What was the Eastern Bloc?

The Eastern Bloc was a term coined by NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). It is used to refer to the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe that included the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact countries, Albania and Yugoslavia. The reason behind the formation of the pact is usually directed at the consequences of the Second World War which exposed the expansive and porous Russian border. The communist government considered it appropriate not to withdraw completely from the neighboring countries it had conquered during the war. Instead, it was decided that there should be a buffer zone composed of loyal neighbors.

Eastern bloc

The Eastern Bloc was formed during the Second World War as a unified force led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). His initial intention was to fight Nazi Germany. However, after the war, the Union lacked a common goal. With Stalin, who feared that neighboring countries would convert to capitalism, mobilized, financed and guided the socialist movements in countries that subsequently gained the power to become socialist states with loyalty to Moscow. These European countries together with Russia have formed the Warsaw Pact. These countries then became known as the Eastern bloc.

Member countries

The member countries of the Eastern bloc were widespread between Central and Eastern Europe and composed of the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.While most countries entered the Eastern Bloc quite easily, Yugoslavia and East Germany represented a challenge. Yugoslavia, despite being a communist country, did not immediately join the Eastern bloc and was open to relations with NATO. The country’s leader, Josip Broz Tito, disagreed with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin on several critical issues and in 1948 a split between the two followed. After the war, Germany was subdivided by allied forces with the western part of the country under British, American and French control while the eastern part was under Soviet domination. Due to differences in ideologies, Western powers called their part of the country “Federal Republic of Germany” while the East was named by the Soviets ”

Civil Restrictions

Movement across the borders in the eastern block has been severely limited. Political ambitions were severely repressed by Communist governments through special secret police organizations that carried out executions of dissidents. The media in all countries were heavily controlled by communist governments and used to spread state-sponsored propaganda to the public. All transmissions from the western media have been banned.

Collapse of the eastern block

Eastern bloc countries have experienced famine and poverty at unprecedented levels caused by rampant corruption and total failure to provide services by the authorities and huge investments to finance the cold war. In the late 1980s, the Russian regime saw that their alienation from the rest of the world had been regressive for their economy and began to open up the eastern bloc to foreign aid and investment. However, most Western powers have anchored their assistance at the end of the Eastern bloc and the independence of all states. Soviet leader Gorbachev implemented democratization and economic restructuring that eventually saw the death of the Eastern bloc.

What was the Eastern bloc?

degree Country name Population 1985 (millions)
1 Albania 2.96
2 Bulgaria 8.97
3 Czechoslovakia 15.5
4 Hungary 10.6
5 East Germany 16.69


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