The Warsaw Pact was a military alliance created by the Soviet Union as a response to West Germany joining NATO. Formally the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, the alliance was formed by signing on May 14, 1955 by the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Hungary. Warsaw Pact members have committed themselves to defend each other if one of them were attacked. The document also included the principle of non-intervention in domestic affairs and the respect of national independence.
The initiator of the treaty was the Soviet Union Prime Minister, Nikita Khrushchev who also presented Stalin’s crimes in order to inspire loyalty. Turning back to the subject, Khrushchev rushed the treaty because of the integration of West Germany in NATO. The Prime Minister presented the idea in 1955 and few months later it was signed by all the Communist states of Eastern Europe, except for Yugoslavia.
The main structures to ensure the alliance were the Political Advisory Committee, Unit Command of Armed Forces, the Major State of United Army and the Secretariat of the Treaty. However, one of the aspects was seen unacceptable in national sovereignty by some countries. In a case of war, the operations of the United Army would return to the Soviet Union’s General Staff.
The first Intervention
Hungary was the victim of the Warsaw Pact even if it was a member of the alliance. During the Hungarian revolution from 1956, the Hungarian government headed by Imre Nagy announced that Hungary will withdraw from the alliance. As a response, the “United Army” entered on their territory to bring back Janos Kadar as the Hungarian leader.
The first Breakup
Albania ceased to be an active alliance member in 1961 as a result of the China-Soviet rupture. Albania was on the side of China and in 1968 they managed to withdraw officially from the Pact.
The first Opposition
The Warsaw Pact forces were also used in August 1968 in Czechoslovakia because of the internal events from the county. Twenty three Soviet army divisions backed up by Hungarian, East German, Bulgarian and Polish division entered Czechoslovakia. The only country opposed to the intervention and refused to contribute with troops was Romania.
Secret Service Intervention
Romania was about to become the victim of an intervention due to the critical position of the Romanian authorities towards Czechoslovakia’s intervention. The British and Dutch secret services managed to find out the details of Romania’s invasion and informed them about the military action against Romania. The total number of troops would amount to 150,000 soldiers.
NATO and Warsaw Pact never entered into an armed conflict, but they were part of the Cold War for more than 35 years. In 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union at that time, proposed to the eastern countries to choose the political line they wanted to follow. When it was clear that the Soviet Union would no longer use armed forces to control the Warsaw Pact, a series of political changes began in Eastern Europe in 1989.
The fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe led to the breakup of the Warsaw Pact. On January 1991 most of the members announced that they will withdraw from the military alliance by July. Therefore, the Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved at the meeting in Prague on July 1, 1991.