Fall of Communism
Communism was a very popular ideology which was in great favor during the inter-war period but in the 1980s, there was an unanticipated demise of Communism. So how can we explain the sudden collapse of communism in Europe? I would argue that there were several forces converging to the breakdown of communism in Eastern Europe. Factors such as the high expenses of engaging in nuclear arms, the lost of their satellite states, the growing economic disparity in Europe and the changing attitudes and values of the younger people converged together that brought communism to the brink of collapse in Europe. The most important factor, however, was the role of Gorbachev and his policies, which acted as a catalyst to bring the communist regime down.
One must primarily analyze Gorbachev’s role and consider the impact of his policies in determining events in Eastern Europe. ‘The Soviet Union in 1985 brought a new, younger leader to foreground, Mikhail Gorbachev,’ (Adas, 2006:332). His establishment of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (reconstruction) released irrepressible, contained revolutionary forces which shook the foundations of the internal order in Europe. It is important to note that before Gorbachev came into power, Communism was failing as an ideology, but with Gorbachev’s policies in place, it acted as a catalyst that made Communism fail as a system. The Communist regimes were failing as an ideology because they were plagued by economic woes, domestic problems and the younger generations had fostered a hatred for the communist ideology. There was no window for the masses to express their suppressed unhappiness about the regime until a new leader came into power. Gorbachev was a younger communist leader unlike his predecessors who were hardliners of the communist ideology. Thus, ‘Gorbachev believed in changes that could be made to improve the communist system instead of sticking to the orthodox
Bibliography: Adas, M., Stearnsm P.N., & Schwartz, S.B. (2006). Turbulent Passage: A Global History of the Twentieth Century. New York: Longman Bhupinder Brar. (1994) ‘ Assessing Gorbachevs: Economic and Political Weekly’, Vol. 29, No. 24 (Jun. 11, 1994), pp. 1465-1475 Published by: Economic and Political WeeklyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4401333Accessed: 30/10/2010 10:46 "Glasnost." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010 Maier, Charles, S., (Chichester, 1997). Dissolution: the Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany, Merriman, John. (1996) A History of Modern Europe, (London, 1996). "Perestroika." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.