International relations

gcse history


Why did Germany want an armistice in 1918?

  • The British blockade was stopping supplies entering the country
  • The German government wanted to avoid further suffering
  • Failure of Ludendorff
  • Collapse of Germany's allies - Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria were defeted
  • The Use supported the Allies with loans, weapons and food - USA declared war also in April 1917
  • Revolution in Germany because the Kaiser's government failed
    •  Germany became a republi
    • Kaiser was forced to resign
    • Mutiny by sailors
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Woodrow Wilson

  • Thomas Woodrow Wilson
  • December 28, 1856 - February 3rd 1924
  • 28th President of the US
  • 3rd of foue children
  • had his first stroke at the age of 39
  • received a P.h.D in History and Political Science from Johns Hopkins  University, in which he had to learn German
  • He became president of Princeton University in 1902
  • He was president of the US from 1913-1921
  • His wife died in 1914 and he remarried in 1915
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What were Wilson's 14 points adn why did he have t

Key Points:

- Setting up a League of Nations

    • to avoid future conflict in war

- Disarmament

    • prevent Germany from getting revenge
    • prevent another war

- Self-dermination for the people of Europe (the right to rule themselves)

    • peace
      • repblic means no more dictatorships
      • people less willing to start a war
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What were Wilson's 14 points adn why did he have t

- Freedom for colonies

    • no one can ahve an empire that will threaten another country
    • avoid conflict between Europen countries

- Freedom of the seas

    • stop blockades, trade ships can move around without the threat of being attacked 
    • freedom of travel - no arguments

- Free trade

    • countries economies can proper, people will be happy, reduced amount of poverty
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What were Wilson's 14 points adn why did he have t

- No more secret treaties

    • trust between countries
    • stop secrect alliences
    • more open diplomacy
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Germany's Allies and their treaties

Germany's allies were:

  • Austria-Hungary St.Germain (Austria-Hungry)  Trianon (Hungary)
  • Turkey Serves    Lausanne
  • Italy
  • Bulgaria Neuilly
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Terms of the Treaty of Versailles

  • The military was reduced to 100,000 men
  • The navy was reduced to six battle ships and no submarines
  • The air force was not allowed any aeroplanes
  • All of Germany's colonies were taken away and given to the Allies
  • Under Article 231, Germany had to accept war guilt
  • In order to pay for the damages caused, Germany had to pay 6.6billion on reperations
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The Treaty of Neuilly - Bulgaira (27th November 19

  • The military was reduced to 20,000 volunteers
  • The navy was allowed four torpedo boats
  • They were not allowed an air force
  • Had to pay 2.25 billion francs in reparations
  • Land was given to Yugoslavia, Romania and Greece
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Treaty of Severs - Turkey (10th August 1920)

  • The military was allowed 50,000 men
  • The navy was allowed 7 sail boats and 6 torpedoes
  • New countries were made:
    • Kurdistan
    • Armenia
    • Hejaz
  • Iraq and Palestine became British mandates
  • Smyrna and East Thrace were given to Greece
  • Rhodes was given to Italy

This treaty was rejected and replaced with the treaty of Lausanne in 24th July 1923

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Treaty of St.Germain - Austria-Hungry (10th Septem

  • The military was allowed 30,000 volunteers 
  • Empire was dismantled into four countries creating Poland
  • Reparations were agreed but not set (they went bankrupt)
  • Tyrol was given to Italy
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Treaty of Trianon - Hungry (4th June 1920)

  • The military was allowed 35,000 volunteers
  • The navy was allowed 3 patrol boats
  • They had to pay 200 million in reparations
  • The Austrian-Hungary empire was dismantled into new countries
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What happened to the Hapsburg (Germany) empire aft

  • The treaty of Versailles (1920). German colonies were taken away and given to the Allies
  • Togo-land, Cameroon, Syria and Lebanon were all given to France
  • Ghana, Tanganyika, Palestine, Iraq and Transjordan were given to Britain
  • Southwest Africa was given to South Africa
  • Papua New Guinea was given to Australia
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What happened to the Ottoman (Turkey) empire after

  • The treaty of Sevres (1920). Turkish colonies were taken away and given to the League of Nations
  • Smyrna and Thrace were given to Greece
  • Rhodes was given to Italy
  • Syria was given to France
  • Iraq and Palestine were given to Britain
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What happened to the Romanov (Russian) empire afte

  • Russian land was given to Poland and Romania
  • Russia lost:
    • Finland 
    • Estonia
    • Lithuania
    • Latvia
    • Ukraine
    • Georgia
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How did Germany react to the Treaty of Versailles?

