Bmc hist unit 4.2_end of cold war


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Bmc hist unit 4.2_end of cold war

  1. 1. The End of the Cold War The end of Worldwide Communism…victory for Capitalist –Democracies?
  2. 2. Lesson Agenda • By the end of the lesson, you would be able to: ▫ Explain the factors leading USSR‟s decline ▫ Assess the internal & external factors that led to the end of worldwide communism ▫ Define Perestroika and Glasnost ▫ Discuss the end of Communism in Eastern Europe
  3. 3. The Cold War – 1970s and the 1980s • Détente was a permanent relaxation in international affairs during the Cold War. The relations between United States, Russia and China changed. ▫ The 1970‟s witnessed detente. Why?  The horrors of Vietnam War shocked people.  There was a growing fear of a nuclear holocaust especially with the growth in those countries that had Nuclear weapons. Also both USA and USSR had huge stockpiles of nuclear and non- nuclear weapons. • Why did all 3 major powers want to pursue detente ?
  4. 4. The Cold War – 1970s and the 1980s • China: Was fearful of her isolation in the world. She was also fearful of what USA had done in Vietnam. China‟s stockpile of nuclear weapons was a lot smaller than that of USA. China was also worried by her worsening relations with USSR. • USA: Leaders realised that there were better ways of containing communism than the ways that she done in previous years. • Massive cost of weapons production and maintaining a huge armed force. A peaceful relationship with the USSR would be very beneficial to USA especially after the cost of the Vietnam War.
  5. 5. The Cold War – 1970s and the 1980s • USSR: USSR was spending a huge amount on weapons at the expense of basic necessities. ▫ Living standards were poor. ▫ USSR‟s relationship with China was far from good. ▫ USA was trying to improve hers with China.
  6. 6. Factors that led to the decline of the Soviet Union and Communism • There were two sets of factors: ▫ Internal ▫ External
  7. 7. Internal Factors • Political ▫ Politburo did not want to introduce change as it saw new ideas as challenges to power. ▫ Leaders not select leaders on the basis of talent and ability. ▫ Such a system led to great corruption in government. ▫ The politburo did not always make the right decisions, as it usually had no idea what the local conditions were like across the vast country.
  8. 8. Internal Factors • Political ▫ People could not elect their own leaders and there was strict control over what they could do or say. ▫ Being critical of the government usually resulted in long jail terms – no avenues to provide honest feedback to the government ▫ Government spent most of the budget on defence, there was little left to meet the social needs of the people ▫ The government did not improve the country‟s transport and distribution systems. Bumper years – crops were allowed to rot because they could not be distributed fast enough – leading to wastage.
  9. 9. Internal Factors • Political ▫ The USSR comprised of 15 countries (including Russia) that were very diverse and whose people came from many different ethnic groups. ▫ The ethnic groups - little in common except that they were ruled with an iron fist from Moscow. The people in the republics resented this and wanted their independence. ▫ The central government had to spend millions to keep nationalistic desires under control in the republics.
  10. 10. Internal Factors • Economic ▫ As the Soviet Union was under a command economy, the managers had to wait for the central government to make decisions about what to produce, how much to produce and how much to charge for the goods. – led to economic inefficiency ▫ Central government set economic targets for quantity, as it was harder to measure quality. So the goods produced in USSR were often poor quality. Also they budgeted for fewer consumer goods and this made life difficult for the average citizens.
  11. 11. Internal Factors • Economic ▫ There was no reward or incentive to work hard in the Soviet Union, since all workers were given the same benefits. ▫ All Soviet workers were guaranteed jobs for life & subsidized health care, housing and education. ▫ Soviet workers became less efficient than workers in the Capitalist West as a result of the command economy.
  12. 12. Internal Factors • Economic ▫ The central government did not keep up with technology to improve its farms and factories. ▫ USSR could not catch up with the better technology of the West, whose farms and factories could produce more with less money and fewer workers.
  13. 13. Internal Factors • Social ▫ Soviet citizens wanted food, clothes, shoes and other consumer goods, but could not get them because of the command economy. ▫ People used illegal ways to get what they needed by turning to the „black market‟. Government officials - often sold goods in the black market to make money. ▫ Thus, even fewer consumer goods - available for those who wanted to buy them legally. ▫ Alcoholism became a big problem in the USSR. Sold cheaply and was easily available. With few goods available - workers spent their money on alcohol. Many went to work drunk & produced very low quality work.
  14. 14. External factors • “Star Wars” Programme (Strategic Defence Initiative) ▫ US President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) deliberately increased the US defense budget because he knew the Soviet Union‟s economy was very weak and could not keep up with the cost of a new arms race. ▫ In 1983, he called for the creation of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or Star Wars programme. He wanted the creation of a defensive shield of laser beam firing satellites which could intercept and destroy any Soviet Missiles fired at the United States ▫ The SDI forced the Soviet Union to increase its defense budget too, which it could ill afford to.
