Cold War revision notes

  • Created by: Ritika
  • Created on: 10-04-15 10:25


The cold war was in essence a the long struggle to reach a post war settlement for Germany that pleased all former memebers of the Grand Alliance 

  •  Potsdam July 1945: no official future plans were made for Germany. This caused problems in the long run (till 1991) 
  • Germany was an issue throughout the cold war: Berlin blockade, berlin crisis, cuban missile crisis, berlin wall. 
  • But things the cold war attempted to achieve: nuclear arms race, different ideologies, demonstrating superiority, being the bigger superpower, illustrating the other was a "villain" (invasion of afghanistan)
  • Germany was just a part in the cold war and giving both nations a base to portray their strengths and superiority.
  • War can be seen as solving the issue of Germany- as Germany is an issue throughout of the cold war- especically as: tensions between USSR & USA fall in 1989 when Berlin wall comes down (significant moment)
  • Situation near 1991 was totally different compared to 1945- which was just the beginning of many disagreements.   
1 of 5

Point 1- early years of the German problem

  • 1945- Potsdam: Decided that germany would be demilitarised, de-nazification, disarmed, decentralisation, USSR would recieve reparations from own zone. - no offical future planning for germany, this may be the cause of seeing germany as a recurring issue throughout cold war. Lack of planning show later: berlin crisis, berlin blockade (if USSR and USA had come to some agreements then perhaps cold war would not have been continued to such a long extent.)
  • Formation of Bizonia & new currency: these increased the tensions between the USA & USSR. Stalin feared the possibility of seeing 3/4 of Germany aganist his zone- cause of berlin blockade. actions like this continued tensions to develop as well as developing the cold war. Counter arguement: Can be argued that the cold war was attempting to settle german issue, but also wished to stop communism. seems more likely as USA was trying to create a bloc of its on in Germany and create an image that Stalin cannot spread communism any further.
  •   Berlin blockade: 1948 June- can be argued that Stalin took such a step to solve the issue of Germany but can also suggest that he wished to have Germany all for himself suggesting that the cold war was not just about solving the German problem. Blockade was a failure. Links to Potsdam- had decisions been made then, outcome would have been different. 
2 of 5

Point 2- Berlin crisis 1958

  • Formation of FRG & GDR: forming of west and east settled the german issue- short term. 1949. Pleased both nations to a certain extent. Formation of these two individual states caused future divisions to exist- berlin crisis: Khrushcev demanded west to leave West germany 1958.  Peaceful coexistence had began in 1953, berlin crisis caused relations to worsen once again- suggested to USA that USSR were not interested in peaceful coexistence.

Once again it can be argued from this evdience that the Cold war was a struggle to reach a settlement of Germany. 

3 of 5

Point 3- Problems over Germany resolving

  • Ostpolitik 1970: Problems between east and west were improving. Appointement of Willy Brandt as west germany chancellor enabled european detente. Decided to recognise GDR & negotiate with the USSR.- counter agrument- during 1970 problems over germany were being resolved suggests that the cold war was not only about forming a settlement of Germany.
  • 1991- berlin wall came down: during the end of the period the settlement of germany had occured, Germany was united and it no longer caused problems between the USA and USSR.

It is quite significant that the ending of the Cold war was partly with the Berlin wall coming down. Suggests that the cold war was mainly about coming to a post- war settlement for Germany 

4 of 5

Nuclear arms race

  • Nuclear arms race- after 1949 Cold war was mainly about nuclear superiority
  • Nuclear arms race was triggered in 1949 when USSR tested thier first atomic bomb- USA monopoly ended
  • after this the USA were unsecure as they feared an attack from the USSR.
  • 1952- emergence of H- bomb for USA 1953 for the USSR
  • 1958- sputnik: USSR were ahead of the USA 
  • Cold war became a race of being the superior nation and the nuclear arms race caused the cold war to become much more dangerous and threatening for the wider world as a nuclear war was possible- otherwise why would both superpowers wish to create nuclear weapons. 

Cuban missile crisis- highest point in the cold war as a nuclear war was very possible.

  • missiles deployed in Cuba- 1962
  • khrushchev wanted USA to remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for missiles in Cuba
  • link to berlin as historians argue that it could have been a cause for why Khrushchev placed missiles in Cuba.- suggests that Germany's settlement was the cold war. 
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Cold War resources »