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Reasons for the Collapse of Communism Essay

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Updated: Dec 23rd, 2021

Communism is a form of governing philosophy that was established by Karl Max who was a German economist and was supported by Fredrich Engel. It is a system where all the property is owned and controlled by the government so as to ensure that wealth is equally distributed amongst the rich and the poor.

These economists believed that the problems encountered in society today are due to the unequal distribution of wealth and resources and hence to bring an end to this, the gap between the rich and type poor has to be done away with. With this in mind, it is clear that the rich would not be willing to give out their wealth deliberately and therefore equality would only come by force if the poor rebelled. The parties that were opposed to this were all banned and there was no free press either. There was no private ownership, all agricultural land was community-owned and there was forceful use of power.

Communism in Eastern Europe failed due to the domination Communist Party which was not legal from the word go. This is because the party leader, Lenin, clinched the seat after a severe war between his supporters and the opposers of the Soviet Union. Lenin was not ready for any defeat and so he was to do anything in his capacity for him to win. He used terror to gain power and respect from people and was viewed as a dictator. This form of leadership was later adopted by other communists who came after him. When the Russian leader Stalin came to power in 1929, he used the same antics as Lenin to gain power especially by shifting alliances and doing away with all opposition.

He also used many tricks to damage the reputation of his opponent, Trotsky. For instance, he did not tell Trotsky about Lenin’s burial so that his absence at the funeral would tarnish his name. When these disagreements continued, Trotsky was exiled from Russia and later assassinated. Those who opposed Stalin’s rule were crushed and he made sure that almost every country in Eastern Europe adopted communist rule. However, in most of these countries, it had little support from people but all in all, it gained control. The rule of communists was achieved using undemocratic procedures such as stealing votes and harassment of people.

In 1932, a member of Politburo published a document suggesting that Stalin should change his regime. This angered Stalin so much that all those who were in Politburo and did not support him were denied their membership and arrested an original member of Politburo. From this, it is clear that the communist regime was never a favorite of many people and though some supported it, they were just a minority. This means that for any leadership to succeed it must have support from major people and it should seek to serve the wishes of the majority rather than the minority. Communism did not follow this and hence its fall.

Another important reason for the collapse of communism is that the system’s failure to achieve anything due to its dictatorial rule, exploitation, and use of threats to force people to follow their rules. Many people were imprisoned especially those who tried to oppose the regime. In some places like China and Kampuchea, it led to genocide. The states owned most of the property and controlled the economy but they did not succeed to develop a sustainable one.

They tried to industrialize their countries but they did not succeed in creating any wealth. Instead of developing their economies, the communist regime led to more disparities between the rich and the poor and a waste of natural resources. There were statistics about the Soviets being on the move to be the world’s biggest producer of steel but these were inflated figures. Today, Russia has less production of grain as compared to the time before the revolution.

Communists mostly stressed wealth distribution rather than the creation of wealth itself, a move that saw people get even poorer. There were considerable achievements in the sectors of health, education, and safety but these could not balance the enormous failures the regime had faced. In the meantime, the nations that practiced democracy were far much ahead in developing their economies.

Mikhail Gorbachev is also said to have greatly contributed to the collapse of communism. Gorbachev came to the realization that the state’s control of the economy would not attain perceived equality or prosperity. The Soviet Union was no longer in a position to support its empire in Eastern Europe, military as well as a centralized economy. To restore the economy of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev gave up the Eastern Empire and the military build-up.

He advocated for reforms that saw prisoners released, people being given freedom of worship, freedom to form unions, and freedom of the press to publish information. With his permission, the National people’s Congress went to elections in March 1989, and many of the communists who were ready for reforms won the seats. With this, Gorbachev promised that his party would not monopolize power again.

The failure of communism was also contributed by America’s containment policy. Both the U.S and USSR owned a large number of nuclear weapons and many Americans had the fear that USSR would overtake them in military strength. However, this was not so because the U.S economy was better and they had better equipment as compared to the Soviet Union. Further still, the soviet economy had more weaknesses in that its people had not learned to accumulate wealth hence they had little food in-store. Those who made decisions at the government level had little knowledge of day-to-day happenings.

The visit by Pope John Paul II to Poland is said to have some significance in the collapse of communism. It marked the starting of the fall of the Berlin wall. Before the visit, the trade unions owned by the polish were fading with little or no support. It is said that 16 months after his 9-day visit, the polish movement became recognized in the communist bloc with millions of followers.

In conclusion, it can be noted that the fall of communist was contributed by many factors ranging from opposition from the people themselves, the arms race between the U.S and the Soviet Union. The regime’s ability to achieve anything due to its dictatorial nature as well as Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision to give up Eastern Europe was also a contributor to the collapse.

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