The Cold War

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  • Created on: 26-05-15 09:38

How Did the Cold War Develop?

In 1941 When Hitler invaded Russia without warning, the USSR and the USA joined together to form the grand alliance their aim was to defeat the Nazi's. By the end of WW2 both the USSR and USA were the two world's superpowers, which meant that they were stronger, better armed and more sucsessful, than all other countries. 

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The Grand Alliance

The Grand Alliance were also know as the 'Big Three', The Grand Alliance consisted of Stalin, Churchill and Truman. However the Grand Alliance was a marriage of convinence between Communism and Capitalism united to defeat Hitler. Once Hitler had been defeated, the alliance became increasingly uneasy. Between 1943 and 45 the Big Three met at three international conferences : Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. 

Capitalism: Individual rights and freedom and democratic elections. 

Communism: The rights of working class, equality and Communist party controls the goverment. 

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The Tehran Conference

Place: Tehran (Iran)

Date: 28th November - 1st December 1943

Leaders There: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin 

Aims: To decide what would happen to Europe when WW2 ended. 

Agreements: USSR would control easten europe and UK and USA would control western europe. 

Disagreements: How Germany should be punished. Stalin wanted to punish Germany and Roosevelt and Churchill wanted to rebuild Germnay. 

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The Yalta Conference

Place: Ukraine

Date: 4th February - 11th February 1945

Leaders There: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin

Aims: How there were going to end the war and defeat Hitler

Agreements: Russian Troops would help the USA to defeat Japan, set up united nations and agreed to work for democracy in Europe. 

Disagreements: Had different ideas on what democracy was. Stalin belived they had to be communist and Rososevelt believed it had to be a number of people competing in free elections.

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The Potsdam Conference

Place: Germany

Date: July - August 1945

Leaders There: Churchill, Stalin and Truman 

Aims: To decide what would happen to Germany now WW2 was over. 

Agreements: Ban the Nazi party and split Germany up into 4 zones run by France,Britain, USSR and USA. 

Disagreements: How much reparations should be paid (USSR wanted heavy reperations but USA wanted to rebuild Germany). Each Ally took reperations from thier zone, Stalin's zone very poor so allowed 1/4 of industrial equipment from western areas if he paid for it with East Germany's raw materials. 

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Summary of The Conferences:

The Cold war had begun by 1945, originating out of the tension between the Grand Alliance by the time of the Potsdam conference in July 1945. Althought they had agreed to ban the nazi party, prosecute war criminals, reduce the size of Germany and divide it however they disagreed on the issues of reperations and the type of goverment in Poland (Comunism or Capitalist). Trueman was arrogant and had the atomic bomb. 

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The War of Words

A War of Words took place between 1946 and 49 between West (capitalism) and East (communism), starting with Churchill's iron curtain speech of 1946 which was deliberatly provocative and aimed to get the USA more involved in stopping the spread of communism in eastern europe. Stalin responded by calling Churchill a 'warmonger' which was then followed by Kennan's Long Telegram and Noviko's Telegram (1946) each side was warning the other about the others intentiosn. 

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How did the USA react to the threat of Communism?

 The Trueman Doctrine:

- Trueman was worried that the USSR would try to spread communism. 

- In 1947 Trueman declared the Trueman Doctrine by saying the world had a chocie between communist tyrants and democratic freedom, and that america had a responsibility to fight for liberty, sending troops and ecoonomci resources where needed. This marked an end to American isolationism and suggested that the USA rather than the UN had a responsibility to protect the world. 

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The Marshall Plan

Trueman backed up his doctrine with the Marshall Plan, which commited $13 billionto rebuild the shattered economies of Europe, therefore was encourging people to support caitalism. 

- The aid had a condition attached to it that Europe would be split into 2 camps'. 

- Some saw this as 'self- intrest' not a gift. The marshall plan was going to help the American economy. 

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Cominform and Comecon

- Stalin, was suspicious and angry. He saw the marshall plan as splitting Europe in half and reacted by walking out of a conference. Stalin responded with Cominform and Comecon

- Cominform (1947)- a political organisation to draw together the comunist parties of europe. They Registered the Marshall Plan, removed goveremnt ministers who were not loyal to Stalin and were violent. 

- Comecon (1949)- An economic organisation to encourage the economic development of the satellite states of Eastern Europe. It was Stalin's answer to the marshall plan and prevent trade with the West. 

