Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance,[1] was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland between the Soviet Union and seven Eastern Bloc satellite states 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[2][3][4][5] in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954,[6][7][8][9][10] but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.[11]

The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power[12] or counterweight[13] to NATO; there was no direct military confrontation between them. 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.[13] Its largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except Albania, Romania, and East Germany),[12] 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 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland[14] and its electoral success in June 1989.

East Germany withdrew from the Pact following the reunification of Germany in 1990. On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in the Hungarian People's Republic, the Pact was declared at an end by the defence 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. Throughout the following 20 years, the seven 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 three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) that had been part of the Soviet Union.

Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance
Warsaw Pact Logo
Warsaw Pact in 1990 (orthographic projection)
Warsaw Pact in 1990
Founded14 May 1955
Founded atWarsaw, Poland
Dissolved1 July 1991
TypeMilitary alliance
HeadquartersMoscow, Soviet Union
AffiliationsCouncil for Mutual Economic Assistance


1975 CPA 4448
A Soviet philatelic commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact in 1975 stating that it remains "On guard for Peace and Socialism".

In the Western Bloc, 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 former member states, the Warsaw Treaty is known as:

  • Albanian: Pakti i miqësisë, bashkëpunimit dhe i ndihmës së përbashkët
  • Armenian: Բարեկամության, համագործակցության եւ փոխադարձ օգնության պայմանագիր
    • Romanized Armenian: Barekamut’yan, hamagortsakts’ut’yan yev p’vokhadardz ognut’yan paymanagir
  • Azerbaijani: Dostluq, Əməkdaşlıq və qarşılıqlı yardım müqaviləsi
  • Belarusian: Дагавор аб дружбе, супрацоўніцтве і ўзаемнай дапамозе
  • Bulgarian: Договор за дружба, сътрудничество и взаимопомощ
  • Czech: Smlouva o přátelství, spolupráci a vzájemné pomoci
  • Slovak: Zmluva o priateľstve, spolupráci a vzájomnej pomoci
  • Estonian: Sõprus, koostöö ja vastastikune abi
  • Georgian: მეგობრობის, თანამშრომლობისა და ურთიერთდახმარების ხელშეკრულება
  • German: Vertrag über Freundschaft, Zusammenarbeit und gegenseitigen Beistand
  • Hungarian: Barátsági, együttműködési és kölcsönös segítségnyújtási szerződés
  • Kazakh: Достық, ынтымақтастық және өзара көмек туралы келісім
  • Kyrgyz: Достук, кызматташтык жана өз ара жардам көрсөтүү жөнүндө келишим
    • Romanized Kyrgyz: Dostuk, kızmattaştık jana öz ara jardam körsötüü jönündö kelişim
  • Latvian: Līgums par draudzību, sadarbību un savstarpēju palīdzību
  • Lithuanian: Draugystės, bendradarbiavimo ir savitarpio pagalbos sutartis
  • Polish: Układ o przyjaźni, współpracy i pomocy wzajemnej
  • Romanian: Tratatul de prietenie, cooperare și asistență mutuală
  • Russian: Договор о дружбе, сотрудничестве и взаимной помощи
  • Tajik: Шартномаи дӯстӣ, ҳамкорӣ ва кӯмаки мутахассис
  • Turkish: Dostluk Antlaşması, İşbirliği ve Karşılıklı Yardımlaşma
  • Ukrainian: Договір про дружбу, співробітництво і взаємну допомогу
  • Uzbek: Do'stlik, hamkorlik va o'zaro yordam shartnomasi


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 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 Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR. Therefore, although ostensibly an international collective security alliance, the USSR dominated the Warsaw Treaty armed forces.[15]


The strategy behind the formation of the Warsaw Pact was driven by the desire of the Soviet Union to dominate Central and Eastern Europe. The Soviets wanted to keep their part of Europe and not let the Americans take it from them. This policy was 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 idea was the necessity of intervention if a country appeared to be violating core socialist ideas and Communist Party functions, which was explicitly stated in the Brezhnev Doctrine.[16] Geostrategic principles also drove the Soviet Union with the desire to create a buffer zone to prevent invasion of its territory by Western European powers.



