This Week in History

This Week in History

Communist States Sign The Warsaw Pact

14 May 1955

The Soviet Union and its communist allies in Eastern Europe sign a pact to strengthen ties.

In 1955, the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies signed a security pact in the Polish capital, Warsaw, in response to further expansion of NATO by the West. It was known as the "Warsaw Pact" and was intended to strengthen military, economic and cultural ties between the eight Communist nations. The pact allowed the USSR to suppress nationalist uprisings in member states which led to its military forces crushing rebellions in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Warsaw Pact was formally ended in 1991.

pact (noun): formal agreement
Soviet Union (noun): a former federation of communist republics based on Russia; the USSR
ally (noun): a state or country co-operating with another for military or other reasons
Eastern bloc (noun): countries of eastern/central Europe dominated by the USSR 1945-c1990
suppress (verb): stop; prevent; forcibly put an end to
crush (verb): squeeze (someone or something) with great force; violently subdue (rebellion)

Warsaw Pact conference
In May 1955, in response to the creation by the USA of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the USSR established the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) as a result of this conference held in Warsaw, Poland. The original founding signatories were: Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Soviet Union

Test your understanding:

The "Warsaw Pact" was intended to

  1. strengthen ties among member states
  2. support nationalist governments
  3. suppress Eastern Bloc countries

The pact allowed the Soviet Union to suppress nationalist uprisings in

  1. Eastern and Western Europe
  2. Russia and Hungary
  3. Eastern Bloc countries

The Soviet Union was also known as

  1. the Russian Empire
  2. the Eastern Bloc
  3. the USSR

Teacher's Notes - how to use This Week in History in your classes

Contributor: Matt Errey. Matt is the author of several books including 1000 Phrasal Verbs in Context and Common English Idioms for learners, and Matt's ESL Games and Quizzes for teachers. He is also creator of WORD UP, the world's #1 EFL board game.

Nobody has the right to obey.'