End of Soviet Control in Eastern Europe

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  • Created by: Qiao-Chu
  • Created on: 15-04-13 21:09


Solidarity illegal since 1981 but continued ungerground opposing Jaruzelski's communist rule throughout 1980s. Lech Walesa still international figure and organised strikes for better working conditions.

Under Gorbachev's reforms and pressure from strikes, entered negotiations with Walesa September 1988, resulted in partially free elections - Walesa's party won all seats open to them. Communist party failed to win majority even though they were guranteed victory in many seats.

Jaruzelski tried to persuade Walesa to form coalition but he refused. End of 1989 first non-communist government in former Soviet satellite states set up in Poland even though country still communist in name. December 1990 Jarulzelski resigned and Lech Walesa became President of Poland.

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Changes achieved more smoothly than any other East European country. 1956 to 1988, Hungary ruled by Kadar, forced to resign due to ill health leading to death in 1989. Kadar gained some measure of independence from USSR, reforms to economy and traded with West.

Remained loyal supporter of Warsaw Pact, Hungarian army took part in putting down Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia 1968. Kadar's successor allowed peaceful change form communism to democracy in Hungary.

Reforms similar to glasnost introduced in Hungary. 1956 rising became known as 'Popular Rising' and June 1989, Nagy's body which have been buried in unmarked grave since 1956 given public reburial in Budapest. 50000 to 100000 attended.

First break in Iron Curtain occured August, Hungary opened borders with democratic Austria. October, Communsit party allowed other parties to stand for election, 1990 Hungarian Republic declared, free parliamentary elections held. Last Soviet troops left Hungary 1991.

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Prague Spring 1968, ruled by Husak, less harsh and some reforms but hated secret police still existed and threatened freedom of people.Many opponents emigrated to West and opposition limited to small groups. March 1987, government announced reforms like those in USSR.

Husak publically stated in favour of reforms, but not fully committed, so slow progress leading to demonstrations in Prague and Bratislava in 1988 and 1989.November 1989, police used to violence to break up demonstration in favour of democracy.

Demand for reform led to formation of group campaigning for change led by Havel - writer criticising government since Prague Spring.Served multiple prison sentences for opposition, longest for four years. 1989 supported by Dubcek, leader responsible for Prague Spring reforms 1968. 

Unpopularity of government and demand for reforms led to speedy collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia - Velvet Revolution. Growing opposition so Husak resigned, Havel elected President 29 December 1989. Dubcek became Chairman and free elections in 1990 led to massive victory for democracy.

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East Germany

Leader of East Germany Honecker refused Gorbachev's reforms and thousands of East Germans took advantage of Hungary opening borders with West and fled to West through Hungary.

Others showed opposition by demonstrations and protest marches. Gorbachev visited country and urged communist government to take reforms but Honecker refused.

18 October Honecker forced to step down, replaced by Krenz, attempt by government to remove opposition - failed. Rallies held in favour of democracy, East Germans continued to move to West Germany through Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Communist government resigned 7 November and 9 November border with West Germany opened.

Berlin, crowds marched to wall and began pulling it down. Brandenburg Gate opened 22 December, free elections held in East Germany 18th March 1990.

Old East Germany collapsed, 3 October 1990, East and West reunited.

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