History - Cold War

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History Cold War
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Teheran Conference 1943 (28 Nov-1 Dec)

BIG THREE - Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill


  • Soviet union could have a sphere of influence (communism respected) in Eastern Europe


  • Stalin wanted to punish and severely weaken Germany with reparations
  • Churchill and Roosevelt wanted to rebuild Germany. They remembered the treaty of Versailles.


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Yalta Conference 1945 ( 4-11 Febuary)

BIG THREE - Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill


  • Stalin would enter war on Japan when Germany was defeated
  • Liberated countries would be able to hold free elections
  • Agreed to all join the UN to keep peace after the war
  • "Declaration of Liberated Europe" work for democracy in Europe
  • Communist government in Poland
  • USSR have sphere of influence in Eastern Europe


  • Stalin wanted communist governments in Eastern Europe
  • Disagreement over what democracy meant as Stalin believed only communism represented the workers.
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Potsdam Conference 1945 (July)

Truman, Stalin, Churchill


  • Nazi Party to be banned and leaders tried as war criminals
  • Germany split into 4 zones and Berlin into 4 sectors
  • Germany would pay reparations (Disagreement over how much)


  • Over Germany, Stalin wanted to cripple Germany to protect the USSR, Truman wanted it to recover.
  • Over reparations. Stalin still wanted huge compensation from Germany but Truman didn't want to repeat the mistakes of the first world war
  • Soviet policy in Eastern Europe. Stalin was setting up communist governments in Eastern countries despite saying he wouldn't.
  • The atomic bomb. Truman believed America had the "master card" in the Potsdam conference so could "generally boss the whole meeting" (Churchill)
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Differences between Yalta (1943) and Potsdam (1945

  • Different leaders, Truman did not trust Stalin and so found it difficult to work with him. Attlee was inexperienced in dealing with powerful men like Stalin
  • By Potsdam, Stalin's army were in most of Eastern Europe and so nothing could be done by Truman to enforce free elections. Stalin insisted it was purely defensive
  • Truman postponed the conference to give American scientists time to test the Atomic bomb. He was convinced that the USA had the ultimate weapon and was even more determined to stand up to Stalin. The arms race had began.
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The Iron Curtain Speech 1946

Speech by Churchill in 1946, Foulton, Missouri

'From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of Central and Eastern Europe...and all are subject to a very high measure of control from moscow'

Churchill meant that there were now two camps in the world, the democratic west and communist east. Stalin had cut off most contact with the west and had complete control of these countries.

Stalin saw Churchills speech as a declaration of war. He called Churchill a Warmonger and Likened him to Hitler and his Friends.

Both sides had no started to view each other as opponents rather than Allies

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The Novikov Telegram 1946

A secret telegram from Novikov the soviet Ambassador to Amrerica sent to Stalin

It reported:

  • The USA wanted to dominate the world and believed it had a right to lead it.
  • Following Roosevelts deathe the USA was no longer intreseted in co-operation with the USSR.
  • The American public was being prepared for war with the USSR and were building up its military power

This worried Stalin as the Soviet economy was weak and unlikely to win another war

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The Long Telegram 1946

A secret report from Kennan, Americans ambassador to Moscow sent to Truman

It reported:

  • Stalin wanted to destroy capitalism and he painted the west as evil and corrupt
  • He feared the effects of capitalism and freedom on his people
  • There could be no peace with the USSR while it opposed capitalism
  • The USSR would try and extend its power and influence over Europe.
  • The USSR was building up its military power and working on the Atomic bomb.
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Cominfrom 1947

Stands for Communist Information Bureau

  • Set up by Stalin in 1947 to co-ordinate the various Communist governments in eastern Europe
  • Cominform ran meeting and sent out instructions to Communist governments about what the Soviet Union wanted them to do
  •  Tightened Stalin's control on his communist allies and ensured loyalty of Eastern Euopean governments
  • Stalins response to the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid.
  • Encouraged minority communist parties in countries like France to try to turn more people to communism


  • Communists suppoters go on strike (French workers against Marshall Aid)
  • Those not to Stalin removed (5% of Hungary population in prision)
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Comecon 1949

Stands for Council for Economic Assistance

  • Set up by Stalin as an answer to the Marshall Plan
  • First year it included USSR, Bulagaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Polan and Romania
  • Second year Albania and Eastern Germany joined
  • Aimed to encourage the economic development of Eastern Europe
  • Aimed to prevent trade with Western Europe and America


  • Minimised Americas influence in Eastern Europe and USSR (political)
  • Benefits of economic recovery within Soviet "sphere of influence" (economical)
  • Eastern Europe didn't have access to the prosperity of Western Europe (economical)
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Satellite State

A satellite state is a country that is officially independent but is in reality controlled by another country.

