Issues of the Cold War

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1 Issues of the Cold War The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others such as Japan) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact). Historians have not fully agreed on the dates, but is common. It was "cold" because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, although there were major regional wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan that the two sides supported. The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences: the former being a single-party Marxist Leninist state, and the latter being a capitalist state with free elections. A self-proclaimed neutral bloc arose with the Non-Aligned Movement founded by Egypt, India, and Yugoslavia; this faction rejected association with either the US-led West or the Soviet-led East. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat but they each armed heavily in preparation of an all-out nuclear World War III. Each side had a nuclear deterrent that deterred an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to total destruction of the attacker: the doctrine of mutually assured destruction or MAD. Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, propaganda and espionage, and technological competitions such as the Space Race. The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti- Communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade ( ) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War ( ), the conflict expanded. The USSR and USA competed for influence in Latin America and decolonizing states of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was stopped by the Soviets. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban missile crisis of Following this last crisis a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia and the Vietnam War ( ) ended with a defeat of the US-backed Republic of South Vietnam, prompting further adjustments. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 1

2 Issues of the Cold War By the 1970s both sides had become interested in accommodations to create a more stable and predictable international system, inaugurating a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the Soviet war in Afghanistan beginning in The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983), and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises (1983). The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", ca. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the Communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of Communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower. The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy, and it is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (such as the internationally successful James Bond film series) and the threat of nuclear warfare. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 2

3 Comparison Category The United States The Soviet Union Political System Organizations Economic System Religion Individual Rights SAISD Social Studies Department Page 3

4 Setting the Stage: The Yalta Agreement II. DECLARATION OF LIBERATED EUROPE The Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States of America have consulted with each other in the common interests of the people of their countries and those of liberated Europe. They jointly declare their mutual agreement to concert during the temporary period of instability in liberated Europe the policies of their three Governments in assisting the peoples liberated from the domination of Nazi Germany and the peoples of the former Axis satellite states of Europe to solve by democratic means their pressing political and economic problems. The establishment of order in Europe and the rebuilding of national economic life must be achieved by processes which will enable the liberated peoples to destroy the last vestiges of nazism and fascism and to create democratic institutions of their own choice. This is a principle of the Atlantic Charter - the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live - the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those peoples who have been forcibly deprived to them by the aggressor nations. III. DISMEMBERMENT OF GERMANY "The United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics shall possess supreme authority with respect to Germany. In the exercise of such authority they will take such steps, including the complete dismemberment of Germany as they deem requisite for future peace and security." IV. ZONE OF OCCUPATION FOR THE FRENCH AND CONTROL COUNCIL FOR GERMANY. It was agreed that a zone in Germany, to be occupied by the French forces, should be allocated to France. This zone would be formed out of the British and American zones and its extent would be settled by the British and Americans in consultation with the French Provisional Government. It was also agreed that the French Provisional Government should be invited to become a member of the Allied Control Council for Germany. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 4

5 Setting the Stage: The Yalta Agreement (Plain Talkin ) II. DECLARATION OF LIBERATED EUROPE III. DISMEMBERMENT OF GERMANY IV. ZONE OF OCCUPATION FOR THE FRENCH AND CONTROL COUNCIL FOR GERMANY. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 5

6 Setting the Stage: The Yalta Agreement Federal Republic of Germany German Democratic Republic Berlin (Adapted) (Adapted) After World War II, Allied leaders divided Germany into four sectors, with each of the major Allied powers occupying one sector. The city of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones. The Soviet zone of Germany eventually became East Germany a communist country while the British, French, and U.S. zones became noncommunist West Germany. The British, French, and U.S. zones of Berlin became West Berlin, a West German city surrounded by East German territory. The establishment of communist governments in East Germany and other nations in Eastern Europe reinforced the belief of most Americans that the Soviet Union wanted to spread communism around the world. It also set the stage for the U.S. Soviet power struggle that dominated world politics for several decades. Source: Texas Education Agency SAISD Social Studies Department Page 6

