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The Warsaw Pact

In May 1955, the “treaty of mutual friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance” was signed between the People’s Republic of Albania, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the Hungarian People’s Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the Polish People’s Republic, the Rumanian People’s Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Republic. It was the Communist counteraction to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Warsaw Pact came to be seen as quite a potential militaristic threat, as a sign of Communist dominance, and a definite opponent to American capitalism. The signing of the pact became a symbol of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe. The pact was used more as a means to keep the Soviet allies under a watchful eye than to actually make and enforce decisions. Eventually, the alliance grew to become a way to build and strengthen military forces throughout the Eastern European countries involved. Conditions of the treaty included “total equality, mutual noninterference in internal affairs, and respect for national sovereignty and independence.” The treaty was originally set at twenty years for the pact and another ten years following that, under the condition that none of the members dropped out of the alliance; however, in 1962, Albania stopped participating in the actions of the treaty and formally dropped out of the alliance in 1968.

The majority of the actions performed by the Warsaw Pact were run by the Political Consultative Committee and the Unified Command of Pact Armed forces; both were centered in Moscow. The latter was in charge of all military activities of the alliance, while the first controlled everything else. One of the presiding conditions was that the leaders of both of these committees would be Soviet, so that Communist dominance would remain prevalent.

Speculation about Khrushchev’s ambition towards the power of the Communist party may explain the formation of the Warsaw pact – he wanted global domination for Communism. Khrushchev considered his plans of “de-Stalinization” to be completely justified and necessary for Soviet prosperity. Additionally, the Communist Soviet Union was finding it increasingly difficult to fulfill its monetary needs and thought that the Warsaw Pact would resolve this problem. One of Khrushchev’s main goals was to stimulate the development of the involved Eastern European nations so that they may function on their own.

The power and control of the Soviets in the pact sharply fell in 1989 and 1990 as a result of global Communist losses. In 1990, Hungary stated that it would no longer participate in the military functions of the pact, and that it had plans to ultimately leave the pact in 1991, along with Czechoslovakia and Poland. East Germany also resigned from the alliance in 1990 as it was reunified into one, united Germany. Ultimately, in 1991, the remaining six countries decided to formally end their alliance and the Warsaw Pact was disbanded.

Researched By Nicholas Dambacher
Volunteer For The Cold War Museum
Cosby High School

Sources:

“APPENDIX C: THE WARSAW PACT -- Soviet Union.” Library of Congress. 12 May 2008 .

“Foreign Affairs Warsaw Pact 1955-1970.” NWtravel Magazine. 12 May 2008 .

Goldman, Stuart D. “Warsaw Pact.” World Book. 21st ed.

Halsall, Paul. Modern History Sourcebook. 1998. The Warsaw Pact, 1955. 12 May 2008

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