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The end of the Soviet Union

Summary:
December 26th, 1991, was a bright day for mankind. It was on that day, 28 years ago, that the Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War. The Soviets had always taken the view that Communism would succeed across the world because of historically inevitability, as outlined by Karl Marx. However, they were quite ready to help history along with as much armed force and brutality as it might take. It reached the ultimate in armed force with the Brezhnev Doctrine, which declared that any country attempting to move away from Marxism-Leninism would be invaded by Soviet forces to override the will of its peoples. The Soviets did indeed suppress popular uprisings in Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The problem for the Soviet Union was that Socialism

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December 26th, 1991, was a bright day for mankind. It was on that day, 28 years ago, that the Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War. The Soviets had always taken the view that Communism would succeed across the world because of historically inevitability, as outlined by Karl Marx. However, they were quite ready to help history along with as much armed force and brutality as it might take.

It reached the ultimate in armed force with the Brezhnev Doctrine, which declared that any country attempting to move away from Marxism-Leninism would be invaded by Soviet forces to override the will of its peoples. The Soviets did indeed suppress popular uprisings in Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The problem for the Soviet Union was that Socialism doesn't work, and the peoples of the Soviet satellite states resented their lack of freedom and prosperity compared with the countries of the capitalist West.

The Cold War never resulted in direct armed conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, though there were several 'proxy' wars in the world in which the two sides backed different sides in various conflicts. There were moments of drama in which tanks faced each other yards away at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, or in the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Khrushchev tried to station nuclear missiles in Cuba, minutes away from US soil.

Many commentators seemed to think the Cold War might continue indefinitely. Left-wing academics looked for the ultimate victory of communism, as Khrushchev declared, "History is on our side. We will bury you." Many academics assumed that the outcome would be some kind of draw, with a system emerging that would combine elements of both capitalism and communism. Almost none supposed a total defeat of communism, but it happened.

President Reagan racked up the pressure on the Soviets by a major push to modernize military technology. This came at a time when the Soviet economy was falling further behind, and they found themselves unable to compete. Gorbachev declined to use Soviet troops to bolster up unpopular communist allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and the result was a 1989 wave of popular and usually bloodless revolutions that overthrew the communist regimes.

Even in Russia the Communist Party lost control, and when hardline communists attempted a coup against Gorbachev in August 1991, and saw it thwarted by Boris Yeltsin, the game was up. The 'Commonwealth of Independent States' was created on December 21st, 1991, and the Soviet Union dissolved itself on December 26th.

U.S. President George H. Bush expressed his feelings: "The biggest thing that has happened in the world in my life, in our lives, is this: By the grace of God, America won the Cold War." Indeed it did, and the shadow of nuclear Armageddon receded, as did the threat of a worldwide communist tyranny. Those who affect to support socialism in modern times should look long and hard at what it did, and what it would have done had not free men and women stood their ground against it.

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