History - The Cold War


The Tehren Conference - 1943

Decisions were made about the war with Germany (WW2)….

  • Stalin wanted the allies to attack Germany in Europe
      - To take pressure off the USSR.
          - They wanted to rebuild Germany (remembering TOV)

  • Churchill wanted this attack to be in the Balkans
     - Stalin objected
        - The USSR should have influence in Eastern Europe, and the USA + Britain in Western Europe

  • USA & Britain would open up a second front by invading France in May 1944 (France was occupied by the Nazis)

  •  USSR would help the USA fight Japan after the Germans had been defeated.
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The Yalta Conference - 1945

  • The Grand Alliance met to discuss & decide what to do with Germany once it had been defeated….
  •  Germany would be divided into 4 zones (British, French, American and Soviet)
  •  Berlin would also be split into 4 zones, because it was inside the Soviet zone of Germany
  •  Nazi war criminals would be hunted down and put on trial in an international court of justice ...and what to do with the countries that the Nazis had conquered during WW2….
  • Countries which had been occupied by the Nazis, which had since been freed by Soviet troops (the Red Army) would have free elections to choose their new governments.
  • There was some disagreement over Poland.
  •  Stalin wanted to take part of eastern Poland, and add it to the USSR Poland would be compensated by giving it 25% of Germany’s land.
  • Stalin used the excuse that the USSR needed to turn Poland into a buffer zone, to protect the USSR from another possible German invasion in the future (Poland was sandwiched in between the USSR and Germany).
  • Germany had already invaded the USSR twice, in 1914 and 1941. Roosevelt and Churchill were not keen on this idea. 
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The Potsdam Conference - 1945

  • Decisions were made about the reparations Germany was to pay….
  • Stalin wanted high reparations, to make Germany weak (since Germany had invaded the USSR twice in the last 50 years). The USA & Britain wanted to keep Germany economically strong, so it would be a buffer against the spread of Communism.
  •  It was agreed that Germany would pay reparations mostly to the USSR, in the form of equipment and materials.
  • Other agreements were made about the future of Germany….
  • Germany was to be demilitarised, and democracy brought back
  • The Nazi Party was banned. Trials for Nazis accused of war crimes went ahead in Nuremberg, 1946.
  • Poland continued to be a source of disagreement….
  •  Stalin had already set up a Communist government in Poland, despite him agreeing at Yalta that Nazi occupied countries like Poland would have free elections!
  • Lots had changed since Yalta, which had a negative impact on relations….
  • Truman replaced Roosevelt as US President. Unlike Roosevelt, Truman distrusted Stalin and was determined to stand up to him.  
  • USA tested the first atomic bomb before the conference…Stalin was angry that he hadn’t known beforehand
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The Soviet Union’s expansion into eastern Europe:

  • Between 1945 and 1948 the USSR took over several countries in Eastern Europe, and took control of others…
  • Communist governments were slyly set up in these countries, and their economies started to be run for the USSR’s benefit. Soon, these countries were little more than areas of the USSR (called satellites).
  • Together, the land controlled/ owned by the USSR in Eastern Europe became known as the Soviet Communist bloc, or Eastern bloc.
  • Stalin claimed that the Soviet Union’s expansion was defensive...
  • He pointed out that before WW2 these countries had had anti-Soviet governments, and some had helped the Germans invade the USSR in 1941, during WW2 (eg. Hungary).
  • Therefore, he was only trying to ensure that these countries now had governments which were loyal to the USSR!
  •  It was easy for the USSR to take control of these countries – the Red Army had liberated them from Nazi control.
  • Instead of leaving, the Red Army continued to occupy these countries long after the end of the war. 
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Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech - 1946

  • He referred to the division between Eastern and Western Europe as an ‘Iron Curtain’ between the two sides.
  • This was not a physical division (yet), but a political and economic one, between capitalism and communism. 
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The Truman Doctrine - 1947

  •  This was a policy carried out by the USA to stop communism spreading by using military force.
  • Truman said he would send troops to any country that was being threatened (that faced being taken over by) communists.
  • This would ‘contain’ communism, stopping it from spreading, so it is sometimes called the policy of containment.
  • It showed that Truman believed countries in eastern Europe had been forced into communism by the USSR.
  • The policy was partly inspired by the civil war in Greece.
  • Greece (Britain’s trading area) was being threatened by a communist takeover, and the British asked the USA for financial help to help fight the communists.
  • The USA sent military & economic resources to Greece, resulting in the defeat of Greek communists.
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The Marshall Plan - 1947

