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The cold war
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The cold war

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  • 1. After World War II, the United States and Great Britain wanted the Eastern European nations to determine their own governments. Stalin feared that the Eastern European nations would be anti-Soviet if they were allowed free elections.
  • 2. The “Iron Curtain” dividing Western Europe and Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe was the beginning of the Cold War.
  • 3. For forty years, no missiles flew or guns fired but the world was fiercely divided between two military and economic superpowers. The Soviet Union feared the capitalist West. The United States feared the communist East.
  • 4. After the “Iron Curtain” split Europe, the superpowers struggled for influence over the Third World: Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
  • 5. The US and USSR competed intensely over everything: Who had more nuclear weapons? … had the most advanced technology? … would be the first in space? … would be the first to the moon? … had the biggest tanks? … had the fastest airplanes? … won more Olympic gold medals? … had better spies? … had more allies?
  • 6. In 1947, the United States adopted the policy of containment to keep communism within its existing boundaries and prevent further Soviet aggressive moves.
  • 7. The United States was concerned that communism would spread throughout the free world if left unchecked.
  • 8. The Cold War led to widespread fear that Communists had infiltrated the United States government. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy charged that hundreds of communists were in high government positions. This created a massive “Red Scare.”
  • 9. In early 1947 President Harry S Truman issued the Truman Doctrine, which stated that the United States would give money to countries threatened by Communist expansion.
  • 10. In June 1947, the US started the Marshall Plan to rebuild war-torn Europe.
  • 11. The Soviet Union and its economically and politically dependent Eastern European satellite states refused to participate in the Marshall Plan.
  • 12. In 1949, the Soviet Union set up the Council for Mutual Assistance (COMECON) as a response to the Marshall Plan. COMECON was established to help the economies of Eastern European states.
  • 13. By 1948, Britain, the US, and France worked to unify the three western sections of Germany and Berlin and create a West German government.
  • 14. The Soviets opposed the creation of a West German state, so they tried to prevent it by setting up a blockade of West Berlin. The United States and Great Britain used the Berlin Air Lift to fly in supplies to West Berlin. The Soviets ended the blockade in May 1949.
  • 15. The economy of the Soviet Union was devastated by World War II.
  • 16. By 1950, the Soviet Union had built new power plants, canals, and giant factories. Heavy industry had recovered.
  • 17. The Soviet Union tightened its grip on Eastern Europe. After World War II, Soviet-controlled Communist governments took control of these satellite states.
  • 18. Between 1948 and 1953, Soviet-type five-year plans were introduced there with emphasis on heavy industry. They began to collectivize agriculture. They set up secret police and military forces.
  • 19. By 1945, China had two governments. The United States supported the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, based in southern and central China. The Communist government led by Mao Zedong was based in northern China.
  • 20. In 1945, war between the Nationalists and Communists broke out. Millions of peasants joined Mao’s People’s Liberation Army because they were promised land. Mao’s Communist army defeated the Nationalist army.
  • 21. Chiang Kai-shek and his followers fled mainland China and established the capital of the Republic of China at Taipei, Taiwan. American military forces protected Chiang’s government.
  • 22. Chinese Communists took control of the government of China in 1949.
  • 23. In August 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed to divide Korea into two zones at the 38th parallel. The Korean War began in 1950 when the Communist government of North Korea, supported by the Soviet Union, tried to take over South Korea.
  • 24. In 1950, North Korean troops invaded South Korea. President Truman, with the support of the United Nations, sent US troops to repel the invaders.
  • 25. In 1951, the Chinese sent troops into North Korea and pushed the UN forces back, south of the 38th parallel.
  • 26. An armistice was signed in 1953. The 38th parallel remains the border between North and South Korea today.
  • 27. In 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb.
  • 28. Both superpowers developed far more powerful hydrogen bombs by the 1950s.
