The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, more commonly known as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defence treaty in effect from 1955 to 1991. Eight countries subscribed to the pact, agreeing to defend any other member that would fall under wartimes. The treaty’s duration was set at twenty years; under the stipulation that none of the members had resigned from the alliance, the pact was set to hold for another ten years after that.
Participants of the Warsaw Pact
On May 14, 1955, the Warsaw Pact linked 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 Romanian People’s Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Czechoslovak Republic. Albania’s commitment to the pact began to run thin in 1962, and the country formally separated in 1968. On October 3, 1990, the five states of Germany that were abolished in 1952 officially joined the Federal Republic of Germany, and Germany withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1991. Hungary (which stated its intentions to leave the pact in 1990), Czechoslovakia, Poland and the remaining countries formally ended their alliance in 1991 when the Warsaw Pact was terminated.
A Communist Retort
The Warsaw Pact was a communist response to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which was signed on April 4, 1949. The treaty was put in place as a means for Soviet allies to be monitored. It served to strengthen the communist hold on Eastern Europe and build military forces for the countries in its favour. The USSR forged the pact with strong desire to prevent further invasions onto Russian soil, and it strongly resonates Khrushchev’s desires for communism’s global domination.
Soviet Control Over Warsaw Pact Affairs
Two departments dealt with Warsaw Pact affairs: the Political Consultative Committee, which dealt with political issues and the Combined Command of the Pact of Armed Forces, which dealt with the multi-national military forces. Both the Supreme Commander of the United Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the head of the Warsaw Treaty of Combined Staff were political leaders in the USSR, occupying the respective roles of First Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR and First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR.