Cold War Topic 1

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The Iron Curtain

The term 'Iron Curtain' was Churchill's name for the border between western europe and eastern europe. This is because countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Albania were all communist and supported Stalin. 

Churchill made a famous speech known as 'the Iron Curtain speech' which was significant because it was made to president Harry Truman in 1946. Churchill says that Stalin wants to achieve 'totalitarian control' , and that all of Eastern Europe were in danger of Stalin. 

This lead to the breakdown of the Grand alliance because Churchill's remarks of Stalin being a 'totalitarian leader' and posing a threat to Eastern Europe offended Stalin, because it was the opposite to what he actually wanted to do. This would cause Stalin to become more suspicious of Churchill and Truman, because it was Churchill's way of saying he was siding with Stalin. 

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The Two Telegrams

The Long telegram was a secret report from Kennan, America's ambassador in Moscow, which was sent to Truman in 1946. It outlined that Stalin had given a speech calling for the demolition of Capitalism, saying there would be no peace with the USSR while it was oppossed to Capitalism, and the USSR was building up it's military power. This would have lead to the breakdown of the Grand Alliance because Truman would have been more suspicious of the USSR and Stalin, because they had essentially called for the destruction of America (America was Capitalist), terrifying Truman because of the threat of a war, thus making relationships more tense and hostile. 

Nokivov's telegram was a telegram sent by the soivet ambassador in America, to Stalin in 1946. It told Stalin that America desired to dominate the world, after Rooseveld's death, the Ameican governmant wanted no co-operation with the USSR, and most importantly it told Stalin that the American public were being prepared to go to war with the USSR. This would have resulted in the breakdown of the Grand Alliance because it would have threatened Stalin, because the fact that America has consulted the public shows that America are fully prepared to go to war with the USSR, which would have massively threatened Stalin. 

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Capitalism or Communism?


-Choice between different policies

-No choice of who to vote for


-Lower levels because it is private and disorganised, extremes in wealth are common

-Higher levels because it is state controlled and is organised, extremes of wealth are unlikely

Individual Rights:

-Everybody gets the same amount of food, which is mostly adequate, lives controlled by the state to benefit the whole of society more

-Some people get more food than otheers and some people don't get enough, less beneficial to society, because people had more freedom

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Why are conflicting ideologies a threat?

I think that communism was a threat to the USA because some people wanted wide revolutions in capitalist countries to have a communist government. This would have threatened the USA because they were a major capitalist country, so they may become a prime target of revolution by the USSR. It may also be a threat because people would be scared of America becoming a Communist country, because they have been brought up in a Capitalist environment, which allows much more personal freedom, scaring them at the idea of that being taken away. 

I think that Capitalism was a threat to the USSR because the leaders were afraid of losing their power, by being voted out by the people, or allowing the people allowing to have all the power instead. The public of the USSR might fear Capitalism because they have been brought up in an anti-Capitalist society, so they would therefore be very scared of converting to a soctiety where it would feel wrong to do anything 'free'.

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The Truman Doctrine

The Truman doctrine was a new policy that America made to contain the spreading of Communism, because Europe was recovering from the second world war, countries such as Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and the UK all had reparations to make. There was a shortage of fuel, food, and clothing and debts from the war effort as well as lots of homeless people.  In 1947 America started to send money, equipment and advice to any country which was thinking about becoming Communist, to instantly improve the living conditions. This was to prevent Communism spreading, and to neutralise the threat to the USA and Europe.

I think the Truman Doctrine was significant because it shows a change in attitude of America, because they were initially reluctant to act, but now they are implying that it is their duty to provide support for the whole of Europe, showing a very different approach to how America is acting. It also unofficially shows how America is willing to respond to the USSR with military force in order to prevent the spreading of Communism. It also unofficially marks the end of the Grand Alliance and the start of the Cold War.

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Marshall Aid

The Marshall Plan was the period in 1947 in which America decided to inject money into the countries affected by war. This was decided after George Marshall assessed Europe, and found that coal, food, and other general good were in shortage, for example bread was still being rationed. Because of these problems Truman put the Marshall plan to congress and got a grant of $17 billion to help the countries affected by the War.

The idea of the Marshall plan was to stop the spreading of communism. This is because many countries found that communism was appealing to them, because it would be good for reparations. The Marshall Plan aimed to reduce this appeal of Communism. 