  • Freikorps rebelled
  • Felt humiliated by reduction in the army
  • Economy suffered due to Hyperinflation
  • Wanted revenge
  • Started to break terms
  • Felt unhappy as they thought the terms were unfair and harsh
  • German people lost faith in the Government for signing it 
  • The German government felt that they had to sign it, as it was pushed on them
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Time Line from 1919 - 1928


  • 1923  - the invasion of the Rhur. Germany had stopped paying the reparations, so French troops, marched into the Rhur, (Germany's biggest, most important industrial part) until the payments came.
    • The German government needed money, so they printed more - causing hyperinflation
    • In response, the German workers showed passive resistance and went on strike, until the German government ordered them back to work
  • 1925  - Lacarno Pact. Germany signed the Lacarno treaties with Britain, France, Italy and Belgium. They stated that they would not go to war over disputes.
  • 1928  - The Kellogg-Briand Pact. Forty five nations including Germany, agreed never to go to war again.
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Structure of the League of Nations

  • The Council
  • The Assembly
  • The Secretariat
  • The Permanent Court of Justice
  • The Agencies
  • The International Labour Organisation
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The Council


  • 4 permanent members 
  • 5 after 1926 (Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Germany)
  • 4 non-permanent members (11 by 1936)


  • To deal with problems when the Assembly was not in session
  • To organise sanctions against an offending state
  • All decisions had to be unanimous
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The Assembly


  • States


  • Each member state had one vote
  • Elected non-permanent members of the council
  • Admitted new nations and controlled the budget
  • Met once a year
  • Was the League's debating chamber
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The Secretariat


  • Sir Eric Drummond (first secretary-general)
  • Consisted of permanentofficials paid by the League


  • carried out all administrative functions
  • Prepared reports for the council and assembly
  • divided into sections e.g finance, drugs, health, disarmament
  • Sir Eric Drummond aimed to develop a body of international civil servants loyal to the League rather than to individual states
  • based at the League's headquarters in Geneva.
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The Permanent Court of Justice


  • 15 judges elected by the assembly, representing the world's different legal systems


  • Advised the Assembly and the council if asked to
  • Gave decisions on cases referred to it by countries in dispute
  • Based in the Hague, Holland
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The Agencies


  • Commissions and Special Committees


  • Carry out much of the League's work. Main ones were:
    • Disarmament
    • Mandates
    • Slavery
    • Refuges
    • Economies
    • Protection of women and children
    • Drugs
    • Health
    • Military, naval and air
    • Communications and transit
    • Intellectual co-operation
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The International Labour Organisation


  • Association of all League members


  • Aimed to improve working conditions world wide
  • Ruling body consisted of representatives of governments, employers and workers
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Membership of the League of Nation


  • Britain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Germany (not allowed to join until 1926)

- non-members could use the Permanent Court of Justice, Agencies and the International Labour Organisation

- America chose not to join

- The USSR was not allowed to join

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  • Members promised that id there was a dispute, they would go to the League to resolve it, before it turned to force (war)
  • members promised to help one another if attacked, by offering forces or economic sanctions on the aggresor
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Mandate system

  • The peace treaties transferred all German and Turkish colonies to the rule of Allied powers to be governed on behalf of the League of Nations
  • A Mandate Commission to supervise this. A mandate commission is a legal responsibility to a superior body
  • Main mandatory powers were:
    • France
    • Britain
    • British Dominions - Australia and New Zealand
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Strengths of the League of Nations

  • All decisions had to be unanimous
  • Agencies were set up to deal with slavery, drugs and health
  • There were permanent officials paid by the League to prepare reports
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Weaknesses of the League of Nations

  • USA decided not to become a member
  • Germany was not invited to join the League (until 1926)
  • They had no army to enforce their words
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Successes of the League

  • Aland Islands (1921)
  • Bulgaria (1925)
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Aland Islands (1926)

  • These islands belonged to Finland but were claimed by Sweden
  • The islands were midway between both countries
  • Most islanders wanted to be ruled by Sweden
  • Both countries threatened to fight for them
  • The League assessed the situation closely and decided that the islands should go to Finland
  • However, the islanders' Swedish way of life should be protected
  • Sweden accepted and avoided war
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Bulgaria (1925)

  • The two countries began fighting in October 1925 when an incident between sentries took place on the boarder
  • Three days later Greek troops invaded
  • Bulgarian government ordered its troops to provided small resistance and evacuated between ten and fifteen thousand people from the boarder
  • The League called for Greece to withdraw and order compensation to Bulgaria. Greece complied
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Failures of the League of Nations

  • Poland, Vilna (1920)
  • Corfu (1923)
  • The Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)
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Poland, Vilna (1920)

  • Poland and Lithuania were both created by the post-war treaties
  • Vilna was made the Lithuania capital, but its population was mostly polish
  • In 1920, a private Polish army took control of it
  • The League ordered Poland to withdraw but Poland refused
  • The League could do nothing
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Corfu (1923)

  • Mussolini blamed Greece for Tellini's death
  • Mussolini marched troops into Corfu
  • The League ordered Mussolini to withdraw and he ignored them, and made Greece pay Italy money
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The Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)

65 countrie signed a treaty, to end war. However, they all just ignored it.

