In this excerpt from the Mikhail Gorbachev's remarks to the Soviet Union's Defense Council, his chief foreign policy advisor Anatoly Chernyaev lays out the argument by Gorbachev that the Soviet Union can no longer sustain the arms race with the west that had raged as a part of the Cold War since the 1940s. Despite this rational observation that the Soviet Union can no longer compete with the….
On January 5, 1968, Alexander Dubček came to power in Communist Czechoslovakia, and began a series of reforms, later called the "Prague Spring." His new policies centered around the idea that Communism could be more liberal and responsive to the people, and achieved by increasing freedom of the press, emphasizing consumer goods, and the suggesting a multi-party government instead of a….
In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise to resolve the strike, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions as the shortages failed to improve. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout….
In August 1980, a worker's strike in Poland led to a compromise known as the Gdansk Agreement, in which the Communist government agreed to several compromises with the strikers, including the legal formation of a worker's union -- which became Solidarity. While this initially brought stability in Poland, it set shockwaves through the Warsaw Pact from the emerging danger of "antisocialist….
Deeply concerned about the ongoing economic and political crisis in Poland in the early 1980s, Soviet leaders regularly communicated with Polish officials, providing advice, support, and criticism. These meeting notes from April 2, 1981, of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union convey Soviet leaders' dissatisfaction, frustration, and even anger with Polish leaders'….
In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in Washington, DC. The treaty eliminated both nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic missiles with a range of 300-3,400 miles. The treaty itself did not set a number on the amount of missiles to be destroyed; it instead set target numbers for the amount of….
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….
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 Warsaw Pact was based around the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance for its member states, though primarily it was a military alliance led by the Soviet Union. Therefore, Mikhail Gorbachev's arms reduction plan affected all of the member states of the Warsaw Pact by reducing all of the men under arms in Eastern Europe. In this meeting from July 1988, the Defense Ministers of the….
In May 1988, Georgi Shakhnazarov, an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, responded to a report by Marshal Viktor G. Kulikov, the commander-in-chief of Warsaw Pact forces. In his comments, Shakhnazarov delineated in detail the problems with Kulikov's report, namely, his plan to continue building up the military even following the Intermediate-Range Nuclear….
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….