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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)

  • June 04, 1989

    Information Note from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 03:30 am

    Information Note from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the routing of demonstrators from Tiananmen Square

  • June 04, 1989

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 03:15 am

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the increased mobilization of tanks, armored trucks and paratroopers to clear the protest in Tiananmen Square, with the reported number of deaths and injuries

  • June 04, 1989

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 03:00 am

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the events in Beijing as troops attempted to reach Tiananmen Square to end the protest

  • June 04, 1989

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 04:15 am

    Telegram from Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the return of several PRC officials who had been absent for a number of weeks

  • June 04, 1989

    Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 05:45 am

    Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the arrival of 25,000 soldies to Tiananmen Square and the removal of students from the Square

  • June 05, 1989

    Transcript of the Central Committee Secretariat Meeting of the Polish United Workers Party (PZPR)

    On the day after Solidarity had swept Poland’s first open elections, ultimately winning 99 of 100 Senate seats, the Polish Communists vent their shock and dismay ("a bitter lesson," "the party are not connected with the masses," "We trusted the Church and they turned out to be Jesuits" were typical comments). Comrade Kwasniewski (who was later elected President of Poland) remarks that "It’s well known that also party members were crossing out our candidates" (only two out of 35 Party candidates survived the epidemic of X’s). But they see no choice but to negotiate a coalition government, and specifically "[w]arn against attempts at destabilization, pointing at the situation in China" -- since the Tiananmen massacre occurred the same day as the Polish elections, the road not taken.

  • June 07, 1989

    Information Note of Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Note from the Romanian Embassy in Beijing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the situation in Beijing in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square and the institution of restrictive measures under the rubric of martial law

  • June 09, 1989

    Records of the Talks between GDR Comrade Erich Honecker, and Member of the Politburo and Minister for Foreign Affairs the USSR, Eduard A. Shevardnadze

    GDR Chairman Honecker and Shevardnadze discuss the state of the German Democratic Republic and the CPSU's outlook on and relationship with East Germany, as well as both of their perspectives on the sociopolitical landscape in Poland, its recent election and the battle to maintain socialism in Poland.

  • June 10, 1989

    Secret Instructions by State Security (MfS) Chief Erich Mielke to Heads of all State Security Units

    In response to Western reports about the Tiananmen Square protests, Chief Erich Mielke alerts State Security to suppress all offensive anti-Chinese activity and propaganda in the GDR.

  • June 10, 1989

    Agreement about the Commencement of Substantial Political Negotiations between the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, the Members of the Opposition Roundtable and the Organizations of the Third Side

    The agreement was signed at the first plenary meeting of the National Roundtable talks. The document put on record the legal framework and the conditions of the subsequent tripartite negotiations which lasted until 18 September. At the next meeting, on 21 June, two intermediate-level committees were established for political and social-economic issues, each having six working subcommittees in which the bulk of the legal work leading to the establishment of parliamentary democracy in Hungary was carried out. Between March and June the crucial question of the transition was whether the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party [HSWP] was willing to eventually accept the fact that it would have to negotiate with a unified opposition represented by the Opposition Roundtable [ORT]. Although the HSWP leadership tried to do everything it could to prevent this, by the beginning of June it gave up its previous position. However, the opposition parties had to make a serious concession too, since it was a precondition of the HSWP in agreeing to start official negotiations on the political transition with the ORT that the talks should be tripartite. The “third side” included mass organizations and civil associations, all of which were supporters of the HSWP and/or represented left-wing political ideas.

  • June 12, 1989

    Record of the First Conversations Between Mikhail Gorbachev and FRG President Richard von Weizsäcker

    Gorbachev and Weizsäcker discuss Soviet-American relations and the Bush administration.

  • June 12, 1989

    Information on a Meeting of the Chairmen of the Regional Citizens’ Committees held in the Citizens’ Committee in Warsaw, at 6 Fredra St.,12 June 1989

    Chairmen of the fourty-six regional committees discuss the upcoming round of elections in Poland.

  • June 12, 1989

    Record of Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and Chancellor of FRG H. Kohl

    Gorbachev and Kohl share their impressions of the newly elected George Bush and discuss events in Eastern Europe.

  • June 13, 1989

    Second Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and FRG Chancellor Helmut Kohl

    Discussion between Gorbachev and FRG Chancellor Kohl regarding arms control and the evolving diplomatic relationship between West Germany and the Soviet Union.

  • June 13, 1989

    Excerpts from the Opening Full Session of the Hungarian National Roundtable Negotiations

    Transcribed from previously unpublished video recordings, these discussions point to the unwritten "rules" of mutual civility that arose in the nonviolent dissident movements and found an echo among the Communist reformers during the negotiated revolutions of 1989. For example, Dr. Istvan Kukorelli from the Patriotic People’s Front proposes to "refrain from questioning the legitimacy of each other, since the legitimacy of all of us is debatable. It is a question which belongs to the future - who will be given credit by history and who will be forgotten."

  • June 14, 1989

    Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and FRG Chancellor Helmut Kohl

    Gorbachev and Kohl discuss relations with the United States, Kohl's upcoming visit to Poland, and the status of reforms in various socialist countries.

  • July 05, 1989

    Excerpts from the Conversation of M.S. Gorbachev and Francois Mitterand

    Excerpts from a dinner conversation between Gorbachev and Mitterand where they discuss the political situations in Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland, and also comment on the US political system.

  • July 06, 1989

    Speech by Mikhail Gorbachev to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, "Europe as a Common Home"

    Mikhail Gorbachev exposes his idea of the "Common European Home" and states that he will not block reform in East European countries. Gorbachev told the Council that it is "the sovereign right of each people to choose their social system at their own discretion." Gorbachev's statements amount to an unofficial repudiation of the Brezhnev Doctrine.

  • July 12, 1989

    Memorandum from Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party

    Memorandum from Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party regarding a meeting of leaders of the Warsaw Pact countries to determine how to proceed with enhancing contacts with the West and pursuing disarmament

  • July 15, 1989

    Minutes from a Meeting of the Presidium of the Citizens’ Parliamentary Club, 15 July 1989

    The Citizens’ Parliamentary Club formed by Solidarity deputies in June 1989 meets to discuss preparations for the future of Poland’s political system and election of a president.