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Why was the peace settlement changed between 1920-

Treaty of Riga 1921

Poland wanted to increase land. after winning the war with Russia, this land was given back (Lithuania).

Streseman improving relations

Germany joined the League in 1926 whereas before they were not allowed.

Reparations were too high

After the Rhur invasion and hyperinflation, Streseman tried to save the economy by introducing a new currency (the rentenmark). The Allies recognised Germany's effort and made the 'Dawes Plan', which ment the USA gave Germany a large loan. 1924.

Defeated countries rebelled

Turkey hated the Treaty of Serves, so there was a rebellion--> renegotiation which gave land back and made troops leave.

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Manchuria: Background to events (1931-1933)


Economic and military growth since 1900s affected by depression. They began an Empire to solve the economic crisis


An area of China close to Japan, it was a large market for Japanese goods and provided valuable raw materials. Japan feared losing this market and looked to add it to its empire.

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Manchuria Crisis, timeline of events (1931-1933)

September 1931

  • Japan claims China sabotaged its its railway
  • Japan invade Manchuria

February 1932

  • Japan is successful in its invasion 
  • Japan sets up a government

April 1932

  • China appeal to the League

September 1932

  • The League write a delayed report in the crisis
  • The League calls for Japan to withdraw
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Manchuria Crisis, timeline of events (1931-1933)

February 1933

  • Japan ignored the proposal
  • Japan announce aims for further invasions
  • The League take no action

March 1933

  • Japan was defeated in the Assembly, by 42 votes to 1
  • Japan leaves the League
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Abyssinia Crisis: background to events (1935-37)


An independent country ruled by Haile Selassie, the only independent black country in Africa. In 1896 its army had defeated an Italian invasion.


Fascist dictator of Italy, was determined to build an Empire. He also wanted revenge for defeat of 1896.

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Abyssinia Crisis, timeline of events (1935-1937)

December 1934

  • Italian troops provoke a clash at Wal Wal
  • The League offers an arbitration
  • Italy rejects this

Jan-Feb 1935

  • The League debates its response
  • The League takes no further action

March 1935

  • Britain and France sign Stresa pact with Italy
  • This did not mention Abyssinia

May-Sept 1935

  • The League sets up s five power commission
  • Abyssinia rejects proposals 
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Abyssinia Crisis, timeline of events (1935-1937)

October 1935

  • Italian invasion begins
  • Italy is condemned by the League
  • The League imposes limited economic sanctions on Italy

November 1935

  • Discussions of economic sanctions at the League, but of non involvement from the USA

December 1935

  • Britain and France produce Hoare-Laval Plan
  • Parts of Abyssinia to be given to Italy in return for withdraw
  • Public outcry led to the plan be abandoned 
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Abyssinia Crisis, timeline of events (1935-1937)

March 1936

  • The League threatened Italy with oil embargo seis
  • No impact 
  • Italy complete conquest

May 1936

  • Italian conquest complete
  • The League was powerless to react

June 1936

  • Haile Salassie addressed Assembly of League calling for help
  • No action was by the League

July 1936

  • Sanctins against Italy are dropped
  • Italy allied with Germany, left Stresa pact and League
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What was the Wall Street Crash and what caused it?

What was the Wall Street Crash?

Money became worthless, there was a crash in the price of shares in companies, and the american economy crashed.

What caused the Crash?

No one was willing to pay for over-priced share, so people started to sell cheaper. People sold shares really quickly, as they didn't want them. They were worthless. They tried to sell quickly, so they put the prices down.

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What were the effects of the Crash?

  • Mass unemployment
  • The American dream was shattered
  • Food became scarce
  • Business closed down
  • People went bankrupt
  • Shares were worthless
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How did other countries suffer from the crash?

