The Soviet System’s Collapse. Geoffrey Halgas Period 4. Seminar Question:. Considering the period 1953 to 1991, analyze the problems within the Soviet Union that contributed to the eventual collapse of the Soviet system. Background Information.
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Geoffrey Halgas Period 4
Considering the period 1953 to 1991, analyze the problems within the Soviet Union that contributed to the eventual collapse of the Soviet system.
In early 1944 Joseph Stalin started to revert Russia back towards dictatorship due to his tensions with the United States of America. Amidst this, the leading members of the communist party created a new slogan: “The war on Fascism ends, the war on capitalism begins.” In the years 1945 and 1946 Stalin purged the returning soldiers from war, and the citizens as well. Thus reviving the forced-labor camps of the 1930’s. Stalin not only purged his people but their culture and art as well. He did so because he believed they derived from the West, which made them evil. Stalin also reestablished his five year plans which gave heavy industry and the military top priority. This meant that consumer goods, housing, and collectivized agriculture were neglected, and that daily life in the Soviet Union just became very hard. Very few people, such as Josip Broz Tito, were able to resist Soviet control. However, their resistance did not last very long. So, they were eventually purged by Stalin.
Stalin dies of old age in 1953
Communist leaders did not know , by how much, to change the Soviet System
Reformers, such as Nikita Khrushchev, wanted to make major improvements
Other Communist Soviet Union leaders: Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev
Drastically different styles of ruling led to the downfall of the Soviet Union
De-Stalinization of the Soviet Union
Stirred rebellion in Eastern European countries under Russia (Ex. : Poland and Hungary)
Rebellion in Hungary (1956)
Weakened Communist party by driving them out
Russia ordered Moscow to invade Hungary after De-Stalinization, Liberalization, renounced Hungary’s military alliance with Moscow
Cuban Missile Crisis
Gave nuclear warheads to Communist Cuba, under Fidel Castro, in 1962
U.S. naval blockade forced Khrushchev to take the nuclear missiles back and to back down
Re-Stalinization of Soviet Union
End of liberalization, brought back Communism but only the “good points”
Brezhnev Doctrine: gave the Soviet Union and its allies the right to intervene in any socialist country whenever they saw the need
Invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968): Showed the determination of the ruler to maintain the status quo
(Helsinki Conference of 1975)D’etente: Relieving tensions between nations through agreement
Americans believed that the Soviet Union was taking advantage of the D’etente by building up its military and political gains (Ex. : Soviet invasion on Afghanistan in 1979, designed to save an unpopular Marxist regime)
Perestroika “Restructuring” : lowered the price of goods and allowed personal services for consumers
Failed due to dissatisfaction in 1988
Glasnost “Openness” : Allowed people to be more free, however went too far and led to Democratization, equality for all
Democratization : Citizens demanded for more freedoms, some even rioted, and Gorbachev lost a lot of power
Boris Yeltsin is elected for president of Russia, August 1991
Gorbachev no longer in control
Citizens wanted a Democracy
“Rebirth of Russia”