How did the Cold War develop 1918-1936?


Key Features


- To find military developments

- Used spy planes (e.g. USAs U2 planes)


- Ensured that national public opinion supported govenment

- USSR success in sport illustrated superiority

Space Race

- First to: launch first satellite; have a man in space; have a man on the moon

- Good propaganda for both sides

Loans & Aid

- Competed to provide L&A to the less developed states, so they could win their support

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Why did the Cold War develop in the 1940s?

Long term mistrust

- Had existed before WW2, USA suspicious ever since Communist revolution in 1917

- Idealogical extremes: Capitalist vs. Communist

- Stalin felt USA had deliberately waited before invading Europe & defeating Germany in order to let the Nazis weaken the USSR as much as possible

After WW2

- West afraid of Domino effect, particularly Truman

- Stalin wanted to increase Soviet sphere of influence and 'buffer zone' between them & GER

Peace Conferences

- Highlighted differences

- USSR continued to build up satellite states in E. Europe, Communist allies in power

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Why did the Cold War develop n the 1940s? cont.

Iron Curtain

- Churchill's speech demonstrates division of Europe

Truman Doctrine & Marshall Plan

- Contained threat of communism in W. Europe

Berlin Blockade

- Cements problem

- Causes NATO formation

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The Tehran Conference- November 1943

- First conference of the Big Three

- Roosevelt keen to improve relations


- GBR & USA to open 2nd front in May 1944

- USSR to fight Japan after defeat of GER

- UN to be set up after war

- Areas of E. Poland to be added to the USSR sphere of influence


- 2nd front delayed= Stalin thinks that they were waiting for USSR to be destroyed by GER

- Churchill didn't trust Stalin- Churchill opposed Bolshevik revolution & was suspicious of Stalin's motives in Poland (eg. mass grave found in Poland)

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Yalta Conference- February 1945

- To discuss what was to happen to GER after WW2

- Stalin & Roosevelt on good terms so Churchill felt isolated


- Stalin to help USA vs. Japan after defeat of GER

- GER and Berlin to be divided into 4 zones

- Hunt down Nazi war criminals and put them on trial

- Allow free elctions in liberated countries

- USSR to have a sphere of influence in E. Europe


- Reparations for GER- Stalin wanted them v. high, but Roosevelt & Churchill disagreed

- Stalin already set up Comm. government, Churchill & Roosevelt try to persuade free elections

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Potsdam Conference- July 1945

- FDR has died, Churchill replaced- Stalin, Truman, Attlee- Truman strongly opposed Communism, USSR occupied E. Europe and refused to demilitarise Red Army. America had Atomic bomb.

- Without a common enemy, they no longer had to work together


- GER was demilitarised, Berlin and Germany= 4 zones, democracy re-established, had to pay reparations to Allies in equipment and materials, Nazi party banned

- Poland border moved west to Oder and Neisse

- USSR gained parts of Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia


- Germany: Soviets to crush GER, USA & GBR wanted to avoid mistakes of Versailles & ensure strong, stable, capitalist democracy in Europe

- Truman wanted free elections in E. Europe, Staliin didn't

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Who was to blame for the Cold War? (USSR)

- Cold, harsh & determined to spread communism as far as possible

- Refused to allow free elections

- Set up Soviet controlled communist governments in E. Europe

However this ignores Soviet concerns...

- Twice Russia had been invaded and suffered enormous losses

- Goal of Soviet expansion in E. Europe was to create a buffer zone between GER and USSR

- Stalin upset about Truman's announcement at Potsdam that he had the Atomic bomb, as now America would have the upper hand in the future arms race

Both USA and USSR are to blame due to a lack of mutual trust between the two of them. Each side overreacted and made things worse by taking an aggressive stance, starting Potsdam.

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Who was to blame for the Cold War? (USA)

- Americans failed to understand the suffering of the Soviet people

- Used atomic bomb as a warning to the USSR

- USA only concerned in futhering its own interests in E. Europe

However this ignores American concerns...

