The End of the Cold War 1985-1991

A mind map showing the end of the Cold War from the start of Gorbachev's leadership in 1985 to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

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  • The End of the Cold War 1985-91
    • Gorbachev
      • Leader of Communist Party between 1985-91
      • Often seen as the man who ended the Cold War
      • Brought 'new thinking' to Soviet foreign policy
        • Achievement of security would be a political not military one
          • Required an end to confrontation between the superpowers
      • Abandoned the so called Brezhnev Doctrine ny the end of 1988
      • 'Initiative' in 1986 to remove all nuclear weapons by 2000 starting with a 50% cut
        • USA agreed but was reluctant to stop the SDI program immediately while Britain and France refused the idea point blank
    • Gorbachev and Reagan Summits
      • Geneva Nov 1985
        • Gorbachev introduces idea of 'reasonable sufficiency'- an open rejection of aggression
        • Referred to as a 'watershed in relations'
        • Revealed that Gorbachev had removed the ideological split
      • Reykjavik Oct 1986
        • Seen by Reagan as an attempt to kill SDI
          • Reagan committed to the program
        • Reykjavik was a chance to make sweeping reforms to nuclear weapons
          • Though the opportunity was missed
        • Gorbachev left feeling as if Reagan still wanted to continue the arms race
      • Washington Dec 1987
        • Many strong supporters of SDI left US office before the summit
        • Signed the INF Treaty
          • Some argue this was the most significant joint step to ending the arms race
          • Removed all missiles carried intermediate range ballistic missiles
          • Soviets removed far more missiles than the Americans
        • Gorbachev made no demand for the ending of SDI
        • USSR effectively agreed to the 'zero option' proposed by Reagan in 1981
        • USSR agreed to withdraw from Afghanistan
          • All Soviet troops had left by May 1989
      • Moscow May-Jun 1988
        • Main point was Reagan could actually meet Russian people
          • Addressed students in the Moscow State University
          • Reagan said that he no longer considered the USSR 'an evil empire'
    • By the end of Reagan's presidency the end of the Cold War seemed closer than ever before
      • Some argue that Reagan's aggressive approach forced the USSR into a position where it simply could not compete with the US
    • Bush's Presidency
      • Malta Summit saw agreements for closer economic links between the two powers
        • Showed the world that the Soviet economy was slowly but surely becoming market driven
        • December 1989
        • Much of Eastern Europe had by this time removed communism
      • Bush agreed not to interfere in Germany or the Baltic states who wanted freedom from the USSR
      • More arms reductions were agreed in Washington in May 1990
      • START agreed in July 1991 in Moscow
      • Gorbachev agreed in Paris with Euro leaders that the USSR should not have a nuclear superiority on the continent
      • Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991


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