A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

In This Review

A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

Edited by Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne
Central European University, 2005
776 pp. $75.00
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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 containing 155 documents stretching from the pact's formation to its liquidation and covering internal deliberations, the speeches of leaders made in camera, assessments of NATO capabilities, evaluations of Warsaw Pact exercises, and much more, all arranged according to the stages in the evolution of the organization. Because the Russian documents are not yet available, the material comes from the eastern European archives. They tell of a forum livelier than previously assumed, less confident of its military capabilities, and, on the surface, readier to presume NATO the would-be aggressor. Mastny's extended introductory essay does more than survey the history; it provides a road map to other documents not included, as well as key new secondary sources.