Warsaw Pact

In 1969 the FRG embarked on the OSTPOLITIK (policy of detente); a number of treaties with East European governments was signed, family visits and reunions facilitated. The Cold War began to thaw.
Military officials of the Warsaw Pact member nations ignored this trend; their propaganda continued to describe NATO as a 'tool of US imperialist policy', of which the FRG was 'a lackey'. The Warsaw Pact armies made plans for the event of the invasion of NATO-held Western Europe. The arms race continued; in the early 1970es the Soviets installed SS 20 missiles in Eastern Central Europe.
At that time the Warsaw Pact had a numerical superiority in almost all arms categories, including tanks and fighter planes. It was FRG chancelor HELLMUT SCHMIDT who urged the US administration (Pres. Carter) to develop the PERSHING MISSILES to counterbalance the Soviet missile threat.

Yet the peoples in the Warsaw Pact nations were little interested in the arms race and political rhetorics. Most of them were dissatisfied with the economic situation, and when the communist governments of the east supported the Pacifist Movement in the west, grassroots pacifist movements also emerged in the east : the slogan SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES was conceived in East Germany. There were cases in which East Germans refused to serve in the army (which meant imprisonment).
The European Warsaw Pact member nations were member nations, because governments enforced upon them had applied; the population in general showed little sympathy toward the organization, the least in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia (the latter having been invaded by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968). RUMANIA continued to stay out of the organization.

Raymond L. Garthoff, When and Why Romania Distanced Itself from the Warsaw Pact, from CWIHP
The Warsaw Pact and the National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee), from German Culture
The Warsaw Pact, excerpt from Chechoslovakia : A Country Study, from Library of Congress

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 13th 2001, last revised on November 11th 2004

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