The Collapse Of The Soviet Union - WordPress

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The Collapse of theSoviet UnionAnd the world watchedwith wonder

EasternBloc7 any,Hungary,Poland,Romania,SlovakiaUnion of Soviet Socialist Republics15 Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan,Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania,Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan,Turkmenistan, Ukraine,Uzbekistan

sRaceIdeologicalDifferencesDemocraticCapitalism v.TotalitarianCommunism

Was the Collapse Due to Force? No The Cold War cost more than 11 trillion. But the collapseof the Soviet Union and itssatellites was not a result offorce. No NATO tank fired a shot. No bomb fell on theKremlin.

A Home-Grown Insurgency Instead, a massive, homegrown insurgency, led by anumber of differentparticipants, contributed tothe collapse: Workers Dissident intellectuals Advocates of nationalself-determination Reformers

Polish Trade Union: Solidarity The downfall began in1980 when striking Polishworkers organizedSolidarity, anindependent trade unionof nearly 10 millionmembers.

Support from Catholic Church Solidarity, which hadstrong support from thepowerful Polish CatholicChurch, demonstratedhow a working-classmovement could offer anentire nation moral andpolitical leadership.

Solidarity’s Chairman: Lech Walesa The Polish military droveSolidarity underground in1981. However, in 1983,Solidarity’s chairman, LechWalesa, won the Nobelpeace prize. In 1990, hewould be the first freelyelected president of thePolish nation in more thansixty years.

The Gorbachev Revolution Mikhail Gorbachev, whocame to power in 1985as the General Secretaryof the Communist Partyof the Soviet Union(CPSU), recognized thatthe Soviet Union couldnot remain politically andeconomically isolated andthat the Soviet systemhad to be changed if itwas to survive.

Gorbachev's Five-Point Plan The key pieces to Gorbachev's plan for thesurvival of the Soviet Union were a series ofreforms:1. Glasnost (openness) – greater freedom ofexpression2. Perestroika (restructuring) –decentralization of the Soviet economywith gradual market reforms3. Renunciation of the Brezhnev Doctrine (armedintervention where socialism was threatened)and the pursuit of arms control agreements4. Reform of the KGB (secret service)5. Reform of the Communist Party

The Objective: Survival Gorbachev knew that the Soviet Union would haveto change if it was to survive. Central planning in a modern industrialeconomy brought many inefficiencies. The factory management system provided littleincentive to make technological improvementsand every incentive to hide factory capacities toensure low quotas The socialist farm system was inefficient – therewere poor worker incentives and storage andtransportation problems. The Soviet State could no longer afford the highdefense spending that accompanied the ColdWar.

Insistent Calls for Change He believed that hisreforms were necessaryand used his leadershipand power to attempt toimplement them.The policy of glasnost(openness) made itpossible for people tomore freely criticize thegovernment's policies.When people realized itwas safe to speak out, thecalls for change becamemore insistent.

Reforms Were Too Slow The gradual market reformsand decentralization of theeconomy (perestroika) weretoo slow and failed to keeppace with the crisis and hispeople's demands.The Soviet Union wassuffering a deterioration ofeconomic and socialconditions and a fall in theGNP.

Party Reforms a Failure His attempts to reformthe Communist Partywere a failure. Changewas too slow to keeppace with events and hewas continually hamperedby his need to give in tothe hard-liners in order toretain power. Ascommunism collapsed inEastern Europe, reform ofcommunism in the SovietUnion became unlikely.

Release from Soviet Domination The renunciation of theBrezhnev Doctrine (armedintervention in support ofsocialism) released theEastern European statesfrom Soviet domination.The communist rulers ofthese states could notsurvive without the supportof the Soviet Union.The Brezhnev Doctrine was articulated in 1968 when the Soviet armyoccupied Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring, an attempt byAlexander Dubcek to build “socialism with a human face.”

Reagan’s Brandenburg Gate Speech President Ronald Reagan called uponGorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall:"In the Communist world, we see failure,technological backwardness, decliningstandards. Even today, the Soviet Unioncannot feed itself. The inescapable conclusionis that freedom is the victor. GeneralSecretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace,if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union,if you seek liberalization: Come here to thisgate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

President Reagan giving a speech at the Berlin Wall,Brandenburg Gate, Federal Republic of Germany. June 12, 1987

Wave of Demonstrations Beginning in September1989, a wave of hugedemonstrations shookCommunist regimes acrosseastern Europe. A massivetide of East Germanemigrants surged throughCzechoslovakia and Hungaryto the West, undermining theauthority of the Communisthard-liners who still clung topower in the GermanDemocratic Republic (GDR).

