Varşova Paktı (The Warsaw Pact)
Kategori: Yakın Tarih
Tür: Askeri ve Siyasal Ortaklık
Kuruluş: Mayıs 14, 1955
Bitiş: Temmuz 1, 1991
Resmi dil (ler): Rusça, Lehçe, Rumence, Almanca, Çekçe, Macarca, Bulgarca
Başkanlık ünvanı: Genel Sekreterlik
Genel Sekreter: Viktor Kulikov
Üyeler: 7 üye (başlangıçta sekiz), 2 gözlemci ülke
Varşova Paktı ya da Varşova Anlaşması (Alm. Warschauer Pakt (m), Fr. Pacte (→ m) de Varsovie, İng. Warsaw Pact.), 14 Mayıs 1955 'den 1991 yılına kadar, SSCB önderliğinde Doğu Bloku ülkelerini savunmada müttefik yapan anlaşmadır. Demirperde diye bilinen devletlerin 14 Mayıs 1955'te aralarında yaptıkları yirmi yıllık bir antlaşma. Varşova'da Arnavutluk, Demokratik Alman Cumhûriyeti, Bulgaristan, Macaristan, Polonya, Romanya, Çekoslovakya ve Rusya toplanarak sözleşme imzâladılar. Paktın gâyesi; müttefiklerin birine saldırıldığı takdirde diğer üyelerin askerî kuvvet kullanmak da dâhil olmak üzere gerekli her yardımı yapması. Arnavutluk Pakt'tan 1968'de ayrıldı. Antlaşma müddeti 1975'te bittiğinden bu târihte 10 sene, 1985'te de 20 sene daha uzatıldı.
14 Mayıs 1955'te Varşova'da sekiz sosyalist ülkenin imzaladığı Dostluk, İşbirliği ve Karşılıklı Yardım Antlaşması ile kurulan askerî ve siyâsal birlik. Antlaşmayı imzalayan ülkeler Arnavutluk, Romanya, SSCB, Demokratik Almanya, Bulgaristan, Polonya, Çekoslovakya ve Macaristan'dı. Demokratik Almanya, Pakt'ın askeri kanadına 1956'da katıldı. Arnavutluk, 1962-1968 döneminde çalışmalarına katılmadığı Pakt'tan 1968'de kesin olarak çekildi. Anlaşma, daha önceleri SSCB ile Çekoslovakya, Polonya, Bulgaristan, Macaristan ve Romanya (1948) arasında imzalanan ikili anlaşmaları bütünlüyordu.
14 Mayıs 1955'te S.S.C.B Varşova Paktı'nı oluşturdu. Bu devletin yanında Çekoslovakya, Bulgaristan, Macaristan, Polonya, Doğu Almanya ve Arnavutluk (1968'de çekildi) örgütün üyesi oldular. Rus yöneticilerin anlatımı ile Varşova Paktı. bir NATO saldırısına karşı Doğu Avrupa ülkelerini savunmak amacıyla kurulmuştur.
Varşova Paktı üyeleri karşılıklı olarak barışı korumaya yönelik temennilerini dile getirdiler ve aynı NATO'da olduğu gibi üyelerden biri ya da birkaçına saldırı ya da işgal durumunda karşılıklı askeri yardım sözleri verildi. Bunun dışında ortak bir komutanlık birliğin mevcudiyetini garanti etmekle yükümlü olacaktı. Ancak gerçek, bu temennilerden daha farklı görünüyordu. Varşova Paktı, Soğuk Savaş'ın temellerini atarak Doğu ve Batı arasında uzun yıllar devam edecek silahlanma yarışının başlamasına neden olacaktı. Aynı zamanda Sovyetler Birliği, Orta ve Doğu Avrupa'daki hakimiyetini güçlendirecek ve paktı imzalayan ülkelerde binlerce Sovyet askeri konuşlandırılacaktı, üstelik Sovyet askerleri, Macaristan ve Çekoslovakya örneklerinde olduğu gibi işgal söz konusu olmadığı halde bu ülkelere girecekti.
Bu paktın kuruluş antlaşması, üyeler arasında birleşik bir askeri komutanlık kurulmasını ve Doğu Avrupa ülkelerinin topraklarına Sovyet Ordu birliklerinin yerleşmesini öngörüyordu. 1989 'da komünizmin çökmesi ve çok partili parlamenter rejime geçilmesi, Avrupa'nın iki bloklu yapısını siyasal bakımdan ortadan kaldırdı. Varşova Paktı, 1 Nisan 1991'de dağıtıldı ve böylece savaş sonrası Avrupa'sının iki kutuplu yapısı askeri bakımdan da tarihe karıştı.
