Gorbachev & What he did

These revision cards explain what Gorbachev did when he came to power of the USSR in 1985 and how he helped to end the Cold War

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Gorbachev- 1985


  • Gorbachev became leader in 1985
  • He immediately wanted to improve relations with the USA


Internal Reforms

  • He knew that the USSR could not continue to compete with the USA in the Arms Race as they couldn't afford it
  • Perestroika- restructuring. Gorbachev wanted to change the government that had been in operation since Stalin
  • Glasnost- openess in government. People should be able to say what they believe


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Gorbachev and Reagan

What did Gorbachev and Reagan do to improve relations?

  • Genava 1985- two leaders met but no agreements were made on arms limitations
  • Reykjavik 1986- no formal agreements and Reagan refused to drop SDI (Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative)
  • SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) developed in START- Strategic Arms Reduction Talks


INF Treaty- Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, 1987

  • Removed all medium range nuclear weapons from Europe

Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty because:
- It would increase his popularity in the west
- The Soviet economy could no longer afford nuclear weapons
- Reagan said he had no intention of invading the USSR 

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Ending the Cold War

How had relations improved?

  • Gorbachev had improved relations as he realised that the USSR could not continue with the Cold War:
    - It was committed to the war in Afghanistan
    - The economy could not continue with the defence spending
    - The USA was ahead in technology because of SDI
  • 1989- Gorbachev met with new President George H W Bush and they announced the end of the Cold War


Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • November 1989- East German government announced much greater freedom, including crossing the border in west Germany
  • East Germans dismantled the wall
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