25 February 1991

The Warsaw Pact is abolished.

The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland among the Soviet Union and seven Soviet satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power or counterweight to NATO; there was no direct confrontation between them. Instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. Its largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the Counter-Revolutions of 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland and its electoral success in June 1989.

East Germany withdrew from the Pact following reunification with West Germany in 1990. On 25 February 1991, the Pact was declared at an end at a meeting of defence and foreign ministers from the six remaining member states in Hungary. The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization shortly thereafter. Throughout the following 20 years, the seven Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO, as did the three Baltic states that had been part of the Soviet Union.

25 February 1991

The Warsaw Pact is abolished.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a long and complex process due to economic, social, and political reasons. Therefore, when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved on February 25, 1991, the Soviet Union did not go out with a loud bang, but the feeble pop of a balloon.

The Warsaw Pact was drawn up in May 1955. The signers of the Pact included the “USSR, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.” The formation of the pact came after the Federal Republic of Germany joined NATO. In the introduction to the Pact, the document states that Western Germany’s acceptance into NATO was a threat “to the national security of peaceable states.” Therefore it was the duty of the signers of the pact to “take necessary measures to safeguard their security and in the interests of preserving peace in Europe.” The pact seems to show the fear many communist countries had that West Germany’s involvement with NATO would lead to another war. The Warsaw Pact appeared to be for the good of Europe. However, this pact was likely an attempt by the USSR to have military control in Eastern and Central Europe. For example, in Article 4 of the Pact, it states that if an armed event should occur against one of the Parties to the Pact, each of the countries who signed should “come to the assistance of the state or states attacked with all such means as it deems necessary, including armed force.” However, this pact became void before it was officially dissolved as many of the countries involved experienced upheaval in 1989-1991 as their Communist governments were toppled.

“Atop the Berlin Wall”

There were many reasons that the Warsaw Pact was dissolved and the Soviet Union fell. Mikhail Gorbachev played a key role in the fall. As Gorbachev climbed the ladder of the Communist Party and gained a great deal of power by the 1980’s, his policies and reforms for the Soviet Union inadvertently ended the Union. Two of Gorbachev’s policies were known as glasnost and perestroika. Glasnost called for openness in the government in the Soviet Union. Perestroika represented the restructuring of the Soviet Union, specifically the political and economic system. Perestroika “unleashed force and expectations even as it failed to satisfy minimal requirements”. Gorbachev’s policies were an attempt to restructure the Soviet Union to follow the West’s “model of democracy and free markets”. This development led to difficult times for the Soviet Union as the economy suffered. Glasnost allowed for the press to undermine Gorbachev’s authority and that of the regime . Perestroika gave way to more demand for freedom and autonomy within the Soviet Union. It also sparked nationalism and even calls for independence. As tension and nationalist movements increased in 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall “marked the end of the Soviet bloc”. The Warsaw Pact was already a moot point by this time.

25 February 1856

A peace conference in Paris opens after the end of the Crimean War.

The Congress of Paris took place in 1856 to make peace after the almost three-year-long Crimean War. The Congress of Paris was a peace conference held between representatives of the great powers in Europe, which at the time were: France, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, Sardinia, Russia, Austria, and Prussia.They assembled soon after 1 February 1856, when Russia accepted the first set of peace terms after Austria threatened to enter the war on the side of the Allies. It is also notable that the meeting took place in Paris, just at the conclusion of the 1855 Universal Expo

The Congress of Paris worked out the final terms from 25 February to 30 March 1856. The Treaty of Paris was then signed on 30 March 1856 with Russia on one side and France, Great Britain, Ottoman Turkey, and Sardinia-Piedmont on the other. The group of men negotiated at the Quai d’Orsay.One of the representatives who attended the Congress of Paris on behalf of the Ottoman Empire was Ali Pasha, who was the grand vizier of the Empire.[4] Russia was represented by Prince Orlov and Baron Brunnov. Britain sent their Ambassador to France, who at the time was the Lord Cowley. While other congresses, such as the Congress of Vienna, spread questions and issues for different committees to resolve, the Congress of Paris resolved everything in one group.