What was the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War?

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The Eastern Bloc, sometimes called the Soviet Bloc, were the nations of eastern Europe that fell under the influence of the Soviet Union after the Second World War. While not directly governed by the Soviet government, the USSR did encourage, assist, and at times enforce communist rule in those nations. The Soviet bloc included Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Yugoslavia and Albania also had communist governments, but had fewer ties to Moscow. After the end of the war, one country after another established, with varying degrees of Soviet involvement, communist governments, and elminated opposition parties. Czechoslovakia was the last state to form a communist government in 1948. In 1955, all of the nations with the exception of Yugoslavia joined a Soviet-dominated alliance known as the Warsaw Pact.

With only a few examples of dissent, notably in Hungary in 1957, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1980, the eastern bloc remained under Soviet control until 1989. Part of this was due to the threat of Soviet force, as forces from the USSR intervened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia to crush anti-communist uprisings. After 1968, the threat of armed intervention was the basis for a official Soviet policy, known as the Brezhnev Doctrine after Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev.

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