  • This was a policy (plan) by the USA to give countries a total of $17 billion to help them repair war damage and get their economies back on their feet after WW2.
  • It wasn’t just the USA being generous – Truman reckoned that if countries weren’t poor, they wouldn’t be attracted to communism.
  • It also benefitted the USA as countries taking the money had to agree to trade with the USA.
  • Communist countries were offered this aid too, but Stalin/Comecon stopped them from accepting it.
  • Stalin didn’t want communist countries being more dependent on the USA than the USSR.
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Cominform - 1947

  • This was an organisation set up by the USSR.
  • It was designed to help spread communism and protect communist countries from American interference.
  • All of the communist governments in the satellite states were put under the control of the USSR.
  • Leaders of these governments were replaced if they were not seen as being loyal to Stalin.
  • This showed that Stalin wanted total control of the communist world, and would not put up with any opposition.
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The Berlin Blockade - Causes - 1948-1949

  • Berlin, like the rest of Germany, had been divided into four zones of occupation, (this had been decided at the Yalta Conference)
  • As Berlin was in the Soviet zone of Germany, the West (US, Britain, France) depended on the USSR to keep open the routes going in and out of Berlin from the western zones of Germany.
  • This went wrong when the Superpowers disagreed about how far Germany’s economy should be allowed to recover.
  • The USA, Britain and France had joined their zones together (Trizonia), and wanted to launch a new currency to help their zones recover from the war.
  • This was what they were doing in West Germany, with the help of Marshall Aid.
  • They wanted a strong West Germany & West Berlin, to protect against the spread of communism.
  • Stalin saw a rich West Germany as a threat to the USSR. He wanted the western allies out of Berlin altogether.
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The Berlin Blockade - What Happened - 1948-1949

  • In June, Stalin closed off all roads, railways and canals between West Germany and West Berlin.
  • Stalin wanted to force the western allies to give up Berlin by starving the two million inhabitants of West Berlin.
  • The inhabitants needed 4000 tonnes of supplies every day.
  • The western allies chose the least aggressive option – they flew the supplies into West Berlin. This was called the Berlin Airlift.
  • A total of 27,000 flights were made before the USSR gave in and opened the land routes again in May 1949.
  • Stalin didn’t dare shoot down the planes, as it would have led to war.
  • The West had shown how determined it was to resist communism.
  • It was costly, though – 79 British and American pilots were killed in accidents, and it cost more than $200 million.
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The Berlin Blockade - Consequences - 1948-1949

  • In 1949, the Allied zones of Germany officially became West Germany and the Soviet zone became East Germany 
  • Berlin remained inside East Germany, and was a permanent source of tension during the Cold War, leading to a later crisis in 1961. 
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NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) - 1949

  • The Berlin Blockade had convinced the capitalist West of the lengths that the USSR was prepared to go to in order to spread communism.
  • So, the USA set up this military alliance.
  • It was a defensive alliance - all 12 members agreed to go to war if one of them was attacked.
  • The alliance allowed the USA to set up air bases in member-countries.
  • This meant US bombers or missiles could be stationed on the borders of the USSR.
  • The alliance aimed to prevent Soviet expansion 
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Comecon - 1949

  • This was an organisation set up by the USSR to unite all the economies of Eastern Europe.
  • This organisation controlled what each country produced and sold.
  • It worked to the benefit of the USSR, not to the benefit of the satellite states themselves.
  • This meant that there was a lack of competition in industry, leading to poor quality goods, a shortage of goods and a lower standard of living for the people living in those countries.
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The Chinese Communist Revolution In China - 1949

  • The Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, seized power.
  • This showed that the Cold War had moved on to Asia.
  • The USA came up with the domino theory—the belief that if one nation ‘fell’ to communism in Asia, it would be followed by many others.
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The Soviet Union’s first atom bomb test - 1949

  • This kick started the arms race in earnest.
  • Both the USSR and USA poured money into projects to build more and bigger bombs.
  • Each side suspected that the other aimed to build up enough weapons to be able to make a first strike, preventing the other side retaliating.
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The Korean War - 1950-55

  • For the USA, this meant that the domino theory had become a reality.
  • North Korea was ruled by communists, supported by the USSR and China.
  • South Korea had a democratic government, supported by the USA.
  • North Korean forces invaded the South in 1950, in an attempt to turn the South communist.
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New Presidents and Hydrogen Bomb progress - 1953