  • 29. After the fall of China, North Korea, and Eastern Europe, the US and USSR began an arms race. Each country built enough nuclear weapons to kill 500,000,000 people in the event of war, destroying all civilization and laying waste to the entire planet. The policy was called mutually assured destruction.
  • 30. In April 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. This military alliance, which included Great Britain, France, other Western European nations, and the United States and Canada, agreed to provide mutual help if any one of them was attacked.
  • 31. In 1955, the Soviet Union and Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania formed the military alliance called the Warsaw Pact.
  • 32. After World War II, Yugoslavia, led by Josip Broz Tito, was an independent Communist state until his death in 1980.
  • 33. The United States then extended its military alliances around the world. By the mid-1950s, the United States was in military alliances with 42 nations.
  • 34. Stalin died in 1953.
  • 35. After Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev became the chief policy maker in the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, de-Stalinization, or the process of eliminating some of Stalin’s most ruthless policies, was put in place.
  • 36. With Stalin gone, many Eastern European states tried to make reforms. The Soviet Union, however, made it clear that it would not allow its Eastern European satellites to become independent.
  • 37. Revolts against communism in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were brutally crushed.
  • 38. In August 1961, on the order of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the East German government began to build the Berlin Wall. It was built to stop the flood of East Germans escaping to the greater freedom and prosperity of West Berlin.
  • 39. In 1957, the Soviets sent Sputnik I, the first man-made space satellite, to orbit the earth.
  • 40. In 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man to orbit the Earth in space.
  • 41. Americans feared there was a missile gap between the Soviet Union and the United States.
  • 42. In the 1950s, a movement in Cuba led by Fidel Castro aimed to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista.
  • 43. Castro’s revolutionaries captured Havana in 1959. Many Cubans who disagreed with Castro fled to the US.
  • 44. The Argentinean Che Guevara, who had aided Castro during the Cuban Revolution, then tried to spark Communist revolutions elsewhere in Latin America.
  • 45. Relations between the US and Cuba quickly deteriorated as Castro began to receive aid and arms from the Soviet Union. In October 1960, the US declared a trade embargo prohibiting trade with Cuba. In January 1961, the US broke diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • 46. In April 1961, US President John F. Kennedy supported an attempt to overthrow Castro’s government. The attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs failed.
  • 47. In 1962, Khrushchev began to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to counteract U.S. nuclear weapons placed in Turkey, near the Soviet Union.
  • 48. In October 1962, President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba to stop Soviet ships carrying more nuclear missiles from reaching Cuba.
  • 49. Khrushchev agreed to send the ships back and remove nuclear missiles in Cuba if Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba. Kennedy agreed. Six months later, the US removed its missiles from Turkey.
  • 50. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to very brink of nuclear war.
  • 51. The American Mercury program succeeded in sending John Glenn to space in 1962.
  • 52. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo project allowed American Neil Armstrong to become the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon.
  • 53. After World War II, many Europeans wanted European unity. Nationalism, however, was too strong for European nations to give up their sovereignty. Instead the countries focused on economic unity.
  • 54. In 1957, France, West Germany, the Benelux countries, and Italy created the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market.
  • 55. For almost 25 years after World War II, France was led by Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistance during the war. During this time, France recovered economically and became a major industrial producer and exporter.
  • 56. At the end of World War II, Great Britain had major economic problems. The Labour Party, promising far-reaching reforms, defeated Winston Churchill’s Conservative Party which had led through the war.
  • 57. The Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Clement Attlee created a modern welfare state - a state in which the government takes responsibility for providing citizens with services and a minimal standard of living. The British welfare state became the norm for most European states after the war.
  • 58. The cost of building a welfare state caused Great Britain to dismantle the British Empire. Many British colonies gained their independence.
  • 59. Great Britain granted independence to India and Pakistan in 1947, Burma in 1948, and Malaya in 1957. In 1946, the United States granted total independence to the Philippines.
  • 60. In 1949, the US pressured the Netherlands into granting independence to Indonesia.
