AP European History Notes

Chapter 31: Revolution, Rebuilding, and New Challenges: 1985 to the Present

  1. The Decline of Communism in Eastern Europe
    1. The Soviet Union to 1985
      1. The 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia demonstrated the intense conservatism of the Soviet Union’s ruling elite and its determination to maintain the status quo in the Soviet bloc
      2. There was a certain re-Stalinization of the U.S.S.R., but now dictatorship was collective rather than personal and coercion replaced terror; rising standard of living contributed to the apparent stability in the Soviet Union (ambitious individuals had tremendous incentive)
      3. Another source of stability was the enduring nationalism of ordinary Great Russians
        1. Party leaders successfully identified themselves with Russian patriotism, stressing their role in saving the country during WW II and protecting it now for foreign foes
        2. The politically dominant Great Russians, who were concentrated in central Russia and help through the Communist party the commanding leadership positions in the non-Russian republics, constituted less than half of the total Soviet Union population
        3. The Great Russians generally feared that greater freedom might result in demands for autonomy and even independence not only by eastern European nationalities buy also by the non-Russian nationalities within the Soviet Union itself; liberalism and democracy generally appeared to Great Russians as alien politics designed to undermine the U.S.S.R.
      4. The strength of the government was expressed in the re-Stalinization of culture and art
        1. Free expression disappeared and Brezhnev made certain that Soviet intellectuals did not engage in public protest (acts of open nonconformity and protest was severely punished)
        2. Most frequently, dissidents were blacklisted and thus rendered unable to find decent jobs since the government was the only employer; more determined protesters were quietly imprisoned while celebrated nonconformists were permanently expelled from the country
        3. By expelling nonconformists such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and eliminating the worst aspects of Stalin’s dictatorship strengthened the regime and the Soviet Union was solid
      5. Beneath the immobility of political life in the Brezhnev era, the Soviet Union was actually experiencing profound changes (three aspects of this social revolution were significant)
        1. The growth of the urban population continued rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s; of the great significance, this expanding urban population lost its old peasant ways, exchanging them for more education, better job skills, and greater sophistication
        2. The number of highly trained scientists, managers, and specialists expanded prodigiously, increasing fourfold between 1960 and 1985; the class of well-educated, pragmatic, and self-confident experts, which played an important role in restructuring industrial societies after WW II, developed rapidly in the Soviet Union (international “invisible colleges”)
        3. Soviet scientists and technologists sought the intellectual freedom necessary to do work, and often obtained it because their research had practical (and military) value
        4. Third, education and freedom for experts in their special areas helped foster the growth of Soviet public opinion (educated people read, discussed, and formed ideas about society)
        5. Developing definite ideas, educated urban people increasingly saw themselves as worthy of having a voice in society’s decisions, even its political decisions
    2. Solidarity in Poland
      1. Gorbachev’s reforms interacted with a resurgence of popular protest in the Soviet Union’s satellite empire and developments in Poland were most striking and significant
        1. The introduction of communism led to widespread riots in 1956 and as a result, Polish Communists dropped their efforts to impose Soviet-style collectivization on the peasants and to break the Roman Catholic church (Communists failed to monopolize society)
        2. The Communists failed to manage the economy and in 1970 Poland’s working class rose in angry protest; when a new Communist leader came to power. He wagered that massive inflows of Western capital and technology, could produce a Polish “economic miracle”
        3. Instead, bureaucratic incompetence and the first oil shock (1973) put the economy down; workers, intellectuals and church became increasingly restive then a real miracle occurred
      2. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Cracow, was elected pope in 1978 and in June 1979, he returned from Rome, preaching love of Christ and country and the “rights of man”; Pope John Paul II drew enormous crowds and electrified the Polish nation (spiritual crisis as well)
      3. In August 1980, the sixteen thousand workers at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk laid down their tools and occupied the plant; as other workers joined “in solidarity,” the strikers advanced revolutionary demands, including the right to form free trade unions, freedom of speech, release of political prisoners, and economic reforms (18 days of shipyard occupation)
        1. The government gave in and accepted the workers’ demands in the Gdansk Agreement
        2. Led by Lenin Shipyards electrician and devout Catholic Lech Walesa, the workers proceeded to organize their free and democratic trade union and called it Solidarity; joined by intellectuals and supported by the Catholic church it became a union of a nation
        3. By March 1981, a full-time staff of 40,000 linked 9.5 million union members together as Solidarity published its own newspapers and cultural/intellectual freedom blossomed
        4. Solidarity leaders had tremendous support, and the ever-present threat of calling a nationwide strike gave them real power in ongoing negotiations with Communist bosses
      4. But if Solidarity had power, it did not try to take the reins of government in 1981; history, the Brezhnev Doctrine, and virulent attacks from communist neighbors all seemed to guarantee the intervention of the Red Army and terrible bloodbath if Polish Communists “lost control”
      5. The Solidarity revolution remained a “self-limiting revolution” aimed at defending the cultural and trade-union freedoms won in the Gdansk Agreement (refused to use force to challenge directly the Communist monopoly of political power -- threat of other communists)
      6. Solidarity’s combination of strength and moderation postponed a showdown, as the Soviet Union played a waiting game of threats and pressure as Poland progressed
        1. After a confrontation in March 1981, Walesa settled for minor government concessions, and Solidarity dropped plans for a massive general strike (criticism of Walesa’s moderate leaderships grew, and the Solidarity lost its cohesiveness that had existed)