  15. 15. External Factors • Increased Spending ▫ The USSR was spending millions of dollars to support its Warsaw Pact allies in Eastern Europe. Defence spending increased again in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. ▫ The Soviet Union also provided financial support to East European countries through COMECON. Every year, it gave about US$3 billion to these states – it also needed to spend billions of dollars in supporting allies in Africa, Asia and in other parts of the world. ▫ The USSR was spending more money than it was earning and this could not be sustained.
  16. 16. Reforms in USSR – Too little, Too Late! • Mikhail Gorbachev ▫ …became the leader of USSR in 1985. He had visited Western Europe in the 1970s and was impressed with the high standards of living there. He wanted people in USSR and Eastern Europe to have similar standards too. ▫ When he became the leader, Gorbachev introduced policies that were very different from his predecessors, with the intention of improving the peoples‟ standard of living.
  17. 17. Perestroika (Restructuring) • Drive towards greater efficiency ▫ Gorbachev thought he could solve the USSR‟s problems by making the economy more efficient. In 1985, he called for perestroika aimed at ending the command economy, which he felt was the main reason for the problems in USSR. ▫ He wanted a market economy – this would leave important economic decisions to individuals and businesses. They were faster and more flexible than the Communist civil service – they were very familiar with making sound business decisions.
  18. 18. Perestroika • Law of State Enterprises ▫ Introduced the Law of State Enterprises in 1987 – under this law, the Central government no longer made all the key decisions about the economy. Managers of farms and factories could decide what they wanted to produce and how much they would produce. Nevertheless, this law still left a lot of economic power in the hands of the Communist Party. ▫ He also encouraged people to own and run small businesses such as cafes or handicraft shops, and to keep their profits. Foreign companies were also allowed to own part of the Soviet businesses for the first time.
  19. 19. Perestroika • Ending Cold War tensions – end of arms race ▫ In the 1980s, the USSR was spending a lot of money on the arms race with the USA. Gorbachev knew that the USSR had to reduce its military spending to save the Soviet economy – this was possible only if Cold War tensions were eased. ▫ In 1988 – he startled the world – USSR would withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan. He promised that USSR would no longer interfere in the affairs of Eastern Europe. He also wanted improved relations with the West and put an end to the arms race with US.
  20. 20. Perestroika • Assessment of Perestroika ▫ Gorbachev‟s decisions reduced military spending and improved relations with the Western countries greatly. ▫ Overall – it was not as successful as Gorbachev had hoped for, as the highly conservative Communist officials – feared change. They were reluctant to implement the reforms.
  21. 21. Glasnost (“Openness”) • Openness ▫ Gorbachev realized that to improve the economy, he needed to make the economy better. He hoped that the ideas, suggestions and pressure from ordinary Soviet citizens would make the conservative Communists more receptive to change. ▫ Gorbachev allowed:  Less censorship - media could report on the problems that the USSR faced.  Loosened the government‟s control over what was said or written in the media.  In this way, he hoped that he could win the people‟s support for his plans and embarrass government officials who tried to stop perestroika.
  22. 22. Glasnost (Openness) • With glasnost, Soviet citizens no longer had to worry about neighbours, friends, and acquaintances turning them in to the KGB for whispering something that could be construed as criticism of the government or its leaders. • They no longer had to worry about arrest and exile for a negative thought against the State. • Glasnost opened the door for the Soviet people to re-examine their history, voice their opinions on governmental policies, and receive news not pre- approved by the government
  23. 23. Glasnost (Openness) • Openness ▫ To show that he was serious about allowing more openness, he put corrupt officials on trial and legalized books, films and plays that were once banned. He allowed religious freedom and freed political prisoners who had been jailed for criticizing the government or the Communist Party. ▫ He allowed historians to re-examine Soviet history and to remove all the falsehoods that previous leaders had started and maintained. The Soviet citizens for the first time learnt about the truth of the Bolshevik and Stalinist periods. They learnt about the killings that had been carried out then.
  24. 24. Glasnost (Openness) • Reforms on openness were welcomed but… • Lead to citizens craving for more and more freedoms which the Communists were not prepared to give – • Also led to tensions between the conservative communist leaders and the reformers under Gorbachev. • This meant that implementation of perestroika was slowed down or delayed. Successful in general but it affected the successful implementation of perestroika.
  25. 25. Was it too little too…late? • In the final analysis…yes it was too little too late. • By the time reforms in the system were first suggested and started to be implemented...many people were so used to the Communist way…that they were unwilling to give the reforms a chance. ▫ Reformers felt that reforms did not go far enough to improve the lives of citizens ▫ Conservatives feared the end of their power over the people – blocked any form of reform • Conservatives (those who believed in the Communist System) were also not willing to give up the power that they had accumulated over the people – this was precisely what the reforms were ordering them to do.
