The Cold War and Containment• The Cold War featured the US and the USSR,two SUPERPOWERs with completely differentpolitical systems (Capitalism v Communism)competing for influence around the world.The presence of nuclear weapons held by bothsides made the stakes of the cold war veryhigh, as a direct total war between the twosides would have resulted in a nuclear war,killing millions of civilians. Neither side wantedto provoke the other into resulting to a nuclearattack.• The US under President Truman decided theycould not remove communism where it existedbut instead focused on containing it andstopping its spread.Truman knew containmentwas our best option instopping communismwhile avoiding nuclearwar.
Europe Divided• Europe had been divided alongcommunist and Capitalist linesfollowing WWII and thiscontinued throughout the ColdWar. The US made an Allianceknown as NATO (the NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization) withmany countries, promising thatan attack on those countrieswould be regarded as an attackon the USA.• The USSR formed their ownalliance, the Warsaw Pact tocounter NATO. This allianceincluded the Iron Curtaincountries, the “satellite”communist states in Europe.Europe divided: Capitalist and Communist
NATO andthe WarsawPact. Mapincludeshow muchUS aid $eachreceivedunder theMarshallplan.
Berlin• One Cold War Crisis occurredsurrounding the city of Berlin.• Berlin (along with the rest ofGermany) had been dividedamongst the 4 allied powers ofWWII. West Berlin was controlledby the US, UK, and France whileEast Berlin was controlled by theUSSR.• Berlin though was totallysurrounded by the Soviet portionof Germany, and the USSR (led byStalin) resented having an enclaveof capitalism in its zone. Stalinlooked to remove the US supportfrom the city and take over WBerlin.• Defending W. Berlin became thefrontline and first test of the USpolicy of containment.West Berlin was in the heart ofCommunist East Germany.
Berlin Airlift• In 1948, Stalin decided he would try toblockade the roads that led to WestBerlin, this would cut off their suppliesand hopefully get the west to abandonits stake in the city. He figured the USwould not risk a conflict andconfrontation trying to go through theblockade.• The US and Britain developed adifferent plan and responded byairlifting all supplies needed for W.Berlin. The US also put their army onfull alert, basically daring the USSR totry and stop the airlift.• Stalin chose not to shoot down USplanes and instead reopened roads tothe city in 1949 after a year of suppliesbeing airlifted into the city.For a full year, American and Britishtroops airlifted supplies to theblockaded W. Berliners
Nikita Khrushchev• Josef Stalin died in 1953 after almost 30years in power as ruler of the USSR.• He would eventually be replaced by aman named Nikita Khrushchev• Khrushchev sought to “de-Stalinize” theSoviet Union.• He openly stated the atrocities that Stalinhad committed and had numerousmonuments to Stalin destroyed.• However, Khrushchev was still acommunist and sought to lead his countryto victory in the Cold War.Khrushchev wanted to move theUSSR away from Stalin’sbrutality
Berlin as an escape route• West Berlin had become aprosperous capitalist city,while East Berlin did not seesuch a quick recovery underthe communist system.• Many of the well-educated inEast Berlin started use WestBerlin as their way to escapecommunism and flee to theWestern World.• In addition as long as peoplehad access to West Berlin,they would be able to seethe success of the capitalistsystem and would desire toleave communism.
Berlin Wall• In 1961, wanting to prevent the“brain drain” of skilled peopleleaving communist EastGermany, the BERLIN WALL, aconcrete and barbed wire wallaround W. Berlin, was put inplace to keep people fromleaving the communist system.• The US was prepared to defendW. Berlin’s freedom but did notdestroy the barrier out of fear ofstarting a nuclear war. It woulddivide the city until 1989. Itssignificance was that it served asa physical symbol of the divisionof Europe.
Cuba• Cuba was the site of another major cold warcrisis.• In 1959 under a revolution led by FidelCastro, Cuba became a communist country.The US had vital economic interests in Cuba(casinos, hotels) and lost them when Cubabecame communist.• The US tried and failed to remove Castrofrom power in an invasion known as the Bayof Pigs, and the CIA tried and failed toassassinate him. The US was worried as theyfaced a potentially hostile neighbor only 90miles off of the coast of Florida. This was afailure of the policy of containment ascommunism had now spread.
Cuba: Role in Cold War• The USSR had fallen behindin the nuclear arms race withthe US. They did not possessthe long range missilecapability or the number ofmissile sites that the US did.• However, the USSRsupported Cuba and desiredto use this country as avaluable ally in the Cold War.Since it was close to the US itrepresented an area fromwhich the USSR couldpotentially attack the USfrom.Castro and Khrushchev became alliesCuba is only 90 miles off of Florida’s coast
Missile Sites• Khrushchev decided tosecretly build missile sites inCuba that he could hit the USwith.• US spy planes spotted themissile sites in October of1962.• President John Kennedydeclared that the presence ofmissiles in Cuba wasunacceptable.• He ordered a blockade ofCuba, to prevent any newmissiles from being deliveredand demanded that themissiles in Cuba be removed.A U-2 spy plane identified themissile sites
Tensions Increase• Khrushchev renounced theblockade.• Meanwhile, Kennedyprepared a large force toinvade Cuba.• He also announced that anyattack on the US or country inWestern Hemisphere wouldbe met with a direct attack onCuba or the Soviet Union.• The Two powers appeared tobe headed for Nuclear War.Nuclear War was a realpossibility during the crisis
The Crisis Ends• The Crisis finally broke after twoweeks of tension, when Sovietships decided to stop and notresist the US blockade.• The 2 sides negotiated asettlement where the USSRwould remove the missiles fromCuba and the US would promiseto never invade Cuba in thefuture and remove some of itsmissile sites in Turkey (althoughthis 2nd condition was not madepublic).• Finally the crisis reached apeaceful end.Negotiations at the UN and directcommunication between PresidentKennedy and Khrushchevthankfully helped the Crisis endpeacefully
Conclusion• The Cuban Missile crisis was the height of tensionsbetween the US and USSR, and the closest the warcame to being a “hot” war.• Sadly, President Kennedy was shot and killed thenext year.• The USSR viewed the crisis as an embarrassment andKhrushchev was replaced as the head of the SovietUnion a few months later.• Still, the Cold War would continue for another 25years.