  • Germany suffered due to the 'Dawes Plan' - America was giving them money to help the economy recover
  • There was a depression all over Europe
  • America's trading with countries was under threat
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The impact of the Great Depression

The great depression

social distress economic rivalry

rise of dictators


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The Great Depresion

  • International trade collapsed
  • Banks, business etc. closed down
  • 25 million people lost their jobs
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Social distress

  • Mass unemployment
  • Mass poverty 
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Economic rivalry

  • USA raised customs duties on foreign imports
  • Britain imposed custom duties on imports outside the British Empire
  • Italy tried to do without any foreign imports at all
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Rise of dictators

  • People blamed governments
  • They were led by dictators
  • 25 countries became dictatorships after 1925
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  • Leaders of Japan, Italy and Germany took over other lands to:
    • gain land
    • gain resources
    • increase national pride
    • compete with the Empires of Britain and France
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Steps to war

Civil war in Spain

Re-occupation of the Rhineland

Anschluss with Austria

Sudetenland crisis

Hitler takes over the rest of Czechoslovakia

Italy and Germany form the Pact of Steel

Nazi-Soviet Pact

Germany invades Poland

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Hitlers foreign policy


Take land from Russia, Poles and Slavs, as Hitler needed to expand Germany. Hitler believed he was entitled to take the land. Hitler believed the Slavs were inferior.


A policy aimed to prevent aggressors from starting a war/wars, by finding out what they want and agreeing to demands that seem reasonable.

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Timeline of events, leading to WWII (1933-1939)


  • Germany leave the League of Nations and rearm in secret as it was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles
  • Britain and France do nothing


  • Anglo-German Naval agreement
  • Germany announces conscription
  • Abyssinia crisis


  • German soldiers march into the Rhineland, although it was  forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles
  • No one was prepared to stop Hitler
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Timeline of events, leading to WWII (1933-1939)

1938 (March)

  • Rigged vote in Austria which made Austria and Germany unite (Aunschluss)
  • Britain, France and Italy ignored the Austrian leaders plea for help

1938 (September)

  • Hitler demanded the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia 
  • Chamberlain and France let Hitler have the Sudetenland of he didn't invade the rest of Czechoslovakia - Munich Agreement


  • Hitler invades the rest of Czechoslovakia 
  • Britain and France do nothing
  • Hitler and Russia decide to divide Poland up between them
  • Britain and France abandon appeasement and declare war on Hitler
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For appeasement

  • Prevents another war
  • A strong Germany army can protect the rest of Europe against the Communist threat
  • Britain had a small army and air force
  • People and Politicians wanted to avoid was  Britain
  • Britain and France has time to build up their armies
  • Germany deserved to get some land back as the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on them
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Against appeasement

  • Germany had time to build an army
  • Hitler got the Sudetenland for free
  • Stalin offended by being left out of Appeasement talks
  • Hitler could not be trusted 
  • Appeasement made Germany too strong
  • There was nothing stopping Germany taking another country
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Why did Hitler want the Sudetenland to be part of

  • To get more money for the German economy 
  • It helps expansion to the east
  • To unite German speaking people
  • To expand Germany
  • To expand Germany for living space - Lebensraum
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How did Hitler take over the Sudetenland?

  • Hitler makes impossible demands on the Czechoslovakian government
  • Germany stage protests, then German army moves in to 'restore order'
  • Encourages a Sudetenland German uprising
  • Chamberlain meets Hitler
  • Chamberlain tries to make agreement with Hitler to agree to an international conference
  • Munich Conference (Czechs and USSR not invited)
  • Sudetenland is transferred to Germany, and Britain and Germany agree not to go to war
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The collapse of peace

March 14-16th 1939

  • Encouraged by Hitler, Slovakiadeclared itself independent
  • Germany occupies Bohemia-Moravia
  • Slovakia asks for German protection, and troops move in
  • With Hitlers support, Hungary occupies Ruthenia

March 23rd 1939

  • Germany occupies Memel, a German-speaking area taken away from Germany in 1919 and awarded to Lithuania

March 31st 1939

  • Britain and Franceguarantee to defend Poland against a German attack

April 3rd 1939

  • Hitler secretly orders his general to prepare to invade Poland on 1st Sept
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The collapse of peace

April 7th 1939

  • Italy invades Albania

April 13th 1939

  • Britain and France guarantee to defend independence of Romans and 

April 18th 1939

  • USSR proposes a defensive military alliance with Britain and France

May 22d 1939

  • Germany and Italy sign the 'Pact of Steel', undertaking to help each other in tine of war

August 23rd 1939

  • Germany and USSR sign Nazi-Soviet Pact
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The collapse of peace

September 1st 1939

  • Germany forces invade Poland and Annex Danzig
  • Britain and France demand withdrawal

September 3rd 1939

  • Britain and France declare war on Germany
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The lead up to the Cold War

February 1945: The Yalta Conference

  • Stalin (USSR), Roosevelt(USA) and Churchill (Britain) were at the Yalta conference. together they decided that Germany must be defeated, then disarmed, split into four zones (the big three plus France). 
  • Germany must pay reparations.
  • Eastern European countries were to be allowed to hold free elections to choose how they would be governed. 
  • Poland was to have free elections and Eastern-frontier to return to pre-1921 position.
  • USSR was to join the war against Japan three months after Germany's defeat. 
  • United Nations Organization was to be set up.
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The lead up to the Cold War

