The Cold War

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Crisis day by day-continued


  • 26th- Kennedy is informed that missiles are nearly completed. Khruschev sends letter to Kennedy stating that he will remove the missiles if Kennedy announces that he will never invade Cuba.
  • 27th-  Khruschev proposes that they will remove the Soviet missiles in Cuba if they remove theirs from Turkey in a second letter. An American spy plane is shot down, killing the pilot. Kennedy delays the attack and agrees to the terms in the first letter. One of Kennedys advisors meets with The Soviet ambassador in Washington DC. He tells him that the USA will not invade Cuba and will leave Turkey (which they were going to anyway), If they do not do agree to this, then Kennedy will invade Cuba immediately.
  • 28th- The crisis is resolved. Khruschev announces on Radio Moscow that he was agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba. He is made to look weak in the eyes of Russia, this eventually leads to him not being the leader in 1964.
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Crisis day by day


  • 14th- Kennedy orders a US plane to fly over western Cuba and it take photographs of missile sites under construction.
  • 15th-  US intelligence analyse the photos and confirm that Soviet nuclear missiles have been placed in Cuba.
  • 16th-Kennedy forms EX-COMM (a group of advisors) to discuss what to do in response to the missile crisis.
  • 18th- Gromyko (Soviet Foreign Minister) meets Kennedy and denies that there are any missiles in cuba, however, Kennedy does not tell him what he has discovered.
  • 21st- Kennedy decides to respond with a blockade.
  • 22nd- Kennedy broadcasts on tv and tells the public about the missiles and his intentions. He also states that if any missles are launched into capitalist countries, its an act of war and they will retaliate.
  • 23rd- Organisation of American States unanimously support the blockade.
  • 24th- The blockade begins. 20 soviet ships sail to Cuba with questionable cargo, however they all turned around except one which alerted american military forces.
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Methods to resist communism

There were various methods that Britian and the USA, along with other countries, used to try and stop Stalin from turnig countires communist.


  • Greece- British froced stayed inside of greece in 1947 to prevent communism winning by having the king return.
  • NATO (1949)- This is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which was an alliance between most of western europe and the Usa and Canada. It was so that if one country was attcked, all the others in NATO would help defend against communism.
  • The Warsaw pact (1955)-  When West Germany joined NATO, the Soviets responded by creating the Warsaw pact (which was a communist version of NATO). The same ideas applied but for the Communist countries. This meant that there was more control over communist coutnries.
  • Truman docterine(1947) - see revision card 6
  • Marshall Aid(1947) - see revison card 7
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Bay of Pigs- April 1961


  • Kennedy trained 1500 cuban exiles and gave them weapons and transport to overthrow Castro.
  • 8 USA planes were painted in Cuban colours (so they were unsuspected) attacked Cuba.
  • However they were met by 20,00 soldiers so the attack was destroyed in 3 days.


  • All economic sanctions had failed.
  • USA was committed to policy of containment.
  • All attemps to assasinate Castro had failed.


  • Kennedy was humiliated and looked weak in the eyes of Khruschev.
  • USA withdraws all trade with Cuba.
  • Castro becomes stronger and forms better alliances with USSR. He agrees to have soviet weapons in Cuba in return for purchase of 1 million tonnes of Cuban Sugar.
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Marshall Aid (1947)


  • Truman believed that poverty and hardship were a breading ground for communism, so he wanted to make europe prosperous again.
  • It was important for American businesses to have trading partners, however Europe economy was in ruins.


  • To stop the spread of communism.
  • To economically help Europe, which would provide a market for american exports.

$117 billion was given to Europe over 4 years (1947-51)


  • Only 16 Europe countries accpeted it, all of which were western states
  • Stalin refused Marshall aid for the USSR and banned all (communist) Eastern Europe countries from recieving it.
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Cuban missile crisis

  • Cuba is a small island, 144km off the coast of USA, so US businesses dominated Cuba, many US tourists enjoyed cuba and they dominated the cuban military.
  • USA supported Batista because he was anti-communist, even though they knew he was a corrupt and unpopular dictator.


  • Castro (a communist) over throws batista in 1959.
  • He nationalised all USA companies so they become Cuban Companies.
  • He took over much of the US-owned land and gave it to ordinary Cuban farmers.
  • In 1960, He forms an alliance with USSR (Khruschev) who sent him advisors, economic aid and military equipment.

In June 1960, Eisenhower allows CIA to investigate ways to kill Castro.

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What would Kennedy decide to do?

