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Warsaw Pact & Brinkmanship

Warsaw Pact

The Soviet Union and seven of its European satellites signed a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. The Soviet Union formed this alliance as a counterbalance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was signed in Warsaw, and included the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria as members.The signing of the pact became a symbol of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe. 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 pact was used more as a means to keep the Soviet allies under a watchful eye than to actually make and enforce decisions. The alliance grew to become a way to build and strengthen military forces throughout the Eastern European countries involved. Conditions of the treaty included “total equality, mutual noninterference in internal affairs, and respect it for national sovereignty and independence.”  

Brinkmanship was the practice of pursuing a dangerous policy to the limits of safety before stopping The practice where one or both parties forced the interaction between them to the threshold of confrontation in order to gain an advantageous negotiation position over the other. The technique is characterized by aggressive risk-taking policy choices that court potential disaster. The term was coined by US Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles in 1956. The term was used repeatedly during the Cold War, a period characterized by tense relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. It summed up the effect that all countries felt because everyone was on the brink of war. It was a only a matter of time before nuclear war was declared and humanity was destroyed. This practice caused paranoia and fear within all people in all countries and marked a significant change in the conduct of foreign policy.