- Slides: 22
The End of the Soviet Union
Inferior Russian Economy n n n The USSR emerged from WWII as a superpower Soviet Union controlled many E. European satellite countries For many people, the country’s superpower status brought few rewards and no increase in standard of living Consumer goods were inferior and workers were poorly paid Because workers had lifetime job security, there was little incentive to produce high-quality goods
Technological Successes in the Soviet Union n n Still, there were some important technological successes One example was Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite, launched in 1957 Keeping up with the United States in an arms race also strained and drained the Soviet economy Then, in 1979, Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan and became involved in a long war similar to Vietnam The Soviets had few successes battling the mujahedin, or Muslim religious warriors, creating a crisis in morale in the USSR
Sputnik I History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U. S. -U. S. S. R space race.
New Soviet Leadership n n n A new Soviet leader named Mikhail Gorbachev emerged in 1985 who favored changes to the USSR Gorbachev urged economic and political reforms for the USSR He called for glasnost (openness) in Soviet society Gorbachev ended censorship and encouraged people to discuss the country’s problems openly Gorbachev also called for perestroika, or a restructuring of the government and the economy His policies fueled unrest across other countries in the Soviet empire
Unrest in Eastern Europe n n n Eastern Europeans, thirsty for political and economic changes, demanded an end to Soviet rule Previous attempts to defy Soviet authority had failed Examples: When Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) challenged communist rulers, the Soviets sent in military forces to crush the revolts
Democracy Movement in Eastern Europe n n By the end of the 1980 s, a powerful democracy movement was sweeping across Eastern Europe In Poland, Lech Walesa led Solidarity, an independent, unlawful labor union demanding economic and political changes When Gorbachev declared he would not interfere in Eastern European political and economic reforms, Solidarity was legalized A year later, Walesa was elected president of Poland
Lech Walesa – Leader of Solidarity Movement
Fall of Eastern European Dictatorships n n n Meanwhile, East German Communist leaders resisted reform, and thousands of East Germans fled to the west as the border between Hungary and Austria opened In Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, a dissident writer, was elected president One by one, communist governments fell in Europe Most changes happened peacefully, but Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu refused to step down and he was executed (Dec. 25, 1989) The Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) regained independence after 50 years of Soviet control
Nicolae Ceausescu Dictator of Romania
Fall of the Berlin Wall n n President Ronald Reagan asked Mikhail Gorbachev to remove the Berlin Wall that separated West Berlin from East Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” - these were the famous televised words that Reagan said to Gorbachev, the leader of the former Soviet Union, in reference to the Berlin Wall that had divided residents of West Berlin from East Berlin since the wall was constructed in 1961
Fall of the Berlin Wall n n The fall of the Berlin Wall happened nearly as suddenly as its rise. There had been signs that the Communist bloc was weakening, but the East German Communist leaders insisted that East Germany just needed a moderate change rather than a drastic revolution. East German citizens did not agree. As Communism began to falter in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia in 1988 and 1989, new exodus points were opened to East Germans who wanted to flee to the West. Then suddenly, on the evening of November 9, 1989, an announcement made by East German government official Günter Schabowski stated, "Permanent relocations can be done through all border checkpoints between the GDR (East Germany) into the FRG (West Germany) or West Berlin. " People were in shock. Were the borders really open? East Germans tentatively approached the border and indeed found that the border guards were letting people cross. Very quickly, the Berlin Wall was inundated with people from both sides. Some began chipping at the Berlin Wall with hammers and chisels. There was an impromptu huge celebration along the Berlin Wall, with people hugging, kissing, singing, cheering, and crying. The Berlin Wall was eventually chipped away, into smaller pieces (some the size of a coin and others in big slabs). The pieces have become collectibles and are stored in both homes and museums. After the Berlin Wall came down, East and West Germany reunified into a single German state on October 3, 1990.
Berlin Wall Speech (June 12, 1987) n Please watch President Reagan’s speech: n http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=Wj. WDr. TXMg. F 8
Fall of Eastern European Dictatorships n n By the end of 1991, the remaining Soviet republics had all formed independent nations The Soviet Union ceased to exist after 69 years of communist rule In 1992, Czechoslovakia was divided into two separate countries: Slovakia and the Czech Republic Additionally, some communist governments in Asia, such as China, instituted economic reforms only but no political reforms
Fall of Eastern European Dictatorships n n n North Korea is hardline communist with no political or economic reforms Vietnam implemented some economic reforms Cuba is still communist and has lost much economic support from the former Soviet Union
Powerpoint Questions (16 points) 1. Why was the Soviet economy inferior? (provide examples) 2. What did the Soviet Union launch in 1957? 3. Who were the mujahedin? 4. What country did the Soviet Union invade in Afghanistan 5. Who became the new Soviet leader in 1985? 6. What does glasnost mean? 7. Explain perestroika.
Powerpoint Questions (16 points) 8. What two countries challenged Soviet rule in the 1950 s and 1960 s? (2 points) 9. What was Solidarity? Who was its leader? (2 points) 10. Who was the Romanian leader who refused to step down from power and who was ultimately executed? 11. What action did President Ronald Reagan demand from Soviet leader Gorbachev? 12. What happened to the Soviet Union by 1991? 13. Into what two countries was Czechoslovakia divided? (2 points)