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End of Cold War and Collapse of Soviet Union - Essay Example

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The collapse of the Berlin Wall on 9 November, 1989 highlighted a dramatic year which saw the end of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe and effectively brought the protracted and costly Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to a close. The peaceful nature and the lack of bloodshed (Romania excepted) was perhaps the most remarkable facet about the events of Eastern Europe in 1989, especially in the light of previous Soviet experiences with independence movements during the Cold War.1 In dealing with this change, a number of key questions arise: What happened to change Soviet perspective and policy concerning the importance of Eastern Europe, a region in which during the Cold…
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End of Cold War and Collapse of Soviet Union
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Download file to see previous pages e 1980s in order to determine why the Soviet Union left Eastern Europe and the extent to which Gorbachev can be held responsible for the subsequent collapse of communism. Though the reasons for the collapse of communism in the CEE countries are numerous, Gorbachev is at the heart of the said event.
Historians have examined the dramatic end of the Cold War almost since the day the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Some, most notably Karen Dawisha, predicted the event earlier. She released her book Eastern Europe, Gorbachev, and Reform in 1988, and understood that Gorbachev knew the regimes in Eastern Europe were illegitimate, placed in power by the Soviet Union on the coattails of the Red Army's entrance into the area during the closing days of World War II.2 However, she argued that if Gorbachev was serious in his intentions concerning noninterference in the affairs of sovereign states, then Eastern Europe would likely soon break away from the Soviet grasp and attempt to move west.3 Charles Gati theorized in his important work The Bloc that Failed: Soviet-East European Relations in Transition, that the Soviet Union lost control of Eastern Europe due to an extraordinary domestic crisis which consumed their attention and resources.4 Moreover, The Warsaw Pact was an ineffective mechanism for collective security, according to Gati, since its member states each had different perceived enemies, oftentimes another member of the Warsaw Pact.5 Joseph Rothschild stated that the stability of Eastern Europe depended directly on the economic performance of the country in question.6 By the time Gorbachev came to power, he realized that a serious overhaul of the system was necessary due to the flagging economies of the Eastern Europe satellite states, in crisis before but never this severely. Like Charles Gati, Rothschild stated that by the 1980s, Eastern Europe had broken out of the conformist mold placed on it after World War II by Joseph Stalin, and each country began to pursue its own different interests.7 Thus the "Soviet bloc" was a collection of different states each moving in its own direction; Gorbachev had very limited choices, and ultimately let them Return to Diversity. These views hold to the tenet that the breakup of the Soviet bloc was due to internal factors in the countries of Eastern Europe.8
Other authors have studied the internal demise of the Soviet Union, placing the emphasis on themes ranging from the nationalities problem to incorrect decisions by the General Secretary. Helene Carrere d' Encausse examined the former in her work The End of the Soviet Empire, in which she chronicled the difficulty of governing an empire ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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