July 1945: Potsdam Conference

  • Stalin, Truman (USA), Churchill (17-25 July) and Attlee (Britain 25th July - 1st August) were at the Potsdam Conference
  • Together the decided the details of Germany's occupation of zones
  • The Nazi party was to be banned and leaders tried for war crimes
  • Reparations; each power was to collect industrial equipment from its own zone, since the USSR's zone was mainly agricultural, the USSR was to receive additional reparations from the other zones
  • Poland's western boundary was to be along along a line created by the Oder and Neisse rivers
  • Germans living in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were to return to Germany
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The lead up to the Cold War

March 1946: Churchill's Iron Curtain speech

  • Churchill described the frontier of Soviet - occupied Europe as an 'iron curtain'
  • He said the countries behind it were subjected to Soviet domination and losing their democratic freedoms
  • The USSR aimed to spread Communism world wide
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Why were there tensions between the USA and the US

  • America was capitalist
  • USSR was communist
  • USA developed an atomic bomb and dropped it on Japan without telling USSR
  • Russia was intimidated and scared they would do the same thing to them]
  • both in a race to be a superpower
  • Russia beat America to Berlin and this raised suspicion
  • Russia was gaining land from pushing the Nazis back and spreading communism.
  • USA was highly concerned by Russia demanding to be in charge of Poland
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How did the wartime conferences increase tension b

What happened?

In November 1943, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met in Tehran (Iran), to discuss military strategy and post-war Europe. Stalin wanted a second front in Europe. Churchill and Roosevelt disagreed as it would bring many casualties. Stalin was worried that they would sign a peace agreement with Hitler. Stalin knew that he could not fight without them, but was highly suspicious of Churchill and Roosevelt as he thought they wanted to get rid of communism. Allies were to front in France.

How did it increase tension?

Stalin was suspicious of Churchill and Roosevelt. Churchill and Roosevelt didn't support communism. Stalin was angry over the broken promise of the western front. After D-Day the Red Army took more and more countries in western Europe, Worrying Churchill over the spread of communism.

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How did the wartime conferences increase tension b

What happened?

Stalin planned to takeover eastern Europe. During the war, communists from occupied countries of Eastern Europe escaped to Moscow and set up communist governments. As the Red Army drove the Nazis back, it occupied large areas of Eastern Europe and Churchill in the 'Percentages Agreement' agreed the eastern Europe could be a Soviet 'sphere of influence'.

how did it increase tension?

 Russia had gained more land spreading communism across Eastern Europe. Britain and USA feared that communism would spread to them. 

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How did the wartime conferences increase tension b

What happened?

 Germany would be defeated and disarmed. Germany would be divided, but the details were not agreed. Set up the UN, but disagreed on how many Soviet countries could join. They disagreed on if Germany should pay reparations. Stalin wanted Germany to pay 20 billion, but Britain and the USA said no. Stalin also wanted to control Poland but Britain wanted it to be independent.

How did it increase tension?

Concerns over the USSR becoming to powerful. No one could agree as they had different demands.

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Why did Stalin establish 'Satellite State' in East

Satellite State: A country which is controlled by another

  • Control Eastern Europe
  • Spread communism
  • Make Russia more powerful
  • Become more powerful than the USA

Cominform: Communist Information Bureau to link parties

Comecon: An economic organisation of communist states. Set up in response to the Marshall Plan. 

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How did Stalin establish satellite states?


Communist leaders emerged and prepared to take orders from Moscow


Coalition governments were set up which included communists. Most non-communist parties represented peasants and small farmers.


Backed by Moscow and the Red Army, the communists gradually forced non-communists out of power, by intimidation, vote rigging, show trials, imprisonment and executions. 

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Communism features

  • Dictatorship
  • Only one political party
  • Economy controlled state
  • No-one should  start a business and prosper from the work of someone else
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Capitalism features

  • Democracy 
  • People chose the government from many different parties
  • Free economy
  • Any person should be able to start a business and make profit
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Churchill's 'Iron curtain' speech

  • March 5th 1946
  • Westminster
  • Crowd of 40,000
  • Titled it 'the Sinews of Peace'
  • Talks of the uncertainty of what the Soviet Russia intends
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Long Telegram

  • February 22nd 1946
  • Between the head of the Soviet Union and the Secretary of State (USA)
  • Stated exactly want the American government wanted to do
  • Stated communism had strengthened Russian fear of the West ad gave Russia an excuse to wipe out all opposition
  • USSR were scared of the effort of Western capitalism
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Novikov telegram

