The end of the cold war

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The end of the cold war

  1. 1. The End of the Cold War
  2. 2. The Soviet Union was slowly going bankrupt….  The space race and arms race severely hurt the Soviet economy.  Attempting to spread communism ALSO weakened the Soviet economy.  As the Soviet people saw their economy crumbling, discontent began to grow in the Soviet Union.
  3. 3. Mikhail Gorbachev  Mikhail Gorbachev was elected Soviet leader in 1982.  He slowly moved the Soviet state from totalitarianism.  Supported perestroika (economic restructuring) which allowed private property.  And glasnost (openness) which allowed the people more rights and freedoms
  4. 4. Gorbachev Vs Reagan
  5. 5. Reagan  Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 and immediately went on the offensive against communism.  Called the Soviet Union an “EVIL EMPIRE”  Proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative - a satellite and ground based protection from nukes.
  6. 6. A Cold War Thaws….  In 1985, Gorbachev and Reagan met in person and began discussing ways to limit the Cold War.  They agreed to limit their weapon stockpiles and end the arms race.  Gorbachev agreed to democratization, or allowing the people to choose their grovernment.
  7. 7. Meanwhile….  At the same time that the Soviet Union began to change, Eastern European countries began hungering for freedom.  Countries behind the Iron Curtain were poor but could see their nearby neighboring countries were wealthy.  This led to the growth of resistance movements against the Soviet controllers.
  8. 8. Freedoms Spread to Eastern Europe
  9. 9. Two Examples  The Polish Solidarity movement used strikes to gain recognition.  They elected Lech Walesa as the first democratically elected leader of Poland.  In Hungary, they literally cut a hole in the fences separating them from freedom.  Because of this example, the Hungarian people overthrew their communist government in 1989.
  10. 10. “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall”  These events inspired the East Germans.  In 1989, East Germans began tearing down the Berlin Wall.  When the Wall was torn down, Germany was finally reunited as one democratic country.  The ultimate symbol of Soviet oppression was destroyed.
  11. 11. Finally  Events throughout Europe began inspiring states in the Soviet Union to want freedom also.  Lithuania was the first to declare independence in 1990.  Although Gorbachev tried to blockade them, he failed.  This led to the Soviet Union falling apart in 1991.

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