Changes in Central & Eastern Europe

Sarah Hardin, Justin Dorton, John Russell and Madison Thomas

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Poland and Hungary Reform

  • In 1980, Polish workers at Gdansk shipyard went on strike, demanding government recognition of their union, Solidarity.

  • The government then gave into the Polish people’s demands, and this made the Union leader Lech Walesa a national hero.

  • After finally holding meetings with Solidarity leaders, General Jaruzelski legalized Solidarity and agreed to hold Poland’s first free election.

  • They then elected Lech Welesa as president.

  • After taking control of a bankrupt economy, Lech Welesa then had troubles reviving the economy.

  • This made Poles unhappy and they then voted out President Welesa.

  • Under a new president (Kwasniewski) Poland was lead to become a member of the european community.

  • Inspired by the changes in Poland, Hungarian leaders launched their own reform program.

  • Reformers in Hungary encouraged private enterprise, and they now allowed a small stock market to operate

  • In 1994, a socialist party mostly made up of former communists won a majority of Hungary’s parliament.

Germany Reunified

  • The East German government had closed its borders, causing many of the civilians to protest.

  • On November 9, 1989 East German leader, Egon Krenz opened the Berlin Wall.

  • By the end of 1989, the East German Communist Party ceased to exist

  • With the fall of East German Communism, the many Germans wanted Reunification between the two Germanys.

  • On October 3, 1990 Germany was officially reunited.

  • After Germany became one, they faced many problems since the eastern part of their country was under communist rule for so long.

  • Eastern Germany’s problems ranged from the lack of modernization in the railways, roads, and telephone systems to the bankruptcy of their economy.

  • To pay the cost to repair the nation, Kohl raised taxes which only hurt the people of their nation.

  • In 1998 a new chancellor was elected, Gerhard Schroeder of the Socialist Democratic party.

  • Schroeder has worked hard to rebuild the German economy and rise unemployment.

Democracy Spreads in Czechoslovakia

  • About 10,000 people gathered in Wenceslas Square in the center of prague and demanded democracy and freedom.

  • Three weeks later about 25,000 students inspired by the fall of the Berlin wall gathered in Prague to demand reform

  • But the police who were ordered by the government to brutally attack the demonstrators and injured hundreds.

  • This angered the Czech people

  • November 25, about 500,000 protesters crowded into downtown Prague. and within hours, Milos Jakes and his entire Politburo resigned.

  • One month after Milos Jakes and his entire Politburo resigned a new parliament elected vaclav Havel president of Czechoslovakia.

  • In Czechoslovakia reformers also launched an economic program based on shock therapy. It would cause a sharp rise in unemployment.

  • But slovakia and the Czech Republic split apart

  • They could not agree on economic policy

  • When the country split apart Havel resigned

  • But later on became the president of the Czech Republic and when he died in 2003 Vaclav Klaus succeed him.

  • Slovakia proceeded on a reformist, pro-western path and experienced one of the highest economic growth rates in 2002.

  • Slovakia hoped to join both NATO and the EU in the near future

The Breakup of Yugoslavia

  • Yugoslavia was formed after World War I

  • Yugoslavia had 8 major ethnic groups: Sebs, Croats, Muslims, Slovenes, Macedonians, Albanians, Hungarians, and Montenegrins

  • After World War II, Yugoslavia became a federation of six republics, these republics had mixed populations

  • Josip Tito, 1945 to 1980, led Yugoslavia

  • Resentment between ethnic groups occurred after Tito’s death

  • Slobodan Milosevic took over the leadership of Yugoslavia

  • Opposing this policies, many Serbs fled the country

  • Slovenia and Croatia, two republics, declared for their independence

  • Both Slovenia and Croatia were invaded by the Serbian-led Yugoslav army on June 1991

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina joined Slovenia and Croatia, in 1992, for declaring independence.

  • Bosnia’s Serbs strongly opposed Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats when backing for independence.

  • Bosnia’s Serbs were supported by Serbia when launching a war on March 1922

  • 70% of Bosnia was controlled by the Serbian military

  • December of 1995, the leaders of the three factions involved in the war signed a UN- and U.S.-broken peace treaty

  • Bosnians elected a third person presidency in September 1996. There was one leader for each ethnic group.