Cold War Gorbachev

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  • Created by: Terrie
  • Created on: 07-06-12 19:41

Gorbachev-came into power in 1985

Current situation of USSR:

-Industrial output low, inflation, and alcoholism caused absenteeism 

Gorbachev’s initiatives -was a mix of a realist, idealist and optimist:

 -REALIST: recognised flaws in Communist system that needed to be corrected; economy was weak/industrial output low /

-spending too much on arms race- -in costly and unwinnable Afghan war

 =could not continue to compete with USA

-concentration of heavy industry on consumer goods = shortages of basics like food and clothing + technologically outdated and of poor quality

 IDEALIST: Believed Communist rule should make life better for people of USSR and other Communist states + concerned over epidemic of alcoholism which increased abseentiseem

 OPTIMIST: believed in introducing new  reformed system of Government  to revive USSR’s economy and Government- would give people pride and belief in their country.

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-Did not intend to dismantle USSR or expect people to turn against it – but was willing to make radical reforms, both political and economic:

·         Glasnost  (political -openness in gov) – believed people should be allowed to say what they believe with more open debate – reduced some of state control of media. Consequence: political prisoners released – e.g Sakharov from exile. 

More liberal approach allowed Soviet peoples to express their concerns and criticism of Communism  - expressed various discontent with low living standards, industrial inefficiency, poor wages etc

 – could no longer control what was said or written in media – people saw real horrors of economy and afghan war

=overall this policy ironically this played an important role of undermining and ending communism

·         Perestroika (economic - renewal/reform) – changing some economic policies – change Gov-controlled / planned economy to more decentralized and western economy/ private enterprise – wanted to allow more competition and more incentives to produce goods –

Consequence: people could buy and sell at a profit for first time since Stalin’s rule (60 years)/ encouraged nationalization

·         Demokratizatsiya – (democratization) more democratic government; western style checks and balances

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Eastern Europe

-Ended Brezhnev Doctrine

March 1985 –

committed to non-intervention in their affairs -

-he also told Eastern European leaders of Warsaw Pact that he would not interfere with them;allowing their collapse

-would not send in tanks -TURNING POINT

-believed each country should sort out their own problems

-but leaders did not believe him/ thought he was crazy/rhetoric 

-he urged eastern European countries to adopt his reforms

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Gorbachev and Reagan Summits

-1st meeting on 19th November 1985 in Geneva (Switzerland) – established FRIENDSHIP

-held three more summits ; Reykjavik (Oct 86), Washington (Dec 87) and Moscow (June 88)– there were many tough negotiations and frustrations - Reagan would not give up SDI

-real breakthough at Washington Summit in December 1987 – both signed INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty 

 -Soviet’s removed **-20 missiles and Americans Pershing and Cruise from Europe

+both sides agreed to co-operate fully with an inspection regime to ensure they kept the terms of the treaty –TRUST

-Final Summit in Moscow June 1988 – symbolic – first time Reagan ever went to U**R and first time he met Soviets – wanted to take back reference of ‘Evil Empire’

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Disarmament and Detente 2


-Gorbachev began to cut spending on defence; Red Army began to shrink;

=meant military threat for Eastern European countries was reducing

-took initiative to ask propose cuts in armament expenditure

New Relations


-talked about international trust and co-operation as way forward for USSR - meant Cold War was ending

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Were his reforms a success?

-International popularity – most popular western leader of 20th century ; ‘gorby mania’ ;  awarded ‘man of the decade’ by Time Magazine and awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1990

 -But considered weak by many at home in Soviet Union

= promised reforms hadn’t brought improved living standards

-Instead, they simply appeared to allow the collapse of Soviet Influence in Eastern Europe as from March 1989, countries in Eastern Europe slowly gained their independence through free elections and demonstrations

-He was seen therefore by many in the Soviet Union as a traitor for simply allowing them to lose their empire

 1990 – agreed for slow withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern European countries as non-Com gov’s swept into power

-also agreed to the reunification of Germany and to the prospect of it joining NATO in 1990

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Events which led to his resignation

Feb 1990 – huge demonstration in Moscow against the Communist system

-booed at May Day parade

-President of Russian republic; Yeltsin, encouraged the disintegration of Soviet Union

August 1991 – hard line army coup against Gorbachev in attempt to take over Soviet Union and save it from collapsing- imprisoned Gorbachev in his holiday home and sent troops and tanks onto street

-Yeltsin took control from parliament and defied coup

December 1991 – Yeltsin formally ended the Soviet Union and disbanded the Communist Party

Christmas Day – Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president as there was no longer a Soviet state for him to control

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