Warsaw Pact of 1955

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Warsaw Pact of 1955


a treaty of friendship, cooperation, and mutual aid signed by Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Poland, Rumania, the USSR, and Czechoslovakia on May 14, 1955, at the Warsaw conference of European states on the subject of assuring peace and security in Europe. The pact went into effect on June 5, 1955, after the ratified treaty papers were given to Poland for safekeeping by all the participating countries. Since 1962, Albania has not participated in the work of the Warsaw Pact countries; in September 1968 it unilaterally denounced the treaty.

The Warsaw Pact was prompted by the threat to peace in Europe resulting from the ratification by the Western powers of the Paris Agreement of 1954, which envisioned the creation of the Western European Union and the rearming of West Germany and its inclusion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Warsaw Pact is of a strictly defensive nature. Its purpose is to provide all the necessary means to assure the security of its member states and to maintain the peace in Europe. It consists of a preamble and 11 articles. By the terms of the treaty and according to the United Nations Charter the participating governments of the Warsaw Pact (the Warsaw Treaty Organization) renounce the threat or use of force in their international relations, and in the event of an armed attack on one of them they are all committed to provide immediate aid by all appropriate means, including the use of armed force. Members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization are obligated to act in the spirit of friendship and cooperation with the aim of further developing and strengthening the economic and cultural ties between member countries, in accordance with the principles of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, and noninterference in the internal affairs of each other or of other states. The pact also provides for mutual consultation within the Warsaw Treaty Organization on all important international questions affecting their mutual interests. In order to conduct such consultation and review questions arising in connection with the implementation of the Warsaw Pact, the Political Consultative Committee (PCC) was established. In practice all the members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization are represented on this committee at the very highest level.

The Warsaw Pact was to be in effect for 20 years, with an automatic extension of ten years for all the participating governments unless a participant’s withdrawal from the treaty is announced to the government of Poland within a year before the treaty expires. The pact is open to other states that may wish to join, regardless of their governmental or social system. The treaty would lapse in the event that a system of mutual security were established covering all of Europe and a treaty to that effect were signed by all the governments of Europe.

In order to provide for effective defense against any possible aggression the governments participating in the Warsaw Pact passed a resolution to create a unified military command in which the appropriate national contingents would participate according to mutual agreement. The unified command is headed by the commander in chief of the united armed forces; from 1955 to June 1960 this was Marshal of the Soviet Union I. S. Konev; from June 1960 to July 1967, Marshal of the Soviet Union A. A. Grechko; and since July 1967, Marshal of the Soviet Union I. I. Iakubovskii. Under the commander in chief there is a general staff of the unified armed forces. The chiefs of staff have been Generals of the Army A. I. Antonov (1955-62), P. I. Batov (1962-65), M. I. Kazakov (1965-68), and S. M. Shtemenko (since August 1968). The headquarters of the general staff is in Moscow. On Mar. 17, 1969, the Budapest conference of the PCC approved a proposal establishing the Committee of Defense Ministers of the participating states, as well as a new statute on the unified command and the unified armed forces.

The unified command and the general staff of the unified military forces guarantees close interaction among the armed forces of the participating countries and the strengthening of their defense capabilities. Joint command and troop maneuvers on the territories of the different countries are conducted with these aims in mind. These joint maneuvers of the allied armies were conducted on the territories of all the participating states. Among the major maneuvers there have been those under the following code names: October Storming (October 1965), Vltava (September 1966), Rhodope (August 1967), Dnieper (September 1967), North (July 1968), Spring-69 (March-April 1969), Oder-Neisse (September 1969), and Brotherhood in Arms (October 1970).

