NATO and Warsaw Pact


 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 
       NATO is an organization that includes countries in Europe and North America.  The major reason for the formation of NATO was that the countries involved wanted a mutual defense alliance so that if one of them were attacked all of the other countries in NATO would come to their aide. 
       Along with helping European nations with defense, since the western European nations were economically in shambles at the end of WWII, the agreement also helped them with economic aide under the Marshall Plan.  This would be done as long as the countries agreed to cooperate with each other.  This would help them rebuild more quickly and get them on good terms. 
       Up until 1950 NATO was somewhat of an agreement for the U.S. to protect other members.  At this time there were no military or administrative structures.  The beginning of the Korean war initiated the creation of a military command system along with an expansion of the organization. 
       As the western powers' relationship with the Soviet Union worsened NATO's importance grew.  Some of the reasons that the Western leaders felt threatened by the Soviet Union were the installation of Communist governments in Eastern Europe, their increasing territorial demands, and their support for guerrilla warfare in Greece. 
       Another major threat felt by European countries was when the Soviet Union's military capability began to reach that of the Western Powers.  Some of the European members began to doubt that the U.S. would honor the agreement to protect them.  The events in Czechoslovakia in 1968 changed the minds of the Europeans, and NATO was then viewed as a source for security by them.  America's involvement in Vietnam, though, brought down Europe's confidence in the U.S.'s capabilities.  While this was occuring the Soviets continued to build up their arsenal.  NATO began a new program in 1979 which an ever-worsening crisis between the east and west.  European cities were somewhat protected in 1983 with the development of intermediate-range ballistic missiles which were designed to ward off Soviet attacks.  With the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Treaty in 1987 began the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact.  NATO seemed to have overcome the challenge provided by the Communist bloc by the end of that decade. 

Warsaw Pact
       This pact consisted mostly of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries.  It was supposed to be another mutual defense alliance like the North Atlantic Treaty, and was created in response to it.  The Soviet Union dominated the alliance.  The Soviet Union kept military personnel in the other countries of the alliance and kept them running socialist governments.  It was the first step in an attempt to strengthen the Soviet Union's hold on its satellite countries.  This program was undertaken by Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolay Bulganin after they assumed power in early 1955. 
        The Soviet Union attacked Czechoslovakia in 1956.  They also took military action against Hungary.  Both of these were members of the Warsaw Pact. 
        The Warsaw Pact was officially renewed in 1985 for an additional 20 years.  The political scene in the end of the 1980's weakened the organization badly.  The USSR started to withdraw the troops that they had stationed in the other countries that had signed the Warsaw Pact.  East Germany decided to get out of the Pact to join West Germany to become a reunified Germany in 1990.  In March of 1991 all of the joint military functions ceased.  And in July of 1991 the leaders of the six countries that were still in the Pact decided to dissolve. 



 
NATO Warsaw Pact

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