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Changing Cold War Relations - why did change happen

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Changing Cold War Relations - why did change happen

  1. 1. The USSR went through many changes in the 1980s, leading to the Cold War’s end. There are many different reasons for these changes.
  2. 2. Financial problems Government-owned businesses were badly run and needed changes to stop this, including private investment. The USSR was also struggling to fund its military commitments.
  3. 3. Poverty Many Russians lived in poverty. They faced long queues even to buy bread. People in the USSR could see on TV that the West was not this poor. Without changes, the USSR risked a revolution.
  4. 4. Military problems The USSR was failing to win the Afghanistan War and it was costing them too much money. The Soviets also could not afford to keep military control of Eastern Europe.
  5. 5. Chernobyl Chernobyl was a nuclear power station in the USSR which exploded in 1986. In spite of the deaths it caused (and later cancers) it was kept secret at first. Gorbachev was shocked by this.
  6. 6. Influence of the USA The USA put more pressure on the Soviet Union. US President Ronald Reagan hugely increased military spending, which the USSR could not match. This included building Stealth Bombers.
  7. 7. The USA also tried to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative (or Star Wars). This was an anti-missile system based in space. If successful this could have made Soviet missiles useless.
  8. 8. Reagan tried to persuade the people of Eastern Europe to rebel against the USSR. They used radio broadcasts such as ‘Voice of America’ and ‘Radio Free Europe’ to encourage this.
  9. 9. Eastern Europe Like in the USSR, people in Eastern Europe lived in poverty and wanted change. It was hard to stop revolutions. Groups such as Solidarity in Poland opposed Soviet rule.
  10. 10. Mikhail Gorbachev Gorbachev was the youngest ever leader of the USSR. He introduced various changes including working with western leaders and reforms such as Glasnost.
  11. 11. Ronald Reagan US President Reagan was very anti-Communist. He gave support to Afghanistan and had an influence in Poland too. He also increased arms spending to cause the USSR financial problems.
  12. 12. Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II, from Poland, gave many speeches which hugely influenced Catholic Poland and the West. He supported Solidarity, the group that helped end Communist rule.
  13. 13. Margaret Thatcher UK Prime Minister Thatcher was a big supporter of Ronald Reagan. She had good relations with Gorbachev. Thatcher also helped by allowing the USA to base nuclear missiles in the UK.