The Soviet Expansion into Eastern Europe

Soviet power in Eastern Europe

Despite the promises made by Stalin at the Yalta Conference to allow free elections, he had in fact started turning Eastern Europe into a buffer zone between the Soviet Union and Western Europe. Stalin feared that Eastern Europe could be the doorway for an attack on the Soviet Union by the West.

Timeline of Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe

CountryYearMethods used
Albania1945A communist government took power at the end of World War Two.
Bulgaria1946In 1946 the Bulgarian monarchy was abolished and later that year a communist government was elected and gradually eradicated its opponents.
East Germany1945East Germany was part of the Soviet zone of occupation agreed at the Yalta Conference and in 1945 the Soviets set up a communist regime.
Romania1945In the 1945 elections, a communist-led coalition (made up of more than one political party) government was elected. The Communists gradually removed their coalition partners and abolished the Romanian monarchy.
Poland1947Fearing that a non-communist government would be elected in 1947, Stalin invited 16 non-communist politicians to Moscow, where they were arrested. With their political opponents removed, the Polish communists won the election.
Hungary1948Although non-communists won the 1945 election, a communist politician, Rakosi, took control of the secret police and used it to arrest and execute his political opponents. By 1948 the Communist Party was in complete control of the country.
Czechoslovakia1948Czechoslovakia was the last country in Eastern Europe to fully fall to communism in 1948. At elections that year only communists were allowed to stand and a communist government was duly elected.