  26. 26. How did Communism come to an end in Eastern Europe • Gorbachev wanted to reduce Soviet military expenditure by removing troops from Eastern Europe. • Gorbachev also wanted perestroika and glasnost for Eastern Europe. • Gorbachev also announced that the people in the Communist countries of Eastern Europe: ▫ Should be free to choose the type of government they wanted and; ▫ …that the Soviet Union would not interfere in this.
  27. 27. How did Communism come to an end in Eastern Europe • Gorbachev‟s announcement came as a great surprise and shock to the dictators in the Eastern European countries, who had been fully supported by previous Soviet leaders. • These Communist governments had previously relied on Soviet troops stationed in their countries to keep them in power. • Gorbachev‟s policies greatly weakened the authority of the Communists in Eastern European countries and removed the fear people had of their governments.
  28. 28. How did Communism come to an end in Eastern Europe • People in Eastern Europe became less afraid to speak out against their Communist leaders. They also started to organize protests calling for a change of government. • The number and size of the protests grew in scale and intensity. • Without the help of Soviet troops, the leaders of these countries found it difficult to control the protests and some of these leaders were deposed.
  29. 29. The Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu • This is a short video clip on the rise and fall of one of the Eastern European Communist leaders – Nicolae Ceausescu • 38355
  30. 30. How did Communism come to an end in the Soviet Union • Gorbachev’s reforms failed ▫ Perestroika and Glasnost had raised peoples‟ hopes for a better life. However Gorbachev‟s reforms did not solve the country‟s problems. ▫ Gorbachev‟s policies failed because Communist officials did not implement the reforms or only implemented them half-heartedly. ▫ It was difficult to put Gorbachev‟s policies into practice because he wanted to administer the country politically in the Communist way and the economy in the Capitalist way. Capitalism and communism were incompatible.
  31. 31. How did Communism come to an end in the Soviet Union • Loss of the Communist Party’s authority ▫ Gorbachev‟s glasnost allowed the Soviet people to criticize government policies and to go on strikes – something they were never permitted to do. ▫ These changes weakened the power of the Communists and removed fear in the hearts of the people. ▫ The government could no longer control the people as before. ▫ Many people simply lost confidence in the Communist Party‟s ability to rule.
  32. 32. How did Communism come to an end in the Soviet Union? • Cold War Competition with the USA ▫ The USA deliberately took measures to weaken the economy of the Soviet Union.  The US prevented the sale of computers and other technologies to the Soviet Union.  The US worked with its ally Saudi Arabia (the world‟s largest exporter of oil) to keep the price of oil low. In this way it prevented the Soviet Union from earning billions of dollars through selling its oil  The US worked with its European allies to prevent the building of a natural gas pipeline from the Soviet Union to Europe. This also prevented the Soviets from earning hard currency.
  33. 33. How did Communism come to an end in the Soviet Union? • Cold War competition (con’td) ▫ The cold war also made the USSR spend more money than it could afford, due to the “Star Wars” programme and the war in Afghanistan. ▫ Gorbachev reduced military spending but it was too late to save the ailing Soviet economy.
  34. 34. How did Communism come to an end in the Soviet Union? • Nationalism in the Soviet Republics ▫ When Gorbachev loosed control, many of the Soviet republics began to ask for independence; but he was unwilling to let them leave the Union, and sent troops to try and prevent them from breaking away. ▫ The continuing protests in the republics made Gorbachev decide to give them greater autonomy. He hoped that this would make them agree to stay as part of the Soviet Union. ▫ Gorbachev arranged to sign a treaty with the republics called the Union Treaty, by this treaty the central government in Moscow would have control over foreign policy and national security, while the republics were free to make their own laws in other areas of government.
  35. 35. August 1991 coup • Many Communist hard-liners were afraid that the Union Treaty would lead to the break-up of the Soviet Union. The hard liners, who were members of Gorbachev‟s own party tried to overthrow him before Gorbachev and the leaders of the republics signed the Union Treaty. • On Aug 19th 1991, while Gorbachev was on holiday in the Crimea, he was placed under house arrest, the hard-liners announced that they had taken control of the Soviet Union. • Their aim was to bring back the Communist Party‟s power and establish complete control of the Soviet Union.
  36. 36. August 1991 coup • Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, said the coup leaders were traitors and asked the people of Russia to protest against the coup. Large numbers of Russian people supported Pres. Yeltsin‟s call. • They surrounded the Russian Parliament to protect Yeltsin. The soldiers sent to support the coup leaders decided not to shoot the protestors, many even joined them. The coup failed and seriously weakened the Communist Party and Gorbachev.
  37. 37. The End… • Gorbachev returned to Moscow, but lost all credibility and authority. Yeltsin was now the real leader, and he was willing to give the Soviet republics their independence. • There was nothing that Gorbachev could do to prevent this or maintain the authority of the party. • He resigned in December 1991. This resulted in the end of Communist rule in the Soviet Union. • The Soviet Union also came to an end as the Soviet republics broke away to become independent countries. • Russia became a democratic country with Yeltsin as its President.