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The End of the Cold War


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Referring to the Ellis and Esler Modern World History Textbook

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The End of the Cold War

  1. 1. The Soviet Union DeclinesPerestroika and glasnostFailed reformationChanges Transform Eastern EuropeCommunism Declines Around the World
  2. 2.  Signs of weakness had been clear from the beginning. The Russian people had long been subjugated by their leaders. Few personal or individual benefits were ever received by Russian citizens. Punishments were more common and more severe than rewards.
  3. 3.  Stalin’s successor Greater political expression and freedom Freed critics from prisons and labor camps Shifted the economy away from heavy industry and toward consumer goods. Still supported a command economy. Enforced obedience of satellite states with tanks and aggressive action. Wanted the Soviet Union to remain united.
  4. 4.  Collectivized agriculture was so unproductive that grain had to be imported to prevent people from starving. Consumer goods like shoes or television could not compete in terms of quality with countries with market-based economies. Led to inefficiency and waste. Central powers who tried to control the market were unaware of local needs and concerns. Workers had lifetime job security so were not incentivized to produce quality products. Standard of living did not improve over the generations.
  5. 5.  From what you experienced during the Soviet economy exercise when you sold cars in exchanged for rubles…why do you think a command economy proved ineffectual in the long run? Explain your c reasoning. (Five points)
  6. 6.  Mikhail Gorbachev came to power with the Soviet economy already in bad shape. He was eager to introduce reforms and avoided further Cold War confrontations with the United States. Established glasnost or “openness” and encouraged people to discuss the country’s problem openly.
  7. 7.  Gorbachev’s reforms also included perestroika or restructuring of the government and the economy. He allowed limited private enterprise, allowed farmers to sell on the free market and made local managers (not central planners) responsible for decision making. The reforms, however, brought chaos. Shortages grew, prices soared and unemployment was high. People who were at risk of now losing their jobs denounced the reforms. The spirit of glasnost inspired people from the satellite countries to speak out and lobby for independence.
  8. 8.  The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the first to receive full independence in the beginning of 1991. Large Slavic states such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia also moved toward independence in 1991 and maps of Europe and Asia had to be redrawn. After nearly 70 years, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
  9. 9.  When Gorbachev introduced glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, eastern Europeans began to seek greater freedom in their own countries. Resistance groups erupted in Poland, led by Lech Walesa, as well as in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
  10. 10.  In 1988, East Germany banned Soviet glasnost publications because they considered it to be subversive. East Germans knew that great prosperity and political freedom lay on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Thousands of East Berliners held demonstrations and protests across East Germany, demanding change.
  11. 11.  What did the fall of the Berlin Wall mean to West and East Berliners? What did the fall of the Berlin Wall mean to the rest of the world? Be specific. (Five points).
  12. 12.  Gorbachev inspired other leaders to consider economic and political changes. Command economies were suffering all around the world and free-markets were being re-examined by leaders. China and Vietnam made changes to their economy but North Korea and Cuba stayed firm within their economic ideologies.
  13. 13.  With the collapse of its rival, the U.S. was widely recognized as the only remaining superpower. Americans and others around the world had mixed reactions. When the Soviet state had seemed threatening, the U.S. was welcomed as a counterweight. However, now the U.S. had no one to compete with and would have much more influence.
  14. 14.  Decide which analogy you think is most fitting when discussing what role the United States played during the Cold War. 1) A police officer on a school campus 2) A bully on the playground 3) A referee in a basketball game 4) A gunfighter in the Wild West Cite specific historical events to support your position. (10 points)