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The Cold War

A Summary of Cold War Politics & Events How Ideological Conflict Shapes our World Post WWII International Relations Effect of Cold War conflict on society & people's everyday lives.
by

Sam Martin

on 25 March 2011

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Transcript of The Cold War

The Cold War: A state of political tension and military rivalry between nations that stops short of full-scale war, especially that which existed between the United States and Soviet Union following World War II. In the beginning:
Early 1945
the allies are winning the war
The Big 3 begin planning for victory in the hopes of avoiding the mistakes made at the end of WWI Yalta Conference: the high point of Allied Unity
February 1945
Leaders of the Big 3 (England's Churchill, USA's Roosevelt, USSR's Stalin) meet to discuss the end of the War & the destruction of Nazism.
Putting an end to German militarism and Nazism
Punishing Nazi war criminals and exacting reparations
Germany to be divided into zones of occupation
Nations under Allied occupation to be assisted in forming democratically elected interim governments
Declared that ex-German satellite nations would form democratic governments and that East Poland would be a possession of the USSR. Poland would then be compensated with German lands.
“Conference of United Nations” to be held in San Francisco in April 1945 Potsdam (July 1945)
-By May 1945, Hitler was dead and Germany surrendered; Japan has not yet surrendered and claim that they will fight until every Japanese citizen has made the ultimate sacrifice.
Roosevelt had passed away so new U.S. president Truman (openly anti-communist) represented the USA.
The unity present at Yalta ends in Potsdam and quarrels break out between Truman & Stalin.
Leaders are unable to reach agreements so Europe is divided into occupation zones.
Germany is divided into four zones of occupation (Russian, American, British, French)
Established plans for the reordering of the German economy and German institutions.
Issued an ultimatum to Japan either to surrender or risk total destruction. The decisions made at these conferences resulted in the establishment of Soviet and Western Blocs that would form the basis of a tense rivalry following the war; ultimately this contributed to a period known as the COLD WAR The end of WWII marked the beginning of the nuclear age -- a new level of destruction never before imagined As relationships between the East (Russia) and the West (U.S., Britain & Western Europe) worsened Churchill gave a 1946 speech in which he described an "Iron Curtain" descending on Europe Open communication between the two groups (Western Democracies and USSR) ended.

Neither side trusted the other; the Cold War officially begins. The Cold War was an all-out political, economic, and social struggle between the USSR and the USA—for not only victory over the other, but also for influence over other nations and around the world The Cold War (1945-1990) shaped the second half of the 20th century and it continues to have significant influence not only in international relations, but also in the citizenship and daily lives of people around the world The USA and USSR emerged as the dominant players in the political and economic tensions of the Cold War, the world's first Super Powers The Early Years of Cold War:
In 1945 the USA had a monopoly on nuclear weapons.
USSR had a military force up to 4 times that of the US.
These factors contributed to a lack of trust between the USA and USSR, producing a great deal of fear on both sides.
By 1949 the Soviets had their own atomic weaponry, by 1957 they had tested ICBM’s - Atomic weapons that do not require aircraft to deliver them. CONFRONTATION:
Stalin vs. Truman
1945/46 Soviets considered Turkey a strategic location due to the Black Sea & Mediterranean shipping ports.
Soviets invaded Turkey - U.S. responded with a Naval Task force and a reminder of their monopoly on Nuclear weaponry- USSR withdraws.
1947 Greece is threatened with a communist takeover. U.S. spent $250 million on aid & military support to prevent the spread of communism there.
USA spent $450 million to convince the USSR that they did not want control of Turkey & Greece CONTAINMENT & THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE:
March 1947 President Truman announced “The Truman Doctrine"
U.S. policy of supporting governments against insurrection from outside forces.
Eventually leads to the formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the west and The Warsaw Pact ( Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance) in the East. With the end of WWII, the rivalrous US and USSR no longer had a common enemy to fight (Nazi Germany & Fascism) nor a reason to shelve their animosity, so they resumed their ideological conflict with greater energy. The USA and USSR were the only two nations to emerge from the Second World War stronger than before they entered it:
They mobilized their vast resources for maximum effect: building more weapons and placing more citizens under arms than ever before in either nation’s history

They also expanded their territorial control and influence far beyond previous limits: USA in Western Europe and USSR in Eastern Europe and Asia The Iron Curtain and a divided Germany The USA used their policy of containment to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding beyond its borders.

