General Studies IHISTORYWorld History

Warsaw Pact

About Warsaw Pact:

  • The Warsaw Treaty Organization, officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP),
  • It is was a collective defense treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland between the Soviet Union and seven other Eastern Bloc socialist republics of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War.
  • The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 as per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954.
  • Dominated by the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power to NATO. There was no direct military confrontation between the two organizations; instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. 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 in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except Albania and Romania),[which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the Pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel with the spread of the Revolutions of 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland, its electoral success in June 1989 and the Pan-European Picnic in August 1989.
  • East Germany withdrew from the Pact following German reunification in 1990. On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in 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 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 and Slovakia as separate countries), as did the Baltic states which had been part of the Soviet Union.

Formation of the Warsaw pact

  • The Western powers agree in Paris to admit West Germany to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • The Warsaw Pact, on the other hand, was only the first step in a larger strategy to strengthen the Soviet hold on its satellites.
  • The deal was also used to strengthen the Soviet Union’s bargaining position in international diplomacy, as seen by the treaty’s concluding article, which stated that the Warsaw pact would lapse when a comprehensive East-West collective-security pact comes into force.
  • Members of the Warsaw Pact formally rejected the decades-long confrontation between eastern and western Europe, with the exception of the Soviet successor state of Russia, who later joined NATO.

The Cold War: Second World War Summary Of Events

  • Towards the end of the war, the harmony that had existed between the USSR, the USA and the British Empire began to wear thin and all the old suspicions came to the fore again. Relations between Soviet Russia and the West soon became so difficult that, although no actual fighting took place directly between the two opposing camps, the decade after 1945 saw the first phase of what became known as the Cold War. This continued, in spite of several ‘thaws’, until the collapse of communism in eastern Europe in 1989–91. What happened was that instead of allowing their mutual hostility to express itself in open fighting, the rival powers attacked each other with propaganda and economic measures, and with a general policy of non-cooperation.
  • Both superpowers, the USA and the USSR, gathered allies around them: between 1945 and 1948 the USSR drew into its orbit most of the states of eastern Europe, as communist governments came to power in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany (1949). A communist government was established in North Korea (1948), and the Communist bloc seemed to be further strengthened in 1949 when Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) was at last victorious in the long-drawn-out civil war in China (see Section 19.4). On the other hand, the USA hastened the recovery of Japan and fostered her as an ally, and worked closely with Britain and 14 other European countries, as well as with Turkey, providing them with vast economic aid in order to build up an anti-communist bloc.
  • Whatever one bloc suggested or did was viewed by the other as having ulterior and aggressive motives. There was a long wrangle, for example, over where the frontier between Poland and Germany should be, and no permanent settlement could be agreed on for Germany and Austria. Then in the mid-1950s, after the death of Stalin (1953), the new Russian leaders began to talk about ‘peaceful coexistence’, mainly to give the USSR a much-needed break from its economic and military burdens. The icy atmosphere between the two blocs began to thaw: in 1955 it was agreed to remove all occupying troops from Austria. However, relations did not improve sufficiently to allow agreement on Germany, and tensions mounted again over Vietnam and the Cuban missiles crisis (1962). The Cold War moved into a new phase in the later 1960s when both sides took initiatives to reduce tensions. Known as détente, this brought a marked improvement in international relations, including the signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty in 1972. Détente did not end superpower rivalry, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 heightened international tensions once more. The Cold War came to an end in 1989–91 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Source: Britannica

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