From ABC-CLIO's History Hub website
Objective: Learn about Mikhail Gorbachev and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, then write a speech as Gorbachev accepting the Nobel Prize.
Notes on Implementation:
Student Activity: Students can access the below activity in The End of the Cold War Topic Center within the World History: The Modern Era database.
During the 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to democratize his country's political system with his reform policies of glasnost and perestroika. Although he was ultimately forced to resign from office, Gorbachev's programs led to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The collapse of one of the world's two great superpowers (the other being the United States) greatly altered the geopolitical landscape that had existed since World War II.
In this activity, you will learn about the collapse of the Soviet Union and how the dissolution was mostly peaceful. Then you will write a speech as Gorbachev, accepting the Nobel Prize for your work.
Possible Answers for Activity:
Students' speeches should demonstrate understanding and analysis of the policies and ideology that led Gorbachev to dissolve the Soviet Union and end the Cold War peacefully. A sample speech is below:
Thank you, Nobel Prize committee, for bestowing upon me this great honor. When I instituted the policies of glasnost and perestroika, the original intention was to improve our society by creating more opportunities for movement in the economic and social spaces—but it soon became clear that these policies could create positive results throughout the world. Actions like ending the war in Afghanistan and allowing Eastern bloc countries to change leadership without violent interference took the work of many, as did lessening tensions and formally ending the Cold War with the U.S. I did not tear down the wall in Berlin and unite East and West peacefully. But this prize shows I will be remembered for my personal, peace-making contributions to those events, and I am humbled and forever grateful to be memorialized in this fashion. Thank you again.
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