Chapter 1 - Beginning of the Cold War

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The Grand Alliance

  • June 1941 - Germany invades USSR
  • December 1941 (after Pearl Harbour) - Germany declares war on the USA
  • Allies had little in common before war - united because they faced the same enemy (Germany)
  • Ideologically, Communism oppposite to Nazism but Russia and Germany formed a non-agression pact in 1939
  • August 1941- Roosevelt and Churchill signed Atlantic Charter, commiting Western powers to a post-war world based on peace, prosperity and democracy
  • January 1942 - Declaration of UN
  • New World Order to be based on freedom, justice + peace, USSR was a signatory
  • It appeared as if the Grand Alliance could survive the war
  • The Grand Alliance did collapse - but was this just down to an ideological split?
  • Allied powers: GB, USA, France, USSR (from 1941), Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy (from 1943) Yugoslavia, China & India
  • Axis Powers: Germany, Austria, USSR (1939-1940), Japan, Italy, Romania & Hungary
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Yalta Conference: 4th - 11th February 1945

  • 'Big Three' = Stalin, Roosevelt & Churchill
  • High point of cooperation - appeared to reaffirm belief that Grand Alliance still intact & effective
  • Decisions made : Germany to be split into four zones, each administered by an allied power, Berlin to be divided similarly, UN ratified, USSR gained land from Poland, Poland expanded W & N & Declaration on Liberated Europe agreed.
  • Cause for optimism for peaceful reconstruction?
  • After Yalta, there were signs that truce (USSR + USA) & Grand Alliance would not last - USSR devastated by war (25million Russian dead)
  • Stalin's priority was security for the USSR - founded upon commitment to spheres of influence and the desire to keep Germany weak
  • Grand Alliance founded on cooperation - its existence implied there was no relevance in IR being driven by power maintained through spheres of influence
  • Declaration on Liberated Europe placed little significance on relevence of SOI - Stalin only agreed because it was seen as the correct thing to do
  • Stalin convinced the USA would dominate economics through the IMF and World Bank - against the interests of the USSR (challenged USSR's security)
  • 12th April 1945 - Roosevelt dies - replaced by Truman
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Potsdam Conference: 17th July - 1st August 1945

  • Day before - first successful detonation of atomic bomb - Truman hoped this would give him leverage
  • Characterised by Truman's abrasive diplomacy & USSR's determination not to be intimidated by USA's nuclear monopoly
  • No medium or long - term plans for the future of Germany or international relations
  • Agreements:Germany to be disarmed & demilitarised, denazification to occur, decentralisation of political system, freedom of speech, free press & religious tolerance restored, Germany to become single economic unit, SU to get reparations from own zone and 25% from others
  • Conference did nothing to reinforce apparent unity achieved at Yalta
  • Failed to define consensus between E and W
  • Failed to establish clarity on Soviet reparation claims
  • Contributed to growing suspicion and uncertainty between the USA and USSR
  • Grand Alliance challenged further by range of crises - inadequacies of Yalta and Potsdam contributed
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The German Problem 1945-1947

  • Immediate issue - Soviet reparations - Potsdam gave them 15% of industrial equipment from W zones with exchange - a further 10% could be taken with no exchange
  • They could only take resources deemed "unnecessary for the German peace recovery"
  • Agreement required everyday cooperation between E and W 
  • SU demands coal from W zones - raised issue of want for revenge & plan to weaken Germany
  • April '46 - Truman wants 25million tonnes of W zones' coal to be available to W countries
  • May '46 - General Clay (US zone) says reparations will stop until a plan for the German economy was implemented -SU sees a US strategy to strengthen W Europe economies & restore German economy - Heightened suspicions
  • Stalin wanted SU zone to be a 'springboard' to expand communism - manipulated KPD & SPD - led to creation of SED
  • Divisions between E & W widened by July '46 - USA refuses to increase reparations to SU
  • Report from General Clay - Nov '46 - idea to combine US and GB zones
  • Cost of maintaining its' zone too high for GB - this merger would reduce costs
  • 'Bizonia' officially created in Jan '47 - this did nothing to reinforce the unity of the Grand Alliance
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Soviet expansion in E Europe - 1945-1949

