really contradicted by basic facts of what has happened in instances where it has been tried and mexico is a good illustration of that, i would agree. >> all right. if there are any other questions, please let me know at this time. otherwise, i think we're going to go ahead and we'll end the event at this point and we're going to actually set professor gibbs up at the table right at the table behind there for the book-signing so if you brought a book today and we have some books available at 20% over in that direction. so please feel free to do so. and if you just have a question and you want, you know, to ask professor gibbs directly i'm sure he'll be happy to talk to you directly at the end here. let me take the opportunity to say thank you all for coming out today. we very much appreciate it and i hope we'll see you again at our next behind the books event. thank you.
>> archie brown a former politics professor at surging diversity presents a history of communism. the johns hopkins school for advanced international studies in washington, d.c., hosts the 90 minute event. >> my name is bruce and i'm the director of the russian and eurasian studies program. and i'm very pleased to welcome you to this lecture by doctor archie brown. the evening is cosponsored by the alumni group which is part of oxford university where doctor brown spent most of his professional career. archie brown is emeritus professor of politics at university of oxford and emeritus fellow of saint antony's college.
he began his academic career at the london school of economics and political science. where he worked with leonard shapiro one of the giants in the development of russian and soviet studies in the west. doctor brown moved to a lectureship for the department of politics at glasgow university and then on to oxford. in the following decade he was a visiting professor at yale, columbia university, and at the university of texas at austin. in 1998 he was distinguished visiting fellow at the kellogg institute of international studies at the university of notre dame. i am personally indebted to doctor brown and more than $0.01. in the early 1970s, i spent two years as a visiting fellow at saint anthony's where i was in exile writing my dissertation for columbia university. and that's where i met archie. in addition to our intellectual exchanges, one encounter was especially beneficial for me.
in the spring of 1974, archie stop me near the library and asked, are you going to apply for the job at johns hopkins university? to which i responded in my most urbane manner, what job at johns hopkins university? [laughter] >> frg hadn't asked me that question, my own career probably would have followed a different and less happy path. i'm also intended to doctor brown and a more general scholarly sense. his major publications include the gorbachev factor published by oxford in 1996, seven years that changed the world, published in 2007. and most recently "the rise and fall of communism" published by that go into thousand nine. in addition to his work on political leadership and on communist history and politics, he has written on the end of the cold war and is edited and porton cyclopedia and reference
works on rush and ussr. he has been an astute observer of the world in general, of russia in particular. his writings are disabled by meticulous work, shrewd political judgment, and an admirable sensitivity to the human expenses of the individuals living in the political systems he has studied. his most recent book is a splendid piece of scholarship, rigorously researched and written. here it is. i have already added it to the list of required reading for students in the russian and eurasian studies program. in short, doctor brown gets a social science or perhaps he would prefer to say social studies, a good name. that is something all of a social scientist can be grateful for. and recognition of his achievement, doctor brown was elected a fellow of the british academy in 1991, and a foreign honorary member of the american academy of arts and sciences in
2003. in 2005, he was awarded the companion of the order of saint michael's in george and the queens birthday on her list for service to u.k. russian relations. for all of these reasons it gives me special pleasure to introduce doctor archie brown. [applause] >> i am grateful, bruce, for the kindly information. i have no memory of mentioning this job but i'm glad it was something useful. [laughter] >> welcome, i should say, first of all to those from my old college who are here. but i want to start telling everyone about this college.
i can tell you the college is in good shape, mark mcmillan and people are very happy there, in spite of hard times for universities as well as for other institutions these days. so the title of my talk is "the fall of the wall and the fall of communism: why - and why 1989?." it was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall almost upon us, that's why a natural starting point. but i will not spend much time on the immediate event, dramatic though it was. the basic facts are by now well enough known. so my focus will be mainly on the longer process that brought this about. the breaching of the wall was just one of a number of unintended consequences in a long chain of events in a transition from communism. under increasing pressure, a result of always taking place in the soviet union and elsewhere in eastern europe, these german leadership decided to relax
somewhat the regulations for east german citizens traveling abroad. it was no part of their intention, however, to open the borders completely. nevertheless, a careless answer but a member is the impression that the press conference that the wall was going to be opened. business was brought back into each are made by respected west german television presenter who said the gates and the wall were open. at that point they were completely closed, but it's a good example of how perceptions, even misperceptions can change reality. tens of thousands of people turned up at the berlin wall, and/or the impression they were open. they were not open. the party leadership could be consulted because they were in a late-night central committee meeting. everybody was afraid to interrupt it. and so the person in charge of the guards at the wall had to take a decision himself. there were so many people there,
and instead of trying to shoot them all, decided to open the gates. the next morning, gorbachev was told about this by the east german ambassador. the wall was opened at 11:30 and evening and in germany it was two hours later and moscow. when the east german ambassador told gorbachev what had happened, gorbachev told him that the leadership had taken the correct decision, and please convey that view to the leadership. in fact, the leadership hadn't taken that decision at all. they were a bit deal more nervous and alarmed at what it happened than gore which are themselves was. the fall of the wall float is not synonymous with the fall of communism. the dismantling of communist systems within each central europe and indeed in the soviet union itself was already well advanced by the time the wall was breached 20 years ago.
