What collapse of Soviet Union can teach America about socialism: Bret Baier investigates

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, separating the citizens of Soviet-controlled East Berlin from the free people of West Berlin, and famously called on Russian General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."

At that point in history, the USSR was already well on its way to collapse and Gorbachev was instituting reforms in the hopes of rehabilitating the failing centrally planned Soviet system.

"Can you imagine what it is getting an American driving license?" said Konstantin von Eggert, former Moscow Bureau Chief for the BBC, in the new series, "The Unauthorized History of Socialism," hosted by Fox News anchor Bret Baier. 

"It's quite difficult, quite a tedious process," he continued. "Imagine doing it every day. This is what the Soviet life was. The whole system was based on people as we sat pretending that we worked and the government pretending that it pays."

In the interest of reform, Gorbachev pushed a policy called 'Glasnost' that made more information about the failing state available to the Soviet people.

VENEZUELA: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOCIALISM FAILS

"[The Soviet people] quickly began to discover how unjust, how inequitable, how stupid economically, the entire regime was," American Enterprise Institute's Leon Aron told Fox Nation.

Meanwhile, many of the Soviet satellite states began to assert their independence, while Gorbachev attempted to transform the centralized USSR into a confederation called the Union of Sovereign States.

A group of hardline communists pushed back. They staged a coup attempt in August 1991. Gorbachev was placed under house arrest and tanks and troops flooded into the streets.

Eggert, who was a newspaper reporter in Moscow at the time, remembered that he and his colleagues expected the full force of the USSR to come down on the people -- yet again.

"Then something remarkable happened," he said. "Hundreds of thousands of citizens poured into the streets to resist. Many of the soldiers joined them."

The feared Soviet government apparatus, responsible for the murder of millions of its own citizens over decades, had no response.

"Nothing. All these mighty armies, the KGB, all those people held sway over the country for 70 years, they just hid, just ran away. There was nobody to defend it," he said.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH EPISODE 1 OF "THE UNAUTHORIZED HISTORY OF SOCIALISM" FOR FREE

The fall of the Soviet Union coincided with European liberal parties pulling back from the tenants of social democracy and China instituting free-market reforms into their society, but those predicting the end of socialism would be sorely mistaken.

"Today, socialism is experiencing a revival," observed Baier in the Fox Nation piece, "Many Americans, particularly the young, have become enthralled with a 78-year old avowed socialist, a democratic socialist. The independent senator from Vermont and two-time presidential candidate Bernie Sanders."

To watch the entire six-part series, "The Unauthorized History of Socialism" go to Fox Nation and sign up today.

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