The Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe: An Introduction

By Richard F. Staar | Go to book overview

Chapter 9 MILITARY INTEGRATION: The WTO Pact

THE ESTABLISHMENT of a multilateral military alliance system in Eastern Europe was announced by Moscow as a response to West German membership in NATO. The true reason for the Warsaw Pact which brought this system into being more probably was the desire of the U.S.S.R. to obtain legal justification for stationing its troops in East-Central Europe. The pact was initialed in the capital of Poland on May 14, 1955. One day later the Austrian state treaty was signed in Vienna, restoring sovereignty to Austria and obligating Moscow to evacuate its forces from Hungary and Romania within forty days after the latter agreement had gone into effect.1 The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) also provided an additional legal basis for the continued presence of Soviet troops in Poland and in the so-called German Democratic Republic, although in the latter case such provision was not at all necessary, owing to the absence of a peace treaty.

A U.S.S.R. government declaration at the height of the Hungarian revolt reaffirmed the right of this presence and added that Soviet forces in Poland had the additional justification of the Potsdam Agreement. This statement claimed that no U.S.S.R. military units existed in any other East European people's democracy--the German Democratic Republic, proclaimed "sovereign" in October 1949, apparently was not considered in this category--and that the Soviet government was ready to discuss the question of its troops abroad with other signatories to the Warsaw Pact.2

____________________
1
Boris Meissner (ed.), Der Warschauer Pakt. Dokumentensammlung ( Cologne, 1962), p. 12. A translation of the Warsaw treaty into English appears in United Nations Treaty Series, CCXIX, Part 1, p. 24. The stationing of U.S. S. R. troops in Hungary, Poland, and Romania was based until 1955 on the need to secure lines of communication with Germany.
2
Tass communique in Pravda, October 31, 1956.

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