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Account For The Collapse Of The Soviet Union And The Ending Of The Cold War.

3047 words - 12 pages

Account for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of the Cold War. Was the main reason for the collapse: (a) the rise of a new, youthful leadership cadre, (b) the USA's Strategic Defence Initiative ('Star Wars') (c) the expense of maintaining Soviet allies (d) some other factor(s)?The end of the WWII marked the beginning of the cold war. The conflicts between the Capitalist bloc led by United States (US) and the Communist bloc led by Soviet Union (SU) put the world on the brink of war. However, a series incidents happened in 1980s including the reform of Gorbachev, the USA's Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) and the expense of maintaining Soviet allies destroyed the balance of power, leading to the collapse of the economic system and political system of SU. Eventually, they led to the collapse of SU and marked the end of Cold War. Thus, the ending of the Cold War was mainly due to the collapse of the SU. This essay argues that the rise of a new, youthful leadership cadre was the main reason in causing the collapse of the SU and the ending of the Cold War because it was the core factor that shook both of the planned economy and communist ruling of SU. Consequently, it led to the collapse of the SU. This essay is going to analyse the factors leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of the Cold War with the comparison of each factors.To commence with, a new, youthful leadership cadre led by Gorbachev carried a series of economic and political reform- Perestroika and Glasnost, which were proved to be a failure and eventually led to the 8.19 coup, which was the immediate cause of the collapse of SU. SU was facing serious economic problems such as a declining living standard and gradually decreasing growing ratio of Gross National Product (GNP) etc. in the late 1970s to 1980s. Thus, after being elected as General Secretary in 1985, Gorbachev realized that there was an urgent need for a reform so as to speed up the rate of the economic growth and to improve the living standard. Hence, Perestroika was carried out. Perestroika was a reform that changed the economic system from an authoritarian one to a democratic one, according to Abel Aganbegyan, who was the chief economic adviser of Gorbachev. However, it was not about the transformation of planned economy to market economy, but to make socialism more efficient and effective. It aimed to improve the efficiency in the use of its resources, raise the quality of its products, enhance the competiveness of its manufactures in Western Market and narrow the widening technological gap with the West. To do so, the central planning of economy was stopped, people had the freedom to plan production and private ownership was allowed. In other words, it became a more market-like economy. [1: Fred Coleman. The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire: Forty Years that Shook the World, from Stalin to Yeltsin. (New York, 1996). p.228 ][2: Gertrude E. Schroeder. 'The Soviet Economy on a...

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