International Relations: Origins of the Cold War Revision Cards

These are the revision cards for the first topic, Origins of the Cold War. The other topics' revision cards will be coming shortly!

  • Created by: Arvyn
  • Created on: 04-01-14 13:54

Ideology and the Cold War

Evidence of ideological conflict

  • British and USA intervene in Russian Civil War (1918-20) to overthrow Communist government
  • Western powers do not recognise USSR as a legitimate state and refuse entry to the League of Nations
  • 1919 'Red Scare' in America - expel left-wing radicals
  • USSR's foreign policy (1917-41) assumed West was hostile to Communism
  • Soviet propaganda (1917-41) increasingly anti-Capitalist
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World War II and Superpowers

The USA in 1945

  • Economic boom - GDP doubles between 1941-5
  • The USA has half the world's manufacturing capacity, which is treble the USSR's
  • Military supremacy was established with the development of the atomic bomb
  • The Bretton Woods Conference established the dollar as the principle trading currency
  • Truman becomes President in April 1945
  • The Great Depression still lingered within American conscience

The Soviet Union in 1945

  • 27 million deaths, 1700 towns and cities destroyed, industrial and agricultural infrastructure demolished
  • Major role in defeating Germany = major role in post-war settlement
  • Largest army (1 million men) and fastest growing economy
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Stalin and the Post-War world

Stalin's goals for the Post-War world

  • Initial peaceful coexistence with the West
  • Soviet dominance over Poland
  • Weak and demilitarised Germany
  • Extend Soviet influence in Eastern Europe

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Shaping the Post-War world

Tehran (1943) and Moscow (1944)

  • Churchill and Stalin agreed to British troops in Greece and Russian troops in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary

Yalta Conference (1945)

  • Churchill wanted pro-Western Polish government restored from their exile
  • Stalin didn't want Germany to re-emerge as powerful and wanted Polan to remain in Russian sphere of influence
  • Roosevelt wanted UN acceptance and Russia to enter war against Japan
    • USA and UK accepted Russian demands, Stalin agreed to enter war and UN creation but only with right to veto

Potsdam Conference (1945)

  • Germany divided into 4, new Polish and German borders benefited Stalin
  • Unresolved Easter Europe, trilateral agreement for Germany's future
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Growing Tension

Kennan Telegram, February 1946

  • Establish containment policy against USSR

Novikov Telegram, September 1946

  • Argued that the USA was behaving like an Imperialist country and planned 'global domination'

'Iron Curtain' Speech and Reaction, March, 1946

  • Churchill emphasised European divisons, Stalin branded him as a warmonger

Superpower relations at the end of 1946

  • Trust had broken between both sides
    • Both sides convinced of the other's 'world domination' plan
  • Grand Alliance had effectively ended but continuing negotiations suggest the Cold War had not yet begun
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Truman Doctrine & Marshall Plan

Truman Doctrine, March 1947

  • Truman begins containment, Soviets respond with Cominform

    Marshall Plan, June 1947

  • Aid given to Europe if the country agreed to free trade with America
    • $13.7 billion between 1948-52
  • Reactions:
    • Soviets saw it as 'dollar imperialism'
    • Comecon was established as an alternative
  • Significance:
    • 2 European economic areas established - Soviet and American
    • Economic recovery in West Germany outside Soviet sphere of influence
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Stalinisation of Eastern Europe

  • Cominform Stalinised Eastern Europe between 1947 and 1949
  • Hungary
    • Taken over in 1947 through rigged elections
  • Czechoslovakia
    • Taken over in 1948, coup overthrew elected government and foreign minister, Masaryk, was murdered
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Roots of the Berlin Conflict

Differing Perspectives

  • Stalin wanted to prevent Germany from re-emerging as a powerful nation, so he felt punishing Germany brutally was the only cause of action
  • The USA didn't ant political extremism to re-emerge again like in WW1, which they felt was due to the harsh constraints of the post-war settlement

Germany's Division

  • Divided into British, French, US and Soviet areas, initially meant to be temporary
    • Berlin divided into same sections also but was 177km inside Soviet sphere

Stalin's Desire for Reunification

  • Believed a united West Germany would threaten Eastern Europe and Russia, argued for a united Germany
    • America feared it would enter Soviet sphere of influence, didn't want this to occur
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Bizonia and Trizonia

Bizonia and Trizonia, Moscow March 1947

  • USA wanted monetary reform in Germany in order to help stimulate the European economy in what they perceived to be the best way possible
    • The Soviets rejected this proposal, fearing that Germany would emerge once more as a powerful nation and invade Russia
  • In April 1949, France, Britain and America united to form Trizonia, which was known as West Germany
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Berlin Crisis: 1948-9

Berlin Blockade, June 1948

  • 14th June, new currency is created in West Germany to solve the monetary issues
  • Stalin, in response, closes all travel links from Trizonia to West Berlin, effectively isolating the latter within the Soviet sphere of influence

    Western Response

  • Berlin Airlift; 26th June, Operation Vittles (USA) and Plainfare (UK) are launched to fly supplies into West Berlin
  • Nuclear Option; August 1948, USA deploys 60 B29 nuclear-capable bombers to the UK
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Significance of the Berlin Crisis

Significance of the Crisis

  • 12th May 1949; Stalin recognises the Blockade's failure and concedes
  • It illustrated Western resolve to stand-up peacefully to Soviets
  • Propaganda disaster for USSR - Stalin was willing to starve 2 million people
  • The Soivets failed to stop Western Germany from unifying
    • East Germany was unified as the German Democratic Republic
  • April 1949; NATO was established
  • Proved that neither side was willing to risk nuclear war
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Korean War: 1950-3


  • 1949; USSR tests the atomic bomb and the USA's nuclear monopoly thus ends
    • Mao also manages to create a Communist China in this year
  • 1950; Dean Acheson excludes South Korea from the USA's Asian 'defensive perimeter'
    • North Korea invades South Korea, supported by Soviet technology

      US intervention

  • Truman is under pressure from the China Lobby and NSC-68
    • Authorises rollback, Douglas MacArthur crosses the 38th Parallel in Korea and heads towards the Chinese border

Chinese intervention

  • October 1950; they mobilise a volunteer force to aid North Korea which is initially successful, but short-lived
  • 1953; the Korean War armistice is signed, ending the War
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Significance of the Korean War

Significance of the Korean War

  • Showed that the superpowers could use military force to defend their interests
  • The superpowers wanted to avoid direct conflict, instead using 'proxy wars' to fight one another
  • Demonstrated the importance of domestic political pressure upon US foreign policy
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