Decline Of Communism In Eastern Europe And The

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Information about Decline Of Communism In Eastern Europe And The

Published on April 25, 2008

Author: beachta

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DECLINE OF COMMUNISM IN EASTERN EUROPE AND THE SOVIET UNION Eastview High School – AP European History McKay et al., 8 th ed. – Chapter 31, Sections 1 & 2

Essential Questions Why did efforts to reform the communist system fail and result in successful anticommunist revolutions throughout eastern Europe? What were the consequences of these revolutions and the end of the cold war?

Why did efforts to reform the communist system fail and result in successful anticommunist revolutions throughout eastern Europe?

What were the consequences of these revolutions and the end of the cold war?

The Soviet Union The Soviet Union had shifted back and forth between a desire to reform itself and aggressive dictatorship – then Gorbachev opened a new era of reform. The Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 was the most important event in the Brezhnev era. Re-Stalinization followed, but with a collective not a personal dictatorship . Living standards improved until the 1970s , when economic decline set in; the gap between the elite and the ordinary person grew. Nonconformity and protest were severely punished; Jews were persecuted, and some dissidents (such as Solzhenitsyn) were expelled from the country. Nevertheless, a social revolution was in the making – the urban population grew to 2/3 of the total and became more sophisticated, educated, and political. Brezhnev began re-Stalinization of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union had shifted back and forth between a desire to reform itself and aggressive dictatorship – then Gorbachev opened a new era of reform.

The Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 was the most important event in the Brezhnev era.

Re-Stalinization followed, but with a collective not a personal dictatorship .

Living standards improved until the 1970s , when economic decline set in; the gap between the elite and the ordinary person grew.

Nonconformity and protest were severely punished; Jews were persecuted, and some dissidents (such as Solzhenitsyn) were expelled from the country.

Nevertheless, a social revolution was in the making – the urban population grew to 2/3 of the total and became more sophisticated, educated, and political.

Solidarity in Poland The Polish communists dropped efforts to impose Soviet-style collectivization on the peasants and to break the Catholic Church. The Polish economy suffered greatly because of poor leadership and the world depression of the 1970s . The “ Polish miracle ” occurred when the economic crisis became a spiritual crisis as well. Karol Wojtyla Pope John Paul II , former archbishop of Cracow, called attention to the rights of all people. Lech Walesa led the new democratic trade union movement called Solidarity . Its demands were for industrial, political, and economic rights. Solidarity had massive support and a sophisticated organization. When Solidarity lost its cohesiveness , the Polish communist leadership under Jaruzelski smashed the movement (1981) and imposed martial law .

The Polish communists dropped efforts to impose Soviet-style collectivization on the peasants and to break the Catholic Church.

The Polish economy suffered greatly because of poor leadership and the world depression of the 1970s .

The “ Polish miracle ” occurred when the economic crisis became a spiritual crisis as well. Karol Wojtyla

Pope John Paul II , former archbishop of Cracow, called attention to the rights of all people.

Lech Walesa led the new democratic trade union movement called Solidarity . Its demands were for industrial, political, and economic rights. Solidarity had massive support and a sophisticated organization.

When Solidarity lost its cohesiveness , the Polish communist leadership under Jaruzelski smashed the movement (1981) and imposed martial law .

Gorbachev’s Reforms A new era of fundamental change began under Gorbachev in 1985. He set forth a series of reforms to restructure the economy – PERESTROIKA, centering on a freer market economy , but the economy stalled midway between central planning (command) and free-market mechanisms. He instituted GLASNOST, or openness in society and politics, leading to more freedom of speech . Democratization of the Soviet state was begun; free elections were held in 1989 for the first time since 1917 ; meetings of Congress were televised. Democratization encouraged demands for autonomy by non-Russian minorities. Gorbachev withdrew troops from Afghanistan and encouraged reform in Eastern Europe, repudiating the Brezhnev Doctrine .

