Book 4 Chapter 4: The End of the Cold War
Book 4 Chapter 4: The End of the Cold War
Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed leader and General Secretary.
reform the Soviet economy
end military competition with the USA
Committed to the communist ideology and saw the need to maintain strong defence against the threat of invasion.
Huge military budget and expenditure.
USA and the Soviet Union had the right to exist side by side as sovereign states. Both superpowers
each other's sphere of influence.
Did not risk Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
Allowed the USA to devote more time to end its involvement in the Vietnam War.
due to incoming US President's
on Soviet Union over human rights abuses and Soviet Union's
invasion of Afghanistan
Long-Term Reasons Contributing to the End of the Cold War
Long-term internal factors
Political stagnation in the Soviet Union.
Lack of strong leadership and capable leaders from the
late 1970s till 1985
They were either
when they assumed power in the Kremlin.
Leonid Brehznev reversed Khrushchev's reforms. However, he failed to bring an increase in efficiency.
Konstantin Chernenko was seriously ill when he assumed power in
. He died from illness within 13 months in office.
Power was centralized at the top
, weak leadership was a recipe for disaster.
internal lack of economic competitiveness
caused the Soviet Union to
The Soviet Union
stagnated and lost its competitiveness
while other countries progressed.
Social Problems in the Soviet Union
The Five-Year Plans under Stalin's rule had
emphasised industrial production
such as factory machinery,
at the expense of consumer goods
During the Cold War,
many resources were diverted towards the military-industrial sector
of the economy in its race to keep up with the military capabilities of the USA and its allies.
were devoted to producing consumer goods.
Soviet citizens had
fewer of these goods
than those living in the capitalist countries.
Heightened the perception
that many people in the East were poorer than those in the West.
This was emphasised by Western radio stations that penetrated the East.
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External economic burdens of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union found itself at the helm of
an economically weaker alliance
Due to its ideological commitment to its satellite states
, the Soviet Union supported poorer communist economies through economic bartering.
The Soviet Union's annual subsidy to its Warsaw Pact allies through discounting of oil prices amounted to about US$3 billion.
Eastern European countries borrowed heavily from the Western banks in the
, achieving debt levels which were among the highest in the world.
Constant increase in spending was
difficult to sustain
due to their stagnant economy and brought the Soviet Union
closer to bankruptcy
The decade-long Afghan War caused
a huge drain on the Soviet Union's money, resources and human casualties
Economic cost of the Afghan War was
than the Vietnam War had been for the USA and its stronger allies, Britain, Germany and Japan.
Increasing resistance within the communist bloc.
The Soviet leadership had a fearsome reputation for crushing opposition, sustaining the communist political system through
force rather than consent
, and by
threatening direct Soviet intervention
Hungarian Revolution in
The Soviet army invaded Hungary and overthrew Imre Nagy's government after he tried to withdraw Hungary from the Warsaw Pact.
Called for the use of the Warsaw Pact forces to intervene in any Eastern Bloc nation which was seen to compromise communist rule and Soviet domination, by either trying to leave the Soviet sphere of influence or moderate its policies.
Soviet dissidents spoke out against them and became well-known both in their own countries and in the West.
barred from jobs
harassed and in some cases imprisoned or executed
Poor treatment of dissidents by the communist governments was a persistent issue after Jimmy Carter and successive American presidents began arguing for human rights.
This caused the political legitimacy of the Soviet Union to
slowly corrode away
Lech Walesa from Poland.
Vaclav Havel from Czechoslovakia
Nature of the Soviet Empire
The Soviet Union was made up of different peoples, cultures and nationalities. These various nationalities
resented being dominated by the Russians
, the Red Army was in disarray and
could no longer maintain effective control
over the Soviet Empire from Moscow.
This increased nationalism and the republics' call for independence.
Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine
Led to Gorbachev's intention to give the republics more power by signing the Union Treaty.
Triggered the collapse of the USSR in
Long-term external factors
American economic superiority
Reagan began a process of economic liberalization, where
individual enterprise was encouraged
instead of having the people rely too much on the government for goods and services.
Thatcher also implemented similar measures in Britain, and other Western countries followed suit.
Launched a financial boom in the West in the
Under the Soviet command economy, there was
no freedom of information
enterprise and individual creativity among producers
. Citizens were also
barred from starting or owning companies
poor quality of Soviet goods
as well as
the engagement of corrupt practices such as bribery
Thus they were unable to catch up with the West in terms of economic growth.
Bankruptcy of the Soviet Union due to Cold War competition
Reagan renewed the arms race, which
on the Soviet Union's ability to keep up with military expenditure and production.
Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) or Star Wars Programme
Satellites deployed in orbit around the earth to detect and destroy and any potential nuclear attack by intercontinental missiles.
Pershing II missiles
Easily movable missiles stationed in West Germany
Their mobility and capacity for rapid deployment was seen as a considerable threat to the Soviet Union.
