Cold War Conflicts and Social Transformations study guide and summary



Cold War Conflicts and Social Transformations study guide and summary


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Cold War Conflicts and Social Transformations study guide and summary

Chapter 30: Cold War Conflicts and Social Transformations

  • From the end of World War II through much of the 1960s, Western Europe enjoyed a renaissance as western European countries rebuilt their economies and established strong democracies.
  • The United States enjoyed progress and the Soviet Union became less dictatorial.
  • However, world peace was threatened by a cold war between the East and the West.
  • By the late 1960s, the postwar renaissance was ending as the cold war turned hot and several countries faced major crisis.
  • The economic boom ended, and women demanded major changes in a new wave of feminist thought.

The Cold War Part 1: 1949-1969

  • Within two years of the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in dispute due to military developments, wartime agreements, and long-standing political and ideological differences.
  • Europe was becoming divided in a West versus East cold war that would last for the next forty years.

Origins of the Cold War

  • World War II was won by England and the United States invading Germany from the west, while the Soviets occupied the east with no clear postwar agreements for governing Europe.

-America and Britain made unconditional surrender and military victory their priority à gave Stalin only a military alliance and no postwar commitments or promises of a peace settlement

  • The Tehran Conference (1943)

              -During WW2: shortly before D-Day
-The Big Three met: Russia (Stalin), Britain (Churchill), and America (FDR)
-Policy of Europe 1st was reaffirmed
-How to proceed?
-Churchill wanted to follow up their Italian campaign with an indirect attack on Germany though the Balkans
-thought a direct attack would be too dangerous
-But Stalin wanted to go through France – it would get German troops away from Russia
-FDR agreed with him, part of his general effort to appease Stalin
-This had momentous political implications: led to British-American and Soviet troops coming together to defeat Germany, and only Russia liberating eastern Europe

  • The Yalta Conference (February 1945)

              -During WW2
-Black Sea- in Russia
-At this point:
-Russia = strong position
-had been pushing back German troops and were within 100 miles of Berlin
-U.S. = weak position
-stuck in the Rhineland, still in war with Japan, FDR was ill
              -The decision:

  • Germany will be split up into 4 zones: Britain, France, US, and USSR (USSR would be the largest
  • Germany will have to pay huge reparations to only USSR
  • USSR will declare war on Japan after Germany is defeated

-Following Europe-first: more troops in Europe than Japan until Germany is defeated

  • Eastern European countries will have fair and free elections, but still be pro-Russia
  • The Potsdam Conference (July 1945)

              -After WW2
-Truman was the president of America
-FDR was willing to appease and work with Stalin
-But Truman was very confrontational; He and Stalin didn’t like each other
-Truman demanded that Stalin follow up with the free and fair elections
-The Yalta compromise had broken down immediately. In eastern Europe, pro-Soviet “coalition” governments were formed but important positions were taken by Soviet-trained communists
-Stalin refused:
-he wanted to spread communism
-he knew the elections would be anti-Soviet
-he wanted Eastern European allies against Germany
-6 million Russians and 3 million Allies in Eastern Europe à Russia had the upperhand
           **TENSIONS START HERE**
-America demanded free elections in Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe
-Yet Stalin wanted allies in Eastern Europe for absolute military security from Germany. He believed that only communist states could be dependable allies. He also realized that free elections would result in independent and possible hostile governments on his border. He also knew that the United States couldn’t do anything to stop him, except for going to war which wasn’t even an option.

  • In 1945, The U.N. (United Nations) was created

-50 countries
-5 permanent members of the Security Council: US, Britain, Soviet Union, France, and China
-Goal: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”
-preventing war from happening again
-But each of the 5 members had absolute veto because they didn’t want 1 country to have too much power à But, very little gets done
Differing Goals
Goals of the United States

  • Encourage democracy
  • Gain access to raw materials and markets to fuel booming industries
  • Rebuild European governments to promote stability and create new markets for American goods
  • Reunite Germany as a counter to the USSR

Goals of the USSR

  • Encourage communism in other countries worldwide
  • Rebuild its war-ravaged economy using Easter Europe’s industrial equipment and raw materials
  • Control Eastern Europe and create a buffer or wall of protection
  • Keep Germany divided to prevent it from waging war again

West versus East
1946: Stalin says “Communism and capitalism can’t coexist”
-means Russia and the US and its allies can’t work together
*huge statement*

America responded to Stalin’s defensive aggression with a “get tough” policy
-1945: cut of all aid to the USSR and declared that the U.S. would never recognize any government forced on people against their will
-Criticism of the Soviet Union was a part of American life, but the U.S. still demobilized its troops, responding to the popular desire to bring the soldiers home

