Warsaw Pact

Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance
Military alliance
1955–1991 CSTOODKB.png
Member states: Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany², Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania.
Capital ¹
Language(s) Russian, Polish, German, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian
Political structure Military alliance
Supreme Commander
 - 1955–60 (first) Ivan Konev
 - 1989–91 (last) Petr Lushev
Head of Unified Staff
 - 1955–62 (first) Aleksei Antonov
 - 1989–90 (last) Vladimir Lobov
Historical era Cold War
 - Established 14 May 1955
 - Hungarian crisis 4 November 1956
 - Czechoslovakian crisis 21 August 1968
 - German reunification² 3 October 1990
 - Disestablished 1 July 1991
¹ HQ in Moscow, USSR.
² A 24 September 1990 treaty withdrew the German Democratic Republic from the Warsaw Treaty; at reunification, it became integral to NATO Pact.

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 states in Eastern Europe. It was established at the Soviet Union's initiative and realized on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw.

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’s May 1955[1] integration to the NATO Pact, per the Paris Pacts of 1954.[2][3][4]



The Cold War (1945–90): NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact, the status of forces in 1973

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:

  • Albanian: Pakti i miqësisë, bashkpunimit dhe i ndihmës së përbashkët
  • Bulgarian: Договор за дружба, сътрудничество и взаимопомощ
  • Czech: Smlouva o přátelství, spolupráci a vzájemné pomoci
  • Slovak: Zmluva o priateľstve, spolupráci a vzájomnej pomoci
  • German: Vertrag über Freundschaft, Zusammenarbeit und gegenseitigen Beistand
  • Hungarian: Barátsági, együttműködési és kölcsönös segítségnyújtási szerződés
  • Polish: Układ o Przyjaźni, Współpracy i Pomocy Wzajemnej
  • Romanian: Tratatul de prietenie, cooperare şi asistenţă mutuală
  • Russian: Договор о дружбе, сотрудничестве и взаимной помощи
Medal Union of peace and socialism Warsaw Pact
Medal 30 years of friendship and cooperation of the Warsaw Pact
Soviet philatelic commemoration: At its 20th anniversary in 1975, the Warsaw Pact remains On Guard for Peace and Socialism.


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 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 alliance, the USSR dominated the Warsaw Treaty armed forces.[5]


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 ultimately had to prevail, which was taken to mean even in a nuclear war.[6]


Communist Bloc Conclave: The Warsaw Pact conference, 11 May 1955, Warsaw, Poland.
Map of Warsaw Pact countries

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 (1933–45) that ended only with the Soviet and Allied invasion of Germany in 1944/45 during World War II 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 in the internal affairs of the member countries, respect for national sovereignty, and political independence.

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

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 on the international stage.

In 1956, following the declaration of the Imre Nagy 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 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 politics made feasible with the perestroika- and glasnost-induced institutional collapse of Communist government in the USSR.[7] In the event the populaces of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, 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.[8] On the first of July 1991, in Prague, the Czechoslovak President Václav Havel 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 (CSTO).

In November 2005, the Polish government opened its Warsaw Treaty archives to the Institute of National Remembrance 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 – a short, swift attack capturing Western Europe, using nuclear weapons, in self-defense, after a NATO first strike. 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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Yorst, David S. (1998). NATO Transformed: The Alliance's New Roles in International Security. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press. p. 31. ISBN 187837981X. 
  2. ^ Broadhurst, Arlene Idol (1982). The Future of European Alliance Systems. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 137. ISBN 0865314136. 
  3. ^ Christopher Cook, Dictionary of Historical Terms (1983)
  4. ^ The Columbia Enclopedia, fifth edition (1993) p. 2926
  5. ^ Fes'kov, V. I.; Kalashnikov, K. A.; Golikov, V. I. (2004). Sovetskai͡a Armii͡a v gody "kholodnoĭ voĭny," 1945–1991 [The Soviet Army in the Cold War Years (1945–1991)]. Tomsk: Tomsk University Publisher. p. 6. ISBN 5751118197. 
  6. ^ Heuser, Beatrice (1993). "Warsaw Pact Military Doctrines in the 70s and 80s: Findings in the East German Archives". Comparative Strategy 12 (4): 437–457. doi:10.1080/01495939308402943. 
  7. ^ The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, third edition, 1999, pp. 637–8
  8. ^ Warsaw Pact and Comecon To Dissolve This Week


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External links

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