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

The collapse of the USSR was caused by internal problems and had nothing to do with the Cold War. Assess this view.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

?The collapse of the USSR was caused by internal problems and had nothing to do with the Cold War?. Assess this view. In 1991, after over half a century of communist rule, the USSR ceased to exist as a political entity after many years of decline. This statement asserts that the cause for this cessation was only due to the effects caused by issues, policies and the framework within the USSR itself, and had absolutely no relation with regards to the external problem of the Cold War - defined by Ann Lane as a state of tension, conflict, hostility and competition which characterized US-USSR relations though not amounting to an actual war; this subscribes to the Soviet Initiative school of thought. However, this statement is unfair insofar that the collapse of the USSR was not only the result of trouble within its territorial boundaries, but rather a combination of factors both internal and external, including the foundational weakness of the Soviet economic system coupled with the long term pressure brought forth by the US policy of containment, the Reagan Doctrine as a catalyst, the turning point in USSR?s history with Gorbachev?s reforms and finally the immediate effect of the August 1991 coup d?etat that characterized the USSR?s decline. ...read more.

Middle

In addition, it was the product of external factors, derived from the Cold War, that served as a catalyst for the USSR?s decline and eventual disintegration. The Reagan Doctrine, a strategy orchestrated and implemented under the Reagan Administration which defined USA?s foreign policy towards the USSR, exerted external pressure towards the USSR and thus exacerbated the the latter?s decline. Star Wars, introduced in 1984 as part of the doctrine, was an advanced defense system which relied on a combination of ground and space based systems. This breakaway from nuclear warfare which the USSR just managed to achieve parity with the USA alarmed the USSR, causing her to rapidly ramp up her military spending, exacerbating the strain on her already flawed and stressed economy. Additionally, the policy of rollback as part of the doctrine resulted in USA?s covert intervention in the 1979 Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan only served to further exhaust the Red Army and the USSR?s resources, accelerating the decline of the Soviet Union. Thus, we can observe that the effort of the Reagan Doctrine which manifested as part of the Cold War would serve to catalyze the demise of the USSR, building upon the foundational weaknesses of ...read more.

Conclusion

In August 1991, the attempted coup d?etat by the hardliners met with resistance from the army and failed. This was significant as this was met with a huge outcry within the country, with massive protests throughout major cities within the USSR. This served as a clear indication that the the people overwhelmingly disapproved of the CPSU and their rule in the USSR, further chipping away whatever legitimacy they still had and spearheaded the independence of various Soviet socialist republics. As a result, we can distinctly observe that the failed 1991 coup served as a trigger, sparking off the result decades of factors both internal and external, causing the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In essence, we can see that the collapse of the USSR was not an implosion, caused only by the result of inefficiencies, policies, and struggles that manifested at home. Rather, it was the combined effort of factors originating within its borders coupled with pressures which found roots externally, that provided the foundation, that catalyzed, that altered its course and finally elicited the collapse of one of the most colossal superpowers of the 20th century. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This essay points out most of the important factors in the USSR's downfall. There is a good balance between internal and external pressures. The main missing point is any reference to Eastern Europe- by 1948 the USSR controlled Eastern Europe and was exploiting its resources, but by the 1980s it was a political and economic liability (e.g. rising unrest in Poland).
But to get a really high grade the writer would need to weigh the argument in the question more. The US liked to claim that its hardline policies under Reagan had forced the USSR into an rams race it could neither afford financially or match technologically. Other historians would argue that the USSR knew it had to reform, and it was Gorbachev's attempts to do this that finally finished the USSR off. In nay case the final paragraph should develop this point rather more directly than it does, because that is what the question is asking.

Marked by teacher Phil Drake 17/03/2013

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. Why did the U.S lose the Vietnam War?

    The pentagon papers were top secret papers which were put together in 1967 by a pentagon employee, Daniel Ellsberg. The documents included the all the information on the Vietnam War and an analysis. The documents mentioned about how the U.S had lied and covered up incidents in Vietnam.

  2. Compare and contrast the consequences of WWI respectively WWII

    However it planted the seed for the coming UN, which makes another similarity, both wars created these welfare organisations. But after the WWII the countries in Europe again started to look over their own borders, becoming a little more widely minded, countries became more involved in worldwide questions and started

  1. Describe the social, political and economic effects of WWI

    Meeting the new female roles that sprouted from a heavily disrupted gender ratio, legal adjustments ensuring equal pay and other protection were established, (social change, unsurprisingly, was slower in following). The League of Nations also guaranteed minorities in the newly formed, nationality-oriented states the freedom to establish and use religious, cultural and linguistic institutions.

  2. Assessing the impact of the first world war on international relations in the decade ...

    was that all internal political institutions of Europe would be democratized so as to remove autocratic constraints on public opinion that had permitted the ruling elites of the central powers to wage their war of aggression. For example, the Reichstag (German Parliament)

  1. Can War Be Justified?

    In general, Christians reject war, as they are pacifists, but not all reject 'just war,' as it can bring peace. Christianity gives guidelines on when it can be justified to go to war. The Church teaches that only a legitimate government can wage war - not, for example, terrorists; that

  2. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    * Countries occupied by the Nazis were to be allowed to have free democratic elections, and decide their future government without outside interference. They did not reach agree about * How much control USSR should have over Eastern Europe. o The most the Western Allies could do was to get

  1. How did world war II affect America ?

    He threatened to remove contracts if not followed. Also the CORE was set up, black people's expectations rose and they became more active. FEPC threatened to take away contracts if black people weren't employed. The National association for the advancement of coloured people grew ten times over.

  2. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    Germany and Austria opposed this, but had to accept it. The Second Moroccan Crisis * On 1 July 1911 a German gunboat, the 'Panther', arrived at Agadir. The German government claimed that it had been sent to protect Germans and their property, but in fact it was there to frighten the French.

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