Why did Stalin set up satellite states/

  • He believed America was trying to buy influence in Europe with the Marshall Plan
  • He believed all countries that accepted the aid would become an American ally
  • To prevent this Stalin extended his control over Eastern Europe y creating Satellite states
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Truman Doctrine 1947 (March)

A Statement of intent made in March 1947 by President Truman.

  • Division of the world into two rival ideologies. It stated countries Had a choice between a communist state and a democracy with capitalism. It clearly divided the world into two opposing camps.
  • The USA had the responsibility to fight for liberty wherever it was threatened. The USA was leaving Isolationism behind. They would send troops and economic resources to help governments threatened by communism.
  • Policy of containment. Truman accepted that Eastern Europe was now communist and he aimed to stop communism from spreading any further
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Marshall Aid 1947

Was the USA's response to poverty and hardship in post-war Europe. As truman believed this would lead support for communism. It also gave American business trading partners for the future.

They commited $13 billion of American money to help rebuild the shattered economies of Europe.  

The aim of the Mardhal plan was to encourage prosperity which would weaken the attraction of communism. In order to qualify for the money European countries had to agree to to trade freely with America. In this way Marshall Aid also helped American Economies.


  • 16 European countries accepted it, all weastern European states
  • Stalin refused Marshall aid for the USSR and banned Eastern European countries for accepting.
  • Stalin saw it as the first step in creating military alliances and that they were trying to buy allies
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Causes of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift 1948-9

Short-term Causes

  • British and American zones merged into Bizonia (later Trizonia)
  • Allied zones of Germany recieves Marshall Aid
  • New Currency (Deutschmark) introduced into western zones

Long-term Causes

  • The Soviet Union tries to get the communists to take control of the Berlin City concil
  • THe west wanted to rebuild Germany but the USSR wanted it weak
  • Stalin was worried about Western influence and ideas spreading into Eastern Germany
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Events of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift 1948-9 (

Key events

  • On 24th June 1948, Stalin cut off all road, rail and canal links between West Germany and West Berlin hoping to force the Allies out of the city.
  • Truman responded with the "Berlin Airlift" supplying West Berlin by transporting goods by plane, with the risk that the planes may be shot down.
  • It lasted 10 months with an average of 4000 tonnes of goods being supllied everyday.
  • Truman sent B54 bombers carrying A-bombs to Britains. These were stationed as a warning to the USSR not to shoot down any planes.
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Consequences of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift 19


  • In May 1949 it was clear that the Blockade was working so Stalin reopened communications.
  • This was a victory for the West
  • Truman's response was peaceful and made Stains military blockade appear very aggressive.
  • Tensions increase between the Superpowers
  • Confirmed permanent division of East and West Germany
  • West Berlin remained as a symbol of liberty and freedom behind the Iron curtain
  • Formation of NATO

West Zone became - Federal Republic of German

East Zone became - German Democratic Republic

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NATO 1949

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Military alliance containing most of the states of Western Europe as well as the USA and Canada. If one member was attacked, the other members would help to defend it. The USSR developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 and so NATO was even more important to the defense of Western Europe, non of which had the atomic bomb yet.

The importance of NATO

  • The USA was now formally committed toe the defence of western Europe
  • Stalin did not see it as a defensive alliance but as a direct threat to the USSR
  • The USA was able to build air bases in western Europe where planes armed with nuclear weapons could be stationed.
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Warsaw Pact 1955

In 1955 Khrushchev set up the Warsaw pact which was a communist version of NATO. It was created once West Germany joined NATO and now divided Europe into two armed camps.

The USA responded by increasing he number of NATO troops in Germany

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De-Stalinisation 1956

Khrushchev made a secret speech which became public promising the end of Stalin ism throughout the entire Soviet sphere of Influence. He called Stlain as wicked tyrant who was an enemny of the people who kept all the power to himself.

He began a programme of de-stalinisation:

  • He released more poilitical prisoners
  • He closed down cominform
  • He dismissed Stalins former Foreign Minister, Molotov
  • He agreed to remove Soviet troops from Austria

Although he seemed to be signalling that countries in Eastern Europe would be allowed greater freedom however this was true as shown in Hungary in 1956

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Causes of the Hungarian Uprising 1956

Short-term Causes

  • Kruschcev's "secret" speech which Hungary people believed they would be allowed more freedom
  • Student protest in Budapest and attach soviet troops with petrol bombs and grenades

Long-term Causes

  • Matyas Rakosi "Blad Butcher" oppressive regime imprisioned 387,000 and was resonsible 2,00 deaths
  • The Hungarians were patriotic, and they hated Russian control, especially:
    • The secret police called the AVH in Hungary.
    • Russian control of the economy, which had made Hungary poor.
    • Russian control of what the schools taught.
    • Censorship and lack of freedom
  • Hungarians were religious but the communist party banned religion and imprisoned Cardinal Mindzenty
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Events of the Hungarain Uprising 1956

Key Events

  • Soviet tanks fire on students
  • Imre Nagy restored as prime minster and soviet troops were removed from Hungary
  • Political prisoners released
  • Nagy forms coalition government  and local councils replaced the communist government
  • Nagy announces intention to withdraw from Warsaw Pact and become neutral in the cold war

Khrushchev couldn't accept this as it as it would leave a gap in the iron curtain and the buffer zone would be broken.

