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Arms Reductions and the Warsaw Pact


The Warsaw Pact was based around the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance for its member states, though primarily it was a military alliance led by the Soviet Union. Therefore, Mikhail Gorbachev's arms reduction plan affected all of the member states of the Warsaw Pact by reducing all of the men under arms in Eastern Europe. In this meeting from July 1988, the Defense Ministers of the Warsaw Pact discussed both the actual reduction of troops and the equally important concern about how this reduction would be perceived by NATO. While Gorbachev may have expected the arms reduction to assist the stagnating Soviet economy by reducing their expenses, the Warsaw Pact leadership began planning for a new wave of improved weapons that could compete technologically with the West. They planned for a smaller, more advanced army in Eastern Europe. Rather than diminishing Cold War hostilities, the Warsaw Pact worried an arms reduction might create a new arms race.


"Summary of Discussion among Defense Ministers at the Political Consultative Committee Meeting in Warsaw, 15 July 1988," Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

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"Arms Reductions and the Warsaw Pact," in World History Commons, [accessed November 24, 2021]