7 Churchill Warns the World England's great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, had something to say, but no one was listening. So, in 1946, when President Truman asked the former prime minister to speak at tiny Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Churchill didn't hesitate. He said yes. Churchill wanted to talk about Russian communism. Many people did not know what to think about Stalin and Soviet Russia. During World War II (which ended in 1945), Russia was the ally of England and the United States. No people fought harder against the Nazis than the Russians. No nations suffered war losses as enormous as Russia's. When the war ended, everyone hoped for friendship between the new superpowers: Russia and America. Around the world, many people believed that Russian communism was an acceptable form of government. Winston Churchill thought differently. Churchill had warned of Adolf Hitler and Nazism long before most Britons or Americans took them seriously. Once again, he wanted to tell the world of a dangerous dictator and an ominous form of government. "A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory," he said at that small Missouri college. The shadow he was talking about was vicious totalitarian rule. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent," Churchill continued. The curtain of iron was blocking out truth and freedom. Nations behind that curtain were prisoners of Russia. When World War II ended, the armies of the winning Allied powers - the U.S., the U.S.S.R., and Great Britain - moved through Europe, freeing the nations that had been conquered by Hitler's Nazis. The Allies promised to help the liberated nations. They promised to help them hold open elections and form free governments. After that, the Allied armies were supposed to leave (which was what we did). Russia wouldn't go. Soviet armies stayed in control in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and East Germany. There were no free elections there. Elsewhere, in nations like Italy and France the communist parties were growing strong. Joseph Stalin bragged that the whole world would eventually go over to communism. But most people didn't stay behind the iron curtain willingly. At every Soviet border, armed guards kept peoples captive. Iron curtains would soon extend over several Asian countries. Some east European countries, like Hungary and Yugoslavia, attempted to rebel and become independent. The Hungarians were crushed and their leaders killed. The president of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito (fee-toe), was as crafty as Stalin himself, and he managed to keep the Soviet Union at arm's length. But even Yugoslavia was not really a free country. It had only one political party, and that was communist. President Truman decided the United States would come to the aid of any nation endangered by communism. We would not let Soviet Russia expand further. We began by sending $400 million in emergency aid to Greece and Turkey. That program of assistance was called the Truman Doctrine. It was the beginning of a cold war against Russia. The Cold War lasted more than 40 years. Adapted from: Hakim, Joy. A History of US: All the People rd ed. 10. New York: Oxford University Press, Print. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 7

8 Winston Churchill - The Iron Curtain (1946) 1 The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American democracy. For with this primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. As you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done, but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. 2 I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain -- and I doubt not here also -- toward the peoples of all the Russians and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships. 3 It is my duty, however, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe. 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. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, 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. The safety of the world, ladies and gentlemen, requires a unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast. 4 For that reason the old doctrine of a balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength. Last time I saw it all coming and I cried aloud to my own fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention. Up till the year 1933 or even 1935, Germany might have been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken her and we might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon mankind...we must not let it happen again. This can only be achieved by reaching now, in 1946, a good understanding on all points with Russia under the general authority of the United Nations Organization and by the maintenance of that good understanding through many peaceful years, by the whole strength of the English-speaking world and all its connections. If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealth be added to that of the United States, with all that such cooperation implies in the air, on the sea, all over the globe, and in science and in industry, and in moral force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. SAISD Social Studies Department Page 8

9 Winston Churchill - The Iron Curtain (1946) SAISD Social Studies Department Page 9

10 Political Cartoons - The Iron Curtain SAISD Social Studies Department Page 10

11 The Cold War - Bert and Daisy Bert Daisy Intended for Intended to My Final Analysis SAISD Social Studies Department Page 11

12 The Cold War - Bert and Daisy The video was about... After watching the video, I learned... The video made me feel SAISD Social Studies Department Page 12

13 The Cold War - Bert and Daisy The video was about... After watching the video, I learned... The video made me feel SAISD Social Studies Department Page 13

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