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Europe Since 1968
Chapter 31
1968
Europe Since 1968:
Economic crises of the 1970s
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Nixon takes U.S. off gold standard: effectively ended the “Bretton Woods” system of international
currency stabilization.
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Energy Crisis
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Postwar economic boom fueled by cheap oil, especially in western Europe.
1973, OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) dramatically increased oil prices in Europe
and U.S. in retaliation for their support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria.
Second price increase in 1979 during Iranian Revolution hurt modest progress since 1976.
Price revolution in energy, coupled with upheaval in international monetary system, plunged world
into worst economic decline since 1930s.
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Fixed rates of exchange abandoned.
Great uncertainty replaced postwar predictability in international trade and finance.
"Stagflation" hit in the mid 1970s: increased prices and increased unemployment; rare
Debts and deficits piled up quickly in the 1970s and 1980s
Social consequences of the 1970s economic crisis
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Created condition for collapse of communism in late 1980s.
Pessimism replaced optimism in society in general
Welfare system created in postwar era prevented mass suffering and degradation.
Total government spending in most countries rose during 1970s and 1980s
Conservative resurgence in late 1970s and early 1980s: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterand
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By late 1970s, powerful reaction against increased governments’ role resulted in austerity measures to slow growth of public
spending and the welfare state.
Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain
Ronald Reagan in U.S.
1993, frustrated French voters gave coalition of conservatives and moderates overwhelming victory.
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France in early 1980s attempted to increase government role but failed
Francois Mitterand led his Socialist party and Communist allies in launching a vast program of nationalization and public
investment designed to spend France out of economic stagnation. (Keynesian)
By 1983, this policy failed and Mitterand was forced to impose wide variety of austerity measures for the remainder of the
decade.
Reduction in spending for “Big Science” (except cold war related spending)
Europeans and North Americans developed a leaner, tougher lifestyle
Women
Women
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Early women’s rights advocates: De Gouges, Wollstonecraft, Pankhurst
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Second wave of women’s movement first assumed real significance in the late 1960s, gathered strength in the
1970s, and won major victories in the 1970s and 1980s.
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Marriage and Motherhood
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In the postwar era, women continued to marry earlier.
Typical woman in Europe, U.S. and Canada had children quickly after marrying.
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Average of only 2 children per family
Motherhood occupied a much smaller portion of a women’s life than at the turn of the century.
Birth control use increased with oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices.
Women in the workplace
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In 20th century, especially after WWII, opportunities for women of modest means to earn cash income at home practically
disappeared.
Thus, sharp increase across Europe and North America in number of married women who became full-time and part-time wage
earners outside the home.
Rising employment of married women became a powerful force in drive for women’s equality and emancipation.
Rising employment for married women became a factor in decline of the birthrate.
Women's Rights Movement
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Simone de Beauvoir : The Second Sex (1949) -- existentialist ideas
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Betty Friedan: The Feminine Mystique (1963) -- American
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Argued women were in essence free but had almost always been trapped by particularly inflexible and limiting conditions.
Only by courageous action and self-assertive creativity could women become free and escape the role of inferior “other.”
Inspired a future generation of women's rights intellectuals
Women expected to conform to false, infantile pattern of femininity and live for husbands and children.
Founded National Organization for Women (NOW); inspired European groups
Goals of women's rights movements
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New statutes in the workplace: laws against discrimination, “equal pay for equal work,” and maternal leave and affordable day
care.
Gender and family questions: right to divorce (in some Catholic countries), legalized abortion, needs of single parents I (usually
women) and protection from rape and physical violence.
In almost every country, effort to legalize abortion became catalyst for mobilizing an effective women’s movement.
Cold War in the 1970s
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Ostpolitik:
– Willy Brandt: "eastern initiative" -- West German chancellor, began to improve
relations with Eastern Europe
• Brandt sought a comprehensive peace settlement for central Europe and a new resolution of
the “German Question.”
– Negotiated treaties with USSR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia that formally accepted
existing state boundaries and the loss of German territory to Poland and USSR in
return for mutual renunciation of force or threat of force.
– “Two German states within one German nation”
• Brandt’s government broke with past and entered into direct relations with East Germany.
• Aimed for modest practical improvements rather than reunification,
– Brandt brought Germany’s Social Democrats to national power for first time since
1920s.
• Demonstrated two-party political democracy had taken firm hold.
– Result: West Germany’s eastern peace settlement contributed to great reduction in
East-West tensions; Germany assumed a leadership role in Europe.
Cold War in the 1970s
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Dètente
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U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Nixon tried to place Brandt’s eastern initiatives in
broader, American-led framework of reducing East-West tensions in early 1970s.
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Feared Germany might become neutral thus weakening NATO & US influence in Europe
Nixon hoped to gain their aid in pressuring North Vietnam into peace.
realpolitik: Nixon & Kissinger believed U.S. should pursue policies and make alliances based on its national
interests rather than on any particular view of the world.
