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Transcript of Eastern Europe
the Cold War
How did Stalin control Eastern Europe?
Stalin helped fill political vacuums in many countries by setting up Communist governments which responded to the Kremlin.
. They became one-party States (C.P only legal party) Secret police arrested opponents.
Need to restore law and order in these countries provided an excuse to station Soviet troops.
Economies shattered, destroyed. Rebuilding through COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). Trading between countries of the USSR= cooperation. Most favoured member? Russia.
If all this did not work and people threatened this order of things, the Soviet Union crushed opposition through violence.
After Stalin's death (1953) a
emerged: Nikita Khrushchev
Ended the long feuds (hostilities) with China and Yugoslavia.
Coined the term "peaceful co-existance": friendlier relationships between West and East (co-existance because none of the sides would disappear)
He made plans to reduce expenditure on arms (never really happened: arms race was harder than ever and in his term the USSR and the USA were the closest to an actual nuclear war- Cuban Missile Crisis 1962)
Attended the first post-war summit
Closed down Cominform
Agreed to pull out troops from Austria and other countries
Carried out a process known as DE-STALINISATION: 1) releasing political prisoners, 2) closed down Cominform; 3) invited Marshall Tito to Moscow, 4) dismissed Molotov, former Foreign Minister of Stalin.
However, some things did not change!
Berlin a battleground for war tensions after WWII
Soviet's last attempt to maintain control of its sphere of influence.
After Hungarian crisis, people in Eastern European countries felt . Many felt like leaving their countris for political or economic reasons (standards of living were falling more and more) CONTRAST in way of living: consumption leading to higher standards of living.
East Germany: in the 50's it was easy to leave the country through West Berlin. Many highly skilled, well educated people often left.
1961: Kennedy new president of the USA. Asked to remove troops from West Berlin. He refused. Consequence?
Building of a barbed- wire barrier along the frontier, which ended free movement between sides, except at one point Checkpoint Charlie.
Berlin Wall: a symbol of division, of Germany, of Europe, of Communism and Capitalism.
How did ordinary (common) people feel about Communism and Soviet Control?
What's more, the economic recovery never really took place: factories did produce, but not what people needed. Shortages of coal and difficulties to find basic items of consumption.
THE WARSAW PACT: a military alliance in response to NATO (Western powers + Western Germany). Members would defend each other -respond for each other- in case of attack or threat.
AIM: Eastern Europe as a buffer against attack or invasion from Capitalist West.
How did Eastern European countries react to this
Case study 2: Czechoslovakia and the Prague Spring 1968
Change! Khrushchev has been removed from power, only to be succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev.
In Czechoslovakia in 1967 the old Stalinist leader was made to resign. He was replaced by Alexander Dubcek "Socialism with a human face" . He suggested: less censorship, more freedom of speech,reduction of secret police activities. But! No plans to leave Comecon or the Warsaw Pact
After the Nazi occpation of many of the Eastern European countries, plus the economic, social and political devastation left by the War, most people trusted that Communism would be an outlet to the crisis. Thus, at first they were hopeful: the Soviet Union had achieved extraordinary industrial growth before the War (Five-Years Plan).
However, between 1945 and 1955 reality proved to be very different. Nations used to democracy and freedom lost the right to criticise the government, newspapers were censored and opposition was severely punished or sent to prison (Cominform).
Stalin used extreme methods and mass repressions at a time when the revolution was already victorious...Stalin showed in a whole series of cases his intolerance, his brutality and his abuse of power...He often chose the path of repression and physical annihilation, not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not committed any crimes against the Party and the Soviet government"
Khrushchev denounces Stalin in 1956
Case Study 1: HUNGARY, 1956
Hungary governed by hard-line (=strongly committed) Communist, Mátyás Rákosi (1). Hungarians disliked and disaproved of his policies: presence of Soviet troops -paid for by Hungarian government-, Russian street signs, Russian schools and shops. National pride?
June 1956: rebellion within Communist Party, members oppossed Rákosi. He wanted tight, severe control but Moscow did not support him. Instead, they retired him. Ernö Gerö (2) took over power, but he wasn't accepted either. After a student demonstration, a new government was formed, accepted by Moscow: Imre Nagy (3). Troops stationed there began to withdraw.
Nagy had a plan: hold free elections, create impartial courts, restore farmland to private ownership (against communism!), leave the Warsaw Pact and declare neutrality in Cold War. UNACCEPTABLE FOR MOSCOW!
Nov 1956 troops and tanks moved into Budapest. Massacre and Nagy and his fellow leaders imprisoned and executed.
Why Prague Spring? Because new ideas about government and life seemed to be appearing everywhere.
How did the Soviet Union respond?
Czechoslovakia important for Warsaw Pact: central location and strong industry.
Fear of spreading reaction: would other countries follow? East German leader Ulbricht put pressure to prevent Czechs from "changing".
Military training on Czech border.
Called on Czecholovakia to mantain political stability in a Warsaw Pact conference.
On August 1968 Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia
BREZHNEV DOCTRINE EMERGED
Case study 3: POLAND- SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT