According to AbbreviationFinder, Warsaw Pact is also known as WP.
History of the Warsaw Pact
The Allies were already thinking about Germany’s future during the Second World War. After the Wehrmacht surrendered on May 8, 1945, it soon became clear that the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union could not agree on a common solution for dealing with Germany. From 1945 the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin promoted the seizure of power by communist forces in Poland and Czechoslovakia and promoted the restructuring of the states according to their own example. As a result, fear of further expansion of the Soviet Union grew among the countries in Europe. In the United States, too, the expansion of Soviet influence was viewed with increasing suspicion. In 1947, US President Harry S. Truman (* 1884, † 1972) passed the so-called Truman Doctrine. Countries threatened by the influence of the Soviet Union, the USA assured support from now on. With the Marshall Plan, the US supported economic reconstruction in Europe at the same time, also to keep communist forces in some countries small. This US strategy is called containment policy or containment policy. In order to weld the western camp more firmly together, NATO was founded in 1949 under the leadership of the USA.
There were also tensions in Germany. After the end of the war, German national territory was divided among the four occupying powers that administered their respective occupation zones. Disagreements between the USA, Great Britain and France on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other resulted in the establishment of two separate German states in 1949. That of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer The increased connection of the Federal Republic to the West led to the conclusion of the Paris Treaties in 1954. They made the Federal Republic of Germany a sovereign state again. This enabled her to become a member of NATO and set up the Bundeswehr. The GDR joined its socialist brother states, which under Soviet leadership also assured each other economic aid and military support. On May 14, 1955, the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” between the Soviet Union, the GDR, the People’s Republics of Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary was concluded in Warsaw: the so-called Warsaw Pact. The GDR then also built an army under the guidance of the Soviet Union, the National People’s Army.
The Warsaw Pact in the Cold War
The member states of the Warsaw Pact were obliged to provide parts of their armies for the “United Armed Forces”, which were under Soviet high command. Although Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia demanded more say in the 1960s, the leadership role of the powerful Soviet Union was never questioned. The Soviet Union had stationed its own troops in the “brother states”, which enabled it to exert pressure on politics. Based on the Soviet model, all of the brother states adopted a one-party system. When there was a popular uprising in the GDR on June 17, 1953 due to the reorganization of a planned economy, the Soviet Army ended it by force of arms. Demonstrators also died in the process. In the Soviet Union it happened after the death of the dictator J. Stalin in 1953 also initiated reforms. As a result, the member states of the Warsaw Pact also hoped for democratic changes. When the ruling Unity Party in Hungary was overthrown in 1956 and the country wanted to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, troops of the Soviet Union put down the popular uprising. The USA held back during the uprising in Hungary because the establishment of NATO and the Warsaw Pact had also meant that neither of the major powers interfered in the adversary’s sphere of influence. Both sides upgraded their military and placed missiles in Europe that could be used as a carrier for nuclear weapons to hit the opponent’s national territory. However, both sides also adhered to the unwritten rule not to initiate a nuclear war. There was a “balance of horror.” Nevertheless, the Soviet Union repeatedly threatened war, in which the Warsaw Pact states would participate. For example during the Berlin crisis, which led to the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Or during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, triggered when the US deployed missiles at a NATO base in Turkey. The Soviet Union then wanted to position missiles on Cuba. The conflict could still be resolved politically. The “Prague Spring”, on the other hand, was violently ended. On August 21, 1968, the Warsaw Pact troops marched into Czechoslovakia to crush the reform movement, which was supported by large parts of the population. A success of the movement would have called into question the power of the political leaderships in other Warsaw Pact states. Although there were phases of diplomatic detente in the following years, the arms race between the USA and the Soviet Union continued. This also indirectly led to the end of the alliance.
The end of the Warsaw Pact
Billions in spending on the military and armaments brought the Soviet Union into economic difficulties in the 1980s. In 1985 it was extended for another 25 years. Under the term » Perestroika «, M. Gobratschow, who as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the supreme ruler, initiated a modernization of the economic and political system from 1986 onwards. In addition to disarmament agreements with the United States, it also contained the abolition of the principle that the Soviet Union may intervene in the Warsaw Pact states if socialism is threatened there. M. Gorbachev was of the opinion that the countries should be independent. This gave rise to democratic reform movements in the Warsaw Pact states, which largely replaced their communist governments peacefully. In Germany, the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, which is considered the end of the Cold War. In Romania, the dictator Nicolae Ceasescu (* 1918, † 1989) was overthrown by the population in December 1989. After the GDR had left in 1990, the alliance was dissolved at a meeting of the heads of state in 1991. The withdrawal of the Soviet soldiers was regulated by contract.
According to the Warsaw Pact
After the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union fell apart. 15 independent states emerged on the territory of the former world power. Russia, the largest of the successor states, went through years of internal political conflicts and economic crises. From 1999, the founding states of the Warsaw Pact, with the exception of Russia, joined NATO. The expansion of the western military alliance and the European Union towards the east was seen as a provocation in Russia. Some European diplomats and historians were also critical of the eastward expansion of NATO and the EU. They feared that security in Europe would be in danger again because Russia continued to view the states of the former Soviet Union as an area of economic and political influence. When the Ukrainian government declared in 2013 thatNot to sign the European Union, there was a revolution in 2014 after demonstrations in Kiev. The Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych (* 1950) was overthrown. In the same year, Russia used a first political, then armed conflict in the Republic of Crimea, which belongs to Ukraine, to occupy the area and control it politically. The conflict has also worsened the relationship between the USA and the European Union on the one hand and Russia on the other. Since then, politicians have feared a renewed arms race and a new Cold War.