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the collapse of the soviet bloc

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University of Toronto St. George
Michael Kogan

His242 Aug. 9, 2011 The collapse of the soviet bloc • 1960s counter culture—the baby boom generation • the post-war baby boom became an important political force • the feminist movement • student protests • birth control pill • they were loosely connected • but they all had a concern for challenging old hierarchies • one of them was patriarchy—the dominance of men, hence the second wave feminist movement • many of the new feminist were progressive • they also challenged consumerism and the dominant political forces, and imperialism • they were esp attracted to 3 world conflict—i.e. the Vietnam war • the political radicalization of this generation began with a student protest that spread in paris in 68 and spread to the rest of Europe , the state of the protest were the elite universities , universities were increasing but finding for them was not so they were overcrowded lecture halls, and this frustrated students who were becoming aware of their powers, the disllustionment of this and the oblivion of politicians led students to participate in protests and sittings • things really escalated in early may 1968 when a student radical was expelled from the university of paris, to protest this, students and young profs occupied the building; in response to this take over, the police decided to invade the area where they students were, the police attacks on students, led to many deaths and injuries • the thing that distinguished the movement in France from others, this led to workers also started to protest and formed a coordinated front with the students and this led to a general strike on May 1968 • the workers wanted better wages, rights of self management at work and better working conditions • this was the biggest general strike in France since the 30s, and it demanded attention from the French gov’t • this called to throw out govt and elect a new one • middle class and peasants supported Agal ? • one of the demand of the worker by paying them more by the states • in this way the isolated the students from the workers and this made them easier to defeat • DeGulle won the election, his strategy worked • This was the largest one in France but other countries were affected, e.g. Italy –frustrated by lack of employment opportunities • The youth in the counterculture movement expressed their movement in their dress etc…hippy, and the push for more sexual freedom, lots of ppl having premarital sex and thus the invention of the birth control pill—tied also to the feminist movement , women having more control of their bodies • Also use of drugs Music and Revolution Rock and Roll The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who Bob Dylan • Music was at the centre of the political movement st • Elvis was the 1 to popularize it • Protest songs became wide spread • The music was one of the means/reasons through which the revolutions of the 1960s were spread ; alianation was a common theme and disllusionment • “Street Fighting Man” Rolling Stones, Beggear’s Banquet, 1968 Internal Politics • Margaret Thatcher (conservative)—Prime Minister of UK—1 time st woman as prim minister—but she herself was anti-feminist • He privatized the rail system, she eliminated many of the education and housing and she decreased inheretance and capital taxes, i.e. cutting down on gov’t and lower taxes, restructuring where the wealth goes and the role of the state, resulting in many industries closing in the UK and by the time she left office 3million ppl were unemployed and she encountered little opposition • Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt (West Germany)—the social democrats stayed in control throughout the 1970s and ensured the continuation of the welfare programs and improving relations with Germany but by 1982 the Christian Democrats—right wings —took a more liberal approach to economics in response to economic recession • Helmut Kohl • The European states began to move ideologically from the Centre to the Right then the far right • Common practice of: cutting gov’t spending, neoliberal policy Democracy in Southern Europe • Antonio Salazar –1932-1968 ruled in Portugal ; in 1974 a group of liberals staged a coo and overthrew the dictators and that led to elections and a socialist democratic emerged , 1986 they joined the European open market to help improve economic situations • King Juan Carlos • Greece became democratic, then was ruled by heavy right wing gov’ts • By 1970s they collapsed an a Greek republic was formed • Spain (last time the fascist took over), after franko dies in 1975, he wanted king Carlos to take over for him, he wanted another authoritarian ruler, but Carlos formed a new gov’t based on a constitutional monarchy & ended its isolation from rest of Europe and the economy became more prospourous Cold War and Détente • Leonid Brezhnev –he led the USSR till the 1980s, he was a passive leader who didn’t want change, he was a neo-Stalinist, but he pushed the policy of Détente, • Détente—increased tensions betw US and USSR • SALT 1—a treaty –strategic arms limitations talk, between Brezhnev and Nicson, but both sides violated this agreement by developing new offensive technology • & 2—1970s—not to develop new missals but it never got passed in the US • Détente –negotiations , which is a sign of improved relations between the 2 countries • Competitions between USSR and US, USSR invested a lot into their arms • The policy of Détente last until 1979 until the soviets attack Afghanistan Czechoslovakia, 1968 st • Alexande
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