The end of the Cold War

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  • The end of the Cold War
    • The break-up of the Soviet Union
      • Gorbachev's glasnost policies meant people could say what they thought, but perestroika only made the Soviet economy worse.
      • Living conditions for everyone got even worse than before
      • Many Soviet republics demanded independence in 1990-91
    • Growing opposition to Gorbachev
      • Perestroika and glasnost were not working and the economy was performing poorly
      • Many of the republics, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (the Baltic states), wanted to leave the Soviet Union
      • Some army officers felt that Gorbachev had betrayed communism, in Aug 1991 they launched a failed military takeover (or coup) against him
    • The end of communism in the Soviet Union
      • Gorbachev tried to save communism by issuing a new constitution in the Soviet Union that would've given Soviet republics more independence
        • The leaders of these countries wanted even greater independence and rejected it
      • On 25 Dec 1991, Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the Soviet Union and his resignation as president
      • The decline of communism meant that the Soviet Union had much less influence on other countries, already resulted in the end of Warsaw Pact in Jul 1991
    • Why did the Soviet Union lose the Cold War
      • Arms Race - catching up with the USA in the 1960s crippled the Soviet economy
      • Freedom - The Eastern bloc and Soviet republics only existed because of force and repression
      • 1970s -80s - the USSR's economy stagnated under Brezhnev while the US forged ahead
        • e.g. while the US firms developed personal personal computers, the Soviet Union feared what Soviet people might do with their own computers: print and distribute anti-Soviet documents?
      • Economy - the Soviet economy was never as productive as that of the US
      • Afghan war - The huge cost of this long war was a major drain on the Economy
      • Propaganda - It was hard from the USSR to 'sell' communism when capitalism seemed to work better and give people more

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