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Communism in Crisis: 1976 – 1991

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  1. Communism in Crisis:1976 – 1991 IB Paper One Document Analysis

  2. Topics to be covered, China: • Power struggle after Mao’s death and the defeat of the Gang of Four • China under Deng Xiaoping and 4 Modernizations • Political changes/ Tiananmen Square

  3. Topics to be covered: USSR • Domestic and foreign problems of Brezhnev era • Economic and political stagnation • Afghanistan • Gorbachev’s aims, perestroika and glasnost • Consequences of 1980s policies for Eastern Europe (Poland and Czechoslovakia)

  4. Things to remember… • OPVL…always… • We have access to documents from USSR, which has allowed some objective secondary research in recent years • Accounts from China outside the official view are hard to come by, and largely anecdotal • Question inherent assumptions in prompts and sources (IB really likes this)

  5. China • 1976: Mao dies • Hua Guofeng is designated successor • Gang of Four (led by Jiang Qing) jockey for power • Struggle ensues between Right and Left • Hua Guofeng is neutral • “Two Whatevers”

  6. Gang of Four • Led by Jiang Qing • Radical Leftists, drivers of Cultural Revolution • Power in media, urban militia, universities • Eliminate revisionism and Four Olds • Allied with Mao’s nephew – Mao Yuanxin • Cut short mourning period for Zhou Enlai • Qingming Festival turns into a protest, riot, crackdown

  7. Gang of Four Bid for Power • Gang of Four see Hua as weak and malleable • Losing base of support, plan a coup • Includes assassinations of Hua and other party officials • General Chen and Su report plans to Hua • Gang of Four arrested and denounced

  8. End of Gang of Four • Years in prison before trial • Celebrations and denounced as enemies of the people • Show trial • Death sentences and long prison sentences • Blamed for excesses of Cultural Revolution • “10 Lost Years”

  9. Pragmatists • Led by Deng Xiaoping • Support in moderates, rightists, military • Deng rehabilitated after 3rd purge • Four Modernizations • Soon moved away from Hua’s “2 whatevers”

  10. 10 Year Plan (way better than 5) • Driven by incentives and catching up • Military: • Modernize technology • Science and Technology: • Reform education, send students overseas • Industry: • Heavy industry, SOE’s, limited autonomy • Agriculture: • Mechanize, Household Responsibility System

  11. Adding foreign capital • Open Door Policy • Nixon visits in 1972 • Diverisfy • Need managerial and technical training • Special Economic Zones • Special zones for foreign investment to limit exposure to west • Lenient economic policies

  12. Results? • Huge economic growth (11%) • Specialists training abroad had to adjust to outdated systems at home • Consumer choice grew • Pollution and deforestation • Party members still privileged • Resentment growing…

  13. Political Reforms • Criticism of Gang of Four led to greater criticism • Democracy Wall becomes a forum for public dissent • Pro-democracy advocates growing • “5th Modernization” • Wei Jingsheng (show trial, 15 years)

  14. More Political Reforms • Deng travels, seeking new markets and allies • Foreign journalists (like Jan Wong) allowed to report from within China • Intellectuals allowed some criticism • 1986: students encouraged to participate in government • Demonstrate for better conditions and freedoms

  15. Lead-up to Tiananmen Square • Hu Yaobang dies (General Secretary) in April • Mourning turns into criticism and calls for social change • Students lead demonstrations in Tiananmen Square • Includes pro-democracy movement and “Goddess of Democracy” statue

  16. Tiananmen Square, June 1989 • Zhao Ziyang (new Gen. Sec) tries to work with protesters • Students intensify protest, hunger strikes • Global attention due to Gorbachev’s visit • Foreign press in town • Deng orders military to seize control • 100s killed, riots suppressed • “Tank Man”

  17. Reaction? • World supported protestors • Very little official response to repression • Leaders rounded up and arrested • “Most Favored Nation” status renewed in US • Zhang purged • Economic liberalization NOT political

  18. USSR: Brezhnev Era • Economic Stagnation • Years of poor harvests lead to morale and productivity declines • Consumer goods limited and poor quality • Thriving ‘black market’ • 25% GNP spent on military (missile gap)

  19. Dissent in USSR • Samizdat • Self-published illegal pamphlets distributed in USSR • Tamizdat • Smuggled illegal pamphlets published abroad • Minorities and non-Russians • Using Helsinki Accords 1975 to advocate for equal treatment

  20. Political Stagnation • Gerontocracy: rule by elderly • Very conservative • No new ideas or leaders • “stability” meant stagnation

  21. Foreign Policy Challenges • Brezhnev Doctrine – limited sovereignty • Keep communist regimes in place, protect from internal and external threats • Détente: SALT • Arms limitation • Role in Angolan revolution, Somalia, Mozambique

