CHAPTER 6: USSR's Control over Eastern Europe

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    chapter overview

    WHAT: Soviet Union loses its grip on Eastern Europe and eventually collapses
    WHY: problems in USSR, western leaders, political leaders in eastern europe, revolutions and people power, and the policies and decisions of l gorbachev, krushchev and brezenhev
    SIGNIFICANCE: the demise of a super power and the end of the cold war
    CONSEQUENCES: ussr was dissolved and the iron curtain was lifted
  • hungarians begin protesting

    -no freedom of spech
    -thousands of soviet troops staitoned = drain on economy = economic hardship on ordinary people
    -imposition of Russian language
    -secret police terrorism
    -hardline Moscow-aligned leader Matayas Rakosi
    -de-Stalinisation speech; encouraged people to advocate for greater reforms
    -Imre Nagy
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    CASE STUDY 1: Hungary, 1956

  • Imre Nagy introduces his reforms

    WHAT THEY WERE: -free elections
    -impartial legal system
    -complete withdrawl of Soviet Army
    -private ownership of their land for farmers
    -Hungary to leave Warsaw Pact and declare neutrality in the Cold War
    WHY: adress the concerns of the hungarian people
    SIGNIFICANCE: first public reform/denouncement of the soviet government and acknowledgement of western principles i.e land ownership
    CONSEQUENCES: soviet crackdown
  • soviet response

    WHAT: Thousands of Soviet troops and soldiers entered Hungary to crack down on protests
    WHY: krushcev refused to accept Hungary leaving Warsaw Pact as it would leave a gap in the USSR's buffer zone with West Europe
    SIGNIFICANCE: -warning to other countries in USSR sphere
    -despite Stalin's death, the USSR showed they were still prepared to go to extremes to keep a firm grip
    -krushchev's commitment to peaceful coexistence did not mean submitting to capitalism
  • soviet response (cont.)

    SIGNIFICANCE: -eastern europe realised USSR would not tolerate anyone leaving Warsaw pact
    CONSEQUENCES: -thousands of hungarians were killed including Nagy. replaced by Kadar who crushed the resistance
    -200,000 refugees fled to the west
    -Hungary was placed under strict communist control. Kadar allowed some discussions and reforms, but was ultimately loyal to Moscow.
  • the berlin wall is built

    -on 13 August 1961, East German soldiers erected a wire barrier between east and west Berlin, effectively ending all free movement between them
    -only foreign diplomats were allowed tocross through a single point called checkpoint charlie
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    CASE STUDY 3: The Berlin Wall

  • checkpoint charlie

    WHAT: -on 27 October 1961, the US staitoned tanks outside checkpoint charlie
    -the soviets feared the US might try to break down the wall
    -the tense crisis lasted 18 hours until diplomatic negotiations agreed both sides should slowly withdraw.
    WHY: -brain drain
    -lure of the west
    SIGNIFICANCE: by constructing the wall, the soviets broke the agreements made @ Yalta
    CONSEQUENCES: -to the USSR, the wall was a protective sheild
    -to the West, it was a prison wall
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    CASE STUDY 2: Czechoslovakia, 1968

  • the "prauge spring" begins

    WHAT: -in 1968, Alexander Dubcek came to power
    -he announces a plan to deliver socialism with a human face, increasing democracy in czechoslovakia
    WHY: - weak economy = biterness to USSR
    -lack of personal freedom
    -thought USA would support them
    SIGNIFICANCE: -dubcek proposed non communist parties be able to run for election, which worried Moscow
    -wanted to remove state control of economy and allow freedom of speech
  • the "prauge spring" begins (cont.)

    CONSEQUENCES: -Brezenhev (soviet Premier) declared that the USSR would not allow countries of Eastern Europe to reject communism, and all satelitecountries had to be in the Warsaw Pact and a one party state. This became known as the Brezenhev doctrine.
    -On 20 August 1968, 500 000 troops invaded Czechoslovakia. There was little violent resistance from the Czechs
    -Dubcek was removed from power
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    CASE STUDY 4: Poland, 1980

  • solidarity is formed

    in august 1980, polish workers from gdansk shipyard put forward 21 demands. they were lead by Lech Walesa. their demands included a free trade union and the right to strike. this group became known as solidarity
  • solidarity at its peak

    WHAT: by january 1981, solidarity made 9.4 million members and were officially recognized by the government
    WHY: -lech walessa carefully negotiated with government
    -had support of catholic church in majority catholic country
    -union strongest in industries most important to the government
    SIGNIFICANCE: -the government knew solidarity was powerful, and were playing for time
    -the USSR had half an eye on the west ; it had gained support there
    CONSEQUENCES: the USSR decide to intervene
  • soviet crackdown

    WHAT: -in feb, Jaruzelski becomes leader of poland
    -in march, after negotiations with Jaruzelski, Walesa calls off a strile in Bydgoszcz. many members are unhappy
    -in november, negotiations between Walesa and Jaruzelski to form a united government break down, and Poland was almost in chaos.
    -in december, brezenhev ordered red army troops to train on the polish border
    -Jaruzelski introduced martial law, put Walesa dn 10,000 others in prison, and suspend the union all together
  • soviet crackdown (cont.)

    WHY: -solidarity was acting as a poltical party, not allowed under Brezenhev doctrine
    -Poland and its economy were sinking into chaos
    -Solidarity itself was sinking into chaos due to different factions
    -the polish people no longer trusted solidarity due to communism
    -the only thing keeping communists in power was force
    SIGNIFICANCE: -highlighted communist failures, inefficiency and corruption
    -showed there were organisations capable of replacing the government
  • why did the soviet union fail (cont.)

    introduced peristroika (restructuring) i.e reducing military spending, legislation of buying and selling for profit
    6) the role of Reagan. became president in 1981. get tough attitude. got on well with Gorbachev. less threatened by USSR=less need to control Eastern Europe
  • why did the soviet union fail?

    1) Uprisings in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland
    2) Berlin Wall became ineffective as thousands of East Berliners were moving west through Hungary
    3) continued nuclear proliferation- USSR did not have expertise or finance to match america
    4) weak economy, high poverty, low standard of living
    5) the role of Gorbachev. came to power 1985, wanted to radically reform USSR. introduced glasnost (openess) i.e freedom of speech, eased censorship and ending corruption.