Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe

Topics: Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc, Cold War Pages: 2 (739 words) Published: June 2, 2013
The political ideology of communism sought to end capitalism and establish equality throughout a population. While good in theory, it created conflicts that lasted for decades. First conceived in the Soviet Union, there was an expectation that communism would be a revolutionary tide that would sweep across all of Europe. After WWII, the Soviet Union still dominated with communist ideals in the countries of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. After the Berlin Wall that separated Germany into East and West collapsed, representing the fall of communism in Germany, the other countries followed suit. While the collapse was sudden, reforming an entire country that had been under communist control for years was not an easy task.

In post-war Czechoslovakia, the government was controlled by President Eduard Benes. Although he claimed to be a non-communist, he understood that it would be necessary to maintain a pro-Soviet foreign policy if Czechoslovakia was to maintain its national independence. The Social Democrats were falling apart, and in 1948 the Communists won a complete victory. The disintegration and reforms began when Leonid Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev as leader of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. He did not give rise to the same terror and fervor that had entranced the Czechs, and dissatisfied with the step backward the country decided to reform. The reform movement was called the “Prague Spring,” and it sought to establish a more humanistic socialism within the country. However, Brezhnev saw this as a threat and the reform movement was crushed by the Soviet government. Unshaken, the reform efforts continued until in 1989 when the Communist Party resigned and Vaclav Havel was elected to the cabinet, the first election results without a Communist majority in decades.

After the Marshall Plan was established in 1948, Stalin viewed it as a threat to Soviet control in Hungary. He feared that after receiving money from the US, the country would be more...
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