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Revision Notes Cold War 1945-1963

This is an overview on the Cold War beginning after WWII and till the 1960s thus covering the Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. It aims to familarise students with the causes of the cold war and the consequences of that period in history of East and West tension
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  The beginning of the Cold War The term ‘Cold War’ refers to the period of struggle and conflict between the USA and USSR between 19! 1991# $ach of the Superpowers saw the other as a threat to its continued sur%i%al and adopted strategies to preser%e their positions# The two Superpowers ne%er went to war directl& with each other in this period' but became in%ol%ed in conflicts such as the (orean War where each side stood behind the other nations in%ol%ed# Therefore this conflict is termed as the Cold War rather than a con%entional hot war# There were a number of occasions when it appeared that a hot war would brea) out between the Superpowers' but than)full& this was a%oided#  Reasons for the brea)down of the wartime alliance b& 19! The USSR and the USA both *oined the Second World War in 191' the former on +une ,, nd  following -itler’s .peration /arbarossa and the latter on 0ecember 9 th  following +apan’s surprise attac) on earl -arbour# 2n the long run both attac)s  pro%ed fatal to the aggressor nations3 sleeping giants were awo)en' the A4is powers were defeated in 19! and a new world order was created# The USSR and the USA emerged as b& far the most powerful nations from the Second World War# The former 5reat owers 6 /ritain' 7rance' 5erman&' 2tal& and +apan 6 were no longer capable of dominating the rest of the world' onl& the USA and the USSR' the Superpowers' remained unbro)en#The USA and the USSR were strange bedfellows during the Second World War# Their alliance was purel& strategic# The underl&ing differences between the supreme capitalist nation 8the USA and the srcinal communist state 8the USSR were bound to re emerge once 5erman& and +apan had been defeated# 2t was clear that two states could no longer ignore each other in a new world of global finance and communication# /oth were e4tremel& ner%ous of the other nation’s aims3 worr& led to fear' fear caused the brea)down of the wartime alliance and turned e%entuall& to hostilit& and mutual antipath&# The emergence of ri%alr& between the Superpowers The USSR was a one part& state dominated b& Stalin# 2ndi%iduals did not ha%e the choice to choose alternati%e politicians in free elections3 industr& and agriculture was owned b& the state# 2n the 19:;s' Stalin had transformed the USSR into a modern industrial state through the 7i%e <ear lans' Collecti%isation and the urges# The transformation had come at a huge cost in human life' but a superpower had been  born' capable of defeating =a>i 5erman& and emerging as a world power# The people of the USSR had e4perienced foreign in%asion in the 7irst World War' during the Ci%ilWar 191? 19,1 and the Second World War# Stalin belie%ed that the USA’s long term ambition was to destro& communism' therefore he adopted policies' which he  belie%ed would pre%ent this from happening#1  The USA was a democratic state' with free elections' freedom of speech and a capitalist economic s&stem# 2n the 19:;s the American people had e4perienced the 0epression and a withdrawal from world politics 8isolationism# The Second World War helped to regenerate the USA’s industries to such an e4tent that people’s standards of li%ing actuall& went up during the Second World War# The USA emerged immeasurabl& more powerful from the war with 5erman& and +apan# 2t was clear that the USA could no longer sit on the sidelines in world politics# -owe%er' the USA was e4tremel& concerned b& the spread of communism in $astern $urope and the 7ar $ast#The USA belie%ed that Stalin wanted to con%ert the rest of the world to communism# The USA had fought the fascist ideologies of 5erman&' 2tal& and +apan' now it was  prepared to fight the communist ideolog& of the USSR# The beliefs and attitudes of Stalin and Truman Stalin’s fear of the USA led him to belie%e that the USSR needed a barrier of territor&  between So%iet territor& and the USA’s allies in Western $urope# Stalin feared another anti communist in%asion of Russia from $urope as had occurred in 191? and 191# Stalin wanted to create a barrier against the West' a barrier made up of communist runcountries in $astern $urope# The new president of the USA' -arr& Truman' saw So%iet domination of $astern $urope not as an act of defence on Stalin’s part' but as an act of aggression# Would this communist ta)e o%er spread to Western $urope too@ The <alta and otsdam Conferences While the war with 5erman& continued' the wartime allies 8USA' USSR and /ritain met to discuss the post war future of $urope# The most significant meetings between the allied leaders were at <alta in 7ebruar& 19! and otsdam in +ul& 19!