end of the cold war and collapse of the communist bloc in 1989  

Site Network: café historia - our news site | who we are | site map | terms | cookies | image use | contact us | click to see who is online with you!

   The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.  casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

  on this page
Browse down the page or just click one of these sections.... 
1. General accounts
2. Impact of Reagan's arms build-up
Key weapons: Star wars, Pershing |Role of Reagan | Reykjavik | INF |
3. Problems of the Soviet Union in 1980's
Economics | Gorbachev & Perestroika |
Defeat in Afghanistan |
4. Collapse of Eastern Europe
Solidarity | 1989 in Eastern Europe | Fall of Berlin Wall | Role of Gorbachev |
5. The End of the USSR


Other core casahistoria Cold War pages:

Origins of the Cold War
Divided Germany, 1945-49
Korean War

Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis
Space Race

Vietnam War
Prague, Ostpolitik & Detente 

Related casahistoria sites
Decolonisation · Arab-Israeli Conflict 1947-79 ·
Iraq & West



casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




Origins of the Cold War go to the casahistoria sit for extensive links to the start of the Cold war  



1. General Accounts of the End of the Cold War

go to top of page

  • The End of the Cold War Brief description from Atomic Archive
  • The end of the Cold war Clear basic interactive chart to see key points at a glance. Can be done as an exercise or click on the hide/show button to see the full diagram at once. From johnclare.net
  • Fall of the Soviet Union Introductory overview, but one which combined most factors (but surprisingly has leass emphasis on Reagan's arms build up) from Cold War Museum
  • End of Cold War Simple powerpoint of key elements. Can be slow to load. Patience.....
  • The End of the Cold War Timeline of the key stages 1987-91 from Nebraska.org. Click here for a much more detailed timeline from CIA.




2. Impact of Reagan's arms build-up
go to top of page

The Key weapons: The role of Reagan


      1986, Reykjavik

    1987, INF Treaty



Arms Talks and treaties Click to go to the casahistoria Detente site for links to the earlier treaties signed during the Cold War



3. Problems of the Soviet Union in the 1980's

go to top of page

  • The Collapse of Soviet Union, 1989 - 1991 Useful headline notes showing the reasons for USSR collapse and its significance. Los Alamitos Unified School District.   §
  • Causes of the Collapse of the USSR Substantial book (this is a Word doc.) extract looks at the long & short term causes of the decline & collapse of the USSR. From by Alexander Dallin and Gail W Lapidus, The Soviet System; From Crisis to Collapse (Westview Press, Boulder, 1995). §
Gorbachev & Perestroika
  • Persestroika defined Clear definition from the History Guide
  • Persestroika Basic explanation with document support from Spartacus Educational
  • Gorbachev's Impact on the Fall of the USSR  Starts with a very brief description of the history of the Soviet Union, including its beliefs and origins. The commentary then outlines the context in which Gorbachev's reforms were made and his leadership style by way of an introduction to this figure. BBC video
  • Glasnost and Perestroika Using interviews with eye-witnesses and key players, this film explains the differences between the two terms 'Glasnost' and 'Perestroika' and then goes on to describe the effects of these new concepts. It also explains the rise of Yeltsin's power in Moscow, the breakdown of his relationship with Gorbachev and weaknesses in Gorbachev's position. BBC video
  • Gorbachev's Policies Clear basic interactive chart to see key points at a glance. Can be done as an exercise or click on the hide/show button to see the full diagram at once. From johnclare.net
  • Gorbachev and Perestroika Good overview lecture on the issues facing Gorbachev by Prof Rempel.
  • 'Gorbachev on 1989'' Useful 2009 interview with Gorbachev on the background and events of 1989. The Nation
  • Reform, Coup and Collapse: The End of the Soviet State Professor Archie Brown for the BBC explains the reasons behind the dramatic collapse of the Soviet Union, and examines how such an authoritarian system could be dismantled peacefully. Clearly set out. Good bibliography at the end
  • Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War The Soviet collapse was due to the decline of communist ideology and economic failure. This would have happened even without Gorbachev, writes Joseph S. Nye in 2006
Defeat in Afghanistan




4. Collapse of Eastern Europe

go to top of page

Impact of Solidarity.....
1989 in Eastern Europe

Fall of Berlin Wall

1961, Berlin Wall Crisis For the construction and early history of the wall go to the casahistoria Thaw page

Role of Gorbachev

  • Fall of the Wall: My School Trip Slideshow of images by Roland Pietsch, an 18-year-old in his final year of school, when his headmaster closed the school the following day and took his students to the Brandenburg Gate. These are some of the pictures Pietsch captured on the one roll of film he took with him to witness the end of Berlin's dividing Wall.
  • The Berlin Wall: Rise and Fall  Very good selection of images from Life Magazine on the history of the Wall. Can be slow to load...  §
  • Moments in Time 1989/1990 Internet Archive presenting personal films and photos of the time of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification, mostly licenced under CC
  • Berlin Wall Panorama of the East Side Gallery of the Wall, painted by artists as it is today
  • The Country is Still There - Photos from the GDR Produced by the Goethe-Institut.



5. The end of the USSR

go to top of page

See also Section 3 above for the USSR's problems in the 1980's.




6. General Sites on the Cold War  

go to top of page

  • Cold War Basic outlines of key events from Spartacus Educational. Good place to make a start and includes
  • Cold War Figures - biographies of major figures from this time period.
  • Cold War Excellent school resource for students beginning to look at the Cold War
  • NATO Declassified Interesting site by NATO itself. Includes timelines, straightforward accounts of key stages in the NATO & the Cold War, documents, videos
  • The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Useful site presenting new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources from the former Communist world.
  • Vint Hill Cold War Museum Useful online museum that is easy to use with links to virtual exhibits, overview articles, photo galleries, documents, newsletters and many other collections of cold war related material set out clearly by decade.
  • BBC - History: Cold War a series of articles on key aspects of the Cold War from the BBC educational site.


  • The Cold War Files Very good site produced by Wilson Center for Peace for interpreting history of the Cold War through Documents. Includes clear overview items on events and bios on key figures.
  • European Navigator Useful topic documents (speeches/actual agreements/ newspaper articles & images on the post 1945 period from a west European perspective. Use the " historical  events" folder on the left to find your area of study. Well produced by the European Community.
  • Avalon Project at Yale Excellent range of documents from the 20th Century Documents : 1900 - 1999 list
  • The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers This thorough collection of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. The documents reflect the views of seasoned analysts who had followed closely their special areas of research and whose views were shaped in often heated debate.
  • Presidential Nuclear Policies & Events Useful selected documents on US Presidential policy towards nuclear weapons from Nuclear power Peace Foundation:
  • Harry Truman | Dwight Eisenhower | John Kennedy | Lyndon Johnson | Richard Nixon Gerald Ford | Jimmy Carter | Ronald Reagan | George H. W. Bush




the casahistoria Cold War sites:  

go to top of page

Origins of the Cold War
Divided Germany, 1945-49

Korean War
Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis
Space Race
Vietnam War
Prague'68, Ostpolitik, Detente and China
The End of the Cold War



  café historia - our news site | who we are | site map | terms | cookies policy | image use | contact us | online visitor map



Google Analytics Alternative