so i'm going to spend the remainder of my time examining the reasons for the fall of communism in europe, rather than for the fall of the wall in berlin specifically. the opening of the wall was a logical albeit unintended consequence of a chain of events which preceded it. we need to remind ourselves that communism was as a political movement was remarkable successful so far as sheer numbers were concerned. in the 1980s, almost one third of the world population were living under communist rule. at various times since the second world war, western leaders had thought that communist word winning the east-west competition began in 1950s, there were worries the soviet growth rate was faster than market economies. when the soviet union put the first person in space, then sent alarm bells ringing in the united states and elsewhere. and the vietnam war was fought on the grounds that if all of
vietnam went communist, the rest of asia would quickly follow the so-called domino effect here as it happened, the dominoes fell not in india in the 1970s, but in eastern europe in 1989. we shouldn't forget either that thanks largely to the huge population of china, more than a fifth of humanity still live under what may be regarded as communist rule. up until 1989, there were 16 communist states as i would define them, oddly there are 36 countries today which were at one time communists. that contradiction is to be explained by the fact that the soviet union, once broke up and became 15 states in czechoslovakia and yugoslavia also broke a. so there only were 16 communist states, but there are 36 countries who were communist. today there are five communist
countries, china, vietnam, laos, north korea and cuba. the first three of them have been developing market economies and substantial private sector's. politically communist, economically not. china has even been described as an example of party state capitalism. ideologically it is a way over which bouncy tone rolled. when i was in beijing earlier this year, a professor of economics told me how puzzled yet been to read in a bbc poll, karl marx was the greatest philosopher of all time. it seemed to be much reassured when i told him this wasn't a scientific poll based on a representative sample. it was a kind of poll where people had to phone in or e-mail and if you had to take the initiative to register your vote at and the marxists were more motivated and rather better organized by the supporters of
aristotle, harps or david hume. [laughter] to make communism has partly followed even in china with its population of 1.3 billion which is now a workshop of the world. it has fallen more completely in eastern europe and in the former soviet union. so the question is why and why 1989 there much journalistic coverage between now and the end of the year will understandably focus on the events that made for the most dramatic pictures. mass demonstrations in central european cities and above all, east and west germans dancing on the wall on ninth and 10th of november. yet i will argue that the most important changes, the ones that made the transformation of eastern europe possible to place elsewhere, specifically in moscow. there's absolutely no mystery about pulled in, hungry, or what was then czechoslovakia becoming independent and non-communist in
1989. once the peoples of those country realize that this was highly unlikely to lead to soviet military intervention. the same is even true of the reaching of the berlin wall and the subsequent unification of germany in 1990. all these things would have happened not just years, but decades but for the perfectly correct assumption and eastern central europe that behind their own local party bosses stood the might of the soviet union, of soviet military superpower ready to intervene with all means necessary to defend what it regarded, what the soviet retuning regard as its legitimate gain from the second world war and its victory on the ground war against nazi germany. the soviet invasion of hungary in 1956 and a czechoslovakia were stark reminders for eastern europeans of the strict limitations on their autonomy.
poland was the least disciplined derricks in the camp that even in poland solidarity after its dramatic rise in 1980, 81, was stopped in its tracks by the imposition of martial law in the senator 1981. the soviet leadership as we now know from the transcripts of the soviet bureau at that time seriously considered military intervention in poland in august 1980. but then decided this would create more problems than it would resolve. i'm sure there would retract that assumption. they were already bogged down in afghanistan at that time and i was also a factor. so of course in 1981, they put enormous pressure on the polish authorities to institute their own crackdown, which they did at the end of that year. so what needs explanation is much less, what happened in eastern and central europe in 1989 and the change of policy and moscow.
three individuals in particular have been credited with playing a decisive role in the ending of communism in europe. president ronald reagan, pope john paul ii and the kyle gorbachev. let's become reagan first. what do people attribute president reagan's, things like talk about the soviet union in 1983 as an evil empire are going to berlin in june 1987 saying mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. some people seek a causal relationship between reagan's speech in june 1987 and the fall of the wall in november 1989. i don't myself see the subtle. gorbachev at the time said to his aides that reagan was still after eight years not managed to throw off his former profession.
he saw this as a piece of acting in berlin and didn't take it especially seriously. i think james mann in his book which i read was interested about ronald reagan was right in saying that reagan's speech was aimed more at his domestic audience and the soviet union. because reagan was under a lot of pressure in 1987. indeed not only did conservative republicans the people who regarded themselves as real as. they were all very critical of reagan's apparent willingness to trust gorbachev, even though his willingness to sign the imf agreement banishing intermediate nuclear missiles in europe. the former american massacre to moscow, and acts of ambassador italy 1987 and 1991, remarked in
his book, how the cold war ended, that it was rather ironic that a lot of these people had been supporters of reagan's zero option. this inf agreement signed in 1987 was essentially what reagan had enforced in 1981. then it was dismissed out of hand by the soviet leadership. a lot of people supported it only in an assumption the soviet union could never accept it. and once gorbachev accepted it, they were against it. i don't think it was reagan's rhetoric which brought this profound change in the soviet union and eastern europe it does in fact, when he opted the rhetoric, and moscow, not the people who wanted to change or want to end the cold war, the same i think is true of the military buildup in strategic
defense initiative. again, that strengthened the hard-liners rather than those who wanted constructive change. the soviet military were worried i sdi, not because the scientist of the soviet union thought it would work or most of them were skeptical about that or even dismissed a completely. but they thought that the united states put a lot of investment into this, there would be technological spinoffs and it would strengthen the united states armed forces as usual is military-industrial complex are good on the other side necessitate for resources within. the sdi announcement even on break and optimistic account would not have been fully operational for another 20 years. but it strengthened soviet hardliners just as the evil empire rhetoric did in the same year, 1983. but in that year, 1983, there've actually fears of a very high level in moscow and a level that
nato and the united states specifically might be thinking about a preemptive strike on the soviet union. and this heightened redrick was a psychological repairman on america's fourth nuclear war. the kgb colonel who was working in london as head of the kgb in london, but also working for them by six, he warned his british paymasters, if you like, that the nato exercise about to take place was being seen as possibly more than an exercise, possibly the start of a preemptive strike against the soviet union. so that exercise was altered in order to reassure the soviet union that it could be anything but an exercise. reagan i think was important in relation to the changes in russia and the changes at the
end of the cold war. but important in another way. he wanted to be remembered as a peacemaker, not a warmonger. and nagy reagan was even more concerned that he should be remembered in that way. man's book emphasizes just how much in his second term reagan alarmed his conservative and how critical the so-called realists were of him. because he was very seriously interested in engaging with the soviet union at that time. and concrete policy terms, no one was more important than john schulz, the secretary of state. and it is critical that reagan took his advice. most surprising of all was the part played by the informal advice of a popular historian who had numerous meetings with reagan. we know about them before, but her book documents it more fully
