In November 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev gave a speech to the Soviet Politburo saying, "Gentlemen, comrades, do not be concerned about all you hear about Glasnost and Perestroika and democracy in the coming years. They are primarily for outward consumption. There will be no significant internal changes in the Soviet Union, other than for cosmetic purposes. Our purpose is to disarm the Americans and let them fall asleep. We want to accomplish three things: One, we want the Americans to withdraw conventional forces from Europe. Two, we want them to withdraw nuclear forces from Europe. Three, we want the Americans to stop proceeding with Strategic Defense Initiative."
Gorbachev is most famous for his time in power over the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. He had large dreams of reforming the Soviet Union system, but the total opposite resulted. The Soviet Union was completely collapsed by 1991. There are different opinions on what was the cause of this collapse.
In my opinion, the single most important cause was their great economic problems.
Some may try and argue that the collapse was caused from Gorbachev gaining control over the Soviets. I, on the other hand, do not believe that the collapse would have happened if the economy was not falling so fast. When Gorbachev took over, the economy was declining so rapidly that a reform was nearly impossible. The economy had a high production rate but a low productivity rate (Roskin & Berry 99).
The Soviet Union's technology was also very behind for its time. The economy would not have been at such a loss if they had a greater strength in technology. The United States had ten years of technological advances on the Soviet Union (Hoffman). The economy could have strived off better equipment which would have helped their efficiency.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was very important in the end of the Cold War as well. Former United States President Ronald Reagan played a part in the end too. Reagan and Gorbachev worked together for a reduction of arms. Eliminating nuclear weapons was an attempt to end the war.
The real question is whether the United States could have done anything to bring the Cold War to an end sooner. I do believe that there were possible ways that the U.S. could have taken differently to cause a conclusion. Some of which include dropping an atomic bomb and putting an end to it all together. The fact of that being rational though is out of the question. For another approach, Reagan could have gone through with Gorbachev and his idea of no nuclear weapons. If Reagan was willing to drop the United States nuclear defense system then maybe an agreement would have been met sooner (Hoffman 3). Without these actions though, the Berlin Wall played an important part in ending the Cold War in addition to the collapse of the Soviet Union and U.S help.
Their economy collapse caused the Soviet Unions collapse. If efficiency had been greater the economy would not have suffered so greatly and Gorbachev might have been able to reform as intended. The Cold War might have ended sooner if different attempts were made by the United States as well.
Graham, James. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union." www.HistoryOrb.com 2000-2005.
Hoffman, David E. "Hastening an End to the Cold War." Washington Post Company
2004. 6 June 2004
Roskin, Michael G. and Berry, Nicholas O. IR: The New World of International
Relations. 6th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education 2005.