The Warsaw Pact reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Warsaw Pact

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Key Warsaw Pact figures. From left; East German Defence Minister [[Heinz HoffmannEnlarge

Key Warsaw Pact figures. From left; East German Defence Minister [[Heinz Hoffmann

, Polish Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski, Warsaw Pact Commander in Chief Viktor Kulikov, and Czechoslovakian Defence Minister Martin Dzúr discussing Warsaw Pact manoeuvres in Poland, March 1981.]]

The Warsaw Pact or Warsaw Treaty was a military alliance of the Eastern European Soviet Bloc countries intended to organize against the perceived threat from the NATO alliance, established in 1949, but specifically spurred by the integration of a "re-militarized" West Germany into NATO with the Western nations' ratification of the Paris Agreements. The treaty was drafted by Nikita Khrushchev in 1955 and signed in Warsaw on May 14, 1955.

Table of contents
1 Members
2 History
3 Post-Warsaw Pact
4 References

Members

All the communist countries of Eastern Europe except Yugoslavia were signatories. The members of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if one or more of the members were attacked.

In practice, the Soviet Union was largely in control of the alliance, both politically and militarily. The pact came to an end on March 31, 1991 and was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague on July 1.

Albania withdrew from the alliance in 1961 as a result of the Sino-Soviet split in which the hard-line Stalinist regime in Albania sided with the People's Republic of China.

History

The Warsaw Pact was dominated by the Soviet Union. Efforts to leave the Warsaw Pact by member countries were crushed, for instance in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. During the Hungarian Revolution, the Prime Minister Imre Nagy stated that Hungary was being withdrawn from the Warsaw Pact, but in October 1956 the Red Army entered Hungary and crushed the resistance in two weeks.

Warsaw Pact forces were utilised at times, such as during the 1968 Prague Spring, when they invaded Czechoslovakia to put down the democratic reforms that were being implemented by Alexander Dubček's government. This brought to light the Soviet policy governing the Warsaw Pact, the Brezhnev Doctrine, that stated "When forces that are hostile to socialism and 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." After the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Albania formally withdrew from the pact, although Albania had stopped supporting the pact as early as 1962.

NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries never engaged each other in armed conflict, but fought the Cold War for more than 35 years. In December 1988 Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union at the time, announced the so called Sinatra Doctrine which stated that the Brezhnev Doctrine would be abandoned and that the Eastern European countries could do what they wished. When it was clear that the Soviet Union would no longer use force to control the Warsaw Pact countries a series of rapid changes started in Eastern Europe in 1989. The new governments in Eastern Europe were much less supportive to the Warsaw Pact, and in January 1991 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland announced that they would withdraw all support by July 1st that year. Bulgaria followed suit in February, and it was clear that the pact was effectively dead. The Soviet Union acknowledged this, and the pact was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague on July 1, 1991.

Post-Warsaw Pact

On 12 March 1999 former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia followed suit in March 2004 along with Slovenia.

References