  • 6th Mar '46 - Churchill's 'Iron Curtain' speech - Stalin responds by presenting SU as benign, seeking allies to reinforce its own security
  • SU says US is a threat (US bases in Japan, S Korea, Turkey & W Germany among others)
  • SU saw itself as the defender of Europe against imperialist USA
  • Stalin's actions motivated by desire to safeguard SU by any means necessary
  • A clear element of gradualism & tailoring approach to each country's individual circumstances
  • Czechoslovakia May '46 - Communists largest party - got 38% of vote in elections
  • Compliance towards Communism in Eastern Europe
  • War left E Europe with mass unemployment & insecurity - Communism offered a better world (employment and social mobility)
  • Stalin comitted to power rather than ideology - his willingness to tolerate other politicians (albeit temporarily) was pragmatic
  • Communist regimes in E Europe couldn't be free of Soviet influence - loyalty to Moscow was an important factor in their survival
  • Purity of communism in E Europe didn't really concern Stalin
  • Leaders of these states had to act as Stalinist puppets - this level of loyalty gave Stalin and the SU power, which in turn gave security
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  • Reveals significant forawrd planning by Stalin
  • During the War "Government of the Republic of Poland in exile" was established in GB by Polish politicians who had fled the Nazis.
  • Known as the 'London Poles', they were a figurehead of Polish rule during the War and technically existed until 1990
  • Communism was imposed on Poland via a Soviet controlled government
  • The Polish Committee for National Liberation was Stalin's instrument of control 
  • Stalin agreed to free elections at Yalta & could preserve the role of the pro-Moscow government
  • Provisional Government of National Unity formed in June '45 and had parties from both ends of political spectrum
  • To some extent, Poland was a testing ground for Stalin's methods
  • Communists weakened Peasant Party by strengthening their own links with Polish Socialists - in '47 these two groups merged
  • Communism dominant within this merger
  • Deputy PM Gomulka opposed Soviet policies which he felt were irrelevent to Poland - he was accused of 'nationalist deviation' and was replaced by a compliant pro-Stalinist, Bierut
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Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary

  • The King of Romania forced to appoint communist led gvmnt - Communists popular because they were different from the pre-war regime
  • Establishing communism in Romania relatively easy - opposition minimal & easy to deal with
  • Bulgaria - Gradualism, manipulated elections and forced removal of oppponants
  • Main rival (Petkov of Agrarian Party - got 20% of vote in '46) was executed on inflated charges
  • His party absorbed into Bulgarian communist movement - by April '47 all other parties banned 
  • Hungarian communists allied with other political groups to beat main opponent (Smallholders Party) - political opponents arrested and elections rigged
  • Hungarian communists didn't show enough loyalty to Moscow
  • They formed close links with Yugoslavia, where a non-Soviet communist regime was in place under Marshal Tito
  • In 1949 the Hungarian communist leader, Laszlo Rajk was executed for so called 'anti-socialist activities' 
  • By 1949, all political opposition to Moscow-backed Hungarian communists had disappeared 
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  • Unlike most of E Europe, Czechoslovakia was industrialised and had a large, unionised urban working class. 
  • Czech communists popular with rural peasants because they had given them land at the end of the war
  • Czech communist party leader (Klement Gottwald) became PM - his error was ti show a willingness to accept economic aid from the West in 1947
  • In addition to this, there was growing opposition to the communist leadership from non-communist groups
  • All non-communist members of the gvmnt resigned in February 1948
  • This played into the hands of the communists who presented it as an attempt to create a right wing coup
  • The highly respected President Benes agreed to support a communist dominared government - he resigned in June 1948
  • This left pro-Moscow communists in complete control
  • The final step in the Moscow-driven takeover in Eastern Europe came with the creation of a communist led East Germany in 1949
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Formation of the Warsaw Pact

  • 1955 - the SU & most communist states of E Europe signed the 'Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual assistance' - this brought in what was known as the Warsaw Pact
  • Territories were united in a pledge to defend one another against an external agressor (specifically NATO forces)
  • West Germany had entered NATO in 1955 - this spurred the SU to reate an equivalent defence system in the East 
  • The opening lines of the 1955 treaty presented the signatories in a benign light
  • But as the treaty spelled out its various articles it was clear that the Warsaw Pact contained a threat 'They shall also take other concerted measures necessary for strengthening their defence capacity, in order to ... provide safeguards against possible agression'
  • The might of the Warsaw Pact's combined military power, compared to that of the NATO states provided the essence of the Cold War stand off that would define European affairs for the next 35 years
  • Although the world never endured the nuclear disaster that was feared, both Eastern & Western powers showed their military power through 'proxy' conflicts that occured globally
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