Growing divisions between war time allies
The Cold war was the relationship between the USA and the USSR in the years 1945-1990. They never went to war against each other, but there was always the fear that they would. Relations between them were cold, and there was great tension. Growing divisions:
- In WW2, the USA and USSR were allies because of their common hatred of Nazi Germany and Hitler.
- USA was democratic, capitalist and republican.
- USSR had a Communist dictatorship, planned economy, no unemployment and everybody got a wage or pension.
- Stalin distrusted the West, because in WW2, the USSR had done the bulk of the fighting against Germany. Stalin had been angry that D-Day had been in 1944, and was worried that the West was trying to weaken Russia.
- The West distrusted the USSR, because it regarded Communism as a 'disease'. Also, the USSR was a closed Police state.
Post War meeting at Yalta
By 1944 it was clear that Germany were to be defeated within the next year. In June 1944 the D-Day landings happened, and the USA and Britain advanced from the West whilst the USSR advanced from the East.
Yalta meeting - February 1945:
- Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin met to discuss what should happen after the war
- Countries freed from Nazi rule should be allowed to have free and democratic elections as soon as possible
- Germany to be divided into 4 zones of occupation (French, Britain, USA and USSR)
- Stalin agreed to support the proposal for a United Nations to be set up
- Stalin agreed to help in the war against Japan
- Nazis responsible for the holocaust to be put on trial
- General mood of cooperation between countries
- Behind the scenes there were difficulties because Stalin and Churchill didn't get on
- Churchill agreed that Eastern Europe could be the USSR's sphere of influence
Relations worsened when Roosevelt died in 1945, he was replaced by Harry Truman who was more suspicious. Then Germany was defeated in 1945, and the USA developed the atom bomb. The USA no longer needed the USSR.
Postdam Conference - July 1945:
- Last meeting of the wartime allies (USA, GB and USSR)
- Bad tempered meeting
- Truman now had the atom bomb
- Germany and Austria to be divided at Yalta into 4 zones of occupation
- Leading Nazis to be put on trial
- USSR land gains
- Two of the new bombs were used in August 1949 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- The Japanese surrendered, and the USA's forces occupied Japan
By 1946, Churchill (not prime minister) thought that Europe had a clear division down the middle of it 'the iron curtain'.
Setting up the satellite states by the USSR 1945 - 9:
- Bulgaria became Communist in 1945, then Hungary and Poland in 1947 and then Czechoslovakia in 1948.
- They were forced to become Communist.
- Stalin wanted these countries Communist so that he would have friends in Europe
- They were called satellite states, because they couldn't pull away from Moscow, like the earth controls the moon
Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid
Truman Doctrine 1947:
- Truman was worried that Communism was spreading like falling dominoes across Europe
- In 1946, Truman was particularly worried about the Civil War in Greece (Royalists v Communists)
- Britain could not afford to support the Royalists, it had problems rebuilding after WW2
- Truman decided it was time to change the policy of the USA and isolationism of anything about military help
- It marked the end of the USA's isolationism of the 1930s
- Showed that they believed in the domino theory
- The policy was about containment, and the USA was to take on a world role
- American money given to Europe in 1948 to help them rebuild after the war
- Truman thought richer rebuilt countries would not become Communist
The Berlin Blockade and Airlift 1948 - 9
Berlin blockade 1948:
- The first serious incident of the Cold War that brought the USA and USSR close to war. The crisis was over the future of Germany.
- By 1948 the allies could no longer agree on what Germany's future should be, because it had only been divided temporarily.
- The USSR wanted a weak Germany that could never attack the USSR again
- The USA (who were worried about Stalin's power in Eastern Europe) wanted a strong Germany so that Communism could not spread to Western Europe
- Stalin was annoyed by the Western allies because they had met without the USSR to decide on Germany's future, introduced a new currency and announced Marshall aid which western parts of Germany applied for
- Stalin blocked the West from entering Berlin in June 1948
- Stalin was annoyed because Truman put the west of the city under siege. Truman wanted to keep the Western side of Germany democratic and not Communist. He flew in food and medicine, and in total 217,000 flights were flown in
- In May 1949 Stalin lifted the blockade and the consequences for Germany were great. It was divided, and the Soviet zone became a Communist dictatorship.
