
      Romanization of the Russian alphabet is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic alphabet into the Latin alphabet...

      : Dogovor o druzhbe, sotrudnichestve i vzaimnoy pomoshchi


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, Poland. Furthermore, the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization
Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization
The Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization was a post in overall command of the military forces of the Warsaw Pact. The post was instituted in 1955 and abolished in 1991.-List:*1955-1960 - Ivan Konev...

 was also a First Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR, and the head of the Warsaw Treaty Combined Staff also was a First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR. Therefore, although ostensibly an international collective security
Collective security
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, regional or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and agrees to join in a collective response to threats to, and breaches of, the peace...

 alliance, the USSR dominated the Warsaw Treaty armed forces.

Strategy


The strategy of the Warsaw Pact was dominated by the desire to prevent, at all costs, the recurrence of an invasion of Russian soil as had occurred under Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler in 1941–44, leading to extreme devastation and human losses in both cases, but especially in the second; the USSR emerged from the Second World War with the greatest total losses in life of any participant in the war. It was also dominated by the Marxist-Leninist teaching that one way or the other, socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 ultimately had to prevail, which was taken to mean even in a nuclear war.

History




On 14 May 1955, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact in response to the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into NATO in October 1954 – only nine years after the defeat of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 (1933–45) that ended only with the Soviet and Allied invasion of Germany in 1944/45 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in Europe. The reality, however, was that a "Warsaw"-type pact had been in existence since 1945, when Soviet forces were initially in occupation of Eastern Europe, and maintained there after the war. The Warsaw Pact merely formalized the arrangement.

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
Nonintervention or non-interventionism is a foreign policy which holds that political rulers should avoid alliances with other nations, but still retain diplomacy, and avoid all wars not related to direct self-defense...

 in the internal affairs of the member countries, respect for national sovereignty
National sovereignty
National sovereignty is the doctrine that sovereignty belongs to and derives from the nation, an abstract entity normally linked to a physical territory and its past, present, and future citizens. It is an ideological concept or doctrine derived from liberal political theory...

, and political independence.

The founding signatories to the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance consisted of the following communist governments: People's Republic of Albania
People's Socialist Republic of Albania
The People's Republic of Albania was the official name of Albania during the communist rule between 1946 and 1976. The 1976 Constitution changed the name into People's Socialist Republic of Albania , which was the official name of the country from 1976 until 1991.-Consolidation of power and...

 (withheld support in 1961 because of the Sino–Soviet split, formally withdrew in 1968) People's Republic of Bulgaria Czechoslovak Republic (Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

 since 1960) German Democratic Republic (withdrew in September 1990, before German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

) People's Republic of Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

 People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

 People's Republic of Romania
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

 (Socialist Republic of Romania from 1965) Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....



Nevertheless, for 36 years, NATO and the Warsaw Treaty never directly waged war against each other in Europe; but the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies implemented strategic policies aiming at the containment of each other in Europe, while working and fighting for influence within the wider Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 on the international stage.

In 1956, following the declaration of the Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

 government of withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw Pact, Soviet troops entered the country and removed the government.

The multi-national Communist armed forces’ sole joint action was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

 in August 1968.
All member countries, with the exception of the Socialist Republic of Romania and the People's Republic of Albania participated in the invasion.

Beginning at the Cold War’s conclusion, in late 1989, popular civil and political public discontent forced the Communist governments of the Warsaw Treaty countries from power – independent national
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 politics made feasible with the perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

- and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

-induced institutional collapse of Communist government in the USSR. In the event the populaces of Hungary, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Albania, East Germany, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria deposed their Communist governments in the period from 1989–91.

On February 25, 1991 the Warsaw Pact was declared disbanded at a meeting of defense and foreign ministers from Pact countries meeting in Hungary. On the first of July 1991, in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, the Czechoslovak President Václav Havel
Václav Havel
Václav Havel is a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic . He has written over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally...

 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. Five months later, the USSR disestablished itself in December 1991.

Central and Eastern Europe after the Warsaw Treaty



On 12 March 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia joined in March 2004; Croatia and Albania joined on 1 April 2009.

Russia and some other post-USSR states joined in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation
Collective Security Treaty Organisation
The Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed on 15 May 1992. On 7 October 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a charter in Tashkent founding the CSTO.Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed...

 (CSTO).

In November 2005, the Polish government opened its Warsaw Treaty archives to the Institute of National Remembrance
Institute of National Remembrance
Institute of National Remembrance — Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives and prosecution powers founded by specific legislation. It specialises in the legal and historical sciences and...

 who 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 is the Warsaw Treaty's nuclear war plan, Seven Days to the River Rhine
Seven Days to the River Rhine
Seven Days to the River Rhine was a top secret limited war game exercise developed in 1979 by the Warsaw Pact. It depicted the Soviet bloc's vision of a seven-day atomic war between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces.- Declassification :...

– a short, swift attack capturing Western Europe, using nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s, in self-defense, after a NATO first strike
First strike
In nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force. First strike capability is a country's ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation while the opposing...

. The plan originated as a 1979 field training exercise war game, and metamorphosed into official Warsaw Treaty battle doctrine, until the late 1980s – thus why the People’s Republic of Poland was a nuclear weapons base, first, to 178, then, to 250 tactical-range rockets. Doctrinally, as a Soviet-style (offensive) battle plan, Seven Days to the River Rhine gave commanders few defensive-war strategies for fighting NATO in Warsaw Treaty territory.

External links