• 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. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent was America's policy of containment successful? Use Korea, Cuba and Vietnam ...

    3 star(s)

    The My Lai massacre was a massacre by United States Soldiers of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians, mostly women and children. This soon became the symbol of Unite States American war crimes in Vietnam, which outraged the world and reduced public support for the war in the United States.

  2. Mao Essay

    Due to the lack of production, food shortages started to be prominent across the country, this was the start of a famine, the first to be experienced under the Communist rule.12 Unfortunately bad weather then fell upon China, this combined with the underproduction combined to create the worst famine in

  1. Creative Writing - War.

    Back and forth, with no sign of the enemy. By now, even the most frightened of men wanted to fight. Troops would fire a few rounds into the air, to let out their frustration. Many suffered severe foot cramp and blisters.

  2. How far was the USSR responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War?

    as they had gained 384 out of 444 seats in the Parliament, with Bierut gaining support. It can also be maintained that the Russians deliberately twisted Byrnes' Stuttgart speech to consolidate their hold on Polish opinion, using it to show how unfavourably for Poland the in-exile government would operate.

  1. Who was to blame for the cold war?

    The west agreed that Eastern Europe would be a soviet sphere of influence but they never expected such a complete communist domination. They thought it would be both democratic and friendly to the USSR. Stalin saw his policy in Eastern Europe as making himself secure, but Truman only saw spread of communism.

  2. The Korean War and Superpower relations

    Hence, the Chinese decided to intervene in the conflict and China made a massive military effort in the conflict, deploying 2.3 million troops and suffering over 360,000 casualties. The involvement in China in the conflict was significant as it widened the scope of the Cold War, introducing the entry of China as a new participant to the conflict.

  1. To what extent did the foreign intervention influence the outcome of the Spanish Civil ...

    However, although foreign intervention had a very important role to play on the outbreak of the Civil War, there were pre-civil war problems within society, which contributed to the outcome of the Civil War. These problems involved Manuel Aza�a and Niceto Alcala Zamora.

  2. "To What Extent Were Gorbachev's Policies the Catalyst to the Fall of the USSR?"

    A valuable source as to understand the policies' ideas, but as it is a propaganda and biased point of view, the real outcome of their application may well be very limited (and thus is also analyzed through other sources). The second source, Peter Schweizer's 'Victory: The Reagan administration's secret strategy

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