  • September 27th 1946
  • Soviet response to the Long Telegram
  • Stated the USA wanted world dominance
  • Says Britain is completely dependent on the USA
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Why did relations get worse between the USA and th

Potsdam conference 1945

  • July 1945
  • Occupation of Germany's zones finalized
  • The Nazi Party was banned and its leaders tried as war criminals
  • Each power was to collect industrial equipment from its own zone. Since its zone was mainly agricultural, the USSR was to receive additional reparations from other zones
  • Poland's western boundary was to be along a line created by the Oder and Neisse rivers
  • Germans living in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia to return to Germany
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Why did the USSR and the USA become rivals after W


  • More Germans were to be expelled from Eastern Europe than the Western Allies had expected
  • Truman didn't tell Stalin that the USA intended to drop an atomic bomb on Japan
  • Stalin invited non-communist Polish leaders and imprisoned them (March)
  • Western suspicious about Soviet intentions increased


  • The USSR gave political authority in its zone to the minority communists
  • The USSR tried to force the Socialist majority elected to run Berlin city council to merge with the Communists. The Socialists refused with Western support
  • The USSR blocked Western attempts to create democracy throughout Germnay
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Why did the USSR and the USA become rivals after W


  • The war left Germany devastated. Food and fuel were scarce. Thousands were homeless. 
  • The USA and Britain wanted to help Germany recover its prosperity as quickly as possible.
  • The USSR objected because it wanted a weak Germany and refused to allow its zone to trade with the other three.


In 1946 the Western allies stopped giving the USSR reparations from their zones.

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Why did the USSR and the USA become rivals after W


  • Within the soviet zone, the Soviet troops were able to control all access.
  • Western Allies were allowed access to their sectors by road, rail, canal and air 'corridors'
  • The USSR believed the Western Allies had no right to be in Berlin. It saw their presence as a threat because:
    • they had a base inside the Soviet zone
    • the Capitalist way of life was on show there
  • Western Allies wanted to be there:
    • to prevent the USSR controlling the capital
    • to observe soviet activity behind the Iron Curtain
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Why did the USSR and the USA become rivals after W

Allied agreements, 1945

  • Divide Germany into four zones of occupation. Run it through a joint Allied Control Commission.
  • Divide Berlin into four zones but run it jointly
  • Keep Germany as one Germany:
    • remove the Nazi
    • hold free elections
    • sign a peace treaty with the new government 
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What happened to Germany after WWII?

  • Germany was divided into sectors among the major powers
  • This was to allow each country (Britain, USA, France and USSR) to work together to run Germany, and eventually lead it back to self government
  • Berlin was in the Russian Sector
  • As the German capital however it was agreed that this would also be divided, for government, among the major powers
  • Again it was believed the powers would work closely together to run the destroyed German capital 


  • Divisions among the major powers were apparent at Potsdam
  • USSR became increasingly fearful and distrustful of America and the Western Allies
  • America and the West became increasingly fearful of teh expansion of communism 


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Rising tensions in Europe

Truman Doctrine

The Truman Doctrine was the idea of supporting people against Communism. The USA was prepared to drop isolation and intervene throughout the world in order to protect democracy. They said they would lend equipment, advise, money and eventually military force. This policy was called Containment. 

Marshall Plan 1947

  • Marshall was an American General and American secretary of state, sent to the economic state of Europe
  • An American response to the poverty and hardship in post war Europe
  • It aimed to help the recovery and rebuilding of war torn Europe

Marshall's reaction

  • Lent 17 billion dollars to Europe
  • The aid came in forms of goods made by American firms - self interest 
  • Stalin forbade any Eastern European states from accepting the aid
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Berlin Blockade 1948

What happened? 

On the 1st April 1948, the soviet Military government in Berlin began a land blockade of the allied sectors by refusing to permit American and British supply trains to pass through their East German zone, to get to western Berlin. Over the next ten months, 2,245,315 tons of supplies were airlifted to the blockaded city. On 12th May 1949, Stalin was defeated.

What was the view of the USA on this?

  • If Berlin falls then so would Western Germany
  • If they withdrew their position in Berlin, Europe wold be threatened and communism would run 'rampant'

What was the view of the USSR on this?

  • The crisis was planned in Washington, behind a smokescreen of anti-soviet propaganda
  • In 1948 there was danger of war
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Berlin Blockade 1948

  • The conduct of the western power risked bloody incidents
  • The self-blockade of the western risked bloody incidents
  • The self-blockade of the western powers hit the West Berlin population with harshness
  • The people were freezing and starving
  • In the Spring of 1949 the USA was forced to yield, their war plans had come to nothing, because of the conduct of the USSR
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NATO set up 1949

What happened?

