The Origins of the Cold War (Pt. II)

explains what happened during the cold war and how close it was to an actual war during the 1960's

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  • Created on: 27-04-12 16:56

Why was NATO formed?

  • During the Berlin Blockade, war between the USSR and the USA seemed a real possibility - this convinced the Americans that the West needed a common defence strategy to oppose any acts of aggression
  • And so the western powers met in Washington and signed an agreement to work together
  • The new organisation they formed in April 1949 was known as NATO (North Atlantic Organisation) - also known as "Atlantic Pact"
  • This was a military past in which all the countries agreed to help each other against any act of aggression (especially aimed at communist countries).
  • It was to have an army with a common command
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Which countires were the original members and whic

  • In 1949 it had 12 members: the USA, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Portugal and Canada
  • This was later extended by the entry of Greece and Turkey in 1952 and West Germany in 1955
  • [It meant that the Americans could build air bases in Western Europe where planes equipped with nuclear bombs could be stationed ready for use (and could actually launch missiles) in the event of an act of aggression from another power] - purpose of NATO from Americas point of view
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What was Stalin's view of NATO and why did he feel

  • Because of his suggestion in 1954 to join the NATO in order to preserve peace in Europe
  • The NATO member countries, fearing that the Soviet Union's motive was to weaken the alliance, rejected this proposal
  • Stalin thought NATO was about self-defence and was no threat to communism but when he was rejected he saw NATO as aggressive, he said the Soviets weren't a threat
  • NATO was defensive - the first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, famously stated that the organisation's goal was 'to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down'
  • This shows how they were all still slightly worried about Germany but definitely wanted to keep to containment
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The nuclear arms race

  • The dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 started the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers.
  • This became a major theme of the Cold War
  • People began to believe that the more nuclear weapons you had, the more powerful you were as a country
  • The nuclear arms race was how the USA and the USSR made sure that they did not get left behind in the number of nuclear weapons they possessed, so they would never be disadvantaged
  • This competition for arms became very expensive for both countries as they tried to increase their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and develop deadlier and more effective weapons
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  • Until 1949 the USA had the advantage: the USSR would not risk a war against the USA because of the destructive power of the bomb.
  • In 1949 the USSR exploded its first atomic bomb
  • The hydrogen bomb, a bomb more powerful that could destroy the whole of Moscow, was successfully tested by the Americans in 1952
  • This H-bomb was much smaller than the bombs used in 1945 but more than 2,000 times more powerful
  • The Soviets responded with their own hydrogen bomb in 1953
  • Both countries felt that they had to continue this race to protect themselves. They both tried to keep ahead in the race
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How do you think testing the hydrogen bomb would a

  • As tension rose between who would own the most deadlier and effective weapons between the USA and USSR, neither side seemed like they were physically going to use it, but perhaps felt the need to have more power over the opposing side in order to protect themselves.
  • As the arms race intensified fear circled round the world
  • (As this was going on the war in Korea was going on - fear of arms race becoming a war due to anger and distress)
  • Space race - 1961: Spending a lot of money, rockets going to space, could find nuclear missiles
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The War in Korea (1950-1953)

Explain the importance of Korea's position in the world.

  • Geographically it's near Japan
  • Lies east to China
  • Just below Russia
  • America has a large influence of Japan
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Who had controlled Korea until 1945?

  • Japan
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What happened to Korea at the end of the Second Wo

  • Korea was freed from Japanese control
  • North Korea was occupied by Soviet soldiers - remained communist - controlled with a communist leader who had been trained in the USSR, and with a Soviet style one-party system
  • South Korea was occupied by American soldiers - not very democratic, but the fact that it was anti-communist was enough to win the support of the USA
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What was agreed between the USSR and America with

  • Free elections so that Korea could be united in the future
  • Two-thirds of the population of Korea lived in the South and so they felt that the communist north would be outvoted.
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Where was Korea divided when the unification prove