KENNEDY'S CHOICES( red option is what he did)

  • Do nothing- USA had a greater number of weapons so USSR wouldnt attack them, however the USSR lied about missiles.
  • Blockade- this would put Khruschev under pressure and show him that the US was serious. this is also not an act of war, howver would not solve problems and the USSR cold respond by blocking berlin again
  • Diplomatic pressure- would create conflict, but if US backed down, they would look weak.
  • Invasion- this would get rid of Castro and there are american forces already trained and ready, howveer this would almost guarentee an equal soviet response.
  • Surgical air strike- this would destroy missles before they can be used and minimal loss of lives, however success was not guarneteed, it was an act of war and there is a chance of lots of lives lost.
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The end of the Vietnam War.

  • all US political parties involved in the 1968 presisdnetal campaign realised that they would have to support a policy to end the vietnam war or they would lose the election.
  • The vietnam war had defeated Presedint Johnson so he did not seek re-election in 1968.
  • Nixon looked for a way to end the way without looking weak or defeated in the eyes of the american public.
  • In 1975, south Vietnam fell under communism.
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Start of cold war


  • Millions of lives were lost and bombing and fighting had destroyed houses,factories,shops and entire cities.
  • There were millions of sick,hungry and homeless refugees throughout Europe and the World.


  • Before the war, many countries that could claim great powers such as Britain, France, Germany and Japan.
  • Now, USA and USSR had a much greater military strength than the rest ptting thwm in a league of their own as superpowers.


  • Capitalism and Communism have very different ideas thats strongly oppossed each other.
  • USA was capitalist and USSR was communist.
  • After Germany and Japan were defeated, they had no reason to co-operate.
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Truman Docterine (1947)

The Truman Docterine was created because Truman believed that Communism would win after the events in Greece. 

The aim was to stop communism from spreading, not to push it back completely This is also known as the containment policy.

Under the Docterine, The Usa provided military aid and economic aid to both Turkey and Greece in the sum of $400 million.

This is the point that it become known as a cold war- where both sides had very different political ideas and both feared of the other spreading.

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Break down of the USA and USSR alliance and the Ir


  • No longer had a common cause- They were fighting against Germany together but now they didnt have that connection anymore
  • Power- during the 1930's, the USA were emerging in the depression and the USSR were relatively weak but now, they are both powerful forces.
  • Involvement with europe- in the 1930's, USA followed an isolationist policy and wanted to avoid becoming involved in European issues, however, by 1945, they had become the strongest economic and military force in the world.


  • There was no complete agreement at Potsdam, so the tension between the Soviet union and western powers increased. 
  • Churchill spoke about it in the US in 1946. He talked about how Soviet policies were splitting apart Europe, thus creating an 'Iron Curtain'.
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Yalta - Feb 1945

It was held between the allied leaders: Churchill (britain), Roosevelt (USA) and Stalin (Russia).


  • Germany would be split into 4 zones, each being run by either the USA, Russia, Britian or France.
  • Berlin was also split into 4 zones even though it was in the soviet region.
  • War criminals would be punished.
  • Free democratic elections would be held in eastern europe so the public could decide how the country would be governed.
  • Soviets could have some influence in eastern europe.
  • Russia agreed to join the war against japan after the european war was over.


  • The borders of Poland were disagreed pon because Russiawanted to move their borders more into Poland so the borders of Poland would have to move more into Germany.
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Berlin Blockade

  • Britian and USA wanted Germany to recover, but they couldnt afford to keep feeding them.
  • French were unsure whether to help germnay or leave it weak.
  • Stalin was suspicious of them and didnt want to rebuild Germany.


  • France, Britain and USA merged their zones in Germany to help them recover, this resulted in many East Germans fleeing to west Germany.
  • A new currency was created in West Germany (Deutsche Mark).


  • Stalin block trade routes into Germany, however the allies couldnt attack them as its an act of war.
  • June 1948- allies airlifted supplies into WG (lands every 3 mins for 11 months)


  • May 1949- Stalin reopens communications because blockade failed.
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Why did Khruschev put missiles in Cuba?

  • He wanted to produce more nuclear weapons and reduce the gap between the USA and the USSR in terms of missiles.
  • Placing missiles in Cuba would restore the missile balance because the USA had missiles in West Europe and Turkey which were in the range of the USSR.
  • USSR had more cheap, medium range missiles than the USA so a launch site in Cuba was an ideal place to put missiles because it was close to the US coast.
  • Khruschev was keen to defend Castro as Cuba was the only communist country in the western hemisphere and he had surved the Bay of Pigs.
  • Khruschev was keen to strengthen his own political position in the USSR. Missiles in Cuba would be seen as another major propaganda victory against the USA.
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US tactics during the war


  • Bombing Vietcong strongholds, supply lines and key cities were a major part of the US strategy.
  • Objectsives achieved: the supply lines were disrupted, N Vietnams industry and military production was badly damaged,and it encouraged the communist leaders to seek a negotiated end of war.
  • Bombing alone would not win the war because: The NV war effort was slowed down not stopped, supply lines continuedto operate, SV towns and cities were bombed, the cost of the bombing was huge, Communist destroyed 14,000 US and SV aircraft and the Vietcong used a system of tunnels and passages that the bombs didnt affect.


