The Warsaw Pact was signed in Warsaw on May 14, 1955 in reply to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which was constituted in 1949. The proclaimed goal of the Warsaw Pact was to ensure peace and security in Europe, but it turned out that the goal was actually to strengthen the Soviet dominance in Central and Eastern Europe. Since the treaty was signed, Europe and the whole mankind found themselves divided into two big camps – socialism and capitalism. Related issues were discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Warsaw Pact: History without propaganda”.
The permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said the official name of the Warsaw Pact was “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance”. It was signed on May 14, 1955 in the Warsaw meeting of European socialist states by Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia. The proclaimed goal was to ensure peace and security in Europe. The treaty took effect on June 5, 1955. In 1962, Albania stopped taking part in the meetings of the Warsaw Pact and in September 1968 unilaterally denounced the treaty as a result of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet troops in August 1968. The German Democratic Republic stopped being a member of the Warsaw Pact in 1990, after the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany.
“The signing of the Treaty of Warsaw was a reply to the reply, actually after the Western states ratified the Paris Agreements of 1954, which envisioned the formation of the Western European Union and the acceptance of West Germany into this Union and also into NATO. When I say reply to reply, I mean that NATO was founded in 1949 and was a reply to the communization of the states of Central and Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union, while the Warsaw Pact claimed to be a reply to the founding of NATO,” explained Igor Boțan.
According to the expert, the goal of the treaty was to legalize the creation of a military alliance of European socialist states, with the Soviet Union playing the principal role, and to cement what was called bipolarity of the world, which lasted for 36 years. One of the main articles of the treaty provided that if one of the member states was attacked, this would be offered assistance immediately, by all ways, including through the armed forces.
“On April 26, 1985, following the expiry of the 20-year term, the treaty was extended for another 20 years. After the communist regimes collapsed in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989-1990, the existence of the Warsaw Treaty Organization as a military and political alliance of the socialist states simply lost any sense. That’s why the participating states of the Warsaw Pact on February 25, 1991 disbanded their military bodies and signed a protocol on the ending of this treaty in Prague on July 1, 1991,” stated Igor Boțan.
Doctor of History Anatol Țăranu, Moldova’s former ambassador to Russia, said that after World War II ended, the problem of coexistence of states with different political and social systems appeared. This became the central problem of the international relations. “In 1945 already, at the Fulton University College, one of the European leaders, Winston Churchill, uttered his famous formula that initially wasn’t perceived at its real value by international opinion. Time proved the profoundness of that prediction of Churchill. It goes to the “Iron Curtain that divided Europe” and the whole world in fact. That was the main problem that dominated the international relations, first of all in Europe, since the start of the period until the end of the Cold War,” explained Anatol Țăranu.
According to the historian, it was absolutely evident that a formula was being looked for to prevent the war from repeating. At the same time, countries that represented two absolutely different social-political systems had to coexist somehow. As a result of forced communization of Eastern and Central Europe, the Western democracies had to identify a formula that would have enabled them to protect themselves from this communist invasion coming from the Soviet Union.
“This led to the formation of NATO in 1949. The so-called socialist states that were extensively dominated by the Soviet Union were looking for their way. This referred rather to Soviet Moscow that tried to realize how to behave with regard to what NATO was. Finally, the Warsaw Pact was constituted in 1955 as a political and military alliance of eight socialist states of Europe,” noted the ex-ambassador.
“That alliance, from propaganda viewpoint, was formed as a counterweight to NATO, but the reality showed that the goal was actually to strengthen the Soviet dominance in Central and Eastern Europe. Since the treaty was signed, Europe and the whole world found themselves divided into two big camps – the socialist camp and the capitalist camp.”
General Vitalie Stoian, ex-head of the General Staff of the National Army and ex-commander of the National Army, said that back in 1954, the Soviet Union tried to become part of the North Atlantic Alliance. An attempt to join this was made, but NATO refused to accept it and the Warsaw Treaty Organization was created as a result.
“The main declared reason was the so-called enlargement of NATO to the East. It was noted in particular that the Federative Republic of Germany started to be rearmed, the armed forces of West Germany began to be built and this was the response of the Soviet Union that, for its part, created this anti-NATO bloc,” said the general.
According to him, any alliance has practically a classical structure. It goes to the political-military component and the political component that still persists in the North Atlantic Alliance.
Vitalie Stoian said the declared goal when the treaty was constituted was to create a shield for the Soviet Union that wanted to keep its influence in Eastern Europe, in states that were in its sphere of influence and this was actually the real goal. “And surely to have control over all the member states of the Warsaw Pact. When this entity was created, standardization of all the forces, all the commands was imposed and the Soviet Union took over,” noted the general.
The public debate entitled “Warsaw Pact: History without propaganda” was the 20th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.