Sunday, 14 October 2012

Cold War Documentary - Episode 24: Conclusions (1989 -1991)

A truly epic series which if not perfect at least tries to be even handed and gets very close. Ted Turner's initiative in producing this series is unequalled. It has frequent access to commentary from top of the food chain creatures such as Gorbachev and Bush but actually makes much more sense when listening to the mid layer bureaucrats such as second in charge of the State Department or KGB. My guess from watching the entire 24 part series is that George HW Bush had no idea the USSR was about to collapse and given a choice (as part of the divisive warmongering power elite) would have kept it this way. The entire series is brilliant and taught me a lot including my underestimation of the paranoia that drove a lot of good men to kill. On both sides.

Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War that aired in 1998. It features interviews and footage of the events that shaped the tense relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Episode 24: Conclusions (1989--1991)

Gorbachev and Bush meet at Malta in December 1989 to consider the recent dramatic events. Only the previous week the Communist government resigned in Czechoslovakia; and shortly Nicolae Ceaușescu would be deposed and executed in the bloody Romanian Revolution. Gorbachev permits German reunification and removes Soviet troops from Europe, but fails to secure financial support from the West. As the Soviet economy collapses, Gorbachev faces opposition from both reformers and handliners. Sharing their abhorence of Soviet disintegration, Gorbachev brings in hardliners to his government and cracks down on the Lithuanian independence movement. However they later turn on Gorbachev and stage a coup. Boris Yeltsin is instrumental in rallying the public and military to defeat the coup. Sidelining Gorbachev, Yeltsin sets the course for Russia to leave the Soviet Union by establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Soviet Union ends on 25 December 1991, and in his Christmas Day address Bush announces the Cold War is over. The cost of the Cold War is considered in retrospect. Interviewees include Mircea Dinescu, Alexander Rutskoy and Condoleezza Rice. The pre-credits scene features Bush and Gorbachev explaining how uncertain the world had suddenly become.