WAR MILITARY DELIBERATIONS REVEALED:
WARSAW PACT RECORDS PUBLISHED
records of the top-level discussions of the Soviet-led military
alliance that was the West's main rival from 1955 to 1991 are being
made public on the Zurich-based World Wide Web site of the
History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP)—an
international consortium of scholars
dedicated to the study of the historical background of European
PHP initiates the publication of records from the meetings of the
three key committees of the Warsaw Pact:
Consultative Committee, where policy issues were discussed at
the highest level from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955
until its collapse in 1991,
of the Ministers of Defense, which met every year since 1969
to discuss the military dimension of the Warsaw Pact's rivalry
with NATO, and
of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, designed to coordinate
the foreign policies of the Soviet allies.
the preliminary findings from the documents are the following:
The Warsaw Pact was originally created to ensure Soviet dominance
of European security by political means and only later became a
full-fledged military alliance.
from NATO's experience, the Warsaw Pact sometimes tried to adapt
NATO's features to its own purposes.
of NATO in the late 1960s was paralleled by a crisis of the Warsaw
Pact, both of which led to the consolidation of both alliances just
as the crisis of the Soviet system began to set in.
communist regimes tried to use the Warsaw Pact as a vehicle of their
interests in cooperation with Moscow rather than in opposition to
officer corps owed its primary loyalty to the Warsaw Pact.
Pact leaders regarded NATO as a primarily political threat, to which
they were prepared to respond by an offensive military strategy
in case of a crisis.
in NATO's conventional rather than nuclear armaments were eventually
perceived by the Warsaw Pact as a challenge it was unable to meet.
publication of the records of the Political
Consultative Committee (PCC) starts off with the Committee's
first meeting in 1956 and will proceed chronologically in stages.
It includes documents obtained from different archives of the former
member countries of the Warsaw Pact.
over 2,500 pages of the documents of the Committee
of the Ministers of Defense (CMD) published on the PHP website
are facsimiles of East German records of its meetings, preserved
at the Military Branch of the Federal Archives of Germany (Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv)
in Freiburg im Breisgau.
records of the meetings of the Committee
of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (CMFA) from Czech, Hungarian,
and German archives will be added on the website in the second half
online publication of the CMD records is a pioneering venture undertaken
in collaboration with the Federal Archives of Germany. The
reproduced in their original languages—mostly German and sometimes
Russian—are simultaneously available on the Bundesarchiv homepage, www.bundesarchiv.de.
website is part of the International Relations and Security Network
(ISN), operated by the Center for Security Studies and Conflict
Research at ETH Zurich in cooperation with the National Security
Archive, a nongovernmental research institute in Washington.
further information, contact the Project Coordinator, Vojtech Mastny,
at Mst3696 (at) aol.com, or Christian Nünlist, Center for Security
Studies and Conflict Research, at nuenlist (at) sipo.gess.ethz.ch.
PARALLEL HISTORY PROJECT ON NATO AND THE WARSAW
Sponsored by the Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research
of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich,
the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in
and the Institute of Military Studies in Vienna
In association with the Cold War International History Project of
the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, Hannah Arendt Institute
for Research on Totalitarianism, Dresden, Institute of Political
Studies, Warsaw, Cold War Research Group, Sofia, Institute of
International Relations, Prague, Cold War History Research Center,
Affiliated with the Partnership for Peace