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

Assess the reasons affecting the end of the Cold War.

Extracts from this document...

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. The cold war - the conferences and the start of the cCold War

    At Potsdam, the British representation changed from Churchill to Attlee. Attlee was the leader of the Labor Party; his party embarked on a very radical program, his program included state ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, e.g. iron, coal, steel, transport, etc...

  2. What Effect Did World War II have on Eastern Europe?

    The occupiers destroyed Polish art and sculptures and looted museums. Schools were shut down in an effort to suppress the population. The Polish underground movement with the help of wealthy individuals and the Catholic Church were able to keep some aspects of culture alive, including plays, concert, and salvaging valuable artifacts from museums25.

  1. To what extent, if any, did the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster contribute to the fall ...

    number of civilian cancer deaths by the contamination is still difficult to reach. European countries noticed the spike in radiation levels and tried to monitor the disaster through satellite surveillance.10 Through its public broadcasts, the Soviet Union tried to downplay the accident11 in order to prevent outside countries from raising

  2. Investigation: The Cuban Missile Crisis as a Thaw in the Cold War

    Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev loaded Cuba with 162 nuclear warheads with 90 of those strategically aimed at the United States. Because of this, President John F. Kennedy had to muster a response under pressured and time-constrained circumstances with generals and cabinet members advising him.

  1. Why Did War Time Friends Become Cold War Enemies?

    as well as Britain was worried about and making this new situation greatly discussed on Potsdam creating the first frictions between both superpowers in the road to the Cold War. As for the agreements and disagreements of the Potsdam conference, there were several terms from which both the USSR and

  2. The Cold War

    Three, that when Germany was defeated, the USSR would enter the war against Japan. Lastly, that Germany was to be divided into four zones that Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR would each occupy. As Berlin, the capital of Germany, laid in the Soviet zone, it too would

  1. For what reasons, and with what results, was Germany a centre of Cold War ...

    It was officially the European Recovery Program, ERP which was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild West Germany and other European economies after the end of World War II in order to restrict the spread of Soviet communism.

  2. Analyse the causes and consequences of Glasnost and Perestroika up until 2000

    Soviet Union spent huge money on resources in favor of the war effort, which in the end was a waste of lives and resources, comparable to the US Vietnam. There were also huge spending bound to the arms race of Red Army with the US army, especially years before Détente.

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