The Cold War

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Background of the Cold War

  • America wanted German economic recovery to boost world trade
  • The USSR wanted to keep Germany permantly weak
  • At the end of WW2 Germany and Berlin had been divided into 4
  • The USSR, USA and UK and France each recieved a sector
  • Jan 1948- French zone merged with the Anglo American zone 
  • June 1948 - the Allied zones introduced a new currency
  • Stalin was alarmed by the increasing prosperity of the Western zones
  • Stalin felt threatened by the Marshall aid provided by USA 
  • 24th June Berliners awoke to find all access accross routes to Berlin were closed

Satellite: Countries which supported one another of the super powers in return for protections, military aid or economic assistance 

Causes of USA and USSR rivalry:

  • Ideology
  • Fears of Russian expansion
  • Each had different vision of post time Europe
  • USA kept secret details of their new A-bomb
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Background of the Cold War


  • Winston Churchill 
  • Frankiln Roosevelt
  • Josef Stalin


  • USSR would declare war on Japan 3 months after Germany surrendered 
  • Nazi War criminals would be punished 
  • All 3 would join new United Nations
  • Germany and Austria be divided up into 4 zones 
  • Churchill and Roosevelt accepted that Eastern Europe would become Soviet sphere of Influence
  • Could Not agree on Poland -Britain wanted free, independant Poland while USSR wanted a friendly ie. communist Polish gov.
  • -Agreed that USSR would be given eastern part of Poland to improve defences

Yalta seemed a success at the start...but became clear Stalin did not rule with democracy.

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Background of the Cold War


  • Roosevelt replaced by Truman
  • Churchill replaced by Clement Atlee
  • At this conference leaders disagreed about Germanys Future( how much compensation it should pay) 
  • Did confirm other decisions however:
  • Germany to be split into 4 zones, each run by Allied leader 
  • Germany to be disarmed 
  • Nazi party to be abolised 
  • War criminals to be put on Trial

Gulf widened however between Soviets and the West:

  • Explosion of automic bomb in Hiroshima- made soviets feel threatened 
  • 1946:-USSR installed communist govs. in Pland, Romania and Bulgaria
  • ^^spread of communism in Europe made western leaders feel threatened 
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Why had the USA and USSR fallen out by 1946?

Actions of USA:

  • Bombing of Hiroshima undermined the USSR
  • The ending of the lend lease scheme to USSR infuriated Russia 
  • The USA stopped the removal of reparations from their zone

Actions of USSR:

  • USSR wanted to punish Germany harshly 
  • USSR installed communist govs. in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria and didnt hold free elctions
  • Soviets did not supply the western zones with food
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Truman and the policy of Containment

The Truman Doctorine

Assistance to any country in the future which felt it was in danger from a communist threat, and promised to spend vast sums of money.

Marshall Aid 

  • Came to conclusion that the better off a country was the less likely it was to fall to communism.
  • Proposed that $13 billion dollars would be pumper into 16 European countries as part of an Economic Recovery Programme

How Stalin Viewed Marshall Aid:

Stalin feared that Marshall aid would lead to Germany's Recovery and to Europes' dependance upon USA.  Also regarded it as a way of using American dollars to unite Europe against them

Results of Marshall Aid:

  • By 1952 Western Europes industrial production was 35% higher than in 1939
  • Revived European economies, increased world trade and helped post war boom in America 
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The Berlin Crisis 1948-1949

The Berlin Blockade

  • Berlin lay 110 miles inside the zone controlled by USSR
  • The western zones depended on USSR goodwill to get access to Berlin
  • THis was Stalins attempt to claw back control of events 
  • The new currnecy would highlight the differences between East and West
  • It would cause dicontent in E Germany 
  • Stalin hoped that Berlin would become dependant on USSR
  • 2 million people- shortages of food, coal and electricity 
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The Berlin Crisis 1948-1949

The Berlin Airlift

  • USA worried- If stalin was successful the rest of Europe would fall
  • West Berlin became a symbol of freedom
  • The Allies decided to bring supplies in by air.
  • Three air bases used- Tegel, Templehof and Gatow
  • Planes landing every 2  minutes 
  • It lasted 324 days and 13,000 tonnes were delivered each day 
  • Coal was a major import
  • Food, medicine, machinery, even ping pong balls were supplied 
  • 1948- Airlift became dangerous due to bad weather
  • There were 79 casualties among Allied forces
  • No planes were shot down but USSR but they flew very close 
  • Berliners had accepted rationing, shared fires and used candlelight 
  • Luckily the winter was not severe
  • Only a few were tmepted by food to go to the Russian sector 
  • 12th May 1949- Stalin forced to lift blockade 
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The Berlin Crisis 1948-1949


  • Huge propaganda defeat for Stalin and USSR 
  • Propaganda boost for the West 
  • NATO created in April 1949
  • Clear that Germany could not be united 
  • May 1949- The German Federal republic was created 
  • Oct. 1949- Churchills prphecy of iron curtain became reality 
  • Problem of Berlin was not solved: -became flashpoint 
  • Showed how far both sides would go, short of war 
  • USA did not use automic bomb
  • Containment worked! Communism did not spread into West Germany
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