Browse Items: Economy
In this letter to Mikhail Gorbachev dated October 6, 1988, Georgy Shakhnazarov, Gorbachev's adviser and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, revealed his views about the urgency of perestroika (reform) in socialist countries worldwide. Shakhnarazov acknowledged not only that each country had unique problems in need of some country-specific reform measures but also that some problems….
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States was closely watching the events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and this secret service document reveals the extent of that interest. As exhibited in this source, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union embarked on a program of reform both within the Soviet bloc and in its relationships….
In the beginning of 1989, Henry Kissinger met with Mikhail Gorbachev for an informal conversation about the future of U.S.-Soviet cooperation, particularly concerning economic opportunities in the Soviet Union. The problem for U.S.-Soviet trade was the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the 1974 U.S. Trade Act, which banned normalized trade ("Most Favored Nation" status) with countries that had….
In the following memorandum to Alexander Yakovlev, one of Gorbachev's chief advisors, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) analyzes the effects of Gorbachev's reform program in Eastern Europe. The document reflects the complexity of the issues raised by the new Soviet policy. In the excerpt below, the CPSU assesses the current situation and identifies some of….
In early 1989, shortly after President George H. W. Bush had taken office, the office of US ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock sent this message to the attention of the new National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft. The message details the strains placed on official Marxist-Leninist ideology by the the most recent economic reforms implemented by Gorbachev. Many of these had….
By the end of December 1991, the Soviet Union was administratively dissolved. A few weeks beforehand, the United States' Central Intelligence Agency issued this report, assessing the state of the Soviet Military after its failed coup attempt in August of that year. The CIA observed that the Soviet Military suffered from two problems simultaneously. It was being starved of its traditionally huge….
The dissident Czech writer Vaclav Havel endured decades of political persecution before being elected Czechoslovakia's (later divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia) first post-socialist president. That Havel, who had been imprisoned multiple times for his participation in the Prague Spring of 1968 and the signing of Charter 77 Manifesto, became president is an important indicator of the….
After gaining the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev set the Soviet Union on the path of reform with perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). He had followed his domestic changes with a general arms reduction throughout Eastern Europe in 1988, extending the reach of his reforms. On 6 July 1989, in a speech made in front of the Parliamentary….
On November 3, 1988, Margaret Thatcher became the first British Prime Minister to make an official visit to Poland. In her toast given at a state diner in the Radziwill Palace in Warsaw, Thatcher highlighted the long historical relationship between Poland and the United Kingdom, especially the cooperation between the two powers during the Second World War. Along with offers of assistance and….
In the spring and summer of 1989, Chinese protestors occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing in order to achieve some political concessions from the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev continued to follow along their path of political reforms with glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In September 1989, Prime….
As part of a public demonstration of support for the newly-elected governments in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, traveled throughout the region in September 1990. Not only did this provide her an opportunity to discuss important matters for Britain's foreign policy but also she could use the attention she brought with Western journalists to allow the new….
In May 1988, President Ronald Reagan traveled to the Soviet Union for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev. While in Moscow, he addressed a group of students at Moscow State University, using this forum as a chance to publicly announce his support for the Gorbachev's ongoing reform efforts. In this excerpt of his speech, he condemns the opponents of Gorbachev's reforms, and uses a popular….
Since 1949, when the Soviet Union first successfully tested an atom bomb, the national security policies of both the US and the Soviets derived from a doctrine of deterrence rather than one of defense against attack. By deploying enough weapons to insure the destruction of the country that launched a nuclear strike, the Cold War rivals adopted a policy of mutual assured destruction (MAD) to….
In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout 1980 and 1981. Fearing a Soviet military invasion to restore….
As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. Earlier, in 1967, following a series of statements the previous year from France, West Germany, the US, and the Soviet Union calling for a….
As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. At the fortieth anniversary NATO summit held in Brussels at the end of May 1989, the heads of the member states issued a declaration that….
After Poland formed a new coalition government in August led by the noncommunist Catholic intellectual and longtime Solidarity adviser Tadeusz Mazowiecki, factions within the Bush administration hotly debated an aid policy to help stabilize the faltering Polish economy. The new government faced a foreign debt of $40 billion and hyperinflation running at nearly 1,000 percent. The rising budget….
President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989 after June elections in which Solidarity candidates won 160 of the 161 seats in the Sejm that were available to them and 92 of the 100 seats of the Polish Senate. In addition, many leaders of the Communist Party failed to secure enough votes to be elected to the parliament they had controlled for four decades. Pursuing….
In the summer of 1989, President George Bush made an official visit to several East European countries, each in the midst of democratic demonstrations and public pressure on their Communist regimes. These visits provided President Bush an opportunity to lend support for the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, for example, the President gave a speech at the famous Karl Marx….