The Cold War Stalemate

  1. Krushchev and peaceful coexistence, 1953-60
  2. Geneva SUmmit, 1955
  3. Problems over Berlin and Germany, 1958-61
  4. The 'bomb' and nuclear arms race, 1949-62
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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 18-04-14 11:46

Krushchev and peaceful coexistence, 1953-60

  • Truman had ended his presidency and Eisenhower had an opportunity to forge a new relationship with S.U
  • Opportunity increased 5th March 1953, Stalin died. Replaced by Krushchev 
  • After Stalin's death, chairman of council of ministers, Malenkov, called for peaceful coexistence - "we stand as we have always stood, for the peaceful coexistence of the two systems" " there is no dispute or outstanding issue which cannot be settled peacefully"
  • July 1953 Korean War ended - major source of national tension gone.
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The 'New Look'

  • Key figure in Eisenhower admin. = John Foster Dulles, sec of state
  • hated Comm. and criticised Truman for half hearted response to Comm. expansionism
  • argued in favour of a forceful U.S policy which would 'roll back' Russian occupation and dismantle the iron curtain
  • Introduced the concept of 'massive retaliation' as a nuclear deterrent and security system
  • collective policy became known as the 'new look'
  • Commitment to idea that containment would not allow nations to restore democracy if they were controlled by pro-Soviet regimes. Also wouldn't provide security for U.S in face of nuclear arms race
  • U.S policy becoming more pro-active and aggressive
  • Although Eisenhower endorsed the new look policy, containment still remained as cornerstone of U.S foreign policy
  • when faced with 'rolling back' the Comms. in Hungary, 1956, they did nothing but exchange strong words.
  • June 1953 - East Berlin construction workers strike turned into uprising - suppressed by Soviet forces - no 'rollback' help
  • Rollback did little to impede east-west relations
  • The 'new look' did not move the U.S away from containment
  • Eisenhower wanted to reduce risk of nuclear war and this increased his willingness to develop relationship with S.U. Conscious S.U nukes catching up with U.S. Also aware of implications of creation Warsaw Pact 1955 and it's potential to deepen tensions.
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peaceful coexistence

  • 1956 - Krushchev speech to 20th congress of Soviet Communist Party, denounced Stalinism and emphasised that S.U policy should move from confrontation to coexistence
  • Krushchev had very clear foreign policy requirements:
  • S.U must remain as the unchallenged leaders of Comm., both in East Europe and in face of growing competition from China
  • firm grip maintained over Eastern bloc satelites
  • Germany prevented from rearming and becoming future threat
  • S.U must continue to expand nuclear arsenal and remain in arms race
  • spending on military security+ conventional forces had to be reduced
  • International tension had to be diffused - care taken not to provoke U.S
  • post-Stalinist leadership proposed to meet and counter the growing power of U.S through peaceful coexistence
  • move to improve S.U security by existing in a less volatile environment
  • Krushchev, 1959 - " In our day there are only two ways, peaceful coexistence or the most destructive war in our history. There is no third way."
  • November 1960 - World Communist Declaration - "Ideological and political disputes between states must not be settled through war"
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Austrian State Treaty, 1955

  • end of ww2 Austria divided into states like Germany. S.U focused on recieving aid from here like thye had from Germany
  • Austrian leaders in West zones promoted idea that Austria could easily be absorbed into Soviet sphere in same way Czechsolovakia was. Some observers called Austria 'Europe's Korea'
  • 1955 S.U showing serious intentions of embarking on negotiations over future of Austria
  • May 1955, four occupying powers agreed in form of Austrian STate Treaty
  • withdrawal of all occupying powers and Austria would become neutral
  • In line with S.U willingness to let Finland and Yugoslavia stay neutral, and not liable to joining S.U sphere of influence
  • agreement showed serious intent toward mutual cooperation between cold war powers. removed a major source of conflict
  • Following this, west powers removed troop occupation from West Germany
  • next step taken was decision to resume summit diplomacy
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The Geneva Summit, 1955 - Background

  • Russia needed extensive forces in eastern bloc to keep compliance. Needed to promote economic growth in S.U - less confrontation with west would amke these goals much easier and protect national security + superpower status at same time
  • May 1955 FRG admitted into NATO and began rearmament - In order to reassure French that German militarism wouldn't reoccur, U.S agreed to place large number of troops in Europe. Concerned Krushchev and increased urgency of organising a summit.
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The Geneva Summit, 1955


