International relations


Tehran Conference

28th Nov – 1st Dec 1943.

Purpose: To make plans for the eventual reconstruction of Europe after WW2.

People:  Big 3 (Roosevelt + Winston Churchill + Stalin)


  • Operation overlord – invading France May 1944 against               Nazi occupied Southern France
  • USSR would mount an offensive against Germany + then declare war on Japan
  •  UN to be set up
  •  Stalin promised lands the USSR lost to Poland in 1920
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Yalta Conference 4th – 11th Feb 1945

  • Russian troops would help US defeat Japan. Communist Government to be set up in Poland, USSR to have a sphere of influence (area communism was respected + USSR held influence) in EE
  • Declaration of liberated Europe: USSR, US + UK to work together for democracy in Europe.
  • San Fran conference April 1945 to plan UN (international organisation for maintaining peace)
  •  Germany + Berlin to be divided (1 ally in each quarter) in the future Figure of $20,000 put forward for Germany’s reparations. Stalin wanted to cripple Germany whereas Churchill didn’t.
  •  Stalin wanted to create a ‘buffer zone’ with the polish land he’d acquired. Free elections to be held in Poland + exiled polish government allowed to join ‘lublin poles’

Signs of tensions: great show of unity but disagreed over meaning of democracy. Capitalist meaning of democracy: Number of political parties. Communist: only communists truly represented + stood for the working people.  

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Potsdam Conference 1945

People: Truman (Roosevelt died 12th April), Clement Atlee (new PM July) + Stalin

  •  Ban, dissolve Nazi Party. Remove Nazis from important positions + put leading Nazis on trial in Nuremburg 1946 for war crime.
  •  Germany reduced by ¼ of its size + demilitarised (Naval + Merchant ships given to allies). Free elections, press + speech. Germans in EE transferred to Germany. Germany + Berlin temporarily divided with GB, France, US + USSR in each ¼.
  • Reparations: Did not agree on amount (Stalin=Big, America=rebuilt). USSR’s part of Germany poorer, with less industry than the Western allies’ so USSR could have ¼ of industrial equipment from Western zones, paid for with East German raw materials (i.e. coal)
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Truman doctrine (1947)

  • Many countries had been devastated by WW1 (Italy, France, Greece, Turkey + GB etc) + so Communism would have been very appealing to them. To address this threat he created this.
  •  The world had a choice between communist tyranny and democratic freedom
  • America had a responsibility to fight for liberty wherever in the world it was threatened
  • America would send troops + economic resources to help government that were threatened communists
  • Communism shouldn’t be allowed to grow + gain territory
  • Significance: Implied America (rather than the UN) had a responsibility to protect the world –complete u-turn in policy compared to the ‘isolationism’ the US had followed in the 1930s. Divided the world into 2 clear ideologies, implied no further co-operation between east + west due to their ideological differences, marked unofficial end to Grand Alliance. 
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How did Stalin set up satellite states?

1) When countries were liberated from Nazis, Stalin ensured that Soviet troops remained there.

2) Ensured any new governments were coalitions-Communist party had a say in the running of the country

3) Communist Party would infiltrate the key areas of government + security organisations

4) Communists would take any means necessary to discredit + frighten opponents when elections took place

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What was Comecon and Cominform?

  • The communist Bureau 1947 –  Represented the communist parties across Europe. Rejected Marshall plan and Consolidated power of the USSR through Europe by stamping out and removing opposition (would investigate government ministers and employees + removing all of those not totally loyal to Stalin), thus ensuring the loyalty of Eastern European governments. In Hungary 5% of the population were in prison by 1953.
  • Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (1949): Stalin’s version of Marshall Aid/Plan aiming to encourage the economic development of EE + prevent trade with Western Europe + USA. Made up USSR,  Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland + Romania in first year
  •  Politically, would minimise American influence in EE + USSR
  • Economically ensured that benefits of economic recovery in EE remained with the Soviet ‘sphere of influence.” Meant that EE didn’t have access to the prosperity of Western Europe
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Berlin Wall

¨       It stopped East Germans escaping to the West & ended the refugee crisis. It allowed Khrushchev to avoid war with America while still appearing strong and became a powerful symbol of the division of Germany & the division of Europe.

