The Cold War

THE COLD WAR AND SUPERPOWER RELATIONS

~The Origins of the Cold War 1941-58~

1 of 24

THE TEHRAN CONFERENCE, NOVEMBER 1943

Agreements:

  • Britain + the USA agreed to open up a 2nd front by invading France (May 1944)
  • Soviet Union was to wage a war against Japan following Germany's defeat
  • A UN organisation was to be set up post-war
  • An area of eastern Poland was to be added to the Soviet Union + the borders of Poland were to be along the Oder + Neisse rivers

Disagreements:

  • Roosevelt tended to side with Stalin as he was keen to improve relations
  • Churchill's idea of an Allied invasion through the Balkans (preventing the Red Army from taking over all of eastern Europe) was rejected
2 of 24

THE YALTA CONFERENCE, FEBRUARY 1945

Agreements:

  • To divide Germany + Berlin into 4 zones: UK, USA, French, + Soviet
  • To hunt down + try Nazi war criminals in an international court of justice
  • The Soviet Union could enter war with Japan following Germany's surrender
  • To allow liberated countries to have free elections to choose a government
  • To join the UN organisation to maintain peace following WW2
  • That eastern Europe would be a Soviet 'Sphere of Influence'

Disagreements:

  • Germany's reparations -  Stalin wanted a much higher figure than Roosevelt/Churchill
  • Stalin wanted the Polish/German border to be further to the West than the western allies 
  • Stalin wanted a communist Polish government (so he could have protection from Germany)
  • The Western Powers feared this would be soviet-controlled + persuaded Stalin to allow free elections in Poland
3 of 24

CHANGES BEFORE/DURING THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE

Change in relations:

  • Soviets didn't remove their military presence from the countries they liberated
  • Stalin set up a communist gov. in Poland, insisting that his control of eastern Europe was a defense measure against future attacks
  • Stalin refused to cut down his army, despite demilitarisation in the West
  • Truman replaced Roosevelt following his death in April 1945. Truman distrusted Stalin + was convinced he was trying to take over Europe
  • Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister halfway through the conference
  • The USA successfully tested an atomic bomb + Stalin was furious he hadn't been consulted about it before Truman announced it at the conference
4 of 24

THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE, JULY-AUGUST 1945

Agreements:

  • Germany to be divided into four zones as previosly agreed
  • Germany to be demilitarised
  • Democracy to be re-established in Germany e.g.: free elections, freedom of speech + press etc
  • Nazi Party banned, Nazis were removed from important positions + leading Nazis put on trial at Nuremburg in 1946
  • Germany to pay reparations in equipment + materials (mainly to the Soviets who suffered the most)
  • Full participation in the UN organisation
  • Poland's frontier to be moved westwards to the Oder + Neisse rivers

Disagreements:

  • Stalin wanted to economically cripple Germany, Truman saw a revived Germany as a barrier to future Soviet expansion + didn't want a repeat of the end of WW1
  • Truman wanted free elections in Soviet eastern Europe, Stalin reused to submit to US pressure + believed he should have his 'Sphere of Influence'
5 of 24

CHURCHILL'S IRON CURTAIN SPEECH & THE TELEGRAMS

Churchill's Iron Curtain speech:

  • In March 1946, Churchill made a speech in Fulton, USA that an 'Iron Curtain' had descended
  • Iron Curtain - an imaginary line dividing the communist East from the capitalist west in Europe

The Long Telegram:

  • Warned Truman of the Soviet Union's determination to expand
  • Suggested there was no chance of a "permanent happy coexsistence" between the rivalling ideologies

The Novikov Telegram:

  • Telegram to Stalin indicating US dominance in retaliation to the Long Telegram

~All contributed to increased tensions between the allies~

6 of 24

SOVIET CONTROLLED SATELLITE STATES NO.1

Hungary:

  • 1945 - the largest party was the Smallholder’s gaining around 50% of the vote at August elections
  • 1947 - Communist party seized control of the police + arrested the Smallholder’s leader, Bela Kovacs + Imre Nagy, the PM, was forced to resign
  • 1947 general elections – communists took over the gov. + banned all other parties

Poland:

  • June 1945 – coalition gov. of several parties set up
  • January 1947 – elections rigged to ensure the election of a communist gov.
  • Leader of the main opposition, Stanislaw Milokajcyk fled to London