  • 7,000 Soviet troops and 1,00 tanks moved into Hungary to crush the uprising
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Consequences of the Hungarain Uprising 1956


  • Nagy executed and replaced by Kadar, another Communist puppet leader who restored communist rule in Hungary
  • 20,000 Hingarians killed 200,00 fled West
  • Limits of Western help. West protested but did nothing as they were afraid military action would lead to war
  • Limits of USA help. USA could not offer military aid to countries against communism
  • Other satellite states in eatern Europe did not dare to challenge the soviet authority after the events in Hungary
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Four Summits

To solve refugees problem (Berlin wall causes) in November 1958 Khrushchev declared that the whole of Berlin belonged to East Germany and gave American troops 6 months to withdraw. Four meetings were held to discuss the future:

May 1959 - Geneva - US and USSR foreign ministers. No agreement reached but opened way for a meeting between Khrushchev and Eisenhower

September 1959 - Camp David - Eisenhower and Khrushchev. No agreement to solution of problems, decided to meet again. Khrushchev withdrew his 6 month ultimatum

May 1960 - Paris -  Eisenhower and Khrushchev. Disaster, Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR in a spy plane. Khrushchev walked out when Eisenhower refused to apologise.

June 1961 - Vienna - Kennedy and Khrushchev. Neither side was willing to back down over US presence in Berlin. Khrushchev thought Kennedy was weak and inexperienced and issued the 6 month Ultimatum again to remove troops. However Kennedy refused and began preparing America for war.

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U2 Crisis 1960

May 1960

A U2 spy plane is fitted with a high quality camera and the best cloaking devices available at the time which allows it to fly above the sight of radars.

On May 1st 1960 a spy plane was shot down by a Soviet missile and the pilot, Gary Powers was taken for questioning and the plane was recovered by Soviet engineers.

The USA tried to cover it up but they didn't know Powers admitted to spying.

On May 7th 1960, Khrushchev announced he had the pilot and plane with pictures and asked for a full US apology but Eisenhower didn't give one.

This led to the breakdown of talks at the Paris Summit and the cold war getting colder as Khrushchev described the US as someone impossible to deal with.

Gary Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was swapped after 1 year for a Soviet spy.

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U2 Crisis

May 1960

A U2 spy plane is fitted with a high quality camera and the best cloaking devices available at the time which allows it to fly above the sight of radars.

On May 1st 1960 a spy plane was shot down by a Soviet missile and the pilot, Gary Powers was taken for questioning and the plane was recovered by Soviet engineers.

The USA tried to cover it up but they didn't know Powers admitted to spying.

On May 7th 1960, Khrushchev announced he had the pilot and plane with pictures and asked for a full US apology but Eisenhower didn't give one.

This led to the breakdown of talks at the Paris Summit and the cold war getting colder as Khrushchev described the US as someone impossible to deal with.

Gary Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was swapped after 1 year for a Soviet spy.

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Berlin Crisis - Why was the wall built?

Berlin was a source of conflict between the Soviets and western Allies. Capitalist West Berlin, surrounded by the Communist state of East Germany, continued to be a problem for the USSR.

Between 1949 and 1961, 3 million East Germans had fled to the west via West Berlin from where they could travel to West Germany.

Why were there so many refugees?

  • East German government was unpopular
  • People in East had little freedom compared to the West.
  • Standard of living was much lower in East Germany than in the West
  • East Berliners could see consumer goods in shops in West Berlin and the greater wealth they enjoyed.
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Berlin Crisis - Why was the wall built?

Why was this a disaster fo the USSR?

  • Disaster for Communism as the people who moved told the world what communism was really like and not what the leaders liked to show.
  • Highly skilled people were leaving Berlin and so there were less people to fill in the important jobs that the East Germans needed doing.
  • It undermined communism generally as people moved away for a better life under capitalism as he claimed the East had a better standard of living than it actually did.

