A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

The Warsaw Pact as History

By Vojtech Mastny

When the Warsaw Pact was founded in 1955 as a counterpart of NATO, Western officials disparaged it as a "cardboard castle."*1 Fifteen years later, they had come to respect it as a military machine capable of overrunning most of Europe and perhaps defeating the West. Yet in another fifteen years, the machine fell apart and disappeared—with a whimper rather than a bang. Such a story is worth pondering not only for its drama but also for its value as a cautionary tale.

The history of the Warsaw Pact, recounted and documented in this book, bears on some of the key questions of the Cold War. Why did the war remain cold? Was the Soviet threat real or imaginary? What was the nature of the threat perceived by the West—and of the one perceived by the other side? How did military power influence the balance between East and West? Did nuclear weapons deter war? Or was it the conventional forces that made a difference? Considering the enemy's intentions, did deterrence work—or was it irrelevant? How did the Cold War experience change the thinking about security as well as its substance, and with what consequences?

This book is the first to document and explain the history of the Warsaw Pact from the archives of its member-states other than the former Soviet Union. The all but complete lack of access into the Soviet military archives from the period limits the scope of the documentation but not necessarily our ability to better understand the alliance's history. Copies of many of the Soviet records that are still being kept out of sight in Moscow can be found in the more readily accessible Eastern European archives, thus making it possible to draw a coherent and comprehensive, even if not complete, picture.

The picture is very different from that which prevailed at the time the Warsaw Pact was widely regarded in the West as an effective, even legitimate, counterpart of NATO. This was the time when "bean counting" of troops, missiles, tanks, artillery pieces, and combat aircraft reigned supreme amid inconclusive speculation about how Moscow's Eastern European allies would actually behave if push came to shove. The inside evidence we have today shows that the "bean countings," though not necessarily wrong, were of secondary importance in the Warsaw Pact's assessments of itself as well as of its adversary and were in any case largely irrelevant in determining its real strength.

*Note: The footnote citations of numbered documents refer to the documents printed in this
book.

1 Quoted in Robert Spencer, "Alliance Perceptions of the Soviet Threat, 1950–1988," in The Changing Western Analysis of the Soviet Threat, ed. Carl-Christoph Schweitzer (London: Pinter, 1990), pp. 9–48, at p. 19.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 734

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.