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Sought to play USSR and China off each other
Nixon visited China in 1972: Soviets concerned China & U.S. might draw closer
Nixon visited Moscow, 1972: ushered in an era known as dètente.
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Sought to establish rules to govern the rivalry between US and USSR and China.
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SALT I: Brezhnev and Nixon signed treaty to stop making nuclear ballistic missiles and to reduce the
number of antiballistic missiles to 200 for each power.
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Helsinki Conference, 1975
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MIRVs made SALT I obsolete (multiple warheads on one missile)
Final Act: Officially ended World War II by finally legitimizing the Soviet-dictated boundaries of Poland and other East
European countries.
In return, Soviets guaranteed more liberal exchanges of people and information between East and West and the protection
of certain basic “human rights.”
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Yet, Moscow continued to squelch human rights in Eastern Europe.
End of dètente
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Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to U.S. refusal to ratify SALT II treaty (reducing nuclear armaments) and led to
President Carter boycotting 1980 Olympics in Moscow
US stopped shipments of grain and certain advanced technology to the Soviet Union.
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Only Britain stood behind U.S. in its sanctions.
France, Italy and especially West Germany argued that Soviet’s deplorable action should not be turned into an East-West
confrontation.
USSR since 1968
Soviet Bloc since 1968
• 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was the crucial event of the Brezhnev era.
– Intense conservatism of Soviet ruling elite determined to maintain status quo in
Soviet bloc.
– Re-Stalinization of USSR resulted, to a degree
– Dictatorship was collective rather than personal—through the Politburo.
– Celebrated nonconformists as Alksandr Solzhenitsyn permanently expelled from
country.
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“Solidarity” in Poland
– Polish cardinal elected Pope John Paul II in 1979: traveled through Poland
preaching love of Christ and country and “inalienable rights of man.”
– Popular movement of working people organized a massive union called “Solidarity.”
• Led by Lech Walesa
• Demands included right to form free trade unions, right to strike, freedom of speech,
release of political prisoners and economic reforms.
– 1981, Polish government led by Communist party leader, General Jaruzelski
imposed martial law after being warned by Soviets if the Polish government could
not keep order, Soviets would.
• Solidarity was outlawed and driven underground but remained active
1980’s
Cold War in the 1980s
• The Atlantic Alliance revitalized itself in the 1980s under the leadership of Ronald
Reagan in the U.S., Margaret Thatcher in UK, and Helmut Kohl (b. 1930) of
Germany.
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In 1980s, all three nations believed USSR remained a dangerous threat (e.g. Afghanistan)
Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979.
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Came to power after a year of bitter strikes had eroded support for the ruling socialist Labour party.
Advocated hard-line military positions (as Reagan)
Falklands War (1982)
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Argentine forces invaded and occupied Falkland (or Malvinas) Islands, 500 miles off coast of Argentina.
Thatcher sent fleet to retake the islands; gained enormous popularity--reelected
Helmut Kohl, distinctly pro-American, came to power with conservative Christian
Democrats in 1982.
Atlantic Alliance gave indirect support to ongoing efforts to liberalize authoritarian communist
states in eastern Europe.
Despite repeated defeats, the revolutions of 1989 ended Communist domination.
Ronald Reagan
• Dealt with Soviets from position of strength by embarking on massive military buildup.
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Reagan believed US could better bear burden of the expense while the Soviets couldn’t.
Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) – “Star Wars”:
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1983, Reagan announced his intention to pursue a high-technology missile-defense system
Reagan’s dramatic increase in defense spending placed enormous pressures on the Soviet
economy.
When Soviets shot down KAL007, Reagan called Soviets the “Evil Empire”
Revolutions of 1989
Revolutions of 1989: end to communist control of eastern Europe
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Costs of maintaining satellite countries for USSR both politically and economically, were too
much of a burden for the Soviets too handle.
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Poland: Solidarity legalized again and free elections promised in June 1989.
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First noncommunist leader in eastern Europe since the Stalin era
Triggered a wave of freedom in eastern Europe
Lech Walesa became president in 1990 but Solidarity later broke up into factions
Hungary: October 23, Hungarian leaders proclaimed independent republic
Berlin Wall comes down in November; East German gov't falls
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Germany reunified in 1990
Conservative-liberal “alliance for Germany,” tied to West German chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian
Democrats, defeated East German Social Democrats.
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Soviets opposed unified Germany in NATO but eventually acquiesced when West Germany provided
massive economic aid to Soviet Union.
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Czechoslovakia – the “Velvet Revolution”
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July 1990, East and West German economies merged.
Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, becomes president
Bulgaria
Rumania – Nicolai Ceausescu overthrown and assassinated
Cutbacks in ICBMs
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START I treaty signed in 1990 between Gorbachev and President George Bush
Would cut 10% of U.S. nuclear weapons and 25% of Soviet nukes and limit ICBM warheads
End of Cold War
Soviet Union
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Mikhail Gorbachev assumed control of Soviet Union in 1985 and sought reforms
– Perestroika: (“restructuring”) Aimed to revive the sagging Soviet economy by adopting many of
the free-market practices of the West.
