The Northern Tier Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact: An AssessmentAUTHOR Major Ole Martin Hojem, Norwegian ArmyCSC 1990SUBJECT AREA IntelligenceEXECUTIVE SUMMARYTITLE: The Northern Tier Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact: An Assessment AUTHOR: Major Ole Martin Hojem, Norwegian Army DESCRIPTION OF TASK: Conduct an evaluation of the non-Soviet military forces in the Northern Tier of the Warsaw Pact. What role would they play in an open conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and how do the forces fit into the Warsaw Pact/Soviet command system. Discuss further whether there can be reason to question the reliability of these forces in a European conflict. SUMMARY: The three northern tier non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) nations are East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Their unique backgrounds and characteristics, not easily discerned in the glare of the their larger partner, tend to color the nature of their membership. Their differing developmental experiences reflect political and economic processes in the East Bloc, still incomplete, which have influenced the development of the alliance itself.The birth of the Warsaw Pact (WP) in 1955 formalized a series of bilateral relationships between the Soviet Union and the nations it had “liberated” as World War II ended. The admittance of rearmed West Germany to NATO that same year, however, so concerned the Soviets that they felt compelled to strengthen their western defenses by erecting an alliance undertheir own control. Since that time, the WP structure has undergone many changes, some enhancing Soviet control. others the result of vigorous NSWP lobbying. Throughout, the Soviets have been careful to limit their allies capacity for independent military action, for the degree of trust is not very high.The issue of NSWP reliability is naturally of great concern to the Soviet Union, for the WP is,at its basic level, a collection of ethnic groups with varying degrees of fondness for each other, and the Russians are not highly regarded. The Pact’s Main Political Directorate has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the “bottom line” remains favorable for the USSR.In the context of an offensive against NATO, the East Germans were thought to be both competent and reasonably reliable, perhaps helped by the eighteen Russian divisions stationedthere. But growing contact with West German has probably changed that. Poland’s Solidarity problem is quiet, but festering, so today East Germany and Poland could be graded as equal and the Soviet armies could very easily end up fighting their way across Poland and East Germany enroute to Bonn and Paris. Czechoslovakia is undoubtedly, still suffering, from the 1968 Soviet invasion.Today’s picture looks very different from that of only nine months ago, so the future picture could also look very different. The success or failure of perestroika and glasnost will be decisive.