A-1 Exhaustive Revision Notes on International Relations: The Era of the Cold War 1943-1991

These are my exhaustive revision notes for Unit 1 of the GCSE History (Specification A) syllabus for Edexcel.

I have used multiple textbooks as well as internet sources to compile these notes.

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Teheran Conference
First Conference of the
Grand Alliance (194147)
November 28 ­ December 1
st
1943
ATTENDANTS:
Collectively known as `the Big Three':
Joseph Stalin
Franklin D. Roosevelt Winston Churchill
General Secretary of the
President of the United States Prime Minister of the United
Central Committee of the
of America Kingdom
Communist Party of the USSR
CAUSES:
The UK and the USSR wanted The Allies had no unified war The USSR wanted the UK and
the USA to be more involved or resources strategy despite the USA to open a second
in the war. their common enemy. front against NSDAP Germany.
PRECONFERENCE DISAGREEMENTS:
The West had uncovered that The USSR was angry that
the USSR had murdered The USSR was communist, Allied forces had opposed
10,000 Polish officers in the supporting state control of communist revolutionaries
Katyn Forest in 1939 after industries, political censorship during the Russian Revolution
German forces had invaded it. and a classless society based of 1917.
The West was angry that the on equality of wealth; the
USSR had signed the West was capitalist, The USSR was angry that it
MolotovRibbentrop Pact on supporting private enterprise, had taken the brunt of WWII
August 23, 1939, which helped freemarket economics, since Operation Barbarossa in
Adolf Hitler by ensuring political freedom and a free 1941, with the West still not
nonaggression from the USSR society based on individual having opened a second front
after the German invasion of opportunity. by the Teheran Conference.
Poland.
The West was angry that The West was suspicious that
Stalin was a tyrant, having the USSR had only joined the The USSR was angry that
killed between 30 and 35 Allies against Hitler after appeasement in the 1930s did
million politicians in the Operation Barbarossa. not extend to the USSR.
1930s.
CONFERENCE AGREEMENTS:
In a postNSDAP world, the In a postNSDAP world, the
USA and UK would have a A Second Front would open up USSR would have a sphere of
sphere of influence over in Western Europe, leading to influence over Eastern Europe.
Western Europe. Operation Overlord in June
The Allies would petition 1944. The borders of Poland and the
Turkey to join the war, as it USSR would shift westwards.
did in February 1945.
Resistance fighters in Yugoslavia would be supported and the USSR would have a special
communist influence over the USSR.
CONFERENCE DISAGREEMENTS:
Churchill wanted to open a single front in the Balkans (upwards from Greece) instead of a new
Western Front in order to avoid the spread of communist influence there. Roosevelt decided to
appease Stalin on this issue in order to avoid major disagreements between the two sides.

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Yalta Conference
Second Conference of the
Grand Alliance (194147)
February 4 ­ 11 1945
ATTENDANTS:
Collectively known as `the Big Three':
Joseph Stalin
Franklin D. Roosevelt Winston Churchill
General Secretary of the
President of the United States Prime Minister of the United
Central Committee of the
of America Kingdom
Communist Party of the USSR
CAUSES:
The war situation had There was a need to agree on
The USA wanted the USSR to
changed: NSDAP Germany was a political solution for
declare war on Japan.…read more

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Potsdam Conference
Third Conference of the
Grand Alliance (194147)
1945
July 17 ­ August 2nd
ATTENDANTS:
Joseph Stalin
Harry S. Truman Clement Attlee
General Secretary of the
President of the United States Prime Minister of the United
Central Committee of the
of America Kingdom
Communist Party of the USSR
Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945 from a
Winston Churchill was defeated by Clement
stroke, so his Democratic successor Harry S.
Attlee's Labour in the 1945 General Election.
Truman took over the presidency.…read more

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Growing Distrust:
The War of Words
1946 1949
Why the USSR was envious of the USA:
Only 300,000 American troops
The USA was enjoying full
did not return home from 70,000 villages were razed in
employment in a postwar
WWII; 27 million Soviet troops Operation Barbarossa and the
economic boom fuelled by
and citizens were instead subsequent German retreat.
consumer demand.
killed by the War.…read more

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The world could choose The USA had a responsibility The USA would financially and
between communism and to fight for liberty wherever it militarily assist governments
capitalism. was threatened. facing a communist threat.
Communism would be contained (hence why the USA intervened in Greece in 1947).…read more

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Moscowtrained Rationalised
Civil fear and mistrust Totalitarianist police
communists in every economies dependent
to avoid uprisings. forces and militaries.
state party. on the USSR.
Cominform (after 1947) Comecom (after 1949)
The Marshall Plan of 1947,
Cominform and Comecon
1947 ­ 1949
COMINFORM (1947):
In 1947, Stalin etablished the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). It was an umbrella
organisation of national communist parties throughout Europe loyal to the USSR.…read more

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The Berlin Blockade and
Airlift
June 1948 ­ May 1949
Summary: Aims:
On June 24, 1948, Stalin blockaded land, rail To stop the new government in Berlin from
and water access routes to West Berlin. controlling its territory in West Germany.
Causes:
German reunification, agreed at the Potsdam Conference, would have presented several issues
for the USSR regarding: its sphere of influence; its military troops; its political governance and
Marshall Aid. Stalin wanted Berlin's entirety.…read more

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Arms Race
1945 ­ 1956
Causes:
Following the formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the USA and the USSR entered into an arms
race in the fear of a military attack against either side.
Events:
Date Country Development
1945 USA Nuclear bombs
1949 USSR (causing the American Red Scare)
1952 USA Ivy Mike Hydrogen bombs, although those of
1953 USSR Joe4 test the USA were stronger at this point.
Sakharov's Third A bomb as powerful as the USA's
USSR
Idea hydrogen bombs.…read more

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The Hungarian Uprising
October 1956
Why Hungarians were angry:
Hungarian coal, oil and wheat Hungary suffered under
Hungary had lost land to other were being shipped to the Matyas Rakosi's brutal regime
Eastern European countries. USSR whilst Hungarians of political censorship.
starved.
The USSR controlled Hungary's government, police and army.…read more

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Hungary was widespread, liberalisation has become known as the Polish
with a hunger for change that could feasibly be October and gave hope to Hungarians that they
realised with a popular protest spreading could secure similar reforms if such demands
internationally. were asked.
On October 23, 1956, students demonstrated in parliament and called for a 16point list of
reforms. The demonstrations quickly turned violent and spread across the country.
Khrushchev agreed to make Nagy Prime Minister and to withdraw the Red Army from Hungary.…read more

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Pete Langley - Get Revising founder

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