        2. The worsening economic crisis also encouraged grassroots radicalism, as the Polish Communist leadership denounced Solidarity for promoting economic collapse and provoking Soviet invasion (In December 1981, Communist leaders General Wojciech Jaruzelski suddenly struck and proclaimed martial law, arresting Solidarity’s leaders
      7. Outlawed and driven underground, Solidarity fought successfully to maintain its organization and to voice the aspirations of the Polish masses after 1981 (government’s unwillingness and probably its inability to impose full-scale terror allowed for the union’s survival)
      8. Popular support for outlawed Solidarity remained strong under martial law in the 1980s, preparing the way for the union’s rebirth toward the end of the decade -- showed the desire of eastern Europeans for greater political liberty and the enduring appeal of cultural freedom, trade-union rights, patriotic nationalism, and religious feeling (fresh thinking)
    3. Gorbachev’s Reforms in the Soviet Union
      1. Fundamental change in Russian history ahs often come in short, intensive spurts, which contrast vividly with long periods of immobility -- transformation era of Mikhail Gorbachev
      2. The Soviet Union’s Communist part elite seemed secure in the early 1980s as far as any challenge from below was concerned the long-established system of administrative controls continued to stretch downward from the central ministries and state committees to provincial cities, and from there to factories, neighborhoods, and villages (massive state bureaucracy)
        1. The system safeguarded the elite, but it promoted apathy in the masse sand after Brezhnev died in 1982, his successor, the long-time chief of the secret police, Yuri Andropov tried to invigorate the system (little came of these efforts but combined)
        2. With a worsening economic situation, it set the stage for the emergence in 19895 of Mikhail Gorbachev, the most vigorous Soviet leader in a generation
      3. Gorbachev believed in communism but he realized it was failing to keep up with Western capitalism and technology and this was eroding the Soviet Union’s status as a superpower
        1. Gorbachev wanted to save the Soviet system by revitalizing it with fundamental reforms
        2. Gorbachev was also an idealist and wanted improve conditions for ordinary citizens
        3. Understanding that the endless waste and expense of the cold war arms race had had a disastrous impact on living conditions in the Soviet Union, he realized that improvement in Russia required better relations with the West and such countries as the United States
      4. Gorbachev first attacked corruption and incompetence in the bureaucracy and he consolidated his power; he also attacked alcoholism and elaborated his reform program
        1. The first set of reform policies was designed to transform and restructure the economy, in order to provide for the real needs of the Soviet population (economic restructuring)
        2. To accomplish this perestroika, Gorbachev and his supporters permitted an easing of government price controls on some goods, more independence for state enterprises, and setting up profit-seeking private cooperatives to provide personal services for consumers
        3. At first, it produced a few positive improvements, but shortages then grew as economy stalled at an intermediate point between central planning and free-market mechanisms
        4. By late 1988, widespread consumer dissatisfaction posed a serious threat to Gorbachev’s leadership and the entire reform program (Gorbachev was soon to make major changes)
      5. Gorbachev’s bold and far-reaching campaign “to tell it like it is” was much more successful
        1. The new found “openness,” or glasnost, of the government and the media marked an astonishing break with the past of censorship, dull uniformity, and outright lies
        2. Long-banned and vilified émigré writers sold millions of copies of their works, while denunciations of Stalin and his terror became standard fare in plays and movies
        3. Initial openness in government pronouncement quickly went much further than Gorbachev intended and led to something approaching free speech and free expression
      6. Democratization was the third element of the large scale reform of Gorbachev
        1. Begging as an attack on corruption in the Communist party, Gorbachev and the party remained in control, but a minority of critical independents was elected in April 1989 to a revitalized Congress of People’s Deputies (millions of Soviets watched the new congress)
        2. Millions of Soviet citizens took practical lessons in open discussion, critical thinking, and representative government; the result was a new political culture at odds with the party
        3. Democratization ignited demands for greater autonomy and even for national indepen-dence by non-Russian minorities, especially in the Baltic region and in the Caucasus
        4. In April 1989, troops charged into a rally of Georgian separatists in Tbilisi but Gorbachev drew back from repression and nationalist demands continued to grow in Soviet republics
      7. Finally, the Soviet leader brought “new political thinking” to the field of foreign affairs and acted on it; he withdrew Soviet troops from Afghanistan sought to reduce East-West tensions
        1. He sought to halt the arms race with the United States and convinced President Ronald Reagan of his sincerity and in December 1987, the two leaders agreed in a Washington summit to eliminate all land-based intermediate-range missiles in Europe (reduction)
        2. Gorbachev encouraged reform movements in Poland and Hungary and pledged to respect the political choices of the peoples of eastern Europe, repudiating the Brezhnev Doctrine
      8. By early 1989, it seemed that if Gorbachev held to his word, the tragic Soviet occupation of eastern Europe might wither away, taking the long cold war with it once and for all
  2. The Revolutions of 1989
    1. The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe
      1. Solidarity and the Polish people led the way to revolution in eastern Europe
        1. In 1988 widespread labor unrest, raging inflation, and the outlawed Solidarity’s refusal to cooperate w/ the military government had brought Poland to brink of economic collapse
        2. Thus Solidarity pressured Poland’s frustrated Communist leaders into negotiations that might work out sharing of power to resolve political stalemate and the economic crisis; subsequent agreement in 1989 legalized Solidarity and declared that a large minority of representatives to the Polish parliament would be chosen by free elections in June 1989
        3. The Communists believed that their rule was guaranteed for four years and that the Solidarity would keep the workers of Poland in line and under control
