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Soviet strategy and the Warsaw Pact: Military policy in the history of an alliance.

Holden, Gerard (1991) Soviet strategy and the Warsaw Pact: Military policy in the history of an alliance. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the role of Soviet military policy in the formation, history and decline of the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO). It traces the relationship between two functions of the alliance, an external strategic role and an internal military-political function, and asks whether the decline of the WTO in the late 1930s was the result of a change in external requirements, of the abandonment of the internal role, or of some combination of the two. The internal political functioning of the WTO, its military command structures, and the question of Soviet strategic goals, in Europe during the 1955-1987 period are examined. It is argued that both internal and external alliance functions were important, but that while there were fluctuations in the level of internal political control by the USSR, this was less noticeable in the military command sphere. This suggests that the external strategic role may have been primary, though it does not establish this beyond doubt. An examination of Soviet policy in the late 1980s shows that the functions of the WTO were placed in question in different ways by projected reforms of military strategy and by the logic of "Mew Thinking" in foreign policy. However, it could not have been predicted on the basis of the Soviet strategic debate alone that the USSR would accept the political transformation of Eastern Europe, the early withdrawal of Soviet forces, and the virtual collapse of the WTO as an alliance during 1989-90. It is there-fore argued in conclusion that this collapse can best be explained in terms of a political calculation about the future of Eastern Europe which the Soviet leadership made at a time when the military-strategic debate was still unresolved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Military, History, Russian and Soviet, East European Studies, Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1148

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