The plan was to allow countries to recieve money from America, as long as they agreed to trade with America in return, thus helping the economy of America, as well as other countries such as Italy.
The Marshall Plan was just an idea, but was later carried out in 1948 as Marshall Aid. 

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Greece And Czechoslovakia

Greece changed American policy when Stalin tried to forcefully take control of Greece. There were two opposing groups in Greece in 1944; The monarchists and the Communists. British soldiers were sent in support of the monarchists, which Stalin said was a threat to Greece. However the USA did not take no action. When Stalin tried to take greece by force America sent soldiers in prevention. This shows how America and the USSR are resorting to military action against eachother, which shows how the relationship is growing more hostile.

Czechoslovakia changed America's attitude when the Communists siezed control of Czechoslovakia's governement in a coup.  It had been ruled by a coalition government which included Communists, but had been trying to pursue politics independant to Moscow's. The Communists made the move in march 1948, purging anti-soivet leaders and have been suspected by America to have pushed Jon Masaryk, a pro-American minister, out of his window, although the Communists said he jumped. Instantly the congress accepted the Marshall Plan and made $17 billion available over four years. 

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The Communist Infortmation Bureau was set up in 1947:


-To represent the Communist parties across Europe

-To bring theese parties under the direction of the USSR

-To influence countrie to reject Marhsall Aid


-The first conference rejected the Marhsall Plan, leading Eastern European countries to reject Marshall Aid.

-Communist parties in Western Europe were encouraged to organise strikes against the Marshall Plan, e.g. France, 1947 (winter), 2 million workers went on strike.

-Anti-Communist people in Communist countries were sent to jail, by 1953 5% of population in Hungary in prison.

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The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance was established in 1949:


-Encourage economic development of Eastern Europe.

-To prevent trade between Western Europe and America (stopping economy growth)


-Minimsed American influnce over Eastern Europe and the USSR

-Ensure economic recovery remains in the sphere of influence of the USSR

-Eastern Europe had no access to the prosperity of the West.

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The Berlin Blockade

The break up of relations was the main lead up to the Berlin blockade. This is because te Soviets wanted germany destroyed, while the allies wanted Germany rebuilt. Because of this major disagreement the Soviets wanted the allies out of Berlin. Tensions were high because there were spies acting on both sides, and both sides introduced a new currency, but the Wests' currency was more valuable, meaning it made the USSR look weak. Most of the government supported the West over the East, and to add even more tensions the Russianss veto'd the mayors election.

Berlin was so important because it had many communications links, and they also had the entire government and many other important people. Therefore it was too risksy to let the Russian control spread over the whole of Berlin. 

Berlin had coal for 35 days and food for 36, the allies countered the blockade by using an air lift, to bring supplies to Berlin. They could land in two airports and a lake. Each of the larger planes took 9 tonnes and 7 minutes to unload. America sent B-29 bombers to Britain to assist in the supplies drop off. A convoy went through the blockade, and the daily drop off amount was raised to 4400 tonnes, just enough to remporarily fuel Berlin. Electricity was on for four hours per day, and there was no huge stockpile of coal and not enough food. As a result of this the Eastern sector had better facilities, and 10% of berliners bought food from the East. Lots of support for the allies (300,000 assembled at the Reichstag in support)

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), was formed on April 4th 1949:


-To unify and strengthen the western alliance in case of an invasion of West Europe

-To Give America more control

-To threaten retaliation if the USSR attacked


Many allied countries were equipped with American nuclear weapons under a 'dual-key' method. Britain partially included nuclear weapons in NATO. Created a clear divide, and increased tensions between USSR (Stalin) and USA. USA was leader and the base was in Boston, 12 members originally (USA, Belgium, Luxenburg). ''USA in, Russians out, Germans down'', General/Lord in May. All of the allies spend money on military collectively. France remained entirely independant. Stalin disliked it and tried to prevent it, making him more hostile towards America and involved countries.

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Krushchev's Changes

Krushchev was against the Cold war, he made many changes to improve relations with America:

-He wanted to improve living standards in the Soviet Union

-He wanted to improve living standards in Eastern Europe

-He relaxed the 'iron control' of the Soviet Union

-He closed down Cominform

-He released thousands of political prisoners

-He agreed to pull troops out of Austria

Destalinisation was Krushchev's programme which focused on undermining Stalin and undoing everything Stalin stood for. He did this by releasing political prisoners, closing down Cominform, and dismissing Stalin's former foreign minister, Molotov. It was a radical set of moves because Stalin helped to end the second world war and he made the USSR a superpower, this means that Krushchev shocked the entire country, as Stalin was reverred as a hero.

