The Cold War, 1945-1975

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The Cold War, 1945-1975

Rise of the Superpowers- Before the war, many countries in the world could claim to be great powers, such as USA, USSR, Britain, France, Germany and Japan. 1945- it was clear that military strength in the USA and USSR put them in their own league of Superpowers.

Conflicting ideologies- Commusism and Capitalism- USSR- Communist Superpower; USA- Capitalist Superpower. They had to unite to defeat facism, but their ideologies and econmic systems were very different and opposed one another. When Germany and Japan were defeated, their was no need for them to cooperate; they have no common ground and they're difference in opinion began to shine.

The USA-The main poltical and economical features of the USA- A democratic system of government, the President and Congress of the USA were chosen in free democratic elections; A capitalist economy, business and property wereprivately owned, individuals could make profits in business or move jobs if they wished; The USA was the world's wealthiest country, but under capitalism there were always great contrasts- some people were very rich, others very poor; Americans believed in the freedom if the individual an in government by consent.

In the 1920-30's- they followed the policy of isolationism. Communism was a threat and spreading Through E.Europe, USA were willing to help and support people in countries that wanted to become capitalist economies.

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The USSR- The USSR was a Communist state under Stalin's dictatorship. People could vote in elections for the Supreme Soviet, but they could only vote for members of the Communist Party, and the Supreme Soviet had no real power.The USSR was governed by Stalin and committees of the Communist Party. In the Communist system, people's lives were closely controlled.The rifg od individuals were seen as less important than the good of society as a whole. It had a planned economy The Governemtn owned all industry and planned what every factory shoul produce. The standard of living the USSR was much lower than in the USA. but unemployment was low, and there were not the extremes of wealth and poverty as in the USA. Unlike in the USA, USSR had been attacked many times in the past. Stalin was determined that thi would never happen again. In his view, the USSR could only be safe if the countries on its borders were controlled by Communist governments. He believed that if he did not set up other Communist governmnts, the USA would set up hostile countries on his borders.

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The Cold War, 1945-1975

Allied conferences at Yalta and Potsdam and the roles of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.-By early1945, it was clear that Germany would be defeated. The minds of the Allied leaders turned to the problems that peace would bring. To discuss these matters they met for conferences at Yalta and Potsdam. The aim of the conferences was to discuss: What to do with Germany once they had surrendered; what was to happen to the occupied countries ater they had been liberated, especially Eastern European countries; how to bring the war with Japan to speedy end and how to create and maintain a peace that would last.

Yalta Conference, February 1945- At the Yalta Conference, the Allied leaders(Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) got on well together, despite their differences. The following points were agreed: Germany would be divided into four zones, these would be run by USA, France, Britain and USSR; Berlin (a Soviet zone) would also be divided into four zones; The countries of Eastern Europe would be allowed to hold free elections in order to decide on their government and the USSR would join the war against Japan in return for territory in Manchuria and Sakhalin Island. The only real disagreement was about Poland. Stalin wanted to move Poland's borders westward into German territory. Churchill and Roosevelt were unhappy, but Stalin still had thousands of his troops in Poland, so it was hard not to agree. But as a compromise, Stalin agree not to support Communist rebels in Greece.

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The Cold War, 1945-1975

The Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945- A second conference was arranged in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam in 1945, 2 months after the war in Europe ended. By the time this second conerence was held, a number of changes had taken place that would significantly affect the relationships between the Allied powers: Changing leaders- April 1945, President Roosevelt died suddenly and was succeeded by Harry Truman. He was much more anti-Communist than Roosevelt and very suspicious of Stalin's intentions. During the conference, there was a general election in Britain and Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as Prime Minister; Victory in Europe and the Soviet army- Germany surrendered on the 8th May1945. Britain+USA immediately began to reduce their forces in Europe, but the Soviets, who occupied most of eastern Europe, didn't. Stalin ignored British and American protests about the creation of a Communist government in Poland, saying that he needed to protect the USSR's borders; The atom bomb- At the Potsam Conference, Truman informed Stalin about a new weapon he was about to use against Japan. The successful testing of the atom bomb injuly 2945 began a new arms race between the USA and USSR. Potsdam continued the discussions left over from the Yalts Conference. There was some agreement on some points:-The Nazi Pary was to be banned and its leaders would be tried as war criminals. -The Oder-Neisse line (2 rivers) was to form part of the future borer between Poland and Germany.

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Tensions at Potsdam

 1. Britain+USA denied Stalins a naval base in the Med. They saw no need for it and Stalin saw it as evidence that his allies mistrusted him.

2. Stalin wanted to take more reparations from Germany but USA+Britain saw no need as they didn't want to cripple Germany any more than they already were. But Stalin was suspicious about why his allies wanted to protect Germany and support its recovery. 

3. Stalin had set up a Communist government in Lublin, then the capital of Poland. Britain preferred the non-Communist Polish Government, which had lived in exile in Britian throughout the war. Truman ad Attlee weer very suspicious of Stalin's motives in setting up a Communist government. 

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The breakdown of the USA-USSR alliance, 1945-46; the Iron Curtain- Why did the wartime alliance between the USA and USSR develop into a Cold War?- The different political and economic systems of the USA and USSR is only one reason fro the breakdown in relations between the two countries: 1. During WWII, USA and the Soviets were fighting a common enemy- Nazi Germany. By May 1945, Germany was defeated, USA+USSR now had no common ground, 2. In 1920-30's, both USA and USSR were not as powerful as they were in 1945. In 1930's, the USA was emerging from the Depression and USSR were just generally weak, 3. In 1930's, USA followed an isolationist policy and wanted to aboid involving themselves in the European issues. By 1945, USA a become the strongest economic and military power in the world.

