The Warsaw Pact

Soviet Military Policy in Eastern Europe

by A. Ross Johnson


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Although the USSR may wish to rely more in the 1980s on East European military forces to maintain or increase the level of Soviet-controlled military power in Europe, in fact the USSR will have to rely less on East European military forces. Operational, institutional, and socioeconomic factors for this are discussed. The Polish crisis of 1980-1981 dramatizes the vulnerabilities inherent in the current level of Soviet reliance on East European military forces. Development of "coalition warfare," emphasized by Khrushchev in the 1960s as a "quick fix," has reached the point of diminishing returns. The Soviet leadership must either dedicate more of its own increasingly scarce military resources to Europe or permit a decline in Soviet-controlled military power in the region.

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