Czechoslovakia:

  • Communist already had great support here
  • By 1947, they were the largest party in the coalition gov. + controlled the police/armed forces
  • 1948 - communists with the aid of the Soviets siezed control
  • Non - communists arrested + foreign secretary, Jan Masaryk, murdered
  • Rigged elections brought communist victory + all other parties were banned
7 of 24

SOVIET CONTROLLED SATELLITE STATES NO.2

Yugoslavia:

  • Communist resistance fought bravely in WW2 against Germany
  • The leader, Marshal Tito was elected president
  • Tito had no intention of taking Stalin's orders, so it was expelled from Cominform + other countries applied economic sanctions
  • Tito accepted aid from the West, challenging Stalin further

Bulgaria:

  • Late 1944 - communist-dominated gov. set up
  • November 1945 - communists won rigged elections+ banned all other parties

Romania:

  • Early 1945 - coalition gov. set up + in January, communists encouraged by Stalin partook in demonstrations disrupting the gov.
  • March 1945 - Soviet army intervened + disarmed Romania's army, forced the king to appoint a communist-dominated gov. ruled by Petru Groza
  • November 1946 - communists gained 80% of the vote in elections
  • 1947 - communists abolished the monarchy
8 of 24

US REACTION TO SOVIET EXPANSION - GREECE

Containment - American policy aimed at preventing the spread of Communism

Greece's civil war (began 1944):

  • Britain had been helping the royalist gov. to fight communist forces
  • 40,000 British troops were Stationed in Greece + money was given to the Greek + Turkish govs
  • By early 1947, the USA stepped in (as Britain couldn't afford to support Greece anymore), fearing the countries would come under Soviet influence

~Marked a new era in US attitude to world politics as it had previously followed a policy of isolationism~

9 of 24

US REACTION TO SOVIET EXPANSION - TRUMAN DOCTRINE

Truman Doctrine - March 1947:

  • The policy that the USA would support Nations in danger of communist takeover with economic + military aid
  • Consequences: Stalin set up Cominform, Truman publicly stated the world was divided between the free (non - communist) and unfree (communist)

Marshall Plan - June 1947:

  • Was a programme of aid to help western Europe to reequip its factories + revive agriculture/trade
  • $12.5 billion given in aid to western countries
  • The USA believed prosperous countries would resist the spread of Communism
  • Consequences: Europe became more firmly divided between East + West, Stalin withdrew from discussions due to trust issues and an unwillingness to show USSR weakness (thought the plan would weaken his hold on eastern Europe), and he prevented interested European countries from getting involved e.g.: Czech/Poland
10 of 24

USSR RETALIATION TO TRUMAN DOCTRINE & MARSHALL PLA

Cominform - 1947:

  • Enabled the USSR to coordinate communist parties throughout Europe
  • USSR's response to the Truman Doctrine
  • Was introduced to ensure that eastern European states followed Soviet aims in foreign policy, to introduce USSR economic policies e.g.: collectivisation of agriculture/state control of industry + to purge any members disageeing 

Comecon - 1949:

  • Supposed to be a means of financial support to eastern European countries from the Soviet Union
  • In reality was used for: controlling these state's economies, giving the USSR access to their resources + encouraging economic specialisation within the Soviet bloc (e.g.: Czech encouraged to concentrate on heavy industry + Romania, Hungary + Bulgaria specialised in production of raw materials + food)
  • USSR's response to the Marshall Plan
11 of 24

SHORT TERM CAUSES OF THE BERLIN BLOCKADE, 1948 - 4

Blockade - the situation in which a country/place is surrounded by soldiers/ships to stop people/goods from going in or out

Short term causes:

  • March - USSR representitives walked out of the Allied Control Commission (a body initially set up to run Hungary by the Allies, that now administered Germany) complaining that western attitudes made it unworkable
  • April - as the Allied zones were included in the Marshall Plan, USSR troops began to hold up + search road + rail traffic entering West Berlin
  • June - the western powers announced plans to create a West German State + introduced a new currency (Western Deutschmark) for their zones + West Berlin
  • The USSR retaliated by setting up its own currency (Otsmark) in the Soviet zone + East Berlin
  • 24th June - Stalin accused the West of interfering with the Soviet zone + cut off road, rail + canal traffic in an attempt to starve West Berlin. Stalin was trying to force the Allies to pull out of their sectors + abandon plans for separate developments in their German zones. This was the start of the Berlin Blockade