  • Stalin’s death - Khrushchev takes over as leader of the USSR.
  • Eisenhower becomes President of the USA (takes over from Truman).
  • Both the USA and USSR possessed hydrogen bombs, hundreds of times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945
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The USA tested its biggest hydrogen bomb to date -

  • They believed it to be 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
  • Churchill described the global situation as a ‘balance of terror’. 
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The Warsaw Pact - 1955

  • To counter NATO, the Soviet Union set up this alliance of communist countries.
  • It was a defensive military alliance of 8 nations– all members agreed to go to war if one of them was attacked. 
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Destalination - 1956

  • Khrushchev’s secret speech was made to the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.
  • In his speech, Khrushchev heavily criticised the brutality of Stalin’s rule. The idea of the Soviet Union putting the worst aspects of life under Stalin behind them was called ’De-Stalinisation’.
  • He wanted to replace the old policy of confrontation with the West with a new policy of ‘peaceful coexistence’.
  • The capitalist West liked this idea. De-Stalinisation also raised expectations in the eastern European satellite states.
  • Several began to demand changes and tried to weaken Soviet influence.
  • However, like the West, they had misunderstood Khrushchev’s motives.
  • He could not allow changes in the satellite states because he feared that change could result in the end of communism in eastern Europe, and the destruction of the buffer against the West.
  • He was not prepared to compromise the security of the Soviet Union.
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The Hungarian Uprising - Causes - 1956-7

  • The Soviet Union had invaded and occupied Hungary at the end of the war, helping to install a communist government, led by Rakosi.
  • Rakosi ruled Hungary as a brutal dictator.
  • With the help of the AVH (secret police) Rakosi imprisoned 200,000 political opponents (people who disagreed with him) and killed over 2000 of them.
  • He also allowed the USSR to control Hungary’s economy through Comecon.
  • This meant Hungary couldn’t trade with the West, leading to a shortage of goods and a low standard of living.
  • By the early 1950s Rakosi had become very unpopular in Hungary. 
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The Hungarian Uprising - What Happened - 1956-7

  • Massive demonstrations forced Rakosi out, and Nagy took over as PM.
  • Nagy was a modernising communist; he tried to introduce changes like free elections, trade with W. Germany and withdrawing Hungary from the Warsaw Pact.
  • He even asked the UN for help in dealing with the USSR.
  • Khrushchev was having none of this!
  • 200,000 Soviet troops and 1000 tanks invaded Hungary to put a stop to the uprising.
  • The Hungarian rebels asked Britain, France and the USA for help, but none came. The USSR crushed the uprising. 
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The Hungarian Uprising - Consequences - 1956-7

  • Around 30,000 Hungarians were killed, and 200,000 fled Hungary as refugees.
  • Nagy was replaced as the Hungarian Prime Minister by the communist hardliner Kadar, who had Nagy executed.
  • The Soviet Union had sent out a warning to other satellite states – don’t even think about trying to break away from the Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact!
  • The West were horrified (but not enough to take military action against the Soviet Union—it might lead to war) and became more determined to contain communism.
  • The West were distracted by the Suez Crisis at the time. 
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US spending on armaments increased by 20% - 1957

  • NASA was also founded.
  • Concerned that the Soviet Union was overtaking the USA in the arms race, the US air force increased the number of B52 bombers and the navy equipped some of its submarines with nuclear weapons. 
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New President (Cuba) - 1959

  • Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba, in a communist revolution which overthrows the old leader, Batista.
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New President (USA) - 1961

  • John F. Kennedy becomes President of the USA (takes over from Eisenhower).
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The Berlin Crisis - Causes: Refugee Crisis - 1961

  • The Soviet Union were once again trying to get the western Allies to leave Berlin.
  • West Berlin was a huge embarrassment to the USSR.
  • West Berlin was a showpiece of capitalism, where people enjoyed luxury goods and a high standard of living; in east Berlin people worked long hours and suffered food shortages.
  • Lots of East Berliners were defecting (moving) to West Berlin.
  • By 1961, 2000 per day were leaving East Berlin (or East Germany via Berlin).
  • This was known as the ‘refugee crisis’.
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The Berlin Crisis - Causes: Geneva (1959) - 1961