It was set up in 4th April, 1949. The treaty was singed by the foreign ministers of West Europe (Belgium, Britain, France, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and the US). It committed them to assist each other if they were attacked. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) joined on 9th May 1955).

What was the view of the USA on this?

  • They thought it would maintain and develop individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack 
  • It prevents potential opponents from being tempted to exert political pressure on any of the allies through military force  

What was the view of the USSR on this?

  • They blamed to policy for damaging relations with communist states 
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NATO set up 1949

  • Russia saw it as a direct threat to its position in Europe
  • They used it as a pretext to rearm and form a similar alliance of eastern Communist states
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Warsaw Pact signed 1955

What happened?

The pact was signed in 1955 and signed by Communist east Germany (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland and the USSR). It was created in response to the Federal Republic of Germany joining NATO. It allowed the Red Army to be based in member states.

What was the view of the USA on this?

It was another sign of Soviet aggressive intent and it fueled anti-communist propaganda and activity in America. 

What was the view of the USSR on this?

A military alliance on its door step should be met with a similar show of unity among the communist state.

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What effect did the death of Stalin have on the co

Khrushchev's speech at the Twentieth Party Congress 1956 - results

  • A process of 'De-Stailinsation' began in the USSR and Eastern Europe
  • In Poland and Hungary this lead to violent protest against Soviet rule
  • Western States were encouraged that Soviet leaders acknowledged the evil of Stalin's regime
  • Albania and China objected to the speech and to Khrushchev's suggestion that there could be 'different roads to socialism'. From 1956 the communist bloc appeared less united. 

Peaceful co-existence - the idea

  • The Communist system would eventually triumph over the Capitalist system because it was superior
  • However, meanwhile the to system could exist peacefully side by side
  • the USSR would continue to compete with the USA
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What effect did the death of Stalin have on the co

Peaceful co-existence - the results

  • The wartime Allies signed a peace treaty with Australia and withdrew their occupying forces
  • It became easier for western tourists to travel behind the Iron Curtain
  • In 1959, summit conference between Western leaders and Khrushchev
  • East-West suspicions did not die
  • Serious crisis continued to flare up i.e. Berlin and Cuba
  • Improvements in East-West relations
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Events of the Korean War

  • At the end of WWII Korea was split in two.
  • The north was communist with a leader, Kim il Sung, who had been trained in the USSR
  • The south was anti-communist and its leader Syngman Rhee was backed by the USA 
  • The hostility between the two states spilled into open warfare in 1950.
  • From the day when North Koreans attacked South Korea on June 25th 1950 to the day of the armistice in July 27th 1953 at the end of the war, more than 3 million Koreans died while millions of refugees remained homeless and distraught
  • About 1 million Chinese dies in the war and American casualties numbered 54,246 people
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Events of the Korean War

The Korean War can be divided into three phases:

  • The first phase began on June 25th 1950  and ended on the day UN forces thrust into North Korea's territory
  • The second phase of the Korean war was essentially the Southern unit's attack and retreat from North Korea
  • The last phase of the war consisted of the 'see-saw' fighting on the       thirty-eighth parallel, stalemate and negotiation talks
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Phase One

On June 25 1950 at 4am, 70,000 North Korean troops crossed the thirty-eighth parallel. President Truman appealed to the United Nations to take 'police action' against the 'unwarranted' attack. Hence, under the 'name of the United Nations', the United States was able to send troops and forces. On June 29, the North Korean Army, Korean People's Army (KPA), pressed southward and captured Seoul. 

The UN forces were on the defensive side until September 15 when the American forces, under the command of General MacArthur successfully landed on Inchon. the landing allowed the UN forces to break through the Pusan perimeter, to retake Seoul, and to cross the thirty-eighth parallel by September 30. By the end of the first phase of the Korean war, 111,000 South Koreans died and 57,000 were missing.

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Second phase

In the second phase of he Korean War, KPA forces were in retreat. In two days, the Southern forces were approximately 25 miles north of the parallel. The unexpected decision of China's entry into the war in the early October turned the tide of the war. The Northern units, consisting of Sino-Korean troops, sent the UN forces retreating again. By the end of December, the communist forces re-crossed the parallel and retook Seoul.

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Third phase

During the months of May and April of 1951, there was a sort of 'see-saw' fighting along the thirty-eighth parallel with neither units really advancing beyond the parallel. By summer of 1951, talks for an armistice began.

Throughout mid 1951 to 1953, negotiation for peace treaty stalled and reopened. A major issue that stalled negotiations was whether POWs should be repatriated on voluntary basis or not. In addition, accusations about war crimes committed by United States stalled negotiations and in a bid to intimidate North Korea and to end the war quickly, the use of nuclear weapons were considered. The armistice was finally signed on July 27, 1953. 

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Why did America get involved in the Korean war?

