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THE END…
Gorbachev and the Fall of
Communism
Mikhail Gorbachev
• Gorbachev was a different leader than
previous Soviet leaders
• At heart, he was not a ruthless
dictat...
The Economic Failure of
Communism
• Communism failed to
serve the needs of its
people (ironic)
• Food shortages, low pay,
...
The Role of
Technology
• It was clear to the citizens of E. Europe that W. Europe
was doing much better
• Their expectatio...
Chernobyl Disaster: April 1986
• The meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear
power facility embarrassed Gorbachev and
further inspired him to bring change
• Su...
Glasnost (1986): “Openness”
• allowed open criticism of the state, encouraging
debate
• newspapers became less censored
• ...
• He denounced the narrowness of Stalin’s
command economy, praised Lenin’s New
Economic Policy
• He reaffirmed his commitm...
Nationalism: Poland
and Solidarity
• Solidarity: Trade Union formed by Lech
Walesa in 1980 (declared illegal)
• In 1989, a...
Nationalism: East
Germany and the Wall
• Wall becomes useless as Hungary becomes democratic & opens borders (East Germany
...
Nationalism: Czechoslovakia
and the Velvet Revolution
• Vaclav Havel and
Alexander Dubcek
• Overwhelmed by the
protest mov...
Boris Yeltsin
• 1990-1991 power struggle between
Gorbachev and Yeltsin
• Yeltsin: abandon Gorbachev, abandon
Soviet states...
The End of the USSR
• While Gorby was relaxing at his
dacha, 8 hardcore party officials
attempt to seize power
• Yeltsin s...
Why did Communism Fail in
the USSR?
• Economic Stagnation – the system was no longer productive
• The Party's inability to...
The Collapse of Communism & the USSR
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The Collapse of Communism & the USSR

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End of Cold War

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The Collapse of Communism & the USSR

  1. 1. THE END… Gorbachev and the Fall of Communism
  2. 2. Mikhail Gorbachev • Gorbachev was a different leader than previous Soviet leaders • At heart, he was not a ruthless dictator • He was reluctant to use force to control people • When the populations of E. Europe realized this, they became bolder and stronger
  3. 3. The Economic Failure of Communism • Communism failed to serve the needs of its people (ironic) • Food shortages, low pay, poor or no consumer goods • Given the chance, these people chose to end communism
  4. 4. The Role of Technology • It was clear to the citizens of E. Europe that W. Europe was doing much better • Their expectations began to rise; they began to demand better = 80’s Twitter
  5. 5. Chernobyl Disaster: April 1986
  6. 6. • The meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power facility embarrassed Gorbachev and further inspired him to bring change • Suggested Soviet technological incompetence
  7. 7. Glasnost (1986): “Openness” • allowed open criticism of the state, encouraging debate • newspapers became less censored • The academic world was allowed (in fact ordered) to correct Soviet history • Gorbachev denounced Stalin • “Socialism has not yet arrived in the Soviet Union”
  8. 8. • He denounced the narrowness of Stalin’s command economy, praised Lenin’s New Economic Policy • He reaffirmed his commitment to one ideology (communism) • He admitted Soviets were wrong in Hungary (’56) and Czechoslovakia (’68) • He announced his intention to renew détente with the USA, and he emphasized “common human values” with Americans
  9. 9. Nationalism: Poland and Solidarity • Solidarity: Trade Union formed by Lech Walesa in 1980 (declared illegal) • In 1989, amid strikes, protests, and a faltering economy, the Polish Communist Party agreed to free elections • Solidarity, now a political party, won a landslide victory • Lech Walesa = new president, breaks from USSR
  10. 10. Nationalism: East Germany and the Wall • Wall becomes useless as Hungary becomes democratic & opens borders (East Germany -> Hungary -> Austria) • Nov 9, 1989 the wall was opened, free elections were promised, and arrangements were made for the reunification of the two Germanys
  11. 11. Nationalism: Czechoslovakia and the Velvet Revolution • Vaclav Havel and Alexander Dubcek • Overwhelmed by the protest movement, the communist party decided to go peacefully • Havel became president of the new democratic Czechoslovakia in December 1989
  12. 12. Boris Yeltsin • 1990-1991 power struggle between Gorbachev and Yeltsin • Yeltsin: abandon Gorbachev, abandon Soviet states? • Economic conditions for Russians were worse than ever, and people blamed Gorbachev • Yeltsin promised democratic and economic reform – promised conversion to the free market
  13. 13. The End of the USSR • While Gorby was relaxing at his dacha, 8 hardcore party officials attempt to seize power • Yeltsin stopped them • Gorbachev lost face and resigned • Yeltsin simply took the reigns • USSR ended on…. Dec 25, 1991
  14. 14. Why did Communism Fail in the USSR? • Economic Stagnation – the system was no longer productive • The Party's inability to adapt or reform – officials were stubbornly committed to something that wasn't working anymore • Military Spending – nearly bankrupted the nation • USSR spent 20% of GNP on military, USA 6% • Political Corruption – officials lined their own pockets at the expense of the nation

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