  • In Nov 1958, Khrushchev declared that the whole city of Berlin belonged to E. Germany, and issued an ultimatum giving US troops 6 months to leave Berlin.
  • Eisenhower (President until 1961) didn’t want to risk war, but didn’t want to lose Berlin, so he agreed to a summit conference of US/Soviet representatives in 1959 in Geneva, to discuss Berlin.
  • No solution was agreed, but the conference did lay the groundwork for Khrushchev to visit the USA to speak with Eisenhower in person.
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The Berlin Crisis - Causes: Camp David (1959) - 19

  • In Sept 1959 a second summit conference took place at Camp David, the US presidential retreat.
  • Khrushchev agreed to withdraw his 6 month ultimatum, and the two leaders agreed to have yet another summit conference!! 
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The Berlin Crisis - Causes: Paris (1960) - 1961

  • The next summit was arranged for May 1960 in Paris, to try to reach a solution to the Berlin problem.
  • But before the conference, tension flared up when the USSR shot down a US spy plane (called a U2 plane) above Russia.
  • The USSR demanded an apology from the USA for their spying.
  • The USA refused, saying they had a right to protect themselves from surprise attack (the plane had taken photos of missile sites).
  • The summit conference was called off.
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The Berlin Crisis - Causes: Vienna - 1961

  • When JFK became President, another summit was arranged to discuss Berlin, this time, in Vienna.
  • Neither side seemed willing to back down.
  • However, Khrushchev was determined to push the inexperienced JFK, and issued the USA with a second 6 month ultimatum to remove its troops from Berlin.
  • JFK refused, and raised the US defence budget by an extra $3.2 billion.
  • A point of stalemate had been reached. 
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The Berlin Crisis - What happened - 1961

  • In August 1961 the USSR built a concrete wall between East and West Berlin.
  • They made it clear that anyone caught trying to cross the wall (from East to West Berlin) would be shot.
  • Many were so desperate that they still tried – in the first year of the wall being there, 41 East Berliners were shot.
  • The wall separated families and friends. East Berliners saw it as a sign of their inferiority.
  • The West did nothing to stop the building of the wall, not wanting to risk war.
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The Berlin Crisis - Consequences - 1961

  • Khrushchev saw the wall as a victory, because it brought an end to the refugee crisis.
  • In 1963 JFK made a speech in West Berlin, expressing solidarity with Berliners.
  • He asked why, if communism was such an ideal system, was it necessary to build a wall to keep people in?
  • JFK was also using the opportunity to show the USA’s commitment to the people of West Berlin by suggesting that the USA would never desert the city.
  • This angered the communists – they thought Kennedy was causing trouble.
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Bay Of Pigs - 1961

  • After relations with Cuba deteriorated, the USA hatched a plan to invade Cuba and remove Castro from power.
  • Rather than have the US invade, the CIA trained a team of 1500 Cuban exiles, who had left Cuba when Castro had come to power.
  • The CIA were certain that when the exiles landed, the Cuban people would rise up and overthrow Castro.
  • The invasion went badly wrong, and was a huge embarrassment for the USA and Kennedy.
  • The CIA had failed to understand that Castro was very popular in Cuba.
  • Furthermore, Castro had been expecting the invasion, because some of the exiles had been overheard discussing plans in Miami.
  • Cuban forces (totalling around 20,000)  
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The Cuban Missiles Crisis - Causes - 1962

  • Relations between the USA and Cuba had soured after communist Castro came to power and ejected all US business and investment from Cuba.
  • In retaliation, the US had refused to buy Cuban sugar.
  • This allowed the USSR to gain influence by offering to trade with Cuba.
  • The Bay of Pigs invasion pushed Castro much closer to the Soviet Union.
  • Khrushchev began to send military supplies to Cuba, and in September 1962, the USSR installed ballistic (nuclear) missiles.
  • Khrushchev claimed to be defending Cuba from future attacks by the USA/ Cuban exiles – the missiles were defensive, not offensive.
  • The situation changed very suddenly when in October 1962 a U2 spy plane took photographs of Cuba which showed that the USSR were building intermediate range missile bases.
  • These IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles) could hit almost all US cities, unlike the medium range ones installed earlier in 1962.
  • Therefore, the IRBMs were clearly offensive, and posed a threat to the USA’s security. 
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The Cuban Missiles Crisis - What happened - 1962

