Friday, June 20, 2008

June Theme Contest: The Warsaw Pact

Theme Alert: WARSAW PACT

Heads up! The next theme contest will be THE WARSAW PACT!!! Get your Soviet kits out of the closet and build them. The sponsors will have some strict guidelines for this theme contest. This will be for the June meeting. And now a word from our sponsors:

DATE: JUNE 20, 2008

The Warsaw Pact was a military alliance of socialist states in Central and East Europe. The Warsaw Pact served to counter the potential threat from the NATO alliance. The Alliance began on May 14, 1955 and ended July 1, 1991. The members of the alliance were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union.

The Theme Contest is the Warsaw Pact 1955 to 1991. You can build kits from any of the Warsaw Pact members, used in that time period. You can build armor, vehicles, ships, figures, aircraft, helicopters, or anything you can come up with. All we ask is that all entries should be new built kits. Any old off the shelf models should be display only.

Sponsored by Comrades: Jimmy T, Jeff E, James M

Here's some background from Answers.com:
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Pact was created by the Soviet Union on 14 May 1955 as a political‐military alliance of European Communist states to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), particularly the entry of West Germany into NATO in 1955. Officially called the Warsaw Treaty Organization, the original eight members were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. However, unlike NATO, the Warsaw Pact was a multinational rather than a multilateral military defense organization.

Following Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprising in October 1956, Moscow reduced the influence of the pact's governing body, the multinational Political Consultative Council (PCC), and
tightened its own central control. In the subsequent strains, some southern‐tier nations withdrew: Albania, which supported China in the Sino‐ Soviet split, stopped military cooperation in 1961 and left the pact in 1968 (following the invasion of
Czechoslovakia by the pact's forces). Romania excluded Soviet troops and refused to participate in military exercises after 1965.

The Soviet Union controlled the alliance, provided 80 percent of the manpower, and bore more than 90 percent of the pact's defense expenditures for forces, which in the early 1980s reached 5.4 million troops. The USSR alone had nuclear weapons and strategic forces, and all nuclear warheads were in Soviet custody.

With declining economies, the shift in Soviet policy under reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, and the increasing independence of the East European nations, the Warsaw Pact lost cohesion in the 1980s. In 1987–88, the pact's doctrine was changed from offensive defense to one that emphasized nonoffensive defense. Following a Soviet proposal in 1987, NATO and the Warsaw Pact agreed in 1990 to substantial reduction of forces.

In 1990, responding to popular demand and the ending of the Cold War, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia demanded the removal of Soviet troops and refused to participate in future military exercises. East Germany left the pact that year with German unification. The military structure was officially ended by the PCC in March 1991; the political organization was terminated in July 1991.

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