The economic and technological inferiority of the Soviet Union can be seen to have a long term impact which undermined the USSR from 1945 to the end of the Cold War Essay

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The economic and technological inferiority of the Soviet Union can be seen to have a long term impact which undermined the USSR from 1945 to the end of the Cold War. These poor conditions allowed for an increase in social unrest towards the communist model, as they were unable to improve living standard within the many nations that were part of the USSR. This intern forced Gorbachev to develop the policy of Glasnost, which resulted in the Soviets losing its power structure and its eventual collapse. Source 10 agrees with this view of the Soviet bloc facing economic problems and how far it was behind the West technologically. However, sources 11 and 12 view the personalities of Reagan and Gorbachev as more important factors. Reagan’s hard-line economic policies which could be seen to have squeezed the USSR into submission, as well as Gorbachev’s view that the Soviet system had failed from the start and tried to introduce capitalist policies in a fully communist state. These factors will be analysed on how important they were towards ending the Cold War in the late 1980’s.
Source 10 supports the main view point of the question, stating that during the 1980’s, many of the Soviet satellite states were unable to modernise due to huge economic debts they had accumulated throughout the years and how the USSR was ill equipped to help them. This is evident in East Germany, where the only reason it was a success, was due to the fact that it was receiving “huge subsidies from Moscow”. This is an important factor towards this view point as it shows how the communist economic model could not work without cash injections, so when the USSR was spending 27% of its total 37% GDP on military spending, the remaining 10% wasn’t enough to ensure its satellite states were able to modernise. The USSR’s inability to stabilise its economy as well as those of its satellite states, created the conditions for an internal implosion within the USSR. Gaddis, a Cold War historian furthers this view by stating that the USSR was a “doomed dinosaur”, and how though it looked formidable from the outside, but its internal organs were ‘slowly clogging up, and shutting down’. This refers to the ‘organs’ being the satellite states and how their failing economies caused the USSR to collapse from the inside. In addition to the poor economic status of the USSR, its inability to live up to the improving of living standards within the Soviet Union states furthers the main view point. The resulting failing economies within the USSR caused many of its citizens to question the communist system, as the East-West gap in living standards was widening by the day. This is evident in many of the Soviet citizens not being able to clean properly, due to the fact they could not afford or have access to soap. This lack of investment into basic living standards can be seen as another reason why the economic instability of the USSR was the main factor for the end of the Cold War. This is due to the fact that, if the Soviet Union had a stable economy, it would have been able to help its satellite states modernise and improve living standards. This intern would have allowed for the USSR to have a higher output in its work force, allowing for faster developments in technologies, which could have closed the gap on the West and stopped the overall collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Source 11 could be seen to further the main view point of this question, as due to the Soviets inability to react quickly enough to its failing economy, it allowed Reagan to see this weakness and squeeze the USSR into submission be increasing military spending. However, Source 11 focuses more of Reagan’s ‘anti-communist’ personality and how outside pressure on the USSR was the main cause for the end of the Cold War. The main evidence for this is Reagan’s new hard line approach on US policies towards the USSR, especially with the introduction of the Strategic Defences Initiative program (SDI) in 1983. The intent…