~Was the 1st international crisis of the Cold War + almost started another war~

12 of 24

LONG TERM CAUSES OF THE BERLIN BLOCKADE, 1948 - 49

Long term causes:

  • The West wanted to catalyse Germany's economic recovery (facing food shortages + fuel shortages following WW2) but the USSR wanted to keep Germany weak + refused to allow its zone to trade with the other 3 as it wanted to secure itself from future attacks
  • The USSR ensured that the minority communist group took control of their eastern zone. However, they were unsuccessful in securing communist control of the Berlin city council as the socialist majority, supported by the western powers, successfully resisted
  • Berlin was in the heart of Soviet-controlled East Germany + the western Allies could access their sectors by road, rail, canal + air. But, Stalin didn't want the Allies in Berlin + didn't want people in the East to witness the affluent capitalist way of life. The western Allies wanted to remain in Berlin to monitor Soviet activity
13 of 24

THE BERLIN BLOCKADE, 1948-49

The Berlin Airlift:

  • If the Allies atttempted to ram the road or railway blocks, Stalin would see it as an act of war
  • So, instead, in June 1948, Allies air lifted supplies
  • The USSR never shot down any planes as it would have started a war
  • For 10 months, western Berlin was supplied with an average of 4,000 tonnes of supplies everyday, + there was a total of around 275,000 flights in total.
  • 12th May 1949 - Stalin called off the blockade

What were the consequences?

  • Confirmed the divisions of Germany + Berlin. A few days after it was called off, the western Allies announced their states would join the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany). Stalin responded with the formation of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) in October 1949
  • Increased the East-West rivalry. Truman saw it as a success as West Berlin had survived + stood up to the USSR. For Stalin it was a defeat + humiliation, although this wasn't what the Soviets were led to believe
  • The formation of NATO

~Berlin was crucial to the containment of communism~

14 of 24

THE FORMATION OF NATO, APRIL 1949 & CONSEQUENCES

NATO - April 1949:

  • Western European states were no match for the USSR + needed the formal support of the USA
  • USA used this fear to create an alliance to defend the western world - NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) - consisting of 12 countries

Consequences:

  • USA was now committed to the defence of western Europe
  • Stalin didn't belive it was defence + thought it was aimed at the USSR
  • Intensified the arms race between the superpowers + development of even more powerful WMD. The percieved aim was to be able to make the '1st strike' preventing the other from firing back

Consequences, The Warsaw Pact - 1955:

  • Within 6 years, the USSR set up the Warsaw Pact - a military treaty + association between the USSR + its European satellite states
  • The USA set up its own missile bases in western Europe inc. the UK 
15 of 24

THE ARMS RACE

~Print off timeline for this~

16 of 24

BACKGROUND TO THE HUNGARIAN UPRISING, 1956

Background:

  • USSR invaded Hungary in September 1944 + ignored the elections in 1945 by establishing a coalition gov. containing Communist Party members
  • The communists also controlled the security police + in February 1947, arrested leaders of the opposition (Smallholder's) + others fled due to Soviet pressure
  • Rakosi emerged from the Communist Party to lead Hungary + it became a dictatorship + member of Cominform
  • Stalin died in 1953 + was replaced by malenkov + there was no real change in USSR policy
  • Khrushchev became leader in 1955 + quickly denounced Stalin's policies (de-stalinisation). He believed the 2 superpowers could co-exist peacefully
  • In 1956, Khrushchev replaced Rakosi with Erno Gero
17 of 24

CAUSES OF THE HUNGARIAN UPRISING, 1956

Causes of the Hungarian Uprising:

  • Rakosi used terror + brutality to keep control, killing 2,000+/- people + imprisoning 200,000 political opponents using the AVH (secret police)
  • The Hungarians hated Russian Communism
  • Religious teaching in schools was attacked + removed from the educational system + Cardinal Mindszenty (leader of Hungarian Catholic Church) was imprisoned for life
  • Hungarian economy was controlled through Comecon, preventing Hungary trading with western Europe + recieving Marshall aid. Hungary was forced to trade with the USSR, recieving unfair prices for exports. The Five Year Plan focused on heavy industry which was unsuitable for Hungary. Living standards fell.
18 of 24