Solving the refugee problem

  • Khrushchev offered the USA an ultimatum. He wanted the western troops out of West Berlin and for West Berlin to become communist. He saw this as the way to solve the problem of people leaving communism.
  • November 1958 Khrushchev declared that the whole of the city of Berlin officially belonged to the USSR
  • Eisenhower was unsure of what to do. He didn't want war but he didn't want to lose Berlin as this would be bad for American propaganda.
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Berlin Crisis - Causes


  • Division issue after Berlin Blockade 1948-1949
  • Refugee problem - 3 million Eastern Germans had fled to West Germany via West Berlin - Which made communism look like it was failing
  • Khrushchev declared West Berlin belonged to East Germany and gave American troops 6 months to withdraw
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Berlin Crisis - Events

Key Events

  • To avoid war 4 summit meetings were held, Geneva, Camp David, Paris and Vienna
  • Khrushchev give 6 month ultimatum again
  • JFK injects $3.2 billion into defence spending; 4270 million on fallout shelters
  • USA 20 times more nuclear weapons than the USSR which could reach further
  • To avoid war, Khrushchev builds wall on 12 August 1961, barbed wire first then reinforced
  • All movement between East and West Berlin stops
  • JFK accepts wall is better than war. Visits Berlin in1963 and 2.5 million line the streets
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Berlin Crisis - Consequences


  • The flow of refugees was reduced to a trickle
  • Western nations won a propaganda victory since it appeared Communist states needed to build a wall to prevent their citizens from leaving.
  • Tension grew:both sides started nuclear testing again.
  • The West became more anti-communist
  • The Wall became a symbol in the West of Communist tyranny.

Consquences for people

  • Families and friends were divided
  • People could not travel to their place of work.
  • Those in the East desperate to get to the West risked their lives trying to cross the wall
  • GDR soldiers had orders to shott escapees
  • Up to 200 died.
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Attitudes towards the Belin Wall

Attitude of the West

  • Kennedy said a wall is better than a war.
  • US portrayed the wall as a prison for the East Berliners
  • West Berlin remained a symbol of freedom for the people of East Berlin and the Eastern bloc.
  • Kennedy made a speech in Berlin declaring 'Ich bin ein Berliner' to show US support for West Berlin.

Attitude of the USSR

  • The wall stopped East Germans escaping to the west.
  • It prevented a war with USA and allowed Khrushchev to still appear strong.
  • Khrushchev told the East Berliners that the wall was there to protect the people from those who wanted to prevent the building of communism.
  • He claimed that the weat used West Berlin as a route in to East Berlin for spies (correct)
  • He said the west was undermining the east by recruiting spies, sabotage and provoking disturbances
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Cuban Revolution 1959

Cuba under Batista

  • American Ally 160km from Florida
  • huge Naval base in Cuba at Guantanamo.
  • America gave Cuba economic and military suppot.
  • Cuban leader Batista was corrupt, unpopular and a dictator. The US only supported him because he opposed communism.
  • He welcomed American business in Cuba and accepted bribes.

People became fed up with Batista and he was overthrown by Castro. uba became communist after it was taken over by Fidel Castro in 1958. He was popular in Cuba, partly because he gave land seized from wealthy Americans to the Cuban people.

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The Bay of Pigs

June 1960 Eisenhower authorised the CIA to try to overthrow Castro. They provided support and funds for Cuban exiles and investigated ways to disrupt the Cuban economy (e.g ban import of Cuban sugar)

In summer 1960 Castro allied Cuba with USSR Khrushchev signed a trade agreement giving Cuba $100 million economic aid and also arms. So USA broke off diplomatic relations but planners again to overthrown Castro under Kennedy

Kennedy supplied arms, equipment and transport for 1400 anti-Castro exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow him. In April 1961 the exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs. However they were met by 20,000 Cuban troops armed with tanks and modern weapons. They were all captured or killed within days.

They had expected people in Cuba to support them but they got none.

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Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Revolution led by Fidel Castro in Cuba (1959)
  • USA stops trade of sugar with Cuba and Soviets take over trade
  • Bay of pigs: Filed invasion and removal of Castro led by Cuban exiles and CIA. Made Kennedy seem foolish
  • Cuba turns communist, just 90 miles from America (1961)
  • Khrushchev sent soviet military advisers to Cuba
  • US missile bases in Turkey and Italy
  • Ballistic missiles and other military supplies sent by Khrushchev to Cuba
  • October US spy plane photographs Soviet missile bases on Cuba
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Events of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Thirteen Day Crisis