- Americans concerned to Stalin's motives in E. Europe, especially after he refused free elections in Poland in 1945

- The USA didn't want to punish GER severely. They remembered the lessons of 1919 and the harsh terms of TofV

Both USA and USSR to blame due to a lack of mutual trust between the 2 of them. Each side overreacted and made things worse by taking an aggressive stance, starting at Potsdam.

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Why did the Soviet Union expand?

Memory of what happened 1918-39

- Most countries hostile to USSR during interwar years

- Poland signed a non-aggressive pact with France during WW2

- Hungary & Romania fought with GER against USSR

Percentages Deal

- Stalin and Churchill had made a percentages deal after the war...

Romania: USSR 90% Others 10% | Greece: USSR 10% GB 90% | Yugoslavia: USSR 50% GB 50% | Hungary: USSR 50% GB 50% | Bulgaria: USSR 75% GB 25%

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Why did the Soviet Union expand? cont.

Strategic importance of Poland

- Stalin wanted to move to the Polish frontier so most of Poland became part of USSR

- The USSRs security was dependant on a friendly and communist Polish government


- In 1914 and 1941 the USSR was invaded from the west

- Stalin therfore wanted 'buffer zone'/ zone of 'friendly' or Soviet controlled states of E. Europe

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How was Soviet control carried out?

In the Soviet satellite states...

1. Coalition governments were set up when communists shared power with other parties

2. Backed by Stalin, the communists took over civil service, media, security and defence

3. Opposition leaders were arrested or forced to flee

4. Elections were fixed to ensure communist support

5. People's democracies' were set up


- Jun/45: coalition government. Jan/47: elections rigged. Leader Milkajcyk fled to London


- 1945: coalition government. Jan/45: communists demonstrated. Mar/45: Soviet army intervened, disarmed Romanian army & forced King to appoint Comm. Gov under Petru Groza. Nov/46: elections held, 80% voted for communists. 1947: monarchy abolished

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How was Soviet control carried out? cont.


- 1945: Smallholers' Party gained over 50 % of votes, though country in economic crisis so communists able to seize control of Ministry of Interior, in charge of police. PM, Imre Nagy forced to resign. 1947: Communists got a large share of vote and all other parties banned.


- 1944: communist-dominated government set up. 1945: election rigged, all other parties banned


- Communist resistance fought against Germans during war. Marshal Tito elected president, no intention of taking orders from Stalin. Yugoslavia expelled from Communist International Bureau (Cominform) and other communist countries applied economic sanctions. Tito accepted aid from West.

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Britain and USA alarmed by Stalin's actions in E. Europe. Roosevelt & Churchill agreed that E. Europe should have been a 'Soviet sphere of influence' and that Stalin would heavily influence the region, but they didn't expect complete Sovet domination. They were convinced that friendly democratically elected governments could have been set up in the countries, so major changes developed: Stalin believed he would only gain support of E. Europe is they had Soviet-controlled governments. Truman saw this as a blatant attempt to spread communism through Europe.

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The Truman Doctrine

Mar/47, Truman began the policy of containment because:

- Beliefs that USSR trying to spread communism

- USA had atom bomb and wanted to use it with their economic superiority to pressurise USSR

- Events in Greece

     - At Yalta: agreed that Britain would have influence in Greece, which had a civil war since 44

     - Britain helped the royalist government to fight communist forces

     - 1946 communists defeated by royalists, but communists continued fighting guerilla war

     - Britain could no longer afford troops in Greece so the US helped

In Truman's speech he argued that the world was divided into 2 armed camps, the capitalist 'free' camp and the communist camp, which was not. He said there must be a policy to support free countries trying to resist communism. The Truman Doctrine, which was a policy of containment, became the basis of US forign policy for 20yrs. $400m were given to Greece and Turkey.