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Satellite State

A Satellite state is a state that is officially inderpendant, but in reality it is under the control of another. Between 1947 and 1949 the soviet union extended its control over much of Eastern Europe making Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland into satellite states. 

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Berlin Crisis 1948

Stalin also had control over the eastern half of Germany, as well as the eastern half of Berlin, which was in the soviet half of Germany. Britain, France and the USA merged thier zones into the first Bizonia and then Trizonia. Stalin became angry as they held secret meetings about the future of West Germany behind his back and intorduced a new currency of thier own in West Germany. To prove that this division of Germany was not going to work, Stalin blockaded the road and rail links from West Germany to West Berlin over a period of 9 months, this was known as the Berlin Airlift as nearly 200 planes had to fly in 1000 tonnes of food ans supplies everyday, with planes landing at 30 second intervals. By May 1949 Stalin knew he had lost the propaganda war and called of the blockaid. By September 2 seperate states West and East were established, Germany was now divided untill 1989. 

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Military Organisations and the Arms Race

Britain, France and USA, were worried by Stalin's actions, established a military organisation to defend themselves called NATO- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This was set up with 12 members in 1949. Stalin then responded with the Warsaw Pact in 1955.  

1) In 1945 America became the first contry to develop a nuclear bomb . 

2) Then by 1949 the USSR had caught up and created its own nuclear bomb. 

3) America then developed a hydrogen bomb, which was more powerful

4) By 1953 the USSR also had a hydrogen bomb

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The Hungarian Uprising 1956

In 1953 Stalin died and his successor Nikita Khrushchev, seemed to open to change. He made a 'secret speech' promising an end to Stalinism through the soviet sphere of influence. In Hungary, which had been under the rule of an oppressive dictator, Matyas Rakoski, the people campaigned for more freedom for Hungary and an end to a communist goverment. Khrushchev appointed Imre Nagy as the new more liberal leader. Nagy began to introduce changes into Hungary. Khrushchev worried that if Nagy to Hungary out of the Warsaw pact then other countries would eastern european countries would follow. In Novemeber 1956, Khrushchev sent 200,000 soviet troops to hungary and crushed all those who apposed him 20,000 killed and 200,000 fled including Nagy who was later arrested and hung in 1958. Kadar was now the new leader of Hungary and he was firmy under soviet control. 

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Three Cold War Crises: The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall (1961):

By 1958, more tension had developed in Berlin as a result of many East Berliners fleeing to the West for more welth and freedom around 2.7 million people fled to East Berlin. The refugee problem was a propaganda disaster for Khruschvec becasue it proved that many people prefered the West to the East, he planned to prevent the East fleeing to the west. He ordered American troops to withdraw thier troops from West Berlin in Novemeber 1958 within 6 months. Eisenhower the american president got Khruschvec to withdraw the ultimatum by holding international meetings. 

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The Four Summits:

1) Geneva May 1959: A meeting was held between foregin representitives from th US and USSR. But no solution to the problem was agreed. 

2) Camp David September 1959: Khrushchev and Einshower met and it was decided a further sumit meeting would be held the following year and Khrushchev agreed to withdraw his six month ultimation. 

3) Paris May 1960: The Summit was a disaster as just before the conference the USSR shot down an American spy plane over Russia and captured the piolet. Khrushchev walked out of the conference in protest of Einshower refusing to applogise.

4) Vienna June 1961: JFK, new president. The summit was arranged to discuss what would happen to Berlin & reinstated the ultimation. 

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Kennedy's Reaction

In Vienna neither side was willing to back down. Khrushchev saw Kennedy as a weakness to be exploited and confident that he would back down if pushed. He gave the USA a 6th month ultimation to remove thier troops from Berlin. Howver Kennedy refused to back down, and he declared that he wouldn't remove his troops. He alos started preparing the USA for war. 

Khrushchev knew the USSR would loose the nucleat war. He couldn't force the USA to leave West Berlin, but he had to solve the refugee problem. So he built a wall seperating East and West Berlin. The city was now physically divided. 

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Causes, Events & Consequences of the Berlin Wall


- Kennedy refused to back down, USSR realised could not will nuclear war and people fleeing from East to west Germany.


- 13th 22nd August, Khrushchev ordered barbed wire barrier across Berlin, followed by a wall. It was a powerful symbol of the devision of Germany. 


- Berlin divided, familes split up, 86 died trying to cross and Kennedy looked weak. 