  • 16 - Kennedy was told Khrushchev was building missile sites on Cuba
  • 18-19 - Kennedy holds talks with Ex-Comm
  • 20 - Kennedy decides on a Naval Blockade of Cuba
  • 21 - Kennedy makes a broadcast to the American people warning them of the potential threat and what he intended to do.
  • 22 - Kennedy announces the Blockade and calls on Soviets to remove missiles.
  • 23 - Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy saying they are ignoring the Blockade and doesn't admit to the missiles presensce.
  • 24 - The Blockade began, as Soviet ships approach the Blockade zone they stop or turn around. Khrushchev says that in the event of a war the USSR would use nuclear weapons.
  • 25 - Kennedy wrote to Khrushchev asking him to withdraw missiles from Cuba, missile bases still being built on Cuba.
  • 26 - Kennedy recieves a letter from Khrushchev saying if the blockade was lifted they would remove the missiles.
  • 27 - Khrushchev sends another letter saying the USA has to remove missiles from Turkey. A U-2 plane is shot down over Cuba. The USA agreed to remove missiles from Turkey as long as it is kept secret
  • 28 - Khrushchev accpeted and missiles are removed.
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Consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis


  • Reduction in Khrushchev's authority even though he tried to show he was a responsible peacemaker. China broke its alliance with the USSR
  • Kennedy's popularity increased.
  • Cuba stayed communist but without nuclear weapons.
  • Led to the 'Hot line' in June 1963: red telephone link between the White house and the Kremlin.
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: August 63, nuclear weapons could only be tested underground.
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1968, promise not to supply other countries with nuclear technology.

Long -term

  • USSR continued with the arms race until it was equal with the US in 1965
  • Greater stability between the two countries lead to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), a reason to avoid war.
  • France left NATO, it didn't want to be drawn into a nuclear war.
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Czechoslovakia: The Prague Spring - Causes 1968

  • It was a satellite state controlled by Antonin Novotny (Bald Butcher) a "puppet leader " of Brezhnev
  • Oppression of secret police (AVH)
  • The standard of living was low as Soviet control meant it could not recover after WW2
  • THe despire for greater freedom and democracy
  • Novotny was unpopular leader and hated him and russian control
  • Popularity of Dubcek who replaced Novotny and promised "socialism with a human face. A more liberal replacement.
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Czechosolvakia: The Prague Spring - Events 1968

  • During 1967, students and writers were complaining about the lack of freedom and poor performance of the Czech economy.
  • When Novotny asked Brezhnev for help, Brezhnev did not support him.
  • Novotny fell from power and Alexander Dubcek took over.
  • In April 1968, Dubceks government announced an Action plan for what it called Socialism with a Human face. It removed state controls over industry and allowed freedom of speech.
  • For four months there was freedom in Czechoslovakia, until Dubcek announced he was going to allow another party to form.
  • Dubcek stressed that Czechoslovakia would stay in the Warsaw Pact but in August, Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, a country not in the warsaw pact visited Prague.
  • At a meeting in Bratislava on 3 August 1968, Brezhnev read ou a letter from some Czechoslovakian Communists asking for help
  • Jan palach burned himself to death in protest.
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Czechosolvakia: The Prague Spring - Consequences -

  • Brezhnev worried the reforms would spread to other Eastern Bloc countries
  • Czechoslovakia was important in the warsaw Pact as it was centrally placed
  • Brezhnev tried to slow down pace of change by arguing with Dubcek.
  • Warsaw Pact troops performed training exercises on the Czech border.
  • He thought abotu cutting off wheat supplies but thought they would turn to the USA
  • Dubcek agreed not to allow other political parties but insisted on keeping other reforms.
  • On the 20th og August, 400,000 Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia, arrested leading reformers and seized key cities.
  • Dubcek told the people to offer only passive resistance so there were few deaths.
  • Dubcek was flown to Moscow where he talked with Brezhnev. He was forced to resign and was replaced by loyal Communist Husak.
  • Dubcek was not killed like Nagy in 56, he was always loyal to communism and friendly with Brezhnev. Instead he was gradually degraded and censored from everything.
  • The US did not interfere as it did not want Brezhnev to become involved in Vietnam.
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Brezhnev Doctrine

Created by Brezhnev as a result of the Prague Spring. He argued that a threat to one Communist country was a treat to them all (clearly echoed the Truman Doctrine and the American fear of the domino effect). He also said that force would be used whenever necessary to keep Soviet satellites firmly under Soviet influence.

The essentials of Communism were defined as:

  • One party system
  • Remain a member of the Warsaw Pact.
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Detente is the relaxing of tension or hostility between countries. Relations between the USSR and USA improved in the 1970s for several reasons but this was most evident at 3 key events.

1972 - SALT Treaty between Brezhnev and Nixon

  • Agreed there would be no further production of strategic ballistic missiles.
  • Agreed that submarines carrying nuclear weapons would only be introduced when existing stocks of intercontinental ballistic missiles became obsolete.
  • This was significant as it was the first agreement between the Superpowers that successfully limited the number of nuclear weapons it held.