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The Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was established in 1955, and had aims of:

-Acting as a NATO counterpart, which meant that if any Warsaw country was attacked by the West, all Warsaw countries would help them.

-To protect Communism

Effects: All Communist countries in Eastern Europe became a member, apart from Yugoslavia, which became a member because it was forced to later.

The Warsaw Pact was also acting as a way to promote peacfeul co-existence, because Krushchev says ''There are only two ways: either peaceful coexistence, or the most destructive war in history. There is no third way.'' This was Krushchev's way of saying that the only way to avoid mass destruction is to work with America.

Peaceful Coexistence-The idea that the arms race should be converted to try and produce more food and general goods instead of weapons. This was aiming to cease hostilities of the Cold War. It also meant that satellite countries would think they can break away from the Warsaw Pact, which could lead to rebelions (Hungary).

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Hungary Revolution 1956

Hungary was led by a hard line communist, Matyas Rakosi. Hungarians hated the restrictions that Rakosi imposed. They were bitter about losing their freedom of speech. They lived in fear of the secret polive, and hated AVO's. The resented the presence of thousands of Soviet troops and officials.Some areas even had Russian street signs, Russian school and Russian shops. The standard of living was dipping.

Following Krushchev's speech denouncing Stalin in 1956, a group within the Communist party in Hungary opposed Rakosi. He appealed to Moscow for help, but they reitred him for 'health reasons'. However the new leader, Erno Gero, was no more acceptable. Huge demonstrations by students on 23rd October, where a giant statue of Stalin was pulled down. The USSR allowed a new government to be formed by Imre Nagy. Soviet tanks withdrew, books and flags were burned in the streets. AVO's were hanged from lamposts. Roman Catholic cardinal Mindscentzy was released and made a public speech, supporting the uprising.

Nagy's government planned to hold free elections with more than one party, abolish AVO, and restore farmland to private ownership. They also planned to leave the Warsaw Pact and be neutral in the Cold War. In response to this Krushchev sent thousands of Soviet tropps and tanks in to Budapest (november), causing bitter fighting for two weeks. 7000 Hungarians killed, 200,000 fled and left for Austria, and Imre Nagy was imprisoned and executed in 1958.

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The West's reaction to the Hungarian revolution

-The USA encouraged the revolution, but it did not give any military aid, because the USA wanted to prevent War

-Offered $20 million worth of food and medical aid to Nagy

-Eisenhower praised the bravery of the rebels

-UN condemned the Soviet invasion but took no further action

-US' commitment to liberating Europe from Communism did not include military support

-Other radicals in Eastern Europe were discouraged, having witnessed Hungary's example

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Causes of the Berlin Wall

In the 1950's West Germany was rearmed, which alarmed the East Germans. The East Germans had access to the West, which was more prosperous, which made Capitalism look better, so the Soviets wanted to prevent this. Krushchev made tensions higher by demanding West Berlin was to be handed over to East Germany, and to make things worse the U-2 spy plane was shot down over territory, making things more tense because it revealed America was soying on the USSR.

There are many causes for the wall to be built. East Germany needed Soviet support to become a stable economy. Every month 1000's of skilled, young East Germans fled to the West, which worsened the East's economy further. East Germans becamse incredibly desperate, and Kennedy blamed Moscow (not Berlin) for the problems. Krushchev bullied Kennedy at a meeting, leading to nothing getting done.

Because of the rising tensions between the two sides, Krushchev increased the Soviet arms budget, possible in retaliation to Kennedy increasing the USA's defence budget. Kennedy showed solidarity with West Berlin, and Krushchev wanted to hide this from the East, so they wouldn't support Kennedy. The USSR realised it could not win a nuclear war with America (MAD) so they had to take non-militant action, this was prompted because Kennedy refused to back down, and would not succumb to Krushchev's demands. 

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The effects of the Berlin Wall

The wall started as a barbed wire fence, when it was constructed on the 13th August 1961. Three days later the bardbed wire began to get replaced for concrete, on August 16th.People tried to sneak through the last chinks in the fence, but the process was so rapid that not many made it. 