  • By 1948 this proved impossible and 2 independent states of North and South Korea were set up, divided by the 38th Parallel.
  • There was bitter hostility between the North's Communist leader, Kim II Sung, and Syngman Rhee, President of South Korea
  • Reunification did not seem likely.
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What were the results of the elections in South Ko

  • Elections were held in the South, which resulted in South Korea being ruled by Seoul
  • The Soviets set up the communist government of North Korea under Kin II Sung, with its capital at Pyongyang
  • Although Soviet and American troops left in 1949, North Korea was still supported by the USSR and South Korea by the USA
  • The victory of the communists in China under Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) in 1949 meant that North Korea had a border with another communist state
  • The Koreans were not satisfied with the division of their country and both Syngman Rhee and Kim II Sung claimed to be the ruler of the whole country (This was likely to cause problems in the future)
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What caused war to break out in 1950?

  • The North Koreans attacked South Korea in 1950 and advanced quickly, crossing the 38th parallel and capturing the capital Seoul
  • Stalin certainly encouraged the North Koreans and supplied them with tanks and planes (however he did not provide them with his own people) and the communists in China [and Mao Zedong (leader of North Korea)]probably urged the North Koreans to attack
  • The communists claimed that they were acting to protect themselves because troops from South Korea had crossed the 38th parallel
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How did the Americans view the actions of North Ko

  • This was a problem for Truman and the Americans
  • The USSR had tested the atom bomb in 1949 and communism had been successful in China, so the Americans thought they were losing the Cold War
  • Following so quickly after the Berlin Blockade, Truman and the Americans considered that events in Korea were part of a ground plan by the USSR to spread communism throughout the world
  • They believed in the domino effect and felt that they had to resist the spread of communism
  • This was to be the Truman Doctrine and its policy of containment in action
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What is the domino effect?

  • The belief that if one country became communist, those next to it would fall to communism like a pack of dominoes.
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What action did the UN take?

  • The Americans referred the invasion to the security Council of the UN, but began to move their troops in Japan to Korea before a decision was made by the UN
  • The security Council appealed to North Korea to withdraw its troops from the south and, when this was ignored, declared that North Korea was the aggressor and called on all member states to send help to the South
  • President Truman immediately sent advisers, supplies and warships to the waters around Korea
  • At the same time, he put enormous pressure on the UN Security Council to condemn the actions of the North Koreans and to call them to withdraw their troops.
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Why was the USSR not present at the UN in 1950? Wh

  • It was refusing to attend the UN because the new communist China had not been accepted as a member
  • Used its veto
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How many countries contributed to the UN army and

  • A UN army made up of contributions from 16 nations which was sent to Korea
  • It was led by General Douglas MacArthur who was also American
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Main Events

  • The American Marines landed in Inchon in September 1950 and cut off their supplies
  • The North Koreans were forced to retreat
  • Other UN forces and South Korean troops advanced from Pusan
  • The North Koreans were driven back beyond their original border (38th Parallel) within weeks
  • At this stage, the UN forces should've stopped because they had contained communism. But they don't.
  • They captured Pyongyang and occupied two-thirds of the country
  • They soon reached the Yalu river - the border with communist China
  • This is roll back (not just containing it but removing it from North Korea and perhaps China)
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  • China now entered the war on the side of the North Koreans.
  • About 25,000Chinese troops, describes as volunteers, entered Korea (October 1950). They Had tanks and planes supplied by the Soviet Union.
  • Chinese and North Koreans drove the UN troops out of North Korea, cross the 38th Parallel, and once again captured Seoul by January 1951
  • At this stage General MacArthur wanted to attack China using the atom bomb
  • Truman felt this would cause a major war, so he dismissed Mac Arthur in April 1951
  • Truman decided to keep to the policy of Containment.
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  • By June 1951 UN troops had driven the communists out of South Korea and defended the frontier. Although the South Koreans had slightly more land over the 38th Parallel in 1950.
  • Peace talks began in June 1951, truce finally signed in June 1953 (called it an armistice).
  • Casualties were very heavy, about 1.4 million (in 1 year) were killed and the North Koreans and Chinese soldiers and innocent civilian losses were greater than the rest.