Conferences of the PCC and other conferences of the Warsaw Treaty Organization have discussed major questions of international relations and ways to improve the organization. Such conferences have also frequently taken initiatives toward reducing international tensions. Conferences of the PCC have taken place at the following times and places: Jan. 27-28, 1956, in Prague; May 24, 1958, in Moscow; Feb. 4, 1960, in Moscow; Mar. 28-29, 1961, in Moscow; June 7, 1962, in Moscow; July 26, 1963, in Moscow; Jan. 19-20, 1965, in Warsaw; July 4-6, 1966, in Bucharest; Mar. 6-7, 1968, in Sofia; Mar. 17, 1969, in Budapest; Aug. 2, 1970, in Moscow; and Dec. 2, 1970, in Berlin. A conference of the first secretaries of the Central Committees of the Communist Parties and workers’ parties of the Warsaw Pact countries was held Aug. 3-5, 1961, and a conference of the first secretaries of these parties and the heads of state of their countries was held on July 25, 1963. Sessions of the Committee of Defense Ministers have been held at the following times and places: Dec. 22-23, 1969, in Moscow; Mar. 21-22, 1970, in Sofia; and Mar. 2-3, 1971, in Budapest. A military council of the unified armed forces was also established. Sessions of this council were held at the following times and places: Dec. 9-10, 1969, in Moscow; Apr. 27-28, 1970, in Budapest; and Oct. 27-30, 1970, in Varna. Conferences of ministers and deputy ministers of foreign affairs and defense have also repeatedly been convened within the framework of the Warsaw Pact.

As early as the time of the first (Prague) conference of the PCC (Jan. 27-28, 1956) the member states of the Warsaw Pact issued proposals that envisioned the replacement of the existing military blocs in Europe with a system of mutual security and the establishment of such measures as zones of arms limitation and arms control.

At the Moscow conference of the PCC on May 24, 1958, a declaration was adopted in which the idea of a nonaggression pact between the member states of NATO and those of the Warsaw Treaty Organization was proposed.

In a declaration adopted at the PCC conference in Moscow on Feb. 4, 1960, the allied states approved the decision of the Soviet government to unilaterally refrain from nuclear testing on condition that the Western powers likewise refrain from any further nuclear explosions. The same declaration also urged that favorable conditions be created for completing work on the treaty to ban nuclear testing.

At the PCC conference in Warsaw on Jan. 19-20, 1965, there was discussion of the situation that had arisen in connection with the West’s plans to create a multilateral nuclear force under NATO, and defensive measures were reviewed in preparation for the possibility that these plans might be carried out.

The most complete program for peace worked out by the Warsaw Treaty Organization was formulated in the Declaration on the Strengthening of Peace and Security in Europe, which was adopted at the Bucharest conference of the PCC on July 4-6, 1966. Besides solutions of other important questions, the program elaborated by the declaration envisioned in particular the development of good-neighbor relations among all the states of Europe on the basis of the principle of peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. It also outlined partial steps toward disarmament on the continent of Europe, a provision never to allow West Germany to obtain nuclear armaments in any form, and the recognition of the actual borders existing in Europe. The Warsaw Pact countries proposed the convening of a Europe-wide conference to discuss the question of guaranteeing security in Europe and establishing cooperation among all the governments .

The participants in the PCC conference in Bucharest, as well as those at the PCC conference in Sofia on Mar. 6-7, 1968, emphatically condemned the armed intervention of American imperialism in Vietnam and affirmed their support for the liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people. At the Sofia conference there was also a discussion on the problem of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

The Budapest conference of the PCC on Mar. 17, 1969, dealt with problems of strengthening and improving the Warsaw Pact’s military organization and with the question of European security. It made an appeal to all European countries on preparing for and convening a Europe-wide conference aimed at finding ways and methods of eliminating the division of Europe into military blocs, realizing peaceful cooperation between the European governments and peoples, and creating a reliable system of mutual security.

The idea of the Europe-wide conference was further developed at the conference of ministers of foreign affairs of the Warsaw Pact countries, which was held in Prague on Oct. 31, 1969. The ministers of foreign affairs proposed that a Europe-wide conference be convened in Helsinki in the first half of 1970. They recommended that such a conference include two questions on its agenda: guaranteeing European security and refraining from violence or the threat of violence in relations between European states; and expanding trade, economic, and scientific-technical relations on a basis of equality and with the aim of promoting political collaboration among the states of Europe. These proposals were expanded and concretized at the Budapest conference of foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact countries held on June 21-22, 1970.

