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Cold War

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The most feared war of the twentieth century was the Cold War - a state of tension between politics and military tension of the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The Cold War came following World War II. The cold war lasted from 1945 to 1989; its ending was most unexpected and peaceful in which credit must be given to the leaders of both sides. The Cold War's eventual end in 1989 was a result of Russian leader Gorbachev's policies of resolution; the Soviet's declining communist economy, the costly arms race, the American containment policy and the freedom issues within the Soviet bloc itself.

Mikhail Gorbachev became the General Secretary of the Soviet Union in 1985, he came to power with his main goal being to end corruption in the Soviet's economy and to regain the stability that the U.S.S.R. once had. To achieve his goal he declared two new policies be put in motion. The two new policies were Glasnost and Perestroika. "Glasnost or openness was the policy that ended the strict censorship, allowed Soviet citizens to speak openly about their society's problems and issues, and abandoned the ban of books and foreign radio broadcasts." (Brinkley) With this new policy the Soviet Union could be more open in their media freedom and the issues of the people could be broadcasted in the open. The second policy, "Perestroika or reconstruction was introduced to help reform the Soviet economy by ending inefficiency and corruption in the system."(Brinkley) This policy allowed private enterprise, production prices and costs became more reasonable where civilians could actually prosper in business and participate in decision making of their own factories. These policies also aimed to open up electoral processes that were similar to what was going on in the West. These policies were just the beginning of the reforms the soviet union would see under Gorbavech.

The declining economy of the Soviet Union played a huge role in the end of the cold war. It was also had a great affect on how the Cold War ended peacefully. The Soviet Union had less and less money to spend on technology, where the United States was going through a period of great advancement. This left the Soviet Union to look weak in comparison to the new machinery the United States had.Personal expectations began to rise among the East Germany citizens concerning the freedom rights and economic systems. The people became uneasy in their economic despair which resulted in political unrest in the Soviet bloc.

Gorbachev also began to renounce policies that were put in place by earlier leaders. Policies he denounced were that maintained communist ideals. Gorbavech abolished the Brezhnev Doctrine which stated that every country in the Soviet Bloc belonged to the Soviet empire. These countries prior to this abolishment had no decision making powers, so instead Gorbavech declared his own policy of the Sinatra Doctrine which declared that Soviet republics had no right to get involved in each other's internal affairs. Following this new doctrine the Soviet Union also withdrew from supporting countries that would in turn aid the spread of communism.

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