Gorbachev and the East German Revolution

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Introduction On November 9, 1989, the most iconic symbol of communism and the USSR fell. The Berlin Wall symbolically represented the division of Europe as a result of the Cold War ; it divided the West and East of Europe. Originally, after the end of World War II, the Allied powers disarmed and broke Berlin into four zones of occupations: American, Soviet, British, and French. Slowly, the Soviet Union started to gain control of Eastern Europe post-war. The Yalta Agreement in February, 1945, gave the Soviet Union complete power to extend its control beyond its borders into the Eastern European Countries under the Red Army, and eventually, Eastern Germany was swallowed into the Communist Regime. Until, the 1980s, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or Eastern Germany, was under complete control of the Soviet Union. The governing party of the GDR was the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) until its fall in 1989. At the dawn of the 1980s, the Soviet Union was facing economic collapse. Economic failures in the Soviet industry were frequent, and virtually all economic and social advancements had stopped. The national income growth rate in the Soviet Union fell by more than 150% and was stagnant . On the verge of economic crisis, the Central Committee held a plenary meeting on April, 1985. At this meeting, perestroika was adopted and the plenary meeting in March of the same year was the election of Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev as the General Secretary of the Soviet Union . Apart from his compatriots, Gorbachev promised revolutionary changed. His promises were based upon the principles of perestroika and glasnost. Furthermore, he pursued the dream of a “common European home.” During the late 1980s, Gorbachev’s policies wer... ... middle of paper ... ...." FORDHAM.EDU. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. . Kenney, Padraic. 1989: democratic revolutions at the Cold War's end : a brief history with documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. Print. Plock, Ernest D.. East German-West German relations and the fall of the GDR. Boulder: Westview Press, 1993. Print. Schmemann, Serge. When the wall came down: the Berlin Wall and the fall of Soviet communism. Boston: Kingfisher, 2006. Print. Shultz, George P. , and Sidney D. Drell. Implications of the Reykjavik Summit On Its Twentieth Anniversary. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press Publication No. 558, 2007. Print. "Walter Ulbricht (German communist leader) -- Encyclopedia Britannica." Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. .

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