      2. Lacking access to the state-run media, Solidarity succeeded nonetheless in mobilizing the country and winning most of the contested seats in an overwhelming victory
        1. Solidarity members entered the Polish parliament and a dangerous stalemate developed but Solidarity leader Lech Walesa obtained a majority by securing the allegiance of two minor procommunist parties that had been part of the coalition government after WW II
        2. In August 1989, Walesa was sworn in as Poland’s new noncommunist leader
      3. In the first years, the new Solidarity government cautiously introduced revolutionary changes
        1. It eliminated the secret police, Communist ministers in the government, and at the end, Jaruzelski but did so step by step to avoid confrontation with the army or Soviet Union
        2. In economic affairs, the Solidarity-led government was radical from the beginning and applied shock therapy designed to make a clean break with state planning and move quickly to market mechanisms and private property (abolished controls on many prices on January 1, 1990, and reformed the monetary system with a “big bang”)
      4. Hungary’s communist boss, Janos Kadar, had permitted liberalization of planned economy after a 1956 uprising in exchange for political obedience and continued Communist control
        1. In May 1988, in an effort to retain power by granting modest political concessions, the party replaced Kadar with a reform communist (opposition groups rejected progress)
        2. In the summer of 1989 the Hungarian communist party agreed to hold elections in 1990
        3. Welcoming Western investment and moving rapidly toward multiparty democracy, Hungary’s Communists now enjoyed considerable popular support
        4. They had believed that they could defeat the opposition in the upcoming elections and in an effort to strengthen their support at home and put pressure on East Germany’s Communist regime, the Hungarians opened their border to East Germany (iron curtain)
      5. Tens of thousands of dissatisfied East German “vacationers” began pouring into Hungary, crossed into Austria as refugees, and continued on to resettlement in thriving West Germany
        1. The flight of East Germans led to the rapid growth of a homegrown protest movement
        2. Intellectuals, environmentalists, and Protestant ministers took the lead, organizing huge candlelight demonstrations and arguing that a democratic but still socialist East Germany was both possible and desirable (“stayers” failed to convince the “leavers”)
        3. In an attempt to stabilize the situation, the East Germany government opened the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and people danced atop that grim symbol of the prison state; East Germany’s aging Communist leaders were swept aside, and a reform government took power and schedule free elections in the following months following the change
      6. In Czechoslovakia, communism died in December 1989 in an outing of Communist bosses in only ten days; the so-called Velvet Revolution grew out of popular demonstrations led by students, intellectuals, and a dissident playwright turned moral revolutionary, Vaclav Havel; protesters forced the Communist into a power-sharing arrangement which quickly resulted in the resignation of the communist government and the assembly elected Havel president
      7. Only in Romania was revolution violent and bloody (Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
        1. The dictator had long combined Stalinist brutality with stubborn independence from Moscow; faced with mass protests in December, Ceausescu, alone among eastern European bosses, ordered his ruthless security forces to slaughter thousands
        2. After Ceausescu’s forces were defeated, the tyrant and his wife were captured and executed by a military court; a coalition government emerged from the fighting
    2. The Disintegration of the Soviet Union
      1. As 1990 began, revolutionary changes had triumphed in all but two eastern European states—tiny Albania and the vast Soviet Union (question of Soviet Union persisted)
        1. In early 1990, as competing Russian politicians presented their programs, and nationalists in the non-Russian republics demanded autonomy or independence from the Soviet Union, the Communist part suffered a stunning defeat in local elections throughout
        2. Democrats and anticommunists won clear majorities in the leading cities of the Russian Federation and in Lithuania the people elected an uncompromising nationalist as president and the newly chosen parliament declared Lithuania an independent state
        3. Gorbachev responded by placing an economic embargo on Lithuania, but he refused to use the army to crush the separatist government (tense political stalemate)
        4. Separating himself further from Communist hard-liners, Gorbachev asked Soviet citizens to ratify a new constitution, which formally abolished the Communist party’s monopoly of political power and expanded the power of the congress of People’s Deputies
        5. Retaining his post as party secretary, Gorbachev was elected president of Soviet Union
      2. Gorbachev’s eroding power and unwilling ness to risk an all suffrage election for the presidency strengthened his rival, Boris Yeltsin who had been a radical reform communist that was purged, he was elected leader of the Russian Federation’s parliament in May 1990
      3. Yeltsin boldly announced that Russia would put its interests first and declare its independence from the Soviet Union, broadening the base of the anticommunist movement and joined the patriotism of ordinary Russians with the democratic aspirations of intellectuals
      4. Gorbachev tried to save the Soviet Union with a new treaty that would link the member republics in a looser, freely accepted confederation but was rejected; opposed by democrats and nationalists, Gorbachev was also challenged again by the Communist old guard
      5. Defeated at the Communist party congress in July 1990, a gang of hard-liners kidnapped Gorbachev and family in Caucasus and tried to seize the Soviet government in August 1991
      6. But the attempted coup collapsed in the face of massive popular resistance, which rallied around Yeltsin, recently elected president of the Russian Federation by universal suffrage
      7. Yeltsin defiantly denounced the rebels and declared the “Rebirth of Russia”; the army supported Yeltsin and Gorbachev was rescued and returned to power as head of Soviet Union
      8. The leaders of the coup wanted to preserve Communist power, state ownership, and the multinational Soviet Union, but only succeeded in destroying all three
        1. An anticommunist revolution swept the Russian Federation as Yeltsin and his supporters outlawed the Communist party and confiscated all its property holdings
        2. Locked in a personal political duel with Gorbachev, Yeltsin and his democratic allies declared Russia independent and withdrew from the Soviet Union