¨       Many were cut from their family, visits across the wall allowed in 1964 but people only re-united with their families in 1989

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Why did refugees leave?

¨       Easy to get from East to West. East Berlin became the model for other satellite states.

¨       The economic and political conditions of a communist society = Forced collectivisation of agriculture + end of private trading in East.

¨       Shortages of consumer good that were cheap in the West.

¨       No censorship or secret police in West Berlin + more freedom

¨       High wages and standard of living

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What was life like in East Germany and East Berlin

West Berlin

East Berlin


Life in the east was dominated by the Communist Party, which exercised more control than in any other East European states.

Not all of the citizens had a job

Freedom of expression restricted

Higher standard of living

Consumer goods limited and often in poor quality

Higher wages

Sales of foreign goods were restricted


Foreign travel difficult

More freedom

Currency sales strictly controlled in an effort to obtain foreign exchange

Higher earnings

Secret police responsible domestic political surveillance and espionage


Used vast amounts of information (security information, details to debts, drinking habits and drinking preferences) to blackmail unwilling individuals


Media was controlled by the Communist Party – cannot be informed legally of goings-on in the world on the other side of the Iron Curtain

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Why did Khrushchev station Russian nuclear weapons

  •  Would deter America from attempting another invasion
  • Placed Russian nuclear weapons within striking distance of the USA (Khrushchev could attack America without spending large amounts of money developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.
  • Had come to the conclusion after the Vienna summit that Kennedy was inexperienced and could be pushed around. He also wanted NATO missiles from Turkey on the borders of the USSR.


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What options did President Kennedy have in respons

  • Do nothing
  • Surgical air attack (immediate selected air attack to destroy the nuclear bases)
  • Invasion (all out invasion of Cuba by air & sea)
  • Blockade (US navy would ban the USSR bringing in any further military supplies to Cuba by would stopping & searching Soviet ships) 
  • Diplomatic pressures (UN or other body to intervene and negotiate)
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13 days

  • 16th October 1962 -Kennedy is informed of nuclear missiles on Cuba
  • 20th October 1962 - Kennedy decides to impose a naval blockade (to prevent further missiles)
  • 21st October 1962 - Kennedy gives a public address officially declaring the blockade and calling on Khrushchev to recall his ships
  • 23rd October 1962 - Khrushchev sends a letter to Kennedy stating that Soviet ships will break through the blockade
  • 24th October 1962 - Khrushchev issues a statement that the USSR can launch nuclear weapons if America goes to war
  • 25th October 1962 - American & Soviet armed forces told to prepare for war (high alert). Kennedy writes to Khrushchev asking him to withdraw missiles from Cuba
  • 26th October 1962 - Kennedy responds to letter with offer to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba if guaranteed US won’t invade Cuba
  • 27th October 1962 - Khrushchev receives intelligence of US plans to invade Cuba in 24hrs. Proposes deal to withdraw Cuban missiles if guaranteed US won’t invade Cuba & will withdraw their missiles from Turkey. Robert Kennedy (JFK’s bro & chief advisor) accepts but demands the withdrawal of Turkish missiles be kept secret.
  • 28th October 1962 - Khrushchev accepts the secret deal
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What were the immediate consequences of the Cuban

  • Reduction in Khushchev’s authority: -removal of US missiles from Turkey remained secret –seemed as though he had backed down and betrayed Cuban allies, lost prestige + Soviet Communist party removed him from his office in 1964 
  • Kennedy won praise from all over Western World, seen as the man who had at last challenged SU + won.
  • Mao Zedong (China) criticised Khrushchev, relations between USSR + China began to deteriorate.
  • Hotline set up June 1963 – Direct communication link set up between US president in Washington + Russian premier in Moscow. Two leaders set it up to talk to each other directly in any future crisis. Important symbol that relations between superpowers were improving.
  • July 1963 Test Ban treaty – banned all nuclear tests in space, in the sea and above the ground except underground. 5 years later –Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, countries that signed this agreed not to develop nuclear weapons.
  •  Talks about limiting arms began in 1969 (1972 - Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty)


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What were the long-term consequences of the Cuban

¨      By 1956 the USA + USSR were on equal footing in terms of their nuclear capability-created greater stability in the relationship between the two superpowers.

