Eastern Europe and the Cold War 1948-1991

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Eastern Europe and the Cold War 1948 – 1989 Chapter 14 How did Stalin control Eastern Europe? After the Second World War, the Communists quickly gained control of Eastern Europe. The chaotic situation in many of the countries helped them. * After the war, there was a political vacuum in many countries in Eastern Europe. Stalin helped Communist parties in them to win power, he made sure that these eastern European countries followed the same policies as the Soviet Union by becoming one-party states. * There was also a need to restore law and order. This provided a good excuse to station Soviet troops in each country. * The economies of Eastern Europe were shattered. Governments followed the economic policies of the Soviet Union. Stalin made sure that the countries of Eastern Europe traded with the USSR. * When Soviet control was threatened, the Soviet Union was prepared to use its tanks to crush opposition. What did ordinary people in Eastern Europe think of Soviet control? For some people of Eastern Europe, the Communist brought hope. The Soviet Union had achieved amazing industrial growth before WWII. Communism also offered them stable government and security because they were backed by one of the worlds superpowers. Many people hoped for great things from Communism. The reality of Soviet control of EU was very different from what people expected. Countries that had a long tradition of free speech and democratic government suddenly lost the right to criticize the government. Newspapers were censored and non- communists were put in to prison for criticizing the government. People were forbidden to travel to countries in Western Europe. Between 1945 and 1955 EU economies did recover. But factories did not produce what people wanted. They produced what the Soviet Union wanted. Wages in EU fell behind wages in their countries, even fell behind Soviet
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