The Cold War


Cold War: Breakdown of Allience

After the end of the second World War tthe USA and USSR had very different beliefs and became rivals. The USA was communist and USSR were capitalist. They also allience also broke down because... 

  • Personalities - The USA and USSR disagreed over what to do with Germany - Stalin wanted to cripple Germany to protect the USSR, but Truman didn't want a repeat of the Treaty of Versailles. Stalin also wanted compensation from Germany for the 20mill lives lost and devostation of the war in Russia . They also disagreed over the Soviet Policy in the East. 
  • Issues at Yalta and PotsdamAll 3 leaders disagreed over over what type of Government was to be set up in Eastern Europe especially Poland. At Potsdasm Stalin had an agressor Truman who had an agressive anti-communist belief, he also had an atomic bomb when Russia didn't. Most of all Stalin had recently ordered for the non-communist leaders to be arrested in Poland. 
  • Actions by USA - Truman and Churchill both knew about America having the bomb. When Truman told Stalin, he publicly stated that he wasn't bothered, however secretly then asked he men working on the bomb to hurry up. This created hidden tension and competition between the USA and USSR. 
  • Actions by USSRStalin set up a communist government in Poland which went against the wishes of the allies, aswell as the majjority of the Poles. After Britian and USA protested Stalin insisted the control was a defence measure for future attacks. 
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Cold War: Yalta Conference

The Yalta conference was the first of 2 conferences It took place to decide what would happen after the war. It took place between the 4th and 11th of February in 1945. It involved Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt and Josef Stalin. Many things were agreed at Yalta including: 

  • Stalin agreed to war with Japan 
  • Stalin agreed to collaberate with the United Nations orgamisation 
  • Churchill got Stalin to agree to France having a zone of  occupation in Germany 
  • The allies agreed to split Germany into four zones to rebuild it
  •  Stalin agreed to free elections in Poland 
  • Adecleration of liberated Europe was released which stated that all nations previously under German control would have a democratic government 

Differences between Yalta and Potsdam are: 

the 3 leaders involved and what was disagreed and agreed, at Potsdam there were more disagreeements than there were agreements 

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Cold War: Potsdam

Potsdam was the second of the two conferences and took place on July 1945. After Germany had been defeated Roosevelt died and Churchill hadn't been re-elected. So the leaders involved in this conference were Stalin Truman and Attlee. Because of this there were many open disagreements including:

  • disagreements over what to do with Germany - Stalin wants to cripple it to prevent any future attacks, Truman doesn't want a repeat of the mistakes from the treaty of Versailles 
  • disagreed over reperation - 20mill Russians died ad there was huge devostation so Stalin wanted reperations - Truman didnt want repeat of treaty of Versailles 
  • disagreed over soviet policy in Eastern Europe -  Yalta Stalin won agreement from allies to set up a pro soviet government in Eastern Europe. Truman was unhappy with this so adopted harsh attitude towards Stalin 

Agreements at Potsdam: 

  • New boundaries of Poland 
  • Decided to divide Germany and Berlin between them
  • agreed to legal trials at Nuremberg of Nazi leaders for war crimes 
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Cold War: Soviet Expansion

The Soviet Union began to expand into the Soviet Union 

  • Albania - 1945 - communists immediatley took over 
  • Bulgaria - 1945 - In the 1945 elections a communist government led coallition was elected but the communists executed the non-communists 
  • East Germany - 1945 - East Germany was the soviet zone of Germany. In 1949 they set up a communist zone of Germany called the Democratic Republic of Germany. 
  • Romania - 1947 - In the 1945 elections a communist led coallition was elected to power. The communists gradually take over and in 1947 they abollished the monarchy 
  • Poland - 1947 - Stalin had promissed to set up a join communist and non communist gov at Yalta, but then he invited 16 non-communist leaders to Moscow and arrested them. Thousands of non-communists were arrested and the communists then won the 1947 elections
  • Hungary - 1947 - the non-communist won the elections with Zoltan Tildy as Presidant. However communist leader Rackosi took control of the secret police and executed/arrested any non-communists. Tildy was forced to step down and Cardinal Mindzenty head of the Catholic Chuch was arested. By 1948 Rakosi had complete control
  • Czechoslovakia - 1948 - A coallition government was set up and lead by non-communist Benes. However communist leader Gotswald made sure he was in charge of the police, radio and army. Non communists arrested, communists strike, pm kills self, communists take over 
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Cold War: Berlin Blockade and Iron Curtain

In 1945 World War 2 allies decided to split Germany and Berlin into 4 zones of occuption. The USSR took huge repirations from its zone in Eastern Germany, unlike Britain, France and USA who tried to improve their zones. 

In June 1948 Britain France and the USA joined there zones to form a new country, west Germany, and on the 23rd of June 1948 they introduced a new currency to help the trade and growth of the economy. The next day Stalin cut off all rail road links to West Berlin. The West saw this as an attempt to starve them into surrender. The blockade lasted 318 days and during this time 275 000 planes transported 1.5 million tons of supplies to West Berlin and a plane landed every 3 minute, because of this on the 12th May Stalin abandoned the blockade. 