        3. All the other soviet republics also left and the Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 25, 1991; the independent republics of the old Soviet Union then established a loose confederation, the Commonwealth of the states, which played a minor role in the 1990s
    3. German Unification and the End of the Cold War
      1. The sudden death of communism in East Germany in 1989 reopened the “German question,” and raised the threat of renewed cold war conflict over Germany in the Western world
        1. Taking power in October 1989, East German reform communists, enthusiastically supported b leading East German intellectuals and former dissidents, wanted to preserve socialism by making it genuinely democratic and responsive to the needs of the people
        2. Arguing for a third way, which would go beyond failed Stalinism they had experienced and the ruthless capitalism they saw in the West; these reformers supported closer ties with West Germany, but feared unification and wanted to preserve East Germany identity
      2. These efforts failed, and within a few months East Germany was absorbed into an enlarged West Germany, much like a faltering company is merged into a stronger rival and disappears
        1. First, in the first week after the Berlin Wall was opened, almost 9 million East Germans (roughly ½ of the population) poured across the border into West Germany and almost all returned to their homes in the East, by the joy of warm welcomes from friends and the experience of shopping in the much wealthier West aroused long-dormant hopes of unity
        2. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl and his closest advisers skillfully exploited the historic opportunity on their doorstep; sure of support from the United States, in November 1989 Kohl presented a ten-point plan for a step-by-step unification in cooperation with both East Germany and international community
        3. Kohl then promised the struggling citizens of East Germany a one-for-one exchange of all East German marks in savings accounts into much more valuable West German marks -- this generous offer helped a well-financed conservative-liberal Alliance for Germany
        4. Set in East Germany and tied to Kohl’s West German Christian Democrats to overwhelm those who argued for the preservation of some kind of independent socialist society in East Germany (in March 1990, the Alliance outdistanced the Socialist party winning almost 50 percent of the votes and negotiated an economic union with Chancellor Kohl
      3. Finally, in the summer of 1990, the crucial international aspect of German unification was successfully resolved (unification would make Germany the strongest state in central Europe)
        1. Although it would directly affect the security of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev negotiated the best deal he could (Western cartoonist showed Stalin turning over in his grave)
        2. In a historic agreement signed by Gorbachev and Kohl in July 1990, a uniting Germany solemnly affirmed its peaceful intentions and pledged never to develop nuclear, bio-logical, or chemical weapons (Germany also promised to make loans to the Soviet Union)
        3. In October 1990, East Germany merged into West Germany, forming henceforth a single nation under the West German laws and constitution (peaceful unification)
      4. The reunification of Germany accelerated the pace of agreements to liquidate the cold war
        1. In November 1990, delegates from twenty-two European countries joined those from the United States and the Soviet Union in Paris and agreed to a scaling down of all their armed forces (the delegates also solemnly affirmed that all existing borders in Europe)
        2. The Paris Accord was for all practical purposes a general peace treaty, bringing an end to World War II and the cold war that soon followed the end of the devastating war
        3. Peace in Europe encouraged the United States and the Soviet Union to scrap a significant portion of their nuclear weapons in a series of agreements and in September 1991, a confident President George H.W. Bush also canceled the around-the-clock alert status for American bombs outfitted with atomic bombs and Gorbachev quickly followed suit
      5. As anticommunist revolutions swept eastern Europe and East-West tensions rapidly disappeared, the Soviet Union lost both the will and the means to be a global superpower; yet the US retained the strength and the desire to influence political and economic developments on a global scale and the United States emerged as the world’s only surviving superpower
      6. In 1991 the US used its military superiority in a quick war with Iraq in western Asia 
        1. Emerging in 1988 from an eight-year war with neighboring Iran with a big, tough army equipped by the Soviet bloc, western Europe, and the United States, strongman Iraq’s Saddam Hussein set out to make himself the leader of the entire Arab world
        2. Eyeing the great oil wealth of his tiny southern neighbor, Saddam Hussein’s forces suddenly invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and proclaimed the annexation of Kuwait
        3. Reacting to free Kuwait, the United States mobilized the U.N. Security Council, which in August 1990 imposed a strict naval blockade on Iraq and receiving the support of some Arab states, aw well as of Great Britain and France, the United States also landed 500,000 American soldier in Audi Arabia near the border of Kuwait
        4. When Saddam Hussein refused to withdraw from Kuwait, the Security Council authorized the U.S.-led military coalition to attack Iraq; the American army and air force then smashed Iraqi forces in a lightning-quick desert campaign, although the United States stopped short of toppling Saddam because it feared a sudden disintegration of Iraq
      7. The defeat of Iraqi armies in the Gulf War demonstrated the awesome power of the U.S. military, rebuilt and revitalized by the spending and patriotism of the 1980s; in the flush of yet another victory, the first President Bush spoke of a “new world order,” an order that would apparently feature the United States and a cooperative United Nations working together to impose stability throughout the world
  3. Building a New Europe in the 1990s
    1. Common Patterns and Problems
      1. The end of the cold war and the disintegration of the Soviet Union ended the division of Europe into two opposing camps with two different political and economic systems
      2. In economic affairs European leaders embraced, or at least accepted, a large part of the neoliberal, free-market vision of capitalist development (common developments)
        1. This was most strikingly the vase in eastern Europe, where states such as Poland and Hungary implemented market reforms and sought to create vibrant capitalist economies
