Chapter 28 Brave New World: Communism. The States of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
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1. Poland achieved stability in the l960s but by 1971 economic problems became unsettling. An effort in 1980 to pay off its foreign debt by increasing food prices resulted in worker protests that gave birth to a labor movement called Solidarity. Concessions were wrung from the government until December 1981 when leaders of Solidarity were arrested. The union was outlawed and the military assumed rule. In 1988 demonstrations broke out and the regime had to concede free parliamentary elections. In April 1990 it was decided that a new president would be freely elected. In December Lech Walesa was chosen president.
2. After the Soviet Union crushed the Hungarian revolution in 1956, it imposed Janos Kadar on the nation. A reformist1 he maintained many of the revolution's economic reforms. In the 1980s, he legalized small private enterprise and slowly moved Hungary away from strict Soviet dominance. Multi-candidate elections were permitted in 1985. Nevertheless, economic difficulties led to Kadar's ouster in 1988. The communist government faced growing dissatisfaction from the populace and began initiating reforms. In 1990 elections brought a coalition government to power which committed Hungary to democracy and a free economy.
3. Although the Czechoslovakian Communist government repressed opposition after the 1968 revolution, dissident movements grew in the 1970s and especially the 1980s. Attempts to suppress demonstrations in 1988 and 1989 led to more demonstrations. Continuing public pressure resulted in the collapse of the Communist government in December 1989. The Czechs and Slovaks could not agree on the makeup of the new state and therefore peacefully agreed to divide the country between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This was accomplished on January 1, 1993.
4. The iron grip of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania was broken in 1989 when his plan for rapid urbanization in conjunction with a poor economy and food shortages led to the loss of support from the people and the army. He was executed on Christmas Day, 1989. The new government has shown little commitment to democracy. In nearby Bulgaria the Communist party succumbed to anti-government demonstrations in 1989 and in 1990 free elections were held with the old Communist party under the name of the Bulgarian socialist won the election. Likewise, the movement to democracy reached Albania in 1989 when reforms brought free elections in 1991. In Yugoslavia, the death of Josip Tito in 1980 left a vacuum and when the people were caught up in the reform movements the government ended authoritarian socialism in 1990. Serbian (Yugoslavia) objectives in forming a Greater Serbian state have led to war.
1. How did the democratic movements of the 1980's destroy communism?
The States of Eastern Europe and
the Former Soviet Union
The People’s Republic of China 1945-1970
1. By 1948 the demoralized Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek were disintegrating. In 1949 Chiang and one million mainland Chinese fled to Taiwan. In victory, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China. Within three years the Communists succeeded in consolidating their rule. It was not accomplished without cost. In 1957 Mao admitted 800,000 "enemies' had been liquidated.
2. With a large army at its disposal, China sought to re-establish its jurisdiction over the important areas lost with the decline of the Manchus. Mongolia became a separate republic with ties to the Soviet Union, but China retained Xinjiang. China also sent its forces into Tibet.
3. Mao and Joseph Stalin established a close relationship in the early 1950s and China followed Russia's lead in world affairs. In 1950 a thirty-year treaty of friendship was signed. China began to go its own way, however, as it initiated the Great Leap Forward in 1958 to achieve accelerated development. When Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union criticized Chinese policy, Mao reacted angrily in 1960 and relations between the two states deteriorated. Russian economic aid was abruptly cut off and scientists helping to build a Chinese atomic bomb were withdrawn. In 1969 fighting between China and Russia occurred along the northern border of Xinjiang and over an island in the Ussuri River in the northeast. Both deployed about a million troops along their 5000 mile mutual border.
4. Sino-Indian relations took a tumble when Chinese troops suppressed a revolt in Tibet in 1959 and India gave asylum to the Dalai Lama. When it was learned the Chinese were building a road in a region of Tibet claimed by India, troops were sent to the area in the summer of 1962. A brief border war was fought in which Indian troops were routed when Chinese forces crossed the border.
5. In 1975 a unified Vietnam became an ally of the Soviet Union and thus an enemy of China. The Soviets gave economic and military aid in return for a naval base at Cam Ranh Bay. Relations with China deteriorated in the late 1970s in part due to ill treatment of ethnic Chinese in the country and belief that Vietnam was not sufficiently grateful for the aid it had given during the war. In 1979 China sought to teach Vietnam a lesson by invading its four northern provinces. Vietnam repulsed the invaders but with heavy losses for both sides.
6. In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to China.
1. What problems existed between China and Russia?
2. What were the sources of conflict between China and India?
The People’s Republic of China
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong 1945-1970