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Assess the reasons affecting the end of the Cold War.

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Introduction

In 1991 after years of tension the Soviet Union was dissolved and in its place the commonwealth of independent states was formed. The dissolution of the USSR effectively brought about the end of the Cold War after 46 years of tension and strife. In this essay I will assess the reasons as to why the Cold War ended and judge as to which reason contributed the most to the termination of the Cold War. The main contributor towards the Soviet Union's demise was Ronald Reagan, the US president who was in power during the waning years of the Soviet Union. However the general weakness of the communist system itself coupled with the likes of reformists such as Mikhael Gorbachev and popular discontent also ensured the dissolution of the Soviet Union and thus bringing about the end of the Soviet Union. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan a hardline anti-communist was elected, and promptly brought about the end of d�tente by abruptly stopping SALT II negotiations. What followed was an America bent on making it tough for the Soviet Union in any way possible, with Reagan at the helm. Reagan effectively catalysed the demise of the Soviet Union, by interfering with their economy. ...read more.

Middle

Due to many reasons, first and foremost workers were not working hard enough due to the lack of incentives. Due to the communist system everyone was paid roughly the same amount no matter what job you did, street sweepers were being paid roughly the same as doctors. Thus people saw no incentive in working in hard jobs with little hope of promotion, if individuals in much easier jobs were being paid the same amount of money. The communist system within the Soviet Union also ensured the demise of the Soviet economy, due to its self-reliance ideology. Exports and imports accounted for only 4 per cent of the Soviet gross national product. This was not helped by the fact that the Soviets had the Chernobyl incident in 1986 and which cost hundreds of billions of dollars to clean up and were giving away money to third world countries and COMECON countries to support communist governments. It is estimated that in 1985 the Soviet Union gave $6.9 billion to the Third world, excluding Afghanistan as Afghanistan itself cost the Soviet Union up to $8 billion per annum. However without Reagan these weaknesses would not have been exploited. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus the Soviet Union could not support itself economically after the likes of perestroika and with further discontent and revolution due to perestroika and the fact that the USSR would not intervene, Gorbachev helped in spelling the end for the Soviet Union albeit unintentionally. However I do not think that Gorbachev played a large part in the demise of the Soviet Union as the economy was already going downhill due to wars, Reagan and the system itself, before he became chairman of the Soviet Union. Thus all Gorbachev effectively did was speed up the demise of the Soviet Union and speeded up. Some historians such as Crockatt argue however that "Decline in economy in late 80s was direct result of Gorbachev's policies." In conclusion I believe that Reagan was primarily responsible for the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War as he was the first person who took advantage of the Soviet's faltering economy. This ultimately led to discontent among the masses sparking revolution. Gorbachev made the situation worse in the late 80's and the faltering economy was a result of Reagan as was the revolutions and resurgence of nationalism. ?? ?? ?? ?? Assess the reasons affecting the end of the Cold War. ...read more.

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