However the West fire brigade helped people to escape, by jumping out of windows, and were told about the planned escapes by scraps of paper that had been dropped over the wall. This soon stopped because the soldiers at the wall were fully armed, and many people began to die trying to cross the border. The workers who worked on the wall couldn't telephone their families, and worked solidly for 4-6 weeks. The telephone wires were cut and the two sides could not talk to eachother. This resulted in the two sides being divided. Border guards were hated despite them just doing their jobs. The allies wer unsure how to react to the wall being contructed because it didn't weaken West Berlin. However the West's morale fell, making them lose confidence in the allies. In October, the allies sent convoys through checkpoint Charlie to test their right off passage, but on 27th October,  this lead to almost military action when the Soviets brought their tanks up and refused America passage, and after a full-day  stand-off, they withdrew 5 metres at a time. More political results mean that Kennedy increased the defence budget, the East German government became unpopular, refugees were unable to leave Germany. 

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The four conferences (1959-1961)

First took place May 1959, Geneva summit. Two foreign USA and USSR representatives were there for the two powers. No solution was agreed at the meeting, but it laid down the groundwork for  Krushchev and Eisenhower to talk in the USA.

The second was held in September 1959 at camp David (USA). The two leaders spoke frankly. No conclusion to the problem was discussed, just the idea of a third summit, and Krushchev agreed to withdraw his 6 month ultimatum. 

The third was in Paris, may 1960, but was a disaster. The American U2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet territory, and Krushchev walked out after Eisenhower refused to apologise.

The fourth was held in Vienna, in 1961 when Kennedy came in to power, to talk about 
the Berlin situation. Neither side wanted to back down, but Krushchev saw Kennedy's inexperience, and saw it as a weakness, and therefore tries another 6 month ultimatum, to attempt to scare Kennedy into submission. 

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A Spy and a Summit

In the Paris summit (may 1960) Eisenhower completely denied the evidence that a U2 spy plane had been shot down over Soviet territory. This resulted in increased hostilies and here is a list of the things that followed:

-Eisenhower exchanged Gary Powers for a Russians spy after 17 months of his imprisonment, and the American military forces were put on wide alert.

-The U2 incident made Eisenhower unpopular with Krushchev, who cancelled his visit to Moscow. 

-Paris summit was abandoned, hopes of peace failed, and it lead to a rise in popularity of Krushchev because it showerd he was a 'tough guy'

-People began to worry because America could physically bomb Russia. 

-The Cold War attitude was hardened again

-People wondered where tension would flare again (was Berlin)

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The Bay of Pigs

Cuba is in south east America, around 160km from the coast of Florida, It's closer to the USSR than the USA is. General Battista, who was a hated dictator, ruled Cuba before 1959. He was as opposed to Communism as much as Americans were, but because he was so unpopular, he made Communism seem better, encouraging it's development.

Castro otherthrew Battista in 1959, after a three year geurilla campagn. He quickly managed to kill, exile, or arrest any opposing politicians, so all opposition to Communism was gone. This resulted in a loss of support between Cuba and the USA. Castro gave out US owned land to Cuban peasants.

Eisenhower wanted to evict Castro from being the leader of Cuba, however he could not do this directly, for fear of sparking a war with the USSR. Therefore he armed 1,400 anti-Castro exiles, supplying them with weapons and transport. When they landed on the Bay of Pigs, they were met with 20,000 Cuban soldiers, who were equipped with modern weaponry and tanks. The rebels were crushed within days. This worsened relationships between the USA and Cuba because the failed invasion suggested that the USA was weak. This would have improved relationships between the USSR and Cuba because the USSR also thought the USA was weak, so they shared common ideas.

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The Soviet response to the Bay of Pigs

After the Bay of Pigs invasion the Soviets started arming Cuba exponentially. In May 1962 the Soviets announced they were supplhign Cuba with arms. By July 1962 Cuba had the best equipped army in Latin America. By September 1962 it had thousands of Soviet missiles, tanks patrol boats, missile erectors, radar vans,  jet bombers, jet fighters and 5,000 Soviet technicians to help maintain the firepower. On sunday October 14th 1962 a spy plane captured images of nuclear missiles being built on Cuba.

On 11th September 1962, Kennedy stated that he would prvent 'by whatever means necessary' Cuba becoming an offensive military base. He meant that he was prepared to go to war to pevent Cuba becoming a nuclear missile base.