        2. Post-communist governments in eastern Europe freed prices, turned state enterprises over to private owners, and sought to move toward strong currencies and balanced budgets
        3. Milder doses of this same free-market medicine were administered by politicians and big business to lackluster economies of western Europe (these initiatives/proposals for further changes marked a considerable modification in western Europe’s still-dominant welfare capitalism, which featured government intervention, high taxes, and social benefits)
      3. Two factors were particularly important in accounting for this ongoing shift from welfare state activism to tough-minded capitalism that occurred through much of eastern Europe
        1. Europeans were only following practices and ideologies revived and enshrined in the 1980s in the United States and Great Britain and Western Europeans took American prescriptions more seriously because U.S. prestige and power were so high after the United States “won the cold war” and because its economy continued to outperform
        2. The deregulation of markets and the privatization of state-controlled enterprises were an integral part of the powerful trend toward a wide-open, wheeler-dealer global economy
        3. The rules of the global economy, which were laid down by Western governments, multinational corporations, and international financial organization such as the International Monetary Fund, called for the free movement of capital and goods and services, as well as low inflation and limited government deficits (full participation)
      4. The ongoing computer and electronics revolution strengthened the move toward a global economy and that revolution thrived on the diffusion of ever-cheaper computational and informational capacity to small research groups and private businesses (cause and effect)
      5. The computer revolution reduced the costs of distance, speeding up communications and helping businesses tap cheaper labor overseas; reducing friction held down wages at home
      6. Globalization, the emergence of a freer global economy, probably did speed up world economic growth as enthusiasts invariable claimed, but it had negative social consequences
        1. Millions of ordinary citizens in western Europe believed that global capitalism and freer markets were undermining hard-won social achievements; the public in other countries generally associated globalization with unemployment, corporate downsizing, the efforts to reduce the power of labor unions, and governments plans to reduce social benefits
        2. The reaction was particularly intense in France and Germany, where unions remained strong and socialists championed a minimum of change in social policies in society
      7. The broad movement toward neoliberal global development sparked a powerful counterattack as the 1990s ended as financial crisis in Asia’s smaller economic threatened
        1. Many critics and protesters argued that globalization damaged poor countries as much as wealthy ones and insisted that globalization hurt the world’s poor, because multinational corporations destroyed local industries and paid pitiful wages, and because international financial organization demanded harsh balanced budgets and social programs
        2. Political developments across Europe also were loosely unified by common patterns and problems; the demise of European communism brought the triumph of liberal democracy
        3. All countries embraced genuine electoral competition, with elected presidents and legislatures and the outward manifestations of representative liberal governments
      8. With some notable exceptions, such as discrimination against Gypsies, countries guaranteed basic civil liberties; almost all of Europe followed the same general political model
        1. The triumph of the liberal democratic program led the American scholar Francis Fukuyama to discern in 1992 the “end of history” in his influential book by that title; according to Fukuyama, first fascism and Nazism and then communism had been definitely bested by liberal democratic politics and market economies
        2. As James Cronin perceptively noted in 1996 in The World the Cold War Made, the fall of communism also marked the return of nationalism and national history
      9. The resurgence of nationalism in the 1990s led to terrible tragedy and bloodshed in parts of eastern Europe, as it did in several hot spots in Africa and Asia
        1. During the civil wars in Yugoslavia, many observers feared that national and ethnic hatreds would spread throughout eastern Europe and infect western Europe in the form of racial hostility toward minorities and immigrants of the various countries and races
        2. Yet if nationalist and racist incidents were a recurring European theme, they remained limited in the extent of their damage and of critical importance in this regard was the fact that all European states wished to become or remain full-fledged members of European society of nations and to join eventually an ever-expanding European Union (1993)
      10. States that embraced national hatred and ethnic warfare, most notably Serbia, were branded as outlaws and boycotted and isolated by the European Union and international community
    2. Recasting Russia
      1. Politics and economics were closely intertwined in Russia after the attempted Communist coup in 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union; President Boris Yeltsin, his democratic supports, and his economic ministers wanted to create conditions that would prevent forever a return to communism and would also right the faltering economy of Russia
        1. Following the example of some postcommunist governments in eastern Europe and agreeing with those Western advisers who argued that private economies were the best, the Russian reformers opted in January 1992 for breakneck liberalization
        2. Their “shock therapy” freed prices on 90 percent of all Russian goods, with the exception of break, vodka, oil, and public transportation; it also launched a rapid privatization of industry and turned thousands of factories and mines over to new private companies
        3. Each citizen received a voucher worth 10,000 (about $22) to buy stock in private companies, but control of the privatized companies remained in the hands of the old bosses, the managers and government officials from the communist era
      2. President Yeltsin and his economic reformers believed that shock therapy would revive production and bring prosperity after a brief period of hardship (results quite different)
        1. Prices increased 250 percent on the very first day, and they kept on soaring, increasing twenty-six times in the course of 1992 and at the same time, Russian production fell 20%