than any other book. she sent reagan's frequent letters of advice that she was introduced to reagan in 1984 when she found ways of talking to him about which of them to think about russians as people which he had not been inclined to do before. and massey was also one of those who got a serious change was taking place in the soviet union under gorbachev. so she strengthened reagan's desire which was also been reinforced by margaret thatcher, to engage with his soviet counterpart. in his earlier years, as president in his first term, reagan was not much interested in engagement with soviet leaders. although jack matlock has argued that before the end of that first term, reagan decided it was high time to start talking to his soviet counterpart, but as he complained these guys keep dying on me. [laughter] >> the book john paul ii, john
paul ii was a hugely important relation to his relationship enfolded when he went there in 1979, this was a pivotal moment in the eyes of solitary. it was absolutely no accident or no coincidence, but direct relationship between the pope, the polish pope, first non-italian hoping for a half-century, on the sense that god was on their side. this was pretty crucial for the development of solidarity in 1980, 1981. however, no more than reagan's power was the pope's moral authority able to prevent the imposition of martial law in the summer 1981. so i would argue that gorbachev was more important for the transformations of 1989 then-president reagan and pope john paul ii put together. it was the occupants of the chroma, not the occupant of the white house or the vatican who
had locked the doors to change in eastern europe. it was they who held the keys that could open them. after three leaders in a row, brezhnev and grudging cup, they chose the youngest leader, gorbachev, in 1985. a lot of people to view up to the mid 1980s and even beyond that the soviet system in particular was impervious to change from within. the kgb work efficiently to eliminate any possibility of change from below. and ask for change from above, surely that was impossible. many of the farmers would be eliminated, politically at least before they could climb many of the wrongs of the hierarchy. gorbachev was not chosen because he was a reformer. he was already much more of a reformer than he was prepared to reveal to his colleagues are
anti-issues became substantially more radical while he held the office of general secretary. but he was chosen because he was already clicked the second secretary of the party who seized the initiative, called a meeting within a few hours of his death and within 12 hours of cruising to his death gorbachev even chosen not only by the bureau by the central committee as a new soviet leader to chosen also because his conservative congress callings had no other candidate and because annual state funerals in the soviet union had become something of an embarrassment. [laughter] >> that held it didn't stop russians telling jokes about them. when he was chosen in 1984, and already looking well past his sell by dead, as they said in moscow that yesterday is the center committee unanimously elected, and constantine as the general secretary of the center committee of the congress party of the soviet union, and agreed
that he would be buried in the kremlin wall. [laughter] >> similarly after mrs. thatcher had attended the funeral, and met with his successor, russians told a story that genially telephoned president reagan and said you should have come for the funeral, ron, they did really well. i am definitely coming back next year. [laughter] >> i was told at the time just after that funeral and of course she did come back next year for the next funeral. there is absolutely nothing inevitable about the dismantling of communism just 20 years ago. even dissidents in 1985 did not imagine for a moment that within five years the political world would have been transformed. my best czech friend, was an economist whom i first met in prague in 1965. she was expelled from the commonest part of czechoslovakia after the soviet invasion of
august 1968. she was allowed out of the country for the first time since 1969, in 1987 and she came and spent some time with us in our home in oxford. in early 1989, the communist authorities reported and refused her permission to come to britain for a holiday. she was very active and a dissident movement at that time. she was being followed everywhere, even her home was bombed. that's just one small example of how dramatically and how quickly things changed in 1989, but before the year ended she was appointed the first post-commie's ambassador to czechoslovakia to united states by her friend who had become president. it was really a incidentally who interpreted put the word velvet revolution into the english-language. what reda told me was that the remorse she and her friends hope
for a 1985 after gorbachev became soviet leader, was that czechoslovakia might be allowed to go as far as hungry and be allowed some modest economic reform followed by an economically liberalization that there was no expectation in eastern europe anymore than there was in washington, or in western european capitals that soviet domestic and foreign policy was going to be fundamentally transformed in the second half of the 1980s. so it's that phenomenon which calls for most explanation. a serious contributory factor to the demise of communism was, of course, its relative economic failure. that was one of the long-term reasons for the collapse of communism. and it has produced a very economic commonest view of the end of the soviet union, he emphasizes also a drastic fall of the oil price in the second half of the 1980s which was
important. i don't think it's a sufficient explanation. the soviet union did have a problem of technological lag as well, except in the defense sector which was fairly successful. i don't think there's a lot of automatically become an economically and the collapse of the regime. up all the resources of an oppressive state are brought to bear to keep its leaders in office. it would be hard to deny that north korea is economically much more than south korea, but the leader kim jong-il is to empower. the regimes which are very much poorer than those of communist states of eastern europe, such as zaire under motegi, managed to keep going for decades longer than they deserve to. and without having such a system of rewards and sanctions, and surveillance as was available to
communist authorities. over the long-term, it is true that market economies with all problems turned out to be more efficient than the command economies of communist days. but if we consider the long term for the regime change was not only the relative failures of commonest states, that were to be their undoing, some of their successors also contributed to the fall of communism. education for example was a success story. but the more educated people were, and especially the larger the higher education sector began, the more dissatisfied they work with the censorship, and the more dissatisfied they were with their lack of opportunity to travel abroad in the same way as their professional counterparts in the west could do. fidel castro described propped up as the greatest newspaper in the world. that may have something to the fact that rut for dell doesn't read russian. [laughter] 2 for educator russian, perhaps it was to put mildly,
misinformation. in the soviet union of 1939, only one in 10 of the population had received more than an elementary education. by 1984, theer secondary educato 87 percent in the proportion of the soviet population who uncompleted higher education was almost seven times higher in 1984 on the eve of striker that has been just one generation earlier in 1954. it was especially high in moscow and leningrad. while marx argued that cabalist contained the seeds of its own distortion, by not showing a highly educated population, communism planted the seeds of infrastructure. although in all communist countries the full-time officials wielded more power than any other group, the highly educated and city dwellers made up a disproportionately large part of the communist party mentorship. the west was important just by
being there and providing a source of alternative ideas. on the minority of soviet citizens were allowed to travel abroad, but that minority included leading party officials officials. it is said that travel abroad, over many years the long serving soviet foreign yurt minister was living proof that this does not happen automatically. however, it could make a huge difference. gorbachev was said that it was his job to present and 1970s to open his eyes between soviet propaganda and how people actually live in western countries. groucho marrs, not karl marx once enjoyed going to believe, me or your own eyes? [laughter] >> gorbachev preferred his own eyes to the dogma that he was being dispensed to the central committee. very important also was the