REMEMBER: American and USSR troops never fought directly "friendly fire"

UN forces were dominated by Americans but contained all the other members of the UN

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The Importance of the Korean War

  • It extended the Cold War to the far east. China also helped communist rebels in Indo-China (Vietnam) against the French.
  • It indicated that Truman was prepared to stick to the Truman Doctrine and to the principle of containing communism.
  • At the same time, it appeared that the superpowers did not want to make the cold war into a 'hot' war: the soviets did not become directly involved. Some Americans agreed with MacArthur and wanted to take the war to communism, but Truman refused to support MacArthur and the war did not spread beyond Korea.
  • It marked the emergence of communist China as a world power. The Chinese had prevented the USA from uniting Korea and China became more friendly with the USSR.
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  • The UN had resisted an act of aggression - something that the League of Nations had never been able to do - but it was condemned as a capitalist tool by the communists because its forces had fought against Communism under the leadership of the USA.
  • The USSR had not been directly involved in the war, although it did supply weapons to the North Koreans.
  • Korea was still divided as North and South and it appeared as if the division was now permanent.
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The 'Thaw'

  • In March 1953 Stalin died (before the end of the Korean War)
  • Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader by 1955
  • November 1952 Dwight Eisenhower became president of America
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Why was there niw a 'Thaw' in the Cold War?

  • The East and West had the power of the hydrogen bomb, it seemed sensible to ease the tension of the Cold War - parity (equal).
  • The Americans were willing to negotiate because they regarded Stalin as the main cause of the Cold War.
  • This new cooperation was first seen in the support that the USSR gave to ending the Korean War.
  • This was followed in 1955 when the Soviets agreed to sign the Austrian State Treaty, which ended the occupation of Austria that had continued since 1945.
  • Austria had been divided into 4 zones at the end of the Second World War and the Soviets had taken many food supplies in reparations from their zone. This now came to an end: Austria became independent and was restored to its 1937 frontiers.
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  • The new Soviet leadership was at first a coalition but eventually Khrushchev emerged as the leader.
  • He appeared to be keen to make a fresh start with the west.
  • He argued that in the days of the hydrogen bomb, the ideas of supporting a communist revolution in other parts of the world were over.
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Give 3 examples of the improved relationship betwe

  • It was necessary to live in peace with the west, even if the Soviets did not like its ideals and policies.
  • In 1956 he used the phrase 'peaceful co-existence' to describe these policies. He showed his willingness to be friendly to the west by his visits to Britain and the USA.
  • A Summit Conference was held in Geneva in 1955 - the first since 1945. This war was attended by the leaders of America, China, France and the USSR. Very little was agreed but it was seen as a turning point in the Cold War. East and West were meeting and talking together.
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The Warsaw Pact

When was the pact formed and why?

  • In 1955 west Germany joined NATO. This revived Soviet concern about the re-emergence of Germany and led to the formation of the Warsaw Pact.

Which countries were members of it?

  • This pact was a military alliance for mutual defence, which the USSR signed along with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany and Albania.
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What was the aim of the pact?

  • Part of the pact was an insistence that the countries of the pact still believed in the ides of the collective security of nations, i.e. that all nations of the world should unite to prevent any war. It was described as a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance between the countries who signed it.
  • All the forces of the pact countries were placed under the leadership of a Soviet commander-in-chief and it permitted Soviet troops to be stationed in these countries for the purpose of defence.
  • This became part of the USSR's methods of keeping the countries under its control and their troops would be used in the future to prevent Soviet satellite states from leaving Soviet control.
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How did this pact benefit the Soviet Union?

  • The Warsaw Pact was dominated by the USSR and was seen as a response to NATO.
  • Although there was a thaw, Khrushchev was keen to ensure the safety of the communist states that surrounded Soviet Russia and the position of the USSR as their leader.
  • He even strengthened this by visiting Yugoslavia and resuming friendly relations with President Tito.
  • The formation of the Warsaw Pact meant that the division of Europe was now marked by two rival alliances.
  • If there was a war, it would involve all the countries in NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
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