¨      MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) – Doctrine created as American + Russian leaders realised that nuclear war was bound to destroy both countries

¨      France left NATO – The French president (Charles de Gaulle) was appalled at the thought that France would be destroyed in the event of a nuclear war between USA + USSR with other members of NATO. As a result in 1966 France ended its military alliance with the USA + began to develop its own nuclear missiles.

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What were the long-term consequences of the Cuban

¨      By 1956 the USA + USSR were on equal footing in terms of their nuclear capability-created greater stability in the relationship between the two superpowers.

¨      MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) – Doctrine created as American + Russian leaders realised that nuclear war was bound to destroy both countries

¨      France left NATO – The French president (Charles de Gaulle) was appalled at the thought that France would be destroyed in the event of a nuclear war between USA + USSR with other members of NATO. As a result in 1966 France ended its military alliance with the USA + began to develop its own nuclear missiles.

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What were the reforms?

The legalisation of political opposition groups – political reform, multi-party, democratic socialism.

More power given to the Czech parliament. More power given to regional local governments.

The relaxation of press censorship (newspapers publishing revelations about corruption in high places).

Freedom of speech (giving citizens the right to criticize the government). Official government toleration of political criticism.

Freedom of assembly and religion.

Reduction in the powers of the secret police.

‘Market socialism’ i.e. the introduction of capitalist elements into Czech economy.

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How did Brezhnev justify his actions?

During August 1968 the Soviet media showed Czechoslovakia as a massive threat to the USSR. Brezhnev went further and put forward the Brezhnev doctrine. He argued that Dubcek’s actions threatened to undermine the Warsaw Pact and communist control in Eastern Europe and therefore the USSR had to invade on the 20th August 1968 (using Soviet Tanks).

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How did CZ respond to the invasion?

Dubcek ordered Czech people not to respond with violence, but there was non-violent civil disobedience – students stood in the way of tanks holding anti-invasion banners & a student set fire to himself in protest (Jan Palach). Dubcek disappeared and re-appeared in Prague on 27th August announced that the reforms had been stopped.

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How was Russia ruled?

  • Russia ruled by Tsar advised by council of ministers (from friends in nobility)
  • Russian Orthodox Church encouraged belief that Tsars were above criticism + chosen to rule by God.
  • Nicholas II became Tsar in 1894 – didn’t think enough about Russian problems
  • Books + newspapers censored to make sure they weren’t hostile
  •  Okhrana looked for opponents of the Tsar whom were usually exiled to Siberia/left the country
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What were the 8 principals?

1.      Political prisoners + exiles freed + allowed to return to Russia.

2.      Freedom of speech, press + hold meetings

3.      No class/religious/nationality discrimination

4.      Prepare to elect Constituent Assembly to write a constitution

5.      Police organisation replaced by elected people’s militia

6.      Local government to be elected

7.      Military units that took part in revolution not disbanded/sent to front to fight

8.      Off-duty soldiers to have same rights as civilians

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Which problems prevented the PG giving the people

·        Saw itself as temporary, thought issues should wait for constituent assembly

·        Had no real power, needed support of army + Petrograd soviet to stay in power

·        Many of the reforms people wanted (i.e. land redistribution) relied on PG controlling more of Russia than it did. PG only had control over cities + towns in the north of Russia.

·        Some problems (i.e.shortages) not easy to solve + the unrest/disruption of the revolution made the supply situation worse.

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What did Kornilov do on 28 August?

Disturbed by the growing unrest Kornilov pushed Kerensky to impose martial law + break the power of the soviets. Kerensky encouraged Kornilov to order his troops to advance on Petrograd thinking they were saving PG from the Soviets. He then claimed Kornilov was leading an army coup against the Revolution and armed the Bol red guards (imprisoned in July) + sent them to stop Kornilov. Pro-soviet activists persuaded Kornilov’s troops to stop their advance so there was no fighting but Kornilov + 7000 followers were arrested. Kerensky presented himself as the saviour of the revolution but his plan didn’t work and the Bol were seen as this instead. 

