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International Relations Since 1945

International Relations Since 1945 (3rd edn)

John W. Young and John Kent
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date: 12 April 2024

p. 47520. Europe and the Former Soviet Unionlocked

p. 47520. Europe and the Former Soviet Unionlocked

  • John W. YoungJohn W. YoungProfessor of International History, The University of Nottingham, UK
  •  and John KentJohn KentEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics & Political Science


This chapter examines important developments in Europe and the former Soviet Union. The collapse of communism paved the way for the greatest changes in Europe since 1919, with the political disintegration of three Eurasian countries: the then USSR, with localized outbreaks of violence; Yugoslavia, with several years of bloody civil war; and Czechoslovakia, where the Czechs and Slovaks peacefully agreed to go their own way as of January 1993, in the so-called ‘velvet divorce’. Communism’s demise also brought reunification to a divided nation: Germany. The chapter first considers the German reunification, before discussing the break-up of the USSR and the Wars of Succession, Yugoslavia’s break-up and the Bosnian War, NATO and European security, and the emergence of the European Union, which replaced the European Community.

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