West Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc during the Cold War. It was created during the Allied occupation of Germany in 1949 after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, its capital was the city of Bonn. At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided among the Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and divided Berlin; the Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, considering itself to be the democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Empire. It took the line. Though the GDR did hold regular elections, these were not fair. From the West German perspective, the GDR was therefore illegitimate.
Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto 11th state. While not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin politically-aligned itself with West Germany and was represented in its federal institutions; the foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the Wirtschaftswunder of the 1950s when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II to become the world's third-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, had worked for a full alignment with NATO rather than neutrality, he not only secured a membership in NATO but was a proponent of agreements that developed into the present-day European Union. When the G6 was established in 1975, there was no question whether the Federal Republic of Germany would be a member as well.
Following the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, there was a rapid move towards German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve itself and accede to the Federal Republic in 1990, its five post-war states were reconstituted along with the reunited Berlin, which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, raising the number of states from 10 to 16, ending the division of Germany; the reunion did not result in a brand-new country. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like UN, NATO, OECD and the European Union; the official name of West Germany, adopted in 1949 and unchanged since is Bundesrepublik Deutschland. In East Germany, the terms Westdeutschland or westdeutsche Bundesrepublik were preferred during the 1950s and 1960s.
This changed once under its 1968 constitution, when the idea of a single German nation was abandoned by East Germany, as a result West Germans and West Berliners were considered foreigners. In the early 1970s, starting in the East German Neues Deutschland, the initialism "BRD" for the "Federal Republic of Germany" began to prevail in East German usage. In 1973, official East German sources adopted it as a standard expression and other Eastern Bloc nations soon followed suit. In reaction to this move, in 1965 the West German Federal Minister of All-German Affairs Erich Mende issued the Directives for the appellation of Germany, recommending avoiding the initialism. On 31 May 1974, the heads of West German federal and state governments recommended always using the full name in official publications. From on West German sources avoided the abbreviated form, with the exception of left-leaning organizations which embraced it. In November 1979 the federal government informed the Bundestag that the West German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF had agreed to refuse to use the initialism.
The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code of West Germany was "DE", which has remained the country code of Germany after reunification. ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 are the most used country codes, the "DE" code is notably used as country identifier extending the postal code and as the Internet's country code top-level domain.de. Accordingly the less used ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code of West Germany was "DEU", which has remained the country code of reunified Germany; the now deleted codes for East Germany, on the other hand, was "DD" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 and "DDR" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-3. The colloquial term "West Germany" or its equivalent was used in many languages. "Westdeutschland" was a widespread colloquial form used in German-speaking countries without political overtones. On 4–11 February 1945 leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union held the Yalta Conference where future arrangements as regards post-war Europe and strategy against Japan in the Pacific were negotiated.
The conference agreed that post-war Germany would be divided into four occupation zones: a French Zone in the far west.
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. It is a global navigation satellite system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Obstacles such as mountains and buildings block the weak GPS signals; the GPS does not require the user to transmit any data, it operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the GPS positioning information. The GPS provides critical positioning capabilities to military and commercial users around the world; the United States government created the system, maintains it, makes it accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver. The GPS project was launched by the U. S. Department of Defense in 1973 for use by the United States military and became operational in 1995.
It was allowed for civilian use in the 1980s. Advances in technology and new demands on the existing system have now led to efforts to modernize the GPS and implement the next generation of GPS Block IIIA satellites and Next Generation Operational Control System. Announcements from Vice President Al Gore and the White House in 1998 initiated these changes. In 2000, the U. S. Congress authorized the modernization effort, GPS III. During the 1990s, GPS quality was degraded by the United States government in a program called "Selective Availability"; the GPS system is provided by the United States government, which can selectively deny access to the system, as happened to the Indian military in 1999 during the Kargil War, or degrade the service at any time. As a result, several countries have developed or are in the process of setting up other global or regional satellite navigation systems; the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System was developed contemporaneously with GPS, but suffered from incomplete coverage of the globe until the mid-2000s.
GLONASS can be added to GPS devices, making more satellites available and enabling positions to be fixed more and to within two meters. China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is due to achieve global reach in 2020. There are the European Union Galileo positioning system, India's NAVIC. Japan's Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a GPS satellite-based augmentation system to enhance GPS's accuracy; when selective availability was lifted in 2000, GPS had about a five-meter accuracy. The latest stage of accuracy enhancement uses the L5 band and is now deployed. GPS receivers released in 2018 that use the L5 band can have much higher accuracy, pinpointing to within 30 centimetres or 11.8 inches. The GPS project was launched in the United States in 1973 to overcome the limitations of previous navigation systems, integrating ideas from several predecessors, including classified engineering design studies from the 1960s; the U. S. Department of Defense developed the system, which used 24 satellites, it was developed for use by the United States military and became operational in 1995.
