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Cold War Timeline

Events that lead to the cold war
by

chiara jutz

on 4 October 2012

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Transcript of Cold War Timeline

1945-1955 Cold War Timeline Yalta Conferences 1945 February 4-11 Facts: Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill met at Yalta to plan what was to happen to Europe after Germany’s defeat. The following decisions were made: Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan, it was agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones, a American, French, British and Soviet. Berlin, the capital was in the center of the Soviet region, and was also divided into four zones. War criminals of the Nazi Reich were to be held trial, as countries were liberated they would be aloud to choose their government. Eastern Europe was to be seen as ‘a Soviet sphere of influence.’ Also, all three leaders agreed to join the UN.

Causes: At the Tahran Conferences it was agreed on the timing of operations against Germany. The US had been attacked by the Japanese and hence needed help from the USSR.

Impact: The conferences established the future of Germany, the division into four zones would later provide issues amongst the three nations. The conferences were supposed to serve as preventions for another world war . However, the leaders had issues compromising and did not trust each other, this distrust leading to future issues.

Perspectives: Churchill believed that Soviet Union was a danger to the world, he did not approve of a further expansion of it and hence distrusted Stalin. Roosevelt needed the support of Stalin and hence approved of compromise. Stalin knew that Roosevelt and Churchill would never approve of his plans of expanding the USSR, he needed to find ways for them to approve. Facts: The technology of the US allowed it to test and produce a atomic bomb. This was a major revelation that provided a advantage over the USSR and Britain. Truman informed Stalin of the atomic bomb at the Potsdam Conferences.

Causes: The US were fighting against Japan and would use the atomic bomb in the war. The atomic bomb made the US a danger to the rest of the world, hence more powerful.

Impact: The atomic bomb was a threat to the rest of the world. With the knowledge that the US had a atomic bomb, the Potsdam Conferences began and ended badly. Stalin felt that the US was too great of a threat, vise versus, Truman believed that Stalin was a threat as he wanted to take over Eastern Europe.

Perspectives: Truman was a anti-Communist and hence related more to Britain than to the USSR. He would never allow the USSR to expand its territory. With the change of presidency in the US, Stalin opposed a, through the atomic bomb more powerful president Truman who was not willing to compromise. The USSR had to increase their power to expand. By opposing Stalin, Truman had now won a true ally in Churchill. Development/ Testing of Nuclear Weapons 1945 16 July Facts: On April 12 President Roosevelt died. Truman, the vice president had replaced him. Truman had informed Stalin of the atomic bomb. Churchill was voted out as a Prime Minister halfway through the conferences and was replaced by Clement Atlee. Atlee contributed little to the conferences, leaving Stalin and Truman battling as follows. Stalin wanted to cripple Germany in an attempt to protect the USSR, Truman disagreed, he did not want to repeat the Treaty of Versailles which was marked by historians as the reason for WW2. 20 million Russians had died in WW2, Stalin wanted compensation for this from Germany, Truman was once more against this. Truman adopted a ‘get tough attitude’ against Stalin as Stalin wanted to join Eastern Europeans.

Causes: The Soviet army had liberated many countries in Eastern Europe. The troops remained in these areas. Promised “self determination” of the countries was interpreted differently. Poland was occupied, denying the wishes of the population. The Potsdam conferences served as a reminder of previously made promises and decisions over the now non-Hitler Germany.

Impact: These conferences as well as the actions by Stalin and Truman lead to tensions between East and West. The conference's purpose was to agree on important aspects of controlling Germany together, however it resulted in a deep distrust between the two leaders that would lead to negative long term affects on Germany.

Perspectives: Stalin had clearly not taken the Yalta conferences serious, he had crossed the agreement and hence proved untrustworthy. Truman presented a major threat with the atomic bomb making him untrustworthy towards Stalin. Potsdam Conferences 1945 17 July- 2 August Iron Curtain / Communist Control of EE 1946 March Facts: Eastern Europe was gradually becoming communistic, the US wanted to prevent the communism from spreading to further parts of Europe. To do so, Truman was willing to send money and equipment to any country which was in ‘danger’ of a communist takeover.

Causes: Eastern Europe was communist and under control of Stalin. Most of these countries had suffered great loses in the war. Communism allowed their economy to sustain itself with the help of the other communist countries. Also, many countries could not protect themselves from the military takeovers lead by the USSR. The Truman doctrine would have allowed countries to choose their own government, unaffected by money or armed minorities.

Impact: By offering the Truman Doctrine, Truman made his decisions clear, he did not want a communist Europe. He opposed Stalin and could no longer expect any kind of cooperation. The cold war had begun.

Perspectives: Truman accepted that Eastern Europe was communist, however he wanted to prevent the rest from turning communist. He was not willing to compromise with Stalin. Stalin was determined for a communist Europe. Truman Doctrine 1947 12 March Facts: The ‘iron curtain’ refers to Churchill’s description of the the separation between Europe into western and eastern Europe. In the nine months following the Potsdam conferences, Stalin had taken control over most of eastern Europe. By 1946, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania all had communist government that were obliged to Stalin’s rule.

Causes: In WW2 20 million Russians had lost their lives. Germany had traveled through Poland and Finland, countries hostile to the USSR, to intrude into the USSR. To prevent further invasions such as these in the future, Stalin wanted to earn total control over these countries.

Impact: The procedures of Stalin had gone against the decisions made in the Yalta conferences. The countries the USSR was in control over was not given a choice of government. This greatly impacting the opinion and relations between the USSR, Britain and the US.

