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A Cardboard Castle?
An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact


The editors:
Vojtech Mastny
is a Senior Fellow at the National Security Archive, where he coordinates the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP). He has been a professor at Columbia University, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Boston University, and US Naval War College. His latest book, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, won the American Historical Association's George L. Beer Prize.

Malcolm Byrne is Director of Research at the National Security Archive. Serves as Editor of CEU Press National Security Archive Cold War Reader series, of which this volume is a part.

"By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of Cold War history has been the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact, directed by Mastny. This is its early culmination, a massive volume... Mastny's extended introductory essay does more than survey the history." - Foreign Affairs

"Did the Soviets expect a war? They were not planning to overrun western Europe so it could fall under Communist domination, but their plans to initiate a nuclear strike were pre-emptive. In that hair-trigger environment, if your information isn't perfect, you may push the button before it is really justified. It was surprising to see that the potential for miscalculation and nuclear disaster was so high". - (extract from the interview with editor Malcolm Byrne)

"An impressively extensive collection of original documents and transcripts of the Warsaw Pact from its beginning in 1955 to its dissolution in 1991. The two main themes in the documents is that the Pact seemed to have no intention of a preemptive attack on Western Europe. The other is that the Pact was not all as united as outside observers believed. This is a great book for historians and for anyone else who is interested in this subject." - Amazon (extract from a reader's online review)

This is the first book to document, analyze, and interpret the history of the Warsaw Pact based on the archives of the alliance itself. As suggested by the title, the Soviet bloc military machine that held the West in awe for most of the Cold War does not appear from the inside as formidable as outsiders often believed, nor were its strengths and weaknesses the same at different times in its surprisingly long history, extending for almost half a century.

The introductory study by Mastny assesses the controversial origins of the "superfluous" alliance, its subsequent search for a purpose, its crisis and consolidation despite congenital weaknesses, as well as its unexpected demise.

Most of the 193 documents included in the book were top secret and have only recently been obtained from Eastern European archives by the PHP project. The majority of the documents were translated specifically for this volume and have never appeared in English before.

The introductory remarks to individual documents by co-editor Byrne explain the particular significance of each item. A chronology of the main events in the history of the Warsaw Pact, a list of its leading officials, a selective multilingual bibliography, and an analytical index add to the importance of a publication that sets the new standard as a reference work on the subject and facilitate its use by both students and general readers.



Editors' Preface; Acronyms and Abbreviations; Chronology of Events; Introductory Essay by Vojtech Mastny; Documents I. The Formative Years (Docs. 1-28) II. The Crisis (Docs. 29-61) III. The Alliance at Its Peak (Docs. 62-85) IV. The Incipient Decline (Docs. 86-121) V. Disintegration (Docs. 122-155) Main Actors; Bibliography; Index

This is the fourth volume in the series National Security Archive Cold War Readers, editor: Malcolm Byrne ISSN 1587-2416

792 pages

978-963-7326-07-3 paperback $40.00 / €35.00 / £30.00
978-963-7326-08-0 cloth