İkinci Dünyâ Harbi sırasında Almanya'nın yenilmesi için Rusya, müttefiklerinden geniş yardım ve müsâmaha gördü. Büyük kayıplar veren Rusya'nın dünyâ hâkimiyetini düşünmeyip kendi yaralarını saracağı tahmin edilmişti. Dünyâ hâkimiyeti kurmak isteğinden hiçbir zaman vazgeçmeyen Ruslar, Tahran ve Yalta Konferanslarında müttefiklerini oyaladılarsa da 17 Temmuz 1945 Postdam Konferansında niyetlerini açıkça ortaya döktüler. Böylece Batı ile olan münâsebetlerinde derin görüş ve anlayış farkları ortaya çıktı. Romanya, Çekoslovakya, Bulgaristan, Macaristan, Doğu Almanya'da komünist idârelerin arka arkaya kurulması Rusya'nın düşüncelerinin tatbikatı olarak görüldü. Bu devletlerle ayrı ayrı saldırmazlık paktı imzaladı. Batı devletlerinin 1949 Kuzey Atlantik Paktını imzâlamalarının arkasından Rusya da peyk devletleriyle müşterek ordu kurmanın hazırlıklarına girdiler. 1951-1952 yıllarında Doğu Bloku peyk devletleri Rusya ordusu düzenine girdiler. Bu çalışmalar devam etti.
Batı Almanya'nın 1955 yılında NATO'ya girmesiyle Doğu Avrupa ülkelerinin bütünlüğünü korumak mecburiyetinde olduklarını söyleyen Rusya, Varşova Paktını kurdu. Askerî gâyelerle kurulan bu paktın sevk ve idâresi tamâmen Rusya'ya âitti. Peyk devletler bu antlaşmaya zorla iştirak etmekteydiler. Macaristan ve Çekoslovakya'da olan hâdiseler, bunların kanlı olarak bastırılması bu baskının neticeleriydi.
Paktın en büyük organı, siyâsî danışma komitesiydi. Komite, tam teşkilâtlı olarak, üye ülkelerin Komünist Parti Genel Sekreterleri, Hükümet Başkanları, Dışişleri ve Savunma Bakanlarından meydana geliyordu. Bu komite Moskova'daydı. Batı ile herhangi bir harp hâlinde paktın silâhlı kuvvetleri Sovyet Yüksek Komutanlığının harekât kontrolünde bulunurlardı. Güç dengesi bakımından Varşova Paktının asker sayısı NATO'dan bir milyon fazlaydı.
Stalinist yönetimin sert çizgisi ve Sovyetler Birliği'nin hakimiyetinin tekrar altı çizildi. 1980li yıllarda Macaristan, Polonya ve nihayet Gorbaçov yönetimi altında Sovyetler Birliği'ndeki reformlar sonucu Varşova Paktı'nın varlığı da sorgulanmaya başlandı. Demokratik Almanya Cumhuriyeti, Ekim 1990'da Federal Almanya'ya dahil olmasıyla Varşova Paktı'ndan da ayrıldı. Varşova Paktı'nın geri kalan üyeleri 31 Mart 1991 askeri yapıyı sona erdirdiler. 1 Temmuz 1991'de de paktın sona erdirilmesine karar verildi. Varşova Paktı'nın eski üyeleri – Rusya hariç- daha sonra birer birer NATO üyesi oldular. 1999'da Polonya, Çek Cumhuriyeti ve Macaristan, 2004 yılında da Romanya, Bulgaristan, Slovakya, Slovenya ve Baltık ülkeleri NATO'ya kabul edildi. 1955 yılında altı demir perde ülkesi tarafından kurulan Varşova Paktı, 1.7.1991 târihinde resmen sona ererek târihe karışmış oldu.
a) Siyâsî Organı: En üst düzeyde bir karar organıdır. Üye ülkelerin savunma bakanı, dışişleri bakanları, hükümet başkanları ve komünist partisi birinci sekreterlerinden oluşur. Üye ülkelerin dış politikalarına yön verir.
b) Askerî Organ:
- Savunma Konseyi: Paktın askeri konulardaki en yüksek karar organıdır. Üye ülkelerin savunma bakanlarından oluşur.
- Müşterek Yüksek Komutanlık: Askeri planların yapılması ve askeri harekatın yürütülmesini sağlar. Üye ülkelerin genel kurmay başkanlarından oluşur. Başkomutanlık Sovyetler birliğinin bir yetkilisinden oluşur.
Sosyalist ülkeleri, karşılıklı bağlarını bir pakt içinde güçlendirmeye yönelten başlıca neden; 1949'da dünyadaki barışı sağlamak amacıyla aynı zamanda sosyalist ülkelere ve sosyalizmin yayılmasına karşı kurulan NATO'nun askeri etkinliklerini artırması ve silahlanmaya hız vermesiydi. Birliğin kuruluşuna ilişkin ilk adım, 29 Kasım-2 Aralık 1954 tarihleri arasında sekiz sosyalist ülkenin katılımıyla, ortak güvenliğin ve barışın korunması konusunda ve Moskova'da düzenlenen konferansta atıldı. Varşova Paktı, Londra ve Paris Antlaşmaları ile Federal Almanya'nın NATO'ya girmesi ve NATO'ya bağlı olarak Batı Avrupa Birliği'nin kurulmasıyla Avrupa'da doğan ve giderek artan savaş tehlikesine karşı biçimlendi. Pakt kurucularına göre bu gelişmeler, barışsever devletlerin güvenliği bakımından bir tehdit oluşturuyor ve savunma sağlayıcı karşı önlemlerin alınmasını gerektiriyordu. Paktın kuruluşundan hemen sonra, Temmuz 1955'te Moskova'da, ABD'yi de içine alan bir Avrupa güvenliğinin yararına olmak üzere, NATO ve Varşova Paktı'nın dağıtılması önerildi. Varşova paktını kuruluşunu izleyen süreçte, SSCB ile üye ülkeler arasında zincirleme bir biçimde ikili yardım anlaşmaları imzalandı. SSCB aynı zamanda Polonya, Macaristan, Romanya ve Demokratik Almanya ile 1956 Aralık - 1957 Mayıs döneminde bir dizi kuvvet statüsü anlaşması imzaladı. Aynı tür bir antlaşma, Çekoslovakya'yla 1968'de imzalandı. Anlaşmada uluslararası ilişkilerde tehdit ve kuvvete başvurma kınanarak, üyelerin bunu önlemek konusunda gerekli tüm çabayı gösterecekleri belirtiliyordu.
