Post Stalin Thaw and Peaceful Coexistence


The Cold War + USSR after Stalin

- Stalin died on 5 March 1953. 
- Arrested and executed Beria (1953)
- Followed a 'new course' in economic policy - greater emphasis on the production of consumer goods (1953) Outlined by Malenkov. Initally Khrushchev's disliked policy, but adopted it once Malenkov was removed. 

Khrushchev's Secret Speech - 1956
- Attacked Stalin for purges, controlling Communist Party etc. 
- Signalled to the USA that change was happening 
- Created the expectation of reform 

Soviet reasons for Peaceful Coexistence 
- Committment to Warsaw Pact and Easten Europe security was costly 
- Arms race: cost and sheer destructive power of weapons. 
- Khrushchev - 'There are only two ways - either Peaceful Coexistence or the most destructive war in history' 

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Soviet Peaceful Coexistence - Key measures

End of the Korean War - July 1953
Abandoned Stalin's hard line approach
- Represented a clear sign of USSR wanting to manage its affairs in a different way 
- An Armistice was negotiated along the 38th parallel in July 1953. 

Cuts in the Red Army - Mid 1950s
In the second half ot 1950s, the Red Army decreased from 5.8 million to 3.7 million men. 
- Used to convince West of willingness to negotiate as well as to save on military costs. 

The Austrian State Treaty - 1955
- Removed all foreign troops and guaranteed Austria's independence as a netural state. 

Soviet withdrawal from Finland 
- The Finnish-Soviet Peace Treaty of 1947 - given the USSR a 50 year lease to Porkkala peninsula. 
- In 1955, Soviet presence was removed and it was returned to Finland. 

Other soviet initiatives 
- In 1953, USSR settled border disputes with Turkey and Iran. 1955 - recognised West Germany.

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Eisenhower, Dulles, and the 'New Look' Policy

Eisenhower and Dulles 
- Eisenhower replaced Truman - January 1953. 
- Attacked Truman for being 'soft' on communism. 
- Dulles - 'rolling back' communism and securing the 'liberation' of E Europe from Soviet Control. 

Hungarian Uprising 1956
- USA could not protect Hungary as it was in Soviet sphere of influence. 
- Revealed that USA could not 'roll back' communism in E Europe. 

USA reasons for better relations 
- Military background made Eisenhower aware of nuclear consequences 
- Concerned about military spending (12% of GNP in the mid 1950s) was too high. 
- Initelligence gathered by U2 spy places - USSR were considerably behind in arms race. Gave USA upper hand. 

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Key features of Eisenhower's 'New Look' policy

Massive retaliation - 1954
- The USA would make greater use of nuclear threats and place less reliance on conventional weapons. 

- Dulles' policy. 
- Examples: 1953, USA warned China that if the Korean War was not brough tto an end it would use nuclear weapons. Armistice signed shortly afterwards. 

Increased use of covert operations 
- Examples: The development of U2 spy places to aid intelligence gathering. 

Domino Theory - 1954
Thought countries would follow Vietnam if it turned to communism. 
- Prompted the formation of SEATO in 1954, a military alliance between the USA and countries of South East Asia. 

Eisenhower Doctrine - 1957 
- Designed to halt communist penetration of the Middle East. Committed US economic and military support to protect indepence of any state in region threated by armed communist aggression. 

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Geneva Summit, July 1955
- First East-West Summit, involved 'Big Four' - established a good working relationship 
- Agreements could not be reached on Germany (Soviet props to neutralise were rejected in West, fear of expansion), 'Open skies' initiatve (aerial photographs, Khrushchev refused). 
- Soviet newspaper Pravda spoke of the 'Geneva Spirit' 

Camp David Summit, September 1959
- First summit involving USSR and US - built on relationship established at Geneva. 
- Agreed to a full summit in 1960. 
- Unable to reach agreement on matters such as Germany and disarmament. 

Paris Summit, May 1960 
- U2 spy plane shot down - Eisenhower admitted the truth but refused to apologise. Khrushchev stormed out, adopting a tougher stance. 

Vienna Summit, June 1961
Kennedy as new US president - Khrush attempted to capitalise on Ken's inexperience by adopting a tougher stance. 
- Only constructive result was the agreement to ensure a netural and independent Laos. 

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Internal threats to the Soviet system

Berlin Rising, June 1953 
- Walter Ulbricht raised worker's production quotas without increasing pay in E Germany, provoked demonstrations. 
- 400,000 workers on streeets calling for free elections
- The government responded with force, arresting and executing the protest leaders. 
- Demonstrated Soviet leadership based on force _ unwilling to allow greater independence. 

Hungary, 1956
Protests calling for a multi-party democracy, free press + withdrawal from Warsaw Pact 
- Leader Imre Nagy accepted these demands and declared Hungary a neutral country 
- Soviet's reasserted control by force 
- Kadar replaced Nagy and his government, centralised control. 
- US did not intervene, despite sending encouraging messages over 'Radio Free Europe'. 

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End of the Thaw

The U2 incident, 1960
US initally denied it was a spy place, and Khrushchev demanded an apology for spying and lying. Eisenhower refused to apologise. 
- Khrushchev stormed out of the Paris Summit and cancelled Eisenhower's visit to Russia. 

Berlin Crisis, 1958-9
- W Germany joined NATO in 1955
- 1958 - Khrushchev suggested West Berlin should become a demilitarised 'free city', East-West talks on a Germany peace treaty should commence. USA, Britain and France rejected Khrushchev's demands. 

Berlin Wall - August 1961 
- Vienna Summit - Khrushchev insisted West should recognise E Germany and withdraw US from Berlin. Kennedy refused and publically announced increase in armed forces. 1961 - Khrushchev built wall which would prevent free movement. Berlin wall became enduring image of Cold War. 

October 1961
- US diplomat Clay was not allowed into East Berlin. Clay responded with military control. 
- US tanks stationed at Checkpoint Charlie, 33 Soviet tanks entered E Berlin. Kennedy contacted Khrushchev directly and proposed a joint staged removal of these forces. 

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