The collapse of communism in the late s marked the end of Soviet rule over the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The change was sudden and swift in most of these countries, resulting in greater social and personal freedoms, as well as economic upheaval and political chaos.
The Unique Experience of Romania Introduction Explaining the causes of an event as large, complicated, and significant as the revolutions of and the end of Communist single-party rule and the Cold War is no small task.
Historians generally point to three sets of causes: When reading the documents in this module, ask yourself if everyday life can be a cause of massive political change and, if so, how?
In all societies the availability, affordability, and quality of life-sustaining material goods i. In well-off societies, less-necessary consumer items for example: In poorer societies, these consumer goods can be rare to non-existent, thereby leading them at times to be perceived as exotic or adventurous and much desired breaks from the everyday.
Before the 20th century, everyday life often included work routines for adults and young people alike; since the end of the First World War, the routines of school increasingly filled the everyday lives of children and teenagers. For ordinary people living in Communist Eastern Europe during the Cold War era, a great part of everyday life consisted of searching and waiting for basic material goods, including food.
Stories of people—especially working women with families—standing hours per day in long lines to purchase meat and potatoes abound, as do tales about chronic shortages of personal hygiene and health items, including toilet paper, feminine products, and medicine.
Children and teenagers often saw little of their parents, who were away from home each day for long stretches of time as they worked and shopped for basic necessities.
The youngsters spent their days in school, where they routinely were given lessons punctuated with Marxist-Leninist ideology and praise of the Soviet Union. They sometimes returned home to retired grandparents and sometimes to no one.
The wealthier ones could turn on radio or television broadcasts. Most programming was official and state-censored, and reinforced Communist-party views, although occasionally a western, capitalist broadcast with forbidden and often attractive images and music could be received.
The food-shopping lines alone made everyday life very challenging for most Eastern Europeans, but they were not the only difficulty routinely experienced.
Few people could afford the limited numbers of available cars, so most eastern Europeans traveled to and from school and day-jobs on crowded public transportation.
A common sight to which they awoke each morning and retired each evening was a small apartment in a massive prefabricated, high-rise apartment complex, where sometimes more than one family shared two or three small rooms. Many, but not all, had reliable plumbing and electricity.
For many members of the older generation, who recalled hard times before and during World War II, this housing, despite its limits, was evidence of Communist progress and benevolence.
Coal was the main source of heating in the winter and of power for industrial plants, a fact that resulted in extreme air pollution blanketing Eastern Europeans through their everyday lives and water pollution so toxic that drinking from the kitchen tap could be deadly.
Opportunities to break from the challenges of everyday life in eastern Europe did exist, although they were not abundant and were generally under the control of the ruling Communist Party. Communist leaders knew well that their populations desired improved everyday lives and opportunities to enjoy breaks from routines through access to the consumer goods and entertainment commonly available to western Europeans and Americans.
They established special stores, restaurants, vacations, and medical facilities. By and large, though, only party members—who made up a minority of the population—had access to these exotic places, just like by and large only their children had access to university educations and the perks they brought.
Non-party members that is, the majority of the population could in some instances shop at the special stores, purveying much-prized French cognac, Marlboro cigarettes, Levis jeans, and electronics, thereby making escape from the routines of everyday life sometimes possible for non-elites.
However, non-party members had to pay using very expensive western or special currencies, and few could afford to routinely do so. Often times, Eastern Europeans—especially married men with families—worked two or three jobs, in order to gain the income necessary for coveted consumer items.
Sometimes, chances for escape from the everyday life of ordinary people functioned to promote obedience to the Communist Party. Sometimes, they promoted resentment towards party elites and underscored a hypocritical discrepancy between Marxist-Leninist rhetoric about the end of class differences and the actual privileges of a "new class" of party apparatchiks professional party functionaries.was a polish author, journalist, philanthropist and Christian-democratic politician, formerly one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement, and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe since Nov 03, · IT'S 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November , the event that came to symbolize the collapse of the self-described Communist regimes of Eastern Europe.
In July , during a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev said, that the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe “can no longer be carried on our back. The Fall of Communism, Twenty Years Later Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell and Eastern Europe knocked off the irons of communism.
This was a . Election chronology in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia – Between June and April every Communist or former communist Central and Eastern European or Asian country, and in the case of the USSR and Yugoslavia every constituent republic, held competitive parliamentary elections for the first time in many leslutinsduphoenix.comon: Central and Eastern Europe.
The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central Eastern Europe [Vaclav Havel, John Keane] on leslutinsduphoenix.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Designed as an introduction to emergency management, this book includes pieces on: social, political.