  • two major issues discussed - nuclear disarmament and future of Germany - no outcome reached on either

The open skies proposal

  • end deadlock over superpowers inspecting each others nuclear arsenals - step closer disarmament
  • Eisenhower called for each side to provide the other with info about military bases, and allow ariel surveillance
  • Krushchev rejected the proposal as he was aware of U-2 spy plane and that the S.U had no equivalent

the future of Germany

  • Eisenhower proposed a reuinified Germany with free elections and ability to provide its own security - i.e becoming member of NATO
  • Krushchev would only agree if future Germany demilitarised and kept neutral
  • he refused to discuss future of eastern bloc states
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The Geneva Summit, 1955

  • agreement on principle of free elections emerged - no procedure set up to make this become a reality
  • Summit's value lay not in its outcomes, but that it marked the beginning of dialogue between S.U and U.S
  • marked a calm in international relations. Suggested foundations of peaceful coexistence were in place
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The problems of Berlin/Germany, 1958-61

  • by 1958, future of Germany re-emerged as a test of peaceful coexistence
  • Sputnik space missiles convinced Krushchev that S.U finally dominated the missile race
  • Krushchev feared U.S may deploy nuclear missiles in W.Germany
  • Krushchev also aware Sino-Soviet relations deteoreating - Moscow failed to support China in its conflict with breakaway non-Comm Taiwan in 1958
  • S.U needed to reinforce its credibility as a leader in the Comm. world. Could be achieved by showing greater support for European allies
  • Walter Ulbricht believed GDR reached crisis in its future economy. Open boundary between East and West Germany allowed top talent to migrate west. 1949-58 188,000 trained/skilled/proffesional people left East Germany.
  • anything that seemed to help GDR and makes U.S look weak was a win/win for Krushchev
  • Krushchev declared an ultimatum. West had 6 months to recognise existence of DDR and accept W.Berlin as an independent political entity and free city.
  • If U.S refused, S.U would surrender control of its zone to DDR. Meant east germans would control all access to West Berlin.
  • would force the U.S to recognise DDR as an independent state. Would also oblige U.S to accept permanent division of Germany and remove troops from W.Berlin
  • West powers ignored Kruschev's threats and bully boy antics
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The problems of Berlin/Germany, 1958-61(cont.)

  • March 1959 - British PM Harold Macmillan proposed a summit on Berlin.
  • Krushchev removed his ultimatum and commented " I believe that the U.S, Britain and France do have lawful rights for their stay in Berlin"
  • Krushchev became first PM to visit U.S - Camp David Talks, 1959 - discussed disarmament and situation in Berlin
  • Agreed to settle international issues by diplomacy rather than force
  • visit likely deteoreated Sino_Soviet relations and reaffirmed that a Sino_soviet Comm. power bloc had not been formed
  • Camp David talks calmed the German issue and led directly to Parise Peace talks, May 1960
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The Paris Summit, May 1960

  • Krushchev heavily committed to peaceful coexistence
  • faced great opposition from China and many in SOviet heirarchy
  • Krushchev wanted a deal over Germany and an agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons in Germany and Pacific
  • Agreement bound to fail when China announced it would not consider itself bound by something it didn't agree with. China nuclear arsenal almost complete by 1960
  • Summit collapse when U.S U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet Union. Allowed Krushchev to calm opposition from China.
  • 1961 Kennedy admin begins - "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us good or ill, that we shall pay any price, bare any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty"
  • Kennedy's agenda damaged the future of peaceful coexistence - favoured expansion of U.S nuclear arsenal
  • June 1961 - Kennedy and Krushchev meet in Vienna - Krushchev concludes Kennedy is young and inexperienced - he can manipulate him
  • Bay of Pigs reinforce Krushchev's belief
  • Kennedy refused to compromise on status of Berlin, caused stalemate in east-west relations
  • Berlin symbol of cold war confrontation. After Vienna, Kennedy asked congress to increase defence spending, call up army reservists and reactive ships about to be scrapped
  • 25th July Kennedy called for a build-up of NATO forces
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The Berlin Wall, August 1961

  • 13th August - Soviet troops and East German police begin to seal off East Germany from West
  • Cold War symbolism of Berlin Wall immortalised when Kennedy visited Berlin, June 1963 and declared "all free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin" "as a free man I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner'"
  • S.U said it was to stop western spies, but was complete failure for Krushchev
  • propaganda disaster - noone convinced
  • clearly to keep East german citizens trapped in a Comm. state
  • west took no action to stop it
  • Wall eased Cold War tensions over Berlin - status quo established.
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the bomb and nuclear arms race, 1949-62

