Warsaw Pact

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The Warsaw Pact,[1] officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance,[2] 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[3][4][5][6] in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954,[7][8][9][10][11] but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.[12]

Its members were:[13]

In July 1963, the Mongolian People's Republic asked to join the Warsaw Pact under Article 9 of the treaty,[14] however due to the emerging Sino-Soviet split, Mongolia remained in an observer status. The Soviet government agreed to station troops in Mongolia in 1966.[15]

Debt

Loans were contracted to obtain Western technology and/or consumer goods. However, Western Europe experienced a recession during the 70s, while the Soviets meanwhile had their own economic problems which caused them to raise the prices of raw materials sent to Eastern Europe. Economic problems in the rest of the Eastern Bloc meant that these debts kept accumulating, although Ceaușescu infamously “solved” this by imposing severe austerity measures, which led to his overthrow in 1989. The only countries in the region without large debt problems where Czechoslovakia and Albania, the latter due to its policy of self-reliance and importing as little as possible, but that in turn characterized the entire regime with increasingly spartan living standards and a lack of spare parts for industry.

Indebtedness became so bad that West Germany offered to give Hungary a new loan in 1989 on condition it remove its barriers on the Hungarian-Austrian border. Hungary agreed, whereupon large numbers of East Germans suddenly went “vacationing” in Hungary, which set into motion the events that would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Protests at the end of the Cold War

In the late 1980s and early 90s the Warsaw Pact economies were stagnant, and the citizens of these countries were gaining a view into the capitalist world, something much pioneered by Gorbachev's policy of Glasnost. Thus they sought a “best of both worlds” situation — an abundance of consumer goods (which they believed existed in the West for most citizens) along with less restrictions of the press, but also full employment and other policies of socialism. Many were dissatisfied with their governments at the time, yet this does not mean the ordinary citizen cared much for the views of Milton Friedman or Hayek.

The CIA had a part in this as well, primarily in supporting Solidarity throughout the 80s. When it came to post-socialist elections there was definite involvement of the US government, mainly via the National Endowment for Democracy.

References

  1. http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/lory1.ethz.ch/collections/coll_poland/Introductionb85a.html?navinfo=111216
  2. "Text of Warsaw Pact" (PDF). United Nations Treaty Collection. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  3. 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.
  4. "Formation of Nato and Warsaw Pact". History Channel. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  5. "The Warsaw Pact is formed". History Channel. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. "In reaction to West Germany's NATO accession, the Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955." Citation from: NATO website. "A short history of NATO". nato.int. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. Broadhurst, Arlene Idol (1982). The Future of European Alliance Systems. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-86531-413-6.
  8. Christopher Cook, Dictionary of Historical Terms (1983)
  9. The Columbia Encyclopedia, fifth edition (1993) p. 2926
  10. The Warsaw Pact Reconsidered: International Relations in Eastern Europe, 1955–1969 Laurien Crump Routledge, p. 21–22, 11.02.2015
  11. 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"
  12. "Warsaw Pact: Wartime Status-Instruments of Soviet Control". Wilson Center. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  13. "The Warsaw Pact is formed - May 14, 1955 - HISTORY.com". Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  14. Mastny, Vojtech; Byrne, Malcolm (1 January 2005). A Cardboard Castle?: An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991. Central European University Press. ISBN 9789637326080. Archived from the original on 23 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018 – via Google Books.
  15. Reuters (3 March 1990). "Soviet Troops to Leave Mongolia in 2 Years". Archived from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018 – via LA Times.