1975 - Apollo-Soyuz Space Mission

  • A joint space mission in which a US Apollo spacecraft and a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked in space.
  • It ended the highly competitive space race of the 1960's.
  • Further thaw in relations as showed they could work and even live together
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1975 - The Helsinki Conference

  • Held at Helsinki in Finland, 35 countries including the USA and USSR attended.
  • The Western powers recognised the frontiers of eastern Europe and Soviet influence in that area.
  • West Germany officially recognised East Germany.
  • The Soviets agreed to buy American grain and export oil to the West.
  • The Soviets agreed to allow greater freedom in the Soviet Union to western journalists and to allow some inspection of human rights.
  • All countries agreed to improve human rights throughout the world.
  • Both the USA and the USSR got what they wanted but in reality not all countries actually followed their promises.
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Collapse of Detente 1979

Detente ended with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on the 25th of December in 1979.

Reasons for invasion

  • They were concerned about the Muslim revolution in neighbouring Iran, which could have spread to Afghanistan and other Muslim areas inside the USSR.
  • The political situation in Afghanistan was very unstable at the end of the 1970s and the Soviets wanted to maintain their influence in the area.
  • Afghanistan was close to the Middle East oil reserves of the western powers and the ports of the Indian Ocean. The Soviets wanted to develop their interests in this area.
  • Though Amin was a communist, the USSR did not trust him. The Soviet secret police reported he was an American spy. He was also unpopular with a large number of Muslims and Brezhnev feared a Muslim takeover.
  • Babrak Karmal, an Afghani communist, argued that he had enough popular support to form a new government but needed Soviet help to defeat Amins military.
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The Kabul Revolution 1979 (April)

  • The Kabul revolution involved an overthrow of its government. The new government was determined 'to build Socialism in Afghanistan'.
  •  The new communist president, Mo-hammed Taraki, became an ally of the USSR.
  • They began a modernisation programme including land reform and education of girls which met opposition from muslim leaders.
  • A civil war broke out between the Communist government and Islamic fighter (Mujahidin). Afghan communists asked Moscow for help but Brezhnev was reluctant to get involved.
  • President Taraki was forced to accpet Hafizullah Amin as the prime minister. In October 1979, Amin supporters assassinated Taraki and Amin became president.
  • Although Amin was communist Brezhnev did not trust him and thought he was a American spy
  • Using the terms of the Brezhnev doctrine he lanched an invastion as he was he was sure America wouldn't get involved
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Consequences of the Soviet Invastion of Afganistan


  • Within weeks of the invasion, Soviet troops were being killed by Mujahidin rebels who used very effective guerrilla tactics
  •  The USA secretly began to send very large shipments of money, arms and equipment to Pakistan and from there to the Mujahidin. The campaign became unwinnable and a severve drain on its finances.

Reagans policy on Afghanistan

  • The USA hoped to bleed the USSR white.
  •  Reagan was willing to give the mujahidin whatever money weapons they wanted. The USA spent $2bn on this war.
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Consequences of the Soviet Invastion of Afganistan

  • Most Afghans disliked the Soviet presence as Communism is anti-religion and so the Mujaheddin was strong.
  •  The Soviets couldn't win and suffered tremendous losses and were keen to reach a peace deal.
  • They offered to withdraw if the US stopped providing the Mujaheddin with weapons but Reagan saw an opportunity to weaken the Soviets and refused.

The Soviet defeat

In 1986, there was less restriction on the media and the war was reported more accurately in the USSR. People began to demand withdrawal from Afghanistan. Early in 1987 Moscow pulled out its forces. Costs included:

  • 15,000 Soviet dead and 37,000 wounded
  • an estimated financial cost of $20bn to the USSR
  • over 1 million Afghans killed and around 5 million displaced
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The Carter Doctine and Olymipic Boycotts

Following the Soviet invasion, Carter made a statement that became known as the Carter Doctrine. The doctrine said that:

  • The USSR must not gain access to the oil in the rich middle east countries.
  • They ended all diplomatic relations and formed an alliance with China and Isreal to support Afghan rebels, CIA provided weapons.
  • He imposed economic sanctions by stopping trade.

He also refused to sign SALT II which would have further limited the number of nuclear weapons.

He pulled the USA out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and none of the US allies participated either. The USSR retaliated by boycotting the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles

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Ronald Reagan 1981

  • Within a few months of coming into office, he increased the USA's arms budget to 7% of the GDP.
  •  The US military was told to prepare to wage and win and nuclear war against the USSR though it seems that Reagan never actually intented for his to happen. They were only intent on crippling the USSR in a new arms race which they new the Soviet Union would not be able to keep pace with.
  •  In 1983, US cruise missiles were deployed in Europe and the US wealth was used to support anti-Communist forces all over the world.

