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The Interwar Years
Interwar Years Project
League of Nations 1920-1925
Austrian Interwar Years
France during the Interwar years
The Treaty of Sevres and Neuilly
Mussolini's Conquest of Ethiopia
British Interwar Years
Hitler's Foreign Policies Prior to WW2
Origins and Development of Single Party States
Assasinations of Key Political Opponents in Stalinist Russia
Beginnings of Communist Russia
Fidel's Global Impact
Social Policies of Nazi Party
Economic Policies of Nazi Germany
Rise of the Soviet Union
Stalin's domestic policies
Stalin's foreign and domestic policies
Techniques of Dictatorships
The Soviet Union Under Stalin
Treatment of Women in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
Was Lenin Right About Stalin?
The Platt Amendment
Mao and the PRC
World War II
Compulsory Billeting WWII
Fall of France
Nazi Occupation of Defeated Countries WWII
Resistance groups during World War Two
Role of the RAF (Royal Air Force) during WW2
Role Of Women in WWII
Social Consequences of WWII
The Ardennes Offensive
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
the evacuation at Dunkirk
The Second Great War
The Nuremberg Trials
The Battle of Britain
The V- Weapons
The Cold War
Berlin Blockade 1948-49
Brezhnev Foreign Policy
Cold War Major Developments
Cold War Key Developments
Cold War Origins
Cold War Superpower Relations
Cold War Events Timeline
Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
End of the Cold War
Politics 1950s and 60s
Policy Changes of Nikita Khrushchev
The Berlin Wall 1961
The Soviet Union under Brezhnev
The Soviet Union Under Stalin
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
Korean War 1950-53
The Vietnam War
Who Caused the Cold War?
Your Cold War (Interactive)
Stalin: 1941 to 1953
The Collapse of USSR
20th C. Social and Economic Developments in Europe and the Middle East
Brezhnev Foreign Policy
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev undertook an aggreasive foregin policy commonly known as the Brezhnev Doctrine. The doctrine was first introduced during a speech Brezhnev gave to an audience of polish workers justifying his invasion of Czechoslovakia. The main concept behind the doctrine is that all communist countries in the world are part of a "society", a world wide socialist community in which the Soviet Union plays a central role. All the individual interests of these countries are secondary to the main goal of helping the global working class. So things like self-deternimation and independence are acceptable as long as they do not deviate from socialist doctrine (as dictated by the Soviet Union) or they threatnen the interests of the socialist "community" at large (those interests are dictated by the Soviet Union). The doctrine had been used to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia and Afganistan. It also caused the military aid of the Sadinista government in Nicaragua, Cuba and Vietnam.
Czechoslovakia and the Prague Spring
The movement commonly known as the Prague Spring were a series of liberalization and relaxations of censorship, travel and the economy led by the socialist leader Alexander Dubeck. The Czech economy was disintergrating and there was a popular demand for massive reforms. Dubeck started to make these reforms in 1968 and wanted to create a sort of "market socialism", similar to the mixed economies of many democracies today though leaning more towards the socialist side. The reforms began on January 5th, but ended abruptly when on August 21st, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. Brezhnev claimed that this was due to "anti-socialist" forces within the republic, undermining the interests of the "socialist community". There was no armed resistance to the invasion. The Soviet Union stayed in Czechoslovakia until 1990.
The Invasion of Afganistan
In the early 1970es, the Marxist People's Democratic Party (PDPA) overthrew the monarchy in Afghanistan installing an instable communist government. There were a series of coups by both the Mujahidin (later to be known as the Taliban) force and the communist forces. In 1978 the Soviet Union took control of the Afghan capital of Kabul and installed Babrak Karmal. The invasion was justified by the Brezhnev doctrine, since that Afghanistan had had a "revolution" it was now in the Socialist 'community", given the Soviet Union the right to invaded the country if they felt they were deviating from socialist doctrine or threatned the interests of the Communist community. The Mujahidin government and constant rebel forces made Afghanistan a place were communism was unwelcome. Also, Afghanistan is a strategic point in the middle east neccessary to get extract oil from neighboring countries, this was in the Soviet Union's best interestes. In the resulting conflict, one million Afghanies would die. The Soviet Union stayed there from 1978 to 1988.
In the late 1970es, Polish workers undertook waves of massive strikes to protest the political dominance of the Polish Communist Goverment (PZDR). The resulting trade union movement known as the Solidarity Movment was led by Lech Walesa, a trade worker. The movement at the height of it's popularity had roughly 10 millions poles and the blessing of Pope John-Paul the Second who was himself a pole. This gave the Solidarity movement great international support from the Western powers, and kept an eye on Brezhnev to see how the Soviet Union would react. In 1980 the PZDR sat down and hammered out an agreement called the Gdansk agreement, in which the PZDR granted recognition of the worker's right to form free trade unions, but refused the Solidarity movement to become anything more than a trade unionist movement. In 1983 martial law was declared in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed. The movement then went underground and split between the radical Fighting Solidarity, favoring direct confrontation and the moderate Solidarity which favored compromise and negotiation. In the end, it was the moderates who won and established the first post-communist government (after the collapse of the Soviet Union). Many people ask why Brezhnev did not react to Poland like he did to Czechoslovakia and simply invaded Poland. There are many reasons for this. 1. The international community had already paid close attention to the Solidarity movement, and the visit by the Pope gave the movement great international sympathy. 2. The Soviet Union was in the midst of the Afghanistan war and simply could not afford to start another potential explosive invasion.
Cuba, Nicaragua and North Vietnam
The communist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba received much military aid from the Brezhnev Government, mainly small arms and sometimes medical supplies. Cuba was still fighting off guerrila forces of Cuban exiles attacking the country from the Coast of Miami. In 1979, the FZLN or better known as the Sandinistas Frente overthrew the U.S backed dictator in Somoza in Nicaragua. The request goverment was socialist democratic with free election yet with a nationalized economy. The U.S had waged an embargo against Nicaragua and had sponsored anti-communist guerrillas known as the Contras to fight the Sandinistas government. The Soviet Union support the Sandinistas and sent them military aid in order to quell the guerrillas. The Vietnam war still rage while Brezhnev was in power, and Ho Chi Minh's Viet Cong and NLF received military aid from his goverment.
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The Afgan war :
Nicaragua, Cuba and Vietnam:
A People in Arms.
1987. New Star Books, Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Pg. 302-303.
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