Beginning of the Cold War up to Communist Expansion

A brief overview of the Beginning of the Cold War and some of the events that took place. The notes go on up to the Communist expansion and the Iron Curtain

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Ideologies of the USA and USSR


  • Democratic system- a President and Congress chosen in free democratic elections
  • Capatalist economy
  • Worlds wealthiest country- however great contrast
  • Belief of the freedom of the individual


  • Supreme Soviet- only communist parties could be voted for and it had no real power
  • Individual rights were less important than the whole society
  • Government owned industry
  • No rich and poor (in theory)

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Yalta and Potsdam Conferences 1945

Things to be discussed at these meetings:

  • What to do with Germany and its Leaders
  • What would happen to occupied countries
  • How to stop the war in Japan
  • How to maintain Peace

Yalta, February 1945.

Leaders: Churchill (Britain), Roosevelt (USA), Stalin (USSR).

The leaders at this conference got on well.

Points that were agreed.

  • Germany and Berlin to be divided into 4 zones
  • Countries of Eastern Europe to hold free elections
  • USSR would join in the war against Japan in return for territory
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Yalta and Potsdam cont.

Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945.

Leaders: Atlee (Britain), Truman (USA), Stalin (USSR)

These Leaders did not get on well as the previous and so the meeting was less succesful

They agreed that-

  • Nazi party banned and leaders tried as war criminals
  • Oder-Neisse line was to form the border between Poland and Germany

They disagreed on the following points

Stalin wanted a naval base in the Meditteranean

  • They saw no need for him to have one
  • Stalin saw this as mistrust
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Potsdam cont

Stalin wanted more reparations from Germany than the USA and Britain

  • The USA and Britain did not want to cripple Germany
  • Stalin was suspicous of why his allies wanted to protect Germany

Stalin set up a communist government in the capital of Poland and this caused suspicion among the USA and Britain as they did not know why he wanted to set up a communist government.

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Atom Bomb

The Japanese were still refusing to surrender so consequently the USA decided to use the atom bomb

On the 6th August 1945 an Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and around 75,000 were killed. As well as that people also died from the radioactive poisoning

A second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, three days later, and this killed 60,000.

The consequences relating to the Cold war were

  • Stalin was convinced that the USA were warning him about there power
  • An Arms Race emerged between the USA and the USSR
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Iron Curtain

1945 onward the Eastern European countries became satellite states

Whilst the elections where being held in these countries evidence suggests that they were rigged to allow USSR communists to take control.

Europe was divided and it was described as the Iron Curtain (By Churchill)

Czechoslovakia, 1948

An election was due in Czechoslovakia and it seemed that communists would do badly so:

  • Communists organised marches and protests
  • Non-communist ministers resigned and Foreign Minister was killed

In the May elections only communists were allowed to stand

Czechoslovakia was the 6th state to fall under communism.

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