tenures that jaco spent in canada. when he returned to moscow in 1983, he was much more critical of the soviet system that he had been when he left for canada a decade earlier. in the long-term, as was at the moment of his demise, communism was also undermined by nationalism. this was always a potential threat to commonest rule, although some liberalization of the system was required before the potential could become reality. in particular, nationalism was never about the service of political life in the soviet union and yugoslavia. the more difficult it became to strengthen the legitimacy by playing the national guard. russian nationalism or serbian nationalism could be used to
rally russians themselves, but it was liable to alienate other nationalities within the soviet or yugoslav state that one of the structures based on national army lines, regional differences and grievances became bound up with national sentiment. even so, nationalism did not lead to the demise of commonest rule in any country until the radical reforms of the soviet striker had made their mark. and in the case of the ussr, nationalism in the soviet state was substantially more important than the party played in the transformation of the soviet system. the cold war has an ambiguous role in relation to the persistent or dissolution of the soviet -- of communist regimes that a central paradox as the cold war which is seen here with some justice was a necessary struggle to keep commonest and at may and to restrain the
soviet union, also helped to sustain the soviet system. it is to as many have pointed out that the military the bargain was a far greater bargain on the soviet economy that was on the united states. but propaganda in the soviet union against the perceived threat to foreign enemies help to end the patriotic legitimacy to commonest rule. throughout the first cold war era, the i sure the cold war became a stronger position of hardliners in moscow. one of gorbachev's efforts to end the war in which he found a part in ronald reagan and many of reagan's friends, fiercest opponent, was a weakening of the ministry of defense and of the kgb, its institutional interest in the soviet system, and a rapid decline in influence of conservative communist proponents of domestic and foreign. i've mentioned several long-term factors making for change and
also some of the shorter term factors. i turn funny to what seemed to me to be the most immediate sources of change and the soviet union in the second half of the 1980s, which had such profound consequences for eastern europe. i will mention for. from what i've said already you will not be surprised when i suggest that the first in order of importance was a choice of party leader, the general secretary made by the bureau in 1985. its import and lay in the combination of innovative leadership and institutional power. first hour and authority resided in the office of general secretary. that was nothing new. that had been there for a very long time. what was new was the general secretary interested in ideas and open to what was soon to be called the new thinking. i'm not endorsing a great man theory of history, but in the strictly hierarchical soviet
system only a change at the very top of the hierarchy could make radical change in the system possible. gorbachev had long been an anti-strategist though it was impossible to say so publicly in the era if you want to advance your career. he was also a leader he said himself a reformer by nature. gorbachev's own views of all involved first in his time in office. and 98 by pete at the system could be reformed. by 1988, he believed it had to be comprehensively transformed. and from that time on he was engaged in dismantling the soviet system. although he wished to preserve the soviet state. what you didn't recognize until much later was since this was a party state government a weakening of the partymen also a weakening of the state. the second factor that was an immediate source of the transformation of the 1980s was ideation change in changing the language of politics.
ideas were important both in the eyes and the fall of communism. the american novelist would join the communist party of the u.s.a. during the second world war and resign from the party in 1956. argued that if anything could save communism only would the western belligerence. communism he wrote in 1958 explain his belief with the party, it was an idea, and an idea could not be dealt with by force. it must be put at the time the bed over the anvil of truth to test its strength. i do not come easy, believe that this particular idea if put to the test can survive. gorbachev's own ideas evolved greatly when he held the office of secretary. in his first leaders as general general secretary, he did change the language of soviet politics and a great new concept. knew at least for the soviet union. and he quite quickly became more
radical. he accepted the idea of the rule of law to which even the communist party would be subject. the idea of checks and balances, and ultimately the idea of political pluralism. 1987 he was already talking about social pluralism and 1990, political pluralism. he introduced the idea of competitive -- the principle of competitive elections which took place in march 1989 for a legislator would have cable of holding the country's leaders to account. the third bb because of the undercurrent that's right. been a crisis making reform absolutely unavoidable. the fate of the soviet system did not hang any ballots in 1985, but it did by 1989. the views of gorbachev and like-minded supporters had
evolved to seeking a third way. a new model of socialism with a human face. gorbachev in 1989 used that phrase from the brain which had so included brezhnev and that of a system he represented. later by 1990 and 1981, gorbachev had moved beyond that. his understanding of socialism by that time was more or less synonymous with that of western european social democrats. the foreign politicians that he held poses ideologically who were by that time president of the socialist international authorization of democratic socialist parties in western europe, and political allies, spanish prime minister at the time. gorbachev's least favorite politicians were, not surprisingly perhaps, of romania and of east germany.
the fact that this unit has embraced change had become by 1989 a pluralistic political system with contested elections for a legislature with real power, was a profound importance for eastern europe. even more important and this is my fourth source of the transformation of the eastern europe, was the change of soviet foreign policy. as early as 1985, gorbachev told the leaders of the eastern european countries that they could expect no more soviet interventions, to keep them in office. no more assistance in the form of an invasion. this was not information that they chose to share with their own people. but in 1988, gorbachev made clear and in public that the era of soviet intervention in other countries was over. he did so first of all in the summer of 88 at the 19th party
of party conference and then again at the united nations in the summer 1988. in december at the un, he spoke of the binding nature of the freedom of choice of system for the people of every country. this he had was a universal principle upon to both the socialist and capitalist countries and allowing no exception. gorbachev in the lead up to the speech told his aides that he intended this to be an anti-bolton, folded and reversed that he meant by that winston churchill's speech in fulton missouri 1986 which is not the beginning of the cold war but the beginning of the cold war and was a soviet takeover in eastern europe. but it was a dramatization of the beginning of the cold war when churchill said that they had descended across europe. so gorbachev was trying to do the reverse. he was trying to end the cold war very explosive with that speech. i often heard people in eastern
europe bemoan the fact that major challenges to soviet began, mounted one at a time whether in hungary in 1956, czechoslovakia in 1968, or pulled in 1980, 81. coordination was however impossible. even if a handful of dissidents who were closely monitored by the secret police when they were not in visit, even if they manage to me they had little chance of a light in populations as a whole. they did not and does paris striker in pre-internet years have access to communications that could have provided the possibility of coordinating a civil attempt simultaneous device of soviet imposed rulers. the amount of force required to maintain communism and power was much less when expectations were low than what expectations were arrives. they were very high and hungry in 1956. and still became higher in eastern europe in 1989.