- Üyelerin ortak çıkarlarını ilgilendiren tüm sorunlarda birbirlerine danışacaklardır.
- Avrupa'da silahlı bir saldırı durumunda üyelerin tek tek ya da ortak bir biçimde kendilerini savunacaklardır.
- Birleşik Komutanlık kurulacaktır.
- Siyasal Danışma Komitesi kurulacaktır.
- Üyeler bu anlaşmanın amaçlarıyla herhangi bir uluslararası bağlantıya girmeyecekler ve girişimlerde bulunmayacaklardır.
- Tarafların birbirleriyle ekonomik ve kültürel ilişkilerini daha ileri boyutlarda bir dostluk ruhu içinde davranacaklardır.
- Bu sözleşmenin toplumsal ve siyasal sistemleri göz önüne alınmaksızın öteki tüm devletlere açıktır.
- Antlaşma 20 yıl geçerli olacaktır. Sürenin bitiminden bir yıl önce, anlaşmayı sona erdirme isteğinin belirtilmemesi durumunda, anlaşmanın 10 yıl daha uzayacaktır.
- Varşova Paktı'nın en yüksek siyasal organı Siyasal Danışma Komitesi'dir (CPC).
- Doğu ile Batı arasında ortak güvenlik sağlayan bir pakt yürürlüğe girince, Varşova Paktı'nın kaldırılması göz önüne alınabilir.
Başlangıçta yılda en az iki kez toplanması öngörülen CPC, 1972'den beri iki yılda bir toplanmaktadır. Başkanlık ve toplantı yerinin,üye devletlerce sırayla üstlendiği organ, üye ülkelerin Parti Birinci Sekreterleri, Devlet Başkanları ve Dışişleri Bakanlarından oluşur. Toplantılarda genellikle, Varşova Paktı'nın Ordusu'nun komutanı da bulunur. En üst düzeyde askeri organ ise, Birleşik Yüksek Komutanı'dır (USC, Birleşik komutanlık olarak da anılır). CPC'nin denetiminde olan USC'nin önde gelen görevlileri, başkomutan, kurmay başkanı ve başkomutan yardımcılığı yapan Askeri Konsey üyeleridir. 1969'dan beri her yıl toplanan sürekli bir organ olan Savunma Bakanları Komitesi'nce desteklenmektedir. Üye devletler arasındaki işbirliğini güçlendirmek amacıyla kurulan Dışişleri Bakanları Komitesi de 1976'dan beri benzer bir işlevi yerine getirmektedir. Danışmanlık işlevi görmekte olan Askerî Konsey, savunma bakan yardımcılarından ve üye devletlerin başkomutanlarından (genelkurmay başkanı) oluşmaktadır.
Varşova Paktı kuvvetleri, 4, 5 milyona yakını Avrupa'da olmak üzere yaklaşık 6, 3 milyon muvazaf personele sahiptir. Ek olarak 700.000 kişilik ulusal güvenlik kuvvetleri vardır. Pakt'ın dünya üzerinde aktif durumda; 244 tümen, 27 bağımsız tugay, 60, 000 savaş tankı ve 12.000 uçağı içeren Hava Kuvvetleri vardı. Büyük bölümünü Sovyet donanmasının oluşturduğu Deniz Kuvvetleri, nükleer balistik füze denizaltılarına ek olarak 300 denizaltı gemisi vardır. Bunların bir bölümü, denizaltılarından Cruise-seyir füzeleri atabilmektedir. Su üstü kuvvetlerinde, uçak gemisi ve kruvazörlerden oluşan 40 savaş gemisi, çok sayıda değişik tipten gemi ve havadan gemilere güdümlü füze atabilen 500 deniz bombardıman uçağı bulunmaktadır.
Paktın kıtalararası balistik (ICBM), denizaltı gemilerinden atılan balistik füzeler (SLBM) ve bombardıman uçaklarından oluşan stratejik kuvvetlerinin tümü Sovyetler Birliği tarafından sağlanmaktadır. 1989'da Varşova paktının asker sayısı 6.310.000 dolayındaydı. Fiili asker sayısı 5.390.000 olan NATO silahlı kuvvetleriyle 920.000 kişilik bir fark vardı. SSCB ise tek başına ABD'den üç kat fazla askere sahipti.
