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1989: The End of Communism in Europe


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Powerpoint slides of a lecture on the 1989 revolutions and the end of the cold war in Europe.

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1989: The End of Communism in Europe

  1. 1. 1989:The End of Communism in EuropeNick Blackbourn, University of St Andrews
  2. 2. Overview• Communism in Eastern Europe• End of Soviet Empire: The 1989Revolutions• The End of the Cold War
  3. 3. Communism in Eastern EuropePost- WW2|Soviet Empire| Brezhnev Doctrine| Helsinki Accords
  4. 4. Post- WW2 and the Soviet ‘Sphere ofInfluence’:- Percentages Agreement- Yalta Conference- Soviet Control:- East Germany- Czechoslovakia- Hungary- Poland- Romania
  5. 5. The Soviet EmpireComecon (1949):‘Council for Mutual EconomicAssistance’Warsaw Pact (1955):‘Warsaw Treaty Organization ofFriendship, Cooperation, andMutual Assistance’
  6. 6. The Brezhnev Doctrine – c.1968- The right of socialist countriesto defend socialism- Soviet control of EasternEurope maintained by threatof military intervention
  7. 7. The Helsinki Accords - 1975Recognition of post-WW2bordersHigh point of Sovietinternational prestigeBut: Seeds of destruction?- Article VII - Human Rights
  8. 8. Life underCommunismThe promise: SocialistParadiseThe reality: ShortagesBut: Everyday life- Guaranteed job- Camaraderie- Now ‘Ostalgie’
  9. 9. Protest Against Communism- 1953 East Germany- 1956 Poland/Hungary- 1968 Czechoslovakia- 1980 Poland- 1989 …
  10. 10. The End of Soviet EmpireRevolutions | Process of Decline| Stagnation | Innovation
  11. 11. Poland- Solidarity re-emerges- September 1988: Strikes- Government Enters‘Round Table Talks’- Legalization of Trade Unions- Office of President- Formation of Senate- Signed April 4, 1989
  12. 12. HungaryIntra-party coup: Kadarremoved from power in May1988‘Democracy Package’introduced16 June 1989 Imre Nagyreburied…Iron Curtain taken down from19 August 1989
  13. 13. East Germany: Berlin Wall Opened to deal with theemigration ‘problem’?Wall Opens:End of the GDR:
  14. 14. CzechoslovakiaVelvet Revolution (Nov. – Dec.1989)Events in other Eastern Bloccountries (esp. East Germany)prompts demonstrations in Prague& general strike‘Civic Forum’ meets with theCommunist regime and negotiatestransition of powerJune 1990: First democraticelections since 1946
  15. 15. Romania- Only violent revolution- Protests in Timisoara, Dec.1989- Ceausescu’s Speech- Blames ‘fascist agitators’- Crowd starts heckling- Defection of the army- Helicopter extraction- Trial & execution
  16. 16. The Process of Decline- Soviet subsidies to Eastern Europe- Soviet military assistance- Unsustainable?- Imperial Overstretch
  17. 17. Stagnation- ‘the USSR had the world’s most advanced late nineteenthcentury economy, the world’s biggest and best, most inflexiblerust belt’- Lack of Innovation- Corruption- Apathy- How to change?Change in 1985: Gorbachev envisions Socialism with a humanface
  18. 18. 1989: Why collapse?Reagan | Gorbachev | Debt & Consumption | Protest
  19. 19. Historians’ ViewsTriumphalist: John Lewis Gaddis, Peter SchweizerThe Gorbachev Factor: Archie Brown, Vladislav ZubokEuropeans: Geir LundestadWhy wasn’t the collapse of the Soviet Union foreseen?
  20. 20. Gorbachev‘New Thinking’ – Socialism with aHuman FaceProvided ‘pressure from above’The Sinatra Doctrine‘Save us Gorby’‘The Gorbachev Factor”
  21. 21. Reagan- ‘Peace Through Strength’SDI – ‘Star Wars’- ‘Enabler’ and therefore importantrole- Willing to sense change
  22. 22. Debt & Consumerism(in the GDR)- Trade Deficits- Allure of the West- ‘Jeans Theory’- Communist regimes were fragileby 1989 because theireconomies were on a knife-edge
  23. 23. 1989 Protest & Reform- A new generation emerges- End of Apathy- Against austerity- Life should be better…but‘no more experiments’
  24. 24. 1989: What next?Malta Summit: Dec. 1989‘End of the Cold War’‘Re-Entering History’:Nationalism & end of the USSRShock Therapy vs TransitionGerman Reunification… eventual EU membership
  25. 25. Ongoing debates:
  26. 26. Ongoing debates: