The Cold War

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  • Created by: riana1705
  • Created on: 03-05-16 19:33

The Cold War   

CausesGetting Started

  • Three major decisions at Yalta were made by Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in 1945.
  • Roosevelt died and was replaced by Truman, who was suspicious of the USSR.
  • The USA and USSR had different ideologies - the USA were capitalist and the USSR were communist. They became rivals.
  • The USA was the only nuclear power for four years (1945-49). They exploded an A-bomb in 1949 and developed a hydrogen bomb in 1952.
  • The USSR became influential in Eastern Europe and used their Red Army to occupy it. Stalin installed pro-soviet/puppet governments between 1945-48 in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. The exception to his domination was Yugoslavia.
  • The Marshall plan promised American aid to mostly Western European countries to rebuild their economies.
  • The Truman doctrine gave support to any nation threatened by a communist takeover.
  • The Soviet Union opposed France, Britain and the USA combining their parts of Berlin to make it stronger. He cut off all land communication between West Berlin (the European and American side) and the rest of the world.
  • Stalin died in 1953 and was replaced by Krushchev, who was less harsh and believed in peaceful coexistence. He visited the USA in 1959 and signed the Austrian State Treaty on 1955 with other countries, agreeing to withdraw occupying troops from Austria and to give it independence.
  • Soviet tanks invaded Hungary, with over 20k Hungarians killed. Nagy was arrested and then later hanged. The government asked the UN for help, but the USSR vetoed their resolution to remove the tanks.
  • Between 1949-61, over 2.5 million left East Germany through the West by leaving through Berlin. Krushchev issued two ultimatums in 1958 then in 1961 demanding the the US, France and Britain removed their troops within six months, both of which were refused.
  • The U-2 was an American spy plane, which Eisenhower used to get information on the USSR's missiles. In 1960, the USSR shot down a U-2 and Eisenhower denied it was a spy plane.
  • The Arms race between the USA and USSR continued in the 50s and 60s as a space race, with each side making more artificial satellites (the first created by the USSR, Sputnik 1, in 1957, as well as ICBMs).
  • Dubcek became Czechoslovakian leader in 1958, and made changes caused the Prague Spring - workers were given a greater say in the running of factories; people were permitted to travel to the West; living standards were raised; free elections were to be held and opposition parties would be allowed. Dubcek was still a communist, and promised he wouldn't leave the Warsaw Pact, but Brezhnev didn't want the Eastern Bloc to be weakened.
  • In 1950, war broke out in Korea. Communist North Korea wanted to reunite with South Korea and the USA and Western Powers intervened to halt the spread of communism. Truman allowed General MacArthur to invade North Korea, worrying China, who feared a Western invasion.
  • The French owned a colony in Asia called Indochina. There was a revolt in the 40s and 50s, backed by the communist China. The Geneva conference in 1954 aimed to tackle problems in Asia such as this.
  • The Truman Doctrine made sure America could protect South Vietnam from communism.Under Eisenhower and Kennedy, money and advisers were given to South Vietnam. Eisenhower supported the choice of the corrupt and unpopular Diem as leader during the communist threat.
  • The war became unpopular in the USA because of the brutal images of war on TV. Nixon tried to finish the war.
  • Since 1952, Cuba had been ruled by the Batista, a military dictator who allowed American business men and the Mafia make huge profits while the people lived in poverty. Fidel Castro tried to overthrow the government in 1953, was imprisoned and was released in 1955 and fled Cuba. He returned in 1956, began a guerrilla war and managed to take the capital, Havana, and overthrow the government.
  • In 1961, President Kennedy allowed a CIA-trained invasion of Cuba by anti-Castro rebels, but he didn't give them air support when they reached the Bay of Pigs that April.
  • Khrushchev made a deal to remove the missiles from Cuba and order his ships to turn around.


  • Germany was split into four zones of occupation; previously occupied Eastern European parties had free elections for new governments; and the UN would replace the League of Nations.
  • The allies were now suspicious of each other. Stalin wanted to expand in Eastern Europe and thought Truman and Attlee were new and weak leaders.
  • They began an arms race.
  • The USSR made their own hydrogen bomb by 1955.
  • Non-communist parties were banned, and communist ones were controlled by the Cominform. Poland wasn't given free elections and Yugoslavia (led by Tito, which had freed themselves) were no longer being given aid by Stalin.
  • West Germany benefited massively and the West of Europe became less weak and less susceptible to communism.
  • $400 million was given to Turkey and Greece to stop the spread of communism. Truman aided the Greek government in their civil war between the pro-Western government and communists.
  • The Berlin airlift (1948-49) let West Berlin obtain supplies from the air. The blockade ended in 1949 and the Western powers formed NATO that year. In 1955, the Eastern bloc formed the Warsaw Pact, designed to militarily counter NATO.
  • Khrushchev allowed the liberal Nagy (who wanted Hungary to become a neutral state, like Austria) be the Hungarian Prime Minister. In Nov 1956 Nagy announced he would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and hold free elections, ending communism.
  • The US couldn't come to Hungary's aid without causing a nuclear war, so used the invasion as anti-USSR propaganda. Kádár became the Prime Minister of Hungary and ensured loyalty towards the USSR - despite the 'thaw' in policy, Khrushchev could still be harsh.
  • On 13 August 1961, a 30 mile barrier was built over Berlin, built overnight. This was the Berlin Wall, fortified with barbed wire and separating East and West Berliners. Anyone who tried to escape from East Berlin was shot. Their confinement lasted the next 30 years.
  • The USSR produced the alive pilot and the plane wreckage as evidence, and the summit which was meant to take place in Paris a few days later feel apart because Khrushchev went home after Eisenhower refused to apologise.
  • The USSR got the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin in 1961); the USA got the first men on the moon in 1969. American ICBMs increased from 200 to 1000 between 1961-7. They released their Atlas ICBM in 1957.
  • The USSR was worried and sent 500k Soviet troops in 1968 to restore Soviet control. Dubcek was removed from office and the UN resolution was vetoed. Brezhnev, the new Soviet leader, created the Brezhnev Doctrine to intervene in any country where communism was threatened.
  • In Oct 1950, China and North Korea drove the UN forces back in a joint attack. They captured the South Korean capital, Seoul, by Jan 1951. MacArthur wanted to attack China and pushed for this but Truman disagreed - he was sacked after their argument. A ceasefire was agreed in 1953.
  • France was forced to withdraw from Indochina. Vietnam - formerly part of Indochina - was partitioned into the communist North and the democratic South, and Laos and Cambodia were set up as independent states.
  • In 1963, Johnson changed policy. He began a bombing campaign against North Vietnam and troop numbers from 23k to 180k to 500k (1964-5-7).
  • Nixon gradually withdrew American troops: only 47k remained in 1972. He began training the South Vietnamese to fight the Vietcong, but this failed because the Vietcong treated the South Vietnamese well and managed to gain their support.
  • Castro shut down casinos and brothels and nationalised American-owned sugar mills, making America cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba. He began to work with the USSR, who offered to buy Cuba's sugar instead of the USA.
  • They were easily defeated. The invasion led Castro to decide that Cuba needed military assistance from the Soviets. In 1962, the USA's U-2s detected the Soviet missiles in Cuba and Kennedy ordered a naval blockade - all ships would be stopped and searched to prevent more missiles being transported there. He also demanded that Khrushchev withdraw his missiles, and prepared to invade Cuba.
  • The US lifted the blockade, promised not to invade Cuba, and secretly agreed to remove their missiles from Turkey, which bordered the USSR.

Overall summary

The Cold War was expensive, and in the end it wasn't just about the arms race. It could be seen as a direct competition between the USA and USSR to inflict their rule on 'weak' countries even though there had just been WW2. This shows how ruthless rulers can be but also how powerless surrounding countries are to the dominant influences around them.


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