first one country and then another effectively broke with communist rule starting with hungary and poland. the hungarian is also destabilized the east german regime by allowing east germans to travel to west germany via hungary. and then in the fourth of june, 1989, the very day in which hundreds of people in the vicinity of the human square would being killed in beijing, solitary one its famous victory in the polish elections. huge demonstrations in 89 took place in the streets of budapest, especially for the reburial. and warsaw, that eventually brought and budapest that the process continued until december, who waited until they could be sure they were not going to have a repeat of 1968, and romania which the last act of oppression backfired. what we saw was a circular flow of influence.
it began with the changes in both the political system and foreign policy in moscow and floated east central europe. but what happened there especially in poland, the june elections and their overwhelming victory for solidarity come had a huge impact in the baltic republic and the soviet union in particular. but when the eastern european country after another becoming independent and non-communist, the flow of influence which had begun in soviet union turned full circle. the soviet union itself by the end of 1989 no longer had a comments system, in my view. the two most important political attributes of communism are the monopoly of power of the time in his power and what was called democratic centralism, disciplined them a strictly hierarchical party was extremely limited discussion. but in march 1989, contested
elections for a new legislature of the congress of people's deputies saw communist party members competing against one another in the soviet union on fundamentally different platforms. democratic centralism had been cast aside and without it, what was called political of the party was also completely undermined. new political organizations sprang up, such as the international group of deputies with the new parliament. and even promoted by gorbachev and this reform now lies within the higher of the party. it was vehemently opposed by others as well as by the kgb and the military. what gorbachev in the party reformers did not want as is obvious as i have always stressed was the breakup of the soviet state. and here again the linkage between development in eastern europe and the soviet union was a fundamental importance. by the end of 1989, everyone was
aware that the soviet armed forces had not been deployed to prevent the east european countries from becoming independent. even when the berlin wall was breached and there were over 350,000 soviet troops in east germany, they were instructed to remain in their barracks. people within even the most russians of the republics would've drawn the conclusion that it would be deployed all the more quickly and ruthlessly to them. but since the soviet leadership had accepted the loss of eastern europe, while other peoples of latvia, lithuania and others, barely imaginable in 1985 had begun to be thinkable in 1989 and had become virtually unstoppable by 1991. i say almost unstoppable because it could have been stopped by a
leadership in moscow prepared to use coercion were closely and willing to pay the price of a return to the cold war. the last word, very last word on the lessons of the fall of communism. one of the most important lessons it seems to me is an engagement of western countries with communist countries paid off. the more contacts the better. at the time of reagan's evil empire speech, many influential washington politicians thought that the less the united states had to do with the soviet union, the better. reagan may have had less knowledge than some of his more conservative but his political instincts stood him in better stead when he opted for dialogue and develop a good working relationship with gorbachev. the european leaders, were also ready to engage with gorbachev from very early on. and at a later stage for good reasons, so did helmut kohl.
another lesson we taken the playbook transformation of the soviet union, is that in a consolidated communist system, and one in which communists have come to power indigenously, and not simply being put there by a foreign power, fundamental change normally comes from within the communist party itself. this is partly because the system is such that it's very difficult for it to come from anywhere else. but the undercurrundercurrent in the commons party of the soviet union, even in the brezhnev's time were far more important than most observers realize at the time. and the same i would say is true of china today. the last big reason is that ideas matter. in the early years of striker, they dismissed the new thinking espoused by gorbachev and his supporters as just so much hot air, divorced from political reality. they took the same view when he said in 1988, that the citizens of every country had the right to decide for themselves what
kind of political and economic system they wish to live in. but the events of 1989 showed that these were not idle words. the fact that gorbachev uses those words and make them was the crucial facilitating condition for everything that happened in 1989. we are in a truly important and exciting anniversary of. but the most fundamental decisions that made the best possible were taken not in 1989, but in 1988. and they were made not in berlin or prague, but in moscow. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, for a very informative and simulating lecture. we now have time for questions and comments from the audience. i think i will allow archie to call on his own question is, but before you ask a question please
give your name and your institutional affiliation. >> and i wonder how you think gorbachev is you today in russia. and as a historian, how you speculate he might be viewed 25 years from now. >> of course, a small minority esteemed gorbachev haile today. he is blamed for the breakup of the soviet union, which was something he was desperate to avoid. but he was not going to avoid this at all cost that it could have been avoided by the use of force and he was not prepared to pay that price. people also see passionate a great power, a superpower as a process that began under gorbachev. so he is criticized for that kind of reason to guide the county is viewed by russians
will depend really on how russia developed over the next decade that if russia becomes successful economically and the moment it is far from that and still relying so much on its exports and natural resources, if it becomes a democracy and it is still further from that, and moving in the wrong direction in my view, if it achieves those things and people will look back and see, this is what began. it began with gorbachev. so i think a great deal depends on that development. that i think it will remain a number of russians who see him as a reformer in russian history, and i have met russians have said that and read that, read articles by russians. but even though i admire gorbachev, i think that is only a few of the small minority and russians again.
