End of the Cold War

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Economics

  • By the 1980s the USSR no longer had economic power to compete with the USA 
  • Capitalism allowed for competition and freedom, by the 1970s the USA's economy was larger than all the Warsaw Pact countries put together
  • USSR economy had beeen fast growing, but had slowed to 6% in the 1960s, 2% in the 1970s 
    • Could produce large quantities, but the quality was very low, unable to produce consumer goods or high-tech goods, also failing to produce large quantities of raw materials by 1970s
    • By 1989 was only 30.8% of the USA's GNP per capita
  • USSR was subsiding the Eastern bloc- $80 billion throughout 1970s
  • Didn't allow computers etc. because they thought it might help opposition groups, but made economy less efficent
  • By mid 1980s 25% USSR's GNP spent on the miltary, so less money to invest
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Reagan

  • President in 1981- called the USSR an 'evil empire' and stressed importance of US strength
  • By 1985 30% of federal budget being spent on the military e.g. developing stealth bomber and Trident missile
  • Reagan Doctrine- the USA was provifing the Mujahedin with $687 million
  • 1984 SDI- research programme for a space based system of lasers that could intercept and destroy Soviet missiles, would protect the USA
  • Deployed IRMs in Western Europe to counter the Soviet SS20s, provokes Western Europe protests but showed Reagan was committed to NATO
  • Thatcher allowed him to put US missiles in the UK
  • Restricted trade with the USSR to maintain competitive advantage, e.g. in 1981 retricted Soviet access to technology and in 1982 restricted Soviet access to US oil and gas
  • Exposing moral corruption of communist regimes with their refusal to comply with Helsinki
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Gorbachev

  • Became leader of the USSR in March 1985
  • Replaced the gerontoracy and had been influenced by foreign travel in Western Europe
  • Introduced New Poltical Thinking
    • Perestrokia: improved living standards depended on restructuring the economy, reduction of miltary spending and required an end to the arms race
    • Glasnost: greater freedom and openness in Soivet politics, designed for people to speak against critics of perestrokia, but people actually ended up criticising him
    • Wanted to persue a foreign policy based on co-operation
    • Didn't want to assert control on Eastern Europe with miltary force
  • Didn't want to end communism but to revitalise it, but reforms created a want for further freedom and frustration with the Soviet system
  • Glasnost allowed ethnic nationalist movements in the Soviet Republics
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Moral Bankruptcy of Communism

  • During Brezhnev Doctrine it became clear that communism failed to represent the working class and create a society better that the West
  • Communist parties tended to be corrupt- e.g. Soviet worker would earn 165 roubles/ month but members of the communist party would earn 900 roubles/ month
  • Economically poorer than the West and poltically repressive- e.g. during the Brezhnev era polticial opponents were imprisoned in psychiatric institutions
  • Increased rate of alcoholism, mental illness and sucide
  • Charter 22 and Helsinki Watch Committees said that the Soviet rule was based on oppression rather than consent
  • Slow economic growth across the whole Eastern bloc, the Western TV channels could sometimes be accessed and showed the East the consumerism and high living standards of capitalism
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Summits

  • Reagan more prepared to work with Gorby than he was Chenenko and Andropov
  • Geneva Summit 1985
    • Gorby wanted to negoitate an end to SDI as the USSR didn't have the money or the technology to compete
    • Reagan refused so not agreement was made, but they did agree to meet again with the view of reducing nuclear arsenals by half
  • Reykjavic Summit 1986
    • Disagreement over SDI again, Reagan said it was essential to US security
    • Ended with no agreements, but focused on arms reduction rather than limitations
    • Reagan's end goal was to abolish nuclear weapons but saw SDI as necessary for now
  • Washington Summit December 1987
    • Gorby no longer wanted Reagan to scrap SDI as Soviet scientists had proved it impossible
    • INF Treaty signed committing the superpowers to removing intermediate range missiles from Europe by 2000
  • Moscow Summit May 1988
    • Resulted in agreements to extend trade and technology links
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Poland

  • During 1970s Polish economy in decline, in early 1980s the government dramatically raised food prices
  • Visit from Pope John Paul II also stirred patriotism in the Catholic majority
  • Strikes in ship yards at Gdansk and the emergence of the Solidarity trade union
  • General Jaruzelski established martial law against them to suspress the strikes due to the Brezhnev Doctrine
  • Gorbachev scrapped the Brezhnev Doctrine and brought in the Sinatra Doctrine which accepted Eastern bloc countries could act inpendatly without fear of Soviet intervention
  • Soviet-authorised economic reforms in the 1980s led to Poland's economy inflating further and opposition grew
  • Jaruzelski abandoned his hardline approach and allowed multi-party elections
  • Creation of a democratic government under Walesa in 1990
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Berlin Wall and Reunification

  • Eastern European borders began to open with the West ad in 1989 150,000 East Germans left through the Hungarian border
  • They occupied the embassy in Czechoslovakia which forced the German government to grant exit visas
  • Large but peaceful demonstrations in September/ October and Gorby's toleration of them led to pressure on the government to open to border with the West which led to the people tearing down the Berlin Wall in November 1989
  • GDR  agreed to free elections in March 1990 and the coaltion that won announced that it wished to join the FRG
  • USSR, Britain and France didn't want this but huge popular pressure
  • Hardliners feared it would be a threat to the USSR as it might want to expand its territory again
  • Bush used his negotiating skills to try and show it was not a threat so as to try and end the Cold War, organised the Two Plus Four talks in May 1990 and assured Gorby that as part of NATO it would not be a threat
  • Two Plus Four Treaty signed in Moscow in September 1990 which terminated the rights of the occupying powers and reunified Germany on 2nd October 1990
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Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe

  • In 1989 Gorbachev began to actively encourage democratiation in the satellite states
  • Hungarian Communist Party agreed to multi-party elections in 1989 where the party only won 11% of the votes, election of a democratic government in 1990 and opened their borders with the West
  • Czechoslovakia's Civic Forum lead by Havel brought about the 'Velvet Revolution' and them leaving the Warsaw Pact
  • Latvia broke away from the USSR in March 1990
  • Gorby agreed to plans to overthrow hardliner Ceausescu in Romania as long as the communist party were left in charge, revolution, he was executed 25th December 1989, National Salvation Front won the 1990 elections and Iliescu was voted into power
  • Zhivkov's 'cronyism' in Bulgaria and explusion of 200,000 ethnic Turks meant he was removed in November and free elections were established for 1990, Socalist party coalition
  • Albania ended diplomatic and economic relations with the USSR in 1961 and introduced reforms like Perestrokia in 1989, riots for decentralisation and the Democratic Party won power in 1992 elections
  • Pressure for the republics' independance mounted and Gorby proposed to replace it with a federation, but Gorby lost power in 1991 and the Soviet Union ceased to exist by 1992
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