1946: Churchill gives him famous “iron curtain” speech
-He thought an iron curtain had come over the eastern European countries conquered by Russia, dividing Germany and all of Europe into 2 rival blocs
-But the Allies can’t help them à there’s nothing they can do about it
-But they can’t let it spread (it’s like a disease) – sense of coldness and evil
*Yugoslavia = a communist country, but hates Russia
-not in the Iron Curtain
-this disproves the Allies’ belief that all communist countries are the same. They all thought if a country turns communist, they turn to the dark side

1947: The U.S., under Truman, adopts the Containment Policy
-We can’t stop what is already there, but we can stop it from spreading


1947: USSR pressured Iran, Turkey, and Greece to become communist
-they were supporting the communist party in these countries so they would revolt
-these communist parties challenged their government and uncovered “American plots” to take over Europe in an effort to create anti-capitalist feelings
-It seemed like the Soviet Union was trying to export communism to the whole world
*Perfect moment for the US to follow the containment policy

1947: Truman Doctrine
-US donated $400 million to give Turkey and Greece aid
-goal = containing communism to the areas already occupied by the Red Army
-they thought if a country was doing well, they won’t want to become communist
-Greece and Turkey were doing really bad after the war and were no longer protected by Britain

1947: Marshall Plan
-U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall proposed that the U.S. give aid to any European country that needs it
-But Congress was unsure
-Stalin refused Marshall Plan assistance for all of eastern Europe
-But then the USSR took over Czechoslovakia
-Then Congress passed the $12.5 billion bill
-promised food, machines, and other supplies to those who need it
              **The plan works!!** à It helped rebuild Europe

1948: France, Great Britain, and the United States unified their zones in Germany into West Germany
-Russia doesn’t like this

Russia’s Reaction: Russia blockaded the Allies’ part of Berlin
-They cut off highway, water, and traffic to West Berlin, essentially starving the city
-Stalin wanted the allies to either give up West Berlin or chance the decision to unify their zones
       Berlin Air lifts (11 months)
-US planes dropped supplies
-277,000 planes dropped 2.3 million tons of supplies
-planes took off and landed every 3 minutes
*They were challenging Russia-playing cat and mouse games with them
-go ahead, shoot our planes, do it if you dare
-But Russia didn’t want war, so Russia allowed the planes to pass through
-Then Russia opened up Berlin after 11 months

1949: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
              France + Britain + Italy + Spain +Scandinavian countries
-It’s an anti-Soviet military alliance of Western governments
-Formed in reaction to Soviet aggression, especially in Berlin

1949: Warsaw Pact
              Soviet Union + Eastern Germany + Poland + Czechoslovakia + Hungary + Romania + Bulgaria
-Stalin countered NATO by solidifying his hold on his satellites (=puppet governments)
-While the US created the Marshal Plan, Russia came up with a new plan
-They invaded territories Germany was divided:

  • Eastern Germany = German Democratic Republic
  • Western Germany = Federal Republic of Germany

1949: China became communist
-terrified the US and the Allies
-At first, China worked with Stalin
-But then they broke it off because of ideological differences à again proves that all communist countries aren’t the same

1950-1953: Korean War
-North Korea, backed by Russia, invaded South Korea
-U.S. and the U.N. sent in troops
-General MacArther led these forces
-Americans advanced until China entered the war. Truman refused to attack China, and a fragile peace was concluded and fighting stopped.
*the U.S. extended its Containment policy to Asia, but didn’t want an attack on China or a possible nuclear war

The cold war was built largely on the failure to make clear postwar agreements during World War II.
-When the eastern European countries were pulled into Hitler’s racism, Western governments mistakenly did nothing
-But they did wonder how they could become allies with Stalin without giving him too many gains in Eastern Europe. But they decided to put this out of their mind until the end of the war.
-When Stalin began to claim territory in eastern Europe, the U.S. protested in outrage
-U.S. opposition encouraged Stalin to be even more aggressive, exploding the conflict over eastern Europe into worldwide confrontation
**This Soviet-American confrontation formed the foundation for the Cold War, which lasted until the 1980s**

The Nuclear Threat
1945: U.S. had it, not Russia
1949: Russia got it through espionage

1952: U.S. had the hydrogen bomb or nuclear bomb
1953: Russia got it

1953: the United States, under Eisenhower, adopted a “brinkmanship policy”
-U.S. threatened to retaliate against any attack by USSR against the U.S. or its allies
-Then Russia also adopted this policy
1953: Cold War brinkmanship increases
*Both countries started to stockpile nuclear weapons

The Space Race
1957: USSR created ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Material)
-a missile that allows you to launch high in the sky or anywhere you want on earth

1957: USSR sent Sputnik into space
-the 1st unmanned satellite in space
-Russia: we’re superior- communism is superior to capitalism
**IN RESPONSE: the United States changed their educational system**
-shifted the focus from humanities to sciences
-Even though it was a piece of junk, many people were scared of the possibility of a missile in space
1958: U.S. launched its own satellite
1969: U.S. landed on the moon
-now capitalism and democracy is superior
-Russia has never landed on the moon
*The Space Race was really a competition over which form of government, not just which country, is superior: communism or capitalism?

