Key Concepts Cold War Economic growth Change in culture Modern Conflicts
Post WWII World War II was a fight between the Allies and Axis with the winning side being the Allies. The main countries on the Allies side were Britain, France, The United States of America, and the Soviet Union, although the United States entered the war late. The main countries on the Axis side were Germany, and Japan. Adolf Hitler
Punishing Nazi’s First the allies decided to divide Germany into four parts. one-third of Germany would be controlled by the Soviet Union The other two-thirds would be divided into three sections, the United States, France, and Britain would each control a section. The Nuremburg Trials were designed to rid the remnants of the Nazi party in Germany and to bring justice to Nazi leaders for crimes they committed during the war. The Nuremburg trials were held in Nuremburg, Germany between 1945 and 1949 The Allies tried more than two-hundred Nazi’s and military officials and several dozen were killed for their roles in the holocaust.
Struggle between U.S. and Soviet Union. At the Potsdam conference in 1945 the American, British, and Soviet Union leaders gathered and talked about what to do with Eastern Europe but all the sides disagreed. The Soviet Union wanted to turn Eastern Europe into buffer zone of friendly governments to prevent another attack on Russia from Germany. The American and British did not want this because they believed that the Soviet Union would establish pro-communist governments in Eastern Europe.
Pro-communist governments soon ended up being established throughout Eastern Europe. Tensions rose between the Soviet Union and the western countries because of the establishment of pro-communist governments in Europe In January 1946 President Truman said “another War is in the making”. In February 1946 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin stated that he believed a war between the East and West was bound to happen in the near future. President Truman Joseph Stalin
Western countries decided to help countries being pressured by communist countries resist turning to communism. The Truman Doctrine helped do this by sending the countries money to rebuild after the war and to helping countries resist takeover by “armed minorities and outside pressure” The Marshall Plan provided thirteen billion dollars for rebuilding Europe and helped western Europe make a recovery from the war and preserve political stability
The division of Germany was supposed to be temporary however in 1947 the western countries started planning for the creation of an independent nation. The Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union and became called the German Democratic Republic. West Germany was controlled by the Western countries, it became called the Federal Republic of Germany. In June 1948 the Soviets blocked all land, rail, and water routes into West Berlin, because of this the citizens could not get supplies they needed. The soviets hoped that this would force the West to leave Berlin. The Western countries refused so they organized the Berlin airlift to lift supplies by air to the residents of Berlin.
After the Berlin airlift most of the western European countries, United States, and Canada joined together to form the North Atlantic Treaty organization(NATO). NATO was designed to counter the growing Soviet power in Europe. The Soviet Union and the communist countries of Europe formed their own alliance known as the Warsaw pact. Berlin Wall, Germany
Korean War After the Allies defeated Japan they gained control of most of the Korean Peninsula. The Soviet Union and the United States decided to temporarily divide the Korean Peninsula in to two parts. The Soviet Union took control over the northern part of the Korean peninsula, this became known as North Korea. The Soviet Union quickly established a communist government in North Korea. The United States took control over the southern part of Korea which became known as South Korea. In South Korea the United States supported a non-communist government.
In June 1950 the North Koreans attacked South Korea. Their goal was to unite the Korean Peninsula under a communist regime. The United States believed that if they didn’t stop the North Koreans it would lead to more attempts at communist expansion. The U.S. asked the United Nations for approval to use force to stop the invasion. Despite UN involvement the North Koreans almost gained control of the Korean Peninsula. Then General Douglas MacArthur invaded Inchon behind enemy lines. This tipped the balance of the war and soon the U.N forces pushed the North Koreans deep into North Korea.
Cold War The Nuclear arms race During the 1950’s and 60’s a nuclear war seemed to loom closer. After the Soviet Union successfully tested a atomic bomb the U.S. lost an advantage in military combat. This was the start of a arms race that lasted decades. The United States soon began testing of new, more powerful bombs. They used the power of fusion to create a much bigger explosion. In the fall of 1952 the United States ran the first successful test of a nuclear fusion powered hydrogen bomb. Less than a year later the Soviet Union tested their own hydrogen bomb.
The war shifted again when communist Chinese forces joined the war pushing UN forces out of North Korea. During 1951 the war settled into a stalemate, the battle lines were about where the split between North Korea and South Korea was originally.
A modern day North Korean Military parade
The United States could no longer rely on conventional methods of warfare such as tanks and soldiers, but instead increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. This strategy is called deterrence which is maintaining the power to prevent an attack, both sides did not want to start the war for fear that the other side would retaliate with a devastating attack with hydrogen bombs. Although the U.S. had far more nuclear bombs a nuclear war would still lead to terrible destruction. A Hydrogen Bomb exploding
The growing threat of a nuclear war changed the lives of many people across the globe. People started building bomb shelters and stocking up on food, schools led air-raid drills. Many new movies and comics centered on the danger of a nuclear war. The Cold War lead to something called a red-scare where many people started accusing innocent people of being a communist. Senator Joseph McCarthy led a movement to expose communists in America, but ended up accusing innocent people of being a communist.
