Eastern bloc

From ArticleWorld

Eastern bloc refers to countries that, during the Cold War, owed allegiance to the Soviet Union, shared the same ideology, a similar political culture, and often acted as client states of the Soviets, allowing space on their soil for military and other operations. The 'east' refers to the fact that these countries were all Central and Eastern EuropeanPoland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, East Germany.

Treaties and history

All Eastern bloc countries were signatories to the Warsaw Pact, which was designed in 1955 as an alternative to the establishment of NATO and its zone of influence. Often, the Soviet Union extended its sphere of infuence in these countries through military intervention, such as in Hungary in 1956 following an anti-Soviet coup, and 12 years later in Czechoslovakia after the liberal Prague Spring, which led to the formalizing of the aggressive Brezhnev Doctrine. In December 1988, when then President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, nullified the Brezhnev Doctrine, ensuring that changes in domestic and foreign policy in Eastern Bloc countries would not be met with Soviet military resistance. Rapid changes followed all through Eastern Europe, including the 1989 Solidarity movement in Poland and the elections that followed, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification in 1990.


Two geographic and historical exceptions to the 'Eastern' Bloc were Albania and the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia. The international communist movement was split between the Russian or Soviet camp, which was opposed to the predominantly Chinese anti-revisionist stance, which held that neither Stalin's anti-fascism nor Mao's People's War could be abandoned. Albania, which until the early 1960s was part of the Eastern Bloc, switched ideological allegiance to the Chinese camp and had a Stalinist government for the next 30 years.

The Communist government of Yugoslavia gained power in equal parts due to Marxist ideology and the partisan resistance in World War II, and owed nothing to the Soviet sphere of influence. Yugoslavia, with Egypt and India, spearheaded the Non-Aligned Movement with its professed neutral stance.