>> how do you address the issues today speak with a question about china, but what was the other question? [inaudible] >> i had a very interesting visit to china this year. even spoke at the central party school on the end of communism in the soviet union. [laughter] >> and they are very interested in that question. a lot of writing, publication in china in the last 10 to 15 years has been trying to learn the lessons of what happened in the soviet union. and there are quite a number of chinese party intellectuals who, not on economical reformers, but political reformers. at all emphasized we must have the step-by-step reform. when i was in china in 1988,
that innocence was a kind of time, the time when things seem to be going really well in the soviet union, and things were not getting out of hand. but it was becoming more democratic. i remember people saying to me in china then, we need a chinese gorbachev. but after the soviet union split up, courtship became much more negative. i think the breakup of the state and a way that russians had to hear it because the ideas are more than 90 percent of the chinese population whereas russians were only 50% of the soviet population. by the party leadership don't want things to get out of control but one thing i mentioned in my book which i don't actually find any of the china specialist have gotten down to it, maybe they have. if they had, i apologize to them, but i learned from one very well-informed chinese person that the chinese communist party came very close to dropping the name communist
earlier in the city but it was discussed by the public bureau, and in the end, they didn't drop the name communist not for ideological reasons, but because they were afraid that some members of the party, possibly many numbers of the party, would say this was a party they did not join any of us are in other political party began in a burden they would be creating political competition which they didn't want. but the ideologically, they have moved so far. i see communism -- i see there being six in the system. to political, that still exist in china, but democratic spiritualism hasn't based a much wider diversity of view. within limits but it wider view than you got in mild time. of course, china has basically
to market economy. the private sector produces chinese and dutch output. so economically it is not a communist system. icq ideological defining characteristics of the kindest system in a sense of belonging to an international communist movement that there isn't a movement anymore to belong to, and finally, the aim of building communism, the utopia when the state went away. deng xiaoping said it would take many generations to build the first stage of socialism. so in other words, hundreds of years to build socialism. as for communism, forget it. nobody in china today i think is seriously thinking about building socialism, nevermind communism. china has already moved so far from classical communist model, but they still have got some pretty political, but nonetheless there is i think a certain intellectual rhetoric
there but a final point in this question. chinese intellectuals, when educated people suffered so much. the chinese population is still two thirds person. so if you move to complete democracy tomorrow, the educated chinese would be putting their faith other than and and the less educated majority. said it had to be rather sure they share their bodies before they did this. so i think that's another reason why they want step-by-step reform rather than instant democratization. >> yes, please. >> thank you very much for your concise talk. >> would you please either by yourself? >> size of visiting professor. the international system, we
often call the bilateral system and the cold war has transformed the peacefulness and the collapse of the soviet union and early 1990s. historically, in 1648, each transition of international system was slow the war. but just to mention, your point i think, you know, i try to figure out in your point is, you know, this time the transition of, you know, political international system is, you know, the change of the soviet communist party itself. the fundamental reason for the change is the soviet communist itself, right? >> are you saying that the fundamental change of international system was caused by the collapse of the soviet union?
>> yes. but from the perspective of international politics, i think, you know, the cold war, the competition between the soviet union and the united states cause economic depression in this country. the pluralistic political system in east european countries, including, you know, globalization of information globalization, many factors caused the collapse of the communist system. not only the soviet communist itself. what do you think of this issue? >> i agree that in the long run globalization and economic factors were liable to lead to the demise of communism. but it could have and in different ways. . .
>> but, you know, why this happened when it did, i think, was a great deal to the choice the to lit burrow made who didn't have much choice in march 1985 simply because gorbachev was the only possible candidate. i think it's an accidental matter in history, in a sense, it was a matter of luck to some extent that a reformer got the
most powerful post in the soviet bloc, so i'm quite critical of economic determinism. i mean, this is slightly different from globalization, though that comes into the argument as well, he argues that everything gorbachev did -- letting east europe go, letting the soviet union fall apart -- was because he was desperate to get foreign loans because of a looming bankruptcy of the soviet union, but that was an incredibly round about way to do it. if he'd been obsessed with the economy, to lose eastern europe was to lose the support of the complex, almost the entire soviet state party elite. if gorbachev's primary motivation had been economic and been driven by that, surely it would have been easier to move to market prices. this is what the chinese leadership have done, they've moved to market prices while
carefully preserving their monopoly of political power. so that's one reason why i don't accept the economic determinist view of the change many the soviet union which had such consequences, also, for eastern europe. >> next. yeah. >> i come from the former receive yet union, but i have also had a chance to have taken a class on the cold war at yale, and one of the issues we discussed was the role of personalities in bringing about the demise of the soviet union and the communist system. and in your talk you make a good point that john paul ii, reagan, gorbachev, other key people played an instrumental role in the process, but you also talk about the rise of educational standards in the soviet union. you talk about other social trends that are underway. my question to you is in your intellectual framework, do you
see the role of personalities being more significant, do you see them as movers and makers of history, or do you see them as a mere reflection of those social trends which are sweeping and brought the demise of the soviet union and the communist system? thank you. >> i think the answer is neither. i think that, you know, if gorbachev had been a bit older and had come to power in 1954, i don't think he could -- or '53 after stalin's death, i don't think he could have pursue add policy remotely similar, so in that sense i absolutely reject the decisive role. gorbachev, you know, the same personality coming to power in 1953, he'd have been constrained by a poe lit burrow of stalinists, by the fact that, you know, you didn't have such a highly educated population then. so, you know, even if internally he was the same gorbachev, i
mean, gorbachev like many communists only had his eyes opened in 1956 even though both of his, two of his grandfathers had been arrested in the 1930s. but it was only through the secret speech that gorbachev, like so much others, realized stalin's culpability, and, of course, he went farther thinking, well, it couldn't have just been the thought of one man, there must have been something wrong with the system that allowed stalin to get away with it. i do emphasize -- of course, in one talk i can't go into subtleties. the book is a bit -- [laughter] the book elaborates these points, and others too. in terms of lifestyle in the soviet union, there was a middle class. people can argue whether it should be called a middle class, but in terms of their lifestyle, it was pretty close to a middle class.