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Three Cold War Crises: The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962: Khrushchev knew that the USA was winning the arms race and so relished that opportunity to use cuba as a base for soviet missles. This happened after the Communist leader Fidel Castro seized Castro asked Khrushchev for soviet support and he decided to station russian nuclear wepons on cuban soil. These wepons put American cities in the range of soviet missiles. The first shipment arrived by September 1962 and by mid october American spy planes had discovered what was going on. During the '13 days' of October 1962, the world held its breath as the tension between the USA and USSR reached its heights. 'Hawks' and 'Doves' on each side councelled what actions to take, moving the world to the brink of a nuclear war. But on 27th October Khrushchev agreed to remove his missiles and USA remove theirs from Turkey. 

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Results of Cuban Missile Crisis:

As a result of the Crisis a 'hotline' was set up between the presdient of the USA and Russian Premier. A Limited Test Ban Treaty was also agreed in July 1963. These signalled the beginning of a period of 'detente' (relaxing of tension) between the 2 sides. Other consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis were the MAD treaty of 1965 and France leaving NATO. 

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Three Cold War Crises: Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia was in a similar position to that of Hungary in 1956. In early 1968 the hardline communist leader Novonty was overthrown and replaced by Dubcek- a commited communist and  friend of the new soviet leader Brezhnev.  Dubeck wanted to intorduce a more relaxed form of communism 'socialism with a human face'. He began to introduce the reforms which became known as the Prague Spring- this included a relaxation of censorship, legalisation of political opposition and 'market socialism'- the reintroduction of capitalism elements into the chez economy. Brezhnev was in two minds as to what to do but eventually in Aungst 1968 sent in soviet troops to overthrow Dubcek. This was justified by the 'Brezhnev Doctrine' which said 'the USSR had the right to invade any country in Eastern Europe whose actions threatened the eastern block' Dubeck was arrested and forced to sign the 'Moscow Protocol'. 

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The world watched on- horrified, at the soviet action against civilians (many of whom were students) in czechoslovakia as the events were widely televised. However, the new president Lyndon B Johnson didn't want to get involved as he did not want the USSR to get involved in Vietnam where America were fighting Communism. The rest of the West followed his lead. 

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Causes, Events & Consequences of the Prague Spring

Causes :

- Economical Problems, Hatred of harsh soviet rule, Dubeck's Reform, Dubeck ignoring Brezhnev's warning and Brezhnev Doctrine. 


- 20-21st August 1968: Soviet Invasion and 26th August 1968: moscow protocols 


- Stabilised the eastern bloc, confirmed that UN and US would not interfere and comunism started to slit up Pro-Moscow states, Anti- Moscow states, Western European Communism and Czechoslovakia ad Dubeck. 

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Detente and the end of the cold war:

What was Detente? It was the search for peace. The Russians and Americans signed two important treaties, they limited the possibility of further conflicts between the 2 superpowers.

After the world was brought to a brink of nuclear war during the cuban missile crisis. Russia and US leaders tried to ease the tention through a policy of detente. It started in 1963 with the 'hotline', a direct comunication  link was set up between them. They also set up the limited test ban treaty, in August which stated they were not allowed to test nuclear wepons in space, the sea and above ground. Kennedy also made a speech saying arguing that both superpowers needed to focus on thier common intrests, athough the czech crisis severly tested the better relations between te USA and USSR, detente continued in the 60's and 70's 

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Reasons for Detente:


- Vietnam war had damaged thier confidence

- Wanted to reduce poverty 

- Detente was a way of splitting USSR and China 


- Reduce arms budget to improve standard of living

- Nuclear arms race was expencive

- Neither side would win due to MAD

- Both Superpowers could destroy the earth

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Outer Space, Non- Proliferation & Vietnamization:

Outer Space Treaty: Stopped wepons from being placed in space. It was important as meant there was no competition, which created better relations

Non- Profieration Treaty: Stopped superpowers giving nuclear wepons to other states. This stopped them from developing nuclear weapons. Important as it stopped allies as well as world conflict. It also limited the world to weapons. 

Vietnamisation 1969-1973: President Nixton removed his troops from vietnam, as too many Americans were dying and knew they couldn't win. But spent money training Vietnam people to fight for communism. Was improtant as ment the USA were no longer fighting. However still supporting Vietnam. 

