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

Was the collapse of the USSR historically inevitable?

Extracts from this document...


Was the collapse of the USSR historically inevitable? The twenty fifth of December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of The Soviet Union and the country is dissolute in fifteen republics after an existence of nearly seventy years. Before this moment, less or none historians predicted this collapse. Nevertheless, one can ask the question whether this collapse was historically inevitable or not. The aim of this essay is not to rewrite History but explain what has lead to the end of the Soviet Union. First of all, this essay will describe shortly some important steps of the Soviet History after the Second World War and in the context of the Cold War, in order to help the understood of the final collapse. Even though the last years of the soviet regime were crucial, former events and policies influenced the Breakup of USSR. In the second part, I will analyze how some events and factors, such as economy, nationalism, internal and external pressures, personalities and the war of Afghanistan made this collapse inevitable. Even though some scholars, such as Gaddis1, argue that the end of the cold war and the collapse of Soviet Union were not historically expected, this essay will show that it seems inevitable. In order to understand the Collapse of the Soviet Union, some historical facts need to be reminded2. ...read more.


A lot of factors are responsible of the Collapse of the Soviet Union. First of all, the falling economy and the large military expenditure in relation to the GNP played an important role, according to Kennedy6. Moreover, the command economy showed its limits, lead to stagnation, false statistics, corruption and grain dependence. Till the 70', the country reaches a certain level of power also because of the free manpower of the Gulags. Finally the reforms undertaken by Gorbachev in order to modify the inflexible economy and to give access to consumer goods came too late and were unable to correct the system. Second, Nationalism and ethnic pressures contributed also to the breakup of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, a qualified exception to this argument is Russian elite separatist nationalism, led by Boris Yeltsin, which as also a direct impact on the Collapse. The Soviet Polity vis-�-vis nationalities, which in fact forced the Russian language, denied religions7 and led to a surge of Nationalism and ethnic pressure in 1988-1991 and weakened the state. Moreover, Mikhail Gorbachev failed to establish a viable compact between center and periphery during these years8. Finally his unwilling to use decisive force to quell ethnic and nationalist challenges accelerates the separation of the Soviet Union. Third, internal factors have happened. ...read more.


This war was long, expensive in cost, men and moral and affects the prestige of the army and of the State. It shows the nationalism inside the Red Army and thus society; Indeed a Muslim soldier did not want to fight others Muslims. Moreover, the war prevented any armed intervention in Eastern Europe and Particularly in Poland. The US financed the resistance and, in 1989, All the Soviet Troops had evacuated the country and an Islamic government came to power. The defeat was total for the Soviet Union and the Communist regime. The Breakup of USSR is inseparable with the End of the Cold War. Even though nobody predicted the Collapse the Soviet Union, it happened the twenty-fifth of December 1991, without resistance or counter-revolution. The Communist regime showed his inability to govern a multinational Empire and to compete with the United States. Gorbachev, by his reforms accelerated a process which was inevitable, after years of totalitarism. He puts an end to the Cold War, and by the way to the Soviet Union, giving up the supremacy to the United States. A last event totally finished to get the collapse inevitable, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in 1986. The incapacity of the regime to react and the lies to hide the width of the disaster consumed the state's credibility and its last chance to survive. ...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)

Although there are some problems with written expression, the author covers a great deal of ground here and shows good understanding of events. The views of historians are also well engaged with. Links to the question could be stronger throughout.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 24/10/2014

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

    How important was foreign intervention in the unification of Italy by 1870?

    4 star(s)

    In 1861, we see the unification of both the north and south Italy. Other factors that also contributed to the unification of Italy were foreign events that occurred outside Italian territory. In 1866, the Austro Prussian war took place in which Italy was an ally of Prussia, though Italy took

  2. Mao Essay

    The enemy halts; we harass. The enemy tires: we attack. The enemy retreats: we pursue." 6. The Long March well demonstrated Mao's successful use of violence during the Chinese Revolution. The Great Leap Forward was an idea of Mao's to quickly speed up production rates so that China could be equal to Great Britain.

  1. In What Ways Did World War One Impact American Society?

    Women were given the right to vote on August 18th 1920. However, this did not change the mentality of women in society very much as they tended to vote with their husbands or not vote at all. This was mainly because the viewpoint that women belonged at home and were inferior to men was still deeply rooted in American society.

  2. To what extent was Stalin to blame for the Berlin crisis 1948-9?

    had grossly underestimated the effect of the Second World War on Russia, and Edwards places strong emphasis on the prospect of a "reconstituted Germany'' horrifying the Soviets, with possible rearmament "even more disturbing''12. Due to geographical proximity, Russia still held fears of a future German offensive, and Edwards implies this

  1. Creative Writing - War.

    I couldn't wait to go into the jungle. I had been lying in the muddy ditch for two hours. The shock and fear to what had just happened had kept me there. My eyes rolled around, the pure smell of the jungle had been contaminated by the smell of death.

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

    which may have well been seen as aggressive by the Americans and proving that USSR really did aim for expansionism. The USSR's approval of a coup d'etat by Gottwald and the purging of all possible opposition such as Jan Masaryk, placed the communists in power and allowed them to rig elections.

  1. Who was to blame for the cold war?

    The economic state of Europe was ruined as they owed 11.5 billion to the USA and there were extreme shortages of all goods. The Marshall Aid plan gave 17 billion to Europe over a period of four years.

  2. The Korean War and Superpower relations

    The Korean War reignited the issue of West Germany rearmament and sovereignty which had been a huge source of concern for the USSR and one of the reasons that led to the strong tension between the US and USSR. However due to the outbreak of Korean War, the US saw

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