  • N Vietnam was bombed with high explosives,and S Vietnam was with chemical weapons.
  • US used Agent orange which destroyed jungle foliage to help find Vietcong fighters and they also used Napalm which was highly flammable and burnt everything that came in contact.
  • Napalm was very controversial because,many civilians suffered extensive burns.
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The TET offensive

  • It was thought that between 1965-1967 that Vietnam war had gone well for the Americans despite the increasing number of American casualties.
  • However, in January 1968, The Vietcong launched an attack on about 100 Vietnamese cities during the New Year holiday.
  • However this failed because they had hoped that many ordinary Vietnamese citizens would join them but instead about 10,000 experienced fighters were lost during the offensive.
  • This severely weakened the Vietcongs power.
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Origins of the Vietnam war


  • Before the second world war, Vietnam was ruled by France, however in 1942, Japan invaded and occupied French Indochina and treated the Vietnamese brutally and savagely.
  • A strong Vietnamese resistance was created by Ho Chi Minh who studied Communism in the USSR. 
  • Japan was defeated and the French ruled Vietnam again in August 1954, however Ho Chi Minh and his fellow communists fought for independance. This led to France being defeated by the communists in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu.
  • A Peace Treaty was signed and so France left Vietnam.
  • Once France had left Vietnam, the country had split into 2, the North side was communist and the South side was non- communist.
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Why did USA send troops to South Vietnam?

  • Under the new peace treaty, elections were to be held in 2 years, however, Eisenhower was concerned that the communists would win so they held them off and elected Ngo Diem in South Vietnam, who was anti-communist.
  • However, Diem was currupt and instead of holding elections, he just put his relatives in charge. He treated the peasants badly so they ended up supporting the Communist National Liberation Front in South Vietnam which was known as Vietcong.
  • This led to the Vietcong beginning a Guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese Governemnt.

Guerrilla war- ambushes, raids and hit-and-run operations carried out behind enemy lines.


  • Diems government was weak and needed US support to survive.
  • USA had the idea of containment so they supported France in the 1950's to stop communism from spreading and gain support from the allies.
  • Eisenhower belived in the domino theory so that if one country fell under communism then the rest would follow
  • In 1961, 16,000 US 'advisors' were sent to assist the SV army. When Johnson become president, large numbers of combat troop were sent into Vietnam.
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US tactics during the war- continued


  • Vietcong soldiers would make hit-and-run attacks against American bases instead and then disappear into the jungle instead of having large scale battles.
  • US general Westmoreland developed search-and-destroy tactics to deal with guerrilla warfare. So US and South Vietnamese forces would use helicopters to land quickly near the villages and kill the Vietcong fighters who were hiding.
  • Postitive outcomes and drawbacks: Vietcong set traps for inexperienced US soldiers, sometimes wrong villages were attacked or burned because intelligent was often out of date or inadequate, large number of Vietnamese casualties and it made the US soldiers very unpopular with locals and encouraged many to join Vietcong.
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Reasons for withdrawal


  • Up to 1967, the troops were volunteers but after 1967, many were conscripted.
  • Many of the conscripted soliders had just left school. They contrasted to the Vietcong because they wanted to go home and were inexperinced whilst the Vietcong were motivated.
  • Many US soldiers were poor or immagrants and saw others avoid being drafted so they had little willingness to fight.


  • Vietcong and N Vietnam were no match for US and S Vietnam. Vietcong had 170,000 soldiers with weapons from Communist China and the USSR whilst the USA had 500,000 troops by 1968.
  • Methods of guerrilla warefare: Retreat when the enemy attacks, launch suprise attacks on enemy camps, pursue the enemy down by ambushing troops and laying traps and mines, use local terrain,tunnels and jungle to hide, live amongst the locals for protection and decide nt to wear uniform to make it difficult to separate from innocent civilains.
  • The vietcong had help from Cambodia and Laos and they were difficult to identify and fight.
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Protests against the Vietnam War

