How far did ‘peaceful coexistence’ ease Cold War tensions

  • Created by: miataylor
  • Created on: 08-05-15 10:29

How far did ‘peaceful coexistence’ ease Cold War tensions


  • 'Spirit of Geneva' coined by Antony Eden. Summit diplomacy: Geneva Conference April-July 1954; Geneva Summit July 1955; Camp David Summit; Paris; Vienna. Establish good working relationship. Achievements? May 1955 Austrian State Treaty - removes all foreign troops and grants A's independence. PRIOR, agreement reached on Korea. July 1953, Malenkov: 'there is no dispute or outstanding issue that cannot be settled peacefully.' Eden: 'no country attending wanted a war and each country understood why.' BUT, WHENEVER ANYTHING OF REAL IMPORTANCE WAS DISCUSSED, MEETINGS BROKE DOWN: Berlin. US refusal to concede capitalist enclave. Refuse November 1958 ultimatum, 25th July Kennedy: 'we cannot and will not allow the Communists to drive us out of Berlin.' Wall 13 August 1961. Symbol of enduring conflict.
  • Peaceful co-existence encouraged respect towards each other's spheres of influences. Indeed, for all America's rhetoric on 'rollback' and 'massive retaliation,' bar from taking in 25 000 Hungarian refugees, given the political and military relatities, the US could do little but 'ring its hands about Soviet brutality.' McMahon. 35000 arrested 3000 killed.
  • Perhaps similarly, US coups in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) were met with little resistance from the USSR. Moreover, the integration of West Germany into NATO (5th May 1955) saw Soviets react 'surprisingly mildly' given their desire to go ahead with the Geneva Conference. USSR actually recognized WG in 1955, restored relationship with TIto. (Gaddis.)


  • policy of 'peaceful coexistence' does not remove ideological aspect of the Cold War. Indeed, Khrushchev publically dismissed notions of peaceful 'ideological co-existence' and still adhered to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine which insured 'victory will inevitably be ours.' Indeed, K pursed peaceful co-existence partly because he was confident that the USSR's economic output would soon overtake the West (as capitalism is bound to endure an economic slump) claiming in 1956 that USSR industrial production had increased 1.949% compared to 1.34% for US. Favored approach due to what he called 'disintegration of the imperialist colonialist system.' Hoped they would reject imperialist Western states look to USSR for support. Dulles actually acknowledges that though Stalin and Lenin were dead the 'doctrine was not dead.' In similar way, Eishenhower and Dulles perpetuated ideological aspect - even at the end of his term, E says that 'we face a hostile ideology... ruthless in purpose and insidious in method.' Attack containment as 'futile and immoral' given its inability to counter communism and its resort to compromise with 'despotism and Godless terrorism.
  • Arms Race. 1949 Soviets a-bomb precipitated spiraling arms race. Development of H bomb (Nov. 1952) satellite (1957) ICBM (1957) SLBM (1960.) Devastating impact of potential nuclear war deterrent effect? Gaddis argues it was used by Eisenhower to 'stabilize' the status quo.  Emboldened them to be risky. New look policy: massive retaliation (1954) Brinkmanship more bang for your buck: US in Korean War; Taiwan Straits crisis. Kennedy considered nuclear strike Berlin wall. Tensions undoubtedly heightened. Khrushchev, finish to US nuclear monopoly revealed more bombastic and unpredictable features of his personality. gaddis 'like a petulant child playing with a loaded gun.' Nuclear diplomacy Suez Crisis. 1959 'we will bury you' 'we're producing missiles like sausages.' Furthered by culture of secrecy arms race engendered. Gaither Report November 1957, 3-1 missile gap, $44 billion defence budget. U2 planes (1 May 1960 which ruined Paris Summit after Eishenhower, 11th May refuses to apologise, potent symbol.) US open skies initiative espionage plot to 'look into our bedrooms.'
  • EG: Ideological element persists in Third World. increased use of covert operations (Alan Dulles) coup in Iran, Guatamala all to prevent Communist expansion. Improved relationship between Nasser and Soviet Union following Suez Crisis (31 Oct Britain and France bomb airfields) of 1956. Eisenhower Doctrine of January 1957, echoes of Truman Doctrine. $10 million to King of Jordan, 10000 marines to Lebanon, July 1957.
  • Issues like Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall, symbols of enduring conflict.


Neither accepted other's objectives and both doubted their rival's commitment to peaceful co-existence.


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