  • The period from which Kennedy first saw the photographs to the Soviet decision to dismantle the missile bases lasted 13 days.
  • Kennedy and his advisers decided to place a naval blockade (or quarantine) around Cuba, to prevent any Soviet ships delivering military materials.
  • A fleet of submarines were made ready for action & 150+ ICBMs were made ready for combat.
  • Kennedy informed Khrushchev that the Soviet convoy of ships approaching Cuba would be stopped and inspected for military materials.
  • The Soviet Union decided to turn its ships around, to avoid confrontation.
  • Kennedy demanded the removal of all missiles from Cuba, and said the US would invade Cuba if the Soviet Union refused.  
  • Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy offering to remove the missiles if the blockade was lifted and the USA promised not to invade Cuba.
  • The next day, he sent a tougher letter, under pressure from his advisers. He promised to remove the missiles if the USA removed their missiles from Turkey (on the Soviet Union’s border). Kennedy decided to ignore the second letter
  • However, he accepted the offer made in the first. Khrushchev accepted the offer. In a secret deal, the US promised to remove its missiles from Turkey, at a later date. 
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The Cuban Missiles Crisis - What happened - 1962

  • The period from which Kennedy first saw the photographs to the Soviet decision to dismantle the missile bases lasted 13 days.
  • Kennedy and his advisers decided to place a naval blockade (or quarantine) around Cuba, to prevent any Soviet ships delivering military materials.
  • A fleet of submarines were made ready for action & 150+ ICBMs were made ready for combat.
  • Kennedy informed Khrushchev that the Soviet convoy of ships approaching Cuba would be stopped and inspected for military materials.
  • The Soviet Union decided to turn its ships around, to avoid confrontation.
  • Kennedy demanded the removal of all missiles from Cuba, and said the US would invade Cuba if the Soviet Union refused.  
  • Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy offering to remove the missiles if the blockade was lifted and the USA promised not to invade Cuba.
  • The next day, he sent a tougher letter, under pressure from his advisers. He promised to remove the missiles if the USA removed their missiles from Turkey (on the Soviet Union’s border). Kennedy decided to ignore the second letter
  • However, he accepted the offer made in the first. Khrushchev accepted the offer. In a secret deal, the US promised to remove its missiles from Turkey, at a later date. 
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The Cuban Missiles Crisis - Consequences - 1962

  • Khrushchev was humiliated because he’d backed down.
  • He faced criticism from Soviet politicians and the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong. He was sacked in 1964.
  •  A telephone hotline was set up between Washington and Moscow, to ensure that the leaders of the USA and USSR did not have to communicate by letter in the event of another crisis!  
  • There were moves towards limiting the growth of nuclear weapons. Eg. The Partial Test Ban Treaty 1963 – the USA & USSR agreed to stop testing nuclear weapons above ground.
  • Also the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1968 saw the 5 nuclear countries agreeing not to help other countries develop nuclear weapons of their own
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New President (USSR) - 1964

  • Brezhnev becomes leader of the USSR, after Khrushchev’s departure.
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The Prague Spring - Causes - 1968

  •  The Czech leader, Novotny, a hard line communist and Soviet ‘puppet’, was very unpopular.  
  • In 1962-63, national income fell. The Czech economy seemed to be run purely for the benefit of the USSR.
  • Novotny was replaced by Dubcek, a reforming communist.
  • This move was supported by Brezhnev, leader of the USSR. 
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The Prague Spring - What Happened - 1968

  • Dubcek promised the people ‘socialism with a human face’, and launched a series of reforms known as the Prague Spring.  
  • The reforms aimed to improve standard of living, allow for greater freedom and democracy, and introduce trade with West Germany.
  • Dubcek tried to reassure Brezhnev that his changes wouldn’t threaten the USSR and that Czechoslovakia wouldn’t leave the Warsaw Pact
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Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia - Causes - 1968-

  •  Brezhnev was unconvinced. He was worried that Czechoslovakia, which had the strongest industry in the Soviet Bloc, would leave the WP – allowing NATO to move in.
  • The reforms, and increased contact with the West, might spread across the satellite states.
  • The Soviet Bloc and the WP might collapse, and the USSR would no longer have its buffer zone!
  • The other Warsaw Pact countries also objected to the reforms.
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Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia - What happened

  • In August 1968, 500,000 troops from the WP countries invaded Czechoslovakia.
  • There was only a little violent protest.
  • The Czechs remembered what had happened to the rebels in Hungary in 1956.
  • So the Czechs responded to the invasion with sit ins, demos etc.
  • However, Russian tanks were attacked with petrol bombs, and one student, Jan Palach, set himself on fire as a protest against Soviet occupation.
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The Prague Spring & Soviet Invasion of Czechoslova