Warszawa Pałac Prezydencki 2011
The Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, where the Warsaw Pact was established and signed on 14 May 1955

Before the creation of the Warsaw Pact, Czechoslovak leadership, fearful of a rearmed Germany, sought to create a security pact with East Germany and Poland.[9] These states protested strongly against the re-militarization of West Germany.[17] The Warsaw Pact was primarily put in place as a consequence of the rearming of West Germany inside NATO. Soviet leaders, like many European countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain, feared Germany being once again a military power and a direct threat. The terrible consequences of German militarism remained a fresh memory among the Soviets and Eastern Europeans.[3][4][18][19][20] As the Soviet Union already had bilateral treaties with all of its eastern satellites, the Pact has been long considered 'superfluous',[21] and because of the rushed way in which it was conceived, NATO officials labeled it as a 'cardboard castle'.[22] Previously, in March 1954, the USSR, fearing the restoration of German militarism in West Germany, requested admission to NATO.[23][24][25]

The Soviet request to join NATO arose in the aftermath of the Berlin Conference of January–February 1954. Soviet foreign minister Molotov made proposals to have Germany reunified[26] and elections for a pan-German government,[27] under conditions of withdrawal of the four powers' armies and German neutrality,[28] but all were refused by the other foreign ministers, Dulles (USA), Eden (UK), and Bidault (France).[29] 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, France, and the United States insisted that a unified Germany should not be neutral and should be free to join the European Defence Community (EDC) and rearm. James Dunn (USA), who met in Paris with Eden, Adenauer, and Robert Schuman (France), affirmed that "the object should be to avoid discussion with the Russians and to press on the European Defense Community".[30] According to John Gaddis "there was little inclination in Western capitals to explore this offer" from the USSR.[31] While historian Rolf Steininger asserts that Adenauer's conviction that "neutralization means sovietization" was the main factor in the rejection of the Soviet proposals,[32] Adenauer also feared that German unification might have resulted in the end of the CDU's dominance in the West German Bundestag.[33]

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 other European States",[34] 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"[34] which would have included the unified Germany (thus making the EDC – perceived by the USSR as a threat – unusable). But Eden, Dulles, and Bidault opposed the proposal.[35]

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 leader Palewski) who perceived it as "unacceptable in its present form because it excludes the USA from participation in the collective security system in Europe".[36] The Soviets then decided to make a new proposal to the governments of the USA, UK, and France to accept the participation of the USA in the proposed General European Agreement.[36] And considering that 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",[36][37] 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".[36]

Soviet big 7
Warsaw Pact "Big Seven" threats displaying the equipment of the communist forces

Again all proposals, including the request to join NATO, were rejected by the UK, US, and French governments shortly after.[25][38] Emblematic was the position of British General Hastings Ismay, a fierce supporter of NATO expansion. He opposed the request to join NATO made by the USSR in 1954[39] saying that "the Soviet request to join NATO is like an unrepentant burglar requesting to join the police force".[40]

In April 1954 Adenauer made his first visit to the USA meeting Nixon, Eisenhower, and Dulles. 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.[41]

Memories of the Nazi occupation were still strong, and the rearmament of Germany was feared by France too.[4][42] On 30 August 1954 French Parliament rejected the EDC, thus ensuring its failure[43] and blocking a major objective of US policy towards Europe: to associate Germany militarily with the West.[44] The US Department of State started to elaborate alternatives: 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 a German rearmament outside NATO.[45]

UAZ-469 (4713547953)
A typical Soviet military jeep UAZ-469, used by most countries of the Warsaw Pact

