Video:The End of the Cold Warwith David Wilson
After more than 40 years of competition and conflict between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., Gorbachev and Reagan diplomatically ended the Cold War. Learn about the causes of consequences of the end of this conflict in this history video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:The End of the Cold War
Hello, my name's David Wilson. I'm an historian and a teacher of U.S. and World History, here today for About.com. In today's topic, we're going to be taking a look at the end of the Cold War.
The End of World War II
At the end of World War II, there was left two super powers in the world--one of those was the United States of America, the other one was the Soviet Union. And as a natural course of events, each of these newly formed super powers began to carve out a niche of control.
What resulted was what's referred to as a Cold War. Both powers were so strong, they couldn't openly fight each other without dragging the entire world into war for yet a third time. What resulted was a series of proxy wars, where one side or the other would support a force, and the other would come to their defense.
The Soviet Union and The United States in the 1980s
In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Under the Reagan Administration, Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev developed a diplomatic relationship, and in 1987, the Americans and Soviets signed an agreement to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
Also in 1987, Reagan made the now famous speech at the West Germany side of the Berlin Wall, challenging Gorbachev to finally tear down the long standing symbol of the East and West division of Germany.
Gorbachev's New Policies
Gorbachev introduced many policies that encouraged political openness and economic reforms. These policies began to tear the fabric of the Soviet Union, pushing the Eastern Block countries, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania, into revolution.
In 1989, Gorbachev allowed the people of Berlin to dismantle the Berlin Wall, and by 1991, the once mighty Soviet Union was no more; this marked the end of the Cold War.
Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.