In this excerpt of a diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, we see the first official analysis of East Germany's new leader Egon Krenz, who replaced Erich Honecker on October 18, 1989. In the summary remarks, the embassy officials make clear that Krenz is attempting immediate reform, but not yet on a scale that could be compared to Gorbachev's perestroika.
Following the historic roundtable talks that took place in Poland from February to April 1989 between Communist and opposition leaders, Polish Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow to discuss the unfolding events in Poland and Polish-Soviet relations. The tone of this document is not one of dissatisfaction on the part of the Soviet leader but….
In Bulgaria, the Communist Party led the movement toward democratic change. Following the legalization of several other political parties, and the formation of the Union of Democratic Forces, the Bulgarian Communist Party Secretary, Petur Mladenov, announced a further set of reforms. The following is an official report from the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria about Mladenov's rally on 13 December….
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 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….
Mikhail Gorbachev began a parallel program of reform for the Soviet Union: perestroika (reconstruction) and glasnost' (openness). His intention, however, was for a state-directed movement that would keep the Communist Party in firm control. In this poster from 1989, it is clear that the people of the Soviet Union had adopted the cause of reform for themselves. The slogan at the bottom of the….
One of Mikhail Gorbachev's most famous reform movements was glasnost' (openness), which allowed partial freedom of the press to address social problems and corruption within the Soviet Union. Among the issues raised during the glasnost' era of the Soviet Union were public health concerns, which became a prominent issue by the late 1980s. Drug abuse, for example, could be publicly discussed for….
Before the era of the Gorbachev reforms, social and health problems could not be easily discussed in the Soviet Union. The emphasis for public health was on keeping people healthy so that they could work better and more productively. Alcoholism, for example, was not a health problem, but instead a poor excuse for failing to work productively. This poster makes this point clear as it addresses….
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….
By the summer of 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev's reform policies, glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), had begun to change the political landscape of the Soviet Union. When President Ronald Reagan visited Moscow in the summer of 1988 for a political summit, he gave a series of speeches applauding the progress of Soviet reforms but also demanding further achievements. In this speech….
On 25 December 1979, the Soviet Union deployed its army in Afghanistan, in support of the Afghan Communist government against a group of Muslim opponents. For the next nine years, the Soviet army was involved in a long-drawn out military conflict without a victory, creating a constant embarrassment for Soviet military might. The expense of causalities and supplies was a constant drain on the….
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….
One of Mikhail Gorbachev's most famous reform movements was 'glasnost' (openness), which allowed partial freedom of the press to address social problems and corruption within the Soviet Union. Among the issues raised during the 'glasnost' era of the Soviet Union were social problems, including previously forbidden subjects such as the high rate of divorce. An example of this is the following….