In May 1955, the “treaty of mutual friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance” was signed between the People's Republic of Albania, the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the Hungarian People's Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the Polish People's Republic, the Rumanian People's Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Republic. It was the Communist counteraction to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Warsaw Pact came to be seen as quite a potential militaristic threat, as a sign of Communist dominance, and a definite opponent to American capitalism. The signing of the pact became a symbol of Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe. The pact was used more as a means to keep the Soviet allies under a watchful eye than to actually make and enforce decisions. Eventually, the alliance grew to become a way to build and strengthen military forces throughout the Eastern European countries involved. Conditions of the treaty included “total equality, mutual noninterference in internal affairs, and respect for national sovereignty and independence.” The treaty was originally set at twenty years for the pact and another ten years following that, under the condition that none of the members dropped out of the alliance; however, in 1962, Albania stopped participating in the actions of the treaty and formally dropped out of the alliance in 1968.