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1972 SALT 1 and Apollo- Soyuz Mission:

1972 SALT 1: Strategi Limitation Treaty, it imposed limits on the nuclear capability of Russia and the USA. The USA and USSR began SALT negotiations in effot to control the arms race. The Treaty was signed in 1972 and both sides agreed to keep the numbers of nuclear wepons and warheads within strict limits. Important as was a sign of peae. 

Apollo- Soyuz Mission: It was a joint space mission. the 1960's had been dominated by the space race, this marked the beggining of superpower co-operation in space. Is important as was an action that they were workign together not against each other. 

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The Helsinki Agreements: 1975

The Helsinki conference had representatives from 35 countries. There was representatives from the USSR, USA and Canada. The terms of the agreement applied to everyone. There were 3 main issues; Security, Co-operation and Human rights.

Security: boudaries were acepted, disputes were settled, not to interfere in internationl affairs and inform each other about millitary manouvers. 

Co-operation: economical, industrial, scientific and educational 

Human Rights: freedom of speech, movement, religion information 

It united all countries together.

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Why did Detente collapse and a new cold war begin?

1) Even detente couldn't stop superpowers competing over dveloping world. 

2) Brezhnev saw communist revolution in Afghanistan as oppertuinity to extend. 

3) April 1978, Kabul revolution overthrough royal family in Afghanistan. 

4) 1978, determined to build socialism in afghanistan new presdient comes to power and allies with USSR. 

5) Revolutionary goverment not stabl. Taraki threatened bu Hafizula Amin. 

6) Taraki atemted to asasinate rival, uncessful and civil war starts. 

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Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan:

Key Features: 

Amin wasn't trusted by the USSR and the USSR were concerned that Afghanistan would become islamic state, also Babrak Karmal argued that he had enough support to form a new goverment also brezhnev believed that the USA would tolerate the invasion. 

USA's Reaction to the Invasion:

The Carter Doctrine argued that the USA would not allow the USSR to gain control of teritory in the oil- rich middle east, He also took a number of steps to try and remove soviet troops from Afghanistan. 

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Military, Economic and Political Reactions:

US Military Reactions: No more SALT II, quick strike unit, CIA provided wepons for Mujanideen and ended cutting back of nuclear wepons. 

Us Economic Reactions: Sanctions, restriction, stopped virtually all trade with soviel union and stopped trade to make USSR poor. 

Political Reaction: Olymic game boycott of Moscow 1980 and LA in 1984 also ended diplomatic reaction with soviet.

The Cater doctrine was important as it ended detente and superpower relations weakened. The second cold war started (1979- 1985), it marked a new low in superpower relations as in 1950's and early 60's public was concerned about a nuclear wars. 

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President Ronald Reagan

Regagan belived that it was time for America to start fighting again and to restart the cold war. He also wanted to win the cold war. 

How did Regan continued bad relations with his 1983 'Evil Empire' speech?

- The cold war was between good and evil and the USA had God on their side. 

- Reagan had also developed the SDI or 'Star Wars' inatitive which was a 'nuclear umbrella' to stop soviet numclear bomb landing on US soil. He also wanted to put laser satilites in space to intercept the missiles.

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Soviet Response to SDI

SDI meant that the Soviet Union could no longer keep up with the arms race as...

  • America won the race to the moon
  • the soviet economy was not producing enough wealth
  • they did not have the technology. 
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Gorbachev and the Soviet Union:

Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union and he oversaw till the end of the cold war as well as the fall of the Berlin wall and an end to communism in Russia, however it was never his plan to undermine communism, he hoped to be a saviour.

He noticed there were many problems in the Soviet Union such as...

  • The economy was not as efficent as the USA, woman in Russia had to que 5 hours for saussages.
  • Many soviet people had lost faith in the communist party Hisplan was Perestrokia and Glasnost. 
  • Perestrokia (reconstructing) was economic reforms designed to make the soviet economy more efficient. 
  • Glasnost(openess) was censorship of the press was to be relaxed.
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Geneva 1985 & Reykjavik 1986

Reagan and Gorbachev first met at Geneva in 1985 where they got on well and agreed to more meetings. Reagans aim was peace between the two superpowers but Gorbachev was hoping he could get Reagan to drop SDI. 

They met again in Reykjavik in October 1986 where they said they would work to cut down the number of nuclear weapons. Reagan proposed scrapping all ballistic nuclear missiles however Gorbachev disagreed becasue Reagan refused to drop his SDI project. 