On 23 October 1954 – only nine years after the Western Allies (UK, USA, and USSR) defeated Nazi Germany ending World War II 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, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[46] In November 1954, the USSR requested a new European Security Treaty,[47] 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 other seven 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"[48] established the Warsaw Pact in response to the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into NATO,[3][5] 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".[48]

One of the founding members, East Germany was allowed to re-arm by the Soviet Union and the National People's Army was established as the armed forces of the country to counter the rearmament of West Germany and vice versa.[49]


Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0529-029, Berlin, Tagung Warschauer Pakt, Gruppenfoto
Meeting of seven representatives of the Warsaw Pact countries in East Berlin in May 1987. From left to right: Gustáv Husák, Todor Zhivkov, Erich Honecker, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Wojciech Jaruzelski, and János Kádár

The eight member countries of the Warsaw Pact pledged the mutual defence of any member who would be attacked. Relations among the treaty signatories were based upon mutual non-intervention in the internal affairs of the member countries, respect for national sovereignty, and political independence. However, almost all governments of those member states were indirectly controlled by the Soviet Union.[50]

The founding signatories to the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance consisted of the following communist governments:

 Mongolia: In July 1963 the Mongolian People's Republic asked to join the Warsaw Pact under Article 9 of the treaty.[52] Due to the emerging Sino-Soviet split, Mongolia remained in an observer status.[52] The Soviet government agreed to station troops in Mongolia in 1966.[53]

During Cold War

Praga 11
Soviet tanks on the streets of Prague during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968

For 36 years, NATO 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 on the international stage. These included the Korean War, Vietnam War, Bay of Pigs invasion, Dirty War, Cambodian–Vietnamese War, and others.[54][55]

In 1956, following the declaration of the Imre Nagy government of the withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw Pact, Soviet troops entered the country and removed the government.[56] Soviet forces crushed the nationwide revolt, leading to the death of an estimated 2,500 Hungarian citizens.[57]

The multi-national Communist armed forces' sole joint action was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.[58] All member countries, with the exception of the Socialist Republic of Romania and the People's Republic of Albania, participated in the invasion.[59] The German Democratic Republic provided only minimal support, however.[59]

End of the Cold War

In 1989, popular civil and political public discontent toppled the Communist governments of the Warsaw Treaty countries. Independent national politics made feasible with the perestroika and glasnost policies induced institutional collapse of the Communist government in the USSR in 1991.[60] From 1989 to 1991, Communist governments were overthrown in Albania, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union.

As the last acts of the Cold War were playing out, several Warsaw Pact states (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary) participated in the U.S.-led coalition effort to liberate Kuwait in the Gulf War.

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.[61] On 1 July 1991, in Prague, the Czechoslovak President Václav Havel[62] 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.[62][63] The USSR disestablished itself in December 1991.

Central and Eastern Europe after the Warsaw Treaty

NATO expansion
Expansion of NATO before and after the collapse of communism throughout Central and Eastern Europe

On 12 March 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia joined in March 2004; Albania joined on 1 April 2009.[64][65]

Russia and some other post-USSR states joined the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in 1992, or the Shanghai Five in 1996, which was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after Uzbekistan's addition in 2001.[66]

In November 2005, the Polish government[67] 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 is the Warsaw Treaty's nuclear war plan, Seven Days to the River Rhine – a short, swift counter-attack capturing Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Netherlands east of the Rhine, using nuclear weapons, in self-defence, after a NATO first strike.[68] The plan originated as a 1979[69] field training exercise war game and metamorphosed into official Warsaw Treaty battle doctrine, until the late 1980s – which is why the Polish People's Republic was a nuclear weapons base,[70] first, to 178, then, to 250 tactical-range rockets, though these numbers may differ. 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.[68][71]