Stalin’s Last Years (1945–1953) 

  • After World War 2, the “Great Patriotic War of the Fatherland,” Russians felt betrayed by Stalin’s postwar actions

-The war had fostered Russian nationalism and relaxed the feelings of terror
-It had also produced a real unity between Soviet rulers and the Russian people, leading the people to hope for the government to grant greater freedom and democracy after the war.

  • In spite of heroic efforts by the Russian people to win the war, Stalin quickly resumed a rigid dictatorship with strong anticapitalist, anti-Western propaganda.

-New slogans created, like “the war on Fascism ends, the war on capitalism begins”
-many people were purged again as Stalin revived terrible forced-labor camps of the 1930s
-Culture and art was also purged
-Artists were denounced, like Sergei Prokofiev, Dimitri Shostakovich, and Sergei Eisenstein

  • Five-year plans were implemented for economic reconstruction, with emphasis on heavy industry and the military.

-Once again, consumer goods, housing, and agriculture were neglected
*LIFE WAS HARD* – it was the 1930s all over again

  • He exported his rigid system to eastern European countries

-industry was nationalized, collectivization started, and the middle class was stripped of its possessions
-the Communist Parties of eastern Europe had established 1 party states by 1948

  • Only Yugoslavia able to successfully resist Soviet domination.

-Josip Broz Tito, the Communist chief of Yugoslavia, led the resistance against Soviet domination
-He stood up to Stalin
-Yugoslavia prospered as a multi-ethnic state until it began to break apart in the 1980s
-Tito’s proclamation of independence angered Stalin
-Popular Communist leaders who led the resistance against Germany during the war (like Tito) were purged because Stalin didn’t want them to revolt like Tito did

1953: Stalin died from a stroke
*important for the Jews:
-Doctors’ Plot: Stalin believed that Jewish doctors were poisoning him
-So if he didn’t die, historians believe there would have been a 2nd holocaust
-After Stalin’s 1953 death, the totalitarian rule was relaxed
Nikita Khrushchev took over
-It was obvious that reform was necessary because of the widespread fear and hatred of Stalin and because Stalin’s belligerent foreign policy led to a strong Western alliance, isolating USSR
-Debate over how much reform should happen:
-Conservatives wanted as little change as possible
-Reformers, led by Khrushchev, wanted major changes
He started the destalinization policy
-goal = purging Russia of Stalin’s memory
-workers destroyed monuments to Stalin and his body was reburied outside the Kremlin wall, and Stalingrad was renamed
-forced-labor camps were closed and the secret police lost a lot of power
-focus shifted from heavy industry and military towards consumer goods and agriculture
-he brought in new members to the Communist party
-he delivered his “secret speech” where he attacked Stalin
-described how Stalin murdered thousands, trusted Hitler, and glorified himself
-his speech was read at Communist Party meetings throughout the country, and it strengthened the reform movement
              **The Soviet Union’s very low standard of living started to improve and rose through the 1960s
*Destalinization also led to more intellectual and cultural freedoms
-writers and intellectuals were very happy
-Boris Pasternak: wrote Doctor Zhivago which tells the story of an intellectual who challenged Stalin’s communism
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich which portrays a grim life in Stalin’s concentration camps

Relationship between the U.S. and USSR
1953: Khrushchev called for “peaceful competition” with the U.S. and her allies
-acknowledging that there’s still competition, but saying that USSR doesn’t want to be at war
-wars aren’t inevitable
-communism and capitalism can coexist, but communism is superior
-He even made concessions
-agreed to independence for Austria
-Khrushchev even visited the United States
-he wanted to go to Disney, but wasn’t allowed
*So relations started out good (“lukewarm”) under Khrushchev à relaxed cold war tensions

De-Stalinization stimulated rebellions in the eastern European satellites. But the Soviets did retain strong control in eastern Europe in spite of rebellions
-Poland took the lead in 1956, when rioting brought a new government with greater autonomy

1956: Hungary revolted
-the Hungarian army joined the protestors in overthrowing Hungary’s Soviet controlled government
-With Stalin was gone, they thought they had a chance – Khrushchev was seen as weak
-Revolt was led by students and workers
-Imre Nagy formed the new government
-he promised free elections and demanded that Soviet troops leave Hungary
-1st major test for Khrushchev à he decides he won’t allow it
-In response:  Soviet troops entered Hungary and the Soviet Union replaced their government with pro-Soviet leaders
-the national and democratic revolution was crushed
-Nagy was eventually executed
-Most people in Europe concluded that their only hope was to follow Russia in foreign affairs and hope for small domestic gains over time
**Strained U.S. and USSR relations—things got bad again**