Iron Curtain 

Increasing tensions between the USA and USSR lead to what became known as the Cold War, this is because there wasn't any direct fighting instead both sides tried to gain the upper hand with alliences and plans. Both sideswere afraid of another war due to the ddevelopment of atomic weapons. Countries in Eastern Europe were dominated by the USSR. In a famous speech made by Churchill he warned that there was an Iron Curtain dividing Europe 

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Cold War: Marshal Plan and Truman Doctrine

By 1947, Greece was one of the few countries in Eastern Europe that hadn't turned communist. The communist rebels in Greece were prevented from taking over by the British Army.

America was becoming increasingly alarmed by the growth of the Soviet Power. So when the British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece, Truman stepped in and took over. In March 1947 he told American congress it was Americas duty to stop communism growing any stronger. This was called the Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment.  

In June 1947 General George Marshall made a visit to Europe to see what was needed. He came away thinking Europe was so poor the whole of Europe was about to turn Communist. Marshall and Truman asked congress for $17 billion dollars to fund the recovery of Europe. This was nicknamed the Marshall plan. The main idea of the plan was to get the economy of Europe flowing again. Congress at first said no and hesitated but agreed in March 1948 when Czechoslovakia turned communist. Aid was given in the form of food, equipment and improvements to transport. Stalin forbode any of the coniform countries to apply for the Marshall aid. 

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Cold War: Causes of Cuban Missile Crisis

In 1915 a rebel named Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, an Island just 90 miles from Florida. Before Castro took over the Government was lead by Batista, who was a corrupt right wing dictator but America had many business intrests in Cuba. When Castro came to power he nationalised the American businesses in Cuba. To retalliate the Americans stopped all aid to Cuba and all imports of Cuban sugar. This was a blow to Cuba as this was their main thing holding up the Cuban economy. Castro was forced to look to the USSR for help. Castro then became a communist leader. 

The bay of pigs (April 1961) was a plan to use Cuban exiles to invade Cuba in order to overthrow Castro. They used Cuban exiles as they didn't want people to think America were fighting . The plan however failed as the Amercicans didn't support the exiles as they had promised and left them abandoned. It also failed because only 1500 people invaded Cuba however the full Cuban military was activated also people found out the Americans were behind it which was humiliating for them. 

In 1961, Castro asked for and Russia publically agreed to - put weapons on Cuba to protect them from America which is why on the 14th October 1961 the Americans discovered missile sites on Cuba. 

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Cold War: Crisis Summary

President Kennedy did not dare invade Cuba because that cause cause a war, yet he couldn't let the misile sites be completed. So he decided to enforce a naval blockade to prevent the Russian ships delivering missiles to Cuba.

Kruschev warned he would see a blockade as an act of war. Russian forces were put on alert, US bombers were put in the air carrying nucs and preperations were made to invade Cuba. There was a massive tension. Secretley, the Americans suggested a trade off of nuclear bases - US bases in Turkey for the Russian bases in Cuba. 

The Russians made the first public move. The ships heading towards Cuba turned back and Kruschev sent a telegram offering to dismantle Cuban bases if Kennedy lifted the blockade and promised not to invade Cuba. Then as though having secon thoughts he sent a second letter demanding the dismantling of the Turkish bases. Kennedy publicly agreed the first letter and secretly to the second. The crisis was over and kennedy looked like the better person.

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Vietnam: Why did the US get involved

Why did the US get involved in Vietnam? 

  • Containment - the domino theory says that once one country became communist soon all nearby countries would do the same so after China had fallen to communism in 1949 and America had fought in Korea to contain communism it believed it couldn't let South Vietnam turn communist. 
  • Domino theory - The domino theory governed much of the US foreign policy said that pnce one country fell to communism all nearby countries would as well. The Americans believed that if south Vietnam fell to communism so would Laos, Cambodia, Thailand then Burma and the rest of the world so America believed they had to stop it in South Vietnam. 
  • ARVN's weakness - (south vietnamese army) It was obvios the South Vietnamese couldnt resist communist infiltration by the Vietcong by themselves, US advisors believed that good government and an official large scale war would defeat the Vietcong as were "ill-equipped locals" as quoted by American commander in 1963.
  • US attacked - The Americans were training the south Vietanmese to be able to fight the Vietcong so they wouldn't be forced into communism. They attacked the American bases in Vietnam when the Americans were training there they also attacked the the US maddox in August 1964 then killed US soldiers in February. In order for Kennedy to not look weak he believed he had to fight back. 
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Cold War: American Tactics

American Tactics...

  • They fought a hi-tech war using B52 bombers, artillary, helicopters, napalm and agent orange. This killed many innocent civillians and failed to stop Vietcong guerillas. 
  • They forced peasants to leave Vietcong controlled areas and made them live in in defended strategic hamlets in loyal areas. this created immense opposition, and allowed Vietcong infiltrators into loyal areas 
  • American troops were sent on patrols then supported by air patrols and artillary when attacked. This demoralised soldiers who realised they were being used just as bait. 
  • Search and destroy missions went looking for Vietcong and when found they would bomb them. However these patrols were very visable and easy to ambush. 
  • America were spending 2 billion dollars a year on the war 
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Vietnam: Vietcong Tactics

Vietcong tactics...

