Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was the communist version of NATO.
Officially it was the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance.

In 1955, West Germany joined NATO so a military alliance was established to counter it.

Like NATO, one of the main principles was that an attack on one country was an attack on all members of the alliance.  The Warsaw Pact countries were the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Czechoslovakia.

When I grew up the Cold War was NATO vs the Warsaw Pact.

Ironically, its largest military engagement wasn't against NATO but "Operation Danube" which was the invasion of Czechoslovakia that put down the Prague Spring.
Romania and Albania didn't participate in the invasion.  Shortly afterwards, Albania left the alliance.

At the last minute it was decided that East Germany would not invade because it was the 30th anniversary of Germany annexing the Sudetenland.  

Here's a video I found out on YouTube called "March of the Warsaw Pact".  The lyrics are in Russian but there are English subtitles.  It's basically the alliance's anthem but I find it interesting that the East Germans aren't mentioned.

©YugoslavianHeros 1943

The Warsaw Pact became less relevant following the fall of communism in 1989 and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Except that there were still Soviet troops stationed across Eastern Europe.  East Germany left the pact in 1990 following the reunification of Germany.

It's fitting that the Warsaw Pact was formally ended, in Prague, on 1 July 1991 by Czechoslovak President Václav Havel

Over the next 20+ years former Warsaw Pact countries ended up joining NATO.  Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined in 1999.  Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania joined in 2004, along with the former Soviet Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  Albania joined in 2009.  

NATO just celebrated its 70th anniversary and continues to expand.

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