March 15th

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16 Mar 2011

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The Post Cold War World
The Implosion of Eastern Europe
- Jan 1989, when Bush was asked, after seeing Gorbachev reforms, whether there
was an end to the Cold war:
- he said actually he doesnt think so, or at least not yet
- why? Look at Europe: in Europe, the tension remained very much the same.
The confrontation remained the same, and the division of Europe remained
the same as established in late 40s.
- even after Gorbachev came to power, a month after (late April 1985), the
Warsaw Pact was renewed for another 20 years
1. Gorbachev never thought Cold War would end there
2. indication from Soviet Union, Europe would remain divided
- Cold War tension existed was based on the division of Europe, it was a central part
to the Cold War
- as long as there were two opposing military alliances, the Cold War would still be
in effect
- Gorbachev and Soviet Union did not think the Cold War would come to an end,
even the West did not foresee such a change.
- historians, politicians, etc. recognize change inevitable in Soviet Union
system, but none foresee the rapid collapse of communism and Soviet Union
- all of them thought the Soviet Union would fight for piece of land, its
security zone, tooth and nail as before preventing a change in the
communist system and in the satellite states
- however, change did come
- Scowcroft: even though change soothed the Americans, validating their opposition
to the Soviet system, it had nothing to do with the American system
- Gorbachevs restricting with Peresroika included the Soviet system, especially
relationship with Eastern Europe.
- unlike the Third World, where he wanted to reduce tensions between the super
powers, Eastern Europe never bothered Gorbachev as much
- ironic, Eastern Europe was important to Soviet Union security
- he was highly critical of the Soviet support to Poland in 1980s for independence.
- capital wasted on Poland
- by 1988, Gorbachevs Press Security stated the Brezhnev doctrine is dead.
- Sinatra doctrine: up to Eastern European states to decide their fates and how to
pursue socialism
- different from Khrushchev
- Eastern European states had power to decide their own political and
economic system
- rationale: Eastern Europeans come from same culture so no one state has
power to decide the fate over another “common European home
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- the West/Bush did realize Gorbachev meant seriously and literally to
dismantle the Cold War as this was fundamental to the Soviet Union
- Eastern European states took advantage of it:
- Poland: independent trade union movement. First multi-candidate elections the
Communist Party would put forward several elections and it was up to public to
decide who.- essence the same: Communist system
- less than 40% of the public approved and even less, participated in
the elections
- thus, needed to be rethink: 1. Prevent invasion and 2. Save
- by 1988, and Jaruzelski had to negotiate
- new election: Communist and Solidarity would put forward their own candidates
- only 16% of candidates won any position
- overwhelming for Solidarity
- the general Poland public rejected Communist style
- non-Communist government in the Warsaw Pact
- precedent for other states to follow
- Hungary:
- already experimenting with non-Soviet approaches to a political system
- Hungarians kicked out their own Communist leader and replaced him with
a Socialist
- Hungary became a highway to West Europe
- domino effect
- Berlin Wall came down
- East German army refused to march out doomed the regime
- The Velvet Revolution
The German Unification
- Communism was an alien ideology, bought from Soviet Union
- no popular support and legitimacy
- Poland took 10 years to gain its freedom thru Solidarity/struggle
- Hungary: took 10 months to overthrow
- East Germans: 10 weeks
- Czech: 10 days
- the first serious sign Cold War ended, the Soviet Union did not hold onto that
territory and used its military
- US and the West recognize Gorbachev honestly meant to eliminate the Cold War
- after collapse of Cold War, opened the door to division of Germany
- reunification became real, not an issue of if but when
- once Berlin Wall was opened, reunification was the next step
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