The End of the Cold War: Causes and Impacts

What caused the end of the Cold War in AP World History?

The end of the Cold War was primarily caused by a combination of internal and external factors, including domestic changes within the Soviet Union, economic challenges from the United States and its allies.

The End of the Cold War

Internal Changes within the Soviet Union: The Soviet economy was struggling, and the country faced internal political and social unrest. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policies like glasnost and perestroika aimed at reforming the system, inadvertently contributing to the unraveling of the Cold War. These reforms led to increased freedom of speech and a relaxation of state control, allowing for greater criticism of the regime. Economic Challenges within the Soviet Union: The Soviet economy was burdened by inefficiency, stagnation, and a costly arms race with the United States. This further weakened its position in the Cold War. External Pressures from the United States: Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States pursued a policy of military buildup, assertiveness, and support for anti-communist movements. This additional strain on the Soviet economy, combined with support for countries challenging Soviet influence, played a crucial role in ending the Cold War.

Influence of Grassroots Movements and World Leaders

The end of the Cold War was also influenced by grassroots efforts of global citizens pushing for democratic reforms in Eastern Europe. World leaders like Reagan and Gorbachev took actions to create a safer Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1992, marking the official end of the Cold War.
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