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Why did the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc Fall? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why did the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc Fall?. Growth of resistance movements The desire of political rights The Economic system was ineffective Production, standard of living and income declined Citizens in communist countries saw in the “West”

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Why did the soviet union and soviet bloc fall
Why did the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc Fall?

  • Growth of resistance movements

  • The desire of political rights

  • The Economic system was ineffective

    • Production, standard of living and income declined

  • Citizens in communist countries saw in the “West”

    • Political freedoms, better economies and success of democratic nations


  • Solidarity: A Polish Labor Union

    • Opposed communist rule

    • Demanded government recognition of their group

  • Led by Lech Walesa

    • Gained popularity through strike and sit-ins

    • Was elected Poland’s first President in April 1989


  • Citizens began fleeing to the west in 1989

  • A hole was cut in the fence between Hungary and Austria

  • Hole got bigger defections continued to grow

  • Stated to include people from E. Germany

East germany
East Germany

  • Demands for reforms and protests increased

    • For political and economic rights

  • November 1989 the Berlin Wall began to be torn down

    • Protests started on West Berlin side

    • Protests culminated with W. Berlin citizens climbing up on the wall and starting to break it apart with sledge hammers

    • Protests ended with the opening of the Brandenburg Gate (Check Point Charlie)

East germany1
East Germany

  • The fall of the Berlin Wall removed a symbol of division between Communism and Capitalism

  • East and West Germany reunited into a democratic country

  • The collapse of the Berlin Wall reflected the changes in Communist Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s

The soviet union
The Soviet Union

  • The primary communist country throughout the Cold War

  • Changes in Eastern Europe connected to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union

    • Cost of stopping resistance movements

    • Cost of supporting the spread of Communism

    • Cost of the space and arms race

The soviet union1
The Soviet Union

  • U.S.S.R. faced declining levels of production, income and standard of living

  • Made failures of Communist (Command) economy more apparent

  • Citizens began demanding changes and wanted more political freedom

The soviet union2
The Soviet Union

  • Mikhail Gorbachev leader of Soviet Union 1982

  • Under his leadership Soviet Union moved away from totalitarian system

  • Gorbachev encouraged economic and social reforms

The soviet union3
The Soviet Union

  • Perestroika-economic restructuring

    • Allowed for decision making in manufacturing and private ownership of private business

  • Glasnost- a policy of openness

    • More public participation in government and greater individual rights

  • Began working with US President Ronald Reagan

    • Symbolizing a decline (détente) in tensions of the Cold War

Ronald reagan
Ronald Reagan

  • US President from 1980-1988

  • Began his 1st term in a defensive and hostile manner towards the Soviet Union

  • 1983 referred to U.S.S.R. as “The Evil Empire”

  • Proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or “Star Wars”

Star wars
“Star Wars”

  • Continued the trend of competition and animosity between the two superpowers

  • Was designed to use ground and space systems to defend the US from possible nuclear attack

Reagan and gorbachev
Reagan and Gorbachev

  • 1985 both met in person and relationship changed for the better

  • 1987 signed a treaty to begin reducing the number of nuclear weapons

  • It was to show an end to the arms race and greater cooperation between both sides

The soviet union4
The Soviet Union

  • 1987 Gorbachev introduced democratization

    • Process of creating a government elected by the people

    • This leads to nationalist groups in U.S.S.R. to call for independence

  • 1990 Lithuania declares independence

    • Gorbachev ordered economic blockade of Lithuania

    • Blockade ineffective had to use force in early 1991

    • This the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union

The fall of the soviet union
The Fall of the Soviet Union

  • December 1991 the Soviet Union officially collapsed and was dissolved

  • Frustrated by economic difficulties and lack of political rights the people of Russia turned to Boris Yeltsin

    • June 1991 1st directly elected President of the Russian Federation

    • Gorbachev was still President of the Soviet Union

The fall of the soviet union1
The Fall of the Soviet Union

  • August 1991 conservative Communist unsuccessfully attempt to overthrow Gorbachev

  • Due to this the Soviet Party lost power

  • All 15 Soviet Republics declare independence

  • All 15 Soviet Republics agree to form Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

  • Gorbachev officially resigned on Dec. 25 1991

    • This is the official end of the Soviet Union

The new russia
The “New” Russia

  • Yeltsin adopted plan called “Shock Therapy”

    • An abrupt and immediate shift to Free Market (Capitalist) economics

  • By 1993 this plan led to outrageous inflation, economic and social hardships

New russia s ame p roblems
“New” Russia, Same Problems

  • Yeltsin had problems as a region inside Russia fought for independence

    • Chechnya declared independence in 1991

    • Chechnya used terrorist tactics

    • A cease fire was declared in 1996

    • War continued through 1999 even as new President Vladimir Putin took control


  • Following WWII Czechoslovakia was a two state federation made up Czechs and Slovaks

  • Communism collapse due to economic and political problems

  • Led to split in country in 1993


  • Faced challenges and demands for reforms

  • Frustrated over lack of economic success and lack of political rights under Communist regime

  • When Communist rule collapsed political problems immediately surfaced


  • Political differences between Czechs and Slovaks appeared in 1st democratic election 1990

  • This separation of political agendas became more apparent after 1992 elections

  • Government peacefully negotiated the dissolution of the Federation in 1993

    • Czech Republic

    • Slovakia


  • Political differences , economic concerns, and nationalism helped to break-up Yugoslavia

  • Not accomplished peacefully

  • Was a Federal State made up of six republics

    • Slovenia

    • Croatia

    • Bosnia-Herzegovina

    • Serbia

    • Macedonia

    • Montenegro


  • 1945 Communist Marshall Tito took control until 1980

  • Continually suppressed democratic reforms

  • With Tito’s death the stability of government decreased and challenges from different republics increased


  • Economically like other Communist countries in Eastern Europe

  • Republics sought reforms due to lack of prosperity

  • Nationalism, protests and demands for reform amongst the republics grew stronger

  • Republics were inspired by the Communist Revolutions in Poland and Hungary in 1989


  • 1990 first free election in Slovenia and Croatia

  • Met with violence by police and military

  • Slovenia was the first republic to successfully secede from Yugoslavia

  • Followed by Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia


  • Serbia and Montenegro under the control of Slobodan Milosevic had cases of “Ethnic Cleansing”

    • Mass atrocities against nationalist minorities by local militias

  • Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and the UN recognized Serbia and Montenegro in 2003

  • 2006 Serbia and Montenegro split into two separate countries

  • Serbian region called Kosovo experiences violence break out between Albanians and Serbians

    • Kosovo now the newest nation in Europe

The birth of the european union eu
The Birth of the European Union (EU)

  • Based on the former European Economic Community (EEC)

  • EEC created in 1957

  • EEC sought to strengthen the countries of Western Europe

    • Allowed for beneficial trade

    • Lowered trade restriction-Tariffs

    • Increase trade opportunities

  • EEC wanted to create a “single market”

European union
European Union

  • Established in 1993

  • Continued economic cooperation

  • Created a single monetary unit called the Euro

  • Brought union of nations even closer

European union1
European Union

  • Also focused on non-economic issues

    • Democratic practices

    • Foreign policy

    • Common defense

  • EU expanded into Eastern Europe after Communism collapsed

  • Currently 27 member nations


  • North American Free Trade Association

  • Very similar economic philosophy to EU

  • Canada, Mexico, US


  • Allows for free trade between Canada, Mexico and US

  • Created the world largest free trade area

  • Marked another step towards a truly global economy and global interdependence