See also


  1. ^ Withheld support in 1961 because of the Soviet-Albanian split, formally withdrew in 1968
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  2. ^ Yost, David S. (1998). NATO Transformed: The Alliance's New Roles in International Security. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press. p. 31. ISBN 1-878379-81-X.
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  6. ^ Broadhurst, Arlene Idol (1982). The Future of European Alliance Systems. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-86531-413-6.
  7. ^ Christopher Cook, Dictionary of Historical Terms (1983)
  8. ^ The Columbia Enclopedia, fifth edition (1993) p. 2926
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  10. ^ The Oder-Neisse Line: The United States, Poland, and Germany in the Cold War Debra J. Allen page 158 "Treaties approving Bonn's participation in NATO were ratified in May 1955...shortly thereafter Soviet Union...created the Warsaw Pact to counter the perceived threat of NATO"
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  16. ^ ' 'The Review of Politics Volume' ', 34, No. 2 (April 1972), pp. 190–209
  17. ^ Europa Antoni Czubiński Wydawn. Poznańskie, 1998, p. 298
  18. ^ World Politics: The Menu for Choice page 87 Bruce Russett, Harvey Starr, David Kinsella – 2009 The Warsaw Pact was established in 1955 as a response to West Germany's entry into NATO; German militarism was still a recent memory among the Soviets and East Europeans.
  19. ^ "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:United States Department of State, Office of the Historian. "The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 1955". Office of the Historian. history.state.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  20. ^ "1955: After objecting to Germany's admission into NATO, the Soviet Union joins Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania in forming the Warsaw Pact.". See chronology in:"Fast facts about NATO". CBC News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  21. ^ The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955–1969 Laurien Crump Routledge, pp. 17, 11.02.2015
  22. ^ The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955–1969 Laurien Crump Routledge, p. 1, 11.02.2015
  23. ^ "Soviet Union request to join NATO" (PDF). Nato.int. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  24. ^ "1954: Soviet Union suggests it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe. U.S. and U.K. reject this". See chronology in:"Fast facts about NATO". CBC News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Proposal of Soviet adherence to NATO as reported in the Foreign Relations of the United States Collection". UWDC FRUS Library. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  26. ^ Molotov 1954a, pp. 197,201.
  27. ^ Molotov 1954a, p. 202.
  28. ^ Molotov 1954a, pp. 197–198, 203, 212.
  29. ^ Molotov 1954a, pp. 211–212, 216.
  30. ^ Steininger, Rolf (1991). The German Question: The Stalin Note of 1952 and the Problem of Reunification. Columbia Univ Press. p. 56.
  31. ^ Gaddis, John (1997). We Know Now: Rethinking Cold War History. Clarendon Press. p. 126.
  32. ^ Steininger, Rolf (1991). The German Question: The Stalin Note of 1952 and the Problem of Reunification. Columbia Univ Press. p. 80.
  33. ^ Steininger, Rolf (1991). The German Question: The Stalin Note of 1952 and the Problem of Reunification. Columbia Univ Press. p. 103.
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  35. ^ Molotov 1954a, p. 214.
  36. ^ a b c d "MOLOTOV'S PROPOSAL THAT THE USSR JOIN NATO, MARCH 1954". Wilson Center. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  37. ^ Molotov 1954a, p. 216,.
  38. ^ "Final text of tripartite reply to Soviet note" (PDF). Nato website. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  39. ^ Ian Traynor. "Soviets tried to join Nato in 1954". the Guardian.
  40. ^ "Memo by Lord Ismay, Secretary General of NATO" (PDF). Nato.int. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  41. ^ Adenauer 1966a, p. 662.
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  47. ^ "Indivisible Germany: Illusion or Reality?" James H. Wolfe Springer Science & Business Media, 06.12.2012 page 73
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  60. ^ The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, third edition, 1999, pp. 637–8
  61. ^ "Warsaw Pact and Comecon To Dissolve This Week". Csmonitor.com. 26 February 1991. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  62. ^ a b Greenhouse, Steven. "DEATH KNELL RINGS FOR WARSAW PACT". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  63. ^ Havel, Václav (2007). To the Castle and Back. Trans. Paul Wilson. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-26641-5.
  64. ^ https://www.nato.int/docu/comm/1999/9904-wsh/pres-eng/03acce.pdf
  65. ^ https://www.nato.int/docu/update/2004/03-march/e0329a.htm
  66. ^ 宋薇. "SCO from the Uzbekistan perspective: Expectations and reality - Opinion - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  67. ^ "Here's how the USSR planned to conquer Europe in an all-out nuclear war". 29 October 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  68. ^ a b Catcher, Redd (11 July 2013). "DECODED: The Cold War in Europe 1945-1995 : Nuclear War in the West: Seven Days to the River Rhine". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  69. ^ Mizokami, Kyle (2 July 2016). "Revealed: How the Warsaw Pact Planned to Win World War Three in Europe". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
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Works cited

