Collective Security

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Collective Security


cooperation among states to maintain international peace, prevent and eliminate the threat to peace, and, when necessary, suppress acts of aggression. A collective security agreement should include a system of measures for delivering a collective rebuff to the aggressor and collective aid, including military, to the victim of aggression under the principle that an attack against one of the members of the collective security agreement is regarded as an attack on all.

A collective security system may be implemented within the framework of a general international organization (for example, the United Nations, whose charter assigns the exclusive right of applying sanctions against an aggressor to the Security Council, which has the main responsibility for maintaining peace) or within the framework of regional organizations and agreements. The carrying out of disarmament measures would help to strengthen the collective security system.

The USSR views the creation of collective security as one of the most important conditions for maintaining international peace. In 1933, with the growing threat from Nazi Germany, the USSR pushed actively for an “Eastern pact” to provide collective security in Europe. Soviet diplomacy prior to World War II also worked to create a strong security system that would be as broad as possible. However, its efforts were not successful because of the policy of complicity with the aggressor that in essence was carried out by the Western powers.

During the war, Soviet diplomacy worked constantly, in examining the problems of a postwar arrangement, to turn collective security into one of the most important factors for providing worldwide peace. Its efforts in this direction were confirmed after the war in certain provisions of the UN Charter and in agreements concluded by the USSR with other countries. The Soviet Union made a number of proposals aimed at creating a collective security system in Europe (at the Big Four Foreign Ministers Meeting in Berlin in 1954, the Moscow Conference of European Nations for Maintenance of Peace and Security in Europe in November-December 1954, the Big Four Geneva Summit Conference in 1955, and others). The refusal of the imperialist powers to accept proposals on collective security and their policy after World War II of forging aggressive military and political blocs (such as NATO, SEATO, and CENTO) led the European socialist nations to conclude the Warsaw Pact of 1955 for defensive purposes. Subsequently, the member nations of this pact repeatedly proposed a nonaggression pact between the NATO member states and the Warsaw Pact states and worked for the elimination of all exclusive military groupings and blocs.

In contributing to international détente, the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries are focusing their efforts on creating collective security systems in Europe and Asia that would encompass the widest possible number of members. The European socialist countries were the initiators of convening the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, basing this call on the fact that this conference would set the path to solving a number of urgent problems, including the creation of an all-European collective security system.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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