  • In 1968 there were many protests all across the USA about civil rights for African-Americans, poverty and the Vietnam War.
  • The Vietnam war showed the inequality in the American society. For example, White young men could avoid being conscripted by joining universities but African-American men did not have this. This meant that there was a significantly higher amount of African-American soldiers in Vietnam than White soldiers.
  • 22.5% of casualities were African-American solders while only 11% were white soldiers.
  • There was a protest in 1970 at Kent State University where students were protesting against the Vietnam war extending into Cambodia. This led to US national guards shooting into the group of unarmed students, killling 4 and injuring 11.
  • 1969- half a million soldiers and thousands of bomb raids had not defeated the Vietcong even tho the American military planners were convinced that the modern technology and weaponry would deliver a victory. 
  • However in 1969, it was clear that a military solution would not be possible alone.
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Potsdam -July 1945

There was a change in leadership.Rooselvelt died so Truman took over, who was very anit-communist, and Atlee replaced Churchill after the general election. 

There was also no common cause to figth for because the war was now over.


  • The Nazi party was banned and all the leaders were to be tried as war criminals.
  • The Poland border was moved west into Germany


  • Stalin wanted to take more reparations from Germany but Britain and the US didn't because they didn't want to make the same mistakes as the Treaty of Versaille. This made Stalin suspicious.
  • Stalin had set up pro-communist governements in East Europe (e.g. Lublin, the capital of Poland). 

The first atomic bomb was detinated on the 16th of June 1945 by Truman as a test for Japan.

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Consequences of the crisis

  • It was widely agreed that the Cuban Missile crisis was the closest that the USA and the USSR came to nuclear conflict throughout the whole of the cold war. It was agreed that this should be avoided so it improved the relationship between the two.
  • The US and the USSR set up a hotline between Moscow and Washington DC so that problems could be discussed to avoid future crisis'.
  • Nuclear arms talk began and this lead to a Test Ban Treaty being signed by the USA, the USSR and Britian in 1963.
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Reasons for withdrawal-continued


  • USA lost support because their bombings and use of weapons killed thousands of civilians and the South Vietnam government, which the USA supported, was seen as corrupt by the locals.


  • In the early stages of the war(1964-68), american newspapers and tv journalists didnt criticise US involvement in Vietnam because they didnt want to undermine the government.
  • After 1967, television took over newspapers and reports often showed graphic and shocking violence
  • By 1968, the concern about the number of US soldiers in Vietnam was increasing. Well- respected news reporters suggested that the war was un-winable which had a significant effect on the american public.
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Reasons for withdrawal-continued


  • March 1968- A group of American soldiers on a search-and-destroy mi**on were misfed information that the Vietcong was in the village of My Lai, however they werent ** 400 civilians, who were mostly women, children and old men were killed.
  • The incident became known in 1969 when one soldier gave an account of the events. This led to an investigation where the soldiers who led the attack were tried for ma** murder, however only one was sentenced. Lieutenant William Calley was given a 20 year sentence but he only served 3 years.
  • The My Lai ma**acre deeply shocked the american public and further undermined the war effort.
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Time line of main events of the war

  • 1960- Vietcong formed.
  • 1961- Vice President Johnson tours Saigon which is the Capital of South Vietnam.
  • 1962- Americas first combat mission against the Vietcong.
  • 1963- JFK assasinated so Johnson becomes President. Buddhist monks set themselves on fire in public S Vietnam to protest against the government.
  • 1964- August 2nd, Gulf of Tonkin incident took place where 3 vietnamese torpedo boats fired at the USS maddox in vietnames waters. US fires back and goes back to international waters. The US wages total war against N Vietnam.
  • 1965- Over 200,000 US troops are sent to Vietnam were bombing raids contine for 3 years inN vietnam
  • 1966- American B-52 heavy bombers strike N Vietnam
  • 1967-US secetary of defence admits that the bombing raids didnt meet objectives
  • 1968- Tet offensive. My lai Village massacre by US troops. Peace talks take place between N voietnam and USA. Nixon becomes president.
  • 1969- Numerous anit-war demonstartions take place after covergae of My Lai massacre air.
  • 1970- Nixon extends the Vietnam war to Cambodia to prevent the Vietcong from using cambodia as a baseto strike the us forces
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Time line of main events of the war- continued

  • 1972-Secret Peace talk begins whilst the pressure on Nixon to end US involvement in Vietnam increases. This leads to US forces putting pressure on North Vietnam to make an agreement by bombing major cities such as Hanoi and Haiphong heavily.
  • 1973- A ceasefire agreement is signed in Paris so the US conscription to fight in Vietnam ends and all remaining US troops leave Vietnam.
  • 1974- Major North Vietnamese offensive against South Vietnam.
  • 1975- Saigon (captial of South Vietnam) falls to communism so US embassy Staff are airlifted to safety by helicopter.
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