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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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End of the Cold War

This is a collection of primary source documents covering the collapse of the Soviet Union during the late 1980s. The collection contains documents from archives in most of the former Soviet bloc countries. They discuss the changes occurring in Eastern Europe and the Tiananmen Square events in China. See also Cold War Origins. (Image, East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin Wall, 1989)

  • May 29, 1988

    Memorandum of Conversation, the President's First One-on-One Meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev

    Reagan and Gorbachev's first conversation during Reagan's 1988 visit to Moscow.

  • June 20, 1988

    Weekly State Security Review from the Ministry of the Interior to T. Zhivkov

    The Minister of the Internal Affairs, Dimitar Stoyanov, briefs Todor Zhivkov on the weekly domestic developments. Among the most pressing issues is the ongoing popular discontent in Ruse triggered by the unresolved problems with industrial pollution in the city. Another issue is the opposition of the Turkish minority to the revival process.

  • June 20, 1988

    Anatoly Chernyaev, Notes from a Meeting of the Politburo

    Anatoly Chernyaev’s notes from the Politburo session on June 20, 1988, during which military spending, party membership, the progress of perestroika, and CPSU organizational leadership were discussed.

  • September 01, 1988

    Report on a Working Conference [of Opposition Leaders]

    Report on a Working Conference [of Opposition Leaders] regarding emphasis that should be placed on the legal registration of Solidarity and the status of social participants in the Roundtable discussions

  • September 04, 1988

    Memorandum by Lech Walesa, 'On Starting the Roundtable Talks'

    Memorandum by Lech Walesa, “On Starting the Roundtable Talks,” regarding topics for negotiations

  • September 06, 1988

    Report from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa

    Report from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa regarding his meeting with Czyrek and their conversation on Czyrek’s vision of the Roundtable discussions including questions about Solidarity’s position in the political system if it were to be legalized

  • September 08, 1988

    Meeting of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, 'On the Issue of Reorganization of the Party Apparatus'

    Detailed discussion of the reorganization of all Soviet party and government divisions and organizations.

  • October 01, 1988

    Letter from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa

    Letter from Andrzej Stelmachowski to Lech Walesa discussing the proposed Roundtable talks, and the promise that subsequent meetings would not lead to arrests

  • October 06, 1988

    Georgy Shakhnazarov’s Preparatory Notes for Mikhail Gorbachev for the Meeting of the Politburo

    Georgy Shakhnazarov’s Preparatory Notes for Mikhail Gorbachev for the Meeting of the Politburo regarding the need for change in socialist countries and how the Soviet Union should respond to instability in these countries

  • October 24, 1988

    Letter from A. Stelmachowski to Józef Glemp, Primate of Poland

    Letter from A. Stelmachowski to Józef Glemp, Primate of Poland, discussing problems with the proposed Roundtable Talks, including false charges against Solidarity and changes to previously determined plans. Stelmachowski requests an explanation from Glemp of the prospects of realizing the goals of the proposed reforms.

  • October 28, 1988

    Excerpt from the Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev

    Excerpt from Anatoly Chernyaev’s Diary discussing a meeting between Kohl and Gorbachev and praising Gorbachev’s boldness for declaring a ‘new thinking’ and creating reforms

  • October 31, 1988

    Memorandum, 'Re: Chinese Views on Some Aspects of Hungarian and Soviet Reform Policies'

    The Hungarian Ministry of the Interior weighs how China views the ongoing reforms in Hungary.

  • October 31, 1988

    Anatoly Chernyaev, Notes from a Meeting of the Politburo

    Gorbachev et al prepare for their upcoming UN visit, and discuss presenting their reformed policies, arms reductions, the implementation of perestroika, withdrawal of troops from Hungary, and overall Soviet-American relations.

  • December, 1988

    CIA Intelligence Assessment, 'Gorbachev’s September Housecleaning: An Early Evaluation'

    An intelligence analysis from the CIA covering recent changes to the Soviet Union's state structure and leadership reorganization, legal reforms, economic resource allocation, foreign policy etc. under Gorbachev's more powerful position.

  • December 07, 1988

    Address by Mikhail Gorbachev at the UN General Assembly Session (Excerpts)

    Excerpts from an address by Gorbachev at the 43rd United Nations General Assembly Session. Gorbachev announced major cuts to the Soviet military presence in Eastern Europe and along the Chinese border.

  • December 10, 1988

    Excerpts from the Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev

    Chernyaev's diary entry on the worsening situation in the Baltics and implications for the state of the Soviet Union.

  • December 20, 1988

    Basic Contents of the Meeting of the Working Group on Peace Treaty Issues, Tokyo

    Basic contents of the meeting of the working group on peace treaty issues, Tokyo, regarding the Kurile and Sakhalin islands and territorial disputes

  • 1989

    Note by Lech Walesa Regarding Further Procedure of Talks

    Note by Lech Walesa regarding further procedure of talks including questions of size of groups and representation for the Roundtable talks as well as a proposal for an agenda for the working groups

  • January 17, 1989

    Letter from George H. W. Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev

    A diplomatic personal note from President Bush to Gorbachev, thanking Gorbachev for the special attention he gave to Bush's son and grandson during their trip to Armenia, and then touches on the current state of US-Soviet bilateral relations and arms control proposals.

  • January 17, 1989

    Record of Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and H. Kissinger

    Gorbachev and Kissinger discuss opening up a secret line of communication between Soviet Union and the US, facilitated by Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, and coordinating a visit between President Bush and Gorbachev in the near future.