On the 14th October a spy plane captured pictures of Soviet missile bases being built on Cuba. Over the next two days (16th October) more photos were taken. Some of the missile sights being built could have been ready to launch in 7 days, and 20 Soviet ships were on their way to deliver missiles to Cuba, posing two huge problems to America.

Ex Comm was a specialist team of advisers to president Kennedy, who were assigned to help him decide what to do about Cuba, and was set up on the 16th October.

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What did Kennedy do next?

Mon 22nd October-Kennedy announces the blockade and asks Krushchev to withdraw the missiles, which are acting as a 'threat to world peace'.

Tue 23rd October-Kennedy recieves a letter from Krushchev saying that Soviet ships will not adhere to the blockade, and does not admit the presence of nuclear missiles on Cuba.

Wed 24th October-The first missile carrying ships, accompanied by a Soviet submarine, approach the 500-mile blockade zone. Then suddenly at 10:32am, the twenty Soviet ships which are closest stop or turn around.

Thu 25th October-Despite the ships turning around intensive aerial photography reveals that work on the missile bases is proceeding rapidly.

Fri 26th October-Kennedy recieves a long personal letter from Krushchevm claiming that the missiles on Cuba are purely defensive, but then says that if Cuba was not attacked, the missiles would be removed from Cuba.

Sat 27th October-Krushchev sends a second latter revising his proposals saying Cuban missiles will be removed if the Turkish missiles are removed. Kennedy ignores this letter and threatens an attack if the Soviets do not withdraw, which Krushchev obliges to.

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Consequences of Cuba

Short term:

Cuba stayed Communist and remained heavily armed, but nuclear missiles were withdrawn with the UN supervising. Kennedy achieved a respectable reputation throughout his country and the West, and was no londer seen a weak because of his resilience. Krushchev also gaines Cuba as an ally in 'uncle sam's backyard', and his concedance was quicklly forgotten in Soviet circles, instead he was highlighted as the responsible peacemaker who took the first step.

Medium term:

In june 1963 a hotline was installed between Krushchev and the white house so direct communication was enabled between leaders. Kenney gave a speech saying both powers need to focus on common interests and began the policy of detente (relaxing of tension). In august 1963 a test ban treaty was created, which banned all testing of nuclear weapons in space, sea, or above ground, (only USA and USSR), underground tests were allowed.

Long term:

The CMC helped to that Cold War relations, because it showed that both sides wanted peace.

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Czechoslovakia and the Social changes of the USSR

5th January 1968, Alexander Dubcek became the new Communist leader in Czechoslovakia. He wanted to create a popular form of Communism he called ''socialism with a human face''. He wanted to get rid of the most repressive aspects of Communism, reform the economy and promote cultural freedom, as well as getting rid of censorship. This was called the prague spring, and was Dubcek's attemp of relieving some Communist aspects that he thought were too strict, for example less censorship and more freedom of speech.

People weren't happy with how Communism restricted people's lives leading up to Dubcek's reign, so his idea of ''socialism with a human face'' was very popular, leading to Mitsubishi cars and fashion trends coming in to the USSR.  Soldiers were given an apartment, good pay, and 5 uniforms, but because of a big shortage of consumer goods (bread was still rationed) Brezhnev and some other key members of parliment lead an attack on Krushchev and got him deposed in October 1964. They attacked him beause the Soviet Union had become more relaxed and people wanted a greater sense of freedom. For example school kids used to skip their lunched, in order to illegally buy records of Western singers. 

The leading Communists in the USSR thought this was damaging the USSR, and were against it.

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Prague Spring

The reformers (mainly Dubcek) were confident that it was the way forward to better living standards:

-Parties were to be elected by the people, and lead via consent

-Censorship was lifted and the truth emerged in papers, as well as various forms of criticism of Communism and the Soviet Union

-Trust betweenn the leaders of Czechoslovakia and the public was increased

-Wanted to leave the Warsaw Pact and become neutral in the Cold War

Why did the Soivets ''send the tanks in'' then?

The Soviets thought that Dubcek might be trying to change sides to the West, they also wanted to stop Anti-Soviet activity because they thought it made Communism look bad. Therefore on August 21st the Soviets sent parachutists to seize Prague airport, and Warsaw soldiers came across the borders and started to seize land.

