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The End of the Cold War

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It's early morning. Everybody is waking up getting ready for work and kids are going to school. Today, one would usually hear casual chatter about how the day is going to be or something funny a child saw on television. Now, imagine waking up and being afraid, the same question running over and over through your head," Is my family going to perish in a nuclear explosion, are we going to war with America today?" This is what it was like for many people living in the Soviet Union, a.k.a the USSR, or present day Russia, around 1985 during the Cold War. The Cold War was a period of tension and, on many occasions, near-war conflicts mostly between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was basically started after so-called diplomatic relations between the USA and the USSR started to dissolve after World War II. The war ended in 1991,leading to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Many factors brought upon the end of the Cold War. One major thing that led to the end was the internal problems the Soviet Union was facing. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, also contributed in more ways than most to the end of the Cold War. Ronald Reagan, the American president at the time, was considered one of the greatest factors. One of the less frequently mentioned issues leading to the end was communism itself.

The Cold War, by the late 1980's, had been going on for about forty years. The Soviet Union was racing against the United States to develop better weapons and more of the weapons they already had. This cost the Soviets a pretty penny. In fact, they were spending an estimated fifty percent of their national product on building weapons and trying to be better than the United States. All of this wasted effort eventually came back to ruin them, causing severe economic decline. People were not living like they lived in a country with a superpower status. Living conditions were terrible. Persons in the lower class, which was everyone not in or related to someone in the government, were poor and discontent with their government. All the money that should have been used to build up the economy, which would in turn make the government money, was used instead to study and build weapons. All they did was use money they had gotten from taking over countries, and under Soviet rule these countries were also going poor because the government did the same thing with these countries as they were doing with their homeland. By the early 1980's, the Soviets were beginning to realize they were really in trouble. So by 1985, they were in a period of complete economic stagnation, but the people looked to a new ruler, whom they hoped would get them out of this deep hole they had dug themselves into..

Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union. He is mostly renowned for his reforms, which, at the time were considered by many to be extreme. One of his reforms, brought about in 1988, was called the Law on Cooperatives. This was considered his most radical reform because for the first time since Lenin's New Economic Policy, started in 1921, the reform allowed private ownership of businesses involved in services, manufacturing, and foreign-trade divisions. Now, favorable restaurants, shops, and actual manufacturers were

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