Both Superpowers also pursued their own policies of expansionsim, attempting to enlarge their spheres of influence beyond their own borders and allies throughout the cold war, beginning with the end of WWII Key Event: The Berlin Airlift Stalin was convinced the Marshall Plan was a capitalist plot to eventually reunite Germany.

In 1948 the USSR blocked all land routes, including the autobahn, into the western sector of Berlin.
The Soviet’s aim was to prevent the west from sending supplies to West Berlin causing West Berlin to fall under Soviet control.

The U.S. reacted with an airlift of supplies into West Berlin, using B-29 Bombers to drop 1.5 million tons of supplies & aid over 318 days (13, 000 tons / day; One plane every 3 minutes)

Stalin eventually lifted his failing blockade in May 1949 The former Allies agreed to divide Germany into 4 zones after WWII
England, France and the USA controlled West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany), which prospered under the Marshall Plan
The USSR controlled the East (German Democratic Republic),
Berlin, though well within the Soviet zone, was similarly divided into Eastern and Western Zones Consequences: Allies viewed the blockade as proof the USSR intended to take over Western Europe.

Allies create NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949

Stalin viewed NATO as threat and the USSR eventually created the Warsaw Pact (1955) Berlin Wall: By 1958 West Germany had a thriving economy while the east was struggling.
over 2 million East Germans had fled to the West.

Soviet Leader, Nikita Khrushchev continually pressured American Presidents, Eisenhower & Kennedy to pull U.S. troops from Berlin. August 13 1961, after further refusals from new American president John F. Kennedy, the USSR set up a wall almost overnight, effectively stopping the flow of East Germans to the West. The Strategies of Cold War A Cold War cannot be fought with soldiers and battles in the field;
that's a Hot War
The following section explores some of the strategies and philosophies developed to win the Cold War:
Deterrence, Peaceful Coexistence, Non-Alignment, Proxy Wars, the Space Race, Brinkmanship & Detente Deterrence: building up one’s capacity to fight such that neither opponent will fight because of the expected outcomes Terms associated with this situation, an unwinnable nuclear war, are Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
In 1945, the USA had 6 atomic weapons; the USSR had 0

In 1952 America developed an even stronger nuclear weapon called the H-Bomb (H for Hydrogen). Soviet scientists, however, managed to produce their own device the next year.













By 1980 the USSR had surpassed the USA in total nuclear weapons 30 062 to 23 764 Proxy Wars:
Conflicts in which one superpower provides support, in the form of money, weapons and personnel, to a group or state that oppses the rival superpower In June 1950 communist North Korean Troops crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea.

President Truman immediately reacted by sending troops & the 7th Fleet to the Formosa Straits.

Within hours of the invasion the U.S. pushed a resolution through the UN Security Council labeling N.Korea as the aggressor and promising UN aid to the South. The Korean War Peaceful Coexistence:
Following Stalin, Nikita Krushchev suggested a new policy to ease tensions between the superpowers, believing that capitalism would destroy itself and communism would naturally take its place. Krushchev and American president Eisenhower agreed to meet in Paris in 1960 in order to formally discuss this concept of "peaceful coexistence." Shortly before the Paris Summit.... Believing that, with or without war, communism would spread Kruschev started an era of De−Stalinization.
This brought an end to the role of large-scale forced labour in the economy, and was a major act toward promoting less tension between the USSR and the USA ...and peacful coexistence was no longer an option for negotiation. Non-alignment: position taken during the Cold War by those countries that did not form an alliance with either the USA nor the USSR.
They pushed for more aid for the developing world by voting together in the UN Many countries wanted to choose their own ideologies and resented a history of colonization
At the Bandung Conference, held in Java, Indonesia, in 1955, 29 African and Asian countries met to promote economic and cultural cooperation
This was the beginning of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Ghana, Egypt, India, and Indonesia officially formed the NAM in 1961