Evil Empire Speech, 1983

Reagan believed that any negotiation with the USSR was a sign of weakness and in a speech in 1983 he said that:

  • Communism was bad as it was anti-religious and it undermined the moral value of America (story of man and daughters)
  • We should pray for the people in the Communist parties and hope they find God. Also that the focus should be on the individual not the state.
  • He said the Soviet union was the modern evil and that the real crisis was not the bombs and weapons but the test of the US moral, will and faith.
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The Space Race

  • The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. This worries the USA as they now have more advanced technology and the USSR could put nuclear weapons in space or use the satellites to guide missiles out of the Earths atmosphere. The USA launched its own satellite in January 1958.
  • The first man in space was Soviet Yuri Gagarin in 1961, again showing the USSR had more advanced technology. Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon by 1969.
  • The Outer space Treaty was signed by Brezhnev and Johnson in 1967 and was an agreement not to put nuclear weapons in space. This effectively ended the space race until 1983 when Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative. However the USSR could not compete with SDI as the Soviet economy was too poor and it was lacking the computer technology necessary for SDI.
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SDI - Star Wars 1983

  • 1983 Regan announced SDI - Strategic Defence Initiative
  • Plan to shoot down Soviet Missiles in Space via a "nuclear umbrella" or laser-shooting satellites so could be destroyed before reaching earth. If the plan would, this would lead to the end of MAD as the USA would be able to attack the USSR without fear retaliation.
  • SDI broke the terms of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and was a turning point in the arms race as before both countries had been evenly matched.
  • The USSR could not compete with lack of money and technology
  • In 1983, a nuclear war seemed more likely than any time since the CMC.
  • Worsened the relationship between the Superpowers as it showed Reagan was unwilling to co-operate, increased tension as a nuclear war became more likely, and increased spending on both sides on nuclear and conventional weapons.
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Gorbachev's New Thinking

  • Became leader of the USSR in 1985 when the economy was stagnant as it was spending too much money of the arms race and the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.
  • The USA was ahead in the arms race but also with the levels of their technology.
  • There was also growing discontent in the satellite state, particlulary Poland.. .

He set out reforms through two changes:

  • Glasnost: meaning openness, more freedom of speech
  • Perestroika: meaning economic restructuring.

Gorbachev could see the arms race was crippling the USSR and if he wanted changed it had to stop.

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Gorbachev and Regan - Four Summits

Geneva, November 1985: Did not start well as Reagan attacked the USSR's human rights record and gorbachev blamed the USSR for the arms race. They then went for a walk and chat and found they got on well and decided to meet again.

Reykjavik, October 1986: Gorbachev proposed they remove all nuclear weapons from Europe and cut ICBM's by half. Reagan agreed but refused to give up SDI.

Washington, December 1987: Gorbachev withdrew his condition that SDI must be included. The INF treaty was signed. All nuclear weapons in Europe were dismantled. Became known as START talks (strategic arms limitation talks)

Moscow, June 1988: Gorbachev pushed for joint troop reductions but Reagan put him off.

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INF Treaty 1987

After several meeting Gorbachev and Reagan signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty which removed all medium-range nuclear weapons from Europe. Gorbachev signed the treaty because:

  • he believed this  increase his popularity in the West
  • the Soviet economy could not recover due to the amount being spent on nuclear weapons
  • Reagan told Gorbachev he had no intention of invading the USSR
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Why did the Soviet control of Eastern Europe colla

  • Gorbachev was popular but his policies were not as successful. After two years of perestroika it was clear the economy would not recover as quickly as people wanted.
  • Economy couldn't support strain of supporting forces in Eastern Europe
  • By 1989, Gorbachev didn't really know what to do. Gorbachev's reforms had released a longing for freedom across all of the communist world.
  • Eastern bloc leaders were confused, as Gorbachev's reforms were very similar to the ideas crushed in the Prague Spring of '68.
  •  Gorbachev made it clear that they would no longer be propped up by the red army and that they would have to listen to their people. The following months saw the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

In 1989, Gorbachev was at the height of his international popularity. He met the new American president, George Bush and together announced the end of the Cold War. In 1990, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1989, Soviet control of Eastern Europe was collapsing rapidly.

May 1989, Hungary: barbed wire fence between Hungary and non-Communist Austria was dismantled (hole in iron curtain). Free elections

June 1989, Poland: Free elections are held . Solidarity wins almost all seats and eastern Europe gets its first non-communist leader, President Lech Walesa.