  • • A new leader replaced Dubcek, called Husak. He reverted Czechoslovakia to strict communist rule.
  • The invasion temporarily led to worsened East-West relations. It showed the West that the USSR would not permit reform or opposition in the satellite states…but the West weren’t prepared to intervene and so risk the outbreak of war. Besides, the USA was busy in Vietnam.
  • The invasion of Czechoslovakia led to the Brezhnev Doctrine.
  • This stressed that a threat to one communist country was a threat to all, and force would be used wherever necessary to keep the satellite states firmly under Soviet control.
  • However, the Warsaw Pact did suffer.
  • Romania refused to send troops to invade Czechoslovakia, and took an increasingly independent stance against the USSR.
  • Albania did the same and left the WP. 
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New President (USA) - 1969

  • Nixon becomes President of the USA.  
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The development of détente (1970s)

(a relaxation of tension between the superpowers).

There were three key reasons why the superpowers were determined to improve relations….

1) To reduce the threat of nuclear war. Both the USA and USSR had stockpiles of weapons with a capacity to destroy the Earth many times over. The Cuban Missiles Crisis had shown how dangerous the Cold War was.

2) To increase trade. The US economy was being crippled by the huge cost of the war in Vietnam. The USSR had low living standards and poor industrial efficiency

3) By 1968 the USA wanted pull out of Vietnam. Nixon thought that if he could improve trade and technology links with the USSR, Brezhnev might persuade North Vietnam to negotiate an end to the war. This idea was called ‘linkage’. 

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SALT I agreement - 1972

  • This agreement was the product of the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks which had begun in 1969.  
  • The agreement limited the number of ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) and ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles, the ones used to destroy ballistic missiles) on both sides.
  • The treaty was very significant because it showed clear recognition of the need to protect the nuclear balance by ensuring that neither side could consider itself immune from retaliation (MAD theory).
  • Each side was allowed to use spy satellites to check that the other was not breaking the agreed limits.  
  • However, the agreement did not reduce existing stocks of nuclear weapons. Also, there was no restriction on MIRVs.
  • An MIRV is a missile which carries several nuclear warheads – all of which can be independently directed at different targets, each with 25x the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. 
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President Nixon’s visit to Moscow - 1972

  • This was the first time that a US President had visited Moscow. Nixon met with Brezhnev, and agreed…
  • To limit and eventually end the arms race, the ultimate objective being complete disarmament
  • To develop cooperation in economic, scientific, technical and cultural fields
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The Space link-up - 1975

  • US and Soviet astronauts met up in space, exchanging a symbolic handshake. Tensions appeared to be on the mend! 
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The Helsinki Agreements - 1975

  • 35 countries, including the USA and the USSR, signed these, marking the high point of détente….
  • The West recognised the borders of eastern Europe, and accepted Soviet influence in that area (ie. this means that Soviet control of their satellite states was no longer disputed by the West).
  • West Germany and East Germany officially recognised (accepted the presence of) each other.
  • The Soviet Union agreed to buy US grain and to export oil to the West.  
  • All countries agreed to improve human rights—freedom of speech, of religion and travel.
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New President (USA) - 1977

  • Carter becomes President of the USA.
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SALT II agreement - 1979

  • Talks for SALT II started in 1974 and the treaty was signed in 1979.
  • It was agreed to make further reductions in nuclear weapons.
  • For example, the number of MIRVs on each side was limited.
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Detente Collapse - 1979

  • The West thought that the USSR was not taking human rights seriously enough, even after the Helsinki Agreements.
  • Inside the USSR, opponents of the communist government criticised travel restrictions and prison conditions. 
  • One dissident (opponent) was Andrei Sakharov. He wanted a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons, an end to the Cold War and the introduction of democracy in the USSR.
  • He was put under house arrest by the Soviet government.
  • The new US President, Carter, annoyed Brezhnev by trying to link reductions in weapons with the issue of human rights.
  • Carter sent a letter to Sakharov, supporting him.
  • Brezhnev saw this as the USA interfering in the USSR’s business!
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The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan - Causes - 1979