        2. Throughout 1995 rapid buy gradually slowing inflation raged, and output continued to fall; in 1996 the Russian economy produced a staggering at least one-third and possible as much as one-half less than they had produced in 1991; on in 1997 did the economy stop declining, before crashing yet again in 1998 in the wake of Asia’s financial crisis
      3. Rapid economic liberalization worked poorly in Russia for several reasons
        1. Soviet industry had been highly monopolized and strongly tilted toward military goods
        2. Production of many items had been concentrated in one or two gigantic factories or in interconnected combines that supplied the entire economy and with the privatization these powerful state monopolies became powerful private monopolies, which cut production and raised prices to maximize their financial returns from the economy
        3. Powerful managers and bureaucrats forced Yeltsin’s government to hand out enormous subsidies and credits to reinforce the positions of big firms and to avoid bankruptcies and the discipline of a free market (managers combined criminal element to intimidate rivals)
        4. In the end, enterprise directors and politicians succeeded in eliminating worker ownership and converted large portions of previously state-owned industry into private property
      4. Runaway inflation and poorly executed privatization brought a profound social revolution
        1. A new capitalist elite acquired great wealth and power, while large numbers of people fell into abject poverty, and the majority struggled in the midst of decline to make ends
        2. Managers, former officials, and financiers who came out of the privatization process with large shares of the old states monopolies stood at the top of the reorganized elite
        3. The richest plums were found in Russia’s enormous oil and natural resources industries, where unscrupulous enterprise directors pocketed enormous dishonest gains
        4. The new elite was more highly concentrated than ever before (5% of Russia’s population accounted for 35% of the country’s national income and controlled 80% of the capital)
        5. At the other extreme, the vast majority saw their savings become practically worthless, pensions lost much of their value, whole markets were devoted to people selling off their personal goods to survive; decline in life expectancy of the average Russian male from 69 in 1991 to only 58 years in 1996 shows the millions of hardships and tragedies
      5. Rapid economic decline in 1992 and 1993 and rising popular dissatisfaction encouraged a majority of communists, nationalists, and populists in the Russian parliament to oppose Yeltsin and his coalition of democratic reformers and big-business interest
      6. Winning in April 1993 the support of 58% of the population in a referendum on his proposed constitution, Yeltsin then brought in tanks to crush a parliamentary mutiny in October 1993
        1. Yeltsin consolidated his power, and in 1996 he used his big-business cronies in the media to win an impressive come-from-behind victory but effective representative government failed to develop, and many Russian came to equate “democracy” with the corruption, poverty, and national decline they experience throughout the 1990s
        2. The disillusionment set the stage for the “managed democracy” of Vladimir Putin, first elected president as Yeltsin’s chosen successor in 2000 and reelected in a landslide in March 2004 (he was an officer in the secret police in the communist era)
        3. Putin maintained free markets in the economic sphere but re-established semi-authoritarian political rule; aided by high oil prices for Russia’s most valuable export, this combination worked remarkable well and seemed to suit most Russians satisfactory
        4. In 2004, the Russian economy had been booming for five years, the Russian middle class was expanding rapidly, and the elected parliament supported Putin overwhelming
        5. Proponents of liberal democracy were in retreat, while conservative Russian intellectuals were on the offensive, arguing that free markets and capitalism required strong political rule to control corruption and prevent chaos (reassertion of Russia’s authoritarianism)
      7. Putin’s forceful, competent image in world affairs also soothed the country’s injured pride and symbolized its national resurgence (the government permitted no negative reports on the civil war in Chechnya, the tiny republic of Muslims on Russia’s southern border, which in 1991 had declared its independence from the Russian Federation)
    3. Progress and Tragedy in Eastern Europe
      1. Developments in eastern Europe shared important similarities with those in Russia, as many of the problems were the same; the postcommunist states of the former satellite empire thus worked to replace states planning and socialism with market mechanism and private property
        1. Western-style electoral politics also took hold, and as in Russia, these politics were marked by intense battles between presidents and parliaments and by political parties
        2. The social consequences of these revolutionary changes were similar to those in Russia; ordinary citizens and the elderly were once again the big losers, while the young and the ex-Communists were the big winners (inequalities between richer regions also increased)
        3. Capital cities such as Warsaw, Prague, and Budapest concentrated wealth, power, and opportunity as never before, while provincial centers stagnated and old industrial areas declined; crime and gangsterism increased in the streets and in the executive suites
      2. The 1990s saw more than a difficult transition, with high social costs, to market economies and freely elected governments in eastern Europe; many citizens had never fully accepted communism, which they equated with Russian imperialism and the loss of national independence and crowds believed they were liberating the nation as well as the individual
      3. A surge of nationalism in eastern Europe recalled a similar surge of state creation after WW I, authoritarian multinational empires had come crashing down in revolution and nationalities had drawn upon ideologies of popular sovereignty and national self determination
        1. The response to this opportunity in the former communist countries was varied in the 1990s, and most agree Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary were most successful
        2. Each of these three countries met the critical challenge of economic reconstruction more successfully than Russia -- each could claim to be the economic leader in eastern Europe
        3. The reasons for these successes included considerable experience with limited market reforms before 1989, flexibility and lack of dogmatism in government policy, and an enthusiastic embrace of capitalism by a new entrepreneurial class that appeared
        4. In the first five years of reform, Poland created twice as many new businesses as Russia, with a total population only one-fourth as large as the population in Russia
