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•Peace negotiations had begun in Paris in the spring of 1968, but a ceasefire was not arranged until January 1973,•American troops left South Vietnam, and North Vietnam released its American prisoners of war.On April 30, 1975, Saigon (renamed Ho Chi Minh City) fell to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army and Vietnam was finally united.The experience in Vietnam damaged America’s reputation.•Many questioned the wisdom of American policy makers.•Many young Europeans and Americans came to regard the United States not as a protector of liberty, but an ambitious, aggressive, and cruel power trying to keep colonialism alive after the end of the colonial era.Section Seven: The Collapse of European Communism•Section OverviewoThe withdrawal of Soviet influence from Eastern Europe and the internal collapse of the Soviet Union are the most important historical events of the second half of the twentieth century.oThe Soviet Union imploded and divided into separate successor states.oThe events that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union remain murky as there was no foreign invasion, no military defeat, and no internal revolution.oSuspected reasons for the collapse of the Soviet UnionUnder Brezhnev, the Soviet government became markedly more repressive at home, suggesting a return to Stalinist policies.In 1974, the government expelled Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.The Soviet government began to harass Jewish citizens.Soviet dissidents launched reform movements•Nobel Prize-winning physicist Andrei Sakharov (1921- 1989)•During the same period the structures of the Communist Party became both rigidified and corrupt, which increasingly demoralized younger Soviet bureaucrats and party members.•Gorbachev Attempts to Reform the Soviet UnionoMikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) comes to power in 1985 after two Brezhnev’s two immediate successors, Yuri Andropov (1914-1984) and Konstantin Chernenko (1911-1985) died within thirteen months of each other.
Gorbachev reformed the Soviet Union•These reforms loosed forces that, within seven years, would force him to retire from office and would end both communist rule and the Soviet Union as it existed since the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.oEconomic Perestroika, or “restructuring”Gorbachev’s primary goal was to revive the Russian economy to raise the country’s standard of living.During this process, Gorbachev reduced the size and importance of the centralized economic ministries.By 1990, in a clear abandonment of Marxist principles, Gorbachev began to advocate private ownership of property and liberalization of the economy toward free market mechanisms.Despite these efforts, the Soviet economy remained stagnated and Gorbachev’s policies failed.oGlasnostGlasnost, or “openness” was Gorbachev’s policy on exposing Soviet history to criticism.