U-2 Incident
1955: Eisenhower declared “open skies policy
-he wanted the US and USSR to monitor each other’s plants to prevent surprise nuclear attack
-USSR rejected it because they were afraid that the US would use their superior spy planes
1960: Gary Powers, the pilot of the U-2, was shot down over Russia and captured
-the U-2 was a spy plane believed to fly so high and so fast that the USSR couldn’t shoot it down
-Powers was sentenced to 10 years, but only served 19 months

1961: Berlin Wall was built
-This was the barrier between West and East Berlin that clearly violated previous agreements
*the symbol of the Cold War
-In 1958 he ordered the Allies to evacuate Berlin à they responded by reaffirming their unity in West Berlin, so he backed down. Then he decided to build the Berlin wall.
-USSR feared that you could escape from East Berlin to West Berlin, and then escape East Germany
-was built of August 13, 1961: was 91 miles of barbed wire barricade and concrete wall, with an average height of 11.8 feet
-People tried to escape: hot air balloons, submarines; a guy even mailed himself out
-some were killed
-there were paintings on the Western side of the wall
-It separates families
-Opened by East Germans on November 9, 1989 and torn down by the end of 1990, as Communism collapsed and the cold war ended

1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
*closest that the Cold War ever got to a real war; the closest we’ve ever gotten to destroying humanity
              1961: Bay of Pigs
-US planned to give aid to Cuban rebels to overthrow Fidel Castro
-But then JFK backed out at the last minute
-was a complete failure:
-made the U.S. and JFK look bad
-made Fidel Castro paranoid that the U.S. is out to kill him
-USSR wanted missiles in Cuba
-U.S. had put missiles in Turkey
-Fidel was feeling unsafe and paranoid and wanted an ally
-Continue the game of brinkmanship
-Higher level of threat – can get to the U.S. sooner
-When a U.S. plane spotted Russian missiles heading to Cuba, the US created an embargo (naval blockade) around Cuba
-So there were Russian boats with missiles heading to Cuba….and US boats waiting around Cuba à question of what’s going to happen?
-came very, very, very close to a WW3
-It became a game of chicken: Kennedy vs. Khrushchev
-Russia backed down and turned around
-But the US made concessions: we won’t attack Cuba
-A special phone line was set up between the US president and the premier (head of) the Soviet Union à it was symbolic
              **makes Khrushchev look weak à AS A RESULT, he’s kicked out of power

1960: Soviet Union and China break off ties
-In 1950: they had signed a 30 year alliance
-But it only lasted 10 years:
WHY? à The USSR wanted to control China’s foreign policy and pushed them around. Russia didn’t want to always play second fiddle to Russia
-China started to form its own independent foreign policy
-Khrushchev punished China by not sharing nuclear-weapon secrets with them
-The USSR also ended economic aid to China
-the Soviet Union aided China at first because they became communist
*China HATES the USSR after this


Cold War: Part 2
The End of Reform
1964: Khrushchev is replaced by Brezhnev

  • He lost prestige in the USSR’s Communist Party because of his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Brehzhnev reinstated a repressive, hard line government – “re-Stalinization”

  • Leonid Brezhnev’s overthrow of Khrushchev in 1964, ended reform
  • The Communist party limited basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and worship

-they saw de-Stalinization as a dangerous threat to the party, and talked about Stalin’s good points, ignoring his crimes
-this change let citizens know that liberalization was over
-They launched a massive arms buildup

  • Brezhnev tried to avoid direct confrontation with the United States
  • He introduced modest reforms in eastern Europe.

-Poland and Romania gained greater autonomy
-more consumer goods and modest liberalization

  • But Brezhnev cracked down on Eastern European countries which didn’t obey the USSR’s wishes

1968: Prague Spring

  • The Czechoslovakian Communist leader Alexander Dubcek loosened censorship in Czechoslovakia and allowed citizens more freedom in other areas
  • He called his idea “socialism with a human face” – still socialism, but a lot more freedom

-It was really popular
-This scared the USSR: will Czech join the West? Will this happen to us?
-also scared Poland and East Germany

  • Countries in the Warsaw Pact sent in 500,000 troops in August 1968

-They replaced the reform-minded government with a hard-line government
-Czechoslovakians made no military attempt to resist & surrendered to Soviet demands

  • Importance: demonstrated Communist determination to maintain the status quo

-Only in the 1980s, with Poland in the lead, would a wave of strong reform and opposition challenge communist rule

1968: Brezhnev Doctrine

  • This is his reaction to Prague Spring; it’s similar to the Monroe Doctrine
  • The Soviet Union has the right to invade any Soviet satellite country in eastern Europe under his control to prevent them from rejecting communism

-soviet satellite country = puppet-government country

The Soviet Union to 1985: 

  • While re-Stalinization took place under Brezhnev, the dictatorship was less severe.
  • Soviets saw their standard of living continue to improve, contributing to apparent stability in Russia. Cooperation with the state was rewarded with access to the best stores and schools and a chance to travel.
  • The nationalism of a group known as the Great Russians proved a conservative influence, so there was less cultural freedom.