      4. The three countries did better than Russia in creating new civic institutions, legal systems, and independent broadcasting networks that reinforced political freedom and national revival
        1. Lech Walesa in Poland and Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia were elected presidents of their countries and proved as remarkable in power as in opposition to communism
        2. After Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” in 1989, Havel and the parliament accepted a “velvet divorce” in 1993 when Slovakian nationalists wanted to form their own state
        3. All three northern countries managed to control national and ethnic tensions that might have destroyed their postcommunist reconstruction efforts in the state
        4. In sharp contrast to Russia, the popular goal of “rejoining the West” reinforced political moderation and compromise; seeing themselves as heirs to Christendom and liberal democratic values, Poles, Hungarians, and Czechs hoped to find security in NATO membership and economic prosperity in western Europe’s ever-tighter nation
        5. Membership required proofs of character and stability and providing these proofs and endorsed by the Clinton administration, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were accepted into the NATIO alliance in 1997; gaining admission to the European Union proved more difficult because they had to accept and apply all rules and regulations
      5. Romania and Bulgaria were the eastern European laggards in the postcommunist transition because Western traditions were much weaker there and both countries were much poorer; although Romania and Bulgaria eventually made progress in the late 1990s, full membership for both countries in either NATO or the EU still lay far in the future
      6. The great postcommunist tragedy was Yugoslavia, which under Josip Tito had been a federation of republics and regions under strict communist rule
        1. After Tito’s death in 1980, power passed to the sister republics, which encouraged a revival of regional and ethnic conflicts that were worsened by charges of ethnically inspired massacres during the WW II and a dramatic economic decline in the mid 1980s
        2. The revolutions of 1989 accelerated the breakup of Yugoslavia; Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic intended to grab land from other republics and unite all Serbs
        3. In 1989 Milosevic abolished self-rule in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where Albanian-speaking people constituted the majority and Milosevic’s moves strengthened the cause of separatism, and in June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia declared independence
        4. Slovenia repulsed a Serbian attack, but Milosevic’s armies managed to take about 30% of Croatia; in 1992 civil war spread to Bosnia-Herzegovina which had declare independence -- the Serbs (about 30%) refused to live under the more numerous Bosnian Muslims
        5. Yugoslavia had once been a tolerant and largely successful multiethnic state but the Bosnian civil war unleashed ruthless brutality, with murder, rape, destruction, and the herding of refugees into concentration camps (the scenes of horror shocked the world)
      7. The Western nations had difficulty formulating an effective response to the civil war
        1. The turning point came in July 1995, when Bosnian Serbs overran Srebrenica (a Muslim city) killing several thousand civilians and world outrage prompted NATO to bomb Bosnian Serb military targets intensively, and the Croatian army drove away the Serbs
        2. In November 1995, President Clinton helped the warring sides hammer out a complicated accord that gave the Bosnian Serbs about 49% of Bosnia and the Muslim-Croatian peoples the rest; troops from NATO countries patrolled Bosnia to try to keep the peace
        3. The Albanian Muslims of Kosovo had hoped for a restoration of self-rule but they gained nothing from the Bosnian agreement and in early 1998, frustrated Kosovar militants formed the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and began to fight for independence
        4. Serbian repression of the Kosovars increased, and in 1998 Serbian forces attacked both KLA guerrillas and unarmed villages displacing 250,000 people within Kosovo
      8. By January 1999, the Western powers, led by the United States, were threatening Milosevic with heavy air raids if he did not withdraw Serbian armies from Kosovo and accept self-government for Kosovo, Milosevic refused, and in March 1999 NATO began bombing Yugoslavia; Serbian paramilitary forces responded by driving about 780,000 into exile
      9. NATO redoubled its highly destructive bombing campaign, which eventually force Milosevic to withdraw and allowed the joyous Kosovars to regain their homeland; the impoverished Serbs eventually voted the Milosevic out of office and in July 2001 a new pro-Western Serbian government turned him over to the war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands
      10. The civil wars in the former Yugoslavia were a monument to human cruelty and evil in the worst tradition of the twentieth century (ongoing efforts to preserve peace, repatriate refugees and try war criminals testified to the regenerative power of liberal values and human rights)
    4. Unity and Identity in Western Europe
      1. The movement toward western European unity which had inspired practical politicians seeking economic recovery and idealistic visionaries imagining a European identity that transcended destructive national rivalries, received a second wind in the mid 1980s
        1. The Single European Act of 1986 laid down a detailed legal framework for establishing a single market, which would add the free movement of labor, capital, and services to the existing free trade in goods (work proceeding vigorously toward the single market)
        2. The act went into effect in 1993 as the European Community proudly rechristened itself the European Union and French president Francois Mitterrand and German chancellor Helmut Kohl took the lead in pushing for a monetary union of European Union members
        3. After long negotiations and compromises, designed especially to overcome Britain’s long-standing reluctance to cede aspects of sovereignty, in December 1991 the member states reached an agreement in the Dutch town of Maastricht
        4. The Maastricht treaty set strict financial criteria for joining the proposed monetary union, with its single currency, and set 1999 as the target date for its establishment
        5. The treaty also anticipated the development of common policies on defense and foreign affairs after achieving the monetary union among the members of the European Union
      2. Western European elites supported the decisive stop toward economic integration embodied in the Maastricht treaty; they saw monetary union as a means of solving Europe’s ongoing economic problems, imposing financial discipline costs, and reducing high unemployment
