The collapse of Soviet Union and communism in was a great event in the history of the world. After the disintegration of Soviet Union, the Eastern European states and Russia faced many challenges.
Next lecture [This lecture was written in August It is clear after the passage of time that some sections would be written differently today. However, I have elected to keep the original text here as written with only minor editing: It will be many years before a full documentary record is available, or the evidence that is required for a complete, reliable picture of what happened.
However, one can discuss the causes ofand explore some interpretations. This lecture discusses four explanations. Many of the key events in those explanations are interrelated, and it makes some sense to treat them as four stages in a lengthy process.
Briefly, these four explanations are: Collapse due to economic failure: The Revolutions of and the general unrest which preceded them during the s have been interpreted as outgrowths of the economic failure of Communism.
When oil prices rose in and and slowed the world economy, the Communist Bloc states could no longer make payments on their debts, and this led to a loss of credit and internal economic problems from which they never recovered. Collapse due to the arms race: The end of Soviet Communism has also been explained as a result of an economic crisis in which American military pressure and the costs of the arms race were the most important causes.
Collapse due to "perestroika" in the Soviet Union: Another explanation points to the Soviet Union and emphasizes the "perestroika" politics of Mikhail Gorbachev, without which revolutionary change in Eastern Europe would have remained impossible.
Gorbachev did two things: Once it was clear that the Soviet Union would no longer intervene in the affairs of its neighbors, Eastern Europeans were able to address their own local needs in their own way.
Collapse due to the rise of alternatives to Communism: An approach that looks for explanations within Eastern Europe, rather than from the outside, argues that economic failure and the loss of Russian Communist pressure still do not explain the specific events and outcomes of the East European and Balkan Revolutions of The entrenched Communist leadership might have retained power on their own, except for the growth of alternatives to which the various nations could turn to redefine their societies.
Because this view uncovers very different developments in the various states, therefore it also explains why the revolutions had such very different outcomes in various parts of the Bloc. In Poland and Czechoslovakia, for example, alternatives included the so-called "civil society" movement and created local leaders like Poland's Lech Walesa and Czechoslovakia's Vaclav Havel, who stood up to authoritarian rule in the late '70s and early '80s to demand political pluralism and individual freedom.
At the same time, states like the former Yugoslav republics followed a contrasting path in which the most successful alternatives involved nationalist figures who reintroduced familiar Balkan political themes.
The interaction of these explanations,and of critical events outside Eastern Europe, is apparent in following the development of Eastern European Communism in the two decades preceding Economic failure Eastern European Communism reached its political and economic high point in the late s and early s.
The Soviet Union had become a scientific and military superpower comparable to the United States. Thanks to limited economic reforms like the New Economic Mechanism in Hungary and acceptance of a semi-private "second economy," the Communist states achieved striking economic growth.
This economic success made it hard to dismiss claims that socialism was a valid alternative to capitalism, especially for developing nations.
FromGNP per capita rose in the same six states by 2. In Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, GNP per capita doubled between andand new production began to include a higher proportion of consumer goods. GNP per capita was still only half of the American level, but the Communist states seemed to be catching up while offering universal health care, access to education, and full employment.
These growth figures were in some ways misleading.
Non-Communist Greece had rates of GNP growth for and that were even higher than those for the Comecon states 6. Three traps were ahead for the East European economies.
First, growth on the cheap was about to end. Opportunities to build on previously untapped natural resources were exhausted: The Soviet Union had subsidized growth in the region by offering economic aid, petroleum and natural gas supplies, and expertise at low costs; world events would soon force Moscow to curtail these resources or demand payment at market value.
East Bloc labor had worked hard for minimal rewards, and by doing so, those workers had been subsidizing socialism: Second, economic reform introduced new expectations. When the Bloc regimes accepted limited levels of Western profit incentives through reforms like the New Economic Mechanismthey fostered popular demands for better conditions.
When the Polish state stopped subsidizing low food prices inconsumers experienced reduced access to goods:The collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union led to upheaval and transition in the region of Eastern Europe in the s. Each country in the region was under Communist rule.
The countries bordering Russia were once part of the Soviet Union, and those countries not part of the Soviet Union were heavily influenced by its dominant position in. A STEP TO THE RIGHT. Eastern Europe is undergoing important changes that could erode Europe's security and damage U.S.
interests. The enlargement of both NATO and the European Union was supposed to consolidate political and economic reform in the region and aid its integration with the West. The causes of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe were that it had no popular support, political downfall, and economic problems.
The fact that the USSR had gained all of its money from the Eastern European states (after world war 2), Stalin's paranoia of the West forced him to put all that money into defensive arms and 3/5(2). What were the major events in Eastern Europe-particularly Poland- that contributed to the collapse of communism The relative overemphasis of military support vs.
economic needs, particularly in Russia proper but also endemic to the Warsaw Bloc as a whole. Initiating these reforms inspired Soviet-controlled Eastern European countries to demand reforms of their own, and eventually undermined communist control of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
By , communism had ended in the East European satellite states, and . Failures in Eastern Europe The invasion of Czechoslovakia 'ushered in a period of relative calm in Eastern Europe. However, fundamental problems ‘were present in the region, which Brezhnev man- aged to ignore for a long time.