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Europe

» The Iron Curtain

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During World War I a new government, communism, was established in Russia. Russia was renamed the Soviet Union, and its new leaders did away with the absolute monarch called the czar. The idea of communism was to rid the nation of the rich, upper class to create a more equal society. All property was taken over and owned in common by the people but controlled by the government.

During World War II the Soviet Union fought on the side of England, France, and the U.S. against Germany and Italy in Europe. As the western nations fought from their side, the Soviets attacked the enemies from the east, gaining control of almost all the land in Eastern Europe. Then when the war ended, the Soviet Union refused to give up that control and established communist governments across the region.

Europe was divided between the free nations of Western Europe and the communist countries of Eastern Europe including East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania. The term Iron Curtain was used to describe the division. The Iron Curtain was mostly a heavily-guarded, barbed wire fence stretching for thousands of miles. In the city of Berlin, Germany, which was split into two, the Berlin Wall was built to separate the free West Berlin from communist East Berlin and became the symbol of the Iron Curtain division.

The Iron Curtain itself represented the differences between the two ideologies of democracy and communism. For more than 45 years the free, democratic nations of the world competed in space, weapons development, and even wars in the cases of Korea and Vietnam against the communists. Then the fall of the Soviet Union and communism in Eastern Europe in 1991 marked the end of the Iron Curtain.

Answer the following questions from the reading above.

Based on passage information, it can be concluded that Russian czars were

communist leaders.
leaders of the Soviet Union.
powerful monarchs.
enemies of Western Europe.

The Russian Communists would MOST LIKELY have said that the purpose of communism was to

kill off the wealthy, upper class.
establish a strong class system.
see that all people were equal.
control everything in a nation.

The Iron Curtain would BEST be described as a

government.
symbol.
fence.
difference.

A synonym for the word ideologies in the last paragraph would be

beliefs.
differences.
freedoms.
enemies.

Why do you think communism failed and the Soviet Union fell in 1991?
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