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Why did the Bolsheviks win – mistakes of the PG?

Failed to disarm + disband the Red Guard after arming them to deal with Kornilov’s revolt, PG did not act against the threat in time + completely misjudged the danger although rumours had been in the air since the July days. The PG had little support + when it tried to gather troops last minute, the MRC had already persuaded most of the soldiers to join them or at least not help the government.

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Who made up the Whites (whom wanted to overthrow B

·        Kerensky + troops raised after fleeing Petrograd on 25 Oct

·        Monarchists (Kornilov, Denikin + volunteer army)

·        Russia’s allies from the war (angry-abandoned in the war-UK, US, Fr, Jpn)

·        Former naval commander Kolchak who took over Siberia + organised attacks on the Bol from there

·        Czech legion -40,000 Czech soldiers in former Tsar’s army. Fought back when Bol tried to disarm them + captured the Trans-Siberian Railroad (took control of the towns along with it)

·        Had more troops, money + supplies than Red army 

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Describe the lead up to the end of the Civil War?

Through 1918 and most of 1919 the Whites advanced on Moscow + seemed certain to win. 14th October 1919 Deninkin’s army was at Orel (300km from Moscow) + Kolchak was closing in. 22 Oct – White armies on outskirts of Petrograd (point of greatest danger). 

Trotsky organised counter attack fighting with “heroic madness.” Early Nov 1919 allies gave up sending men + supplies as they decided whites couldn’t win.

 Whites found themselves spread thinly over a large area with fewer men (deserting to reds) + supplies. Czech legion captured Kolchak (executed 7 Feb 1920) handed him over to Reds as they went home.

 Bol won. Various white groups continued fighting until 1921 but were no longer a serious threat

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What did the Red army try to do after driving a Po

Tried to start a communist revolution in Poland – failed. But by this point the Bolsheviks had won the Civil War.

What was the Bolshevik’s response to the War?

Enlarging Red Army. Clamping down on political opposition using Cheka (had arrested 87000 + shot 8389 without trial-Red Terror). War Communism took control of factories with more than 10 workers (to control war supplies) + food + distributed it

What were the strengths of the Red army allowing it the Bolsheviks to win the Civil War?

War communism (allowed army to be prioritised + clamped down on resistance (cheka).

Trotsky was a successful leader (travelled in armoured train to be where it was the most dangerous), made inspiring speeches, gave out tobacco/other luxuries + threatened + execute leaders of units/men if he doubted their loyalty.

“Interior lines” military advantage meant that they were at the centre so could move faster.

Political commissar made sure troops knew who they were fighting for.

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What were the weaknesses of the Whites’ army allow

Only shared aim was to get rid of Bol, didn’t work well together + argued over plans/leadership.

Had many officers but few soldiers + had to conscript unwilling peasants who didn’t want old regime.

Didn’t treat troops well – many deserted to Reds.

Loss of foreign troops + supplies at end of WW1 was a huge blow to the Whites.

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What did the New Economic Policy incorporate?

Money reintroduced, new coinage, workers paid wages, new state bank. State stopped taking peasants’ crops whom could sell crops now but had to pay the state 10% of the profit in tax (paid in crops). Factories of under 20 workers could be privately owned + run for profit. State brought in foreign ‘experts’ to run the factories. Anyone could hire/sell good for profit (NEPmen).

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How did Stalin remove other Rivals?

In 1925 Stalin allied himself with Bukharin (former supporter of Trotsky) and Rykov to work against his political rivals Zinoviev and Kamenev, again using rumours and accusations of disloyalty to the Communist Party so that by 1926 the rivalry was open and both Zinoviev and Kamenev had to ally with Trotsky. Zinoviev was expelled from the communist party around the same time as Trotky’s expulsion whilst Kamenev followed shortly afterwards (at the end of the year

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