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Leaders of the super powers
During the Cold War 1945-91 leadership
changes occurred in both the USA and
the USSR
Each leader had important decisions to
make and a drive to prove their country
the new superpower…read more

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Leaders of the superpowers
The president is the Chief Executive in charge of all
aspects of government. The president is
commander in chief if the armed forces and
controls and directs foreign policy. The cabinet is
appointed by the president.
The USSR had a single powerful individual in charge
of government and giving direction to Soviet
foreign policy. There were attempts to develop
collective leadership but they were short lived.
Power was controlled by one man holding the
position of First Secretary, or General Secretary of
the Communist Party.…read more

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Leaders of the USA
President Truman, 1945-52
Truman was President at the beginning of the Cold War. He had
the task of reacting to the original Soviet actions that caused
suspicion and distrust in the West.
Truman deliberately set out to match and check the perceived
communist threats with the Berlin airlift and formation of NATO.
A build up of US armed forces took place with an emphasis on
nuclear weapons.
President Eisenhower, 1953-60
Eisenhower continued the policy of building military strength to
match the Russians. The development of nuclear missiles
increased. This policy was strongly pursued by Secretary of State
Nearer the end of his term he became concerned at the need to
limit the arms build up of the superpowers. His attempt at a
Summit Conference in 1960 ended in failure of the U-2 Incident.…read more

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Leaders of the USA
President Kennedy 1961-3
This is the time when the threat was greatest. Tension was heightened
over Berlin in 1961 with the building of the wall. The following year saw
the Cuban missile crisis.
Kennedy took a confrontational line with the Russians over Cuba,
mobilising forces and setting up the blockade. Once the Cuban missile
crisis was resolved there was an improvement in East-West relations,
with the Test Ban Treaty, and the setting up of the `Hot Line'.
The USA also faced a growing problem in southeast Asia in Laos and
Vietnam. Kennedy began the US intervention by sending US advisers
to South Vietnam.
President Johnson 1963-8
Johnson adopted the strongest US response threat to communist
advances with the Vietnam War. Johnson believed the world faced the
relentless advance of communism unless the US took action; the
domino theory. As a result 500,000 troops were dispatched to
However, US strength could not counter the communist advancement.
As US casualties increased disillusionment spread. His popularity fell
and he did not stand in the next election.…read more

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Leaders of the USA
President Nixon 1969-74
Foreign policy shifted under Nixon. American ground
involvement in Vietnam was greatly reduced and ended.
Reliance was placed on using South Vietnamese troops-
`Vietnamisation'. Nixon increased US air power with a
clear decision against using ground troops. This policy was
popular and got Nixon re-elected in 1972.
Nixon worked to improve relations with the USSR and
achieved success through the work of Kissinger. Relations
were opened up with China with a triumphant meeting
with Mao. This was the beginning of the era of détente.
President Ford 1975-76
Ford replaced Nixon after his resignation, the détente
process continued with improved relations with Russia.…read more

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