Civilian use was allowed from the 1980s. Roger L. Easton of the Naval Research Laboratory, Ivan A. Getting of The Aerospace Corporation, Bradford Parkinson of the Applied Physics Laboratory are credited with inventing it; the work of Gladys West is credited as instrumental in the development of computational techniques for detecting satellite positions with the precision needed for GPS. The design of GPS is based on similar ground-based radio-navigation systems, such as LORAN and the Decca Navigator, developed in the early 1940s. Friedwardt Winterberg proposed a test of general relativity – detecting time slowing in a strong gravitational field using accurate atomic clocks placed in orbit inside artificial satellites. Special and general relativity predict that the clocks on the GPS satellites would be seen by the Earth's observers to run 38 microseconds faster per day than the clocks on the Earth; the GPS calculated positions would drift into error, accumulating to 10 kilometers per day. This was corrected for in the design of GPS.
Winterberg, Friedwardt. “Relativistische Zeitdilatation eines künstlichen Satelliten ” When the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite in 1957, two American physicists, William Guier and George Weiffenbach, at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory decided to monitor its radio transmissions. Within hours they realized that, because of the Doppler effect, they could pinpoint where the satellite was along its orbit; the Director of the APL gave them access to their UNIVAC to do the heavy calculations required. Early the next year, Frank McClure, the deputy director of the APL, asked Guier and Weiffenbach to investigate the inverse problem—pinpointing the user's location, given that of the satellite; this led them and APL to develop the TRANSIT system. In 1959, ARPA played a role in TRANSIT. TRANSIT was first tested in 1960, it used a constellation of five satellites and could provide a navigational fix once per hour. In 1967, the U. S. Navy developed the Timation satellite, which proved the feasibility of placing accurate clocks in space, a technology required for GPS.
In the 1970s, the ground-based OMEGA navigation system, based on phase comparison of signal transmission from pairs of stations
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions may include various forms of trade barriers and restrictions on financial transactions. An embargo is similar, but implies a more severe sanction. Economic sanctions aim to change the behavior of elites in the target country. However, the efficacy of sanctions is debatable and sanctions can have unintended consequences. Economic sanctions are not imposed because of economic circumstances—they may be imposed for a variety of political and social issues. Economic sanctions can be used for achieving international purposes. An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country/state or a group of countries. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is imposed.
Embargoes are considered legal barriers to trade, not to be confused with blockades, which are considered to be acts of war. Embargoes can mean limiting or banning export or import, creating quotas for quantity, imposing special tolls, banning freight or transport vehicles, freezing or seizing freights, bank accounts, limiting the transport of particular technologies or products for example CoCom during the cold-war. In response to embargoes, a closed economy or autarky develops in an area subjected to heavy embargo. Effectiveness of embargoes is thus in proportion to the extent and degree of international participation. Embargo can be an opportunity to some countries to develop faster a self-sufficiency. Economic sanctions are used as a tool of foreign policy by many governments. Economic sanctions are imposed by a larger country upon a smaller country for one of two reasons. —either the latter is a threat to the security of the former nation or that country treats its citizens unfairly. They can be used as a coercive measure for achieving particular policy goals related to trade or for humanitarian violations.
Economic sanctions are used as an alternative weapon instead of going to war to achieve desired outcomes. Some policy analysts believe imposing. According to the data of Hufbauer et al. regime change, the most frequent foreign-policy objective of economic sanctions, accounts for just over 39 percent of cases of their imposition. Researchers debate the effectiveness of economic sanctions in their ability to achieve their stated purpose. Hufbauer et al. claimed. When Robert A. Pape examined their study, he claimed that only five of their forty so-called "successes" stood up, reducing economic sanctions' success rate to 4% in his analysis. Success of sanctions as a form of measuring effectiveness has been debated by scholars of economic sanctions. Success of a single sanctions-resolution does not automatically lead to effectiveness, unless the stated objective of the sanctions regime is identified and reached. Imposing sanctions on an opponent affects the economy of the imposing country to some degree.
If import restrictions are promulgated, consumers in the imposing country may have restricted choices of goods. If export restrictions are imposed or if sanctions prohibit companies in the imposing country from trading with the target country, the imposing country may lose markets and investment opportunities to competing countries. British diplomat Jeremy Greenstock suggests that the reason sanctions are popular is not that they are known to be effective, but "that there is nothing else between words and military action if you want to bring pressure upon a government". Companies must be aware of embargoes. Embargo check is difficult for both exporters to follow. Before exporting or importing to other countries, they must be aware of embargoes or risk facing unintended punitive measures for violating sanctions. Subsequently, firms need to make sure that they are not dealing with embargoed countries by checking those related regulations, they need a license in order to ensure a smooth export or import business.