- The Western side became democratic and held elections
The Korean War
Tension increased in 1949 - 50 and Communism seemed to be a greater threat. China had become Communist in 1949 whilst the USA and developed it's own atomic bomb which worried the USSR.
- North Korea was ruled by Kim Il Sung who believed in Communism and wanted to rule the whole of Korea
- Syngman Rhee was the leader of South Korea and it was a dictatorship
- North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950 and South Korea appealed to the UN for help
- Douglas MacArthur was the Commander in Chief of the army
- UN forces arrived in Korea in September 1950
- North Korea forces melt away, and MacArthur decides to invade North Korea
- It was a success for the UN, because it had kept South Korea protected, proved it could take military action unlike the League and Communism had not been allowed to spread.
- But it cost a lot of money and there were lots of casualties (over 1 million died)
- MacArthur caused was with China and the UN looked like it was controlled by the USA
The Thaw 1953 - 60
- This was when relations improved between the USA and USSR
- Eisenhower was the new president of the USA in 1952, and Stalin died in 1953
- The new leader of Russia was Khrushchev and he was very different from Stalin, more relaxed and friendly. He spoke of new attitude to the west "Peaceful Co-existance"
- There was less Communism in the USSR, political prisoners were released, Khrushchev improved relations with Yugoslavia in 1953, Khrushchev visited USA and UK in 1956 and 1959, and he agreed to a Summit Conference where weapons would be discussed. He also criticised Stalin in a secret speech.
- But behind the scenes he was spending lots on military expenses, espionage and was involved in the space race.
- In 1957 the USSR were the first to launch Sputnik into space
- In 1958 the USSR got the first dog (Laika) into space
The Thaw : Hungary 1956
- After WW2, Hungary became a Communist state under Soviet control (a satellite state)
- It was ruled by a hard-line Communist who used the secret police
- There was no freedom of speech, life was censored, and the secret police arrested anyone who criticised the government
- In 1956, the people of hungary wanted to change these things. They had a rebellion which began with a huge student demonstration in Budapest. Statues of Stalin were pulled down and demands for democracy made
- A new government under Imre Nagg was allowed
- Nagy announced that he would take Hungary out of the Warsaw pact. This was too much for Krushchev
The end of the Thaw 1960
- The USSR shot down a USA U2 Spy plane
- Gary Powers (the pilot) was ejected from the plane
- The USSR had proof that the USA had been spying. They had the remains of the plane and put the pilot on trial
- The American public had thought that the USSR was ahead in the Cold war because Soviet military parades had shown huge number of bomber planes and missiles.
- In reality, President Eisenhower knew the USSR were not ahead but could not reveal this knowledge as the spy programme was secret
The Berlin Wall 1961
- By 1948 and 1961, one sixth of East Germany's population had fled to the West
- Berlin was where the two worlds met, so there was a contrast between the wealthy capitalists of the west and the basic living standards of the East
- Before the wall went up, Berlin is a cause of tension
- In 1961 Barbed wire fence put up, followed by a concrete wall. There was only one crossing point
Cuban Missile crisis 1962
- Cuba was very poor and ruled by a dictator called Batista who was friendly with the USA
- In 1959 a popular revolution led by Fidel Castro overthrew Batista. Castro began to change things in Cuba, he nationalised big businesses which the USA did not like. They refused to trade with Cuba.
- The trade ban was to overthrow Castro
- 1961 was a failed attempt to overthrow Castro by force - The Bay of Pigs. The USA equipped Cubans living in Florida with weapons and the USSR began trading with Cuba
- After Bay of Pigs, they gave more money and defensive help to Cuba. Missile bases were set up in 1962
- In October, a U2 Spy plane discovers missile bases in Cuba, and a blockade of Cuba was agreed by USA
- UN asks for peaceful end to crisis. Kruschchev demands end to crisis and wants USA bases in Turkey to be dismantled.
- USA pilot is shot down, and in late October the crisis ends