Inauguration of George H. W. Bush, 1989.

In 1989 the greatest geopolitical windfall in the history of American foreign policy fell into George Bush's lap. In a mere six months the communist regimes of eastern Europe collapsed, giving the West a sudden, sweeping and entirely unexpected victory in its great global conflict against the Soviet Union. Between July and December of 1989 Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania ousted communist leaders. Their new governments each proclaimed a commitment to democratic politics and market economics, and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Europe began. All this happened without the West firing a single shot.

The revolutions in eastern

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