Explanation of the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe in 1989 - 1991. The role of public pressure in the Eastern European transition to democracy
by Dörte Ridder
Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject History Europe - Other Countries - Newer History, European Unification, grade: 2,1, University of Sunderland (School of Arts, Design, Media and Culture), course: Experiencing 20th century Europe, 19 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: ...a prince must have the friendship of the common people; otherwise he will have no support in times of adversity. Niccolò Machiavelli The transition to democracy in Eastern Europe was a result of a multiplicity of factors in the fields of economy, politics, geostrategy and the military. Briefly, after the collapse of communism in 1989 and the early 1990s, many celebrated the victory of the people over a ruthless, dictatorial system. We now know that this more or less peaceful transition would not have occurred, at least, not at this time, if it had not been for the Soviet Union, deliberately opening its fist, which had held Eastern Europe for five decades. For this reason, the transitions in Eastern Europe can only be explained by taking the USSR into consideration. Nevertheless, public pressure from the bottom has always played an important role and every government has to take its power into account. Considering this political fact, the following essay will examine which factors led to the people's distrust and disapproval of the communist system. In the first part this essay will examine the field of economy. The second part will deal with the field of politics. The third and concluding part will summarize the results and answer the question, did the lack of public support make the demise of the system inevitable?