Weighing Gorbachev: the world in the 1980s

What was the role of Gorbachev in ending the Cold War?

Pascal Tak

Mikhail Gorbachev (Yuryi Abramochkin, RIA Novosti Archive).

In January 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected ‘Man of the Decade’ by the influential TIME Magazine stating he was the most influential man of his time. For some people he is a hero who ended the Cold War. However, many Russians see Gorbachev as a traitor, who is to blame for the end of the Soviet Union. Whether he should be seen as a hero or a traitor is a matter of perspective. The underlying question is: what is the role of Gorbachev in ending the Cold War? In this activity students work in groups and follow a step-by-step process to place Mikhail Gorbachev in his historical context. Finally they ‘weigh’ the part that Gorbachev had in ending the Cold War by creating their own evidenced arguments.