so there is social developments that were very important. the long-term decline in the rate of economic growth was very important. so i wouldn't deny those factors for a single moment. and yet i think that this choice in 1985 of reform of the most powerful communist party in the world was decisively important. but it was in -- and i can't say that gorbachev was simply a representative generation because there were a lot of 54-year-olds that weren't as reformist as he was in 1985. generational change was important, but, you know, not all people in their 50s were other than conservative communists or careerists. he was more interested in ideas than many of them. and so this was the golden age of the people who worked in the think tanks, and they were encouraged to think the
unthinkable. previously, they worked within narrow parameters. so, you know, i can't accept it's a kind of either/or. either you accept these great forces of history, or you accept it was the individual. it was clearly both. sorry, you were next, then charles. >> [inaudible] the world bank. i have a question that's completely you have beat, and maybe -- offbeat, and maybe you don't want to comment, but since we agreed that at the beginning there is an idea, an idea that bears meaning to many people and increasingly more people, can you by any stretch of imagination make any parallelism between the rise of communism as a concept and as an idea that seduced people and today's rise of islamism? and if you do so, is any of your
learning on the fall of communism have any pearing on strategy -- bearing on strategy to deal with islamism? thank you. >> well, i think it's a good question. i think that we didn't see the end of history in 1989 or '91, that islamism is a kind of comprehensive ideology to which people can be fanatically loyal in the way they were to international communism. and i think there are some lessons in common. i think that a policy of engagement and contact at all levels to the extent possible is desirable. at the same time, you know can, there are branches of islam that are so extreme that you couldn't do the it, just as you couldn't do it with stalin's soviet union. you need a more moderate regime before you can do this. but i remember taking part in a
seminar with margaret thatcher in 1983 and with other academics and, you know, we'd give our analysis or what was happening in the sew yet union. indeed, that was the first time she mentioned the name forbe chof to me. in the end when she asked us to our policy advice, our advice was the more contacts the better, you should be talking to everybody from dissidents to general secretaries, and i think if you can do that, it's desirable that highly authoritarian systems that try to keep out ideas that might contradict a ruling ideology are very vulnerable to ideas from outside. and western intelligence services might sometimes be worried about espionage if you open up too much, but we had nothing to worry about really. you could buy communist newspapers in britain and the united states and all over western europe and italy and france, a lot of people bought
them. not very many people here. so we had very little to lose in this, and communist systems had a lot to lose. so i think there are some lessons for dealing with islamic states. so i should have thought, for example, that, you know, the more interaction with iran the better. but, you know, it's a matter of political judgment, you know, how, what you can get away with and at what levels of a society you can conduct discourse. but i think the more the better because this weakens the hold of totallyist ideologies. charles? >> charles, i teach here. there are those who say that gorbachev knew how to start a process, but he didn't know how to finish it. i take it that you are less critical, and you seem to assume
that he knew all along what he was doing or most of the time. if my assumption is correct, how do you explain that some of his closest advisers became as critical of gorbachev as he has? >> well, i don't think that gorbachev knew where he was going to end up, far from it, in 1985. his view has evolved tremendously, you know, from -- in his youth communist. by 1985, communist reformer, by 1988 somebody wanted to fundamentally france form the -- transform the system finishing up close to the views of a felipe gonzalez, but at the same time it was a different position from yak lev. yak lev owed everything for
gorbachev. in the beginning of 1986, he was not even a candidate member of the central committee of the communist party. by the summer of 19 87, he'd moved from being outside the top 500 people in the soviet union to being h the top five. tremendously accelerated promotion he owed entirely to gorbachev. for that reason people who have stayed loyal to gorbachev resented the other's criticisms. he could be more radical, gorbachev was the leader of the country and the party, and he had to try to reconcile different groups. of course, there were zigzags. in the literature on transitions from authoritarian rule, one of the generalizations that people make, i think a good one, is that in a transition to democracy if you're going to have it, in the transition from authoritarian rule, you have to tranquilize the hard liners.
gorbachev did that until it was too late for them to make their wid to stop him. -- bid to stop him. by the time they put him under house arrest, it was really too late. so he could afford to be more radical, but in his book, his longest memoirs, i would say there's a lot that's highly positive about gorbachev. it's quite nuanced. he writes at great length about gorbachev's pluses and minuses. i mean, for example, he says that gorbachev hateed bloodshed and it's entirely to blame him for the bloodshed, nothing to do with gorbachev. so he's not as critical of gorbachev as many people. he thinks that he wasn't consistently democratic enough. if he'd been more consistently democratic earlier on, he might have been overthrown earlier on. so i don't think it was as simple as that. so i think he played a very
important and very constructive role, but, you know, he was the radical voice on the most reformist wing, but he was only there because gorbachev put him there. >> [inaudible] as a historian, i'm wondering the more recent movement towards a more authoritarian system in russia just as you talk about the role of contingency versus inevitability with the fall of communism, whether you could talk at all about that, whether the seeds of this authoritarian backlash were in some ways inevitable in the challenge of trying to reform a system that was extremely difficult to reform, and would inevitably produce chaos and produce a backlash? >> yeah. it was in the soviet communist party even preperestroika, there
was a social democratic strand, people who were turning into hayek yangs, but, you know, they were a smaller group. there was a very strong russian nationalist group. there was a book published a few years ago which i cite in my book by a russian party official. he was end gauged in counter-- engaged in counterpropaganda, and it's called the russian party inside the cpsu. and every time he refers to andropov, he calls him -- [inaudible] so we might think that andropov was a hard line communist, but here we're told he was a nationalist. and this makes him doubly damned in this man's eyes, so there was a very strong anti-semitic movement, but there was a broader still russian nationalist movement. and a russian nationalist could have come out on top. i wouldn't say that the social democratic tendency in the
soviet communist party was necessarily a larger tendency than the russian nationalist one. so some of the people you see becoming prominent today, russian nationalists, they had their antecedents, you know, even in brezhnev's time, and certainly in the counterreformation of the perestroika period. a lot of those people came to the fore. and i think what we saw in the last years of the soviet union was that a kind of coming together of russian nationalists, some of whom in the past had been very critical of communism, soviet communist party, and conservative communists because the conservative communists were really abandoning what was left of the marxism and leninism, and the new ideology became one saying that there are individualistic civilizations and collectivist, and russia is a collectivist civilluation.
so this idea of trying to impose political pluralism, we don't want this. this brought together conservative communists poonding some of their old beliefs and clinging to the idea of a russian state and russian civilization and russian nationalists. so i think it's quite a strong tendency today. yes. >> good evening, my name is james clyde, i'm with the department of defense, but in 1988-'89 i had a fellowship at st. anthonys. the ability to sit at high table and have successive visitor from central and eastern europe come through i found an extraordinary thing and almost wished that i'd kept a journal at the time because while you were privileged enough to see it several years earlier, it was, obviously, a kind of preview of what was to come later on because the discussion, you may recall, was so frank at those
events. my question, though, is different. do you think if the 1980s had been a period of high oil and gas prices that the result would have been different in the way that we could almost chart russian behavior now linked to the price per barrel of oil, you know, tendency or predisposition to intervene in the republic of georgia now being rather different than it was last year with different price fundamentals? so it's this question of integrating with western european economy having progressively less to trade than oil and gas, and if it had been high, could it have sustained that system? >> well, i don't think that gorbachev wanted to sustain the system. he definitely wants to preserve the state. and so i think it would have given a better chance of sustaining perestroika or sustaining the -- what gorbachev said more than once what he wanted was revolutionary change by evolutionary means. but the change couldn't be evolutionary because once you
had the glas northeast that quite rapidly turned into freedom of speech, after all, the gulag archipelago was published in massive edition in 1989. you know, that was a highly communist system by that time. so it couldn't be evolutionary because people began to demand faster change, and at a time when the economic situation is becoming harder partly because the economy was neither one thing nor another, it was no longer an effective command. it was not yet a market economy combined with the falling oil prices, this made things really tough to put it mildly for gorbachev. so if he'd been cushioned by a high oil price, conceivably this evolutionary change by -- sorry, revolutionary change by evolutionary means would have had a greater chance of success, but i wouldn't like to predict, you know, that it could have
been. i mean, i think that to the extent that the soviet union democratized the baltic states had to become independent. there's no way they would have opted to stay, but i don't think it was inevitable that it should be a total disintegration of the sew yet union -- soviet union. it was not obvious that the russian leader would demand russian independence from the union. one could argue that yeltsin was acting against russian national interests in his role in breaking up the union, but he was desperate to get himself inside the kremlin and gorbachev out of it. yeah. you go first. >> george, i'm a student. i have a question. you seem to imply that the collapse of the eastern bloc was partly due to russian unwillingness to engage them using their military and the inability due to being bogged down in the war in afghanistan.
