Three Cold War Crises: Berlin, Cuba and Czechoslovakia 1957-1969?

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  • Created by: Tia
  • Created on: 10-04-13 16:55

Berlin Crisis: A Divided City – Why was the Berlin Wall built? 

West Berlin was a problem for Khrushchev just as it had been for Stalin.

1. Refugee problem- between 1949-1961 over 2.7 million people had escaped from East Germany for a better life in the West. These refugees were young professionals such as doctors, teachers, scientists and engineers, which the Communist East could not afford to lose or they would fall further behind the West. It was known as the brain drain. 1 example of this was when the whole Maths department at the University of Leipzig (East Germany) defected on 1 day. By January 1961, 20,000 people a month were escaping to the West through West Berlin (hole in the iron Curtain).This was extremely humiliating for the Soviet Union and Communism because it could be used as anti-Communist propaganda by the West.

2. West Berlin = advert for capitalism – people in the East could see how much better the standard of living was in the West with nice clothes, homes, cars, freedom of speech, consumer goods, etc. 

3. West Berlin –spying headquarters for the West. From here spies could easily spy on life in the East.  

  4. Failed Summits- Khrushchev could not let the above continue and so in November 1958, Khrushchev declared that the whole city of Berlin belonged to East Germany and gave American troops 6 months to withdraw. 

President Eisenhower of America did not want to go to war with Khrushchev but he also did not want to lose West Berlin so it was agreed that the two leaders would meet to discuss the problem.

·         Geneva Summit 1959- Eisenhower and Khrushchev met but could not reach an agreement.

·         Camp David Summit 1959-Eisenhower and Khrushchev met at Camp David in America, but again no agreement reached.

·         1960 Paris Conference- between Khrushchev and Eisenhower was a disaster following the U2 Spy plane incident of 1st May 1960. This was when an American spy plane was shot down over Russia and the American pilot, Gary Powers was arrested. America lied and said it was a weather plane but then had to admit it was a spy plane. Khrushchev used this as an excuse to storm out the meeting.

·         Khrushchev and (new American President) Kennedy met at the Geneva Conference of 1961.

·         Khrushchev demanded Kennedy withdraw American troops from Berlin within 6 months or declare war. Kennedy refused to withdraw American troops from West Berlin. Kennedy ordered an extra $3.2 billion of money be spent on defence and spent an extra $207 million on building nuclear fallout shelters.

·         Khrushchev knew the Soviet Union could not win a nuclear war because America had at least 20 times more nuclear weapons than them.

    5. Kennedy weak as shown by Bay of Pigs April 1961- Khrushchev thought (correctly) that Kennedy would take no action if he built


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