  • 61. After World War II, Communists in Vietnam under leadership of Ho Chi Minh fought for independence from France. In 1945, Vietminh rebels took control of most of Vietnam.
  • 62. The French, however, refused to accept the new government and fought for control of the southern part of the country.
  • 63. In 1954, France agreed to a peace settlement. Vietnam was divided – the Communist north based in Hanoi and the anti-Communist south based in Saigon.
  • 64. But by early 1965, South Vietnamese Communist guerrillas known as the Viet Cong were ready to seize control of the entire country.
  • 65. In 1964, Nikita Khrushchev was removed from office. Leonid Brezhnev became the main Soviet leader until 1982. He issued the Brezhnev Doctrine which asserted that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene if communism was threatened in another Communist state.
  • 66. U.S. policy makers applied the domino theory to Vietnam. According to this theory, if South Vietnam fell to communism, then other countries in Asia would fall like dominoes to communism.
  • 67. In March 1965, US President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to send American troops to South Vietnam to prevent a Communist victory.
  • 68. By the end of the 1960s, the Vietnam War reached a stalemate – neither side was able to make significant gains.
  • 69. The atrocities of the war were broadcast nightly on television.
  • 70. A massive anti-war movement grew in the US as more American troops were sent to Vietnam.
  • 71. President Johnson decided not to run for re-election because of public opinion against his handling of the war.
  • 72. Former Republican vice-president Richard M. Nixon won the election with the promise to end the war and reunite the American people.
  • 73. In 1973, Nixon reached an agreement with North Vietnam that allowed the US to withdraw its forces.
  • 74. Within two years, Vietnam was forcibly reunited by Communist armies.
  • 75. By the end of 1975, Laos and Cambodia also had Communist regimes. The dictator Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge, established a brutal revolutionary regime in Cambodia.
  • 76. In Communist China, Mao believed that only permanent revolution, an atmosphere on constant revolutionary fervor, could produce the final stage of communism, a classless society.
  • 77. In 1966, Mao started the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to create a working class culture. The Little Red Book, a collection of Mao’s thoughts, provided knowledge in all areas. The Red Guards were formed to eliminate the “Four Olds” – old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits.
  • 78. In 1972, President Richard Nixon became the first US President to visit the People’s Republic of China. In 1979, China and the US established diplomatic ties.
  • 79. By the 1970s, United States-Soviet relations had reached détente - a relaxation of tension and improved relations.
  • 80. By 1979, however, a new period of East-West confrontation began when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. They wanted to restore a pro-Soviet regime. The United States viewed this as an act of expansion.
  • 81. In 1980, US President Ronald Reagan began a new military buildup and arms race with the USSR.
  • 82. Reagan even proposed a Strategic Defense Initiative dubbed “Star Wars” which would blast incoming missiles with lasers from space. His plan was to outspend and bankrupt the USSR.
  • 83. Reagan gave military aid to the Afghan rebels to fight the Soviets.
  • 84. Reagan’s battle against Communism shocked America during the Iran-Contra Affair.
  • 85. Members of Reagan’s administration, led by Lt. Col. Oliver North, orchestrated the sale of weapons to Iran, an enemy of the United States. The profits from those sales were used to fund the Contras, a right-wing rebel force attempting to overthrow the the democratically-elected left-wing government of Nicaragua.
  • 86. By the 1970s, the Communist ruling class of the Soviet Union had become corrupt. The Soviet economy was weakened by the government’s bureaucracy that discouraged efficiency and encouraged indifference. Farmers and workers lacked incentive to work hard. By 1980, the Soviet economy was seriously declining.
  • 87. In 1985, the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev was chosen to lead the Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s basis of reform was perestroika, or restructuring, of the Soviet economy and government.
  • 88. His willingness to rethink Soviet domestic and foreign policy led to a dramatic end to the Cold War.
