The Soviet Union and the Dissociation of East Central European States from the Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was founded in 1955 under the leadership of the Soviet Union as a defence alliance. In the 1980s, the abandonment of the Brezhnev doctrine, the perestroika reforms, and especially the democratic developments in the Central European states increasingly put pressure on the alliance.

While initially a majority of member states backed a reform of the organisation, the looming withdrawal of the GDR put membership into question for the other non-Soviet states as well. The attempt to transform the Warsaw Pact into a purely political organisation failed and the alliance dissolved in 1991, even before the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Union.

The end of the Warsaw Pact is an example of the dissolution of an international institution through the member states. The case study reconstructs attempts at reform and expectations for the future of the alliance as well as the gradual process of dissociation, looking at interests and tensions between the member states and focusing especially on the Soviet Union. It is led by Susanne Maslanka of the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ)/Berlin Center for Cold War Studies (BKKK).


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