The Cold War

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Transcript The Cold War

The Cold War
The United Nations
Chartered in April 1945
Replaced the League of Nations as
a mediator for international
50 nations joined initially (today,
UN has 192 members)
In the General Assembly, which
decides general UN policies, each
nation gets 1 vote (so all are
UN Security Council: US, Soviet
Union, France, Great Britain, &
China reserved the power to veto
any action by the UN
For the UN to take any military
action requires a unanimous vote
of the Security Council
The Potsdam Conference
Jul. 16 – Aug. 2 1945
 Stalin, Clement Atlee (who
had replaced Churchill as
British Prime Minister), and
Truman met to decide the
fate of Germany and other
occupied territories in
 All sides agreed to divide
Germany and Austria into
occupation zones and to
dismantle most German
industry, but disagreed over
making Germany pay war
reparations to the Soviets
Germany divided
The Soviets Split from the Allies
Stalin wanted to keep territory
which the Soviets had
conquered in Eastern Europe,
in order to protect his nation
from future invasions
Allies insisted on free elections
in Soviet-occupied Poland,
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia,
Romania, Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia, & Hungary
Stalin refused and by 1948 all
of these states had communist
governments (Latvia,
Lithuania, & Estonia became
part of the Soviet Union itself)
The Iron Curtain
“From Stettin in the Baltic to
Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron
curtain" has descended across
the Continent. Behind that line
lie all the capitals of the
ancient states of Central and
Eastern Europe … and all are
subject, in one form or
another, not only to Soviet
influence but to a very high
and in some cases increasing
measure of control from
Moscow.” - Winston Churchill,
Term “iron curtain” was meant
to describe the ideological
division that had risen between
Communist Eastern Europe
and Democratic Western
Containment Policy
US had little choice but to
accept communism in
Eastern Europe or enter
into an unpopular war
with the Soviets
US instead focused on
preventing communism
from spreading into new
areas and pledged to
“contain” communism to
the areas where it
already existed
George Kennan
1904 – 2005
 U.S. diplomat who is
credited with devising the
US policy of containment
and who argued that Soviet
communism was inherently
flawed and weak in his
“Long Telegram”
 Meant containment to be
through political coercion
rather than through military
force, was ultimately
disappointed with how the
US responded to the Soviets
First Test of Containment
Stalin supported
communist rebels in
Greece and Turkey in
their efforts to overthrow
US-backed governments
The devastation of WWII
had left these
governments in a
seriously weakened state
and they were in serious
danger of falling without
US intervention
The Truman Doctrine
Mar. 12, 1947: Truman
declared that US foreign
policy would be to “support
free peoples who are
resisting attempted
subjugation by armed
minorities or by outside
 Truman essentially declared
war on the spread of
communism, launching a
“Cold War” that would last
into the 1990s
 After Truman’s speech,
Congress approved $400
million in economic aid to
Greece and Turkey, enough
to defeat the communist
threat in that region
The Marshall Plan
In support of the Truman
Doctrine, Sec. of State George
Marshall developed a plan to
provide US financial aid to
war-torn Europe, to help with
rebuilding both physically and
The economic prosperity in
Western Europe that followed
minimized the potential for any
further spread of communism
in that region
The US would send $25 billion
in aid to Europe in the 6 years
following the end of WWII
Stalin rejects the Marshall Plan
The US even offered
economic assistance
to countries behind
the “iron curtain,”
including the Soviet
Union, but Stalin
would not allow any
communist state to
accept US assistance,
believing it would
weaken his control
The Berlin Blockade
June 1948 – May 1949
Frustrated with US efforts
to restore a unified
Germany, Stalin tried to
push the US and its allies
out of West Berlin by
blocking all overland
access to the city through
East Germany
All road and rail lines
were cut and no supplies
could be brought into the
western half of the city
The Berlin Airlift
Allies decided to fly supplies
into Berlin instead
 Soviets were unwilling to be
the aggressor by shooting
down Allied aircraft
 1500 flights a day delivered
5000 tons of supplies a day
– everything from food to
coal to gasoline to cloth to
 After nearly a year, the
Soviets lifted the
unsuccessful blockade
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Founded April 4, 1949
Mutual defense treaty
against the Soviets
US, Belgium,
Luxembourg, The
Netherlands, Great
Britain, France, Canada,
Portugal, Italy, Norway,
Denmark, & Iceland were
the original members
France left in 1966
Today, includes most of
Europe + US & Canada
The Warsaw Pact
May 14, 1955: Soviets
responded to NATO by
creating an alliance of
communist states
 Unlike NATO, which was an
alliance of free nations,
Warsaw Pact members had
no choice but to join, since
their communist
governments were indirectly
controlled by the Soviet
 Officially disbanded July 1,
1991 after the collapse of
the Soviet power
Russians Develop Atomic Bombs
August 29, 1949: Soviets
tested their first atomic
bomb (technology they had
largely stolen from the US
through espionage)
 By 1961, Soviets were
capable of detonating 100
megaton bombs (equal to
about 20 times all of the
explosives used in WWII
 Soviets had become a much
more serious threat in the
eyes of the US
The US and Israel
US backed the United
Nations plan to establish
a Jewish homeland in
Israel in 1948, turning
many Arab nations
against the US, because
the Israelis forcibly
displaced the Palestinians
already living in the area
As a result, many Arab
states turned to the
Soviets for military and
financial support
Organization of American States (OAS)
Founded in 1948
 Agreement between
Western Hemisphere
nations to work
together to combat
communism in the
