Eastern Europe and The Collapse of Communism 1985-91

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Eastern Europe and The Collapse of Communism 1985-

When Gorbachev came to power in 1985 he made a promise no troops would invade Europe in the event of an uprising or protest against communism. There would be "freedom of choice" in all nations. He sent out the message that he was not prepared to force the Eastern Bloc countries to stay communist. He also abandoned the Brezhnev Doctrine which was made in 1968 as a result of Czecheslovakia's uprising.

Most communist governments in Eastern Europe couldnt compete with people power backed down.


  • 1989 people power built up: protests against communism and Berlin Wall
  • Gorbachev made it clear he wouldn't intervene if the wall came down (November) so crowds began to knock it down with no intervention of the East Berlin guards
  • Marked the begginning of the end of Cold War and triggered the collapse of communism as other countries followed Germany in the idea of people power
  • In 1990 East and West Germany were officially reunited


  • Velvet Revolution: riots + people power
  • President backed down (Havel takes power)

Romania + Bulgaria:

  • Some violence, not as peaceful breakaway from communism
  • Leader and wife shot
  • Free Elections


  • Free elections
  • Trade Unions set-up called "solidarity" - workers protesting for better conditions and pay. This trade union became popular
  • Leader of 'Solidarity' became leader of Poland (Walesa)


  • Peaceful breakaway from communism


  • Divided opinions about Gorbachev in Russia
  • Warsaw pact ends (1991): some members join NATO
  • USSR itself stopped being communist and broke up
  • Gorbachev resigns in 1991
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