Collapse of the USSR


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An History 12 lesson discussing the collapse of the communist regimes in USSR, DDR, Poland and Czechoslovakia

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  • 26 April 1986
  • Ukrainian high school abandoned near Chernobyl.
  • TIME, 1988. Right-hand side says “Perestroika”.
  • These three were the main forces in the debate about what should happen after the Coup.
  • Singing the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Force) Treaty in 1987
  • The USSR flag is lowered from the Kremlin for the last time Dec 31, 1991.
  • At first it seemed freedoms would be given, but then the Govt imposed martial law.
  • Butcher shop, 1981
  • As a Pole, Pope John Paul II was key in recognizing/supporting Lech Walensa.
  • Construction, 1961; death of Peter Fetcher, shot by East German border guards,1962.
  • To say you’re a Berliner is to say you are free…I am a Berliner.
  • Joined KPD (Communists) in the 1930s – jailed 1937-45 during the Nazi era.
    In office 1971- 18 Oct 1989:
    Enacted “consumer socialism” (DDR had highest standard of living in East Block)
    Ousted by party in 1989 – refused to allow liberalising “Gorby” reforms.
  • Francoise Mitterrand/Helmut Kohl
  • Francoise Mitterrand/Helmut Kohl
  • Germany was reunified politically on 2 Oct 1990/ Kohl won the first election 2 Dec 1990.
  • This was announced retroactively to JUSTIFY Soviet invasion of Czech. In August 1968
    In other words: allowed limited independence (BUT no Eastern Block country would be allowed to leave the Warsaw Pact). Moscow got to define what was socialism and what was capitalism.
    Ended when Gorby didn’t roll in the tank during the Polish free elections in 1989. The Soviets called the shift the “Sinatra Doctrine” ie “I did it my way.” ie NOW countries free to choose!
  • Dubcek General Secretary 1968-69 then led Parliament in 1989 after the fall of Communism
    Novotny, previous leader was very unpopular and the Central Committee called for his resignation; N called Brezhnev to come to Prague to help, but he saw how bad things were and didn’t help. Dubcek, a reformer, got top job. Downfall of Novotny = Prague Spring. Dubcek was a committed Communist, but sought LIBERALISATION or “Socialism with a human face.”
    When Soviets and others thought demonstrations were getting out of control, then rolled in the tanks. When arrested, Dubcek called for peaceful resistance to cont. After a week in custody in Moscow, he returned but months later was replaced.
    Died in 1992 in a car crash.
  • All Warsaw Pact countries except Romania, invaded.
  • Jan Palach immolation Wenceslas Square
  • Pres Vaclav Havel - poet and playwright
  • Collapse of the USSR