Sometimes the situation becomes more complicated with the changing of politics of a country. Embargoes keep changing. In the past, many companies relied on spreadsheets and manual process to keep track of compliance issues related to incoming and outgoing shipments, which takes risks of these days help companies to be compliant on such regulations if they are changing on a regular basis. If an embargo situation exists, the software blocks the transaction for further processing; the United States Embargo of 1807 involved a series of laws passed by the U. S. Congress 1806–1808, during the second term of President Thomas Jefferson. Britain and France were engaged in a major war. S. wanted to remain neutral and to trade with both sides, but neither side wanted the other to import American supplies. American policy aimed to use the new laws to avoid war and to force both France and Britain to respect American rights; the embargo failed to achieve its aims, Jefferson repealed the embargo legislation in March 1809.
One of the most comprehensive attempts at an embargo occurred during the Napoleonic Wars of 1803-1815. In an att
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance was an economic organization from 1949 to 1991 under the leadership of the Soviet Union that comprised the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world. The descriptive term was applied to all multilateral activities involving members of the organization, rather than being restricted to the direct functions of Comecon and its organs; this usage was sometimes extended as well to bilateral relations among members because in the system of socialist international economic relations, multilateral accords – of a general nature – tended to be implemented through a set of more detailed, bilateral agreements. Moscow was concerned about the Marshall Plan. Comecon was meant to prevent countries in the Soviet sphere of influence from moving towards that of the Americans and South-East Asia. Comecon was the Eastern Bloc's reply to the formation in Western Europe of the Marshall Plan; the Comecon was founded in 1949 by the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania.
The primary factors in Comecon's formation appear to have been Joseph Stalin's desire to cooperate and strengthen the international socialist relationship at an economic level with the lesser states of Central Europe, which were now cut off from their traditional markets and suppliers in the rest of Europe. Czechoslovakia and Poland had remained interested in Marshall aid despite the requirements for a convertible currency and market economies; these requirements, which would have resulted in stronger economic ties to free European markets than to the Soviet Union, were unacceptable to Stalin, who in July 1947, ordered these communist-dominated governments to pull out of the Paris Conference on the European Recovery Programme. This has been described as "the moment of truth" in the post-World War II division of Europe. According to the Soviet view the "Anglo-American bloc" and "American monopolists... whose interests had nothing in common with those of the European people" had spurned East-West collaboration within the framework agreed within the United Nations, that is, through the Economic Commission for Europe.
However, as always, Stalin's precise motives are "inscrutable" They may well have been "more negative than positive", with Stalin "more anxious to keep other powers out of neighbouring buffer states… than to integrate them." Furthermore, GATT's notion of nondiscriminatory treatment of trade partners was incompatible with notions of socialist solidarity. In any event, proposals for a customs union and economic integration of Central and Eastern Europe date back at least to the Revolutions of 1848 and the state-to-state trading inherent in centrally planned economies required some sort of coordination: otherwise, a monopolist seller would face a monopsonist buyer, with no structure to set prices. Comecon was established at a Moscow economic conference January 5–8, 1949, at which the six founding member countries were represented. Recent research by the Romanian researcher Elena Dragomir suggests that Romania played a rather important role in the Comecon's creation in 1949. Dragomir argues that Romania was interested in the creation of a “system of cooperation” to improve its trade relations with the other people's democracies with those able to export industrial equipment and machinery to Romania.
According to Dragomir, in December 1948, the Romanian leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej sent a letter to Stalin, proposing the creation of the Comecon. At first, planning seemed to be moving along rapidly. After pushing aside Nikolai Voznesensky's technocratic, price-based approach, the direction appeared to be toward a coordination of national economic plans, but with no coercive authority from Comecon itself. All decisions would require unanimous ratification, then governments would separately translate these into policy. In summer 1950 unhappy with the favorable implications for the effective individual and collective sovereignty of the smaller states, Stalin "seems to have taken personnel by surprise," bringing operations to a nearly complete halt, as the Soviet Union moved domestically toward autarky and internationally toward an "embassy system of meddling in other countries' affairs directly" rather than by "constitutional means". Comecon's scope was limited in November 1950 to "practical questions of facilitating trade."One important legacy of this brief period of activity was the Sofia principle, adopted at the August 1949 Comecon council session in Bulgaria.
This radically weakened intellectual property rights, making each country's technologies available to the others for a nominal charge that did little more than cover the cost of documentation. This benefited the less industrialized Comecon countries, the technologically lagging Soviet Union, at the expense of East Germany and Czechoslovakia and, to a lesser extent and Poland. After Stalin's death in 1953, Comecon again began to find its footing. In the early 1950s, all Comecon countries had adopted autarkic policies.