  • 89. In 1987 Gorbachev made an agreement with the United States - the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty – to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
  • 90. Gorbachev changed Soviet policy by stopping military support to Communist governments in Eastern Europe. This led to the overthrow of Communist regimes in these countries.
  • 91. Workers’ protests led to demands for change in Poland. In 1980, Lech Walesa organized a national trade union in Poland known as Solidarity. In 1988, the Polish regime agreed to free parliamentary elections - the first free election in Eastern Europe in forty years.
  • 92. Walesa was elected president of Poland in 1990.
  • 93. In 1988 unrest led many East Germans to flee their Communist country. In 1989, mass demonstrations against the Communist regime broke out.
  • 94. On November 9, 1989, the East German government removed travel restrictions to the West and the Berlin Wall fell.
  • 95. Germany was reunified in 1990 – signaling the end of the Cold War.
  • 96. In 1988 and 1989, mass demonstrations throughout Czechoslovakia led to the collapse of the Communist government. In 1993, conflicts between Czechs and Slovaks led to the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • 97. As the Soviet government eased its control, ethnic tensions emerged throughout the Soviet republics. During 1990 and 1991, several of these republics called for independence from Soviet control. In 1991, conservative leaders arrested Gorbachev and tried to seize power. Boris Yeltsin and others defeated their attempt.
  • 98. Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991. The next day, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus declared the Soviet Union dissolved.
  • 99. Yeltsin became president of the new Russia. He worked to introduce a free market economy to Russia.
  • 100. Chechens tried to secede from Russia and form their own republic. Yeltsin used brutal force in Chechnya.
  • 101. In 1999 Yeltsin resigned and Vladimir Putin was elected president. Fighting in Chechnya continues.
  • 102. At the end of the 1980s, Yugoslavia was also caught up in the reform movements of Eastern Europe. By 1990, new political parties had emerged and the Communist Party had collapsed. In 1990, the Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia worked for independence.
  • 103. Slobodan Milosevic, leader of Serbia, rejected independence. In June 1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence In September 1991, the Yugoslavian army attacked Croatia.
  • 104. In 1992, the Serbs attacked Bosnia-Herzegovina. Many Bosnians were Muslims. The Serbs followed a policy of ethnic cleansing against them.
  • 105. In 1995, air strikes by NATO air strikes were launched in retaliation for Serb attacks on civilians. On December 14, Serbia signed a formal peace.
  • 106. In 1998, Serbs began to massacre ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo War. The United States and NATO intervened again.
  • 107. In 2000, Milosevic was ousted from power in a popular uprising. The United Nations placed him on trial for crimes against humanity. He died in prison March 11, 2006.
  • 108. In 1992, the EEC became the European Union (EU).
  • 109. By 2007, there will be 25 member states and growing.
  • 110. The Cuban economy relied on Soviet aid and the purchase of Cuban sugar by Soviet bloc countries. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba lost its support. Cuba’s economy has continued to decline in recent years.
  • 111. From 1945-1952, Japan was an occupied country. Its lands were held and controlled by Allied military forces. US general Douglas MacArthur was commander of the occupation administration, which instituted vast reforms in Japan.
  • 112. Following World War II, Japan rapidly emerged as an economic giant. Today, Japan is the greatest exporter in the world.
  • 113. Besides Japan, the Asian countries of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong have been economic powerhouses referred to as the “Asian Tigers.”
  • 114. In 1997, Great Britain returned control of Hong Kong to mainland China.
  • 115. The Communist People’s Republic of China is determined to unite Taiwan with mainland China.
  • 116. In 1989, student protesters in China also called for an end to corruption and demanded the resignation of Communist Party leaders. Thousands of demonstrators for democracy in Tiananmen Square, Beijing were crushed by Chinese tanks and troops.
  • 117. China’s continued human rights violations, and its growing military and economic power have created strained relations with the West.
  • 118. However, US trade with China is, and will continue to be, one of the most important economic relationships in the 21 st century.