  • They faught a guerilla war, ambushing US patrols, setting booby traps and landmines and planting bombs in towns. They mingled with the peasants and dressed in ordinary clothes. This made it difficult for the Americans to identify the enemy. 
  • They were supplied with rockets and weapons by China and Russia, they used the Ho Chi Minh trial - a jungle route through Laos and Cambodia to supply their armies. 
  • There main tactic was known as 'hanging on to the Americans belts' this meant staying so close to the Americans so they could use air or artillary backup without killing their own men 
  • They also used the Ho Chi Minh trails to suprise attack the Americans. This meant they could quickly escape from US soldiers. These trails were also good for ambushing then hiding, leading soldiers into booby traps and as a hiding place or protection form bombs. 
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Vietnam: Timeline of events

  • February 1965 - Presidant Johnson begins operation rolling thunder. This was a massive bombing campaign that lasted 7 years. He also had sent 500,000 troops to fight in Vietnam by 1969.
  • November 1965 - General William Westmorelang the US commander lured the Vietcong to attack a force of American troops at la Drang, then destroyed the attackers with a massive air strike 
  • 1968 - In 1968 the CIA began Operation Pheonix, arresting, interrogating and killing Vietcong activists Despite this America couldn't seem to succeed in pushing the Vietcong back to rural areas 
  • January 1968 - Tet offensive launched by the North Vietnamese, but they lost 45000 men including many officers, this proved they couldn't beat America by direct attack. Whils America won offensive they realised they could never win the war 
  • March 1968 - My Lai Masacre this was when a young American unit - Charlie unit were given false intellegance that there was 200 Vietcong in the village and Charlie company were given orders to kill/destroy all dwellings, houses and livestock. However there were no Vietcong in My Lai and 300-400 civillians including women and children were killed. The American public got told that 300 Vietcong were killed and the rest were civillians 
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Vietnam: Timeline of events (2)

  • 1968 - The US presidant Lyndon B.Johnson ordered an end to American bombing of North Vietnam. There was an increasing opposition to the war in American. 
  • 1969 - Richard Nixon who became US presidant begun a process called Vietnamisation - this was a policy which involved pulling out US troops but giving financial support to the south Vietnamese army. 
  • October 1972 - Henry Kissinger worked out a peace agreement with the North Vietnamese presidant Nguyan Van Thieu and the South Vietnamese, the presidant of South Vietnam refused to sign as he thought America would abandon him so the North Vietnamese pulled out of all the talks.
  • January 1973 - Richard Nixon mounted huge bombing raids on North Vietnam until the Noth Vietnamese were forced to sign.Nixon told Thieu he had to sign whether he agreed or not. So in January 1973 the Paris peace treaty was signed and America left. 
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Vietnam: Why America Withdrew

Why did America withdraw from Vietnam? 

  • Filure of US tactics - bombing campaigns cost alot of money and there were little Vietcong casualties, Napalm - killed many innocent civillians and wasted resources which was embarrinsing for America, $2bill spent a year on these tactics and America were still losing congress see this as a waste of money, decrease of support of war as embarrising, search and destroy missions also failed 
  • The Media - Journalists e.g Walter Kronkite interviews soldiers and films search and destroy missions this goes against US propaganda. Shows failure of US tactics, there were now TV's in most homes - so people see the realities and horrors of war, people decrease support of the war and many people start draft dodging  
  • Tet Offensive - Took place in 1968 and was seen as a turning point in the war as it made congress review its spending on the war. In January 1968 the Vietcong attacked 100 towns and cities in Vietnam which took the US army by suprise, this is humiliating for America as it makes them look stupid as they didnt know about the attacks. The most embarrising attack of all was at Saigon which was the US embacy and was attacked. This was embarrasing for the US army as they had a lack of intellegance 
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Vietnam: Why America Withdrew (2)

  • Anti war protests - 1968 was an important year for protests generally including freedom of speech, civil rights movements and improved conditions for the poor. Many of the protests were caused by the was as war efforts were preventing these things from happening. 
  • Civil Rights - When Presidant Johnson came to power he promised a 'great society' but this was undermimed by the war, the war increased the extent of racial inequalities, 30% of African-Americans were drafted into the war in comparison to the 19% of white Americans 
  • Students - At this time 1968 many students were hipies so wanted peace and love not war. Students also didn't want to be drafted into a war they didn't think was morally correct after being influenced by the media. Thousands of students began to draft dodge. In 1968 there were 100 demonstrations including 40,000 students. 
  • My Lai Masacre - 1968 Charlie company recieve false intellegance about the Vietcong hq. This is embarissing as the intellegance is incorrect making America look stupid. 300 - 400 civillians were murdered and this exposed the truths of the war to the public and was also embarrising for them and leads to a decrease in support as it is seen aas morally wrong.
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