The Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union are two inseparable things. Many of the actions undertaken by the Soviet Union are inseparable from the involvement of the defense pact itself. It was established in 1955 as one of the Soviet Union initiatives to response action that taken by West Germany by making itself as NATO member. It signed by USSR with its seven satellite states, namely Albania, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East German (GlobalSecurity.org, n.d.) which had created the infamous border that stretched along the border of the Eastern European countries known as the “the Iron Curtain” (Geldern, 2015). On the top of that, it is almost impossible to talk about the Soviet fate during the Cold war without mentioning the dynamic of its counterpart the Warsaw Pact.
Thus, in this paper the writer will try to explain more on why the Warsaw Pact dismissal may lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union not following the guideline question that given, namely “does the dissolution of Soviet Union ultimately wiped out the reason Warsaw Pact existence?” which is explicitly incorrect by the fact that it was the pact that dissolved first (31 March ,1991) followed by the Soviet Union (26 December ,1991) not vice versa as the question stated. Therefore, to make it operational this paper will be explained under the question “does the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact ultimately wiped out the reason Soviet Union existence”. So, to give a better explanation the writer will try to elaborate the importance of the pact for the Soviet Union and then explain comprehensively regarding the cause that contributes to the Warsaw Pact dissolution.
As it mentioned above that it impossible to talk about the Soviet fate during the Cold war without mentioning the dynamic of its counterpart the Warsaw Pact. It is because the Warsaw Pact was the main Soviet tool to maintain its regime survivability. This argument can be seen on the Soviet Union behavior on using the Warsaw Pact to stop the uprising that happened ironically within its member countries. It was Hungary the first Warsaw Pact countries that tasted the bitter pain from the Warsaw Pact intervention that happen in 1956 followed by the other intervention within the Warsaw Pact countries, namely Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Poland in 1981. Based on above, the common cause of those interventions was an anti-Soviet idea as those three countries was against the Soviet-oriented rules. For example, in Hungary Imre Nagy an old communist was oppressed by the Soviet because his reform on freedom of speech and the grater publicity (Rainer, 2002). Meanwhile, for the Czechoslovakia the idea of communism that brought by Soviet not suited with the Czechoslovakia past democratic tradition (G.N., 2015). Lastly, in 1981 the Soviet’s puppet government for Poland imposed martial art to crush its opposition movement that had grown up around the union (Paczkowski, Byrne, Domber, & Klotzbach, 2007). Those uprising also displayed how weak the support that both Soviet and Warsaw Pact get from its satellite or member countries.
Besides of the factor above, the importance of the Warsaw Pact for the Soviet Union can be seen from the pact form itself. The Warsaw Pact since it was formed was never an independent organization and functions as one part of the Soviet’s Ministry of Defense. In particular, it is the Committee for the readiness of Pact Forces that responsible for The Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Armed Forces and to The Defense Council of the Soviet Union. However, the structure above only worked during the peacetime so if it the time of war the command structure change dramatically where the structure above solely become a paper formality as the Soviet High Command will control all military operational units within the Warsaw Pact (Sadykiewicz, 1988).
The other reasons of how important the Warsaw Pact for the Soviet Union is located at the position of the Pact member countries. The Warsaw Pact countries that stretched along the from the North to the South of the Eastern Europe or commonly known as the infamous “Iron Curtain” (Geldern, 2015) acted as the Soviet buffer zone. The Warsaw Pact Countries will serve as the Soviet forward bases, staging area as well as the inner lines of communication for the Soviet Union. Thus, in case of an attack come from the west side of “the Iron Curtain” The Soviet can have plenty of time to reorganize its forces whether for counter the attack or create stronger defense. Furthermore, mentioned by Johnson that the Warsaw Pact aim is to secure formal Western acceptance of the legitimacy of the current Communist political system in Eastern Europe (Johnson, 1970).
After understanding the importance of the Warsaw Pact for the Soviet Union, to answer the operational question above is to understand the cause of the Warsaw Pact dissolution. The main reason for the Pact’s dissolution was begun when the last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev reigns the throne in 1990. He come with the intention to reform the Soviet Union and its satellite states to be more open which will bring a life to the economy as well as abandon the old cruel way toward the Warsaw Pact countries. Unfortunately, as Kramer stated that Gorbie not come with the intention abandoning the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, nor did he predict that his program caused the Soviet Union reached the final chapter of its life (Kramer, 2011).
His program especially the one that have direct impact toward the Warsaw Pact has caused the Pact seems functionless. As it was to serve as a mechanism for coordinating Soviet and Eastern European policies and actions in various spheres, including foreign policy, internal ideology, and military policy (Garthoff, 1990). It changes when Gorbachev stated that each state within the Warsaw Pact need to respect full the autonomy of each state to pursue a particular political course as well as the need to ensure the bloc’s ‘collective responsibility for the fate of world socialism (Braun, 1987) . Consequently, it caused the Warsaw Pact to abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine, the doctrine that justified every Soviet intervention using the Warsaw Pact toward the Eastern Europe, especially the Warsaw Pact countries.
The Sinatra Doctrine as the Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennediy Gerisomov said during a speech in Italy on September 1989 (GlobalSecurity.org, n.d.) , a new doctrine that replace the Brezhnev Doctrine. As it mentioned before that the Soviet Union had poor support regarding its regime thus they used the Warsaw Pact to aid the regime survivability. But, it gone when this doctrine was activated, and the consequences of this doctrine was a massive protester that finally saw the opportunity to free it country from the state they never supported in the first place or known as the Velvet Revolution.
The Velvet Revolution cause the Soviet Union to lose its important buffer zone, namely Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria during 1988-1989. They rejected their communist governments and banned as well as throwing it out from their country. In the other hand, Gorbachev keep his faith on the Sinatra Doctrine by letting it solve by their own way which was quite contrast on what the previous government did to solve the uprising by using the Warsaw Pact as the forceful yet effective tool on prevailing the any opportunity that endanger the Soviet Union regime survivability. It causes the Warsaw Pact to dissolve in March 1991 followed by the Soviet Union in December 1991.
In conclusion it was a big yes for the question “does the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact ultimately wiped out the reason Soviet Union existence?”. Without the Warsaw Pact the Eastern Europe hegemon has no means of ensuring the survivability of its regime in eastern Europe as the support was too little to bear the burden. The burden that can only be carried out by glorify the harsh and brutal force that inherited within the Warsaw Pact. Consequently, those who have been pressured and forced to support something they do not like to saw the opportunity to take the burden off, they do not think twice about doing it and when the forces that have previously stopped their first effort suddenly disappear then all the reason to remain exist, lost. Lastly, the writer leaves the explicitly incorrect question untouched as it cannot be answered due to a false timeline that explicitly mentioned in the question.
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