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The fall: Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary and Poland in a comparative perspective
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The quick collapse of the Communist-led regimes in Eastern Europe caught the worldby surprise. Although much has been written about this monumental historical event,little attention has been paid to the issue of why the processes of collapse were sodifferent. In Poland and Hungary the Communist rulers took the initiative tonegotiations with the opposition at a time in which the opposition was relatively weak.The East German and Czechoslovak leaders, by contrast, tried to ignore the oppositioneven when it was becoming much stronger. When confronted by mass movements,they gave up rather than try to either use force or seriously negotiate with theopposition. Why did the leaders behave so differently in these four countries? Howcould mass movements emerge so quickly in East Germany and Czechoslovakia? Whatwere the underlying causes of the collapse in these four countries?

It is argued that while some authors have given fruitful accounts of one of thesethree points, nobody has yet given an explanation that answers all three questions. Anattempt is made to develop an alternative approach and an eclectic explanationcombining elements of neo-Marxian and neo-institutional theories with politicalpsychology. The economic crisis, was the most important underlying factor that set thecollapse into motion. The Polish and Hungarian regimes behaved differently than theEast German and Czechoslovak because they had operated under a different set ofinstitutional incentives, based on a reformist policy legacies. Social movements wereable to emerge quickly in the Czechoslovakia and East Germany because of aneconomic crisis that made the workers increasingly disgruntled with the system, whileevents in neighboring countries gave the populace rising expectations of change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1997. , 351 p.
Keyword [en]
Political science, Political change, democratization, institutional compromise, revolution, social movements, reform implementation, political psychology, Eastern Europe
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-19ISBN: 91-506-1211-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-19DiVA: diva2:161463
Public defence
1997-06-06, Brusewitzsalen, Gamla torget 2, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 1997-05-16 Created: 1997-05-16 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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