Timeline of Key Points During the Cold War

THAW 1985- 1991

1985: -- Mikhail Gorbachev ascends to power in Soviet Union. He realised that the USSR could not compete with the USA. He introduced PERESTROIKA , which gave businesses more control and GLASNOST, which allowed free media. It, however was too late, the USSR was in such a poor state big changes could not occur.

1987: Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty - Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and remove all nuclear missiles from Europe.

1989: End of Brezhnev Doctrine -- Gorbachev told communist leaders the Soviet army would no longer help them stay in power. This resulted in Eastern European countries becoming independent from USSR and the Warsaw pact ended.

1989: Berlin Wall falls

The fall of the Berlin Wall


1991: August -- Three days that destroyed the USSR -- Conservative communists were unhappy that Gorbachev had led to the collapse of communist control of Eastern Europe. The soviet economy was collapsing and USSR was no longer a Superpower. On August 18 Gorbachev was arrested by the KGB. The ‘Gang of eight’ attempted to seize power but did not arrest Boris Yeltsin. On August 20 Yeltsin was in control. Gorbachev ended the communist party and KGB. By December 21 1991 the USSR ceased to exist and was replaced by CIS. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus did not join. Gorbachev resigned.