Why the Cold War ended?

Notes on the final unit of edexcel GCSE the Cold War- why the cold war ended

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The collapse of détente: American reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
President Carter's response:
Brezhnev's invasion was a miscalculation; Carter was appalled at the USSR's behaviour.
So he made a statement called the Carter Doctrine which stated that the USA wouldn't let the USSR gain control of oil-rich Middle Eastern territory, he also took steps to try to remo
Soviet troops from Afghanistan:
He formed alliances with China & Israel to support Afghan rebels who were opposed to the invasion and the Afghan communist government. The CIA provided weapons and
funds for the Mujahideen (an organisation that were fighting to free Afghanistan from Soviet control.
Imposing economic sanctions (restrictions) stopping virtually all trade with the USSR.
He ended diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
The end of détente
As Carter's actions didn't force Soviet troops to withdraw from Afghanistan it only effectively ended détente, Carter took two further steps:
Withdrew support for SALT 2, the negotiations had been going since 1972; it would have reduced nuclear missiles to 2250 warheads for each power, but Carter's withdrawal
meant it never happened.
Led a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, around 60 countries followed in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The American government set up an alternative
Olympics `the Olympic Boycott Games' held in Philadelphia.
The 1984 LA Olympics were boycotted by the USSR and 14 other communist countries; alternative Games `the Friendship Games'- a communist alternative.
This meant détente was dead; the superpower relations were the lowest since the Cuban Missile Crisis- 1962.
Ronald Reagan and the Second Cold War: `Evil Empire'
The Second Cold War- the phrase used to describe the period between 1979 to 1985 which marked a new low in the superpower relations.
In the late 1950's& early 1960's the public were concerned about the thought of a nuclear war.
Reagan became the president in 1981
He strongly opposed the détente & thought America should start fighting to win the Cold War. Many people thought he wasn't a suitable President. Britain & France were worried as
he said he could imagine `a limited nuclear war in Europe'. He thought détente had been a disaster for the USA, making America weaker and the USSR stronger. He wanted to stop
peaceful co-existence and fight for individual freedom.
`Evil Empire' speech- March 1983

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At a Christian meeting he said the Cold War was a war between good and evil; America fought with God's blessing, and it was America's moral duty to invest in nuclear weapons to
defend liberty from the `evil' Soviet Union.
`Star Wars'- America strikes back
Reagan proposed a nuclear umbrella- satellites equipped with lasers- to shoot down the USSR's nuclear missiles. The technology would make the USSR's missiles useless, therefore
force the USSR to disarm; SDI broke the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.…read more

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Strengths Booming economy; Warsaw Pact allies and greater
excellent computer number of nuclear missiles
technology & space
technology; highly equipped
military forces;
international reputation as
a superpower; NATO
Weaknesses Fewer nuclear missiles than Committed to expensive war in
the USSR Afghanistan; failing economy;
old-fashioned technology;
reputation ruined by Chernobyl
It was clear that the USA was in a much stronger position than the USSR.
Geneva summit- November 1985
It was the first meeting between President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev.…read more

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Reagan persuaded Gorbachev that the USA weren't going to invade the USSR.
The break-up of Eastern Europe
Gorbachev's attitude to Eastern Europe
December 1988- he announced that ideology should play a lesser role in Soviet foreign affairs, meaning the USSR wouldn't favour trading with communist states over
capitalist countries.
He was keen for Eastern European states to enjoy perestroika and glasnost.
He withdrew Soviet troops from Eastern European bases to save money.…read more

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Gorbachev from power, it originally worked as Gorbachev was away from the capital at the time & was prevented from returning to Moscow. The
new government declared a state of emergency stopping the freedoms gained during perestroika & glasnost, its goal was to restore the USSR's power & secure the communist
government's future. The future president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, described the new government as `illegal' & called the people of Moscow to resist the new regime, so it lasted only
three days.…read more


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