-Party leaders identified with patriotism
-They feared that greater freedom would lead to demands for independence by the satellites
-So they supported the re-Stalinization of culture and art
-Public protestors were punished in sneaky ways, like being blacklisted and therefore unable to find any decent jobs (the government was the only employer)
-This kept most people in line
-Others were quietly imprisoned or permanently expelled from the country   

  • Western experts concluded that the Communist Party was pretty solid in the 1970s and early 1980s
  • The people would eventually demand change.

-3 Important changes that impacted the public:

  • A growing urban culture

-2/3 of all Soviets lived in cities
-the population lost its old peasant ways and became more sophisticated

  • Better education

-more highly trained scientists, managers, and specialists
-a class of well-educated, pragmatic experts developed rapidly after 1968

  • Freedom for experts

-educated people read, discussed, and formed ideas on important issues, like pollution and transportation
-educated urban people thought they were worthy of having a voice in political decisions in society

1965-1973: The Vietnam War

  • Causes

-North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam
-North Vietnam was under the leadership of Hochiminh
-U.S. president at this time = Johnson
-“Domino Theory”
-If the US allowed Vietnam to go communist, other countries would follow, till eventually, the U.S. would be alone in a “Red” world
-this was a faulty idea
-Vietnam isn’t even strategically significant
-Originally, Hochiminh asked America for aid, but we turned them down. So they went to the Soviet Union for help instead.

  • It became a nightmare for the US – it dragged on until we pulled out

-Even though the US won all of the battles, but we lost the war
-We lost the spirit to fight – it was all guerilla warfare

  • Nixon got us out of the war

-even though he was corrupt, he had a good foreign policy

Brinkmanship Turned into a Détente
1970-1973: Richard Nixon became president

  • He visited China and the USSR

-the only US president to go to both countries, after the cold war started
-WHY?? à “we want the Chinese with us when we sit down to negotiate with the Russians”
1972: Nixon and Brezhev signed SALT I Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks)
-this agreement limited the number of nuclear missiles that countries would have
-lessening the number of missiles brought a sense of relief

With containment failing, the United States , the Soviet Union, and West Germany pursued a policy of détente, or relaxing of cold war tensions.

  • The West Germans began by seeking a foreign policy that could lead to reconciliation with eastern European nations.

              -West German chancellor Willy Brandt wanted to reconcile with eastern Europe
-started by going to Poland and visited the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial
-Brandt saw the need for a new policy as soon as the Berlin wall went up.
-Other problems in West Germany:
-West Germans refused to accept their loss of territory to the Soviet Union and Poland in 1945
-West Germans saw East Germany’s lack of free elections as a lack of moral and legal basis
-Brandt negotiated treaties with the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia
-He entered into direct relations with East Germany

  • High point of the détente = Final Act of the Helsinki Conference (1975)

              -35 nations signed: all European nations (except Albania) + U.S. + Canada
-Agreed that political borders couldn’t change by force, and accepted requirements for human rights and political freedoms of citizens

  • But the Atlantic alliance endured, as conservative leadership revitalized resistance to the Soviets.

-US president Carter wanted economic protection against the Soviet Union, but only Britain supported them
-Reagan worked with Thatcher, and Helmut Kohl (West Germany) worked with the U.S.

  • The alliance may have weakened Soviet support of continuing a cold war mentality.

-the Western nations gave indirect support to ongoing efforts to liberalize authoritarian communist eastern Europe
-probably helped convince Gorbachev that endless cold war conflict was foolish and dangerous

Détente Cools (as the Cold War heats up)

  • Détente experienced setbacks in the 1970s

Late 1970s: Jimmy Carter raised concerns over USSR’s harsh treatment of Soviet protestors and other human rights issues
-Soviet Union was ignoring the human rights privileges of Helsinki

1979: Carter and Brezhnev agreed, in principle, to SALT II
-But the US refused to sign it after Russia invaded Afghanistan

1979: Afghanistan War
-terrible moment for the Russians : it was Russia’s Vietnam War
-Afghanistan overthrew the communist government
-The U.S. armed Afghanistan to fight the Russians
-But this ended up hurting Russia and eventually America – they gave future members of the Taliban training with guns and missiles

Cold War Really Heats up
1980: U.S. boycotts Moscow Summer Olympics in protest of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan
-The Cold War was very good for the Olympics – people were very excited to watch the Russians hopefully get destroyed

1981: Ronal Reagan became president
-At first, he took tensions to all new heights and called the USSR the “Evil Empire
-His original plan: we’ll build our military, to force Russia to catch up
-We’ll bankrupt them à he knew that the US could handle it financially, but Russia can’t
-Plus, Russia’s technology and weapons weren’t that good anyways
-This trip led the American deficit, but it did contribute to the defeat of the Soviet Union

