Warsaw Union


May 28, 2022

The Warsaw Pact, officially known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (also the Warsaw Pact), was a military alliance formed by the Eastern Bloc countries on 14 May 1955 in Warsaw in the Polish People's Republic to counter the threat posed by a nominally re-armed Federal Republic. The choice of the date of establishment was influenced by the accession of the Federal Republic of Germany to NATO on the 5th of the same month. With the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989, the importance of the military alliance diminished until finally, on 1 July 1991, the organization was officially dissolved in Prague. Member States The Treaty of Accession was signed by Albania, Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The agreement was therefore joined by all the socialist countries in Europe, with the exception of Yugoslavia. The occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 forced Albania to withdraw permanently from the Warsaw Pact, although the country had virtually withdrawn in 1961 due to ideological differences. The same countries were also members of the Economic Union, the SEV. A few non-European countries (Mongolia, Cuba and Vietnam) later joined the SEV, but not the Warsaw Pact.

Operating principle

The members of the military alliance undertook to defend each other, if necessary, in the event of an attack by one or more Member States. The Warsaw Pact was largely run from Moscow and the armed forces were based on Soviet forces stationed in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic. These forces had been on the lands as occupying forces since the end of World War II. The Soviet Union also took care of equipping the armies of the member states. Troops withdrew from Romania in 1958 because Romania denied their presence. There were no significant foreign troops in Albania or Bulgaria. The highest body of the union organization was the Political Consultative Committee, in which the government of each member state was represented. In practice, this body was just a formality. The real decisions were made among the leaders of the communist parties in the member states. In addition, the practical headquarters were the General Staff and the Permanent Secretariat, which worked together with the SEV Secretariat. The commander of the Warsaw Pact was always a marshal nominated by the Soviet Union, who was also the deputy minister of defense of his country. Operations were led by a chief of staff appointed by the Soviet Union. The organization of the Warsaw Pact also included the tactical air force of the Soviet Air Force, which was concentrated in the west.


In 1956, Hungary tried to withdraw from the covenant during the Hungarian uprising, but Soviet forces occupied the country, defeated the uprising, and forced Hungary to remain a member of the military alliance. As a result, the Warsaw Pact was confirmed by the fact that each member state concluded a bilateral agreement with the Soviet Union, which gave the Soviet Union the right to keep its troops permanently in the member states. In 1968, Warsaw Pact forces suppressed the democratization process in Czechoslovakia (Prague Spring) by sending occupation forces.

NATO and the Warsaw Pact

From NATO's point of view, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union were particularly threatened by the fact that, thanks to their superior ground forces, the Warsaw Pact would have been able to move quite quickly to the Benelux countries in its attack. If the Warsaw Pact had occupied Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany, it could easily have continued to advance as far as France. However, documents found and published in Poland suggest that the Warsaw Pact did not seek to conquer France, but that if it had taken over Germany completely and occupied the Benelux countries as it progressed along the English Channel, it would be likely