The PCC conference held in Moscow on Aug. 20, 1970, approved the treaty between the USSR and West Germany that was signed on Aug. 12, 1970, and expressed the firm intention to undertake all measures within the power of the Warsaw Treaty Organization to strengthen European security and promote the convening of a Europe-wide conference.

The position of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, aimed at strengthening security and promoting peaceful cooperation in Europe, was emphasized again at the Berlin conference of the PCC on Dec. 2, 1970. This conference noted the great importance that recognition of the situation in Europe that had developed as a result of World War II had in terms of the fate of peace there. The conference pointed to the importance of the treaty concluded between the USSR and West Germany and the initialing of a treaty between Poland and West Germany in November 1970. (This treaty was officially signed on Dec. 7, 1970.) The conference also unanimously expressed its solidarity with the peace-loving policies of the GDR and emphasized the role of that country in assuring lasting peace in Europe, supported the just demands of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic for the nonrecognition of the Munich Pact of 1938, and noted that the achievement of a mutually acceptable agreement on West Berlin could serve the cause of reducing tensions in central Europe and serve the needs of West Berlin’s population. The Warsaw Treaty Organization expressed again the desire to convene a Europe-wide conference without any preconditions to discuss questions of security and cooperation.

The Berlin conference confirmed the readiness of the Warsaw Treaty Organization to render decisive support in the future as it had in the past to the peoples of Indochina and the Arab world, including the Arab people of Palestine, who were the victims of aggression. It reconfirmed the necessity for a political solution to the problems of Indochina and the Middle East.

In connection with the colonialist aggression against the republic of Guinea the Berlin conference demanded an end to imperialist provocations against the independent peoples of Africa.

The proposals put forward by the Warsaw Treaty Organization are of central importance to all European peoples. These proposals, like all the activity of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, testify to the genuine desire of the Warsaw Pact countries for peace and their concern for the preservation of peace and security throughout Europe.


Varshavskoe soveshchanie evropeiskikh gosudarstv po obespe-cheniiu mira i bezopasnosti v Evrope (Varshava, 11-14 maia 1955 g.). Moscow, 1955.
Zasedaniia PKK, uchrezhdennogo v sootvetstvii s Varshavskim dogovorom (Praga, 27 i 28 ianvaria 1956 g.). Moscow, 1956.
Materialy soveshchaniia PKK gosudarstv—uchastnikov Varshav-skogo dogovora o druzhbe, sotrudnichestve i vzaimnoi pomo-shchi (Moskva, 24 maia 1958 g.). Moscow, 1958.
Dokumenty Soveshchaniia PKK gosudarstv—uchastnikov Var-shavskogo dogovora (Bukharest, 4-6 iiulia 1966 g.). Moscow, 1966.
(See also the documents of the PCC and other bodies of the Warsaw Pact member states in Pravda, Feb. 5, 1960; Mar. 31, 1961; Aug. 6 and Aug. 14, 1961; June 10, 1962; July 27-28, 1963; Jan. 22, 1968; Mar. 9, 1968; Mar. 18 and Nov. 1, 1969; June 24, Aug. 21, and Dec. 3-4, 1970.)


Tunkin, G. I. “O nekotorykh voprosakh mezhdunarodnogo dogovora v sviazi s Varshavskim dogovorom.” Sovetskoe gosudarstvo i pravo, 1956, no. 1.
Zhukov, G. P. Varshavskii dogovori voprosy mezhdunarodnoi bezopasnosti. Moscow, 1961.
Batov, P. I. Nadezhnyi shchit: K 10-letiiu zakliucheniia Varshavskogo dogovora. Moscow, 1965.
Voss, H. Nordatlantikpakt, Warschauer Vertrag, und die Charta der Vereinigten Nationen. Berlin, 1958.
Strategic Survey, 1966-69—. London, 1967-70—.


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