• By 1987, program had clearly failed
– Glasnost: Aimed to open Soviet society by introducing free speech and some political liberty,
while ending party censorship; more successful than perestroika
– Demokratiztsiya: Began as an attack on corruption in Communist party and as an attempt to bring
class of educated experts into decision making process.
• March 1989: first free elections since 1917.
– Gorbachev sought to reduce East-West tensions.
• Withdrew Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
• Encouraged reform movements in Poland and Hungary
• Repudiated Brezhnev Doctrine by pledging to respect political choices of peoples of eastern
Europe.
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INF Treaty signed by Gorbachev and Reagan in Washington, D.C. in December 1987.
– All intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Europe banned.
Fall of Soviet Union
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Coup in Moscow, 1991: communist hard-liners, frustrated by loss of Soviet power and prestige, attempted to
overthrow Gorbachev
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Coup failed when military refused to crush popular resistance
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Boris Yeltsin, leader of Russia, defied tanks and became a hero.
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Coup fatally weakened Gorbachev and spelled doom for the Soviet Union.
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Yeltsin and his liberal allies declared Russia independent and withdrew from the Soviet union—all other republics
followed.
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December 25, 1991, Soviet Union dissolved into 15 separate republics
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Republics remained economically connected for a time via Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
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Russia assumed the Soviet Union's seat in the United Nations Security Council.
Fall of Communism
Challenges in the 1990s for Central and Eastern Europe
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Russian struggle
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Yeltsin failed to significantly improve the Russian economy
1993, Yeltsin became embroiled in a power struggle with a conservative parliament
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Parliament’s leaders, holed up in the White House (the parliament tower in Moscow), unleashed a
crowd to assault the Kremlin and the television center.
Yeltsin sent tanks against the White House; 120 killed and top floors of tower shelled and burned.
Moscow had not seen such violence since 1905.
On New Year's Day, 2000, Yeltsin resigned due to poor health and lack of popularity
Succeeded by former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin
Eastern Europe
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Shift to market economy was difficult
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No precedents existed to guide transition and legal, institutional, and cultural underpinnings
were missing.
In short run, economic activity declined by 1/3.
Poland most successful: by 1993, GDP grew over 4%, & 5% in 1995; the fastest in Europe.
Czechoslovakia adopted world’s first mass privatization scheme under
Hungary’s economy was the freest in Eastern Europe but changed more slowly.
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Well-established private sector attractive to foreign lenders; attracted nearly half of Eastern Europe’s
foreign investment.
By 1995, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary were doing well enough to be taken
seriously as potential European Union (EU) members by the year 2000.
Continuing problemsh
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Unemployment figures about 15% throughout most of region
Inflation remained dangerously high in some countries
Governments ran large deficits
“New” Germany
The “New” Germany
• German unity changed face of European politics:
Germany now an economic powerhouse
• “Ossies” (East Germans) came to feel like 2ndclass citizens in the face of economic difficulties
• Meanwhile, “Wessies” (West Germans) resented
years of heavy taxation to rebuild the east.
Yugoslavia
Civil War in Yugoslavia
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Cause: 1990 President Slobodan Milosevic began giving concrete form to his greater Serbian
nationalism; established tighter central control over previously autonomous regions
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In response Croatia & Slovenia declared independence and each fought Serbia in the process
Bosnia declared its independence in March 1992 and the civil war spread there.
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Bosnian Serbs (about 30% of pop.) refused to live in a Muslim-dominated state and began military
operations assisted by Serbia and the Yugoslav federal army; Sarajevo under attack
Ethnic cleansing: Bosnian Serbs tried to liquidate or remove Muslims by shelling cities, confiscating or
destroying of houses, gang rape, expulsion, and murder.
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Dayton Agreements, 1995: Agreed to divide Bosnia between Muslims and Serbs
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Several hundred thousand Bosnians killed
Bosnian Serb aspirations to join a Greater Serbia frustrated by U.S. and other NATO troops sent to enforce the Dayton
agreements.
Kosovo crisis, 1999:
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Milosevic attempted to ethnically cleanse Kosovo (province of Serbia) of ethnic-Albanians
NATO, led by U.S., bombed Serbia in order to stop the ethnic cleansing
EU
European Union (EU) went into effect in 1993
• European Community (EC) renamed to European Union in 1996
• Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand sought to extend the EU
to include a single European currency and a common defense and
foreign policy
– British prime minister Margaret Thatcher led opposition until she
resigned in November 1990, replaced by conservative successor John
Major who urged a limited federalism.
• Maastricht Treaty, 1991
– Promised most radical revision of the EC since its beginning.
– Eurodollar became the single currency of the EU in 1999 integrating
the currency of 11 western and central European nations.
– Proposals to form common foreign and defense policies.
– Increased use of majority voting.
– Greater parliamentary consultation.
– By 1995 EU had 15 members
ALL DONE
ALL COURSE MATERIAL HAS
BEEN COVERED