a military-political alliance or accord of states for purposes of joint actions for the resolution of general political, economic, and military tasks.
Military blocs were established in antiquity, but their significance grew particularly after the birth of capitalism. The best-known military blocs in history were the military alliance of France, Denmark, Sweden, Holland and the Italian states against Spain in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) and the Northern Alliance (Russia, Denmark, Poland, Saxony, and later France and Prussia) against Sweden in the Northern War (1700-21). Also well-known are the coalitions of various European states against France (late 18th to the early 19th century) and the military alliance of Great Britain, France, Turkey, and Sardinia against Russia in the Crimean War (1853-56).
In the age of imperialism, with a sharpened struggle between the major imperialist states ana their sharp demarcation into hostile groupings, military blocs were established for extended periods of time. Before World War I (1914-18) two basic military blocs had been established: the Triple Alliance of 1882 (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy), which was opposed by the Franco-Russian military alliance of 1892, and the Entente (Entente Cordiale)—the 1904 alliance of Great Britain and France, which was re-formed in 1907 as the Triple Entente, an alliance of Great Britain, France, and Russia.
On the eve of World War II (1939-45) a military bloc of fascist states was established—the so-called Anti-Comintern Pact (1936) between Germany and Japan. In 1937 it was joined by Italy and later by Hungary, Spain, and other states. At the beginning of the war the fascist bloc was opposed by a military bloc of Western countries (Great Britain, France, Belgium, Poland, and others). In August 1941, the British-American bloc (the Atlantic Charter) was formed. In July 1941 the USSR concluded an agreement with Great Britain and signed a declaration of adherence to the Atlantic Charter in September. The anti-Hitler coalition was completed in January 1942. It was made up of Great Britain, the USA, the USSR, France, and other countries (a total of 26 states).
In the postwar period, the imperialist countries under the leadership of the USA established a system of aggressive military blocs directed primarily against the socialist countries, as well as countries and peoples struggling for freedom and national independence. Among these blocs is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established in 1949), whose members are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany (since 1955), France (since 1966, a member that does not participate in the bloc’s military organization), Great Britain, Greece (since 1952), Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Turkey (since 1952), and the USA. NATO has a ramified organization (over 100 institutions and staffs) and unified armed forces. The Central Treaty Organization (CENTO, established in 1959) includes Great Britain, Iran, and Pakistan. The USA is a de facto member. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO, established in 1954) includes Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the USA. Among the members of the ANZUS Security Treaty (established in 1951) are Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. The Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) includes Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The members of the Organization of American States (OAS, established in 1948) include the USA and 22 countries of Latin America. Among the members of the Organization of Central American States (OCAS, established in 1951) are Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Political alliances of various countries are closely connected with the OCAS. Among them are the Asian and Pacific Council (ASPAC, founded in 1966), including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, South Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, established in 1961) includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The imperialist countries (USA, Japan, Australia, and others) are trying to convert ASP AC and ASEAN into military blocs. In addition to military blocs, there is a large number of bilateral military agreements and treaties—for example, the USA has concluded such agreements with 42 states.
In 1955 the Warsaw Treaty of European socialist countries was signed. This agreement is defensive and provides a powerful obstacle to the aggressive strivings of reactionary imperialist forces. The socialist countries also have bilateral treaties of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance.
REFERENCESMerzliakov, N. S. SEATO. Moscow, 1958.
Prokof’ev V. Agressivnyi blok CENTO. Moscow, 1963.
Lider, Iu. NATO: Ocherki istorii i doktriny. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from Polish.)
NATO, CENTO, SEATO, OAS: Imperialistische Paktsysteme. Berlin, 1964.
M. I. CHEREDNICHENKO