However, these countries were unsuccessful in trying to use their membership in the United Nations challenge the hegemony of the USA and USSR

Hegemony (n): leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others Other Proxy Wars:
Vietnam (1950's [France] to 1960's [USA] to 1970's)
Afghanistan (1980's)
Arab-Israeli War (1948 to present)
Iran - Iraq War (1980's)
Bay of Pigs (1961) and Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
Grenada (1983) The Space Race: When the USSR launched Sputnik in 1957, the Soviets were not only winning the early stages of the space race but had the upper hand on technology for warfare.

The fear in the USA was that Soviet spy capabilities had been increased, and the Soviet Union would be able to pinpoint missiles anywhere.

Fears were only intensified in 1961 when Yuri Gargarin became the first man to attain Earth orbit in space. The USA poured their resources into education and training for scientists and atronauts to fulfill the promise made by President Kennedy in a 1961 speech, to place a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the lunar surface in July, 1969. Special Case Study - Containment:
The Vietnam War Background:
French Indo-China colonized by France during 1800's
including what are currently Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos
France governed the colonies under Japanese rule after Germany defeated the French in 1940.

As a French colony:
only the government was allowed to produce alcohol & salt for sale mainly to French consumers
French companies owned massive rice plantations and exported their products to France
Many Vietnamese had no access to the rice grown in Vietnam and went hungry
Workers in mines and rubber plantations could be jailed if they tried to leave their jobs
The French government imposed ever-increasing taxes upon Vietnamese citizens •In 1945, Ho Chi Minh (at one time a member of the French Communist Party) declared Vietnam a free and independent country. However, the British and Chinese helped the French to return and the USA did nothing to stop them.

•In 1954, after a massive Viet Minh victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, peace talks were held in Geneva and Vietnam was divided at the 38th parallel. Elections to reunite Vietnam under one government were planned for 1956 but the South Vietnamese leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, refused to hold these.

•Throughout these events the USA was worried about the spread of Communist power in Asia, believing, if one country fell to communism in South East Asia, then all of Asia would be at risk (Domino Theory). America's original involvement, starting in 1956, was limited to sending advisers to help train South Vietnamese soldiers to fight the Viet Cong (Viet Minh supporters in the South)

By 1963, the Southern Army was in a shambles and Ngo Dinh Diem was assasinated by his own generals during a military coup (with the approval of the CIA, but not President Kennedy)

Soon after Diem's death, American soldiers were sent to Vietnam, but the USA did not officially engage in combat until the Gulf of Tonkin incident the following year. Presidnet Lyndon Johnson committed more than 500,000 troops to Vietnam and was severely criticized by the public for doing so.
Kent State became center of the protest movement. College students there and all across the U.S. marched against the government.
In 1970, 4 students were killed and others wounded when National Guardsman opened fire on protesters at Kent State.
Their deaths became the symbol of protest against the war.
LBJ resigned, Nixon elected on a promise of “Peace with Honor” (withdrawal of forces)

