Explain the regional economic and political changes that took place in Europe due to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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The collapse of the Soviet Union, which occurred after the end of the Cold War, led to profound political and economic changes in many countries. Most of all, these alterations concerned the former participants of the Soviet Union that gained independence upon the disintegration. In the political sphere, the most prominent event was the collapse of communism and its failure as the main regime.1 A “strong disquiet” among the Communist Party officials was inevitable.2
Another important change concerned the reconstruction of national identities of the former Soviet Union constituents. This process was closely associated with economic aspects since national identity was dependent on landscape development.3 However, not all means were peaceful, some of the newly separated states starting military campaigns against smaller ones. As Schneider puts it, there occurred the reconciliation of “domestically feuding camps.”4One of the bloodiest and most dramatic examples was the military action of Yugoslavia against Kosovo in the 1990s.5 Still, in comparison to previous decades, the situation in Europe was largely peaceful. Even though some wars emerged in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, they were not initiated by the major European powers and were stopped with the help of the USA.6
At the same time, the dissolution of the Soviet Union also had an impact on Western European countries. While the countries in Eastern Europe separated, the Western European states tried to coordinate their efforts in the positive development and initiated the formation of the European Community. To be able to strive for a better future together, these states even partially surrendered some of their sovereignty.7 While the optimistic expectations of the European Community did not become true immediately, these counties were able to overcome the dramatic aftermath of the Cold War.8 Hence, the political and economic changes that happened after the Soviet Union disintegrated had a great effect on both Eastern and Western Europe and gave way to the modern international relations organization.9
Evaluate the impact of the twentieth century on modern Europe.
Influential people are not always the good ones, but their decisions and actions usually have a considerable impact on the development of history. If I were the editor of the Time Magazine, I would select Adolf Hitler for the cover of the issue speaking about the most dominant figure of 20th-century Europe. Undoubtedly, Hitler’s military campaigns and his nationalistic ideas brought about a series of devastating occurrences in the continent. However, it is not the choice of the most pleasant leader but of the most decisive and forceful one.
Hitler made himself widely known when he adopted fascism as the form of authoritarian ultranationalism power which he borrowed from Italian leader, Mussolini. This is the first indication of Hitler’s effect on history: even though he was not the creator of fascism, his name appears in the minds of people first of all when they hear this word. The second infamous feature of Hitler as an influential individual was the initiation of World War II. It was because of this war that major changes occurred in almost every part of the world. The war was devastating in financial and human losses, but it made everyone afraid of Hitler and wait for his next steps with awe and terror. Finally, another historical process that Hitler initiated was the Holocaust: the politics of eradicating a whole nationality off the face of the earth. Furthermore, the relationships between Germany and other countries after World War II, which deteriorated because of Hitler, led to the Cold War. Because of these infamous but rather significant aspects, Hitler may be considered as the most influential figure of 20th-century Europe.
Cox, Michael. “Why Did We Get the End of the Cold War Wrong?” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 11, no. 2 (2009): 161–176.
Kosovo: Of Blood and History. 1999. Web.
Kramer, Mark. “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union.” Journal of Cold War Studies 7, no. 1 (2005): 3–96.
Mearsheimer, John J. “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” European Political Science 9, no. 3 (2010): 387–397.
Paxton, Robert O., and Julie Hessler. Europe in the Twentieth Century. 5th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012.
Rosato, Sebastian. “Europe’s Troubles: Power Politics and the State of the European Project.” International Security 35, no. 4 (2011): 45–86.
Schneider, Peter. “The Other Europe.” Salmagundi 166–167 (2010): 22–37.
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Unwin, Tim. “Contested Reconstruction of National Identities in Eastern Europe: Landscape Implications.” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift – Norwegian Journal of Geography 53, no. 2–3 (1999): 113–120.
- Robert O. Paxton and Julie Hessler, Europe in the Twentieth Century, 5th ed. (Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012), 657.
- Mark Kramer, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union,” Journal of Cold War Studies 7, no. 1 (2005): 4.
- Tim Unwin, “Contested Reconstruction of National Identities in Eastern Europe: Landscape Implications,” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift – Norwegian Journal of Geography 53, no. 2–3 (1999): 113.
- Peter Schneider, “The Other Europe,” Salmagundi 166–167 (2010): 25.
- Kosovo: Of Blood and History, 1999, Web.
- John J. Mearsheimer, “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” European Political Science 9, no. 3 (2010): 387.
- Schneider, “The Other Europe,” 25.
- Sebastian Rosato, “Europe’s Troubles: Power Politics and the State of the European Project,” International Security 35, no. 4 (2011): 45.
- Michael Cox, “Why Did We Get the End of the Cold War Wrong?” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 11, no. 2 (2009): 161.