  • Brezhnev was worried about the growing power of Islamic fundamentalism – led by the Mujahideen, who wanted to overthrow Amin’s government and set up a Muslim state.
  • The Soviet Union itself contained 30 million Muslims in its areas near the Afghan border.
  • Brezhnev was concerned that Muslims in the Soviet Union would start supporting the Mujahideen and would demand changes to the way the Soviet Union was run (eg. introduction of Islamic law, or even independence from the USSR).
  • Therefore, Islamic fundamentalism was a big threat to the Soviet communist system.
  • The USSR also wanted to get rid of Amin, and replace him with a president who would be friendlier to the USSR.
  • Amin was seen as a threat to the Soviet Union’s interests in the Middle-East.
  • Despite receiving Soviet military aid, was not friendly with the Soviet Union, and wanted to build relations with the USA.
  • Afghanistan bordered the Soviet Union.
  • If Amin improved links with the USA, then US influence in Afghanistan would threaten the Soviet Union’s security, as well as their oil interests in the Persian Gulf region.
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The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan - What Happened

  • More than 50,000 Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan.
  • Amin was murdered, and a new government was set up in Kabul, led by Babrak Karmal.
  • Karmal was a previous Afghan leader who had been in exile in the Soviet Union.
  • The Soviet Union therefore knew that he would be friendly towards them.
  • When Amin was murdered, many Afghan soldiers deserted to join the Mujahideen.
  • They didn’t support Karmal. Karmal’s position as head of the Afghan government was entirely dependent on Soviet military support to keep it in power.
  • Brezhnev told the world that the Soviet invasion had been necessary to restore order (because the Mujahideen were threatening the Afghan government!)
  • He told the US President, Carter, that Soviet troops had been invited in by the Afghan government to protect it, and that troops would be withdrawn as soon as the situation stabilised. (They weren't withdrawn until 1989.) 
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The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan - Consequences

  • Carter issued the Carter Doctrine.
  • This policy said that the USA would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region.
  • The USA wanted to protect the routes which supplied oil from the Middle East to the USA and Western Europe.
  • If the Soviet Union gained too much influence in the MiddleEast, they could threaten the USA’s oil supply.
  • Carter saw the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a potential stepping stone to Soviet control of most of the Middle-East. The USA promised to support the Mujahideen.
  • The Mujahideen were carrying out guerrilla warfare against Soviet troops, to win back control of their country.
  • Carter cut trade between the USA and the Soviet Union – he cancelled all shipments of grain to the USSR, and forbade US companies to trade technological equipment such as computers and oil drilling equipment.
  • Carter pressured the United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Moscow Olympic Games (1980). The USOC agreed, and so did 61 other countries.
  • This worsened relations even more. Some of those countries who boycotted the Olympics held an alternative event, called the ‘Liberty Bell Classic’. 
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New US Defence Programme - 1981

  • Reagan becomes President of the USA.
  • He announces that the new US defence programme will cost over a trillion dollars.
  • New weapons were developed, such as….
  • The neutron bomb—designed to kill lots of people in one go, but do little damage to property or infrastructures
  • Cruise Missiles—designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy without being detected by radar. NATO agreed to Cruise Missiles being placed in Western Europe
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Result of the USA’s view of nuclear war changing

  • Up until the 1980s, the Superpowers had both accepted MAD theory (Mutually Assured Destruction).
  • This theory said that nuclear weapons made each side more secure and less likely to attack because there could be no winner in a nuclear war.
  • The enemy would not dare make the first strike because the other side would strike back before its bombs had landed – so it too would be destroyed.
  • When new weapons were developed (see above), Reagan and his advisers accepted a new theory: NUTS (Nuclear Utilization Target Selection).
  • NUTS was the idea that in a nuclear war specific targets could be picked out, and so destruction would be limited.
  • This suggested there could be a winner in a nuclear war.
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START meetings between Reagan and Brezhnev - 1982

  • The USA and USSR resumed arms talks.
  • They were called Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START).
  • Note that this time, ‘reduction’ was substituted for ‘limitation’ - ie. this time, the talks were aiming to destroy existing nuclear weapons, not just limit the development of new ones.
  • Reagan knew that he was approaching talks from a position of strength because of the economic problems that the USSR was experiencing.  
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New President (USSR) - 1982

  • Brezhnev dies. Andropov becomes the new leader of the USSR.
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Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) / Star Wars - 1

  • This was a plan to develop a satellite anti-missile system that would orbit the earth.
  • The aim was to make it impossible for Soviet missiles to reach US targets, by creating a huge laser shield in space.
  • Andropov accused the USA of coming up with a plan on how to unleash nuclear war in the hope of winning it.
  • He knew that SDI would give the USA an advantage in any nuclear conflict, and would make them more willing to consider a tactical nuclear war.
  • The USSR would have to spend even more money on armaments in order to compete with the USA - and this could cause the Soviet economy to collapse
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New President (USSR) - 1984

