History Revision Cards: Cold War

Yalta, February 1945

Conference held to decide the fate of Europe.

Attendees: Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Roosevelt


  • Nazi War Criminals would be put on trial
  • Free elections
  • Divide Germany - 4 Zones
  • Stalin Vs. Japan - join the war against Japan
  • UN created
  • Reparations would happen- amount undecided


  • Agreements made which would later be broken by Stalin
  • Start of disagreements e.g. Reparations
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Potsdam, July 1945

Second Conference to finalise and complete agreements. Tensions increased as new leaders attended and Stalin had broken agreements.

Attendees: Churchill and Attlee, Stalin, Truman


  • Stalin had broken previously made agreements e.g. No free elections in Poland
  • New leaders e.g. Truman hated communism
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Iron Curtain Speech, March 1946

Winston Churchill made a speech in Fulton, USA calling for a Western alliance against the Soviet expansion. Saying an 'Iron Curtain' had descended upon Europe.


  • USSR is scared that America may attack them
  • USA is pressured to attack the USSR
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Soviet Expansion, 1945-1949

Stalin began to take control of countries in Eastern Europe even before the war ended e.g. Albania. Continuing after the war breaking the agreements previously made at Yalta in an attempt to create a buffer zone to protect the USSR from the West.

Countries taken:

  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary
  • East Germany
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Yugoslavia


  • It showed the USSR was getting scared by the USA as it felt it had to protect itself
  • Stalin has broken agreements made at Yalta
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Atom Bomb, August 1945

To decrease American Casualties loss, Truman made the decision to drop the Atom bomb

Key Dates:

  • 6th August - Hiroshima
  • 8th August- USSR join the war against Japan
  • 9th August- Nagasaki
  • 10th August- Japan surrender


  • 140000


  • Stalin is not told about the plan to drop the atom bomb
  • Bomb scared Stalin as the USSR had no weapon that powerful
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The Truman Doctrine, March 1947

The Truman doctrine was a speech made by Truman as the USA was worried about the growth of communism, Britian had to leave Greece one of the few non communist countries so America came to their support  Truman said " It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorites or outside pressures."

Key words: 

  • Containment- Communism would not be able to spread  from its existing borders
  • Coexsitence- Countries already Communist would not be invaded for their political beliefs


  • Made it clear that America would not turn back to Isolationism
  • It was made clear that the USA would stand up to communsim
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The Marshall Plan, 1948

WWII had a profound effect on the economies of Europe. Many Countries on the brink of financial ruin. In order to stop countries turning to communsim, Truman sent Marshall an American general tto asses the amount of money needed to help Europe recover. He reported $17 billion were needed, at first refused by congress the sum was later accepted after Czechoslovakia turned communist


  • USA generosity was key to the recovery of Europe
  • Soviets claimed it was Dollar imperialsim; Bribing european countries- increased tensions and suspisions
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The Berlin Crisis, June 1948- May 1949

After WWII West Berlin was recovering much faster than the soviet East Berlin, Stalin decided that the whole of Berlin should belong the USSR as it was in their zone. By 23rd of June Stalin had closed off all routes to West Berlin apart from three narrow air corridors. He planned to force the West to leave through starvation. The USA had few options but decided to fly in supplies down three narrow air corridors, It was estimated that to survive 4000 tonnes would be needed each day. at first only 600 tonnes were being flown in each day but that figure quickly rose to 8000 tonnes. Seventy nine pilots died during the airlift.


  • Lead to the formation of NATO an organisation Stalin saw as a threat
  • Tensions were increased as once again it had come close to war, but the USA had shown  they would stand up to Stalin 
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The Formation of NATO, 1949

 Stalins actions over Berlin showed the West they needed to form a united defence strategy.  This lead to the signing of th North Atlantic Treaty Organistion. It was a military pact in which countries promised to protect each other from acts of agression. In 1949 there were 12 membersand a crucial member was gained in 1955

Orginal 12:  USA, UK, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark,                                  Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Canada 

1952 members:  Greece, Turkey

Crucial member: West Germany


  • The USSR felt threatend protesting that 'the North Atlantic Treaty is not about                      the self-defence of states. These states are not tyreatend by anyone and no                     one intends to attack them. On the contrary , the Treaty has an aggresive                   characteristic aimed at the USSR
  • Lead to the creation of the Warsaw Pact meaning it would be a World War if                       fighting broke out
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The Korean War, 1950-1953

At the end of WWII Korea was split in two with border of the 38th parallel,

  • North Korea: communist goverment led by Kim Il Sung
  • South Korea: anti-communist goverment led by Syngman Rhee.

