The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe
The collapse of communism in eastern europe can be based on three disticnct factors. Factor 1: People Power
May: Hungary opens its borders with non communist Austria. Hungarians had already been granted the rights to free travel. However many east germans started using this route to get to west germany. June-August: protests against communist rule In poland continue throughout the summer. In august, communist party leaders agree truly free elsections. Solidarity wins 99 out of 100 seats in polands senate. Lech Walesa becomes Eastern Europe’s first non-Communistm leader since Second World War. September: Thousands more East Germans flee to West Germany through Hungary and Czechoslovakia. East german leader Erich Honecker asks Hungary and Czechoslovakia to close their borders. They refused. October: Soviet leader Mikahil Gorbachev visits East Germany and makes a key speech. He urges all Eastern Europen leaders to reform their countries. He makes it clear that the USSR will not use force to keep them in power. Hungary declares itself to be a democratic republic rather then a communist republic. November: Thousands of East Germans march on the Berlin Wall. Honecker orders troops to shoot at the demonstartors, but they refuse. Border guards join the crowds. Giant demonstartions ( over 350,000 people) in Czechoslovakia force the Communist leaders to resign. Czechoslovakia opens its borders with the West. It also holds free elections. December: Massive demonstrations lead to the downfall of the Communist regimes in Bulgaria and Romania. Factor 2: Problems in the USSR
During the 1980’s, big changes were taking place in the USSR. . Economic Disaster: Its economy was in a mess. The USSR could not afford to keep huge numbers of troops in Eastern Europe. . Social Problems: its people faced huge social problems, especially in housing and in health. The USSR needed to spend money on these problems rather than on controlling...
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