    1. 1. Fall of the Communist Block 1985 - 1991 The Gorbachev Revolution
    2. 2. Chernobyl - symbolic of what was coming to the Evil Empire
    3. 3. West’s view
    4. 4. First noted in Scandinavia
    5. 5. The 80s = New Leadership • Brezhnev 1964 - 1982 • Andropov 1982 - 1984 • Chernenko 1984 - 1985 SAME OLD GUARD
    6. 6. A breath of fresh air • See pp 198-201 in the Handbook for the challenges he faced Caricatures usually show this mark
    7. 7. Brezhnev’s legacy: • Near 0 economic growth • Shortages (rationing) with few consumer goods (and those were of poor quality) • Inefficient industry/resource sectors • Big military expenses (USSR spending 2-3 times the USA % of GNP + Afghan war) • Corruption (Apparatchiks = spoiled Party bureaucrats) • Nationalism (caused tension from non-Russians - 50% of population)
    8. 8. Gorby’s response: if it’s broken let’s improve it - tweak it - don’t replace it • Glasnost (openness/making public) 1986 – Allowed the West to see behind the Curtain, but also allowed Soviets to see what they were missing. – Reform Congress (see p 206 in Handbook) • Perestroika (restructuring) 1987 – Tried to create a “socialist market economy inside the existing Command structure - a contradiction – Reform necessitated further reform which became difficult as the directives moved down the chain of command
    9. 9. 1987 Campaign against labourless profit - oops, that’s part of the capitalist system.
    10. 10. “The national border of the USSR is untouchable” 1987 There were also campaigns against drinking, corruption, prostitution, and
    11. 11. Stop contraband! Give 4 days free labour each year!
    12. 12. Gorbymania in the West
    13. 13. Gorbachev wanted to democratize communism not capitalize the USSR. Compare that to Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. Free Economic Zones allowed for foreign investment and foreign currency exchange
    14. 14. This is not the scene of a stagnated economy but this is also not the norm.
    15. 15. PRC vs. USSR • Peasant farmers in China could keep a portion of their produce and work outside of collectivization (Lenin’s N.E.P.). • The Soviet Enterprise Law (1987) involved more top-down controls and State procurement - little was left for sale and this stifled free market growth. But, the PRC continued to…
    16. 16. The Regime must be willing to meet challenges to its being
    17. 17. The key to prolonging the USSR’s command economy was a continuation of the use of coercion in the workplace and in the streets: when the State was no longer willing to do this, the economy (and the country) was doomed. Gorby was no longer willing.
    18. 18. But others were… "Let me say that Mikhail Gorbachev is now on vacation. He is undergoing treatment, himself, in our country. He is very tired after these many years and he will need some time to get better." Gennady Yanayev, Soviet vice president, speaking at a press conference during the 1991 August Coup.
    19. 19. Gorbachev was under house arrest in the South, but Yeltsin went into the streets of Moscow, boarded a tank and spoke to the people! Yeltsin had criticized the slow rate of reform - this event helped him to eclipse Gorbachev’s leadership. See Global Forces p 316 for why the coup failed
    20. 20. Yeltsin criticizing Gorbachev about the rate of reform 1. Communist Party 2. Yeltsin, p 316 3. Sakharov, Global Forces p 299
    21. 21. Yeltsin’s support from the people won the day, and on December 31, 1991, the USSR ceased to exist.
    22. 22. In four days the coup failed, but the writing was…
    23. 23. Poland • 1945 Curzon line/buffer • 1956 Gomulka got more freedom • 1980 Solidarity • 1981 General Jaruzelski • 1981-83 Martial law • 1988 Crackdown • 1989 Solidarity elected majority (Jaruzelski Pres.) • 1990 Walesa President
    24. 24. Lenin Shipyard, Gdansk (you know it as Danzig)
    25. 25. Solidarity Lenin Shipyard, Gdansk, 1980
    26. 26. Walesa with head government negotiator, 1980
    27. 27. Jaruzelski imposed martial law 13 Dec, 1981 Solidarity was made illegal Martial law lasted until 1983: many Solidarity members were jailed
    28. 28. Wujak Coal Mine, 16 Dec 1981: Striking miners were dispersed by the ZOMO: 9 dead, 21 wounded
    29. 29. Z OM O: S tate Riot Polic e Martial Law, 1981 Verification of educators/media to test loyalty - 2000 lost jobs
    30. 30. Where’s the beef?
    31. 31. In 1988, the PCP tried to improve the economy with strict policies The result was a return to strikes and protests.
    32. 32. Solidarity meets with the Government, Feb - Apr 1989 RC Church Solidarity Govt Communists Smaller oppsn groups
    33. 33. In 1990, Walesa, the shipyard electrician, replaced Jaruzelski as President Gorbachev had not followed the Brezhnev Doctrine and intervened
    34. 34. Fall of East Germany (DDR) The Wall, 1961
    35. 35. • In the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced glasnost and perestroika, reforms to liberalise communism. • Frictions between him and Honecker had grown over these policies and numerous additional issues from 1985 onward.[30] • East Germany refused to implement similar reforms, with Honecker reportedly telling Gorbachev: "We have done our perestroika, we have nothing to restructure”. • Gorbachev grew to dislike Honecker, and by 1988 was lumping Honecker, along with Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov, Czechoslovakia's Gustáv Husák and Romania's Nicolae Ceaușescu as a "Gang of Four" — a group of inflexible hardliners unwilling to make necessary reforms. • Honecker felt betrayed by Gorbachev in his German policy and ensured that official texts of the Soviet Union, especially those concerning perestroika, could no longer be published or sold in East Germany.
    36. 36. • • • • • Protests against the lack of reforms by the Honecker-led regime grew during 1989. At the Warsaw Pact summit on 7–8 July 1989 in Bucharest, the Soviet Union reaffirmed its shift from the Brezhnev Doctrine of the limited sovereignty of its member states, and ann ”. The Bucharest statement prescribed that its nations henceforth developed This called into question the Soviet guarantee of existence for the commun Hungary had begun dismantling its border with Austria, creating the first ga Iron Curtain, through which several thousand East Germans quickly fled in hopes of reaching West Germany by way of Austria. Per a 1969 treaty, the Hungarian government should have forced the East Germans back home. However, after a week, the Hungarians relented and let the refugees pass into Austria, telling their outraged East German counterparts that international treaties on refugees took precedence.
    37. 37. JFK, 1963: Ich bin ein Berliner
    38. 38. Erich Honecker Erich Honecker
    39. 39. When the Wall came down in 1989, it occurred quickly!
    40. 40. Old worries: what will happen with a reunified Germany? Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, Verdun, 1984 The French-German Brigade, established 1989
    41. 41. e g Old worries: what will happen hu a with a reunified Germany?is d rh te f o ia Mitterrand andon t Helmut y ti go anKohl, Verdun, 1984 e m n r ca ifi v e Ge un c h m f re a o rb f r o l o n G a va lo pro p The French-German Brigade, a established 1989
    42. 42. Helmut Kohl - First Chancellor of a reunified Germany See Global Forces pp 308-309 • • • • • • What challenges would be faced after the euphoria? Nationalism (old horrors?) Xenophobia Unemployment Debt Outmoded industry Inflation
    43. 43. Czechoslovakia • • • • • • Versailles, 1919 Munich Agreement, 1938 Annexation 1939 Soviets 1948 Prague Spring 1968 Freedom 1989
    44. 44. Brezhnev Doctrine 1968 When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only the problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.
    45. 45. Velvet Revolution She Might Have Invaded Russia H. Block, 1968
    46. 46. Alexander Dubč ek
    47. 47. end