  • China had become Communist in1949 and this really worried the Americans. They were worried that communism was spreading throughout the world, the existence of cominform seemed to confirm this. 
  • USA was keen that the rest of the Far East and South East Asia would not fall to the communists as well. E.g (countries like Malaya, Indonesia, Burma and Vietnam) Remember the Domino Theory.
  • Technically American troops weren't fighting the Korean War. The United Nations sent troops from its member states to 'keep peace'. As American was the most important and richest country on the UN it sent the most troops and supplied most of the weapons. In reality America dominated the UN and influenced its allies into supporting what ti was doing in Korea.
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What were the lessons of the Korean War?

  • The USA learnt that there were risks associated with the policy of containment. Over one million people dies in the war and what started out as confrontation with North Korea quickly got out of hand when China, the country with the worlds largest army, became involved. 
  • America underestimated the Chinese. American troops ignored Chinese warning and got too close to the Chinese boarder. In October 1950 200,000 Chinese troops joined the North Koreans. The troops had been taught to hate the Americans and were prepared to die for communism. They also had modern weapons supplied by the USSR.
  • If America wanted to confront communism she had to be careful. The American General in charge in Korea, Douglas MacArthur, was sacked by President Truman because he not only wanted to free South Korea but he wanted to remove the communists from North Korea and then carry the war on into China. He even asked for permission to use nuclear weapons, which was refused as this could easily have sparked a world war. 
  • Even though America was by far the most powerful country in the world there were limits to its power. Containment was a policy that had its limitations. It was one thing to try to and contain the spread of 
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What were the lessons of the Korean War?

communism but when America attempted to go further and expel the communists out of North Korea it was simply not prepared for the escalation that followed.

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What was the impact of Stalin's death on eastern E

How did Khrushchev ease tension?

  • He talked of peaceful co-existence rather than conflict
  • In 1955 and 1960, he met with the leaders of the USA

De-Stalinisation in Poland and Hungary

  • In 1956, there were protests in Poland due to rising food prices. The Red army moved in to restore order.
  • in 1956 the crushing might of the Red Army put down an anti-communist rising in Hungary at the cost of some 30,000 Hungarian lives.
  • In August 1961 the communists built the Berlin wall dividing East and West Berlin. The Soviet Union wanted to stop people leaving East Germany. Boarder guards shoot anyone trying to cross the wall illegally.  
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What was the impact of Stalin's death on eastern E

Why were there more uprisings after Stalin's death?

  • People feared Khrushchev less
  • Rising food prices
  • Separating East and West Berlin

Why did Western leaders not trust him?

  • What he did and said, did not match up
  • Killed 30,000 people
  • Reminded them if 'the evil of communism'
  • He stopped anti-communist protests
  • Used the Red Army to his dissposal
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How did the USSR deal with opposition in Hungary i

Background: What happened to Hungary after WWII?

  • The Russians luted the Hungarian people
  • Gradual total Soviet control
  • Soviet soldiers ***** Hungarian women
  • In 1945 Communists won 1/6 of all votes, but pushed out all opposition
  • Under the Communists, livestock and crops were sent to the USSR, causing food shortages
  • There was a network of informers working for the Avo
  • People were taken in the night by men with machine guns to concentration camps
  • Youth groups, to indoctrinate young people
  • increased industrial production
  • People were put into class categories, peasants, worker and intellectual (who were the enemy of Rakosi)
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How did the USSR deal with opposition in Hungary i

Why was there a revolt in Hungary?

  • 1955, Stalin died - gave them hope
  • Soviet national anthem stopped being sung
  • They heard of the successful Polish revolution
  • Rakosi was replaced
  • In 1956 Khrushchev spoke against Stalin 
  • Felt suffocate by the communist party
  • Prisons and camps were opened
  • In October 1956 the uprising began with a peaceful protest outside the parliament gardens 
  • The crowd moved to Stalins golden statue and broke it onto pieces
  • Soviet reinforcements arrived on day 2, but the freedom fighters were already well organised
  • They forced tans into alleyways and then dropped Molotovs into their fuel boxes 
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How did the USSR deal with opposition in Hungary i

What were the consequences of the revolt?

  • Censorship collapsed
  • Nagy ordered the Soviet troops out
  • Talk of free elections
  • November 4th 1956  Khrushchev order troops outside the capital to renter the capital (Budapest)
  • Tanks opened fire wherever they found resistance
  • Calls to the UN for help
  • 200 hundred Hungarians escaped to West into Austria
  • Hungary was crushed
  • Anyone caught with ammunition or leaflets were shot or imprisoned
  • Situation was worse for Hungary
  • Russia showed that they would use force against rebellions 
  • Strikes were overturned   
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