1982: Brezhnev died
-His next 2 successors died after only about a year in each office.
-One of them was Yuri Adropov

1983: Reagan started SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative)
-was nicknamed Star Wars
-the US had the idea of putting satellites that would fire laser beams at incoming Russian missiles
-Even though we pumped a lot of money into it, we couldn’t make it work
-Russia was scared of this idea à led the next leader to make changes
1984: USSR boycotted Summer Olympics in Los Angeles

Gorbachev’s Reforms – Cold War Ends
1985: Gorbachev became premier of the Communist Party
-he was only 54 years old: was an idealist
-fundamental change in Russia has often come in short, intensive spurts: Gorbachev’s era of reform was one of them

  • The Soviet Union’s Communist Party seemed secure in the early 1980s

-The long established systems continued, along with its massive state bureaucracy and hierarchy.
-It continued to watch over all decisions and manipulate every aspect of life.
-had 17.5 million members
-Yet it’s massive state and party bureaucracy protected the elite, but promoted a lack of interest in the masses

  • Gorbachev wanted to revive the Soviet system with important reforms

-He believed in communism, but realized it was failing to keep up with Western capitalism and technology

  • First he launched perestroika (economic reform)

-similar to the NEP
-He eased up on price controls, allowed more independence for state enterprises, and let people set up private cooperatives to provide personal service for consumers
-these reforms produced a few improvements, but shortages grew as the economy stalled due to the difficulties of the transition to capitalism
-By 1988, widespread consumer dissatisfaction posed serious threat to Gorbachev’s leadership and the entire reform program

  • He launched glasnost (openness)

-glasnost = freedom of speech and religion, etc.
-marked an astonishing break with the past
-cultural revolution: writers, playwrights, movies all thrived

  • Problem: how do you go from a socialist dictatorship to capitalism?

-It’s very difficult: you have to change the mindset of the people
-Soviet Union gave money a fake value
-So when perestroika opened up markets à led to high inflation

  • Mistake:

-It makes more sense to keep the dictatorship in place and add economic reform first….then go to democracy
-When things don’t go well, people start to protest and complain
-But in a dictatorship, they couldn’t- would’ve had to follow the economic plans
1987: Gorbachev introduced his third major reform: democracy with free elections
              -first free elections in the Soviet Union since 1917
-Gorbachev and the party remained in control, but a minority of critical independents was elected to the Congress of People’s Deputies
-New political culture was at odds with the Communist Party’s monopoly of power and control
-This democratization led to demands for greater national independence by non-Russian minorities, especially in the Batlics and Caucasus
-Gorbachev didn’t want to enforce repression à nationalist demands continued to grow
-He brought “new political thinking”
-withdrew troops from Afghanistan and wanted to reduce East-West tension S




Cold War Part 3
1987: Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty
-involved missiles- agreed to halt the arts race
-they were best friends now- he convinced Reagan on his sincerity

1987: Gorbachev states “each people determines the future of its own country and chooses its own form of society. There must be no interference from the outside.”
-urged Eastern European countries to open up their economic and political systems, arguing for them to accept “self-determination
-decided to let the people decide what economic and political system they wanted
-but they wanted them to follow in the USSR’s footsteps
*finally honoring the Yalta Conference
*going against the Brezhnev Doctrine
-Mixed views on Soviet Union:
-Some liked the reforms
-Some wanted Gorbachev to make the change faster
-Some talked of “glory days” when the Soviet Union had total power

Reforms in Poland (1989)

  • Poland was in a tough economic situation

                           -During the 1980s, industrial production declined sharply
-Debt rose to more than $80 billion

  • Polish workers strike

                           -they demanded pay raises and political reforms

  • So the Communist Party agreed to hold free elections
  • But then the Communist Party officials lost to democratic parties

-Lech Walesa became president
**The Communist regime was kicked out peacefully and Poland changed peacefully**

Reforms in Hungary (1989-1990)

  • 1989: Reformers within the Hungarian Communist Party gained control of the party and voted to disband it

-was inspired by Poland’s democratic transformation
*the communist party voted to disband itself*

  • 1990: Hungary has free elections

**Hungary also changed peacefully**


Communism Fell in Germany
1989: Erich Honecker refused to accept change
-He didn’t want Germany to follow the reforms enacted in Poland and Hungary; wanted to hold on to his power

1989: Hungary allowed vacationing East German tourists to cross the border into Austria and from there they travelled to West Germany
-Thousands of Germans took this new escape route

1989: In response to Hungary’s new policy, Honecker closed East Germany’s borders, leading to mass protests.
-This led to huge demonstrations with demonstrators demanding the right to travel freely
-Honecker sent police to put down the demonstrations
-The police sided with the protestors
-Honecker was thrown out of office by his own Communist Party