  • Andropov dies. Chernenko becomes the new leader of the USSR. 
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Soviet boycott of the US Olympic Games in LA - 198

  • Chernenko accused the USA of using the games for political purposes—ie. to promote capitalism/the West and make communism/the East look bad.
  • He also claimed that security for Soviet athletes was inadequate.
  • The USA saw the boycott as retaliation for their boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympics.
  • The Soviet boycott was supported by members of the Warsaw Pact.
  • The boycotting nations held their own alternative, called the Friendship Games.
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New President (USSR) - 1985

  • Chernenko dies.
  • Gorbachev becomes the new leader of the USSR.
  • Gorbachev was prepared to adopt drastic policies to improve Superpower relations, as he knew that without change, the Soviet Union would collapse…. 
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Why was the Cold War draining the Soviet Union’s w

  • Costs were mounting because of...
  • The arms race (the Soviet Union felt the need to keep up with the USA’s development of new weapons)
  • Afghanistan
  • Keeping control of the satellite states (as promised in the Brezhnev Doctrine 1968)
  • So, in order to save the Soviet Union from collapse, Gorbachev saw a need to…
  • Cut back on arms expenditure and end the arms race by reaching arms agreements with the USA (dismantling weapons and not developing new ones)
  • Pull out of Afghanistan
  • Abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine by no longer interfering in the internal affairs of the satellite states/members of the Warsaw Pact
  • Gorbachev also realised that Soviet industry was not producing enough money.
  • There was no competition between industries, as they were all state controlled rather than privately owned, and no incentives to increase output.
  • Output was low, and the quality of goods shoddy.
  • This led to a poor standard of living in communist states, which, in turn, led to unrest among the people.
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Gorbachevs Reforms - 1985

  • The two key principles behind Gorbachev’s reforms were...
  • glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring).
  • What did they involve?
  • 1. Perestroika (restructuring) meant changing some economic policies to allow more competition and more incentives to produce goods. Gorbachev believed that the Soviet Union could only survive if it relaxed economic controls (such as those imposed by Comecon)
  • 2. Glasnost (openness) meant restoring people’s faith in government by ending corruption. Gorbachev believed that people should not be punished for simply disagreeing with the government. There should be more open political debate.
  • As part of glasnost and perestroika, Gorbachev carried out reforms such as…
  • Releasing dissidents (people who disagreed with the government) from jail
  • Publishing books that were previously banned  
  • Being open with the Soviet people about the atrocities committed when Stalin was in power
  • Introducing some aspects of a free economy (eg. trading for private profit)
  • ...BUT glasnost was a double edged sword for Gorbachev—the more freedom people were given, the more they wanted, making it more and more difficult to keep the Communist Party in power. 
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Geneva Accord - 1985

  • Reagan and Gorbachev held a summit meeting in Geneva in Nov 1985, to discuss issues without their advisers.
  • Nothing concrete was decided, but the resulting Geneva Accord committed the two countries to speeding up arms talks and being more active on issues of human rights.
  • The significance of this summit meeting is that the two leaders had been able to be friendly with each other, despite poor relations between the Superpowers in the 1980s. 
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Reykjavik summit meeting - 1986

  • This meeting between Reagan & Gorbachev collapsed after Reagan refused to give up Star Wars (SDI). 
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The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) - 198

  • The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) came about as a result of a third summit meeting in Washington.
  • This treaty saw the Superpowers agree to destroy both nuclear and conventional weapons of an intermediate range.
  • By 1991, over 2500 such weapons had been destroyed.
  • Under the treaty, both nations were allowed to inspect each other’s weapons stocks to check that weapons had been destroyed.
  • Alongside the Soviet Union’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the INF was particularly important in convincing the USA that the Soviet Union no longer posed a major threat.
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Gorbachev’s rejection of the Brezhnev Doctrine - 1

  • This meant that Gorbachev was saying that the USSR was no longer prepared to used military force to keep the satellite states under Soviet control. 
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The Sinatra Doctrine - 1989

  • Gorbachev accepted that members of the Warsaw Pact could make changes to their own countries without the Soviet Union interfering (eg. they could introduce democracy, private trading etc.)
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Thank you so much !



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Mariam Ahmed786



imogen kernan





Korean War was 1950 - 1953, but its awesome thanks



America gave Europe  $13 billion not $17, other than that it really helped 







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Harry Trueman USA





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ronnie goldsmith



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