Cold War Interpretations

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  • Created on: 18-05-14 16:20
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Economics
Economics ended the Cold War
This interpretation argues that the Cold War was bought to an end because of the USSR's
economic problems that were worsening. As a result of Brezhnev's previous philosophy "win
the Cold War at any cost" , domestic issues had been largely ignored and the people were
suffering for it. 50% of the Soviet Union's GNP (Gross National Product) was spent on
defense, something which they could not maintain. As their economy suffered a decline, the
resilience of the US economy was emerging. It was larger than all of the Warsaw Pact
countries' economies put together. Thus, the Soviet leadership was forced to seek
negotiations on arms reduction, as they could no longer maintain this level of spending. This
is also why the Brezhnev Doctrine was ended; it cost $8billion a year alone to fund the
Afghanistan War, $8 billion a year to uphold control in Eastern Europe, and $40 billion to
uphold communist regimes around the world, such as Cuba and North Korea. This need for
reduction in arms to have more money was evidenced during the "End Game" of the Cold
War, 1989-1991, where Gorbachev was desperate for negotiations with Bush, allowing the
START treaty to be fast tracked at the Malta Summit to provide for this. This is more
important then other factors as most factors stem from this.

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Reagan's Role
Ronald Reagan, US President, helped to end the Cold War
Reagan put numerous pressure on the USSR during his first term, exploiting the Soviet
Union's weaknesses, and thus allowing him to negotiate from a position of strength in his
second term. One important pressure was his increase in defense spending. After the
slowing down of nuclear weapons in the 1970s lead détente period, under Reagan (and
Carter towards the end of his term) a massive rearmament of the US began.…read more

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Eastern Europe and Gorbachev in significantly undermining the USSR also. Further, during
the last years of the USSR, he was not US President, but his former VP George HW Bush
was.…read more

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Margaret Thatcher's small role in ending the Cold War
It can be argued that Thatcher played an important role as an uncompromising supporter of
Reagan. She and Reagan had the same of the Cold War, viewing communism as an evil to
be repressed. They were both hardline, right wing leaders and could be described as
"political soulmates".…read more

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Gorbachev played a vital role in ending the Cold War
Gorbachev's New Political Thinking was vital in ending the Cold War. He wanted to re
energnize Communism, and to genuinely popular. To do this, he began two policies of
Glasnost, openess, and Perestroika, restructuring the economy. He shifted the USSR away
from hardline Communism, and opened talks with the West (Geneva, Reykjavik,
Washington, Moscow and Malta Summits in the late 1980s).…read more

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The moral bankruptcy of
Marxist- Leninism
The undermining of the theory that society was based on helped to end
the Cold War
The theory of Marxist Leninism, the basis of the Soviet Union, had become discredited by
the 1980s, as it failed to give the people what they wanted or needed, or provide the
economic prosperity it had promised. There was no equality between the people, which had
been promised by the Marxist Leninist theory, as the Communist Party had become a
privileged elite.…read more

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Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul's small role in ending the Cold War
It also argued that Pope John Paul II played a significant role in ending the Cold War, by
challenging the communist government in Poland. As he is Roman Catholic, the biggest
religion in Poland, and Polish, he had a lot of influence in Poland. He was a big supporter of
God given rights to people, and thus a strong supporter of Soldarity, the trade union set up
by Lech Walesa.…read more

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