Ayrıca donanma bakımından da NATO güçlerine karşı fazlaca bir üstünlüğü vardı.
Pakt'ın İlk Buhranı
Pakt 1956 yılında ilk buhranını yaşadı. Ülkelerinde Stalinizm'in sona ermesini ve demokratikleşme isteyen Macar halkı gösteri yapmaya başladı ve birlik gerçek yüzünü gösterdi. Dönemin Başbakanı Imre Nagy Sovyet askerlerinin ülkeye girişini halka “Başbakan Imre Nagy konuşuyor. Sovyet birlikleri alacakaranlıktan beri başkentimize saldırıyor. Birliklerimiz savaş halinde, hükümetimiz yerinde bulunuyor. Ülkemizdeki bu durumu dünya kamuoyuna duyururum” sözleriyle duyurmuştu.
Kısa bir süre önce Macaristan ise Varşova Paktı'ndan çekildiğini açıklamıştı. Haftalarca süren gösterilerden sonra hükümet çok partili sistemi, demokrasi ve düşünce özgürlüğünü kabul ettiğini açıklamıştı. 1956 yılı Kasım ayı başında Budapeşte'ye giren Sovyet tankları isyanı iki gün sonra bastırdığında 3.000 kişi ölmüştü.
Çekoslovakya'da da benzer bir deneyim yaşandı. 1968'de Ocak ve Ağustos ayları arasında Alexander Dubçek yönetimi altındaki reformcu komünistler ülkede demokratikleşme ve liberal reformlar yapılmasını savunuyordu. Ancak reform hareketleri 7.000 tankın Prag'a hareket etmesi ve reform hareketlerini bastırmasıyla son buldu.
The Warsaw Pact (English)
The Warsaw Pact is the name commonly given to the treaty between Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union, which was signed in Poland in 1955 and was officially called 'The Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance'. Although this rather cute title sounds more like the agreement which you and your friend have about sending cards to each other on Valentine's Day, it was actually a military treaty, which bound its signatories to come to the ait of the others, should any one of them be the victim of foreign aggression.
Nominally the Warsaw Pact was a response to a similar treaty made by the Western Allies in 1949 (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO) as well as the re-militarization of West Germany in 1954, both of which posed a potential threat to the Eastern countries. Although it was stressed by all that the Warsaw Treaty was based on total equality of each nation and mutual non-interference in one another's internal affairs, the Pact quickly became a powerful political tool for the Soviet Union to hold sway over its allies and harness the powers of their combined military. When Hungary tried to extricate themselves from the agreement in 1956, Soviet forces moved to crush the uprising; and, in 1968, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia (with support from five other Pact members), after the Czech government began to exhibit 'Imperialistic' tendencies.
Following the diminishing power of the USSR in the 1980s and the eventual fall of Communism the treaty became redundant. The Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved in Prague in 1991, after successive governments withdrew their support of the treaty.
IN APRIL 1985, the general secretaries of the communist and workers' parties of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania gathered in Warsaw to sign a protocol extending the effective term of the 1955 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which originally established the Soviet-led political-military alliance in Eastern Europe. Their action ensured that the Warsaw Pact, as it is commonly known, will remain part of the international political and military landscape well into the future. The thirtieth anniversary of the Warsaw Pact and its renewal make a review of its origins and evolution particularly appropriate.
The Warsaw Pact alliance of the East European socialist states is the nominal counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the European continent (see fig. A, this Appendix). Unlike NATO, founded in 1949, however, the Warsaw Pact does not have an independent organizational structure but functions as part of the Soviet Ministry of Defense. In fact, throughout the more than thirty years since it was founded, the Warsaw Pact has served as one of the Soviet Union's primary mechanisms for keeping its East European allies under its political and military control. The Soviet Union has used the Warsaw Pact to erect a facade of collective decision making and action around the reality of its political domination and military intervention in the internal affairs of its allies. At the same time, the Soviet Union also has used the Warsaw Pact to develop East European socialist armies and harness them to its military strategy.
Since its inception, the Warsaw Pact has reflected the changing pattern of Soviet-East European relations and manifested problems that affect all alliances. The Warsaw Pact has evolved into something other than the mechanism of control the Soviet Union originally intended it to be, and it has become increasingly less dominated by the Soviet Union since the 1960s. The organizational structure of the Warsaw Pact has grown and has provided a forum for greater intra-alliance debate, bargaining, and conflict between the Soviet Union and its allies over the issues of national independence, policy autonomy, and East European participation in alliance decision making. While the Warsaw Pact retains its internal function in Soviet-East European relations, its non-Soviet members have also developed sufficient military capabilities to become useful adjuncts of Soviet power against NATO in Europe.