        1. European elites also viewed monetary union as historic, irreversible step toward a basic political unity that would allow western Europe as a whole to regain its rightful place in world politics and to deal with the United States as an equal power economically
        2. The Maastricht plan for monetary union encountered widespread skepticism considerable opposition from ordinary people, leftist political parties, and patriotic nationalists
        3. Many people resented the unending flow of rules handed down by the EU’s ever-growing bureaucracy in Brussels,. Which sought to impose common standards on everything
        4. Increased unity meant yielding still more power to distant “Eureaucrats” and political insiders, by undermining popular sovereignty and democratic control through politics
        5. Above all, many ordinary citizens feared that the new Europe was being w/ their expense
        6. Joining the monetary union required national governments to meet stringent fiscal standards and impose budget cuts (reductions in health care and social benefits)
      3. Events in France dramatically illustrated these developments with the monetary union
        1. Mitterrand’s Socialist government had been forced to adopt conservative financial policies in the 1980s and more cuts followed the Maastricht treaty
        2. In early 1993, frustrated French votes elected Jacques Chirac president and gave a coalition of conservatives and moderates an overwhelming victory over the Socialists
        3. Chirac had won by promising a vigorous attack on unemployment, but the Maastricht criteria demanded that he continue the unpopular retrenchment of the Socialists and after some hesitation, Chirac’s government choose deficit-reducing cuts in health benefits and transportation; France’s powerful unions and railroad workers, seconded by the Socialist opposition, responded with massive protest marches and a crippling national strike
        4. Despite the enormous inconvenience and economic damage, the public supported the strike as many people felt that the transport workers were also fighting for them
        5. The government had to back down, although it continued its austerity program with less provocative measures until disgruntled French voters again gave the Socialists control of the National Assembly; the socialists quickly passed a new law to reduce the legal work-week to 35 hours to reduce France’s 12 percent unemployment rate without spending
        6. More generally, much of the western European public increasingly saw laws to cut the workweek and share the work as a way to reconcile desires for social welfare and a human market economy with financial discipline and global competition
      4. Battles over budgets and high unemployment throughout the European Union in the 1990s raised profound questions about the meaning of European unity and identity
        1. Would the European Union expand as promised to include postcommunist nations of east Europe, and if it did, how could Muslim Turkey’s long-standing application be ignored?
        2. How could European Union of thirty countries have any cohesion and common identity?
        3. Would a large, cohesive Europe remain closely linked with the United States in the NATO alliance and with an evolving Western tradition that was changing?
      5. The merging of East Germany into the German Federal Republic suggested the difficulties of full East-West integration under the best conditions; after 1991 Helmut Kohl’s Germany pumped massive investments into its new eastern provinces, but Germans in the east still saw factories closed and social dislocation (unemployment in Germany soared while German’s social benefits cushioned the economic difficulties, many ordinary citizens were hurt)
        1. Eastern German women now faced expensive child care and variety of pressures to stay at home and let men take the hard-to-find jobs (women helped vote Kohl out of office)
        2. Instructed by the serious difficulties of unification in Germany, western Europeans proceeded cautiously in considering new requests for EU membership
        3. Sweden, Finland, and Austria were admitted because they had strong capitalist economies and because they no longer needed to maintain the legal neutrality
        4. At the same time the former communist states pressed toward meeting the EU’s detailed criteria for membership; the smooth establishment of the euro on January 1, 2002, a unified common currency, built confidence and brought an acceleration of negotiations
        5. On May 1,2004, the European Union expanded to include more than 455 million citizens in twenty-five different countries and the largest newcomer by far was Poland
      6. In June 2004, more than two years after charging a special commission to write “a new constitution for European citizens,” the leaders of the EU reached agreement on the final document; the new constitution established a rulebook to replace the network of treaties concluded by member states since the 1957 creation of the European Economic Community
        1. The EU constitution created a president, a foreign minister, and a voting system weighted to reflect the number of people in different states; the result of intense debate and many compromises, the constitution moved toward a more centralized federal system in several fields, but each state retained veto power in the most sensitive areas (tax, social policy)
        2. The constitution also omitted explicit reference to Europe’s Christian heritage a reference that Poland and Italy had most championed and that France had most strongly opposed
        3. In ordered for the constitution to take effect, each and every EU country needed to ratify it, and seven states planned to place the document before the voters
      7. Although these referendum campaigns promised to be noisy and divisive, especially in Britain, where fears of surrendering sovereignty to a central European government were must acute, the new constitution was a great achievement (building of a united, peaceful Europe)
  4. New Challenges in the Twenty-first Century
    1. The Prospect of Population Decline
    2. The Growth of Immigration
    3. Promoting Human Rights
    4. The al-Qaeda Attack of September 11, 2001
    5. The West Divided and War in Iraq
  5. ​The Future in Perspective

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How to cite this note (MLA)

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 31: Revolution, Rebuilding, and New Challenges: 1985 to the Present" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 04 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Jul. 2019. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/european-history/outlines/chapter-31-revolution-rebuilding-and-new/>.
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