  22. Afghanistan 1979 - 1989 • Rebel forces, Mujahideen, oppose PDPA • Mujahideen assassinate PDPA leaders, Soviet advisors…civil war brewing • Invasion to support PDPA, invoking Brezhnev Doctrine • 10 year intervention, 10,000s lives lost • “USSR’s Vietnam” • CIA supported Mujahadeen

  23. Andropov and Chernenko • Brezhnev dies 1982 • Continuation of much the same policies • Supported suppression of Polish Solidarity movement • Poor relations with USA • Gorbachev takes power in 1985

  24. Gorbachev, 1985-1989 • 54 = young and vital! • Reformer • Sought to repair an ailing system • “the worst time for a regime to reform is when it is in crisis”

  25. Gorbachev’s Reforms • Decreased alcohol consumption (lost tax revenue) • Perestroika: Economy • Decentralize planning, end price controls • Glasnost: Politics • Open to criticism, dissidents rehabilitated • Demokratiztsiya

  26. Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy • Satellites expensive! • Renounce Brezhnev Doctrine • Withdraw from Afghanistan • Too costly, no clear objective • Meet with Reagan • Ease strain of confrontation • INF and START treaties • Reduce stockpiles and cost of maintaining arsenal

  27. Consequences in Eastern Europe • Satellites facing same problems • Dissent, economic instability, shortage of consumer goods • Local party officials (apparatchiks) concerned with Gorbachev’s reforms • Fear losing control • Nationalist movements gain momentum

  28. Poland - Solidarity • Origins 1970 strike in Gdansk shipyard • Lech Walesa and others strike for better conditions • “consumer socialism” • Rent controls, food prices controlled • Riot in 1976 to protest food prices • Leads to dissent movement and underground newspaper “Robotnik”

  29. Poland cont… • Pope John Paul II visits 1980, encourages dissent on religious grounds • National debt rising, food prices again • 21 demands, including legalize unions, pay and working conditions, religion • Allowed to exist for 469 days • Leader imprisoned, martial law

  30. Poland Cont… • Created atmosphere of pluralism • Moral revolution • Peaceful focus, anti-political • 1981 October Program challenged Communist Party • Martial Law imposed, Walesa imprisoned

  31. Poland Cont… • Jaruzelski (Polish leader) imposes control • Allows media and religious freedom as long as distanced from Solidarity • Weakness of economy difficult to address • “Fondest dream is of a roll of toilet paper” • Solidarity legalized and invited to government meetings in Feb 1989 • Sweep elections

  32. East Germany – Berlin Wall • GDR loyal hardliners, Stasi feared • “Ostpolitik” built a bridge between east and west • Open borders in Hungary and Czechoslovakia lead to alarming exodus to west • Dissent and protests abound • Travel laws relaxed, wall opens Nov 9, 1989

  33. Czechoslovakia – Velvet Revolution • Resisted de-Stalinization • Economic decline in 1950s lead to reforms • Dubcek as leader: “Socialism with a human face” • Open debate, relax censorship and travel rules, greater autonomy for Slovakia • Reforms concern hardliners

  34. Czechoslovakia • Students get involved, start non-communist parties • Leader Vaclav Havel, writer and dissident • Genuine democracy seems attainable • Neighboring regimes get concerned by reforms • Hardliners appeal to Moscow

  35. Prague Spring 1968 • Warsaw Pact forces invade in August • First exercise of “Brezhnev Doctrine” • Likened to Nazi invasion in 1939 • Disillusioning to students and leaders • Confusion as to who was ‘helping’ who • Dubcek forced to capitulate at gunpoint in Moscow

  36. “Normalization” • Gustav Husak hardliner • Purge party of reformers, censorship restored, etc • Roll-back of reforms • State provided basic standard of living, better than most Soviet bloc states • Charter 77 issued as opposition, gained global publicity

  37. Czechoslovakia 1981-1989 • Perestroika and Glasnost exciting ideas in Prague • Even more exciting: rejection of Brezhnev Doctrine • Dissidents cautious… • Economic decline leads to greater dissent • Opportunities for young limited

  38. Velvet Revolution 1989 • Opposition coming from environmental groups, political groups, rock and roll, etc • Religious freedom demands growing (like Poland) • May: borders open, June: Solidarity wins, Nov. 9: Berlin Wall down • Nov 17 commemoration turns into anti-government riot

  39. Velvet Revolution cont… • Riot dealt with violently, leading to more protest and outrage • Civic Forum created by Havel to articulate demands • Communist party can’t hold on – no new ideas • Police and military can’t be relied on to crackdown • President resigns, Dubcek and Havel appear triumphant • Havel new president by the end of 1989

  40. Issues for post-Soviet control • Lack of democratic traditions • United by opposition, now what do we want? • Remnants of old regime • Old party admins needed to create structure • Economic disasters • Harsh realities of global markets and capitalism • Socio-cultural • Economic crisis, fear and nationalism