Perspectives: Churchill described the iron curtain and the communist countries as “raised to power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control”. This represents the opinion of both Britain and the US, they felt that no peace could be brought under such circumstances, they had wanted a non- communist, free to vote Europe. Marshall Plan 1947 December - 1948 March Facts: Truman sent General Marshall to estimate the economic state of Europe. Europe owed the USA 11,5 billion dollars . Marshall advised that 17 billion dollars would rebuild Europe’s economy. This help from the US was to considered the ‘Marshall Aid’.

Causes: After the war, Europe was destroyed, people were living on rations and many countries did not have the economical sufficiency to feed their citizens. Truman believed that the 17 billion would prevent a repetition of WW2, hated spread.. However, the American Congress hesitated at first. When Czechoslovakia became communistic in March of 1948, and a pro-American Minister was found dead outside his window, the American congress was willing to prevent further such events and allowed the Marshall Aid to be sent to Europe.

Impact: The US allowed Europe to recover from the war with economical support. Countries now had a chance to choose their own government, not being pressured by economical issues. This heightened tensions between the US and the USSR, Stalin refused to allow Marshall aid to be sent to any Eastern European countries. Proving that he did not want what was best for Europe but rather, best for his purposes to suppress Eastern European countries, preventing any uprisings.

Perspectives: Truman was concerned for Europe, he considered Europe as “a rubble heap, a breeding ground of hate.”. He felt like it was his and the allies responsibility to take care of Europe. Stalin was opposed to the Marshall aid, he believed that it was a way for America to rule to European market. Berlin Blockade 1948 24 June- 1949 12 May Facts: The Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) was set up by Stalin to draw together the European communist parties. All the satellite states were present as well as the French and Italian communist parties. Stalin’s aim was to increase his power over the satellite parties. Later, in 1949 the Comecon (Council of Mutual Economic Assistance) was set up to coordinate the economic policies.

Causes: Stalin had established the satellite states and now wanted to create a Russian-lead communist Eastern Europe. In Stalin’s mind Eastern Europe was to be industrialized. Only communist states should trade. When the Marshall Aid was given to European countries, the satellites were willing to accept the support, however Stalin was suspicious and hence established the Comecon. Which forbade the countries to accept the Marshall Aid.

Impact: By establishing these two organizations, Stalin made sure to prevent any interference between the Western Europe and Eastern Europe. He did not care for helping the poverty in the European countries and by establishing the Comecon supervised the economical politics of the Eastern.

Perspectives: Stalin wanted total control over the satellite countries. He did not want to trade or share with any other market that the communist. The US and Europe considered the establishment of these organizations as a sign of European down fall. The iron curtain and the cold war was in full go. Cominform 1947 September / Comecon 1949 Facts: The NATO was established during the Berlin Blockade in Washington by all Western powers. They agreed to work together in case of war between the US and the USSR. The NATO secured peace between all Western powers.
Causes: When the Berlin Blockade was launched and following the nine months of blockade, US and the USSR were on the verge of a war. The NATO agreements would have secured support for the US.
Impact: The USSR would never attack the US. It was now to powerful with the NATO’s help. The USSR was intimidated, it had no chance of winning a war against the whole western world. For Stalin, this meant spreading communism to win allies.
Perspectives: The USSR and Europe were now safe. Stalin deeply regretted that the US made this move, “The Soviet government did everything it could to prevent the world from being split into two military blocks”. NATO 1949 April Facts: The Warsaw Pact was established between the following eight communist states; Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Eastern Germany, Hungary , Poland, Romania, and Russia. It was a Soviet military response to the integration of West Germany into the NATO in 1955.
Causes: West Germany was integrated into the NATO. For the USSR through this integration, the NATO had become a even larger threat. The USSR expected an attack on Eastern Germany. Hence, to secure support, the Warsaw Pact was established.
Impact: The Warsaw Pact was used by the USSR to harness the powers of the allies. It was a response to the NATO and increased tensions between EAST and West, both having united their powers.
Perspectives: To the USSR this was a clever move, it secured future existence and increased its power. The US and Europe would have considered this a threatening pact. Europe and the Us were still secured through the NATO. Warsaw Pact 1955 14 May Facts: Russia had closed off their zone to all others. The population in the other three zones was 16 million, these people were starving, they had no way of feeding themselves as they could not be supplied with food by the Americans. The Americans however, found a way around the blockade, they decided to ferry supplies into West Berlin by air.

Causes: France, Britain and the US joined their zones to create West Berlin, they introduced the dm, Germany was recovering. This went against Stalin’s plans of crippling Berlin. He felt that the actions by the Us were provocative and by blocking all streets to Berlin in Eastern Germany, he hoped to prove his power. If the blockades were broken by American tanks, Stalin would have considered this war.

Impact: The blockade of Berlin had nearly lead to war. The USSR had indirectly asked for war. The US had retaliated by considering any attacks on the air lifts the begin of war. The tension had been enhanced by the airlift as Stalin now felt provoked. The Berlin wall was built to separate Berlin into east and west. With this, the iron curtain had literally been built.

Perspectives: Stalin felt provoked, the Berlin blockade had been his way of proving control and he had failed. The US was overpowering Stalin, it could threaten with the atomic bomb. "Cominform and Comecon. ." gcsehistory.org.uk - content for teachers and students following a gcse history course. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <http://www.gcsehistory.org.uk/modernworld/coldwar/cominform.htm>.


July, and the Red Army. "Potsdam Conference - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Conference>.


Walsh, Ben. GCSE modern world history. 2nd ed. London: John Murray, 2002. Print.


"Warsaw Pact - a brief description." Warsaw Life | Warsaw Travel Guide | Restaurants Shops Pubs and Apartments Warsaw Hotels | Poland. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <http://www.warsaw-life.com/poland/warsaw-pact>.


"Yalta Conference: 1945." Then Again. . .. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/world/yaltaconf.html>. Sources http://www.iancfriedman.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ILW10592.png


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