1989: the East German Communist party elected Egon Krenz as the general secretary (leader).
              -Krenz opened up Germany’s borders.
-He thought he could save East Germany’s Communist Party’s control over the country
-People were upset about closed borders, so he thought this would satisfy the protestors, and his party would stay in power
-He ordered that the Berlin wall be opened.
              -Unfortunately for Krenz, a few months later the Communist Party got kicked out of office

German Unification
The sudden death of communism opened the German Question: should Germany be unified??
-They had a violent past: started both world wars
-East German reformers argued for a third way: wanted to preserve socialism by making it more democratic
-wanted closer ties with West Germany but feared unification
**After the Berlin Wall was opened, millions of Germans went to West Germany
-people began to want unification

1990: Helmut Kohl, West Germany’s Chancellor (prime minister) assured the world that:
-Germany had learned from its violent past
-the world had nothing to fear from a unified Germany
-He presented a 10 point plan that outlined cooperation with both East Germany and the world
-He promised East Germans he would exchange all of their money into savings accounts
-The Alliance for Germany was created:
-this East German party won 50% of all votes in parliament and negotiated favorable terms with West German Chancellor Kohl
October 1990: 45 years after WW2, Germany was unified
-Gorbachev and Kohl signed an agreement in July 1990:
-Germany promised peaceful intentions and to never develop nuclear or chemical weapons. They also promised enormous loans to the Soviet Union.
*Germany’s peaceful reunification led to agreements to end the cold war
                           Paris Accord (1990):
-Ended the cold war
-The U.S. and Soviet Union agreed to scale down their armed forces
-All existed borders were declared legal and valid
*For the 1st time in 4 decades, Soviet and American nuclear weapons were no longer standing ready to destroy capitalism, communism, and life itself



Germany struggled for several years as it tried to merge East into West Germany

  • Problems with unification:

                           -Germany had been divided for 45 years – how do you lessen the divide in lifestyles?
-East Germany was in economic crisis – is it West Germany’s job to fix them

  • East Germany was much poorer, less industrialized, and had many social problems

                            -West Germany had to bail out East Germany à created resentment
-Germany was doing well economically, but East Germany dragged them down

  • East Germans were jealous of their wealthy counterparts

-saw them as snotty: in communist East Germany, making money was bad à But in West Germany making money is essential  

  • West Germans complained that East Germans are lazy

-they weren’t used to working hard, because under communist rule they didn’t work hard

Unrest in the Soviet Union (The August Coup)

  • In 1990, revolutionary have triumphed in all of eastern Europe except for 2 states: The Soviet Union and Albania

1990: The Communist party suffered defeat in elections throughout the country
-Democrats and Anticommunists won majorities
-Lithuania chose a democratic president and declared independence à Gorbachev responded with a blockade on Lithuania, but refused to use the army to crush their new government
-tense political stalemate à Gorbachev lost even more support with people
Gorbachev became president of the Soviet Union
-He also ratified a new constitution that abolished the Communist Party’s monopoly of political power and expanded the Congress of People’s Duties

The August Coup
Hardliners were upset by 2 main things:

  • They saw the Soviet Union was collapsing

-wanted to return to the “glory days” of autocratic dictatorship like Stalin

  • They were upset that Gorbachev’s economic reforms were destroying the country

August 18, 1991: Hardliners called the “State Committee” arrested and detained Gorbachev
-caught him while he was at his vacation home at the Black Sea
-They tried to seize the government: sent in 100s of tanks and armored vehicles into Moscow
-They assumed that nobody would resist them because they would be scared by their show of force
-But they miscalculated and underestimated the Soviet people’s love of freedom and democracy
-People were starting to embrace democracy and capitalism
-People led protests and demonstrations
-Army is divided: some for, some against the Hardliners
Boris Yeltsin became a hero
-he was the president of the Russian republic, which is like a governor of a republic
-In an act of protest, he climbed on top of a hardliner tank and urged Russians to resist
-he declared the “rebirth of Russia” – Russia would put its interests first and declare its independence from Soviet Union

State Committee ordered its troops to fire on parliament, but they refused
-Why Parliament? à members who supported Gorbachev were in parliament
-The army supported Yeltsin
Gorbachev was returned to power, but he soon resigned
-Because of his low popularity
*The hardliners of the August Coup wanted to preserve Communist power, state ownership, and the Soviet Union
-But they actually destroyed all three

Soviet parliament voted to disband the Communist Part’s hold on power
-Soviet Union now had free elections
Yeltsin became Russia’s first elected president
-He declared Russia independent and withdrew from the Soviet Union
-All the other republics in the Soviet Union started leaving too

December 25, 1991: All 15 Soviet Republics became independent

Commonwealth of Independent states (CIS) was established = a loose federation of former Soviet territories
-they were already tied together economically – makes sense to keep political ties too

The Yeltsin Era
1991: Yeltsin reign begins as Yeltsin started his “Shock Therapy Program”
-it thrust Russia towards a free market economy
-Gorbachev took the middle road: he eased in slow changes towards capitalism
-Yeltsin thought this slowness wasn’t working; it was Russia’s big problem
-So Yeltsin freed prices on 90% of Russian goods, and made industry into private companies, giving factories and mines to new companies
-He justifies it by claiming his policy will bring a brief period of severe hardship and pain, but then quickly revive production and bring prosperity
- he thought this was better than Gorbachev’s dragging out of the hardship
-It eventually worked: in 1997 the economy starting improving (before it crashe din 1998 due to Asia’s financial crisis)
But his program first produced disastrous economic results that led to social revolution

  • From 1992-1994, prices soared and inflation rose 800%
  • Before, Soviet industry was focused on military goods and had state monopolies, with only 1 or 2 factories supplying the entire economy.

