The Fall of the Soviet Union

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THE
 DREAM
 THAT
 FAILED:
  THE
 FALL
 OF
 THE
 SOVIET
 EMPIRE
 

  Research
 Question:
 What
 factors
 contributed
 to
 the
 collapse
 of
 the
 USSR
  in
 1991?
 
 

  Paper
 Word
 Count:
 3,982
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The
 work
 contained
 within
 is
 my
 own
 –
 unless
 otherwise
 cited
 
  _________________________________________
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


 

2
 

ABSTRACT
 

 
  The
  purpose
  of
  this
  paper
  is
  to
  investigate
  the
  factors
  that
  contributed
  to
  the
  collapse
 of
 the
 USSR.
 Did
 Mikhail
 Gorbachev’s
 political
 reforms
 cause
 the
 collapse
 of
  the
  Soviet
  Union?
  Or
  did
  the
  combination
  of
  internal
  and
  external
  factors
  of
  the
  post-­‐Stalin
 era
 contribute
 to
 the
 irreversible
 disintegration
 of
 the
 USSR.
 This
 paper
  investigates
 and
 responds
 to
 these
 inquiries.
 
  This
  investigation
  focuses
  on
  the
  post-­‐Stalin
  era
  (1953-­‐1991).
  This
  essay
  is
  structured
 to
 analyze
 and
 evaluate
 the
 main
 factors
 responsible
 for
 the
 collapse
 of
  the
  USSR
  based
  on
  the
  analysis
  of
  a
  variety
  of
  primary
  sources,
  such
  as
  textbooks
  and
  credited
  articles,
  and
  numerous
  secondary
  sources,
  which
  represent
  the
  historiography
  surrounding
  the
  roles
  played
  by
  pre-­‐Gorbachev
  Soviet
  leaders,
  Western
 democracies,
 and
 the
 Gorbachev
 Administration
 in
 the
 Soviet
 collapse.
 
  This
 paper
 concludes
 that
 there
 was
 no
 one
 single
 force
 behind
 the
 collapse
  of
 the
 USSR,
 but
 rather
 it
 was
 a
 unique
 combination
 of
 internal
 and
 external
 factors
  that
 contributed
 to
 the
 collapse.
 The
 internal
 problems
 of
 the
 Soviet
 Union⎯ranging
  from
  political
  corruption
  and
  abuse,
  to
  economic
  stagnation
  and
  turmoil,
  to
  social
  uprisings
  and
  freedoms⎯backfired
  against
  Soviet
  ideology.
  Furthermore,
  the
  powerful
  Western
  countries
  had
  been
  putting
  military
  and
  financial
  pressures
  on
  the
 USSR,
 with
 the
 aim
 of
 devastating
 the
 Soviet
 system
 of
 socialism
 and
 effectively
  reversing
  its
  spread
  across
  the
  Third
  World.
  Concurrently,
  the
  affluence
  and
  freedoms
 of
 the
 Free
 World
 ignited
 the
 Soviets’
 fascination
 with
 the
 Western
 way
 of
  life.
  Lastly,
  Gorbachev’s
  political
  reforms
  of
  acceleration,
  openness,
  and
  reconstruction,
  intended
  to
  revive
  Soviet
  socialism,
  in
  fact,
  destabilized
  central
  control,
  undermined
  the
  credibility
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