June 1950 North Koreans attacked South Korea and  captured Seoul , took over all of South Korea apart from a small area; Pusan Pocket. The USA worried about the spread of communism persuades UN to send an army. After requesting that North Korea remove troops and being ignored, they sent an army made of troops from 16 countries led by General Douglas McArthur. They forced them to retreat by cutting off supplies but then went beyond Coantainment invading North Korea reaching the Yalu river by November 1950. China threatend to attack if they crossed the river, the army did. They were then attacked by 250000 soilders overwhelming them. Mcarthur wanted to use A Bomb Truman says no and dissmises him. Border returns to 38th parallel


  • Closest to war between USSR and USA yet
  • Truman had gone beyond his policy of Containment
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The Thaw, 1953-1955

In 1953 Stalin died, lead to a new direction in Soviet policy, as both the East and West had the H-Bomb it seemed sensible to ease tensions. USA willing to negotiate as they regared Stalin as the main cause of the Cold War. The new Soviet Leader Nikita Krushchev was keen to make fresh with West using the phrase 'peacful co-exsitence' to describe his polices. He visited both Britian and the USA. In 1955 a Summit Conference was held in Geneva- first since 1945. it was attended by leaders of America, China, Bitian, France and the USSR.


  • Ease in tensions in the Cold War 
  • Both sides worked together to acheive common goals e.g. ending the Korean War, Austrian State treaty
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The Formation of the Warsaw Pact, 1955

Nikita Krushchev set up the Warsaw pact with the stated aim of mutual defence.It was a military alliance decribed as a "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assitance."

Countries in the Pact: USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany and Albania.

All countries who signed the pact were put under the command of a Soviet commander-in-chief and had to allow Soviet troops to be stationed in their country.

Significance :

  • Was seen by the countries in NATO as just a way of controlling the satilitte states.
  • Ensured if war broke out in would be a World War
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The Hungarian Uprising, Oct-Nov 1956

Hungary had been treated as a defeated country after WWII by the Soviets they had taken reperations and established a communist goverment under Rakosi, a strict follower of Stalin. After Stalins death he was replaced by Imre Nagy, but in 1955 Rakosi sezied power again encouaged by Krushchev's secret speech in which he denounced Stalins brutality and his acceptance of a new leader in Poland, the Hungarians protested. In October 1950 riots broke ou in Budapest, street fighting lasted 5 days. Stalins statue was pulled down and prisoners were released. Rakosi was forced to resign and Nagy became Prime minister. Soviet troops withdrew. The new goverment made reforms many of which Krushchev accepted until Nagy demanded the right to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact this was too much for Krushchev. On 1st November Soviets troops re-enterd Hungary, by 4th November they had reached Budapest. Nagy appeled to the West for help none came. 2 weeks of street fighting followed, but eventually a new pro-soviet goverment was set up under Kadar.


  • It marked the end of the Thaw as Krushcev appeared to be as brutal as Stalin
  • The West had not interfered with Soviet activites following the policy of co-exsistence
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The Nuclear Arm and Space Race, 1945-1960

Ever since the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 the USA and the USSR started a race to develop the most nuclear weapons. The competiton for arms was very expensive as both countries tried to increase  their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and develop deadlier more effective weapons. The space race was also closely tied to the to the arms race as each loss upset each countries pride raising tensions, but also with the development of rockets for example the one used to launch sputnik into orbit, meant that Nuclear weapons could be launched from anywhere on earth to hit America. The development of Nuclear arms eventually lead to a state of Mutually Assured Destruction as each country had enough weapons to completely destroy the other


  • Increased tensions as each country could completely destroy the other
  • Stop the two countries from going to war as if they did their own country would be completely annihilted
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