Browse Items: Czechoslovakia
In the summer of 1980, strikes erupted among workers in Poland, making Communist leaders throughout the Soviet bloc uneasy. The Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union met in October 1980 to discuss and endorse a report compiled by some of its members about a forthcoming visit of two Polish officials, Stanislaw Kania and Josef Pinkowski. In their discussions, they agreed….
The Helsinki Declaration of August 1, 1975 was a turning point in Cold War relations inside European borders. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries celebrated the acknowledgment of their national boundaries; a desired goal since the end of World War II. West European democracies celebrated the Warsaw Pact countries' willingness to adopt ten major points of international diplomacy. One….
In this December 22 telegram, Romanian ambassador to Moscow Ion Bucur reported to Deputy Foreign Minister Constantin Oancea in Bucharest on his discussions with Soviet officials concerning the situation in Eastern Europe, particularly the backlash against communist authorities. Interestingly, Bucur writes that the Soviets were aware of the growing hostility towards the former leaders in the….
By the spring of 1990, the future of the individual countries in Eastern Europe was still open for debate. While Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary seemed to be transitioning toward Western-styled democracies, Romania and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania were following a different course. The former had experienced violent uprisings, and in the latter the Communists seemed to be more….
Once in power, Mikhail Gorbachev began a reform process that followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. In both 1986 and 1987, Gorbachev proposed army reductions in summit meetings with….
Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. By the end of 1989, 500,000 men had been decommissioned from the Soviet army, greatly reducing its military presence….
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 midst of a chaotic year of economic and political reforms, Communist Party General Secretary (and head of state) Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the politburo on the delicate issue of the Soviet military presence throughout Europe. Conventional Soviet military thinking was that any troop buildup by NATO countries must be met by tit-for-tat by the Warsaw Pact countries; to act otherwise was….
This February 1989 report by the Bogomolov Commission analyzes the current situation in Eastern Europe for Alexander Yakovlev, key foreign policy advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. The Bogomolov Commission was the largest Soviet think tank conducting research on the East European countries. This document can be compared with the memorandum by the International Department of the CC CPSU (document….
In the summer of 1989, Slovak dissidents decided to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion by publicly laying flowers at various locations in Slovakia where citizens had been killed in 1968. They announced their plans in a letter to the Slovak government dated August 4, 1989. Copies of the letter were produced in samizdat (clandestine press) and secretly distributed throughout….
Every political upheaval is followed by a "morning after." In 1990, the new Czechoslovak President, Vaclav Havel, gave an important speech commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (the end of Communism in his country). In addition to celebrating the tremendous achievement of growing democracy in his newly-independent country, Havel also added a note of caution with his….
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….
On September 18, 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addressed the Czechoslovak Parliament in Prague. In her speech, Thatcher raised three main points that reflect the major tenants of her European policies in the wake of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. First, she highlighted the long history of cooperation and cultural ties that existed on a bilateral level between….
On March 21, 1990 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher hosted a delegation from Czechoslovakia, including the newly elected president Vaclav Havel. One of Prime Minister Thatcher's major initiatives following the collapse of communism was the creation of the "Know How Fund," a fund created to assist economic, political, and cultural development in Eastern Europe. Relative to what other….
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….
US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev held their first summit early in December 1989 onboard a Soviet cruise ship docked off the coast of Malta. Prior to arriving, Gorbachev wondered if he would be able to establish a relationship of trust with Bush as he had achieved with other Western leaders, since information coming into the Kremlin indicated that Bush’s….
In February 1990, the newly-elected president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, became the first Czechoslovakian leader to visit Washington and meet with a US president. A former dissident and playwright, Havel was “an enigmatic figure” in his own country, according to National Security Council staff member Robert L. Hutchings, and his meeting with President George H. W. Bush was helpful in….
In 1976, the government of Czechoslovakia arrested the Czech psychedelic rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe, for disturbing the peace. In the subsequent trials, the band members were convicted and sentenced to 8 to 18 months in prison. In response to the arrest of the band, a group of Czech artists, writers, and musicians, including Vaclav Havel, circulated a petition for their….