Revolutions of 1989From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Fall of Communism" redirects here. For the fall of the Soviet Union, see Dissolution of the Soviet Union.Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia Wikimedia Shop Interaction Help About Wikipedia Community portal Recent changes Contact Wikipedia Toolbox Print/export Languages () Catal esky Deutsch Espaol Esperanto Euskara Franais
The Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the Fall of Communism, the Collapse of Communism, the Revolutions of Eastern Europe and the Autumn of Nations) were the revolutions which overthrew the communist states in various Central and Eastern European countries. The events began in Poland in 1989, and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its Communist regime violently. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 failed to stimulate major political changes in China. However, powerful images of courageous defiance during that protest helped to spark a precipitation of events in other parts of the globe. Among the famous antiCommunist revolutions was the fall of the Berlin Wall, which served as the symbolic gateway to German reunification in 1990. The Soviet Union was dissolved by the end of 1991, resulting in 14 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) declaring their independence from the Soviet Union and the bulk of the country being succeeded by the Russian Federation. Communism was abandoned in Albania and Yugoslavia between 1990 and 1992, the latter splitting into five successor states by 1992: Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later renamed Serbia and Montenegro, and later still split into two states, Serbia and Montenegro). Serbia was then further split with the breakaway of the semi-recognized state of Kosovo. Czechoslovakia too was dissolved three years after the end of communist rule, splitting peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1992. The impact was felt in dozens of Socialist countries. Communism was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mongolia and South Yemen. The collapse of Communism led commentators to declare the end of the Cold War. The adoption of varying forms of market economy immediately resulted in a general decline in living standards in post-Communist States, together with side effects including the rise of business oligarchs in countries such as Russia, and highly disproportional social and economic development. Political reforms were varied but in only five countries were Communist institutions able to keep for themselves a monopoly on power: China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and Vietnam. Many Communist and Socialist organisations in the West turned their guiding principles over to social democracy. The European political landscape was drastically changed, with numerous Eastern Bloc countries joining NATO and stronger European economic and social integration entailed.Contents [hide] 1 Background 1.1 The Development of the Communist Bloc 1.2 Emergence of Solidarity 1.3 Changes in Beijing 1.4 Mikhail Gorbachev 2 Solidarity's impact grows 3 Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 4 Revolutions of 1989 4.1 Poland 4.2 Hungary 4.3 East Germany 4.4 Czechoslovakia 4.5 Bulgaria 4.6 Romania 5 Malta Summit 6 Election chronology in Eastern Europe 1989-1991 7 Albania and Yugoslavia 8 Dissolution of the Soviet Union 8.1 Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Revolutions of 1989
Clockwise, from top left: Round T able T in Warsaw; Fall of the alks
Berlin Wall; Velvet Revolution in Prague; Baltic Way in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian SSRs; Romanian Revolution in Bucharest
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Other names Fall of Communism, Collapse of Communism, Collapse of Socialism, Fall of Socialism, Autumn of Nations, European Spring Participants Citizens of Eastern Bloc nations Location Europe (especialy Central Europe, then SouthEast and Eastern Europe) China Communist countries in other parts of the world Date Result 9 March 1989 27 April 1992 (3 years, 1 month, 2 weeks and 4 days) Peaceful transfer of power to nonCommunist governments in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia , Bulgaria and Albania German reunification Violent transfer of power to a nonCommunist government in Romania Breakup of the Soviet Union Breakup of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Wars Violent suppression of the Chinese democracy movement Dissolution of the Warsaw Pact Intensification of the process of European integration Skepticism about Communism all over the world associated with decreasing support for communist parties, especially in Europe Changes in dozens of other countries, especially involving the rise of consumerism End of the Cold War American hegemony and the spread of American culture and laissez-faire capitalism to previously sealed-off Communist countries; rise of the US as a world police force Islamist terrorists increasingly target West in the absence of Eastern Bloc The world economy becomes truly a
Polski Portugus Romn Srpskohrvatski / Suomi Svenska Trke Ting Vit
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8.1 Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania 8.2 Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova 8.3 Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan 8.4 Chechnya 8.5 Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan 8.6 Post-Soviet conflicts 9 Other events 9.1 Communist and Socialist countries 9.1.1 Africa 9.1.2 Middle East 9.1.3 Asia 9.1.4 Latin America 9.2 Other countries 10 Political reforms 11 Economic reforms 12 Ideological continuation of communism 13 Interpretations 14 Remembrance 14.1 Organizations 14.2 Events 14.3 Places 14.4 Other 15 See also 16 References 17 Further reading 18 External links
Soviet Socialist Republics States of the Eastern Bloc Related organisations Dissent and opposition Cold War events Decline
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BackgroundThe Development of the Communist BlocFurther information: Soviet Bloc, People's Republic of China, and List of socialist countries Ideas of Socialism had been gaining momentum among working class citizens of the world since the 19th century. These culminated in the early 20th century when several countries and subsequent nations formed their own Communist Parties. Many of the countries involved had monarchic governments and aristocratic social structures with an established nobility. Ordinarily, Socialism was undesirable within the circles of the ruling classes of the late 19th/early 20th century states; as such, Communist ideology was repressed - its champions suffered persecution while the nation on the whole was discouraged from adopting the mindset. This had been the practice even in the states which identified as exercising a multi-party system. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 saw the multi-ethnic Soviets overturn a previously nationalist czarist state. The Bolsheviks comprised ethnicities of all entities which would compose the Soviet Union throughout its phases. During the interwar period, Communism had been on the rise in many parts of the world (e.g. in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it had grown popular in the urban areas throughout the 1920s). This led to a series of purges in many countries to stifle the movement. Just as Communism had at some stage grown popular throughout the entities of Central and Eastern Europe, its image had also begun to tarnish at a later time all within the interwar period. As Socialist activists stepped up their campaigns against their oppressor regimes, they resorted to violence (including bombings and various other killings) to achieve their goal: this led large parts of the previously pro-Communist populace to lose interest in the ideology. A Communist presence forever remained in place however, but reduced from its earlier size.The fourth congress of the Polish United Workers' Party, held in 1963.
Queue waiting to enter a store, a typical view in Poland between the 1950s and 1980s
After World War II, the Soviet Union had established a presence in a number of countries. There, they brought into power various Communist parties who were loyal to Moscow. The Soviets retained troops throughout the territories they had occupied. The Cold War saw these states, bound together by the Warsaw Pact, have continuing tensions with the capitalist west symbolized by NATO. Mao Zedong established communism in China in 1949. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide anti-authoritarian revolt, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to assert control. In 1968, the USSR repressed the Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Emergence of SolidarityMain article: Solidarity (Polish trade union)
Labour turmoil in Poland during 1980 had led to the formation of the independent trade union, Solidarity, led by Lech Wasa, which over time became a political force. On 13 December 1981, Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski started a crack-down on Solidarity, declaring martial law in Poland, suspending the union, and temporarily imprisoning all of its leaders.
Changes in BeijingNew Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping developed the concept of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Although several Eastern bloc count