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Why didn't the Warsaw Pact help invade Afghanistan? (Short Animated History Documentary)

3 minutes 8 seconds

Speaker 1

00:00:00 - 00:00:29

1 of the most famous events in the history of the USSR is its invasion of Afghanistan, in which, much like their opponents had done before, the Soviets attempted to use military means to prop up an ideologically friendly government. However, unlike, say, when the United States fought in South Vietnam or when the USSR had previously propped up friendly governments in Eastern Europe, there were no allies involved. And in Afghanistan, the Soviet-led military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, didn't get involved. Which raises the question, why? Why didn't the Warsaw Pact also invade Afghanistan?

Speaker 1

00:00:29 - 00:01:00

So, as you'll know, the USSR created the Warsaw Pact in 1955 as a response to the creation of NATO. And for the Soviet Union, it was a cornerstone of its defence policy throughout the Cold War, not only in a military sense but also in a political 1. This was because it allowed Soviet actions to be backed by numerous other states on the international stage. This is why the USSR made use of Warsaw Pact troops to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1968 when its government wouldn't do as it was told. So, when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, at no point was the Warsaw Pact consulted or asked for its help.

Speaker 1

00:01:00 - 00:01:31

And for the Soviets, the main reason for this was that the alliance was seen only as defensive. As far as the Soviet military was concerned, the Warsaw Pact was a speed bump for NATO. And by taking troops from these countries and deploying them to Afghanistan, this would weaken their primary defence, and would have theoretically left an opening for an attack. Another reason was that the USSR wanted to prove that it could do it alone. Many in the Soviet army feared that their international reputation was diminished, and so by being able to deploy hundreds of thousands of troops for a long period it would remind the world that the USSR was still a superpower, and also it didn't care about how the invasion looked internationally.

Speaker 1

00:01:32 - 00:02:09

Unlike Czechoslovakia, the USSR was happy to look like it was doing it entirely for its own purposes and that the rest of the world could do nothing about it. Another problem when it came to the Warsaw Pact heading to Kabul was that their ability to help out was limited. The militaries of countries like Poland and East Germany were designed around holding off NATO until the USSR arrived, and thus those in charge didn't have the know-how or ability to fight a counter-insurgency. Furthermore, the most advanced equipment in the Warsaw Pact belonged to the Soviet Union, and so the Warsaw Pact could only really provide men, something which the USSR simply didn't need more of. The final and most important reason was that the USSR likely couldn't have used the Warsaw Pact due to the ongoing stability issues they were having.

Speaker 1

00:02:09 - 00:02:49

Most of the people in these countries weren't exactly happy with the presence of Soviet troops there, and many, such as Hungary, Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia had been punished when the governments and people weren't friendly enough to Moscow, and the populations in those countries remembered. Thus forcing or trying to convince the people of those nations that their soldiers should travel to a country that they have almost 0 contact with, and due to it, what had previously been done to them wasn't likely an easy sell, and would thus lead to further anti-Soviet sentiment. And these things combined meant that bringing the Warsaw Pact to Afghanistan was a no-go. I hope you enjoyed this episode with a special thanks to my patrons... Katoitska, Gerry Lamdin, Alex Schwin, Adam Stalter, Jordan Longley, Rod D.

Speaker 1

00:02:49 - 00:02:49

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