Space race In 1957 the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States took a leap forward with the launching of Sputnik. Sputnik was a Soviet Shuttle and was the first man-made artificial technology sent into space. With the launch of Sputnik the Soviet Union took a huge leap forward in the arms race, Americans now feared that the Soviet Union technology had surpassed U.S. technology. In response to the launch of Sputnik the U.S. government launched NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
War in Asia After World War IIFrance tried to regain control of Vietnam, but communist rebels fought back and drove them out. In the peace after France was driven out of Vietnam they decided to split Vietnam in half. Communists controlled the northern part. Non-communists controlled the southern part of Vietnam. The U.S. became concerned with the spread of communism in Vietnam so when rebels started fighting in South Vietnam they sent military help. When the communist’s from the north part of Vietnam joined the fight in an attempt to unite Vietnam the U.S. got even more involved. Despite this the war dragged on for many years. This was called the Vietnam War.
In 1956 Egypt angered the western countries by taking over the Suez Canal, which had been mainly controlled by France, and Britain. France, Britain, and Israel then attacked Egypt, but after the Soviet Union threatened to fight on Egypt’s side the U.S. told France, Britain, and the Soviet Union to back off before the conflict escalated. Suez Canal, Egypt
Cuba Fidel Castro became the leader of Cuba when a revolution lead by him overthrew the previous leader. Under Fidel Castro’s leadership a communist regime was installed in Cuba. Fidel Castro forged close ties with the Soviet Union which worried the U.S. government because Cuba is within 90 miles of the United States soil. The U.S. government seeking to overthrow Fidel Castro from leadership in Cuba secretly trained a group of 1,500 Cuban refugees to attack Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The U.S. thought that this uprising would incite other Cubans to rise and fight but instead they were quickly defeated. This was called the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
During 1962 the U.S. photographed pictures of an installation of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, from the place where the missiles were installed they would have been able to hit many major cities in the U.S. After a two-week standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union the two superpowers came to an agreement on what to do. The Soviets would remove the missiles from Cuba. The U.S. promised not to attack Cuba and they removed U.S. missiles from Turkey. A Soviet missile launch site in Cuba
After the Cuban Missile Crisis both sides agreed that they needed to make progress on limiting arms. The Soviet Union suggested total nuclear arms disarmament but the U.S. refused the offer. When Richard Nixon was elected president he sought to reduce the tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union this led to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks or SALT I and SALT II.
Richard Nixon came to an agreement with the Soviet Union to not research and build anti-ballistic missiles, this was the ABM Treaty. This treaty would make sure that both sides were vulnerable to a nuclear bombing. This kept the principle of deterrence alive. After John F. Kennedy became president the Soviet Union and the United States came to an agreement on how to limit arms advancement, they agreed upon the Test Ban Treaty which limited nuclear weapon testing in the atmosphere, underwater, and in space.
When Ronald Reagan was elected, he and Mikhail Gorbachev ratified the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or the INF treaty. President Eisenhower proposed the Open Skies Treaty which would allow the other side to fly over their territory and gather accurate information on the other side’s weapons, this way neither side would have to imagine the worst about each other, but the Soviet Union rejected this plan.
Economy America experienced an economic boom in the 1960’s. In1960 goods were over two times as much as they had been in 1940. This economic growth was fueled by consumer spending. The so economic growth also came right along with a so called Baby Boom. This was because many soldiers returned home from World War II and started families. During the 1950’s to the 1970’s America experienced many social changes. People became more educated thanks to the G.I Bill of Rights which paid for veteran soldier’s college. The G.I Bill of Rights also helped raise living standards in America. Around the 1970’s the economy started to slump again due to rapid inflation and high rates of unemployment.
During the post World War II era African Americans made huge social advancements. During the war many African Americans had fought bravely and died bravely to protect America, but the units were still segregated from whites. President Truman recognized this and issued an executive order ending the segregation in the army. In 1954 the Supreme Court Ruled in favor of Brown in the case of Brown Vs. The Board of Education. The Supreme Court agreed that the segregation of public schools had to end.
There were many people involved in but the main leaders in this were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Farmer. In 1964 the United States congress passed the Civil Rights act. This act along with the voting rights act helped knock down barriers that African Americans faced. In 1965 the United States passed the voting rights act. This act helped African Americans achieve equality even if they did not completely end racism.
Women’s Rights advancement The Civil Rights act helped inspire and renew the Women Rights movement. This movement was based on that women and men should be politically and socially equal. The women’s rights group was met with some opposition including other women who thought that women should maintain the family at home while the man works.
Changes in culture throughout the world During the mid-late 1900’s there were many changes in American culture. Teenagers and young adults started questioning Americas involvement in the Vietnam War. Many people started dressing differently which shocked mainstream America. Teenagers also started changing their haircuts. In the 1900’s there were many social changes in Canada In Canada there was a civil rights and women’s right movement, along with the government paying for college for veterans. Canada also went through a “Quiet Revolution” which was a growing sense of nationalism among French speaking Canadians. This led to people wanting to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada.
