Tensions between the USA and USSR• After WWII, the USA and USSR wereconsidered to be the only superpowersleft in the world.• Despite being allies during WWII, thetwo sides had a hostile relationship dueto a number of reasons.• The two sides would never directlyengage each other in war, but ratherresist each other in small conflictsspread around the world.• The long standing tension between thetwo sides became known as the ColdWar. These tensions would last from1945-1989.
Policy Differences between USA andUSSR• The different economic systems ofCommunism and Capitalism were a largesource of conflict between the two sides.• Communism (USSR):– Government ownership ofindustry, Government control of economy– Equal distribution of wealth• Capitalism (USA)– Free enterprise system– Economy run on basis of supply and demandCommunismCapitalism
Democracy vs. Dictatorship• Another source of conflictcame from political differencesbetween democracy anddictatorship.• America always valueddemocracy and personalindividual freedoms (speech,religion, voting etc.)• Soviet Union limited thefreedoms of its people. Thosewho criticized the governmentwere punished andimprisoned. Free electionswere not held.A French political cartoon criticizingthe USSR.
The Yalta Conference: 1945• Origins of the Cold War could be seen at theYalta conference.• The Yalta Conference was held early in 1945when it seemed apparent that Germanywould lose the war.• Winston Churchill (UK), Franklin Roosevelt(USA), and Josef Stalin (USSR) met to discussthe post war settlement.• At Yalta, Stalin was resistant to moving histroops out of the areas that he had takenfrom Nazi Germany. The Allies decided toallow him to keep influence over those areasin exchange for help with defeating Japanand support for the new UN.
The Iron Curtain• Stalin used his influence over theseareas to install communist“puppet” governments in severalcountries to the west of the SovietUnion. These countries basicallydid whatever Stalin and otherleaders of the USSR told them todo.• Upset at thisdevelopment, Winston Churchillgave a famous speech in which hedeclared that an “iron curtain” haddescended on E. Europe and thepeople living east of the Ironcurtain were being shut off fromthe light of democracy andcapitalism.• The “Iron Curtain” was not anactual physical barrier, but ametaphor for the division ofEurope between Capitalism andCommunismUSSR123456The Iron Curtain (1. E. Germany, 2 Poland, 3.Czechoslovakia, 4. Hungary,5 Romania 6.Bulgaria) were all newly communist countriesunder the influence of the USSR.)
Nuclear Weapons• The Soviet Union was able todevelop a nuclear weaponby 1949, and the possessionof nuclear weapons had anenormous influence on theconflict.• Nuclear weapons made eachside fear the other’s powerand caused tension, but inmany cases it also led tocooperation between thetwo sides as they knew theycould not risk direct conflict.The Bravo H-bomb on Bikini Atoll wasthe largest US above ground nucleartest. The blast was measured at 10-15megatons. It was over a thousandtimes more powerful than the bombsdropped on Japan.
The Theory of Deterrence• The theory of deterrencesuggested that you should showstrength in order to prevent ordeter your enemy fromattacking.• Each side built up their nucleararsenal in an attempt to showthe enemy that any attackwould be met with a counter-attack.• This theory is sometimesreferred to as Mutual AssuredDestruction (MAD). MAD helpedkeep peace between the twosides. The three delivery systems for nuclear weaponsmade deterrence possibleSubmarineBomberICBMs
Containment• Even before the USSR developednuclear weapons, the US feared a directconflict believing it would be a long anddeadly war.• Instead the US adopted the policy ofcontainment, deciding that it was saferto try and prevent communism fromspreading than to try and overthrowcurrent communist governments.• This policy was first put to use under USPresident Harry Truman as he gavemoney and military supplies to defeatcommunist revolutions in Greece andTurkey. In a statement known as theTruman Doctrine, America declaredthat containment would be theirforeign policy in dealing with theSoviets.The Truman Doctrinehelped define America’srole in post war Europe.
Containment• The US policy ofcontainment will forcethe US to becomeinvolved in warsthroughout the world– Korea– Vietnam
Alliances• The Cold War did not justinvolve the US and USSR.• In order to prepare for apossible war between the twosides, alliances were formed.• NATO (North Atlantic TreatyOrganization) was formed in1949 and consisted the US andits allies (W. Europe andCanada).• In response, the USSR formedits own alliance known as theWarsaw Pact in 1955. TheWarsaw Pact contained theUSSR and E. Europeancountries.
Cold War AlliancesNATO• USA• UK• France• Canada• Belgium• Denmark• The Netherlands• Italy• W. Germany• Norway• Greece• TurkeyWarsaw Pact• USSR• Poland• Czechoslovakia• E. Germany• Hungary• Romania• Bulgaria