Why did the Cold War end?

The Cold War hit me in 1989 as I witnessed the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. When my question as to what was happening went unanswered, the journey to quench my insatiable curiosity began…

In the early days after graduating with a History degree, I did consider writing a non-fiction book. This post is perhaps the humble beginning of such a move.

So why did the Cold War, the 20th century conflict between two groups of Communist and anti-Communist (we can hardly call certain US allies democratic, can we) countries end?

Upon various theories and hypotheses, I am now most convinced by this – it ceased because Communism was untenable. In hindsight, Communism was naive. It failed to appreciate the inherent corruption of the human soul where the communist party elites in the various Central/Eastern European states lorded it over the populations they claimed to save from the horrors of capitalism. Communist planning was inept and led to queues and queues for even necessities like food. It failed to give those citizens a better life while extinguishing hope and freedom. Even if the spontaneous revolution had occurred as Marx predicted, resulting in a stateless utopia, evils like rape would scarcely have ended.

Where is the evidence for the foolishness of Communism? You see this in the revolts and challenges of East Germany in 1953, Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, and Poland 1980. This is not including the countless and unrecorded challenges passively or actively made by the man or woman on the street during the days of the Iron Curtain. The Communist experiment was merely a house of cards which collapsed from its shaky foundations of social engineering and admirable economic growth (mostly in the 1950s and 60s).

To hit the final nail, the sole major communist power China is only communist is name. Had they not opened up under Deng Xiaoping, it is hard not to imagine their eventual collapse.