America completed their withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 Key Event:
The Cuban Missile Crisis In 1959 the government of Cuba was overthrown by Fidel Castro.
In 1960 Cuba & the USSR signed a $100 million trade agreement
Soviet weapons & equipment were sent to Cuba to help in case of an American invasion (America's policy of Containment dictated that they would attempt to stop the spread of communism). Bay of Pigs:
In 1961 Kennedy approved a CIA backed invasion of Cuba by Cuban émigrés at The Bay of Pigs.
Castro had 20,000 men waiting and within days the invaders were either captured or killed.
The USSR increased their supply of arms to Cuba while assuring U.S. they had no desire to threaten Americans. In October 1962 an American U-2 spy plane flying over Cuba photographs medium range ballistic missile sights.
Over the next 13 days the U.S. and USSR are brought to the brink of nuclear war.
President Kennedy ordered an American blockade (quarantine) of Cuba to stop Russian ships from carrying missiles into Cuba.
Kennedy then ordered Khrushchev to dismantle the missile bases immediately.
Any attack from Cuba would be treated as a direct attack on the USA by the USSR and Kennedy ordered 156 long range missiles already aimed at the USSR to be ready to fire. On October 29, 1961 (4 days after the blockade began) Khrushchev “blinked first” and ordered the dismantling of all missile bases in Cuba.







President Kennedy called off the blockade and promised to leave Cuba alone. During the Crisis, the USA and USSR faced each other in the UN Security Council.
The USA's Adlai Stevenson demanded that the Russian ambassador admit or deny that Cuba was the site for Russian missiles.
The Russian ambassador could not and would not admit that the USSR had done something so blatantly militaristic, so Stevenson was given the responsibility of convincing the security council that a blockade was necessary (remember, 5 nations hold veto power over SC decisions)
Diplomatic failure meant an even higher possibility of nuclear war. DETENTE Because the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the two superpowers to the brink of war, some steps were taken to reduce the tension between the two nations.

The period of reduced tensions, from the late 1960s to 1979 (when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan), was called détente Reasons for Detente:
Both sides realized how dangerous the situation had become.
US fighting in Vietnam - needed to slow Arms Race to reduce the burden of military expenditures on economy.
USSR concerned about Communist China.
Both sides wanted to reduce economic expenditure. The following timeline illustrates aspects of detente between the USA and the USSR:
1963: Hot-line between the White House and the Kremlin is established; Nuclear Test Ban Treaty restricting nuclear tests to underground explosions
1969: Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) begin
1972: Richard Nixon, first USA president to visit the Soviet Union
1973: Leonid Brezhnev, USSR leader, visits Washington
1975: Helsinki Agreement — USA, USSR, Canada and Eastern and Western European powers agree to European frontiers set up after World War Two and to work at protecting human rights The End of the Cold War: In the 1980's:
Living conditions for the average Soviet were far inferior to living conditions in the West.
For too long, the Soviets devoted spending money on the arms race, underfunding other important government programs.
Soviet citizens were increasingly able to access information about the West, including information about living conditions and individual freedoms. Mikhail Gorbachev led the USSR from 1985 to 1991 Gorbachev introduced two new political policies that encouraged political discussion and new communication with the west.
Peristroika: economic restructuring
Glasnost: political openness


People in Soviet satellite countries saw this as a relaxing of Soviet grip on their countries. One by one they began to replace their Soviet backed governments with democratically elected representative governments. The Soviet Union’s empire began to crumble… The collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989 was symbolized by the opening of the Berlin wall on the 9th of November.
The dismantling of the Soviet Union in December 1991 followed this event. The Wall Comes Down Germany was reunited and the areas controlled by American, Soviet, French, and British forces were left in the hands of a new Germany. This unfortunately hit the German economy hard but Germany did and still is recovering. March 31, 1991 - Warsaw Pact Dissolved
The Warsaw Pact, a prop for the unpopular Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, crumbled for a number of reasons.
The treaties became increasingly obsolete once non-Communists came to power
and
although Soviet authorities showed some tenacity in insisting on maintaining the treaty, it was clear that the greatest hostilities animating the organization were internal. December 1991 - Russia declares independence

Dec 25, 1991 Gorbachev announces his resignation and the Soviet Union ceases to exist under international law

With the dissolution of the communist empire (in little more than 2 years), the Cold War came to a quiet end. After worrying for over 40 years about... ...the world was left with one superpower and the shambles of a former. Mistakes??
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