Homeworks academic service


The collapse of communism in eastern and central europe

The collapse of communism in the late 1980s marked the end of Soviet rule over the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The change was sudden and swift in most of these countries, resulting in greater social and personal freedoms, as well as economic upheaval and political chaos.

The end of Soviet domination also unleashed pent-up ethnic and national grievances, leading to sometimes-brutal confrontations over centuries-old borders and political supremacy.

Connecting History

Free of the Soviet yoke, these former satellite countries began to develop their own political parties, hybrid capitalism and a mish-mash of personal freedoms and social organizations. New Freedoms Few of the countries in the region had histories of democratic governance, but the collapse of communism spurred attempts at political democracy in all but Romania.

  1. The Brezhnev doctrine of limited sovereignty, threatening the use of military force against eastern European countries that turned away from communism, destroyed all hopes that truly reformist socialism was possible among the Soviet satellites.
  2. Instead, the period of post-socialism followed a tortuous, "refolutionary" path, to use Timothy Garton Ash's term that combines "reform" and "revolution.
  3. The Solidarity movement called for trade union pluralism.
  4. By the end of the year, what seemed immutable throughout eastern Europe had collapsed.
  5. As the economic situation continued to deteriorate, strikes in the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk led to the establishment of Poland's first independent workers' union, Solidarity. People could not agree on a single celebration and the festivities were split between two cities.

Poland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia in particular enjoyed a period of political openness, freedom of speech and the press and the formation of many new political parties and interest groups. In the initial exuberance for political transformation, most things associated with the former Soviet-dominated regimes were destroyed, replaced or discredited.

  • November 9 brought the "Freedom without Walls" celebration in Germany, with 1,000, eight-foot, painted foam dominoes spread along the former path of the Berlin Wall and knocked over in reenactment;
  • However, these measures were not deemed to be sufficient.

Communism and all its accoutrements were roundly denounced. Former Soviet-approved leaders in these countries were promptly replaced with popular figures, such as long-time poet, author and dissident Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia.

  • Yugoslavia separated into multiple countries along ethnic lines, as did Czechoslovakia, which split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic;
  • Yugoslavia separated into multiple countries along ethnic lines, as did Czechoslovakia, which split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic;
  • The new regimes worked to abolish capitalism and private property by nationalizing and directing all industry, agriculture, and trade;
  • Until recently, deeply entrenched interest groups with links to the past did not allow access to the files of the notorious Securitate in Romania.

Openings to the West In a move welcomed, encouraged and reciprocated by the U. From fashion and music to free elections and free trade, the former Eastern Bloc countries reveled in trying to duplicate all things Western in their previously closed societies.

This was a clear symbol of these countries' complete repudiation of their former involuntary alliances to the communist Soviet Union.

  • Demonstrations became more frequent;
  • The regime became more oppressive and suppressed demonstrations in 1988;
  • Moreover, given the inability of reformist communists to carry out changes, new opposition movements arose that focused on environmental issues and human rights and protested everything from the building of dams and the emission of poison gasses to the suppression of rock bands and hippies;
  • The change was sudden and swift in most of these countries, resulting in greater social and personal freedoms, as well as economic upheaval and political chaos.

A Special Case One of the most memorable events of the period of popular activism at the end of the communist era was the fall of the Berlin Wall. The world watched as young people from both sides of Germany began destroying the ugly symbol of communist rule, erected by the Soviets and East Germans in 1961 to choke off Western access to this strategic location.

The collapse of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe

Both literally and figuratively, tearing down the wall represented the new opening to the West and Eastern Europe's "coming out" from behind the Iron Curtain. Economic, psychological and social obstacles remained, but both Germanys moved promptly to reestablish a single, reunified country.

What Happened to Eastern Europe After the Collapse of Communism?

Ethnic Divisions For all the criticisms of the harshness and oppressiveness of communist rule during the Cold War era, it did serve to tamp down centuries-old ethnic rivalries and keep them at bay. Freed from Soviet control, such divisions resurfaced promptly.

Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe and the USSR?

Yugoslavia separated into multiple countries along ethnic lines, as did Czechoslovakia, which split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Lesser squabbles threatened to erupt along the Hungarian-Romanian border in Transylvania, as well as on portions of the German-Poland border.

collapse of communism

Ethnic and religious divisions also manifested themselves in the creation of new political parties, several of which aimed to redress ages-old grievances.