How and why did the Cold War End?

Essay by rahulioHigh School, 10th grade September 2004

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There were many factors that brought about the conclusion of the Cold War. The declining Soviet economy, the rise of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the initiatives take by the U.S. and the Soviet Union were all influential determinates that helped bring the Cold War to an end.

The Soviets had enjoyed great achievements on the international stage before Reagan entered office in 1981. These achievements included the unification of their socialist ally, Vietnam in 1976, and a string of socialist revolutions in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, however the country's strengthening ties with Third World nations in the 1960s and 1970s only masked utter weakness next to the United States.

The Soviet economy suffered severe structural problems. Reform stalled between 1964-1982 and supply shortages of consumer goods were becoming notorious. The 1980s saw weak leadership in the Soviet Union. In 1982 Leonid Brezhnev died to be replaced by the short-lived Yuri Andropov and then Konstantin Chernenko who also quickly died, to be replaced by a rising politician, Mikhail Gorbachev.

East-West tensions eased rapidly after the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev. After the deaths of three elderly Soviet leaders in a row since 1982, the Politburo elected Gorbachev Soviet Communist Party chief in 1985, marking the rise of a new generation of leadership. Under Gorbachev, relatively young reform-oriented technocrats, who had begun their careers in the prime days of "de-Stalinization" under reformist leader Nikita Khrushchev (1953-1964), rapidly consolidated power, providing new momentum for political and economic liberalization, and the impetus for cultivating warmer relations and trade with the West, which would eventually bring about the close of the Cold war.

The Cold War's end was brought closer thanks to the renewed friendlinss taking place between The USSR and the USA. On October 11, 1986 Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavik,