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Warsaw Treaty Organisation

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Updated: 20.11.2003

Warsaw Treaty Organisation or Warsaw Pact, alliance set up under a mutual defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland, in 1955 by Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

1968 - Soviet tanks crush Prague Spring

The organisation was the Soviet bloc's equivalent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Initiated as an alliance made necessary by the remilitarization of West Germany under the Paris Pacts of 1954, the treaty was binding for 20 years but would lapse in the event of a general European collective security treaty.

A unified military command, with headquarters in Moscow, directed the united forces, which included Soviet divisions stationed in some of the member nations prior to the signing of the treaty.

In 1962, Albania was no longer invited to Warsaw Treaty meetings and formally withdrew in 1968. In the same year, the organisation sent forces to occupy Czechoslovakia after that country began to take steps toward democratisation.

The 1989 collapse of the Communist government in the USSR and other Eastern European countries made the treaty superfluous, as the new governments repudiated their former ally, the Soviet Union.

The Warsaw Treaty Organisation dissolved in June 1991.

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