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How/Why did the Soviet Union respond?

Czechoslovakia was a very important country in the Warsaw pact, it was centrally placed and had the strongest industry, so the Soviet Union was suspicious of recent changes. Ths Soviets were worried that the ideas from Czechoslovakia would spread to other countries in Eastern Europe. There was also a harsh response because Brezhnev was under pressure from Water Ulbrich, the East German leader, and Gomulka, the Polish leader, to resist the reforms in Czechoslovakia. 

They began to try and warn Dubcek by performing public army exercise routines on the border to East Germany and Poland. But after this failed they had few options. They considered sanctioning wheat, but then feared that Dubcek would look to the West for help, which would make the situation even worse.

In July 1968 they had a summit meeting with Dubcek, he agreed to not allow a new Social Democratic Party to be formed, but kept the majority of his policies intact. In early August a Warsaw Pact conference was held and countries just wanted Czechoslovakia to maintain political stability. However 17 days later on 20th August 1968, Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia.

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Causes of the Prague Spring

Short term:

-Dubcek came in to power and his reforms 'socialism with a human face'

-Less censorship, freedom of speech and less repressive lead to the Social Democratic Party spreading ideas about opposition against Communism and the Soviet Union

Long term:

-Poor economy, main industry was weapons to stay ahead of America

-Unhappy with Communist control over society, culture, fashion

-Too much control/censorhip/repression

-Poor living conditions, want similar policies to the West

-Krushchev was replaced by Brezhnev, who was stricter

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Justifications for the invasion? And responses!

Brezhnev was fairly new to being the leader, and therefore he needed to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia to the other members of the pact AND to the rest of the world. The main points of the doctrine were that there was a one party system and that they had to remain a member of the Warsaw pact. Therefore, the USSR had the right to invade any member of the Eastern block whose actions thereatened security. They said that ''Dubcek's actions threatened to undermine the Warsaw pact and Communist control in eastern Europe, so the USSR had to invade''.

America was already fighting a war against Vietnam, so they wanted to avoid further military engagement, They publicly condemned the invasion, but offered no military support. Western Europe followed America's example by condemning the invasion, but offered no military support. Western Europe communist party in Italy and France were scared by the invasion. They formally declared that they were independant of the USSR, which created rival froms of European Communism (Eurocommunism) in the West, showed how the Soviets had lost authority and support, as a result of the invasion.

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The End of the Cold War

In 1977 the USSR placed new SS20 medium-range missiles in Eastern Europe. They said that they were replacing out of date missiles, but the USA accused the USSR of preparing for limited nuclear war in Europe. Carter allowed US military to develop new medium-range missiles of their own, called Pershing and Cruise missiles. 

In 1978 the government of Afghanistan was otherthrown by a group of Russian-trained army officers. They began a modernisation programme, including land reform and the education of girls, but met opposition from Muslim leaders. A civil war broke out between the Communist government and the Mujahidin ''the fighters of God''. The Afghan Communists appealed to Moscow for help but the Soviet leader (Brezhnev) was reluctant to become involved. Then again the USSR was afraid of the rise of militant Islam, and became involved after the government began to approach the USA for help. On 25th December 1977 hundreds of Soviet tanks and tens of thousands of motorised infantry crossed the Soviet border into Afghanistan. 

The USA reacted in an a fairl aggressive way. Carter became furious and began to send weapons and money to the Mujahidin via Pakistan, despite Carter being critical of Pakistan's human rights record. The USA and Pakistan became deeply involved with the rise of Mujahidin forces in Afghanistan. Carter also pressured olympic boycott's on his countries competitors, due to be held in Moscow, summer 1980. The USA, Japan, China, West germany and Kenya boycotted them games. 

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Reagan was heavily anti-Communist, he did not hide his hostility to Communism and the USSR, saying that they are ''the focus of evil in the modern world'' and ''an Evil empire''. He also thought that negotation with the USSR was a sign of weakness, and set out to defeat them instead of helping them. 

Within two weeks of taking office Reagan increased weapon spending by £32.6 billion. In the next four years he increased US weapons spnding by cutting welfare forpoorer Americans. By 1985, 7% of the GDP of the richest man in the world was being spent on America's weapons. The US military was told to prepare for War, and his advisers did not think the war would actually happen, they wanted to crippled the USSR by starting out on a new arms race, that the Soviets could not keep up with. 

