Post-Cold War Europe
Europe after the Cold War (28 February 1991)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
The first challenge to the post-Cold War order came in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. In response, the United Nations authorized a US-led coalition - which included members of the fading Warsaw Pact - to travel to the Persian Gulf and expel the Iraqis. The campaign was a resounding success, but left a hostile Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq.
UN Security Council Resolution 678
The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 678, demanding Iraq withdraw its forces unconditionally from Kuwait. This is the Council's final offer to Iraq - which has already rejected 11 previous resolutions on its occupation of Kuwait - and authorizes UN members to use force against Iraq if it has not complied by 15 January 1991.
In response to Lithuania's bid for independence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics begins military actions in Lithuania. Soviet troops seize buildings in the capital, Vilnius, and other cities and fire on protesters. After two days and international condemnation, Soviet forces withdraw.
Operation Desert Storm
Coalition forces led by the United States of America conduct a five-week aerial and naval bombardment of both Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. On 24 February, a ground assault is launched from Saudi Arabia. In a one hundred-hour land campaign, the coalition defeats the Iraqi military, liberates Kuwait, and occupies much of southern Iraq.
End of Warsaw Pact
Defense and foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics meeting in Hungary declare the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) dissolved. The Warsaw Pact is formally disestablished in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on July 1.