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How secure was the USSR’s control over Eastern Europe 1948-89?

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Introduction

Year 10 IGCSE History Topic 6: How secure was the USSR's control over Eastern Europe 1948-89? 1. Why was the Berlin Wall built 1961? a) The Wall was built in 1961 due to an increasing number of people migrating from the East to the West. As the Hungarian uprising was crushed in 1956 the people in Eastern Europe noticed that it was impossible to rebel against a Communist rule, and so it appeared that the only way to escape from a Communist rule was leave their roots behind them and move on to the West. But the hate of a Communist rule was no the only reason, even the pro-Communists were leaving due to low living conditions. Among these thousands of people fleeing to the West there were many of the USSR's most skilled workers and highly qualified managers. The soviet government just couldn't afford their loss. Khrushchev thought that thousands of people fleeing from a Communist rule for a better life under Capitalism undermined Communism in East Germany and Communism generally. b) Which photograph shows East Berlin and which shows West Berlin? 1 Photograph 1 shows West Berlin. I think so because it shows a shop full of goods-something rare in the east. 2 Photograph 2 shows East Berlin. 2. Why did the Cold War ''thaw'' in the 1970's? 3. Why was Solidarity a threat to Soviet control? a) Differences between protest in Poland and Hungary / Czechoslovakia. Hungary / Czechoslovakia Poland Reason for protests Protests were against the Communist rule, Soviet control and restrictions of freedom. ...read more.

Middle

* In 1978 he helped organise a union at another works. Dismissed officially because of the recession, unofficially because of pressure from above. * In 1979 he worked for Eltromontage. He said to be the best automotive electrician in the business. He was sacked. * Led strikes in Gdansk shipyard in summer of 1980. * With others he set up Solidarity in August 1980 and became its leader soon after. * He was committed catholic and earned massive support among the polish people and overseas. * He was imprisoned by the Polish government in 1982. * In prison he became a symbol of Eastern Europe's struggle against Communist repression. He won the Noble Peace Prize in 1983. * In 1989 he became the leader of Poland's first non-Communist government since the Second World War. 5. Why did the Polish government agree to solidarity's demands in 1980? 6. Why did the Polish government clamp down on Solidarity in December 1981? a) There were a number of factors which caused the government to change policy towards Solidarity. * There were increasing signs that solidarity was acting as a political party. The government had been sent secret tapes of a Solidarity meeting at which leaders talked of Solidarity setting up a new provisional government - without the communist Party. This formed a direct challenge to the Soviet plan for eastern Europe. Brezhnev was not prepared to have a Communist Party within the Soviet bloc dictated by an independent union. ...read more.

Conclusion

b) c) The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe -Timeline 1986/90 May Hungarians begin dismantling the barbed wire fence between Hungary and non-Communist Austria. June In Poland, free elections are held for the first time since the Second World War. Solidarity wins almost all the seats in the contests. Eastern Europe gets its first non-Communist leader. The cracks in the soviet domination of Eastern Europe begin to appear and the complete collapse of the Red Empire begins with the people of East Germany. July --- August --- September Thousands of East Germans on holiday in Hungary and Czechoslovakia refuse to come home. They escape through Austria into West Germany. October There are enormous demonstrations in East German cities when Gorbachev visits the country. He tells the East German leader Erich Honecker to reform. Honecker orders troops to fire on demonstrators but they refuse. Gorbachev makes it clear that Soviet tanks will not move in to ''restore order''. November East Germans march in there thousands of checkpoints at the Berlin Wall. The guards throw down their weapons and join the crowds. The Berlin Wall is dismantled. There are demonstrations in Czechoslovakia. The Czech Government opens their borders with the West, and allows the formation of other parties. December In Romania there is a short but very bloody revolution, which ends with the execution of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The Communist Party in Hungary renames itself the Socialist Party and declares that free elections will be held in 1990. In Bulgaria, there are huge demonstrations against the Communist government. January --- February --- March (1990) Latvia leads the Baltic republics in the declaring independence from the USSR. George Walas 1 ...read more.

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