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!

HideShow resource information
  • 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
1 of 13

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
2 of 13

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

3 of 13

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
4 of 13

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
5 of 13

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
6 of 13


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
7 of 13

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
8 of 13

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
9 of 13

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
10 of 13

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
11 of 13

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
12 of 13

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
13 of 13


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Cold War resources »