Eastern bloc

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Image:Eastern bloc.png
A map of the Eastern Bloc.

During the Cold War, the term Eastern Bloc (or Soviet Bloc) was used to refer to the Soviet Union and its allies in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and—until the early 1960s—Albania).

The "Eastern Bloc" is also used as another name for the Warsaw Pact (a Soviet-led military alliance) or the Comecon (an international economic organization of Communist states). Soviet allies outside of Eastern Europe, such as Mongolia and often Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea were sometimes included in the term East Bloc as well. The terms Eastern bloc and Soviet Union are sometimes confused. Although the Soviet Union had some political influence over the Eastern bloc countries, the countries in the Eastern bloc like Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland were totally separate countries.

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[edit] Yugoslavia, Albania

Yugoslavia was never part of the Eastern Bloc or the Warsaw Pact. Although it was a Communist state, its leader, Marshal Tito, came to power through his efforts as a partisan resistance leader during World War II. Since he was not installed by the Soviet Red Army, he owed the Soviet leadership no allegiance. The Yugoslav government established itself as a neutral state during the Cold War, and the country was one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Similarly, the Stalinist Albanian government also came to power independently of the Red Army as a consequence of World War II. Albania broke with the Soviet Union in the early 1960s as a result of the Sino-Soviet split, aligning itself instead with the People's Republic of China and its anti-revisionist stance.

[edit] Use of force

Nations within the Eastern Bloc were sometimes held in the Soviet sphere of influence through military force. Hungary was invaded by the Soviet Army in 1956 after it had overthrown its pro-Soviet government and replaced it with one that sought a more democratic communist path independent of Moscow; when Polish communist leaders tried to elect Władysław Gomułka as First Secretary, they were issued an ultimatum by the Soviet military, demanding that Gomułka's election be canceled.[1] Czechoslovakia was invaded in 1968 after a period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring. The latter invasion was codified in formal Soviet policy as the Brezhnev Doctrine.

[edit] Decline

During the late 1980s, the weakened Soviet Union gradually stopped interfering in the internal affairs of Eastern Bloc nations. Mikhail Gorbachev's abrogation of the Brezhnev Doctrine in favor of the so-called "Sinatra Doctrine" had dramatic effects across Central and Eastern Europe during this period. The Eastern Bloc eventually came to an end with the collapse of the pro-Soviet regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 (see Revolutions of 1989).

Even before this period, all the countries in the Warsaw pact did not always act as a block. For instance, the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was condemned by Romania, which refused to take part in it.

[edit] Central and Eastern Europe

After 1989/90, instead of Eastern bloc the term Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) came into wide use – from governmental cooperation, development organizations to businesses.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

da:Østblokken de:Ostblock es:Bloque del Este fa:بلوک شرق fr:Bloc communiste it:Blocco orientale he:הגוש המזרחי hu:Keleti blokk nl:Oostblok ja:東側諸国 no:Østblokken pl:Kraje socjalistyczne pt:Bloco de Leste ro:Blocul răsăritean fi:Itäblokki sv:Östblocket zh:東方集團

Eastern bloc

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