Further reading

  • 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


External links

1968 Red Square demonstration

The 1968 Red Square demonstration (Russian: Демонстра́ция 25 а́вгуста 1968 го́да) took place on 25 August 1968 at Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union, to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, that occurred during the night of 20–21 August 1968, crushing the Prague Spring, a set of de-centralization reforms promoted by Alexander Dubček.

Many people over the world had protested against the suppression of the Prague spring with troops of Soviet Union and other countries of the Warsaw Pact. One such act of protest took place in Moscow, at the Red Square. The protest was held at the Lobnoye Mesto, to avoid any violation of public order that could have occurred during the demonstration. The protesters were sitting to avoid any inconvenience to ordinary citizens which might be caused by them standing, although this appears to have had little effect.

Alexander Dubček

Alexander Dubček (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈalɛksandɛr ˈduptʃɛk]; 27 November 1921 – 7 November 1992) was a Slovak politician who served as the First secretary of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) (de facto leader of Czechoslovakia) from January 1968 to April 1969. He attempted to reform the communist government during the Prague Spring but was forced to resign following the Warsaw Pact invasion in August 1968.

During his leadership, under the slogan of "Socialism with a human face", Czechoslovakia lifted censorship on the media and liberalized Czechoslovak society, fuelling the so-called New Wave in Czechoslovak filmography. However, he was put under pressure by Stalinist voices inside the party as well as the Soviet leadership, who disliked the direction the country was taking and feared that Czechoslovakia could loosen ties with the Soviet Union and become more westernized. As a result, the country was invaded by the other Warsaw Pact countries on 20–21 August 1968, effectively ending the process known as the Prague Spring. Dubček resigned in April 1969 and was succeeded by Gustav Husák, who initiated normalization. Dubček was then expelled from the Communist Party in 1970.

Later, after the overthrow of the communist regime in 1989, he was Chairman of the federal Czechoslovak parliament. Also in 1989, the European Parliament awarded Dubček the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Brezhnev Doctrine

The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by Sergei Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article entitled Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries. Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party on November 13, 1968, which stated:

When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.

This doctrine was announced to retroactively justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 that ended the Prague Spring, along with earlier Soviet military interventions, such as the invasion of Hungary in 1956. These interventions were meant to put an end to liberalization efforts and uprisings that had the potential to compromise Soviet hegemony inside the Eastern Bloc, which was considered by the Soviet Union to be an essential defensive and strategic buffer in case hostilities with NATO were to break out.

In practice, the policy meant that only limited independence of the satellite states' communist parties was allowed and that no socialist country would be allowed to compromise the cohesiveness of the Eastern Bloc in any way. That is, no country could leave the Warsaw Pact or disturb a ruling communist party's monopoly on power. Implicit in this doctrine was that the leadership of the Soviet Union reserved, for itself, the power to define "socialism" and "capitalism". Following the announcement of the Brezhnev Doctrine, numerous treaties were signed between the Soviet Union and its satellite states to reassert these points and to further ensure inter-state cooperation. The principles of the doctrine were so broad that the Soviets even used it to justify their military intervention in the non-Warsaw Pact nation of Afghanistan in 1979. The Brezhnev Doctrine stayed in effect until it was ended with the Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980–1981. Mikhail Gorbachev refused to use military force when Poland held free elections in 1989 and Solidarity defeated the Polish United Workers' Party. It was superseded by the facetiously named Sinatra Doctrine in 1989, alluding to the Frank Sinatra song "My Way".

Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968

Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968 was a public address by Nicolae Ceaușescu, General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party and President of the State Council of Romania, strongly condemning the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. On the night of 20–21 August 1968, five Warsaw Pact nations - the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, and Poland - invaded Czechoslovakia in an effort to quell the reformist ideology of Alexander Dubček, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

On 21 August, in what became his most famous speech, Ceaușescu boldly denounced the invasion in a public address before 100,000 people in Palace Square in Bucharest, and declared that it was a "grave error and constituted a serious danger to peace in Europe and for the prospects of world socialism." His address was perceived as a bold gesture of disobedience to the Soviet Union both at home and abroad. The speech was part of the post-1956 efforts of the communist elite in Bucharest to emancipate their Party from Moscow.

Ceaușescu's response consolidated Romania's independent voice in the next two decades, especially after Ceaușescu encouraged the population to take up arms in order to meet any similar maneuver in the country: he received an enthusiastic initial response, with many people, who were by no means communist, willing to enroll in the newly formed paramilitary Patriotic Guards.

Central and Eastern Europe

Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE, is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe (the Visegrád Group), the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeastern Europe (Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc (Warsaw Pact) in Europe. Scholarly literature often uses the abbreviations CEE or CEEC for this term. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also uses the term "Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs)" for a group comprising some of these countries.

GIUK gap

The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval choke point. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses. The term is typically used in relation to military topics.

Jan Palach

Jan Palach (11 August 1948 – 19 January 1969; Czech pronunciation: [jan ˈpalax]) was a Czech student of history and political economy at Charles University in Prague. His self-immolation was a political protest against the end of the Prague Spring resulting from the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies.

Medal "For Strengthening of Brotherhood in Arms"

The Medal "For Strengthening Military Cooperation" (Russian: Медаль «За укрепление боевого содружества») was a military award of the Soviet Union established on May 25, 1979 by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Its statute was later confirmed and slightly amended by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet № 2523-X of July 18, 1980. It was bestowed to recognise outstanding cooperation between the different services and the different armed forces of the various Warsaw Pact countries or of any other friendly socialist state.

Member states of NATO

NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 29 member states from North America and Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.Of the 29 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States), 26 are in Europe, and one is in Eurasia (Turkey). All members have militaries, except for Iceland which does not have a typical army (but does, however, have a coast guard and a small unit of civilian specialists for NATO operations). Three of NATO's members are nuclear weapons states: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO has 12 original founding member nation states, and from 18 February 1952 to 6 May 1955, it added three more member nations, and a fourth on 30 May 1982. After the end of the Cold War, NATO added 13 more member nations (10 former Warsaw Pact members and three former Yugoslav republics) from 12 March 1999 to 5 June 2017.

National People's Army

The National People's Army (German: Nationale Volksarmee, NVA) was the armed forces of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990.

The NVA was organized into four branches: the Landstreitkräfte (Ground Forces), the Volksmarine (Navy), the Luftstreitkräfte (Air Force), and the Grenztruppen (Border Troops). The NVA belonged to the Ministry of National Defence and commanded by the National Defense Council of East Germany, headquartered in Strausberg 30 kilometers (19 mi) east of East Berlin. From 1962, conscription was mandatory for all GDR males aged between 18 and 60 requiring an 18-month service, and was the only Warsaw Pact military to offer non-combat roles to conscientious objectors, known as "construction soldiers" (Bausoldat). The NVA reached 175,300 personnel at its peak in 1987.

The NVA was formed on 1 March 1956 to succeed the Kasernierte Volkspolizei (Barracked People's Police) and influenced by the Soviet Army, becoming one of the Warsaw Pact militaries opposing NATO during the Cold War. The majority of NATO officers rated the NVA the best military in the Warsaw Pact based on discipline, thoroughness of training, and the quality of officer leadership. The NVA did not see significant combat but participated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, deployed military advisors to communist governments in other countries, and manned the Berlin Wall where they were responsible for numerous deaths. The NVA was dissolved on 2 October 1990 with the GDR before German reunification.

Normalization (Czechoslovakia)

In the history of Czechoslovakia, normalization (Czech: normalizace, Slovak: normalizácia) is a name commonly given to the period following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and up to the glasnost era of liberalization that began in the Soviet Union and its neighboring nations in 1987. It was characterized by the restoration of the conditions prevailing before the Prague Spring reform period led by First Secretary Alexander Dubček of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) earlier in 1968 and the subsequent preservation of the new status quo. Some historians date the period from the signing of the Moscow Protocol by Dubček and the other jailed Czechoslovak leaders on August 26, 1968, while others date it from the replacement of Dubček by Gustáv Husák on April 17, 1969, followed by the official normalization policies referred to as Husakism.

Prague Spring

The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in

Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.

The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel. After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. This dual federation was the only formal change that survived the invasion.

The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country. The New York Times cited reports of 650,000 men equipped with the most modern and sophisticated weapons in the Soviet military catalogue. A large wave of emigration swept the nation. Resistance was mounted throughout the country, involving attempted fraternization, sabotage of street signs, defiance of curfews, etc. While the Soviet military had predicted that it would take four days to subdue the country, the resistance held out for eight months until it was finally circumvented by diplomatic maneuvers (see below). It became a high-profile example of civilian-based defense; there were sporadic acts of violence and several protest suicides by self-immolation (the most famous being that of Jan Palach), but no military resistance. Czechoslovakia remained controlled by the Soviet Union until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended the communist regime; the last Soviet troops left the country in 1991.

After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period known as "normalization": subsequent leaders attempted to restore the political and economic values that had prevailed before Dubček gained control of the KSČ. Gustáv Husák, who replaced Dubček as First Secretary and also became President, reversed almost all of the reforms. The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Rain pattern

Rain pattern is a family of military camouflage patterns used by Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Bulgaria. They are characterised by the presence of many closely spaced vertical streaks resembling falling rain, printed over a background which is often of a single colour, but may itself be disruptively patterned.

The 1931 German splittermuster, used extensively in many variants in the Second World War, incorporated a "rain" element as well as a bold disruptive pattern of splotches. Poland appears to have been the first to introduce a pure rain pattern. It was followed by Czechoslovakia in 1963.

Seven Days to the River Rhine

Seven Days to the River Rhine (Russian: «Семь дней до реки Рейн», Sem' dney do reki Reyn) was a top-secret military simulation exercise developed in 1979 by the Warsaw Pact. It depicted the Soviet bloc's vision of a seven-day nuclear war between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces.

Sinatra Doctrine

"Sinatra Doctrine" was the name that the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev used jokingly to describe its policy of allowing neighboring Warsaw Pact states to determine their own internal affairs. The name alluded to the song "My Way" popularized by Frank Sinatra—the Soviet Union was allowing these states to go their own way. Its implementation was part of Gorbachev's doctrine of "new political thinking".

Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980–1981

The Polish crisis of 1980–1981, associated with the emergence of the Solidarity mass movement in Poland, challenged the Soviet Union's control over its satellite states in the Eastern Bloc.For the first time however, the Kremlin abstained from military intervention, unlike on previous occasions such as the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and thus left the Polish leadership under General Wojciech Jaruzelski to impose martial law to deal with the opposition on their own.

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. Furthermore, the Supreme Commander was also a First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union. The post, which was instituted in 1955 and abolished in 1991, was always held by a Soviet officer.

Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Approximately 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
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