29 Facts About Eastern Bloc


Eastern Bloc, known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed during the Cold War .

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The Eastern Bloc was often called the Second World, whereas the term "First World" referred to the Western Bloc and "Third World" referred to the non-aligned countries that were mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America but notably included former pre-1948 Soviet ally SFR Yugoslavia, which was located in Europe.

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In Western Europe, the term Eastern Bloc generally referred to the USSR and Central and Eastern European countries in the Comecon .

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Term Eastern Bloc was often used interchangeably with the term Second World.

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Post-1991 usage of the term "Eastern Bloc" may be more limited in referring to the states forming the Warsaw Pact and Mongolia, which are no longer communist states.

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Eastern Bloc stated that the new government's primary task would be to prepare elections.

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Thereafter, Stalin sought stronger control over other Eastern Bloc countries, abandoning the prior appearance of democratic institutions.

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Eastern Bloc briefly considered converting the Cominform into an instrument for sentencing high-ranking deviators, but dropped the idea as impractical.

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Soviet cadres in communist party and state positions in the Eastern Bloc were instructed to foster intra-leadership conflict and to transmit information against each other.

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Communist regimes in the Eastern Bloc viewed marginal groups of opposition intellectuals as a potential threat because of the bases underlying Communist power therein.

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Famous Eastern Bloc defectors included Joseph Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva, who denounced Stalin after her 1967 defection.

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Eastern Bloc societies operated under anti-meritocratic principles with strong egalitarian elements.

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Eastern Bloc societies were dominated by the ruling communist party, leading some to term them "partyocracies".

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Eastern Bloc countries achieved some economic and technical progress, industrialization, and growth rates of labor productivity and rises in the standard of living.

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However, because of the lack of market signals, Eastern Bloc economies experienced mis-development by central planners.

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Eastern Bloc depended upon the Soviet Union for significant amounts of materials.

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Eastern Bloc countries were heavily borrowing from Club de Paris and London Club and most of them by the early 1980s were forced to notify the creditors of their insolvency.

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Stalinist regimes in the Eastern Bloc saw even marginal groups of opposition intellectuals as a potential threat because of the bases underlying Stalinist power therein.

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Eastern Bloc states were required to provide coal, industrial equipment, technology, rolling stock and other resources to reconstruct the Soviet Union.

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The Eastern Bloc countries were required to follow the Soviet model over-emphasising heavy industry at the expense of light industry and other sectors.

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Eastern Bloc possesses substantial agricultural resources, especially in southern areas, such as Hungary's Great Plain, which offered good soils and a warm climate during the growing season.

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Author Turnock claims that transport in the Eastern Bloc was characterised by poor infrastructural maintenance.

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Tourism from outside the Eastern Bloc was neglected, while tourism from other Stalinist countries grew within the Eastern Bloc.

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Soviet control of the Eastern Bloc was first tested by the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'etat and the Tito–Stalin split over the direction of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Chinese Communist Revolution and Chinese participation in the Korean War.

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The break-up of the Eastern Bloc is often attributed to Nikita Khrushchev's anti-Stalinist speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences in 1956.

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In 1975, the communist victory in former French Indochina following the end of the Vietnam War gave the Eastern Bloc renewed confidence after it had been frayed by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia to suppress the Prague Spring.

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Eastern Bloc announced what was jokingly called the "Sinatra Doctrine" after the singer's "My Way" to allow the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to determine their own internal affairs during this period.

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On 9 November 1989, following mass protests in East Germany and the relaxing of border restrictions in Czechoslovakia, tens of thousands of Eastern Bloc Berliners flooded checkpoints along the Berlin Wall and crossed into West Berlin.

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Certain former Eastern Bloc countries have even become wealthier than certain Western European ones in the decades since 1989.

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