By 1945, Britain and France had bee financially crippled by WWII. In contrast, USA and USSR emerged as Superpowers. These two new superpowers now faced eachother head to head.

Iron Curtain- The failure to ind a complete agreement at Potsdam caused tension between the Soviet Union and the western powers to increrase significantly. In a speech in March 1946, the former British Primeminister, Winston Churchill, claimed that an ' Iron Curtain' had descended across Europe, separating the democratic nations of the West from the Communist states of eastern Europe.

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Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe- The Soviet army advanced through large areas of eastern Europe whilst driving back the Germans. One year after the war, many Soviet troops remined in much of eastern Europe. Creating Satellites- Elections were held in each Eastern European country as promised at Yalta in 1945, but the evidence suggests they were rigged to allow USSR-backed Communist parties to take control. In Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Poland and Hungary, opponents of the Communists had been beaten, killed or frightened into submission. By May 1948, all eastern European states had communist governments. Yugoslavia was also under communist rule, although the Communist leader, Tito, was not controlled by Stalin as were the leaders of the other Communist governments. Tito refused Stalin's control and Yugoslavia was cut off from any of USSR's support. Stalin later created Cominform and Comecon to keep a tight grip on his neighbours. The countries become known at satellite states because they heavily relied on the USSR.

Cominform, 1947-Stalin set up the Cominform, an alliance of Communist countries, probably as a response to Marshall Aid. Its aim was to spread Stalin's communist ideas. Cominform restricted his communist allies from communicating with the West. Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia was not prepared to accept Stalin's leadership, but it remained Communist. Comecon, 1949-Comecon was set up to co-ordinate the production and trade of the easter European countries. It was like and early communist form of the European Economic Community. Comecon favoured USSR far more than any other member.

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US policy on eastern Europe: the Truman Doctorine and the Marshall Plan-Greece- Greece appeared to be the next country to fall under communist control. Greek resistance to the Germans had been divided into two movements- the royalists and the Communists. After the war, the royalists restored the king with the help of British troops, but the came under attack from Communist forces and asked the USA for help in 1947. Truman was already paranoid about th spread of communism. Under a foreign policy, known as the Truman Doctorine, the USA provided Greece with arms and money. The communists were eventually defeated in 1949 after the Civil War. Truman said: the USA would not return to isolationism- it would play a leading world role and that the aim was to contain Communism but not push it back- the policy of containment. Under the TD, the USA provided military and economic aid to Turkey as well as Greece. At this point, it became clear that a cold war had started. The two sides believed in totally different political ideas- each side feared the spread of the other idea. When one tried to extend its influence or support, this was seen as a threat by the other side. 

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Marshall Aid, 1947- Truman believed that poverty and hardship provided a breeding ground for Communism, so he wanted to make Europe prosperous again and also give USA a trading partner. The USA secretary of state, George Marshall came up with a recovery plan- Marshall Aid. It had two main aims: to stop spread of Communism and to help European economies recover. It also caused tensions: only 16 countries accepted it- all Western European states and Stalin refused the MA for USSR and banned E-European countries from accepting.

The communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, 1948- The only E-European country that considered accepting Marshall Aid was Czechosloakia.It wasn't fully part of Stalin's 'eastern bloc' of countries. In spring of 1948, elecetions were die and it seemed likely that the communists would do badly, while the opposition would do well. Communists organised marches and protests, non-communist ministers resigned and Foreign Minister, Jan Masaryk, died under suspicious circumstances. In May 1948, elections took place but only Communists were allowed to stand. Czechoslovakia was now fully part of the Communist eastern bloc.

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The Berlin Blockade and its immediate consequences- The Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 1948-49- At the end of the war, the Allies divided Germany and Berlin into 4 zones. Germany's economy and government hd been shattered by the war and the Allies were faced with a serious question: should they continue to occupy Germany or should they try rebuild it? GB and USA wanted Germany to recover- they could not afford to keep feeding Germny and they felt that punishing them would not help future peace. The French were unure about what to do and the USSR didn't want to rebuild Germany. Stalin became suspiscious about GB and USA's intentions.In 1948, the French, Americans and British zones merged to become 1, 'Trizonia'. With the help of Marshall Aid, W.Germany began to recover and prosper. E.Germany was controlled by USSR and there were huge amounts of poverty and hunger. Many E.Germans emigrated to W.Germany as it was a better place to live. To Stalin, it seemed that the Allies were building up W.Germany in order to attack him. When the introduced a new W.German currency, it was the last straw. Stalin couldn't stop it, or the merging of the W.zones into one. but he could cut W.Berlin's physical links with the West. 

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The Berlin Airlift- The allies airlifted supplies into Berlin beginning in June 1948. The planes got through and continued to supply W.Berlin for 10 months and by May 1949, when it was clear the Blockade had failed, Stalin reopened communications.

The effects of the Berlin Blockade- The successif the W.powers in preventing a Communist takeover of W.Berlin had far reaching consequences. In May 1949, the British, French and American zones became the Feeral Republic of Germany, known as W.Germany. In October 1949, the Soviet-occupied zone in Germany became the German Democratic Republic. 

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), 1949- This military alliance contained most of the states in western Europe as well as the USA in Canada. Its main purpose was to defend each of its members from attack. If one member was attacked, all the others would help to defend it.

The Warsaw Pact, 1955- In 1955, W.Germany joined NATO. The Soviet response was to set up the Warsaw Pact- a Communist version of NATO. The Soviets had not forgotten the damage that Germany had done to the USSR in WWII.

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