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World History II: Collapse of the Soviet Union and Latin America since 1945

by: Morgan Holt

World History II: Collapse of the Soviet Union and Latin America since 1945 HIST 1020 -012

Marketplace > Auburn University > History > HIST 1020 -012 > World History II Collapse of the Soviet Union and Latin America since 1945
Morgan Holt
GPA 4.0

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Notes cover key events in post-WWII Latin America and Soviet Union.
World History II
Donna Bohanan
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Morgan Holt on Friday April 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1020 -012 at Auburn University taught by Donna Bohanan in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see World History II in History at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 04/29/16
Collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union I. Background: Resistance to Soviet Dominion A. Hungary (1956): Soviet domination was hard to live under. Hungarians tried early on to  throw off Soviet control. Soviets sent in the tanks, and the rebellion was put down early B. Prague Spring (1968): intellectuals in Prague started talking, putting a face on socialism,  but were also put down. Caused Soviets to really clamp down on Easter Europe to  prevent similar movements. C. Economic Failure: In the 1980s, the economy was failing in many Eastern European  countries, causing huge shortages. Economies weren’t productive under communism  because there was no incentive for productivity. Eastern European countries had to  borrow lots of money from both Russia and Western countries.  D. Consumer Culture of the West: Western countries like shopping and have a lot of stuff.  Images from the West started getting into Eastern Europe, and people saw all the things  that Westerners had, and they wanted them. Caused dissatisfaction with governments and refugees to flee Eastern Europe. E. Unrest in Poland: Late 70s and early 80s. A union formed called Solidarity under the  leader Lech Walesa, and became an umbrella union of over 10 million people by 1980.  Walesa became the face of Solidarity and a national hero. The government cracked down  on Solidarity in 1982, causing it to go underground. Solidarity was endorsed by Pope  John Paul II, who was from Poland. II. Gorbachev Era A. Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985. He was very well educated,  young, and charming compared to the previous leaders.  B. Opposition to Stalinists: Stalinists were harsh and removed, very old­fashioned  communists. Gorbachev was not like that. He wanted to be flexible, to change  communism. C. Glasnost: Openness; wanted critics of the government to express themselves.  D. Economic Reform: Wanted to building profit incentives, saw that collectivized farms  were a problem and wanted privatization. E. Perestroika: “Revolution of the mind”; program to promote productivity. Capitalistic  reforms. F. Obstacles to change a. Pricing goods: Because in communism government set prices, even though there were shortages, prices stayed low. b. Little incentive for productivity c. Massive investment needed for modernization III. Downfall of Communism: Triggers A. Nationalist Movements: “Breakaway Republics”; Lithuania Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and Georgia were the first to leave the Soviet Union. B. Democratic opposition: Dissonance within the Soviet Union. Gorbachev opened the  doors to opposition, and the people didn’t disappoint. Andrey Sakharov became the  leader of this opposition. Alekxandr Solzhenitsyn was an author that wrote about the  atrocities that people experienced in the USSR. C. Changing Relation between US and USSR a. Arms control: Agreement signed in 1987 cutting back nuclear weapons in both  countries. b. Public Relations: Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan honestly liked each other,  and their friendship influenced relations between the two countries. c. Chernobyl (1986): Nuclear reactor site in Ukraine that had a meltdown, become one  of the most famous environmental disasters of all time. Unlike in previous times, the  USSR didn’t try to cover it up, and openly revealed it to the West.  D. Eastern Europe: Gorbachev realized that it was time to let the Eastern European countries go. Several resisted because their governments were controlled by Stalinists. 1989 a. Poland: Solidarity voted their way into Parliament and ousted the communists by  political means b. Czechoslovakia: revolution led by university students and intellectuals c. East Germany and the Berlin Wall: The refugee problem that had been plaguing East  Germany since the end of WWII began anew, except now people fled to Hungary  since they couldn’t get past the Berlin Wall. In November 1989, Germans opened the  gates of the Berlin Wall, and allowed people to pass freely form East Germany to  West Germany. Latin America since 1945 I. General Characteristics A. Economy: Exported raw materials to Europe and U.S. Not good for the economy; not  balanced, very susceptible to changes in marketplace. After WWII, goal was to diversify  economy, build up industrial sector and diversify agricultural sector. Wanted to raise  standard of living B. Social Structures: middle class and cities grew C. Governments: unstable, changing rapidly from left­wing to right­wing and back again D. Catholic Church: Liberation theology, a movement among priests and nuns in Latin  America that combined traditional Christian concern for the poor with Marxist/Socialist  political values. Worked with people, on the frontlines battling poverty. E. Rise of authoritarian governments of left and right: very volatile. Since the 90s have been slowly drifting more towards democracy.  II. Guatemala A. Arevalo’s reforms: Arevalo became president in 1944. Tried to initiate socialist­type  reforms to alleviate poverty. Comes up against the United Fruit Company, an American  company that owned a huge amount of land in Guatemala. Arevalo was a nationalist and  tried to target the company, but was replaced before he got the chance. B. Election of Arbenz: Elected in 1951. Wanted land reforms. United Fruit Company  complained to U.S. government, which put together an army of Guatemalan dissidents. C. Overthrow of government: U.S. plan worked; Guatemalan dissidents overthrew Arbenz. III. Cuba A. U.S. influence: Americans owned a lot of property in Cuba, and may vacationed there. B. Batista regime: became a dictator. Promised reform, but didn’t deliver. C. Castro’s revolution: Castro was on the map by 1953, when he attacked military barracks.  He was imprisoned for a time, and after he gets out, he goes to Mexico, where he meets  Che Guevara, a revolutionary. The pair return to Cuba in 1958. In 1959, Batista’s regime  falls, and Castro takes over. He executes land reforms, which alienated elites both in  Cuba and in the U.S. Addressed healthcare. Reforms never revitalized the economy like  he hoped they would, and Cuba relied on the Soviet Union for financial aid. When the  USSR fell apart in the 90s, Cuba suffered.  IV.Chile A. Crisis in the 1960s: Had been a stable democracy, but was going through a rough  economic time. Allende is elected president. He is a socialist, and says he will address  Chile’s economic problems. He couldn’t get anything done s Parliament was against him. Resorted to rule by decree, giving him dictatorial powers. 1973, military overthrew  Allende (aided by US).  B. Military dictatorship: Power was left with the Junta, a government led by a military  committee headed by General Pinochet, who emerged as dictator of Chile and was ousted in the 80s. Civil rights ceased to exist, became a human rights issue. V. Nicaragua A. Somoza regime: ruled since the 1930s. Somoza family was incredibly rich, owned ¼ of  all the land in Nicaragua. Foreign aid was sent to help Nicaragua recover from an  earthquake, and the Somoza family kept it for themselves.  B. Sandinistas: Dissidents, socialists. Chamorro, highly vocal newspaper editor,  assassinated. Ortega was eventually put in power. C. Reagan administration and the Contras: U.S. governments was concerned about the now­ communist government in Nicaragua. Funded Contras to oppose Sandinistas. Eventually,  Chamorro’s widow was voted into leadership. 


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