- Greek government defeated communists          - USA decided on the Marshall Plan

- Rivalry between USSR and USA increased       - Stalin set up Cominform

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The Marshall Plan

- Officially named the European Recovery plan, economic version of Truman Doctrine.

- Truman thought that people turned to communism in times of financial struggle

- Aid to all countries to help recover after WW2 and prevent 'hunger, poverty, desperation & chaos'

- Aid in form of machinery, food and technological assistance


- 16 nations set up the Organisation for European Economic Recovery (OEEC)

- 1953: $17b provided, US machinery helped factories and US advised on transport system

- More firm division between E & W, contained threat of communism in W. Europe

- Stalin set up Comecon & prevented satellite states from becoming involved in US discussions

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- Communist Information Bureau

- 1947

- USSRs response to Truman Doctrine

- To enable USSR to coordinate communist parties throughout Europe

- Introduced to ensure that states in E. Europe followed Soviet aims in foreign policy

- Introduced Soviet-style eceonomic policies such as collectivisation of agriculture

- USSR used the organisation to purge any members who disagreed with Moscow

- Tito was killed, because of his refussal to follow the Soviet line

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- Council for Nutual Assistance

- 1949

- USSRs response to Marshall Plan

- To financially support countries in E. Europe

- It was actualy used to...

- Control the economy of the satellite states

- Give the USSR access to their resources

- Encourage economic specialisation within the Soviet bloc, e.g. Czechoslovakia and E. GER were encouraged to concentrate on heavy industry. Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria specialised in the production of food and raw materials

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Key Features of the Airlift


- Truman wanted to show Stalin that he was serious about containment

- Berlin to be a symbol of freedom behind the Iron Curtain


- Into W. Berlin                 - 28/6/48, 10 months, 381 days         - Biggest airlift in history

How much?

- Planes every 90 secs                                   - USSR tried persuading people W>E (3% went)

- 4600 tonnes a day                                       - Mild winter didnt disrupt flights

- Peak: 1398 flights, 13,000 tonnes in 24hrs     - Supplied food, clothing, oil, materials

- 275,000 flights                                             - Still big shortages

- Pilots difficult job: weather & shot down?       - 12/5/49: blockade called off

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Results of the Berlin Airlift

- Increased East-West rivalry, Truman saw it as a victory, Stalin was humiliated

- Confirmed divisions of GER and Berlin

- Led to creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

- Western allies form the Federal German Republic (W. Germany) and Stalin formed the German Democratic Republic (E. Germany)

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NATO - 1949

- Western powers also confirmed their opposition to the Soviet Union by setting up NATO in 1949

- NATO= Alliance of Western European countries together with the USA and Canada

- Members of alliance agreed to help each other if any of them were attacked. By joining NATO the USA had shown it was determined to stop the spread of Communism.

- The USSR developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 and so NATO was even more important to the defence of Western Europe, none of which had the atomic bomb yet

- USA was now formally committed to the defence of W. Europe

- Stalin saw NATO as a direct threat to USSR instead of defensive alliance

- The USA was able to build air bases in W. Europe where planes armed with nuclearweapons could be stationed

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Warsaw Pact

- Stalin saw NATO as an aggressive alliance

- 1955: USSR set up rival organisation

- Military alliance of 8 nations

- Members were to support each other if attacked

- Joint command structure set up under Soviets

- Stalin = Supreme Commander

Now, the Cold War was well and truly established. The Iron Curtain was prominent and the Arms Race had begun.

