A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991
ed. by Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne (Budapest: Central European Press, 2005)
The following 193 documents have been published in English translation in the PHP book A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991, ed. Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne (Budapest: CEU Press, 2005), which appeared as the fourth volume in the National Security Archive Cold War Reader series. For reasons of space, virtually all of them have been excerpted. All the documents can be consulted in their original language and in their entirety in this documentary companion to the book. The book and this documentary companion are the product of the PHP's multi-year research effort aimed at bringing together formerly secret records from the archives of the member states of the Soviet-led Cold War alliance. Top-level communications between the Warsaw Pact leaders, verbatim transcripts of multilateral summit meetings, and lively discussions inside the various party politburos are among the many previously unavailable materials in the collection. Topics covered in depth include:
- The evolution of the pact from stage prop to full-fledged military alliance;
- The surprisingly dynamic relations between Moscow and the other capitals of the "fraternal countries," particularly during times of crisis when the Kremlin was pulled in different directions by allies espousing more aggressive or cautious points of view;
- The upheavals in Eastern Europe in 1953, 1956, 1968 and 1980-81;
- The turmoil - this time induced by the Soviet leadership itself - of the late 1980s, which led to the virtually simultaneous vanishing of the Cold War and the Eastern alliance.
Readers are invited to explore the book A Cardboard Castle?, which offers three more components in addition to the English translation of excerpts of the following documents. First, Vojtech Mastny's 74-page introductory essay traces the evolution of the Warsaw Pact from its origins to its demise between the downfall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Second, "headnotes" prepared by Malcolm Byrne in cooperation with Vojtech Mastny, introduce each document and present item-specific context that explains the significance or special relevance of every entry. Third, additional research aids include a chronology of relevant events, a listing of key officials, a glossary of acronyms found in the documents, and a selective bibliography on the Warsaw Pact. The book can be ordered at CEU Press.