Changes in the policy of the Soviet Union, post World War II. After World War II European countries were no longer the center of power, instead that power shifted to rest on the United States and the Soviet Union. The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO for short helped unify many European countries, Canada, and the United States. Europe wanted to have economic unity so six countries in Europe formed the European Economic Community, which was also known as the Common Market.
Three years after the formation of the European Economic Community a rival group was formed by seven other European countries, this league was called the European Free Trade Association. This meant that true economic unity for Europe was still far to come. One modern Euro
Joseph Stalin had taken over Russia in a coup d'état. During World War II millions of Soviet citizens had been killed and the nation’s economy had taken serious damage. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin wanted to rapidly rebuild the Soviet Union’s economy. Under a centrally controlled economy the country was soon producing goods at a normal prewar rate. After Joseph Stalin was replaced as ruler of the Soviet Union by Nikita Khrushchev many changes started happening in the Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev sought to “de-Stalinize” the Soviet Union. He tore down statues of Stalin and renamed cities and streets named after Joseph Stalin.
Nikita Khrushchev loosened the stricter policies of the Stalin era. Despite these changes he still remained committed to preserving communism in the Soviet Union. Despite all of the changes to Soviet policy the Soviets still remained committed to controlling Eastern Europe, and they would use force to put down revolts in many different countries. Nikita Khrushchev
The Soviet economy which had done so well after the war started to falter in the 1960’s. The people who controlled the economy had little regard for what the needs and wants of the economy were which led to the Soviet Union’s economy faltering. When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 he saw the need for change so he started instating many new policies in the Soviet Union. He proposed two new radical policies called Glasnost and Perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev
Glasnost means openness and this meant that the Soviet Union would be willing to talk about their problems and were open to change Perestroika means restructuring and means that the Soviet Union was reforming their economic and political system. Mikhail Gorbachev pushed through many different reforms. He wanted to reduce Soviet spending on weapons development. He was very aggressive on pursuing arms control with the United States. Mikhail Gorbachev also introduced some free-market mechanisms in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev knew that the Soviet Union could not keep backing eastern European countries so he started pulling troops out the countries and encouraging the local leaders of the countries to adapt reforms.
Many countries in Europe did not want to wait for reforms to happen and they started having revolutions. Mikhail Gorbachev was not willing to spend the resources to keep Eastern Europe under control so he just let them go. In most cases the revolutions were peaceful. The most dramatic changes were in Germany, when Hungary opened it border thousands of East Germans poured out of East Germany, helpless to stop this the Soviet Union tore down the Berlin Wall. Less than one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall West and East Germany were reunited.
One of the most peaceful revolutions was the Velvet Revolution, this happened in Czechoslovakia and it pushed the communists out of power. In Poland the Solidarity movement forced free elections and an electrician who lead many protests called Lech Walesa was elected president. Lech Walesa
Fall of Soviet Union Many hard line communists in the Soviet Union disagreed with the radical changes the Mikhail Gorbachev had proposed and they staged a coup d’état. This failed mainly due to Boris Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin favored even more radical changes than Mikhail Gorbachev had proposed. After Gorbachev’s fall the power of the Soviet Union was declining rapidly. When Boris Yeltsin took over the Soviet Union republic after republic started declaring independence and soon they united into the Common Wealth of Independent States.
Changes throughout the world after fall of Soviet Union As the Soviet Union was falling from power many countries such as Chechnya, Armenian, Yugoslavia, and Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union. Some of these revolutions were bloody and led to decades of fighting such as the one in Chechnya. When the government in Ukraine tried to switch from a communist government to a democratic government there were many issues and the election had to be repeated because of charges of fraud.
Feelings of nationalism grew in Yugoslavia and when they tried to split up Yugoslavia into different Republics, The Serbians did not want the split up of Yugoslavia and fought to keep it together. The bloodiest of the conflicts in Yugoslavia was in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These countries declared independence from Yugoslavia although many Serbs did not want to break up from Yugoslavia. When the Bosnian Serbs started a war to prevent the break up they followed a policy of Ethnic Cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is when you eliminate a certain ethnic group from and area. Yugoslavia
Modern Times Much of the success that the United States had enjoyed in their economy started to disappear during the 1990’s. Thanks to the development of technology and the rapid growth of the internet many industries started to be more productive and many new opportunities became open for people. Billions of dollars were invested into internet companies, but by the end of the decade many of the companies had gone out of business leading to a slowdown in the economy. With high energy costs and increased government spending a rise in the poverty gap started to show leading to a rise in the poverty gap in many other industrialized countries.
Even though the Cold War had ended many other conflicts started to spring up around the world. The fight against preventing terrorism was known as the War on Terrorism. On September 11, 2001 the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden launched the most devastating attack on the U.S. Al Qaeda hijacked four passenger planes. two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. One hit the pentagon. One crashed in Pennsylvania. World Trade Center
The Taliban were a group that governed Afghanistan according to an interpretation of Islamic law. They supported and protected members of Al Qaeda. So in the fall of 2001 the U.S. led a military force to Afghanistan and forced out the Taliban. After forcing the Taliban out of Afghanistan they turned their attention to Iraq where President George W. Bush claimed the Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. Although when nuclear weapons inspectors came to Iraq they failed to find any nuclear weapons.