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The Warsaw Pact was created by the Soviet Union in 1955 as a direct response to the American-led military alliance of NATO. The treaty of military cooperation was signed in Warsaw, Poland by the following:
- East Germany
- The USSR
In 1968, Albania withdrew because of ideological differences. For almost fifty years, the Warsaw Pact was a fact of the Cold War. Its only military action was the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. With the break up of the USSR and the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1991.
Hungary tried to take a similarly independent path: a 1956 revolt, when Hungary announced it would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, forced Moscow to intervene militarily. During glasnost, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact. It shifted toward multiparty democracy and a market-oriented economy, and in 1991, began to re-establish close political and economic ties to Western Europe. The Cold War ended in the Gorbachev years when the Warsaw Pact abruptly dissolved.
While NATO set the groundwork in the post-Cold War era by initiating talks and collaborative efforts with the former members of the Warsaw Pact, shared economic concerns have been the yoke that have inspired a deep-seated solidarity among many Eastern and Western European nations over the course of the last decade. The absence of the Soviet threat has allowed for a more broad-based concept of European security to be disseminated throughout the continent, with responsibility shared by a larger number of countries representing a diverse array of military resources, defense orientations and physical locations.
Indeed, NATO has lagged far behind the EU and other economic coalitions in uniting the Western European nations with the states parceled from the former Soviet Union and the other former members of the Warsaw Pact.