It was the Communist counteraction to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Warsaw Pact came to be seen as quite a potential militaristic threat, as a sign of Communist dominance, and a definite opponent to American capitalism. The signing of the pact became a symbol of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe.
By the 1980s, the Warsaw Treaty Organization was beset by problems related to the economic slowdown in all Eastern European countries. By the late 1980s political changes in most of the member states made the Pact virtually ineffectual. In September 1990, East Germany left the Pact in preparation for reunification with West Germany. By
The Warsaw Pact, like its Western counterpart, binds its members to come to the defense of the others in case of attack. Aside from military maneuvers, the pact's only military operation occurred in August 1968, when troops led by forces from the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia.
In May 1955, the “treaty of mutual friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance” was signed between the People’s Republic of Albania, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the Hungarian People’s Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the Polish People’s Republic, the Rumanian People’s Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Republic.
Albania, which had ceased to participate in the group in 1961, formally withdrew in 1968 in protest over the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia never entered it.
The contracting parties undertake, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations Organization, to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force, and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means so as not to endanger international peace and security.
The Warsaw Pact officially disbanded in March and July of 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
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.
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.
The contracting parties declare their readiness to take part, in the spirit of sincere co-operation, in all international undertakings intended to safeguard international peace and security and they shall use all their energies for the realization of these aims.