The Beginnings of Change

1. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev decided to reform the Soviet Union.  These reforms were called “glasnost” or openness.  They were both social and economic reforms designed to allow more political freedom to the people of the Soviet Union.  Because of this, other communist countries were forced to give in to their people’s demands for reforms in one way or another. In East Germany the people and reforms were trying to be suppressed completely.

2. Gorbachev made it clear that the Soviet Union would no longer militarily intervene if any satellite states had a reform movement or if the government wanted to reform.  He condemned the Brezhnev Doctrine, which stated that Moscow had the ability of put down any reform movement that was against communist ideals, with force.

3. Economic crisis in Eastern Europe left many politicians and citizens searching for a way to help combat the economic problems.  A planned economy run by the government had only a few ways to raise revenue in order to pay off debt.  One of those ways was to raise prices for living essentials such as food and energy.  The wages were not increasing though, and this turned the populations’ displeased eyes towards the government.  In turn, the governments were forced to initiate reforms to compromise with the growing unrest amongst the people.

Questions:

1. Were these points contributing factors to the fall of the Berlin Wall?

2. Did the new reforms in the Soviet Union and other states have an impact in Central and South American politics or were they mostly untouched by Cold War ramifications?

Observations: It’s interesting that reforms in the Soviet Union and other communist countries was happening at the same time that President Reagan was increasing the U.S. military strength.

One thought on “The Beginnings of Change

  1. I think that the new openness of the Soviet Union did contribute to the Berlin Wall coming down. In East Germany many people began to flee to the west and it got to the point where there was nothing the East German government could do. I do think that they gave in so easily because so many other communist countries were beginning to fall as well.

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