in effect, that they'd lost their credibility using hard power through military force. do you think that this, that there are any lessons that can be learned and applied despite the differences in context to the current situations with america's inability to productively engage both its allies and russia? >> well, it's interesting reading politburo minutes and discussions of gorbachev with the afghan leaders and gorbachev's telling them, you know, you've got to broaden your coalition, you've got to bring in the people who have got traditional authority within the country. you know, you're not building socialism. forget it, afghanistan's not ready for that. this is just a national movement, and he, he wanted to get soviet troops out of afghanistan, so he wanted the afghans to come together and
have this broad coalition. so i think there are some lessons that it's not very easy to have a government of democrats in afghanistan any more than it was easy to have a government of communists in afghanistan. the country wasn't ready for the one, and it's not ready for the other. but i think, you know, too easy to make superficial comparisons. but a friend of mine who was british ambassador to moscow in 1988 and 1992 is now writing a big book on the soviet experience on afghanistan, and i think he will draw some lessons for us today. >> actually thomas from the international spy museum, my question was very closely related to yours, just briefly, what role did the soviet invasion and defeat in afghanistan play in the fall of communism? as is sometimes said, this was parallel to the american experience in vietnam, so i'd
just be curious about your take on that. >> i think it was one of the many stimuli for gorbachev to affect great change. in conversation with his main foreign policy aide he made it clear he wanted to get out of afghanistan. and as he has written, though they were members of the politburo, they write about these events. it was decided by, you know, a group of four people, brezhnev, andropov and the minister of defense and then the politburo simply accepted it. of course, if somebody could have spoken out against it, they'd be been out of the politburo the next day. so gorbachev and -- met, and they agreed this was a terrible mistake, but they weren't going to say so because they didn't
want to bring their careers to a stop then. so he was against it, but it was becoming increasingly unpopular in the soviet union not least with the appearance of boys who were reach -- parents of boys who were reaching military age. but at the same time there are parallels with the united states. they didn't want to make it look like a defeat, and gorbachev was saying in the politburo, you know, how do we explain to people who have lost their sons that this was all in vain? this was for nothing? you know, the same questions were asked about vietnam and may even be asked today in other places. so what he wanted was american cooperation so that, to ease the exit and make it not look like a humiliating defeat. and above all he didn't want to hand the country over to militant islamists. now, that stage though i give a lot of credit to the reagan administration and reagan and the state department especially for engaging with gorbachev, at
the same time they didn't want to make it easy for the soviet union to get out. so continued to support people who were the predecessors of the taliban. >> we have time for one final question if there is one. >> [inaudible] from the inter-american bank, your outlook on cuba. >> your outlook on cue cuba. >> oh, cuba. well, i certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on cuba, but i have read about it. i think that the the united states has played a great part in preserving the regime in aspic. the point be i made earlier about engagement leading to change within communist systems surely would have applied to cuba.
cuba would have liberalized years before if there would have been a lot of interaction between the united states, people going to and fro, economic relationships, so i think the united states has played an enormous part in sustaining the castro regime. by saying they'll do nothing to help castro, they've added weight to the diminishing appeal of communism in cuba. already i think we see some signs of a change under president obama, and i'm sure it's not at the top of his agenda, and he's got enough problems without devoting too much time to cuba at the moment, but i think if that continues, surely there'll be liberalization in cuba. i could hardly think of a more counterproductive policy. ..
>> argubright is the former professor at oxford university. he's the author of the gorbachev factor, which was a recipient update mckinsey prize in britain for best political science book of the year. this event was hosted by the johns hopkins school of advanced international studies. for more information, visit his
website. >> senators are continuing their debate on the health care to debate this weekend. watch the senate debate on health care live gavel to gavel here on c-span2. the only network with a full debate, unedited and commercial free. to read the senate bill and the house version plus watch a video on demand, go online to c-span health care hub. booktv is in death will air live on our companion networks, c-span, today. c-span2 will cover the senate session live to continue debate on health care. you can see the full three-hour interview and call in live at noon today on c-span. the first military burial in
arlington national cemetery to place during the civil war in may of 1864. author robert poole traces the history of the cemetery in "on hallowed ground." booktv joined mr. poole in arlington to hear some of the stories from his book. we also recorded portion of the funeral of a u.s. marine who was killed in afghanistan. this program is about 30 minutes. >> we're in section 27 of the arlington national cemetery. this was one of the oldest sections of the military cemetery at arlington. and it is where the story of arlington national cemetery really begins. arlington has so much history tied up in the civil war. this section of the cemetery was begun in may 1864, really before
there was a cemetery. how did that happen? it happened that 1864, the civil war have been going on for several years, and washington was really a hospital city at that time. there were as many as 50000 soldiers and sailors in the hospitals of washington, temporary hospitals set up all over town. and of course, those people started dying. and they had to be buried. so earlier in the war, the national cemeteries were established at alexandria, virginia, and at the old soldiers home in northwest washington. they were planned to accommodate all of those who died in the washington area hospitals. what happened was that the war went on much longer, it was much bloodierha