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The enigma of 1989 [electronic resource] : the USSR and the liberation of Eastern Europe /
Jacques Lévesque ; translated from the French by Keith Martin.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
description
ix, 267 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520206312 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
isbn
0520206312 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7906696
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A superb and definitive book of original insights into the collapse of communism. No other specialist knows as much about the subject as LÉvesque does, and nobody has had access to as many new sources in all these countries as he has."--Daniel Chirot, author ofModern Tyrants "What a pleasure! The author has done a masterful job of mining all the sources to put together the most convincing explanation for the so-called 'enigma' that we will see for a long time."--George Breslauer, author ofKruschev and Breshnev as Leaders
Flap Copy
"A superb and definitive book of original insights into the collapse of communism. No other specialist knows as much about the subject as Lévesque does, and nobody has had access to as many new sources in all these countries as he has."--Daniel Chirot, author of Modern Tyrants "What a pleasure! The author has done a masterful job of mining all the sources to put together the most convincing explanation for the so-called 'enigma' that we will see for a long time."--George Breslauer, author of Kruschev and Breshnev as Leaders
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-02:
Levesque's first-rate study examines the remarkable process of Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe in 1989. The author (Univ. du Quebec `a Montreal) points out that this transformation was neither foretold by nor necessary in the development of Soviet foreign policy at the time, even given the reformist initiatives of Gorbachev and his advisors. The investigation is informed by interviews with key figures both from the Gorbachev Kremlin (including written responses from Gorbachev himself) and from the political regimes of Eastern Europe, and also by access to primary documentation from the period. The result is a rich analytical account that illustrates how Gorbachev's initiatives were supported by ideological arguments ("the ideology of transition"); demonstrates the key role that Gorbachev himself played (both positively in determinedly encouraging change in Eastern Europe and negatively in repeated instances of indecision when decisiveness was called for); and points out the lack of vision that plagued the formation of the Soviet position. The author concludes that, in the end, the events of 1989 were a consequence of the fact that Eastern Europe was a low priority for the Soviet leadership as compared to perestroika. Gorbachev and his advisors remained convinced that the process of socialist reform in the Soviet Union (itself failing) would be persuasive to the Eastern European nations. Highly recommended for general and academic readers at all levels. B. T. Trout; University of New Hampshire
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1998
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Summaries
Long Description
The Soviet external empire fell in 1989 virtually without bloodshed. The domino-like collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe was not anticipated by political experts in either the East or the West. Most surprising of all was the Soviet Union's permissive reactions to the secession. For the first time in modern history, such an epochal upheaval could take place not only without war but also without major international tensions. This book is the first comprehensive scholarly attempt to elucidate Soviet behavior toward Eastern Europe in 1989. Jacques LÉvesque thoroughly analyses the policies of the USSR toward Eastern Europe during the Gorbachev era and clarifies the goals that underpinned these policies. Based on interviews with political leaders and exhaustive research in Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and the other ex-Warsaw Pact countries, this book traces the nuances of each country's case as a set of continually changing, mutually reinforcing causes and effects.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments and Notes on Sources
Introduction: The Meaning of Events That Changed the Worldp. 1
The Place of Eastern Europe in Gorbachev's Political Project
Gorbachev's Foreign Policy and the Nature of His Enterprisep. 9
The European Initiativep. 37
The Meaning of Soviet Immobilism in Eastern Europe: From 1985 to the Summer of 1988p. 52
The Second Half of 1988: The Turning Pointp. 75
1989: The Apotheosis of the Soviet Union's New Foreign Policy
Soviet Scenarios for Eastern Europe's Future at the Beginning of 1989p. 93
Poland: The Ideal Modelp. 110
Hungary: An Acceptable (and Accepted) Evolutionp. 128
East Germany: The Fatal Accelerationp. 143
Bulgaria: The Most Faithful Ally until the Very Endp. 165
Czechoslovakia: From Neglect to Paralysisp. 177
Romania: The Tangle of Plots and Mysteriesp. 191
The Great Project's Ruin
After the Earthquakep. 207
The Reunification and Status of Germany: The Last Battle for Europep. 219
The Agony and the End of the Warsaw Pactp. 239
Conclusionp. 252
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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