World History II
9 March 2013
Collapse of Communist Regimes
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the great communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed. All across Europe, in countries such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Russia, the people and their governments were in constant struggle. These struggles eventually lead to a falling out in the communist governments, and the citizens won their victory. Because the people's needs were not met by the government, corruption in government and poor leadership, and the views on countries' economies were different, the communist regimes in Eastern Europe eventually collapsed.
Communism was first ...view middle of the document...
The agricultural workers found this system unjust because they worked hard to produce food, and then the government would take the food they produced and provide the workers with hardly enough food to supply an entire family. Another example of mistreatment of citizens in communist countries was the thoughtlessness of the government. “Focusing too much on power and too little on the happiness of the people led to a great outrage in much of Eastern Europe” (Bialer). Power went to nearly all of the communist dictators’ heads which caused problems between the government and the people. This mistreatment of citizens led people to feel unjustly treated and despise their communist governments.
Along with people’s needs rarely being met, there was also corruption in the governments in Eastern Europe. Following World War II, much of Europe was split into two halves, the eastern half having communism and the western half having a right wing government. In a newspaper article from The New York Times five years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a reporter states that “Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic…clearly want to be in the Western camp, eager to join the community of capitalist Western democracies” (Whitney). Much of Europe soon saw that the right-wing government was much less controlling and considerably fairer to the citizens, and they wanted to join the Western side. This led the citizens to want to abandon the ideals of communism, but the communist leaders of Germany, Russia, Poland, etc. did not want to give up their powerful positions. When all the power from the countries were placed into only the governments’ hands, the people had no say in what happened and the government tended to do what was best for themselves rather than what was best for the people. Doug Lorimer, a member of the National Executive of the DSP explains how government officials took advantage of the people in communist countries, oftentimes resolving to kill anyone that stood in their way. This was especially popular in Germany around the Berlin Wall, which was built to keep Eastern Europeans from escaping the communist government’s clutches. This enraged not only Eastern Europe, because they felt that their freedom was being taken away, but also Western Europe and much of the outside world. Apart from corruption in government, there was also poor leadership in Russia during the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev. Though Gorbachev was a strong believer in communism, “his biggest contribution lay not so much in what he did as in what he permitted to happen” (Dobbs 77). Gorbachev came to power when communism was at an all-time low, and he thought that communism could just fix itself naturally. Because of this lack of knowledge, communism collapsed in Russia, one of the leading communist countries. As a pattern throughout history, when too much power is given to a small group of people, the need to stay in power tends to overrule what is right for the people.