#The <alta ConferenceRoose%elt' Stalin and Churchill agreed that 5erman& be di%ided into four >ones to be occupied b& USA' USSR' /ritain and 7rance# 2t was also recognised that Stalin was toha%e influence o%er $astern $urope' but that free elections be held in them to decide who go%erned them# The biggest problem was oland# Stalin had liberated oland anda communist go%ernment had been established# Stalin insisted that a ‘friendl&’ go%ernment be established there to protect the USSR from 5erman&# Stalin refused to allow democratic elections in oland#,The ‘/ig Three’ at <altaWinston Churchillresident Roose%elt+oseph Stalin  The otsdam Conference/& the time the allies met again' the situation had changed considerabl&# 5erman& had been defeated' Roose%elt had died and had been replaced b& Truman and Clement Attlee had defeated Churchill# The allies agreed to di%ide 5erman& into >ones and to claim reparations for war losses#-owe%er' the USA began to realise that it did not want a wea)ened 5erman& in Central $urope' a perfect breeding ground for communism# Truman wanted to rebuild 5erman&' while Stalin wanted to wea)en it further b& ta)ing euipment and materials as reparations# The pattern for future conflict between the USA and the USSR had  begun# The deepening of the Cold War 1945-53 So%iet e4pansion into $astern $urope' the 2ron Curtain and Western reactions Ad%ancing allied and So%iet forces from the West and $ast defeated =a>i 5erman&# While American and /ritish forces liberated 7rance' 2tal& and the Bow Countries' So%iet forces replaced =a>i forces in a string of countries in $astern $urope# The Americans and the /ritish could do nothing about this while =a>i 5erman& remained undefeated3 the USSR after all was an all& at this time# 2t was clear' howe%er' that Stalin was %er& reluctant to relinuish control of $astern $urope' a So%iet sphere of influence# resident Roose%elt and Winston Churchill did not li)e the So%iet domination of $astern $urope' but the& needed the USSR as an all& and the& could do%er& little to pre%ent Stalin’s militar& anne4ation of this region# 2n 19 Churchill referred to the di%ision of $urope' $ast and West' communist and capitalist' as the descending of an iron curtain# There was no real ph&sical barrier' but there was a clear di%ision between the democratic states of the West and the communist states of the $ast# Dan& in the West were concerned that Stalin would not stop in $astern $urope' would he now turn to the West@:   A shadow has fallen across the scenes so latel& lighted b& Allied %ictor&# 7rom Stettin in the /altic to Trieste in the Adriatic' an iron curtain has descended across the continent#Churchill' 7ulton' USA' 19#  The Truman 0octrine and the Darshall lan The Truman 0octrine-arr& Truman replaced resident Roose%elt when he died in April 19!# Truman was %er& concerned b& the growth of So%iet power# Truman realised that the USA could no longer continue with its polic& of isolationism# 2f the spread of communism was to  be halted' Truman belie%ed that the USA would ha%e to be much more acti%e in worldaffairs# To defend the USA from communism' Truman belie%ed that he would ha%e to support other countries militaril& and financiall& in order to pre%ent them from  potentiall& becoming communist states# This polic& became )nown as the Truman 0octrine# The Darshall lan2n 19E it appeared that 5reece and Tur)e& might become communist states# 2n Darch 19E Truman promised that the USA would help an& countr& threatened b& communism# The USA would ‘contain’ So%iet e4pansion# Truman belie%ed that Stalinhad forced the countries of $astern $urope into accepting communist go%ernments3 healso belie%ed that it was America’s dut& to defend democrac&# Communism was  pre%ented in 5reece and Tur)e&# Truman ga%e F;; million dollars to the two countries and in return established missile bases in Tur)e&#Truman was concerned to help $uropean countries reco%er from the war# -e belie%ed that economicall& strong countries would be unli)el& to turn to communism and would become ma*or trading partners with the USA# To help $urope rebuild after the war' the USA ga%e millions of dollars under the Darshall lan# A fund of F1! billion was set aside for $uropean countries to draw on# The idea was to allow countries from both $ast and West to recei%e Darshall Aid' but Stalin realised that this would ma)e countries li)e oland more dependent upon the USA than the USSR# Stalin denounced the Darshall lan' claiming that it was economic imperialism# Stalin forced the $astern $uropean countries to withdraw their applications for assistance# 2nstead' these countries had to appl& for help from the Comecon 8Council for Dutual $conomic Assistance# This was ne%er %er& effecti%e as the USSR had too little resources to offer# 2n all' si4teen countries recei%ed Darshall Aid' /ritain and 7rance being the ma*or recipients# West 5erman& also recei%ed *ust under F1# billion# Stalin was %er& angr& with this' he did not want a strong 5erman&3 in the $ast he deliberatel& wea)ened the So%iet >one of 5erman&# 2n the West' Truman wanted to create a powerful buffer against communism3 he did not want 5erman& to be wea)# /& 19!, most Western $uropean countries had reco%ered to their pre war le%els of production# The communist parties in 7rance and 2tal& lost their support as standards of li%ing rose# 
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