Gorbachev Moves Toward Democracy 19_3 student 12

Gorbachev Moves Toward
Alexander Papandrea
Reilly Plocher
Wes Schuler
Gorbachev Reforms the Soviet Union
During the 1960’s and 70’s, The Soviet Union’s Communist leadership
held control over the Soviet people. Leonid Brezhnev and the
Politburo, the ruling committee of the Communist Party, crushed all
political disagreement. After Brezhnev’s death in 1982 however, a new
power would soon be arriving to the Soviet government after
Brezhnev’s successors died only a year after being put in office.
A Young Leader Arrives
• Despite debating over having a more conservative leader, or a
more energetic leader, the Politburo chose Mikhail Gorbachev,
the youngest man (54) to take power since Josef Stalin, to be the
future in politics in the Soviet Union
• Gorbachev wanted to bring something new to the table, he had
no plans to blindly follow Stalin’s policies like all the former
leaders did.
Gorbachev Innovates Openness
• Since Stalin came into power, the Soviet Union had been known as
a Totalitarian State, but when Gorbachev realized that economic
and social reforms could not happen, the new Soviet leader new
things had to change.
• In 1985, Gorbachev announced a policy called glasnost, or
• This allowed remarkable things to happen in a place which not
much had changed for the past 50 or so years. Churches opened, it
released dissidents from prison, and allowed publication of novels
by previously banned authors.
Gorbachev Reforms Economy
• With a social reform at hand, Gorbachev was ready to move on to
creating a new economy in the Soviet Union, in the same year he
introduced glasnost, he introduced perestroika
• Perestroika, or economic restructuring allowed Gorbachev to give
managers more authority of their businesses.
• Gorbachev’s goal was not to throw out communism, but to make the
system more efficient and productive.
Gorbachev Changes Political Polices
• Gorbachev new successfully reforming the
Soviet Union couldn’t happen until the
Communist party loosened their grip on the
Soviet Society, due to this Gorbachev made a
policy called Democratization
• Democratization would be a new legislative
branch. Allow people to vote outside the
powerhouses supplied from the Communist
• With the Soviet Union reforming their
economic and political systems, many
developing countries began to follow the
Soviets lead into bringing in
Gorbachev Change Foreign Policies
• Gorbachev also changed the Soviet foreign
policy by supplying new thinking to society
• Gorbachev implemented that that the
Soviet people should stress the usage of
diplomacy over force.
• Knowing that an arms race was going on
between superpowers, Gorbachev and
President Ronald Regan signed the INF
(Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) which
banned nuclear missiles with ranges of 300
to 3,400 miles.
Is it right to still not trust the Soviets?
Reforms in Poland
In 1978, Pope John Paul II, a Polish archbishop lent his
support to the anti-communist movement.
In 1980, workers at the Gdansk shipyard went on strike,
demanding government recognition of their union called
Eventually the government gave in to the union’s
demands and the union leader Lech Walesa was supported
by millions of people and became a national hero.
Solidarity Defeats Communists
The year after solidarity came into practice, it was banned
and declared martial law.
The Communist Party realized that military rule could not
revive Poland’s declining economy.
In the 1980s, industrial production declined putting Poland in
40 billion dollars in debt.
 Because of this, public discontent worsened which caused
workers to quit their jobs.
In April 1989, after Solidarity was legalized again free
elections were held and Lech Walesa was elected president and
a communist regime was worked out peacefully.
Hungarian Communists Disband
Hungarian leaders were inspire by the changes in Poland and
also launched a reform program.
They first stimulated economic growth by encouraging
private enterprises and allowing a small stock market to
A new constitution permitted a multiparty system with free
parliamentary elections.
Hungarian Communists Disband
The pace of change grew even faster when radical leaders
took over a Communist party congress in 1989.
A year later, a non-Communist government won favor with the
nation’s voters and was put into power.
In 1994, a socialist party, heavily populated with former
Communists, won a majority of the seats in Hungary’s
Then the socialist party and democratic party formed a
coalition, or alliance.
In 1995, the government improved the economy by raising
taxes and cutting back on government services.
Communism Falls in East Germany
In 1989, Hungary allowed East German tourists to cross
into Austria and from there they could travel to West
Thousands of East Germans took this new escape route.
In response to this , the East German government closed
off their border entirely.
Protests then broke out and people demanded the right to
free travel and free elections.
Fall of the Berlin Wall
After Erich Honecker lost his authority a new East German leader
was appointed named Egon Krenz.
His main goal was to allow people to leave East Germany.
So, he broke open the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Thousands of East Germans poured out into West Berlin
screaming, “The wall is gone! The wall is gone!”
Germany is Reunified
With the fall of the Communist party, many people in East
Germany began to speak of reunification-the merging of two
However many thought that a united Germany would again try to
dominate Europe.
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl assured people that
Germany had learned from their past and persuaded other European
nations that they were committed to human rights and democracy.
On October 3, 1990, Germany was officialy reunited after forty-five
years in its defeat in World War II.
Germany Challenges
The newly united Germany faced serious problems after 40 years of Communist
rule in eastern Germany.
The problems were:
- Germany’s railroads, highways, and telephone system had not been
modernized since World War II.
-Many East German industries produced shoddy goods that could not
compete with the global market.
-Germany’s economy was bankrupt.
To pay the costs of Germany’s bankrupt economy, Kohl raised taxes.
As taxpayers tightened the belts, workers in eastern Germany faced another
problem of unemployment.
Because of the unemployment, inefficient factories closed down and millions
lost their jobs.
Germany’s Challenges
In 1998, Kohl was turned out of office and a new chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder was elected.
 He was as member of the Socialist Democratic Party (SPD).
A central’s Europe’s largest country, Germany took on important global
Because of this, Germany argued that they should be elected as a
member seat in the Security Council.
But, this did not happen.
Czechoslovakia Reforms
• The conservative Czech government was led by Milos
Jakes and did not wish to make any changes due to
the breakdown against government reforms in 1968.
• The people wanted an end to the communist rule and
on October,25,1989, 10,000 people came together in
Wenceslas square to demand their freedom but
instead hundreds were arrested.
• Two weeks later 25,000 students gathered for the
same reason but this time the police (under orders
from the gov.) attacked the students and many were
• At this point the Czech people were enraged by the
way the government handled the situation
• Over the next eight days, hundreds of thousands of
people crowded the same place and this forced Milos
Jakes and his Politburo to resign.
• Vaclav Havel was later elected president of
Overthrow in Romania
• Romania seemed to be untouched by the changes in
government around them.
• This was because of Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-shes-koo)
and his incredibly ruthless communist dictatorship and his
secret police force.
• The people were well aware of the reforms and other
countries even though their government was lying to
• In December,1989, they decided to do something about it.
Many people were killed or injured by the army in the city
of Timisoara. (Tee-mee-shwa-rah)
• This Massacre would start a huge uprising and it didn’t
take long at all for even the army to join the rebellion
against Ceausescu.
• He tried to flee but was captured, tried, and killed on
Christmas day in 1989.
• In the next couple years (1990-1992 ) Romania held its
own elections and introduced new economic reforms as
well as parts of capitalism.
After the death of Brezhnev and his successor, who came into power?
Why did Gorbachev announce a new policy known as Glasnost?
Which East Germany leader tore down the Berlin Wall?
What is reunification in the eyes of Germany?
What were some of the challenges that Germany faced after its
6. Why did Germany argue about a spot in the Security Council?
7. After the reforms in East Germany, what two countries were the next to
8. Why was reforming Romania harder than the reformation of
Quiz Answers
1. Mikhail Gorbachev
2. He realized that economic and social reforms could not occur without a free
flow of ideas and information.
3. Egon Krenz
4. Reuniting West Germany with East Germany.
5. Germany railroads, highways, and telephone system had not been modernized
since World War II. Many East German industries produced shoddy goods that
could not compete with the global market. Germany’s economy was bankrupt
6. Germanys responsibilities were growing and they were the Central power of
Central Europe.
7. Romania and Czechoslovakia.
8. Unlike Czechoslovakia, Romania ruthless dictator maintained a firm grip on his
power and had his secret police crack down on anyone that was not listening.
Work Cited
Beck, Roger B. Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2005. Print.

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