A tram is blocked by East German demonstrators in the center of the city in October 1989. Theirbanner reads: 'Legalization of opposition parties, free democratic elections, free press andindependent unions.'

The Wall Came Down Finally, on the night ofNovember 9, 1989,ordinary Germanspoured through theBerlin Wall. The GDRquickly disintegrated,and by the end of 1990,all of East Germany hadbeen incorporated intothe wealthy, powerfulFederal Republic ofGermany.

The Rise of Nationalism With the iron grip of thecentralized Soviet staterelaxed and the growingfailure of the state toadequately feed andclothe its people,nationalism in therepublics surged andseparatist movementsthreatened the veryexistence of the SovietUnion.Super Cute Protesters:Moldova: The hot, angry face ofnationalism - Apr 13, 2009

Events in Eastern Europe Communist governmentsin Czechoslovakia,Hungary, and Bulgariaeither tumbled orunderwent reform.The Communistdictatorship in Romaniafell after a week ofbloody street battlesbetween ordinarycitizens and police, whodefended the old orderto the bitter end.

Radical Change Radical change finallyreached the Sovietheartland in August1991, when thousandsof Russian citizenspoured into the streetsto defeat a reactionarycoup d'état.

Independent Republics The Communist partyquickly collapsed, andthe Soviet Union beganthe painful and uncertainprocess of reorganizingitself as a looseconfederation ofindependent republics.

Boris Yeltsin Boris Yeltsin, whoheaded the RussianRepublic, replacedGorbachev as presidentof a much- diminishedstate. Gorbachev foundthat there was noSoviet Union to leadand retired into privatelife.Time magazine's July 15, 1996, issue, featured a 10-pagespread about a squad of U.S. political pros who"clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign.“

Nobel Peace Prize Gorbachev won the 1989Nobel Peace Prize. Hebrought a peaceful end tothe cold war, and dramaticchange to his country'seconomy, though not inthe way he intended.

The End of the Cold War The Cold War was over,brought to a close not bythe missiles and tanks ofthe principal participants,but by the collectivecourage and willpower ofordinary men and women.

Ronald Reagan’s Role In the United States, partisans ofRonald Reagan claimed much ofthe credit for ending the Cold War.Reagan's frank denunciation of theSoviet Union as an “evil empire,"along with his administration'smilitary buildup, were said to haveinspired eastern bloc dissidents atthe same time the arms raceexhausted the productive capacityof the Soviet Union and otherinefficient Communist regimes.

Nuclear Stockpiles, 1945-2006Source data from: Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "Global nuclear stockpiles, 1945-2006," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists62, no. 4 (July/August 2006), 64-66. Online at 12x74k7/fulltext.pdf

The National Debt 438billiondeficitUS Pop: 304,998,272Share ofDebt/Person: 34,526.04Daily Increase: 3.84 billion

Another Side to the Story According to U.S. diplomatGeorge Kennan, author of "TheSources of Soviet Conduct"(1947) and architect of thecontainment policy, the West'smilitarized posture helped theCommunists to rationalize theirauthoritarian rule. The more U.S.policies followed a hard line, thegreater was the tendency inMoscow to tighten the controlsand to discourage liberalizingtendencies.

The Collapse of the Soviet Unionand the End of the Cold WarJohn Paul II’sCATHOLICCHURCHEast GermanNATIONALISMLech onald Reagan’sFOREIGN POLICYUnion of SovietSocialist RepublicsGlasnostPerestroikaEVIL EMPIRESpeechMILITARYBUILDUPOrdinaryMEN & WOMENARMS RACECOURAGEWILL POWERNo BrezhnevDoctrineReformKGBReformComm Party

Remaining Communist Countries At its peak, communism was practiced in dozens ofcountries:Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia,Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania,Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, andUzbekistanAsian Countries: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, andYemenSoviet Controlled Eastern bloc countries: Bulgaria, CzechRepublic, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania,Slovakia.The Balkans: Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria,Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.Africa: Angola, Benin, Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, andMozambique.Currently only a handful of countries identified as communistremain: Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, China, and Cuba.

Release from Soviet Domination The renunciation of the Brezhnev Doctrine (armed intervention in support of socialism) released the Eastern European states from Soviet domination. The communist rulers of these states could not survive without the support of the Soviet Union. The Brezhnev Doctrine was articulated in 1968 when the Soviet army

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