Autumn 1989, East Germany: Thousands of East Germans were fleeing through Austria. Massive demostration took place in East German cities when Gorbachevs visited the country. He told the unpopular East German leader Erich Honeacker to allow reforms. He responded by telling his troops to fire on demonstrators but they refused and he was forced the resign. On 10th of November 1989, thousands of Easter Germans marched to the Berlin Wall and even the guards joined the demonstators in pulling it down

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The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

November 1989, Czechoslovakia: Huge demonstrations in Prague, the police tried to stop the demonstations but Dubcek and the playwright Havel re-appeared and inspired the demonstrations to continue. The Czech government opened its borders to the West. The communist leader was replaced by Havel and free elections were held in 1990.

December 1989, Hungary: The communist government under Imre Pozsgay accepted the need for change and led reforms in Hungary. Other political parties were allowed and the communist party was renamed the Socialist party and allowed free elections in 1990.

December 1989, Romania: There was a short and bloody revolution in Romania. The hated communist dictator Ceausescu and his wife were executed and a new goverment were set up.

December 1989, Bulgaria: The communist leader resigned under incresing pressure and free elections were held in April 1990.

March 1990, The Baltic States: Latvia , Lithuania and Estonia declared themselvs independent and held free elections.

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Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall came to symbolise the end of the Cold War. On the 9th of November 1989, the East German government announced much greater freedom of travel for East German citizens, including crossing the border into West Germany. Thousands of East Berliners went to the checkpoints in the Berlin wall and the border guards let them pass. They soon dismantled the wall.

With the wall down, west German Chancellor Helmut Kohl proposed a reunification of Germany. Gorbachev was less enthusiastic as he expected a reunited Germany to be more friendly with the West than the East.

After many negotiations, Gobachev accepted the Germany reunification and even that the new Germany could be a NATO member.

On the 3rd of October 1990, Germany became a united country once again.

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The Collapse of the USSR

Early 1990, Gorbachev visited Lithuania, who demanded independence. He said no but in March they did it anyway. As soon as he returned to Moscow, he received a similar demand from Azerbaijan. He sent troops to Lithuania but the crisis worsened and sent troops to Azerbaijan.

Reformers in the USSR itself began demanding an end to the Communist Party. In May, the Russian republic elected Boris Yeltsin as its President, who made it clear he saw no future in the USSR. He encouraged the many republics to become independent.

In July, Ukraine declared its independence and other states followed.

In January 1991, troops in Lithuania fired on protesters.

In April, the Republic of Georgia declared its independence.

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The Collapse of the USSR

Gorbachev was struggling to hold the USSR together.

In August 1991, hard-line Communist party members and leading military officers attempted a coup to take over the USSR. They held Gorbachev prisoner in his holiday home in Crimea and sent tanks and troops on to the streets of Moscow.

The Russian President Yeltsin, emerged as the popular leader of the opposition and crowds strongly opposed the military coup. Faced by this resistance, they lost faith in themselves and the coup collapsed.

A few days later, Gorbachev returned to Moscow. In a televised speech on the 25th of December 1991, Gorbachev announced the end of the Soviet Union, Comecon and the Warsaw Pact.

The Cold War was over...

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Arms Race

  • 1945 - USA led the arms race  with the dropping of the first atomic bomb 
  •  1949 - The USSR developed their own bomb
  • 1952 - America took the lead again  with the first Hydrogen bomb which is 1000 time more powerful and by
  • 1954 - USA had one small enough to be dropped from a bomber plane.
  • 1954 - The USSR caught up.
  • America kept ahead by developing U2 planes, the USSR developed the first ICBM meaning all places on Earth could be reached by nuclear missiles.
  • 1957 - The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957 meaning they could launch rockets out of the atmosphere and guide them to their targets.
  • 1968 - The USA launched a satellite.
  • 1961, the policy of MAD had emerged which helped maintain peace as both sides could destroy each other.
  • 1983 - SDI Star Wars
  • Led to even more deadly weapons being built as each side competed. Huge amounts of money were spent on the Arms race.
  • Kept peace in Europe. 3 million troops in East Germany which could have defeated West Germany but america placed nuclear missiles in Western Europe, preventing a Soviet invasion
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Space Race

  • The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. This worries the USA as they now have more advanced technology and the USSR could put nuclear weapons in space or use the satellites to guide missiles out of the Earths atmosphere. The USA launched its own satellite in January 1958.
  • The first man in space was Soviet Yuri Gagarin in 1961, again showing the USSR had more advanced technology. Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon by 1969.
  • The Outer space Treaty was signed by Brezhnev and Johnson in 1967 and was an agreement not to put nuclear weapons in space. This effectively ended the space race until 1983 when Reagan announced his Stategic Defense Initiative. However the USSR could not compete with SDI as the Soviet economy was too poor and it was lacking the computer technology necessary for SDI.
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Sorry about the spelling mistakes it won't let me correct them at the moment. 

Chloe chesterman


I found these revision cards amazingly helpful and they were put together incredibly :)

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