Able Archer 83
It was so realistic that some members of the Soviet military and government believed that it disguised an actual nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union by the USA and NATO.
The Soviets prepared nuclear forces and put their air force units in East Germany and Poland on alert.
Led to another possibility of a nuclear war.
Further aggravated the Soviet Union's economic problems as it struggled to keep up with military expenditure and production.
USA spent 6% of its gross national product on defence.
Soviet Union spent 16% of its gross national product on defence although having an economy half the size of the USA.
Short-Term Developments Contributing to the End of the Cold War
Short-term internal factors
permitted private ownership
of small businesses in service, manufacturing and foreign-trade sectors.
Prices of goods and services were to be set by the enterprises
Central control over wages was relaxed
Gorbachev wanted to encourage
productivity and investment
among Soviet workers in their respective industries.
Failed to revive the Soviet economy.
Small business owners often had to pay
and deal with
to purchase technologies.
Agricultural infrastructure, such as roads linking the farms to the markets as well as storage and refrigeration facilities,
Number of unprofitable, government-supported enterprises
Many Soviet citizens lost interest in wanting to start up their own businesses.
Shortages of food and other basic necessities
, such as bread and shoes, were common.
Lines to buy food got
Price of food and other basic goods
lost their jobs
because of retrenchments by state-owned companies
to cut costs
Gorbachev sought to give his supporters
permission to speak out in favour of reform
, and to
to convince the Soviet people that these reforms were necessary.
Public debates were launched.
Censorship of books, journals and newspapers were relaxed.
New editors were appointed to state newspapers such as The Moscow News.
Writers were given the freedom to voice their opinions on the need for reform.
Dissident, Andei Sakharov, was released from exile in Siberia in
Dissidents could be heard without fear of imprisonment.
Exposed corruption and inefficiency of the Soviet Union.
The positive picture of Soviet life quickly
and many citizens
felt that their governments had lied to them and deprived them
of what the rest of the world had access to.
Criticism of communist rule in the Soviet Union could not be controlled which led to its collapse in
Impact of Perestroika
General elections for the newly-formed Congress of People's Deputies were held in
Open to other organizations.
All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions
Soviet Women's Committee.
by Party conservatives and radical opposition.
the rise of various opposition groups
in the government who felt that Gorbachev's reforms did not go fast or far enough.
They formed the first opposition block called the Interregional Group of Deputies with Boris Yeltsin as the leader.
Boris Yeltsin was previously sacked from his position as head of the Moscow Communist Party for his criticisms that Gorbachev's reforms were progressing too slowly.
within the Soviet Union and its satellite states.
The Coup of
The people regarded the Communist Party as
unable to lead the Soviet Union
, Boris Yeltsin was elected as President of Russia.
Hardliners within the Communist Party were increasingly alarmed that Gorbachev was
conceding too much to the USA
threatened their own power
, they launched a coup against Gorbachev which was unsuccessful due to opposition from Yeltsin who viewed them as a greater threat than Gorbachev.
Russian military officers and pro-democracy protesters sided with Yeltsin.
The overwhelming mass support led Yeltsin to suspend the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He also rallied Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to dissolve the Soviet Union.
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Short-term external factors
Impact of Gorbachev's 'New Thinking'.
It advocated the idea that global problems ought to be solved based on
shared moral and ethical principals
He sought to
cultivate friendly relations
with the West, including Reagan.
Led to nuclear disarmament talks.
Resulted in successive treaties and discussions on disarmament.
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
Both leaders agreed to remove the mobile intermediate-range nuclear missiles deployed in Europe.
'De-ideologisation' of Soviet foreign policy.
In a UN speech in
emphasised each country's right
to choose its political and economic system.
It also mentioned the
of 50 000 Soviet Union troops from Eastern Europe, and 500 000 Soviet troops to be
Armed forces in Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia would now
only adobpt 'purely defensive' positions
in what was known as the Sinatra Doctirine.
the abandonment of the Brezhnev Doctrine
The communist regimes in Eastern Europe crumbled due to lack of popular support in
Under the pressure of popular revolutions, these regimes collapsed one after the other.
Polish trade union, Solidarity, launched a series of strikes in
The Polish government conceded to hold semi-free democratic elections in
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East Germans gathered in the court of the church in Leipzig and held the Monday Demonstrations on
4 September 1989
It involved 70 000 people and forced communist leader, Erich Honecker, to resign.
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the Soviet Union's status as a superpower and led to the end of the Cold War division in Europe.
Increased cooperation between the superpowers
George H. W. Bush and Gorbachev supported a UN resolution in
, authorising military action to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
It was the
first time in history of the UN
that both superpowers in the UN Security Council jointly supported its enforcement measures.
It showed that the USA and the Soviet Union were
no longer fierce enemies
more than willing to accommodate each other
on various issues which were previously causes of great tensions between them.