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Gorbachev undeniably precipated the fall of the Soviet Union by ending the Cold War

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Introduction

"Gorbachev undeniably precipitated the fall of the Soviet Union by ending the Cold War" Discuss Gorbachev's intentions behind the ending of the state of hostility with the US were to preserve the longevity of the Soviet Union rather than lead it to its downfall. As events turned out, the impact of his well-intentioned reforms were miscalculated by him, leading to his place in history as the one man who ended the Cold War, if there can be such a one man. Though the end of the Cold War did have an immediate impact on the fall of the Soviet Union through the arousing of nationalist sentiments in the Soviet Union and the political fallout on Gorbachev, in reality underlying socio-economic problems were already in place in the Soviet Union, and Gorbachev's reforms merely brought forward the imminent doom that the Soviet Union was headed for. The end of the Cold War in Eastern Europe aroused nationalist sentiments in the Soviet Union itself, leading to its decline. ...read more.

Middle

Glasnost had opened the eyes of the Soviet people to the failings of their system, and the granting of independence to their Eastern European neighbours through the Sinatra Doctrine had aroused their own nationalist sentiments of independence from the Soviet Union. Their simultaneous declarations of independence coincided with Gorbachev's waning influence and military might to respond, causing the breakup of the Soviet Union. By ending the Cold War in Eastern Europe, Gorbachev also faced much political backlash, which undermined his power to do anything to stop the breakup of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev effectively lost his entire supporter base with his policies of reform, both among the conservatives and reformists. Stopping direct Soviet intervention in Eastern Europe, granting free elections, and encouraging Glasnost, amongst other actions, hurt his standing with the conservatives, as they were unhappy with the loss of the Soviet Union's status as a superpower. The reformers were unhappy with Gorbachev towards the end of his term as party chief, at what they deemed were half-hearted reforms in the Baltic States and his self-appointment as Executive President. ...read more.

Conclusion

Politically, ending the Cold War and rebuilding the Soviet Union would elevate Gorbachev to the status of a hero amongst the Soviet people. Gorbachev's only mistake is to believe the problems that the Soviet Union faced were inherently possible to remedy within a communist framework. Decades of suppression have hidden the extent of the problems that the Soviet Union faced from both the Politburo and the masses. With reforms like Glasnost and Perestroika, the lid on top of these problems came off, with every single flaw of the Soviet Union out in the open for all to see and criticize. Rather than solving the problem, Glasnost, Perestroika and ending the Cold War made the problem worse, because the economic problems of the Soviet Union were too deep to remedy. In conclusion, though Gorbachev's actions in ending the Cold War directly led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, it must be remembered that the Soviet Union was already a sinking ship; Gorbachev just believed it salvageable and sought to save it. In so doing, he brought upon its inevitable end instead, and shall go down in history as the man who both ended the Cold War and broke up the Soviet Union. ...read more.

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