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Cold War 1970-1991 the Soviet Union collapsed by 1991 background to this momentous event centered on a number of key developments.

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Presentation on theme: "Cold War 1970-1991 the Soviet Union collapsed by 1991 background to this momentous event centered on a number of key developments."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cold War the Soviet Union collapsed by 1991 background to this momentous event centered on a number of key developments

2 countries in eastern Europe - Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the GDR -introduced reforms which liberalized their societies in the Soviet Union Gorbachev initiated a process which promoted greater openess Ronald Reagan adopted a series of foreign policy measures which challenged the Soviet Union

3 Poland was unique in the Eastern Bloc, given its strongly independent peasant class and staunch Roman Catholicism resistance in the 1950’s had led to reforms under Gomulka by the 1970’s new economic challenges saw the emergence of the worker’s movement - “Solidarity” Poland and Solidarity

4 Edward Gierek’s attempts to solve Polands’ economic problems - price increases, food shortages, debt - led to growing discontent among the workers in August, 1980 striking shipyard workers demanded the right to form a free trade union - Solidarity was born; its leader Lech Walesa

5 despite the introduction of martial law by General Jaruzelski and a crackdown on Solidarity the communist government was ultimately forced to yield in 1989 a goverment dominated by non- communists was elected - a first in eastern Europe

6 success of Solidarity due to a number of factors relevance of Stalin’s comment - trying to impose communism on Catholic Poland was “like trying to saddle a cow”

7 decisive factor in ensuring the success of Solidarity lay in the policy adopted by Mikhail Gorbachev, the new leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 Gorbachev was unwilling to countenance using military force to maintain communist regimes in eastern Europe

8 Pope John Paul II also played a role in supporting the reform movement his visits to Poland, starting in 1979, increasingly heightened the credibility gap between the claims of communist ideology and the realities of people’s lives

9 following the failure of the Prague Spring of 1969 Czechoslovakia had been ruled by hard-liner Gustav Husak Czechoslovakia, like other communist bloc nations, need to modernize its economy if it were not to continue to fall behind the West Czechoslovakia

10 Husak, while toying with some market-oriented reforms steadfastly refused to allow political liberalization following student demonstrations in Prague in November, 1989 Vaclav Haval, founder of a reform group Civic Forum, forced the communist regime to make major concessions this Velvet Revolution saw Havel elected as the first non- communist ruler of Czechoslovakia

11 in the 1960’s communist leader Janos Kadar had introduced economic reforms - land was transferred to farmers’ cooperatives, small businesses were allowed to operate western investment in Hungary was encouraged “goulash communism” or “consumer communism” was born Hungary

12 by the 1980’s many Hungarians owned automobiles, but social inequality had also grown with the example provided by the Gorbachev reforms in the Soviet Union the Hungarian communist party removed Kadar in May, 1988

13 with the fall of the Berlin Wall the free elections were held in 1990 marking the peaceful transition to a democratic and free- market system

14 East Germany (GDR) from its creation in October, 1949 had been a key ally and imitator of the Soviet Union the Berlin Airlift 1948; riots in East Berlin in 1953; the building of the wall in 1961; the new relationship with the Federal Republic in the 1970’s shaped the character of the GDR East Germany

15 as with developments in other Eastern Bloc countries in the 1980’s the influence of Gorbachev was crucial Erich Honecker, the long-time ruler of the GDR, hoped to maintain communist domination

16 the example of China’s crackdown on student demonstraors in Tiananmen Square encouraged Ulbricht to adopt strict measures however, when the Hungarian authorities allowed free access across their border with Austria, many east Germans fled to the west many more sought asylum in Czechoslovakia

17 Honecker continued his efforts to maintain his regime but Gorbachev’s visit, marking the fortieth anniversary of the GDR, only emboldened those calling for change Gorbachev observed “The regime is doomed”

18 protests mounted in east Germany, centerd on the city of Leipzig in October, 1989 Honnecker was forced out and replaced by fellow communist Ergon Krenz following a mistaken interpretaion of a government decree East Berliners were allowed to cross into West Berlin on November 9th the wall had come down

19 the opening of the wall had immediate consequences in the rest of the Eastern Bloc free elections were held in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary in Rumania, however, communist dictator Nicolai Ceausescu ordered a crackdown on demonstrators

20 the crackdown only strengthened the resistance and, following an attempted escape, Ceausescu and his wife Elena were put on trial and executed a Soviet adviser had joked that the countries of eastern Europe were no longer following the Brezhnev Doctrine, but rather were doing things their way(Sinatra doctrine)


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