Essay questions on the collapse of communism

To reject them is to reject the revolution.

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To attack them is to attack the revolution. The Communist ideology is one that is clearly widespread among the masses, and because of this its not only the most viable form of government for China but also the most productive. While China had a massive revolution from the bottom up, the Communist Party in the Soviet Union came to power without the masses. The way the Communist Party of the Soviet Union took power was far less emotional than the way the Chinese did. To begin with the people that were against the Tsarist Empire were largely upper class educated citizens, which were bred in the Russian institutions of higher learning in the s.

The Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, which was a creation of Lenin, turned into the Communist Party, and essentially never changed. Without them the Party could arguably never have come to power. Tsarist Russia had no need for a Communist Party, simply because the masses had more rights than they did in the Soviet Union.

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In fact. While the Soviets did not have an effective way of establishing national identity in the Soviet Union, the Chinese used their inclusive mindset and Confucius ideology to create a national identity everyone could relate to. While there were many ethnicities in China ranging form the incorporations of the Tibetans, Mongols, and Uyghurs in the 17 th century, the Chinese government was able to keep all of these ethnicities under one ideology, namely Confucianism.

However, in contemporary times the PRC states that China is a multi-ethnic state. In the Soviet Union on the other hand, there were far too many ethnic minorities in the state.

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What the Soviet Union attempted to achieve was a classless national identity by limiting everybody to one class, the Proletariats. Rather than recognizing that there were many ethnicities, like China did, the Soviet Union rejected the ethnicities and instead. Ronald Grigor Suny offers a good definition stating that a nation is. According to this definition, the Soviet Union did not possess any kind of unity, because within the ethnic minorities and Soviet blocs, different languages were spoken, a different history applied for each state, and cultures varied between each ethnicity.

As Karl Marx clearly stated, Communism would not be achieved unless there would be an international revolution of the Proletariat class.

Nationalism was a key component used by the CPC that was the glue in sticking the people to the party. As Kenneth G. A recent example is how western media tried to link the Olympics with protests in Tibet.

2-8 The Rise and Fall of Communism

Therefore, the Soviet Union in comparison to China did not possess a common history to which Soviet nationalism could arise. Once Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary his political reforms Perestroika and Glasnost, both proved to be major failures within the Soviet Union. China on the other hand flourished with the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. Both leaders were different to begin with.

Moreover, Mikhail Gorbachev came from a 5 th generation of Leninists. He was the first leader to be born after the October Revolution. On the other hand, Deng Xiaoping lived through the years of Mao, and was a Maoist himself. Mikhail Gorbachev, celebrated for ending the cold war, closed the door on the 20th century through his miscalculations.

By pursuing political reform before economic reform, he inadvertently dissolved the Soviet empire.

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Thus the paramount different between the Soviet Union and China is that China placed an emphasis on the economy rather than on political reform. By having a strong economy, political reform come eventually. This system is much more viable, at least within a Communist government, because in order to have a good economy a country has to trade and be open to international activity. Simply with international activity, political reform will come.

Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? |

Mikhail Gorbachev seemingly did not carry his allegiance with the Communist Party, nor did he have a pragmatic mindset that would benefit the Soviet Union. Ultimately, while Gorbachev was accepted in the west for his democratic reforms, he was not accepted among his own people in the Soviet Union.

While the interpretation presented above points to the fact that Communism collapsed because it was not violent enough, it can be said that the orthodox historian has always pointed to the loss of legitimacy, the arms race with the West and the Economic problems as being the main precursor to eventual collapse of Communism. While the Soviet government failed to create the correct policies to tackle their social and economic woes, their political actions in the s also proved to be pivotal in the downfall of the Soviet Union and the eventual downfall of communism throughout Eastern Europe.

The arms race exhausted the productive capacity of the Soviet Union and other inefficient Communist regimes.

This supposed withdrawal and lack of military presence also sent a message to the rest of the world that communism was not as strong as they had been in the past. The insurgency first appeared in Poland, a country where attempts to impose collectivization as in Russia and to break the power of the Catholic Church had failed. This relative decline in economic performance led to deterioration in the quality of life compared to that in Western countries. These economic circumstances began to contribute to dissatisfaction especially among the younger generation who were more educated, more aware and inclined to be more dissatisfied with their economic circumstances.

Through the influence of glasnost, the satellite states became more open in their demands of freedom from Communist governance in their republics. It proved that Communism in Eastern Europe was just a theory that did not work in reality. More recently historians have questioned whether the collapse was doomed from the start due to issues entrenched in the regime, by leaders such as Lenin.

Marx was an idealist who believed that all workers would one day rise up against the system in revolution. This never happened, and so communism was more or less forced upon people instead of chosen by them. It can be argued that it was always doomed to fail as it clashed with the opposing ideologies of other more prosperous nations. On paper Karl Marx envisioned a classless society where the proletariat had control of political power, but in reality almost every attempt at communism resulted in a totalitarian dictatorship of some sort.

Essay questions on the collapse of communism

It can be contended that after , dissolution was the only real answer to a decades-long crisis of Soviet legitimacy and this came in The Communist Party always had military superiority over its subject peoples, a power it could in theory have held forever. Yet it did not have the power to generate its own legitimacy, which faded year by year. Legitimacy was the riddle no ruler after Stalin could solve, and was it played a crucial factor in the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

To conclude it can be said that while the view in the title does hold some weight, to wholly agree with it would be incorrect. While the lack of violence was a crucial factor it was not the most important. There were many external factors that played a supporting role in expediting the prolonging fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The domino effect that resulted in the fall of Communist governments in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria can all be put down to the loss of legitimacy that was witnessed throughout the 20th Century.