NATO and the Warsaw Pact
Publication Year: 2008
Essays on Cold War tensions within NATO and the Warsaw Pact
There is no shortage of literature addressing the workings, influence, and importance of NATO and the Warsaw Pact individually or how the two blocs faced off during the decades of the Cold War. However, little has been written about the various intrabloc tensions that plagued both alliances during the Cold War or about how those tensions affected the alliances’ operation. The essays in NATO and the Warsaw Pact seek to address that glaring gap in the historiography by utilizing a wide range of case studies to explore these often-significant tensions, dispelling in the process all thoughts that the alliances always operated smoothly and without internal dissent.
The volume is divided into two parts, one on each alliance. An introductory essay by S. Victor Papacosma spells out the themes addressed in the individual essays and the volume’s coherent historiographical contribution. They include, but are not limited to, military and political matters, the consequences of World War II for the non-Western world, the role of individuals in shaping historical events, and the unintended consequences of policy choices and developments.
The international group of contributors brings to bear considerable policymaking and academic experience. In approaching the Cold War–era alliances from a new angle and in drawing on recently declassified documentation, this volume adds to the literature in recent international history and will be of interest to scholars in such fields as U.S. foreign relations, European diplomatic history, and security and defense studies, among others.
Visit the Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security site for more information and news related to NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
Published by: The Kent State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The essays in this volume are based on papers originally presented at Kent State University in an April 2004 conference, “NATO and the Warsaw Pact: Intra-bloc Conflicts.” In what seemed like a natural melding of their missions, the Lemnitzer Center for NATO and European Union Studies hosted and cosponsored this gathering with the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (subsequently renamed the Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security)....
Part I NATO
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1 NATO United, NATO Divided
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Published in 2001 by the NATO Office of Information and Press, the NATO Handbook tells its readers that the alliance’s decision-making process is “dependent on consensus and common consent.” If there should be differences between member governments, NATO will make efforts to reconcile them “in order that joint actions may be backed up by the full force of decisions to which all member governments subscribe. Once taken, such determinations represent the common determination...
2 Colonialism and the Atlantic Alliance
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At first blush, the topic of colonialism might seem out of place in a consideration of the Atlantic alliance. After all, the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty’s sole reference to colonial territories is article 6’s inclusion of “the Algerian Departments of France” under the alliance’s military umbrella.1 In addition, colonies (or non-self-governing territories) were not a main or even tertiary impetus behind the alliance’s founding. Yet colonialism was an important subject for the members of the North Atlantic...
3 “Learning by Doing”
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In his memoirs, Dean Acheson criticizes Lester “Mike” Pearson, the Canadian minister for foreign affairs, and article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty: “Article 2 has continued to bedevil NATO. Lester Pearson has continually urged the Council to set up committees of ‘wise men’ to find a use for it, which the ‘wise men’ have continually failed to do.”1 Acheson made clear that he did not like article 2, did not like the obligation to conduct political consultations, an obligation the United...
4 Failed Rampart
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The decision of the Atlantic Council in October 1951 to admit Turkey and Greece into its ranks ostensibly represented a significant expansion of the defense community’s capabilities and, at the same time, a boon to its two new members. The enlargement made possible the protection of NATO’s vitally important communication lines in the entire Mediterranean and established for the alliance a “Balkan front,” extending its southern flank eastward from the Adriatic to the...
5 Containing the French Malaise?
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Intrabloc relations in East and West during the Cold War gain momentum in the current historical analysis. Among the strains that have loomed large throughout NATO’s existence, the foreign policy of Gaullist France (1958–1968) was the most intense. Yet, the often-told story about France and NATO in the 1960s misses an important institutional and personal dimension—that of NATO’s secretaries general. How did Paul-Henri Spaak, Dirk Stikker, and Manlio Brosio assess France’s...
6 The Multilateral Force as an Instrument for a European Nuclear Force?
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At the end of the 1950s, the European allies began to question the effectiveness of the American nuclear guarantee. The successful launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite in 1957 fueled European fears of abandonment by the United States as it made U.S. territory vulnerable to Soviet nuclear attack, and discussion of Atlantic policy intensified within the U.S. government....
7 Ostpolitik as a Source of Intrabloc Tensions
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Ostpolitik caused friction on a number of different levels: it sparked tensions within Willy Brandt’s Social Democratic Party, parliament, and the coalition cabinet, between West Germany and the Western allies, and even within the Eastern bloc. It is the latter two conflicts that this chapter will discuss, arranging documents from various national archives around nine distinct but interconnected arguments....
8 The Florentine in Winter
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The determining role of personalities, and most centrally that of Mikhail Gorbachev, was of course a factor in the way the Cold War ended and German reunification came about. From the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was deep uncertainty as to how the Russians would handle the situation, particularly regarding East Germany. As Pierre Haski has observed, “Let us not forget that [at the time] there...
Part II The Warsaw Pact
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9 The Warsaw Pact
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In the prime of its life, the Warsaw Pact appeared to contemporaries as an effective, even superior, counterpart of NATO. The Communist alliance’s enforced cohesion was widely regarded an asset while democratic NATO’s contentious pluralism seemed a liability. In retrospect, it has became fashionable to cite the Western alliance’s consensual nature as the secret of its longevity and the Warsaw Pact’s coercive character as its fatal flaw. This comfortable distinction, however, can...
10 Polish–East German Relations, 1945–1958
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There is an old Polish saying that “Jak świat światem, nie będzie Niemiec Polakowi bratem” [As long as the world is whole, no German will be a brother to a Pole].1 This filial reference is an apt metaphor for East German–Polish relations after World War II. The East Germans and Poles were like siblings born into the Soviet family; no matter how much they quarreled, they could not leave it. They curried favor with the paternal center while pursuing conflicting national interests. The result was a...
11 The Warsaw Pact and the German Question,1955–1970
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During the Cold War, political scientists engaged in a debate about the nature of the Warsaw Pact. Was it a transmission belt for Soviet directives, an alliance, or something in between?1 Argument over the nature of the Warsaw Pact, it turns out, was not limited to the realm of Sovietology; it was also an active subject of discussion within the Warsaw Pact itself. This was particularly true concerning the...
12 The Warsaw Pact and Southern Tier Conflicts,1959–1969
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The years immediately following the mid-1950s witnessed an evident increase in self-confidence on the part of the Soviet Union’s leadership. Its practical expression came in the ambitious twenty-year program for securing Soviet superiority over the United States, triumphantly proclaimed by Nikita Khrushchev at the Twenty-second Communist Party Congress in October 1961. Soon after the Soviet military intervention in Hungary in November 1956, the situation in Eastern Europe appeared....
13 The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Warsaw Pact,1969–1980
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Institutional links between the Warsaw Pact and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were already severed by 1961. Eventually differences over support of North Vietnam in its ongoing war with the United States, in conjunction with the launching of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” in the PRC, terminated what was left of party and other bilateral relations between Beijing and all Warsaw Pact...
14 Why Was There No “Second Cold War” in Europe?
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On 28 December 1979 Soviet ambassador Vladimir Pavlov forwarded a highly confidential communication on the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan to the Hungarian Communist Party leadership. Its closing sentence was meant to be an excuse for the total lack of preliminary communication between Moscow and its Warsaw Pact allies concerning the Soviet policy decision: “Our friends will naturally also understand that the development of events did not make a preliminary...
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: New Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations Series