• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


"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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    Clearly, the battle against Nazi Germany was not the only conflict taking place. Yet the disputes over lend-lease proved minor compared to the issue of a second front-what one historian has called "the acid test of Anglo-American intentions." However much help the United States could provide in the way of

  2. American History.

    virtuous, self-sacrificing republic led by a merit-based aristocracy idea. Since leaders were to be virtuous, there was no need to fear a strong central gov't. Besides, there was the separation of powers. Antifederalists - the Antifederalists felt that weakening the states would? lead to the onset of arbitrary and oppressive gov't power (based on Real Whig ideology.)

  1. Why, And With What Effect, Did Gorbachev Implement Glasnost In The Soviet Union?

    vigorous competition with the West".6 Another reason that Gorbachev put Glasnost into play was because he saw that the Soviet Union was falling behind the capitalist West in terms of technology, particularly in the "computer revolution"7.

  2. What were the causes of the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a socialist ...

    It is therefore improper to suggest that central planning is in some way as successful as the market economy just over this limited timescale. When looked at over a longer period, the possibility that the centrally planned economy cannot function as successfully as a market economy seems even more of a possibility.


    * Much the same can be said about Stalin's control over the country: control over dissenters was mostly by force, but propaganda and the cult of the individual played a key part in sustaining Stalin's popularity in the country. * Even prisoners in the Gulags were reported to cry when Stalin's death was announced.

  2. How important were developments in Eastern Europe to the collapse of the Soviet Union?

    Thus the founding of the Rukh in the aftermath of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe was crucial in the collapse of the Soviet Union later, along with the rise of nationalist movements in the other republics. How much of this rise in nationalist tendencies is due to Eastern

  1. The Fall of Classical Greece

    For the most part the two states never directly faced off, this was largely because of their opposing strengths; Sparta's hoplite army could defeat any land-based enemy and Athens had the most powerful navy in the Aegean13. Athens did not want to fight Sparta on land, and Sparta did not want to fight Athens at sea.

  2. Events in the Soviet Union brought down Communist regimes in Eastern Europe - Discuss

    Many people at the time and historians since, perhaps mistakenly, viewed Gorbachev's actions as nothing but an attempt to rejuvenate and restore the Soviet Union with the socialist traditions of its birth3. Perestroika was the Soviet elite acknowledging the Soviet system had hit a dead end, economic growth had ceased

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work