Americas and to
protect human rights
 Today, all nations in
the Americas are
US and Chinese Communism
China had been involved in a
civil war between Nationalists
and Communists since before
WWII began
 Communists gained control of
mainland China in 1949,
driving the Nationalists to
flee to the island of Taiwan
 The US refused to
acknowledge the Communists
as the legitimate Chinese
government, instead insisting
on recognizing the
Nationalists on Taiwan as the
“true” China, while the
Soviets took just the opposite
The Korean War
June 1950 – July 1953
 After WWII, Korea had been
divided much as Germany
had into a Communist-held
north and a US-backed south
 North Korea, backed by
China & the Soviets attacked
South Korea, backed by the
UN (using mostly US soldiers)
 Dispute was eventually
settled by returning to
essentially pre-war
boundaries, but no formal
peace was ever declared
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
During the Korean War,
MacArthur began to be
heavily critical of how
Truman wanted the war
conducted and began to
advocate for use of atomic
weapons against China as a
sure way to win absolute
 Truman was forced to fire
the popular MacArthur
because Truman wanted to
limit the war as much as
possible while still
containing communism
Dwight Eisenhower
1890 – 1969 (life)
1953 – 1961 (President)
Nicknamed “Ike”
Highly popular due to his
efficient military leadership
during WWII
Staunchly anti-communist,
but also dedicated to
scaling back military
Chose to focus on a build
up of nuclear weapons as
a cheaper way to deter
communist aggression
The H-Bomb
Nov. 1952: The US
tested its newest
weapon the Hydrogen
Bomb, a weapon
1000 times more
powerful than the
bomb dropped on
 Within a year,
however, the Soviets
also had H-bombs
Nuclear Arms Race
Soviets and Americans
rapidly built enough
nuclear weapons to
destroy the world many
times over
“MAD” (Mutually Assured
Destruction) was the
theory that the more
nuclear weapons both
sides had, the safer the
world was because it
made a nuclear war
unwinnable for both sides
Domino Theory
Eisenhower believed
strongly in the idea
that if you let even a
single nation fall to
communism, then you
would set off a chain
reaction where its
neighbors would also
fall to communism
(like dominos)
Term originally coined by
Eisenhower’s Sec. of
State John Foster Dulles
Brinksmanship is the
practice of escalating
international tensions to
the brink of war, with the
hope that the other side
will back down at the last
minute and thereby give
you an advantage in
future negotiations
Eisenhower Doctrine
In 1957, Eisenhower
pledged US assistance to
any nation in the Middle
East which found itself
threatened by
Almost immediately, US
forces were sent to
Lebanon to help that
government combat
communist rebels
Nikita Khrushchev
1894 – 1971 (life)
1953 – 64 (Soviet leader)
Named head of the Soviet
Union after the death of
Stalin in 1953
More liberal than Stalin in
Soviet domestic issues,
but more confrontational
in foreign policy, pushing
the Soviet Union to the
brink of war with the US
on several occasions
The U-2 Incident
Just weeks before a major
peace summit, the Soviets shot
down an American U-2 spy
plane over their airspace and
captured the pilot, Francis
Gary Powers
Marked a turning point in USSoviet relations, as the peace
summit was cancelled and the
American pilot was tried as a
spy and sentenced to prison
(the Soviets later traded him
back to the US for one of their
own spies)
Communism in Cuba
Many US business held large
investments in Cuba during the
1950s, but those investments
were jeopardized when Cuba’s
government was overthrown
by communist rebels under the
leadership of Fidel Castro
US leadership were equally
alarmed by the seizure of over
$1 billion worth of property in
Cuba owned by Americans as
they were by suddenly having
a communist state 90 miles off
the US coast
John F. Kennedy
1917 – 1963 (life)
 1961 – 1963 (Pres.)
 Became determined
not to be seen as
weak by the Soviets,
President Kennedy
pressed for a
continued buildup of
nuclear weapons and
for US intervention in
The Berlin Wall
West Berlin, deep inside
of communist East
Germany, became a way
for many Germans to flee
communist oppression
In 1961, the Soviets
ordered the construction
of a wall around West
Berlin to isolate it and
prevent future defections
The Berlin Wall became
the physical symbol of
the Cold War
The Bay of Pigs Invasion
Under the approval of thenPresident Eisenhower, the CIA
(Central Intelligence Agency)
began training Cuban exiles for
an invasion of Cuba with the
purpose of overthrowing
Castro’s communist gov’t.
In April 1961, the exiles landed
at The Bay of Pigs in Cuba, but
were quickly defeated by
Cuban military forces when the
US failed to provide any
further invention on their
Major international
embarrassment for the US
The Cuban Missile Crisis
Soviets placed nuclear missiles in
Cuba in Fall 1962
 US demanded their removal and
enacted a naval blockade of Cuba
to stop Soviet ships from bringing
more missiles
 Many thought that WWIII would
result as the US and USSR faced
off over a tense 13-day period,
each threatening the other with
nuclear force
 Soviets eventually backed down
and removed the missiles, thanks
to the US publicly promising not to
invade Cuba and secretly agreeing
to remove American missiles from
Alliance for Progress
Founded in 1961 to
encourage economic
cooperation between the
nations of North and South
 US provided economic aid
to Latin America to
encourage the growth of
democratic governments
and a more even
distribution of wealth and to
discourage dictatorships
and communism
Southeast Asia Treaty
Organization (SEATO)
Founded in 1954
Mutual defense
organization created to
counter the spread of
communism in
Southeast Asia
Members included the
US, France, Britain, the
Philippines, Australia,
Thailand, New Zealand,
and Pakistan
The Vietnam War
1959 – 1975
US backed South Vietnam
against Soviet-backed
communist North Vietnam
As tensions between the
two Vietnams increased,
the US began sending
military advisors, then
soldiers to train South
Vietnamese troops and,
eventually, hundreds of
thousands of US combat