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NATO vs. Warsaw Pact

NATO countries                                           Warsaw Pact countries

- Norway                                                     - USSR

- UK                                                           - Poland

- Portugal                                                   - E. Germany

- France                                                     - Czechoslovakia

- Belgium                                                   - Hungary

- W. Germany                                             - Romania

- Turkey                                                     - Bulgaria

- Denmark                                                  -Albania (until 1961) 

- Luxembourg

- Greece

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Other Developments 1949-55

1949 Chinese Communist Party seized power (Mao Zedong)

- Cold War moved to Asia

- Domino theory: belief that if one nation fell into communism in Asia, others would follow

Korean War 1950-55

- N.Korea = communist, supported by USSR | S.Korea = democratic gov., supported by USA

- When South was invaded in 1950, Truman saw Domino Theory become reality

Anti-communist hysteria in USA

- Senator Joe McCarthy began accusing official in high places of being communist

- Heaps of people put in jail or sacked because of investigation into their political beliefs

Russia developed atomic bomb in 1949 which was much earlier than anticipated

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Other Developments 1949-55 cont.

Arms Race

- Both countries have atomic bomb

- Money poured into arms spending

- Suspected that one country would make 'first strike'

- After Stalin found out about USAs atomic bomb, Soviet scientists were paid triple

- Truman ordered H-bomb to be developed, Soviets closely followed

Stalin's Death- 1953

- No real change in Soviet policy as no figure immediately emerged as successor

- After 2 yrs, Krushchev established himself as new leader

- Within a year he denounced Stalin's policies and began a policy of co-existence with the West

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Why did the Hungarian Uprising happen?

Hungary post-WW2

- Soviet troops continued to occupy Hungary

- Agreeed to USSR reparations of $300m

- Elections of Nov/45- Smallholders' Party won 57%, Hungarian communist party 17%

- Voroshilov, head of occupying Soviet forces, refused the Smallholder's party to establish government and established a coalition government

Soviet Control

- Feb/47- Some leaders of Smallholders' Party & National Peasant Party arrested or fled

- Rajk, a member of the communist party was in charge of secret police

- Communist party became largest single party, but no majority so formed a coalition

- New constitution drawn up. Made Hungary a 'republic of workers and working peasants'

- Rakosi emerged as the communist leader of Hungary, he imposed a dictatorial rule

- Hungary became a member of Cominform

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Why did the Hungarian Uprising happen? cont.


- Used terror and brutality, killing 2000 and imprisoning 200,000, using secret polive

- Religious teachings in schools removed & leader of Catholc Church imprisoned for in life in 49

- Economy controlled by Comecon

- Living standard began to fall, and in 52 it experienced its lowest agricultural output ever


- Malenkov, leader of USSR after Stalin, replaced Rakosi with Nagy in Mar/53

- Introduced reforms & freed political prisoners

- Other communists claimed that he was too right wing

- Replaced with Rakosi- led to revolt


- Made 'secret speech' in Feb/56- talked of de-Stalinisation and denounced Stalin as tyrant, this gave Hungary hope

- Gomulka returned as Polish leader, he allowed more freedom and encouraged Hungarian protests

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Hungarian Uprising

What happened?

- Oct/56 Hungarians copied Poles to get Nagy back in power

- 300,000 protestors in streets of Budapest- students, workers & army

- Pulled down statue of Stalin

- Nagy brought back as leader, wanting prisoners freed, free press, elections, speech, worship, etc

- Hungary to withdraw from Warsaw Pact and trade links with West

Why did the Soviets invade Hungary?

- 4/11//56: 200,000 Soviet troops and 6000 tanks returned to Hungary

- To send strong message/warning to satellite states

- Advised by Mao Zedong

- To increase Krushchev's own popularity and to avoid his downfall, confident the West wouldn't intervene due to them being involved in Suez Crisis, and the US presidential elections

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Results of the Hungarian Uprising

- Guerilla tactics- 20,000 Hunagrians killed, 7000 Soviets killed

- Nagy arrested and executed in 58, USSR back in control with leader Kadar

- 200,000 fled the country, many to Britain

- Krushchev's policy of de-Stalinisation only went as far as he wanted

- Poland & Hungary made slow but gradual reforms after 56, but stayed under Soviet control

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