What Role Did the Economic Issues Play in Ending the Cold War?

The Cold War was a state of tension and a conflict that developed between the United States and Soviet Union after the Second World War. Aware of the fact that historians argue among the actual dates of origin and end of Cold War, for the purpose of this essay the widely accepted date of 1991- disintegration of USSR will be considered the end of Cold War. Economic issues were the key factor in ending the Cold War. The step from economic stagnation under Brezhnev followed by radical reforms introduced by Gorbachev, tremendously affected the Soviet economy, bringing about its fall.
Cold War was a constantly changing period of history, during which the economic reforms and plans changed as well.

The economic problems of USSR reach far back to the consequences of Missile crisis. This brought about Soviet decision to achieve nuclear parity with US, and of course the cost was great. The military competition with US and its allies put a lot of strain on Soviet economy. In 1970’s the signs of stagnation were beginning, the Gross National Product dropped about 7%. But Brezhnev and his comrades didn’t realise that Soviet command economy needed far reaching reforms, because it didn’t generate sufficient growth over a long time. In spite of detente, the defence spending increased.Brezhnev ignored the factors, indicating that Soviet Union needed a new policy with reforms. The Soviet economy was undermined by the fall of economic growth together with increased defence spending and military help to Third World. Brezhnev’s ignorance of economic realities is an important reason for the collapse of Soviet Union- end of Cold War.