THE SOVIET ALLIANCE SYSTEM, 1943-55
Long before the establishment of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, the Soviet Union had molded the East European states into an alliance serving its security interests. While liberating Eastern Europe from Nazi Germany in World War II, the Red Army established political and military control over that region. The Soviet Union's size, economic weight, and sheer military power made its domination inevitable in this part of Europe, which historically had been dominated by great powers. The Soviet Union intended to use Eastern Europe as a buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders and to keep threatening ideological influences at bay. Continued control of Eastern Europe became second only to defense of the homeland in the hierarchy of Soviet security priorities. The Soviet Union ensured its control of the region by turning the East European countries into subjugated allies.
The Organization of East European National Units, 1943- 45
During World War II, the Soviet Union began to build what Soviet sources refer to as history's first coalition of a progressive type when it organized or reorganized the armies of Eastern Europe to fight with the Red Army against the German Wehrmacht. The command and control procedures established in this military alliance would serve as the model on which the Soviet Union would build the Warsaw Pact after 1955. During the last years of the war, Soviet commanders and officers gained valuable experience in directing multinational forces that would later be put to use in the Warsaw Pact. The units formed between 1943 and 1945 also provided the foundation on which the Soviet Union could build postwar East European national armies.
The Red Army began to form, train, and arm Polish and Czechoslovak national units on Soviet territory in 1943. These units fought with the Red Army as it carried its offensive westward into German-occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia and then into Germany itself. By contrast, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania were wartime enemies of the Soviet Union. Although ruled by ostensibly fascist regimes, these countries allied with Nazi Germany mainly to recover territories lost through the peace settlements of World War I or seized by the Soviet Union under the terms of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. However, by 1943 the Red Army had destroyed the Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian forces fighting alongside the Wehrmacht. In 1944 it occupied Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, and shortly thereafter it began the process of transforming the remnants of their armies into allied units that could re-enter the war on the side of the Soviet Union. These allied units represented a mix of East European nationals fleeing Nazi occupation, deportees from Soviet-occupied areas, and enemy prisoners-of-war. Red Army political officers organized extensive indoctrination programs in the allied units under Soviet control and purged any politically suspect personnel. In all, the Soviet Union formed and armed more than 29 divisions and 37 brigades or regiments, which included more than 500, 000 East European troops.
The allied national formations were directly subordinate to the headquarters of the Soviet Supreme High Command and its executive body, the Soviet General Staff. Although the Soviet Union directly commanded all allied units, the Supreme High Command included one representative from each of the East European forces. Lacking authority, these representatives simply relayed directives from the Supreme High Command and General Staff to the commanders of East European units. While all national units had so-called Soviet advisers, some Red Army officers openly discharged command and staff responsibilities in the East European armies. Even when commanded by East European officers, non-Soviet contingents participated in operations against the Wehrmacht only as part of Soviet fronts.
The Development of Socialist Armies in Eastern Europe, 1945- 55
At the end of World War II, the Red Army occupied Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, and eastern Germany, and Soviet front commanders headed the Allied Control Commission in each of these occupied countries. The Soviet Union gave its most important occupation forces a garrison status when it established the Northern Group of Forces (NGF) in 1947 and the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG) in 1949. By 1949 the Soviet Union had concluded twenty-year bilateral treaties of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance with Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. These treaties prohibited the East European regimes from entering into relations with states hostile to the Soviet Union, officially made these countries Soviet allies, and granted the Soviet Union rights to a continued military presence on their territory. The continued presence of Red Army forces guaranteed Soviet control of these countries. By contrast, the Soviet Union did not occupy either Albania or Yugoslavia during or after the war, and both countries remained outside direct Soviet control.
The circumstances of Soviet occupation facilitated the installation of communist-dominated governments called "people's democracies" in Eastern Europe. The indoctrinated East European troops that had fought with the Red Army to liberate their countries from Nazi occupation became politically useful to the Soviet Union as it established socialist states in Eastern Europe. The East European satellite regimes depended entirely on Soviet military power--and the continued deployment of 1 million Red Army soldiers--to stay in power. In return, the new East European political and military elites were obliged to respect Soviet political and security interests in the region.
While transforming the East European governments, the Soviet Union also continued the process of strengthening its political control over the East European armed forces and reshaping them along Soviet military lines after World War 2. In Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union instituted a system of local communist party controls over the military based on the Soviet model. The East European communist parties thoroughly penetrated the East European military establishments to ensure their loyalty to the newly established political order. At the same time, the Soviet Union built these armies up to support local security and police forces against domestic disorder or other threats to communist party rule. Reliable East European military establishments could be counted on to support communist rule and, consequently, ensure continued Soviet control of Eastern Europe. In fact, in the late 1940s and the 1950s the Soviet Union was more concerned about cultivating and monitoring political loyalty in its East European military allies than increasing their utility as combat forces.
The postwar military establishments in Eastern Europe consisted of rival communist and noncommunist wartime antifascist resistance movements, national units established on Soviet territory during the war, prewar national military commands, and various other armed forces elements that spent the war years in exile or fighting in the West. Using the weight of the Red Army and its occupation authority, the Soviet Union purged or co-opted the noncommunist nationalists in the East European armies and thereby eliminated a group likely to oppose their restructuring along Soviet lines. In the case of communist forces, the Soviet Union trusted and promoted personnel who had served in the national units formed on its territory over native communists who had fought in the East European underground organizations independent of Soviet control.