-When companies were privatized, these state monopolies cut production and raised prices for their own benefit.

  • Powerful companies forced Yeltsin’s government to give them lots of subsidies and credits

-managerial elite intimidated their rivals, preventing the formation of new businesses

  • Enterprise directors and politicians eliminated worker ownership, taking previously-state-owned property as their own private property
  • Social Revolution created new classes

People either became extremely wealthy
-managers, former officials, and financers stood at the top
-they invested its Russia’s richest industries: oil and natural resources
-were highly concentrated
But the majority of people became terribly poor
-struggled to make ends meet as their savings became worthless
-life expectancy declined from 69 to 58
Yeltsin used force to stay in power.
-opposition to Yeltsin rose in 1992 and 1993
-But he crushed a parliamentary mutiny with tanks and literally blew away the opposition
-He consolidated power with corruption
Russians were increasingly disillusioned with their new democratic system.
-They came to see “democracy” as corruption, poverty, and national decline

1991: Chechnya declared independence

  • Thought that Russia was trying to maintain its borders
  • Wanted to incite other regions to rebel

-Chechnya is a largely Muslim region in S. W. Russia
-War began between Russia and the Chechnya rebels
-bloody war: atrocities on both sides, civilians killed
-War lasted until 1996

 Yeltsin picked his successor, Vladimir Putin
-He used to be the head of the KGB
- Putin, elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004, would restore more authoritarianism while keeping relatively free markets
-This worked for Russia: economy grew, middle class expanded, parliament supported Putin
After his 2 terms were up, Putin picked Dmitri Mendev as president
-But Putin remained 2nd in command as the prime minister

Problems for Russia today:

  • Ex-communist leaders have taken over big companies

-they were among the few that had enough money to afford it

  • Lots of corruption

-Lots of shady deals, like with oil companies

  • Nuclear scientists weren’t getting paid à sell supplies to terrorists?

Building a New Europe: 

  • By the 1990s, Europe was experiencing a greater unity in fundamental institutions and beliefs, most important, a new global capitalism and a defense of social achievements.
  • At the same time, Europe also saw revitalized nationalism and ethnic conflict.

Solidarity in Poland

  • Gorbachev’s reforms sparked popular protest in satellite countries, most strikingly in Poland.
  • The Soviets had been forced to make numerous compromises to adapt communism to Polish society.

-Poland had been an unruly satellite from the beginning.
-Soviets had to stop collectivization due to mass riots.
-Soviets failed to manage the economy effectively, bringing about revolts

  • Both a troubled economy and a Polish cardinal being named pope ignited workers’ revolts that produced major gains, including free speech.

-When Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope Paul II, he preached love of Christ and country, electrifying Polish nationalism
-16,000 workers at the Lenin Shipyards went on strike and protested for reforms
-Gdansk Agreement: the government accepted workers’ demands

  • The workers expanded their revolt into the nationwide Solidarity movement.

-Lech Walesa led this free and democratic trade union called Solidarity and gained support

  • Through the movement, Poles saw cultural freedom grow, even though the Soviets maintained political control.

-The Solidarity Revolution was about defending cultural freedoms because Solidarity knew that if they tried to take over the government, the bloody Red Army would intervene

  • Communist attempts to shut down the movement in 1981 only gave it new strength.

-Walesa settled for minor government concessions and criticism of him spread
-So Communist leaders arrested Solidarity’s nation
-But this actually revived support of Solidarity, who fought underground as a voice of the Polish masses. Communists never established a full reign of terror in Poland either.
*The rise of Solidarity showed the desire of millions of eastern Europeans for greater political freedom and the appeal of cultural freedom, trade-union rights, and patriotic nationalism
              *Solidarity’s challenge to the Communists also inspired others

The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

  • Czechoslovakia

-Czechoslovakians staged a peaceful ousting of communism.
-This Velvet Revolution grew out of popular demonstrations led by Vaclav Havel
-the protestors forced the Communist party to resign and then elected Havel as president

  • Romania

-Only Romania had a violent overthrow of communism.
-Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ordered his ruthless forces to kill the protestors
-This sparked a classic armed uprising
-A coalition government emerged from the fighting, but Romania was still a troubled country

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