Northern Eurasia 1991: End of the Warsaw Pact
The collapse of communism in eastern Europe weakened the Warsaw Pact, which had mostly functioned as a tool for maintaining Soviet hegemony. East Germany was the first to leave when it united with West Germany in 1990, effectively joining NATO. The following year, Poland and Czechoslovakia fought alongside NATO members to liberate Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. By now the Pact had lost all purpose and it was declared disbanded in February.
15 Jan 1990 End of Communism in Bulgaria▲
In November 1989 moderate Communists within the Bulgarian government ousted long-time State Council Chairman Todor Zhivkov, replacing him with his foreign minister and rival Petar Mladenov. Following Mladenov’s announcement to the public, on 15 January 1990 the National Assembly officially ended single-party rule by the Communists and in April the Bulgarian Communist Party was renamed as the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). Following the BSP’s victory in elections in June, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria formally became the Republic of Bulgaria in November.
11 Mar 1990 Act of March 11▲
On 24 February 1990, parliamentary elections in the Lithuanian SSR resulted in an overwhelming victory for the reform movement Sąjūdis. Less than a month later, the Lithuanian Supreme Council unanimously declared independence from the Soviet Union.
2–4 Aug 1990 Invasion of Kuwait▲
To finance the 1980–88 war against Iran, Iraq had borrowed more than US$14 billion from the Emirate of Kuwait, and in 1989 lobbied to have its debt to that country forgiven. Kuwait’s refusal to forgive the debt—coupled with Iraqi allegations of Kuwaiti economic warfare and slant-drilling for oil across their shared border—prompted Iraq to invade on 2 August 1990. In a little over two days of fighting, Iraqi forces overwhelmed the Kuwaiti army and occupied the country. Under Iraqi control, Kuwait became a short-lived republic before accepting annexation by Iraq on the 28th.
3 Oct 1990 German reunification▲
The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany (until this point often called West Germany), forming a reunited Germany. The capital of the Federal Republic was moved from Bonn to Berlin, although its government and membership in international organizations remained unchanged. The historical East German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia were re-established as German states.
11–13 Jan 1991 January Events▲
In response to Lithuania’s bid for independence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics began military actions in Lithuania. Soviet troops seized buildings in the capital, Vilnius, and other cities and fired on protesters. After two days and international condemnation, Soviet forces withdrew.
17 Jan–28 Feb 1991 Operation Desert Storm▲
Coalition forces led by the United States of America conducted a five-week aerial and naval bombardment of both Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. On 24 February, a ground assault was launched from Saudi Arabia. In a one hundred-hour land campaign, the coalition defeated the Iraqi military, liberated Kuwait, and occupied much of southern Iraq.
25 Feb 1991 End of Warsaw Pact▲
Defense and foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics met in Hungary declare the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) dissolved. The Warsaw Pact was formally disestablished in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on July 1.