The Warsaw Pact History and Members

Member Countries of the Warsaw Pact

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The Warsaw Pact was established in 1955 after West Germany became a part of NATO. It was formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance. The Warsaw Pact was meant to counter the threat from the NATO countries. It was made up of Central and Eastern European Countries. Each country in the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend the others against any outside military threat. While the pact stated that each country would respect the sovereignty and political independence of the others each country was in some way controlled by the Soviet Union.

The pact dissolved at the end of the Cold War in 1991. 

Members of the Warsaw Pact

  • Soviet Union
  • Albania (until 1968)
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • East Germany (until 1990)
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania

Why The Warsaw Pact Was Established

After World War II the Soviet Union sought to control as much of Central and Eastern Europe as it could. In the 50's West Germany was rearmed and allowed to join NATO. The countries that bordered West Germany, were fearful of them becoming a military power once again. This fear caused Czechoslovakia to attempt to create a security pact with Poland and East Germany. 

The Pact During the Cold War

The Warsaw Pact lasted for 36 years. In all of that time, there was never a direct conflict between the Pact and NATO. However, there were many proxy wars especially between the Soviet Union and the United States in places such as Korea and Vietnam. 

Warsaw Pact Invasion Of Czechoslovakia

On August 20, 1968, 250,000 Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia in what was known as Operation Danube.

108 civilians were killed and another 500 were wounded by the invading troops. Only Albania and Romania refused to participate in the invasion. East Germany did not send troops to Czechoslovakia but only because their troops were ordered not to by Moscow. Albania would leave the Warsaw Pact over the invasion.

The invasion was an attempt by the Soviet Union to oust the Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek whose plans to reform Czechoslovakia did not a line with the Soviet Union's wishes. Dubcek wanted to liberalize the country and had many reformations plans most of which he was unable to carry out. Before he was arrested during the invasion he urged citizens not to resist militarily because as he said: “presenting a military defense would have meant exposing the Czech and Slovak peoples to a senseless bloodbath”. This sparked many non-violent protests throughout the country. 

After the Cold War

Between 1989 and 1991 the communist parties fell in the majority of the countries in the Warsaw Pact. While many had seen the pact as de facto ended in 1989 when none of the other countries assisted Romania militarily during its violent revolution, the pact would formally exist for another couple of years. In 1991 just months before the USSR disbanded the Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved in Prague. 

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Rosenberg, Matt. "The Warsaw Pact History and Members." ThoughtCo, Sep. 20, 2017, Rosenberg, Matt. (2017, September 20). The Warsaw Pact History and Members. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "The Warsaw Pact History and Members." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 19, 2018).