THE HUNGARIAN UPRISING, 1956

The Hungarian Uprising:

  • 23rd October - in Budapest, students demonstrated, demanding free elections + press, + a withdrawal of USSR troops
  • Smashed a statue of Stalin + attacked the AVH + USSR soldiers
  • Russian troops + tanks were sent in + on October 25th, they killed 12 people + injured 100+
  • Gero was forced to resign + was replaced by Nagy
  • Hungarian public thought the US would help (US secretary of state - John Dulles said "you can count on us") but Eisenhower was cautious to intervene as elections were forthcoming 

Nagy & Khrushchev:

  • 30th October - Nagy released some political prisoners inc. Cardinal Mindszenty
  • Nagy proposed several reforms: free elections, trade unions, speech, worship + press; to develop trade links with the West, end -one party systems; for Hungary to become a neutral state + he intended to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact + ask the UN for support
  • Khrushchev was anxious not to be seen as weak by other members of the Warsaw Pact, so on the 4th November, 200,000 USSR troops + 6,000 tanks invaded Hungary
19 of 24

THE INVASION OF HUNGARY, 4TH NOVEMBER 1956

Why did the USSR invade Hungary?

  • Fear of loss of control of eastern Europe
  • To set an example to the rest of eastern Europe
  • Khrushchev believed the USA + UN were preoccupied by the Suez crisis
  • Pressure from Mao Zedong + China to protect Commnism from the West
  • Khrushchev needed to stamp his authority on the USSR
  • US presidential elections
  • Khrushchev refused to accept the idea of Hungary leaving the Warsaw Pact as it would leave a gap in the USSR's buffer zone with Western Europe

The Invasion:

  • The USSR army captured airports, bridges + key road junctions but the Hungarians fought using guerrila tactics
  • However, the rebels were no match for the occupying Soviet forces
  • Rebels could communicate with the West by radio + broadcasted impassioned pleas for help
  • A ceasefire was arrananged for 10th November
  • However, sporadic fighting continued until mid 1957
20 of 24

RESULTS OF THE HUNGARIAN INVASION

Nagy:

  • Hid in the Yugoslav embassy during the fighting until Janos Kadar (Soviet-backed new leader of Hungary) offered him a safe passage out of the country
  • Kadar arrested Nagy, + he was taken to Romania where he was hanged in 1958

Results:

  • Soviets easily defeated the Hungarian rebels
  • 20,000 Hungarian deaths
  • 7,000 Soviet deaths
  • Around 200,000 Hungarians fled during the uprising, many becoming political refugees

International reactions:

  • The West couldn't do much + staged demonstrations in support of Hungarian protestors (Hungary was too far away for military intervention + there was the threat of nuclear war)
  • The Suez crisis meant it was hard for the West to criticise simiar actions from the USSR in Hungary
  • Many Americans sympathised e.g.: Ed Sullivan - US TV presenter - asked viewers to send aid to Hungarian refugees + this appeal raised $6 million
21 of 24

THE COLD WAR AND SUPERPOWER RELATIONS

~Cold War Crises 1958-70~

22 of 24

INCREASED TENSIONS OVER BERLIN 1958-61

Why might there be problems in Berlin?

  • Division of Berlin 1945
  • Berlin Blockade + Airlift 1948-9
  • Khrushchev's concerns: West Germany joining NATO, the European Economic Community (ECC), + it was becoming economically strong + growing stronger. Fear of German invasion in the USSR.

What happened before 1961?

Khrushchev attempted to persuade the Allies to voluntarily leave West Berlin for several reasons:

  • West Berlin was an area of Capitalist prosperity + a symbol of success of western Europe within Communist territory
  • It claimed that the western Allies used it as a base for espionage + that they needed to control access to Berlin to combat this
23 of 24

INCREASED TENSIONS OVER BERLIN 1958-61 CONTINUED

The Refugee Problem 1949-61:

  • 4+/- million East Germans fled to the West through Berlin due to dissatisfaction with economic + politcal conditions
  • Forced collectivisation of agriculture + end of private trading weren't popular
  • Was shortages of consmer goods which could be bought in West Berlin cheaply
  • Brain drain threatened to engender the economic collapse of Germany
24 of 24

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The Cold War resources »