After 1948 the East European armies adopted regular political education programs. This Soviet-style indoctrination was aimed primarily at raising communist party membership within the officer corps and building a military leadership cadre loyal to the socialist system and the national communist regime. Unquestionable political loyalty was more important than professional competence for advancement in the military hierarchy. Appropriate class origin became the principal criterion for admission to the East European officer corps and military schools. The Soviet Union and national communist party regimes transformed the East European military establishments into a vehicle of upward mobility for the working class and peasantry, who were unaccustomed to this kind of opportunity. Many of the officers in the new East European armed forces supported the new regimes because their newly acquired professional and social status hinged on the continuance of communist party rule.
The Soviet Union assigned trusted national communist party leaders to the most important East European military command positions despite their lack of military qualifications. The East European ministries of defense established political departments on the model of the Main Political Administration of the Soviet Army and Navy. Throughout the 1950s, prewar East European communists served as political officers, sharing command prerogatives with professional officers and evaluating their loyalty to the communist regime and compliance with its directives. Heavily armed paramilitary forces under the control of the East European internal security networks became powerful rivals for the national armies and checked their potentially great influence within the political system. The Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus also closely monitored the allied national military establishments.
Despite the great diversity of the new Soviet allies in terms of military history and traditions, the Sovietization of the East European national armies, which occurred between 1945 and the early 1950s, followed a consistent pattern in every case. The Soviet Union forced its East European allies to emulate Soviet Army ranks and uniforms and abandon all distinctive national military customs and practices; these allied armies used all Soviet-made weapons and equipment. The Soviet Union also insisted on the adoption of Soviet Army organization and tactics within the East European armies. Following the precedent established during World War II, the Soviet Union assigned Soviet officers to duty at all levels of the East European national command structures, from the general (main) staffs down to the regimental level, as its primary means of military control. Although officially termed advisers, these Soviet Army officers generally made the most important decisions within the East European armies. Direct Soviet control over the national military establishments was most complete in strategically important Poland. Soviet officers held approximately half the command positions in the postwar Polish Army despite the fact that few spoke Polish. Soviet officers and instructors staffed the national military academies, and the study of Russian became mandatory for East European army officers. The Soviet Union also accepted many of the most promising and eager East European officers into Soviet mid-career military institutions and academies for the advanced study essential to their promotion within the national armed forces command structures.
Despite Soviet efforts to develop political and military instruments of control and the continued presence of Soviet Army occupation forces, the Soviet Union still faced resistance to its domination of Eastern Europe. The Soviet troops in the GSFG acted unilaterally when the East German Garrisoned People's Police refused to crush the June 1953 workers' uprising in East Berlin. This action set a precedent for the Soviet use of force to retain control of its buffer zone in Eastern Europe.
THE WARSAW PACT, 1955-70
East-West Diplomacy and the Formation of the Warsaw Pact
In May 1955, the Soviet Union institutionalized its East European alliance system when it gathered together representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania in Warsaw to sign the multilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which was identical to their existing bilateral treaties with the Soviet Union. Initially, the Soviets claimed that the Warsaw Pact was a direct response to the inclusion of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in NATO in 1955. The formation of a legally defined, multilateral alliance organization also reinforced the Soviet Union's claim to power status as the leader of the world socialist system, enhanced its prestige, and legitimized its presence and influence in Eastern Europe. However, as events inside the Soviet alliance developed, this initial external impetus for the formation of the Warsaw Pact lost its importance, and the Soviet Union found a formal alliance useful for other purposes. The Soviet Union created a structure for dealing with its East European allies more efficiently when it superimposed the multilateral Warsaw Pact on their existing bilateral treaty ties.
In the early 1950s, the United States and its Western allies carried out an agreement to re-arm West Germany and integrate it into NATO. This development threatened a vital Soviet foreign policy objective: the Soviet Union was intent on preventing the resurgence of a powerful German nation and particularly one allied with the Western powers. In an effort to derail the admission of West Germany to NATO, the Soviet representative at the 1954 Four-Power Foreign Ministers Conference in Berlin, Viacheslav Molotov, went so far as to propose the possibility of holding simultaneous elections in both German states that might lead to a re-unified, though neutral and unarmed, Germany. At the same time, the Soviet Union also proposed to the Western powers a general treaty on collective security in Europe and the dismantling of existing military blocs (meaning NATO). When this tactic failed and West Germany joined NATO on May 5, 1955, the Soviet Union declared that West Germany's membership in the Western alliance created a special threat to Soviet interests. The Soviet Union also declared that this development made its existing network of bilateral treaties an inadequate security guarantee and forced the East European socialist countries to "combine efforts in a strong political and military alliance." On May 14, 1955, the Soviet Union and its East European allies signed the Warsaw Pact.