A new era of fundamental change began under Gorbachev in 1985.

He set forth a series of reforms to restructure the economy – PERESTROIKA, centering on a freer market economy , but the economy stalled midway between central planning (command) and free-market mechanisms.

He instituted GLASNOST, or openness in society and politics, leading to more freedom of speech .

Democratization of the Soviet state was begun; free elections were held in 1989 for the first time since 1917 ; meetings of Congress were televised.

Democratization encouraged demands for autonomy by non-Russian minorities.

Gorbachev withdrew troops from Afghanistan and encouraged reform in Eastern Europe, repudiating the Brezhnev Doctrine .

The Revolutions of 1989 The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe In 1989 Solidarity forced Polish leaders to run free elections to a plurality of the seats in the parliament . In the subsequent election the Communists lost control of the parliament. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa became president of Poland . The new government applied “shock therapy” to the economy, ending state planning and price controls . Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia followed Poland out of the Communist orbit in late 1989 . In Romania, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu resisted revolution and was captured and executed . Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland

The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

In 1989 Solidarity forced Polish leaders to run free elections to a plurality of the seats in the parliament .

In the subsequent election the Communists lost control of the parliament. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa became president of Poland .

The new government applied “shock therapy” to the economy, ending state planning and price controls .

Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia followed Poland out of the Communist orbit in late 1989 .

In Romania, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu resisted revolution and was captured and executed .

The Breakup of the Soviet Union In February 1990 the Communist party lost local elections all over the U.S.S.R. In August 1991 hardline communist leaders opposed to change attempted a coup against Gorbachev . Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin rallied the Moscow populace and some of the armed forces successfully against the coup . An anti-communist revolution swept the Soviet Union as the constituent republics, including Russia, declared independence. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 25, 1991 . Boris Yeltsin

In February 1990 the Communist party lost local elections all over the U.S.S.R.

In August 1991 hardline communist leaders opposed to change attempted a coup against Gorbachev . Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin rallied the Moscow populace and some of the armed forces successfully against the coup .

An anti-communist revolution swept the Soviet Union as the constituent republics, including Russia, declared independence. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 25, 1991 .

German Unification and the End of the Cold War In the summer of 1990, German reunification was negotiated . Arms cuts in Europe, the U.S., and the Soviet Union followed. In 1991 Soviet loss of confidence and superpower status enabled the U.S. to fight and defeat Iraq following Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait .

In the summer of 1990, German reunification was negotiated .

Arms cuts in Europe, the U.S., and the Soviet Union followed.

In 1991 Soviet loss of confidence and superpower status enabled the U.S. to fight and defeat Iraq following Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait .

Questions for your review What characteristics give the Brezhnev era an appearance of stability? (4) What are the significant changes of the Brezhnev era? How is Poland different from other Eastern Bloc states? What are the demands by workers at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk? What was the Polish miracle? What were some of the EARLY Gorbachev reforms? What are Gorbachev’s other significant reforms? Why does Gorbachev repudiate the Brezhnev Doctrine? What are the consequences? What was the cause/effect of the Velvet Revolution? Which country responded to the pro-democracy movement (1989) with bloody/violent repression? What was the cause/effect of the attempted coup by communist hardliners in 1991? What event revealed American preeminence as the only remaining “Super Power?”

What characteristics give the Brezhnev era an appearance of stability? (4)

What are the significant changes of the Brezhnev era?

How is Poland different from other Eastern Bloc states?

What are the demands by workers at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk?

What was the Polish miracle?

What were some of the EARLY Gorbachev reforms?

What are Gorbachev’s other significant reforms?

Why does Gorbachev repudiate the Brezhnev Doctrine? What are the consequences?

What was the cause/effect of the Velvet Revolution?

Which country responded to the pro-democracy movement (1989) with bloody/violent repression?

What was the cause/effect of the attempted coup by communist hardliners in 1991?

What event revealed American preeminence as the only remaining “Super Power?”

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