Eastern Europe and the Cold War: How Secure Was the Soviet Control of Europe?

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I.- Estern Europe and the Cold War 1948-1989

How secure was Soviet control of Europe 1948-1968?

* How did Stalin control Eastern Europe?
* After the war political vacuum in many countries of Eastern Europe. Stalin helped the communist parties in them to win power Cominform “communist information bureau” organization to co-ordinate the communist government in Eastern Europe. Made meetings and sent out instructions to communist government about what the USSR wanted them to do. * Need to restore law and order. This provided an excuse to station Soviet troops in each country. * Economies in Eastern Europe where devastated USSR took over all industry and told farmers and workers what to produce. Comecon: “council for mutual economic assistance” Coordinates the industries and trade of the Eastern Europe countries. Favoured the USSR as it provided a market and guaranteed a cheap supply of raw materials. It set up a bank for socialist countries.

* What did people in east Europe think of the USSR control? * Brought hope.
* USSR had achieve great industrial growth before the WW2 people thought they could do the same. * Soviet- style communist also offered stable government and security because they were backed by one of the world´s superpowers. * However, reality was different of what people hoped for lost the right to criticize the government, newspapers where censored, one-party permitted, people where forbidden to travel to countries in western Europe… * Between 1945 and 1955 economy did recover, but factories did not produce what people wanted. They produced what soviet wanted. * Wages fell.

* Were forbidden to apply for marshal aid (economic help from the USA) * Shortages of raw products (milk, clothes, coal, meat)
* Little chance to protest lived oppressed.

* The rise of Khrushchev
* Stalin was a hero to millions of people in the USSR: defeated Hitler, given the USSR and empire in Eastern Europe and made a nuclear superpower. * Died in 1953: Nikita Khrushchev He was very different from Stalin. He ended the USSR´s long feuds with China and with Yugoslavia. He talked of peaceful co-existence with the west. Made plans to reduce arm production. Attended the first post-war summit between the USSR, the USA, France and Britain. And said he wanted to improve the living standards of ordinary Soviet citizens and those of eastern Europe. He closed down Cominform and released thousands of political prisoners. Basically he gave more freedom and independence to the Eastern Europe countries. * De-stalinisation Attack to Stalin. Dredged the evidence of Stalin’s purges and denounced him as a wicked tyrant who was an enemy of people and kept all power to himself. * Released political prisoners

* Closed down cominform as policy to reconciliate with Yugoslavia. * Invited Marshal Tito to Moscow.
* Dismissed Stalin’s former Foreign Minister.
* People saw hopeful times ahead.
* The Warsaw pact
* Easter Europe barrier against attack from West.
* Military alliance similar to NATO. Members would defend each other if one is attacked. Included all communist countries in easter Europe but Yugoslavia.

* How did the USSR deal with opposition in eastern Europe? * Attack to Polish police 1956 government had increased food prices but not wages. Krushchev moved troops to the Polish border. agreement between krushchev and Wladyslaw Gomulka (Poland leader): communist would stop persecuting members of the catholic church.

CASE 1: Hungary, 1956

* Why was there opposition in Hungary?
* Hard-line communist Rakosi many restriction and Hungarians hated them. * Peopled lived in fear.
* Areas of Hungary had Russian street signs, schools and shops. AND had to pay for soviet forces to be in Hungary. * June 1956 group of rebels opposed Rakosi. He appealed to Moscow for help denied help. New...
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