  • U.S had nuclear monopoly until 1949
  • any technological breakthrough by one side created urgency to replicate by other.
  • nuclear weaponry rendered conventional forces unimportant. The S.U's might ground and air forces suddenly neutralised
  • process of action and reaction - nuclear arms race
  • 1950 strategic assesment - NSC-68 concluded:
  • when S.U has sufficient nuclear capability, the soviet leadrship may be tempted to strike quickly and by surprise.
  • by time Truman left office in 1952 important principles had been laid down:
  • the S.U would not hesitate using nuclear weapons, if to its advantage
  • such attacked would be stealth/surprise
  • if war was eminent the U.S would carry out a pre-emptive strike
  • accurate intelligience gathering would guide a pre-emptive strike
  • U.S must devise anti nuclear defense systems, pre emptive strikes, and systems to defend U.S ability to retaliate
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the bomb and nuclear arms race, 1949-62

Emergence of H-bomb

  • Nov. 1952- August 1953 U.S and S.U developed hydrogen bombs
  • Malyshev(soviet official) - "exceptional contribution to the cause of peace"
  • deterrence became central to S.U thinking on nuclear technology
  • After Stalin death nuclear weapons seen by S.U as key to preventing future war
  • S.U needed balance of power with U.S and west, should they threaten or start nuclear war.
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the bomb and nuclear arms race, 1949-62

The U.S and massive retaliation

  • formulated during Eisenhower admin.
  • National Security Council 162 - death of Stalin and rise of Krushchev had not diminished S.U determination or capacity to attack U.S
  • U.S intel showed S.U nuclear arsenal growing
  • report concluded U.S must be capable of inflicting massive retaliatory strikes
  • approach adopted because U.S policy makers wanted to increase defense without crippling economy
  • assigned to convince S.U that any threat would be met with extreme nuclear response
  • massive retaliation designed to preserve U.S security at cost effective price. Also kept relationship with allies by not abandoning containment
  • U.S policy was founded on reliance of deterrence
  • Dulles - "we want, for ourselves, and the other free nations, a maximum deterrent at a bearable cost"
  • S.u and U.S were comparable in nuclear technology by 1955, but not in terms of delivery systems. U.S had bases in Europe and Japan capable of hitting S.U cities
  • 1955 U.S developed B-52 stratofrtress, 1956 - S.U release TU-20 bear
  • Krushchev placed faith in missile development
  • May 1957 - S.U developed ICBM. 3000 miles 30 minutes - missiles by aircraft useless.
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the bomb and nuclear arms race, 1949-62

Sputnik, 1957

  • October 1957
  • U.S saw S.U as being superior in long range missile field
  • no known defence from nukes from space
  • Eisenhower admin took flak from Democrat senators accusing him of falling behind to save money
  • Massive retaliation under immense pressure
  • Gaither Report(1957) - anticipated huge S.U nuclear expansion. Based on assumption, not evidence. said S.U economy growing faster than U.S, Soviets had capacity for 1,500 nukes. S.U surpassed U.S in ICBM development
  • Gaither recommended rapid development in ICBM development. Development of anti-ballistic missile development
  • called for huge civilian defense program - production of nuclear fallout shelters
  • Sputnik launch confirmed Gaither's greatest fears about S.U missile development
  • Eisenhower didn't believe report. Some historians say he rejected it.
  • Shelter proposal rejected but sopme movement made on rest.
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the bomb and nuclear arms race, 1949-62

the position by 1962

  • the SS-G rocket used to launch Sputnik was inadequate for a nuclear warhead
  • stark contrast between U.S and S.U nuclear capability
  • U.S estimate suggested S.U deployment of 500 ICBM's in early 1961 and 1,000 by 1962. U.S only had 70 in 1962. S.U actually only had 50 in 1961, only 4 ready and deployed. Krushchev was well aware of the disparity
  • Kennedy recognised that Soviet trailed in arms race, but recognised they were still capable of attacking and retaliating
  • Cold War by 1960's firmly founded on mutual suspicion
  • S.U position by 1960's was to prevent war, but e able to engage in one effectively
  • defensive rather than aggressive, but was necessary to have supplies to defend self
  • Position was to have great significance during Cuban Missile Crisis
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