While the Soviets had avoided formalizing their alliance to keep the onus of dividing Europe into opposing blocs on the West, the admission into NATO of the European state with the greatest potential military power forced the Soviet Union to take NATO into account for the first time. The Soviet Union also used West Germany's membership in NATO for propaganda purposes. The Soviets evoked the threat of a re-armed, "revanchist" West Germany seeking to reverse its defeat in World War II to remind the East European countries of their debt to the Soviet Union for their liberation, their need for Soviet protection against a recent enemy, and their corresponding duty to respect Soviet security interests and join the Warsaw Pact.
The Soviet Union had important reasons for institutionalizing the informal alliance system established through its bilateral treaties with the East European countries, concluded before the 1949 formation of NATO. As a formal organization, the Warsaw Pact provided the Soviet Union an official counterweight to NATO in East-West diplomacy. The Warsaw Pact gave the Soviet Union an equal status with the United States as the leader of an alliance of ostensibly independent nations supporting its foreign policy initiatives in the international arena. The multilateral Warsaw Pact was an improvement over strictly bilateral ties as a mechanism for transmitting Soviet defense and foreign policy directives to the East European allies. The Warsaw Pact also helped to legitimize the presence of Soviet troop--and overwhelming Soviet influence--in Eastern Europe.
The 1955 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance between the Soviet Union and its East European allies, which established the Warsaw Pact, stated that relations among the signatories were based on total equality, mutual noninterference in internal affairs, and respect for national sovereignty and independence. It declared that the Warsaw Pact's function was collective self-defense of the member states against external aggression, as provided for in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The terms of the alliance specified the Political Consultative Committee (PCC) as the highest alliance organ. The founding document formed the Joint Command to organize the actual defense of the Warsaw Pact member states, declared that the national deputy ministers of defense would act as the deputies of the Warsaw Pact commander in chief, and established the Joint Staff, which included the representatives of the general (main) staffs of all its member states. The treaty set the Warsaw Pact's duration at twenty years with an automatic ten- year extension, provided that none of the member states renounced it before its expiration. The treaty also included a standing offer to disband simultaneously with other military alliances, i.e., NATO, contingent on East-West agreement about a general treaty on collective security in Europe. This provision indicated that the Soviet Union either did not expect that such an accord could be negotiated or did not consider its new multilateral alliance structure very important.
Early Organizational Structure and Activities
Until the early 1960s, the Soviet Union used the Warsaw Pact more as a tool in East-West diplomacy than as a functioning political-military alliance. Under the leadership of General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union sought to project a more flexible and less threatening image abroad and, toward this end, used the alliance's PCC to publicize its foreign policy initiatives and peace offensives, including frequent calls for the formation of an all-European collective security system to replace the continent's existing military alliances. The main result of Western acceptance of these disingenuous Soviet proposals would have been the removal of American troops from Europe, the weakening of ties among the Western states, and increasingly effective Soviet pressure on Western Europe. The Soviet Union also used the PCC to propose a nonaggression pact between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe.
In the first few years after 1955, little of the Warsaw Pact's activity was directed at building a multilateral military alliance. The Soviet Union concentrated primarily on making the Warsaw Pact a reliable instrument for controlling the East European allies. In fact, the putatively supranational military agencies of the Warsaw Pact were completely subordinate to a national agency of the Soviet Union. The Soviet General Staff in Moscow housed the alliance's Joint Command and Joint Staff and, through these organs, controlled the entire military apparatus of the Warsaw Pact as well as the allied armies. Although the highest ranking officers of the alliance were supposed to be selected through the mutual agreement of its member states, the Soviets unilaterally appointed a first deputy Soviet minister of defense and first deputy chief of the Soviet General Staff to serve as Warsaw Pact commander in chief and chief of staff, respectively. While these two Soviet officers ranked below the Soviet minister of defense, they still outranked the ministers of defense in the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) countries. The Soviet General Staff also posted senior colonel generals as resident representatives of the Warsaw Pact commander in chief in all East European capitals. Serving with the "agreement of their host countries," these successors to the wartime and postwar Soviet advisers for the allied armies equaled the East European ministers of defense in rank and provided a point of contact for the commander in chief, Joint Command, and Soviet General Staff inside the national military establishments. They directed and monitored the military training and political indoctrination programs of the national armies to synchronize their development with the Soviet Army. The strict Soviet control of the Warsaw Pact's high military command positions, established at this early stage, clearly indicated the subordination of the East European allies to the Soviet Union.
In 1956 the Warsaw Pact member states admitted East Germany to the Joint Command and sanctioned the transformation of its Garrisoned People's Police into a full-fledged army. But the Soviet Union took no steps to integrate the allied armies into a multinational force. The Soviet Union organized only one joint Warsaw Pact military exercise and made no attempt to make the alliance functional before 1961 except through the incorporation of East European territory into the Soviet national air defense structure.