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INF Treaty of December 1987

The Intermediate- Rnge Nuclear Forces Treaty of December 1987: Diplomates continued the disscusion from Reykjavik and came up with the INF Treaty.

Gorbachev signed the treaty becasue....

  • He came to see that nuclear wepons were expencive and added nothing to soviet security. 
  • USA had no intentions of invading the USSR
    Realised the economy would never recover whilst spending money on nuclear weapons. 
  • Believed that disarmament would gain him popularity. 
  • Belived that political and economical measures would guarantee Russia's security than millitary strength. 
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The Break- up of Eastern Europe:

Gorbachev's attitude to Eastern Europe was that eastern bloc countries  should be free to run themselves how they wish and the USSR should not stop them. 

He scrapped the Brezhnev Doctrine becasue he believed the openess would make all eastern bloc countries better. The USSR also had to improve  trade relations with the west to rebuild its economy. The costs of millitary hardware and troops was crippling the USSR's economy. Also the West would only be able to improve trade if repression was reduced. 

Although he wanted to make communism stronger with his reforms once Glasnost and Perestrokia were introduced in the eastern bloc many revolutions followed:

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Communist Revolutions:

  • Poland, June 1989: The communist goverment were defeated in a free election held in June. 
  • Hungary, 1989: The communist goverment promices a new democratic constitution in sumer 1989, and the first free elections are held in the spring. 
  • East Germany, November 1989, The fall of the berlin wall symbolises the end of the cold war. 
  • East Germany 1990, Reunification of Germany, communists are defeated in free election. 
  • Czechoslovakia 1989: Protests lead to the overthrow of communist rule in the 'velvet revolution' 
  • Bulgaria, 1989
  • Romania, December 1989
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The Fall of the Berlin Wall:

Why did the Berlin Wall fall in Novermber 1989?

  • East germany were slow to embrase Perestrokia and Glasnost. The East Germna goveremnt banned Russian Dublications during the 1980's becasue they were too liberal. However the communist goverment was unable to contain its citizens desire for freedom once neighbouring states had abandoned communism. 
  • When democratic elections were announced in Hungary, a mass of East Germans went through hungary to West Germany. As a result the East German Goverment were forced to announce greater freedom of travel for the East Germans. On 9th November they announced that they would be allowed to cross the border. From hearing this many people started to chip away at the wall. It was the first step towards the reunification of Germany.
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The End of the Warsaw Pact July 1991:

The Warsaw Pact could not survive the break- up of the Eastern Bloc. The pact was an alliance that united all of the communist states of the easern bloc against the capitalist states in the west. As Poland, Hungary and East Germany all rejected communism the pac no longer served any purpose. Millatary co- operation ceased in early 1990 and the Warsaw pact was formally dissolved in July 1991. 

Soviet Reaction to the fall of ther Berlin Wall: Gorbachev was the 'darling of the west' as Margaret Thacher described his as 'a man i can do business with' he was widely respected for his willingness to reform and the fact that his policies had lead to the break up of Eastern Europe. However in Russia there was a different reaction as Perestroiks was running the soviet economy and Glasnost casued the break up of USSR, some republics turned on Russian People.

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August Coup and Fall of the Soviet Union:

1) The coup was defeated in a few days and Gorbachev returned to power. 

2) He looked weak whist Yeltsin looked strong as he was the hero who had defended freedom. 

3) Gorbachev tried to fix the USSR by giving republics more freedom. 

4) However most republics wanted full inderpendance. 

5) On 25th December Gorbachev dissolved the USSR and resigned. 

The fall of the soviet union in December 1991 ended the the superpowers conflic and the idealogical battle between the democratic capitalist west and communist, totalitarian east. USA was now the world's only superpower and Russia is still communist. 

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Why did the USSR lose the Cold War?

  • Propagangda: It was hard for the USSR to sell communism when capitalism seemed to work better and give people more. 
  • Arms Race: Catching up with the USA in the 1960's crippled thier economy. 
  • Afghan War: Huge costs of this long war was a majour drain in the USSR's economy. 
  • Economy: The soviet economy was never as productove as that of the USA. 
  • Freedom: The eastern bloc and soviet republics onyl existed becasue of force and repression. 
  • 1970's- 1980's: The USSR's economy stangnated under Brezhnev while the USA forged ahead. 
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