The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, or (SALT) treaty had been by signed by Carter and Brezhnev in June 1979, but the US senate refused to ratify it. The agreement to limit the number of nuclear weapons never came into force. In 1983, 464 US 'cruise' missiles were deplyoed in Europe, including 160 in Britain, at Greenham Common and Molesworth. The US wealth was used to support Anti-Communist forces all over the world.

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Paying the wrong people

American wealth was spent all over the world aiding anti-Communist forces, instead of improving the living conditions of America'a public. For example:

-In Nicaragua the CIA increased spending to the Contra rebels from $36 million to $197 million

-In El Salvador the CIA supplied government 'death squads' which kidnapped or killed anti government rebels and their peasant supporters

This would have increased hostilities between the USSR and the USA because more action was taking place against the Communists' regime, from increasing spending, to refusing reaties, to taking physical action against Communist supporters. This would scare the USSR because it shows up as a massive threat to Communism. 

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Policies and Science Fiction

The USSR forces were finding it difficult to fight the war, because of the mountain passes. Hit and run raids on the Red Army' convoys lead to 5,000 soldiers kiled by the end of the 1982, because Mujahidin massacred Soviet troops in the mountain passes then vainshed.

Reagan was willing to give the Mujahidin whatever money and weapons they wanted, by using supply roads through Pakistan. The USA spent $2 billion on the Afghanistan war, some going to the Mujaidin, but lots going to arm Pakistan in their continuing rivalry with India. Because of this funding recruits flooded to the Mujahidin, not only from Afghanistan but from across the entire Muslim Middle-East. Among the many Saudis who went to fight was Osama Bin Laden. 

The Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) was a futuristic plan (that never got put into place) to create a shield of lasers which could detect and destroy any incoming missile while it was still in space. SDI would have abolished the idea of MAD, meaning that the USA could contemplate a 'first strike' which would knock out the USSR wihout fear of retaliation, making nuclear war more likely, because it was a learge threat to the USSR.

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The Soviet Defeat

There were few major roads, airports or railways, making it difficult to field and supply a large army. The Afghans knew their local countryside very well, so it would be a great advantage over an invading enemy. The Muslim communities disliked Communism because of it's athiest beliefs, and because it was trying to modernise Muslim communities' traditional ways, so there were lots of Mujahidin recruits to offer some resistance. The Soviet tanks were vulnerable to attack on narrow roads in high mountain passes. The Soviets killed thousands of innocents and destroyed numerous villages, attempting to hit Mujahidin targets. They could not control any captured territory because the locals would not cooperate with them. 

The Soivets came to be defeated because there was less restriction, so the war was reported more accurately. The government began to recieve letters from families, demanding a withdrawal from Afghanistan. 15,000 Soviet dead and 37,000 wounded. $20 billion in cost to the USSR. 1 million Afghans killed and 5 million displaced. The Soviet Union withdrew in 1987. 

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The rise of Gorbachev!

The economy was stagnant because too much money was being spent on the arms race and the Afghanistan war. There were shortages of food and goods, despite having fertile land and the reaw material, Managers had no freedomt o manage and the workers saw no point to work hard. Life expectancy had falled from 67 to 62, mainly due to Alcoholism. 

Gorbachev wanted to make the system of Communism work for the bette of the Soviet Union by Glasnost-meaning openessm promoting more freedom of speech, and Perestrioke-meaning re-structuring, especially a free market in goods and jobs. Gorbachev saw that the arms race was crippling the Soviet Union, so he aimed to end the arms race to better the Soviet Union. 

November 1985, Geneva- The meeting did not start well, Reagan attacked the USSR's human rights record, and Gorbachev blamed the USA for the arms race. The two leaders went for a walk and private chat, and found that they got on well. They agreed the arms race was bad and would meet again. 

-October 1986, Reykjavik- Gorbachev proposed that both sides removed all nuclear weapons from Europe, and cut ICM's in half. Reagan agreed to this, but did not want to give up the SDI

-December 1987, Washhington-The two sides kept confering and Gorbachev withdrew his condition that the SDI has to be scrapped. This cleared the was for Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty to be signed  at the washington summit. All nuclear weapons in Europe were dismantled. 

-June 1988, Moscow-Gorbachev pushed for joint troop reduction in Europ, but Reagan put him off. 

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