De-Stalinization and National Communism
In his 1956 secret speech at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, General Secretary Khrushchev denounced the arbitrariness, excesses, and terror of the Joseph Stalin era. Khrushchev sought to achieve greater legitimacy for communist party rule on the basis of the party's ability to meet the material needs of the Soviet population. His de-Stalinization campaign quickly influenced developments in Eastern Europe. Khrushchev accepted the replacement of Stalinist Polish and Hungarian leaders with newly rehabilitated communist party figures, who were able to generate genuine popular support for their regimes by molding the socialist system to the specific historical, political, and economic conditions in their countries. Pursuing his more sophisticated approach in international affairs, Khrushchev sought to turn Soviet- controlled East European satellites into at least semisovereign countries and to make Soviet domination of the Warsaw Pact less obvious. The Warsaw Pact's formal structure served Khrushchev's purpose well, providing a facade of genuine consultation and of joint defense and foreign-policy decision making by the Soviet Union and the East European countries.
De-Stalinization in the Soviet Union made a superficial renationalization of the East European military establishments possible. The Soviet Union allowed the East European armies to restore their distinctive national practices and to re-emphasize professional military opinions over political considerations in most areas. Military training supplanted political indoctrination as the primary task of the East European military establishments. Most important, the Soviet Ministry of Defense recalled many Soviet Army officers and advisers from their positions within the East European armies. Although the Soviet Union still remained in control of its alliance system, these changes in the Warsaw Pact and the NSWP armies removed some of the most objectionable features of Sovietization.
In October 1956, the Polish and Hungarian communist parties lost control of the de-Stalinization process in their countries. The ensuing crises threatened the integrity of the entire Soviet alliance system in Eastern Europe. Although Khrushchev reacted quickly to rein in the East European allies and thwart this challenge to Soviet interests, his response in these two cases led to a significant change in the role of the Warsaw Pact as an element of Soviet security.
The "Polish October"
The October 1956, workers' riots in Poland defined the boundaries of national communism acceptable to the Soviet Union. The Polish United Workers Party found that the grievances that inspired the riots could be ameliorated without presenting a challenge to its monopoly on political power or its strict adherence to Soviet foreign policy and security interests. At first, when the Polish Army and police forces refused to suppress rioting workers, the Soviet Union prepared its forces in East Germany and Poland for an intervention to restore order in the country. However, Poland's new communist party leader, Wladyslaw Gomulka, and the Polish Army's top commanders indicated to Khrushchev and the other Soviet leaders that any Soviet intervention in the internal affairs of Poland would meet united, massive resistance. While insisting on Poland's right to exercise greater autonomy in domestic matters, Gomulka also pointed out that the Polish United Workers Party remained in firm control of the country and expressed his intention to continue to accept Soviet direction in external affairs. Gomulka even denounced the simultaneous revolution in Hungary and Hungary's attempt to leave the Warsaw Pact, which nearly ruptured the Soviet alliance system in Eastern Europe. Gomulka's position protected the Soviet Union's most vital interests and enabled Poland to reach a compromise with the Soviet leadership to defuse the crisis. Faced with Polish resistance to a possible invasion, the Soviet Union established its minimum requirements for the East European allies: upholding the leading role of the communist party in society and remaining a member of the Warsaw Pact. These two conditions ensured that Eastern Europe would remain a buffer zone for the Soviet Union.
The Hungarian Revolution
By contrast, the full-scale revolution in Hungary, which began in late October with public demonstrations in support of the rioting Polish workers, openly flouted these Soviet stipulations. An initial domestic liberalization acceptable to the Soviet Union quickly focused on nonnegotiable issues like the communist party's exclusive hold on political power and genuine national independence. With overwhelming support from the Hungarian public, the new communist party leader, Imre Nagy, instituted multiparty elections. More important, Nagy withdrew Hungary from the Warsaw Pact and ended Hungary's alliance with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Army invaded with 200, 000 troops, crushed the Hungarian Revolution, and brought Hungary back within limits tolerable to the Soviet Union. The five days of pitched battles left 25, 000 Hungarians dead.
After 1956 the Soviet Union practically disbanded the Hungarian Army and reinstituted a program of political indoctrination in the units that remained. In May 1957, unable to rely on Hungarian forces to maintain order, the Soviet Union increased its troop level in Hungary from two to four divisions and forced Hungary to sign a status-of-forces agreement, placing the Soviet military presence on a solid and permanent legal basis. The Soviet Army forces stationed in Hungary officially became the Southern Group of Forces (SGF).
The events of 1956 in Poland and Hungary forced a Soviet re- evaluation of the reliability and roles of the NSWP countries in its alliance system. Before 1956 the Soviet leadership believed that the Stalinist policy of heavy political indoctrination and enforced Sovietization had transformed the national armies into reliable instruments of the Soviet Union. However, the East European armies were still likely to remain loyal to national causes. Only one Hungarian Army unit fought beside the Soviet troops that put down the 1956 revolution. In both the Polish and the Hungarian military establishments, a basic loyalty to the national communist party regime was mixed with a strong desire for greater national sovereignty. With East Germany still a recent enemy and Poland and Hungary now suspect allies, the Soviet Union turned to Czechoslovakia as its most reliable junior partner in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Czechoslovakia became the Soviet Union's first proxy in the Third World when its military pilots trained Egyptian personnel to fly Soviet-built MiG fighter aircraft. The Soviet Union thereby established a pattern of shifting the weight of its reliance from one East European country to another in response to various crises.
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