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

Soviet interest in Eastern Europe served to strengthen the communist bloc.' Discuss this statement with reference to events from 1950 to 1980

Extracts from this document...


"Soviet interest in Eastern Europe served to strengthen the communist bloc." Discuss this statement with reference to events from 1950 to 1980. The aftermath of war in 1953 in the Asian periphery, where ideological tensions heightened to vast proportions and were thick with the promise of an all-out military combat between the Great Powers, saw the perpetuation, and yet the degeneration, of the Cold War in Europe. This enduring but steadily declining enmity could be seen clearly in the period 1953 to 1979, a period of stability in superpower relations punctuated by only intermittent crises, specifically the uprisings that occurred within the loosening eastern bloc. However, even amidst the sudden peace, the Soviet Union constantly maintained a tight rein on its satellites, in hopes of consolidating the Soviet sphere. In most cases, such endeavours were inefficacious, resulting in insurrections that estranged Eastern Europe from the USSR. As such, Khrushchev's continual interference in the internal affairs of the countries of Eastern Europe strengthened the communist bloc to only a small, insignificant degree. To a larger degree frequent Soviet intervention caused the disintegration of the communist bloc. Continued economic exploitation of the eastern bloc by Stalin stirred in Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany resentment that culminated in revolts which created bad blood between the USSR and the two countries. ...read more.


From November 4 to November 11, there was bitter street fighting as the 200, 000 strong Red Army equipped with 4000 Russian tanks crushed the rebels and overthrew the Nagy government. The prime minister was captured and executed, and replaced by Janos Kadar, and Hungary came under strict Russian control again. In view of the above, Soviet intervention in Hungarian independence efforts had left an eternity of deep-rooted antipathy and resentment within the country, which served to inflict tremendous strains on Soviet-Hungarian ties. The weakening of the eastern bloc was also contributed to by the events from 1958 to 1961, most of which were dictated by the Soviets. During the period after the sporadic uprisings in Poland and Hungary, Khrushchev had established himself well as the successor of Stalin and had decided, by means of a series of aggressive actions, to keep the satellite countries of the Soviet Union on a tight leash. The Rapacki Plan of 1958, for example, proposed a reduction in the armed forces of Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Consequently, the revolutionary potential of these countries would be severely undermined and, in the event of a Soviet invasion, the people would be unable to put up an effective resistance against enemy troops. ...read more.


This is transparent from the many uprisings within the Soviet sphere itself, as well as the fact that the USSR was mostly impervious to the entreaties of her satellite nations. The insurrections that had transpired within the communist bloc were spontaneous, arising from the intrinsically draconian rule of the Soviets. Collectivisation attempts had proven economically detrimental and, worst of all, had enfeebled the East European people, who were perpetually haunted by spectre of famine. The absence of the rudimentary freedoms to which all humans are entitled, in particular the freedom of expression, has deprived the people of the chance to verbalise their dissatisfactions, which accumulated over the years until they culminated in local uprisings. For these reasons and several others, there was already a hatred for Soviet misrule within the communist bloc. This hatred, however, was heightened with Soviet military intervention in local affairs, which more often than not had left an indelible mark on the people of East Europe. In reinforcement of my stand is the eventuall fall of communism in 1991, which goes to show that, irrespective of how Soviet misrule was occasionally beneficial to the strength of communists, communism was doomed to fall in the first place. ...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

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 tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    But the government had also had to borrow heavily and now there were debts which had to be repaid. * Britain had lost 704,000 men killed during the war. Whole villages and parts of towns had lost almost all their young men, and many others were crippled and injured, not surprisingly, there was little sympathy for the Germans.

  2. The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe

    53 workers were killed in Poznan by the Polish army. Shocked by this, Khrushchev moved troops to the Polish border. By October that year, Poland had a new leader, Wladyslaw Gomulka, he was popular with the polish for the next couple of years.


    Sometimes the use of propaganda could be counter-effective. * After the 1935 Constitution was introduced, and widely publicised, guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of religious observance, the right to vote, etc, many people, especially peasants, petitioned the Party claiming their right to keep the church open, for example, when the Party tried to close it down.

  2. How important were developments in Eastern Europe to the collapse of the Soviet Union?

    The Soviets were confronted with the illegitimacy of communist rule, and the inevitability of Communist collapse in the Soviet Union. In particular, Gorbachev was influenced by the relinquishing on monopoly power of the Yugoslav League of Communists in January 1990 to permit legal non-communist activities and parties throughout the Soviet Union, in effect breaking the CPSU's monopoly of power.

  1. Free essay

    To what extent are Walter Scott(TM)s novels a product of the Scottish Enlightenment? Discuss ...

    Voltaire's quotation above and by the title of James Buchan's book Crowded With Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment. From Glasgow University arose the names Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, and John Millar; from the University of Edinburgh, Adam Ferguson, Dugald Stewart, and William Robertson (Herman, 2001: p.29).

  2. Gorbachev(TM)s reforms and policies, which were intended originally to strengthen the Soviet system, eventually ...

    Furthermore, efforts to cope with a contradicting economy (free enterprise without freedom in price-setting) only made shortages worse and aggravated inflationary pressures. Moreover, this created a group of Mafia taking advantage of the profit making system, thus bringing about a rise in crime rate.

  1. Free essay

    How and why did the Soviet Union establish control over eastern Europe between 1945 ...

    due to the potential danger that any could represent. Eastern European countries' economies had been devastated by war, and were in genuine need of financial aid. Once the Marshall Plan was offered to all Europe, the Soviet Union refused to receive it, and moreover, denied the rest of Eastern Europe to allow any help whatsoever from The West.

  2. The Cold War came to an end because the Soviet bloc was fatally undermined ...

    This was made worse by the advance in the West, which is also supported in source 12 which states that there was ?an industrial revolution with the emergence of computer technology,? giving off a structuralism view in the reasoning of the end of the cold war.

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