Internal threats to the Soviet system: East Germany, Poland and Hungary

Mind Map by jacksearle, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by jacksearle about 6 years ago


A-Levels Cold War (Post-Stalin Thaw) Mind Map on Internal threats to the Soviet system: East Germany, Poland and Hungary, created by jacksearle on 04/24/2014.

Resource summary

Internal threats to the Soviet system: East Germany, Poland and Hungary
1 Intro
1.1 Between 53-56, popular expectations of change in Eastern Bloc were encouraged developments within USSR, these included:
1.1.1 K's rise and denunciation of Stalin
1.1.2 K's acceptance that there were many roads to socialism
1.1.3 Better Soviet relations with West and Yugoslavia
1.2 Possibility of change limited due to fact that unity of Eastern bloc was crucial to USSR position in Cold War
1.2.1 Any break between countries would undermine Russia's prestige by implying that the people were unhappy with communism Limits of Soviet new mood of tolerance were tested in 50s, particularly in Poland and Hungary
2 Berlin Rising June 1953
2.1 Following Stalin's death - USSR economic policy focused on consumer goods
2.1.1 East-Germany, hardline Stalinist leader Ulbricht continued to develop strict command economy June 53, U raised workers quotas without upping pay - provoked demonstrations 400,000 workers took to streets, calling for free elections, a general strike and lifting of quotas Govt responded with force, arresting and executing protest leaders
2.2 Significance
2.2.1 Significant for Cold War relations because it demonstrated the unpopularity of traditional comm policies Also exposed that USSR control over east EU was based on force not consent Also indicated that USSR was unwilling to allow greater independence in Europe Whilst USA made much of the rising in anti-Soviet propaganda, they didnt intervene - feared they'd provoke a war
3 Poland 1956
3.1 Death of Stalinist leader Beriut - Feb 1956 - sparked increasing calls for liberalisation in Poland
3.1.1 June - large demos in Poznan turned into anti-govt protests Discontent spread - strong calls for Polish nationalist and moderate communist Gomulka to be given power
3.2 Oct - K visited Warsaw to resolve issue
3.2.1 K tried to force Gomulka to back down - eventually relented when he realised strength of movement To stem unrest - K agreed to Gomulka being leader and that some economic reforms were allowed as long as Poland remained in Warsaw Pact
3.3 Reform in Poland was significant- showed clear divisions in comm world
3.3.1 until 1953 - Cold war has been struggle between superpowers Events in Poland showed that there was an internal struggle in the communist camp K had been forces to compromise with Polish - moreover Mao publicly supported the Poles K's position clearly weaker in 56 than Stalin's had been in 53 so his position in Cold war was compromised
4 Hungary 1956
4.1 July 1956 - anti-Stalinist communist, Nagy, became premier of Hungary
4.1.1 Nagy's moderate policies failed to halt reform demands, By late Oct people were calling for: multi-party democracy a free press Hungary to withdraw from Warsaw pact
4.2 To keep up with popular mood - Nagy agreed to the demands and declared Hungary neutral
4.2.1 USSR saw this as act of open revolt 4 November - Red army tanks entered Budapest to reassert Soviet control By 11 Nov - Soviets had crushed uprising and 'nationalist' Kadar replaced Nagy Kadar's new govt reimposed comm control - arresting 35000 and executing 300 leaders of uprising
4.3 Hungary - like Poland, exposed problems with K's approach to Eastern Bloc
4.3.1 K encouraged limited reform, but this lead to demands that threatened to destroy the Eastern Bloc This exposed dictatorial nature of USSR control Hungary also exposed USA weakness Hungarians were encouraged through Radio Free Europe by messages of support from Eisenhower People assumed that US would send assistance West refused to stop Red Army's brutal suppression of the rising Political and military realities meant that USA could not intervene to protect Hungary
5 Conclusion
5.1 USSR responded differently to the Polish and Hungarian crises
5.1.1 Poland - comm party stayed in control and Gomulka gave pledges of loyalty to USSR Hungary - Comms lost control and Nagy's decision to seek neutral status undermined the USSR's defensive barrier in Eastern Europe Soviet military action in Hungary demonstrated USSR's determination to preserve sphere of influence on its Western borders After Hungary crisis, USSR concluded that USA was unlikely to intervene in the 'Soviet' part of Europe
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