WHAT WAS THE COLD WAR?
The Cold War (1945–1991) 46
a state of political conflict,
military tension, and economic
competition existing after World
War II (1939–1945)
Tensions arose between the USSR
and its satellite states, and the
powers of the Western world,
including the United States.
Conflicts included military
coalitions, strategic conventional
force deployments, a nuclear
arms race, espionage, proxy
wars, propaganda, and
technological competition, e.g.
the Space Race.
“Somewhere In the USSR.” Photo
from Soviet Photo magazine 1970. Via Soviet Photo Daily.
THE AXIS VS THE ALLIES
During WWII major disagreements formed between allied
powers including the USSR, the US, the United Kingdom
• Disagreements arose regarding the configuration of the postwar world.
At the end of the war, they occupied most of Europe
The US and USSR became most powerful military forces.
The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc with the eastern
European countries it occupied, annexing some as Soviet
Socialist Republics and maintaining others as satellite
states, some of which were later consolidated as the
Warsaw Pact (1955–1991).
The US and some western European countries established
containment of communism as a defensive policy,
establishing alliances (e.g. NATO, 1949) to that end.
The emergence of Communism
Nations coordinated the rebuilding of western
Europe (post WWII), particularly western
USSR shared a strong opposition to Germany.
In Latin America and Southeast Asia, the USSR
harbored communist revolutions.
• Were in opposition to several western countries and
their regional allies.
Some countries aligned with NATO and the
Warsaw Pact but in turn, non-aligned country
blocs also emerged.
WARSAW PACT AND NATO
the informal name for the
mutual defense Treaty of
and Mutual Assistance
commonly known as the
Warsaw Pact subscribed
by eight communist states
in Eastern Europe, which
was established at the
USSR’s initiative and
realized on 14 May 1955,
in Warsaw, Poland.
In the year 1949, an international organization created in 1949 by the
North Atlantic Treaty for purposes of collective security
“The Arms Race”
The Cold War featured international
the Berlin Blockade (1948–1949)
The Korean War (1950–1953)
The Berlin Crisis of 1961
The Vietnam War (1959–1975), the
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) – We will
discuss this in our next lecture
The Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–
1989), and the Able Archer 83 NATO
exercises in November 1983.
Mutual Assured Destruction
HOW THE COLD WAR AFFECTED
THE UNITED STATES
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS AND THE BAY OF
The Bay of Pigs Invasion or “La Batalla de Girón,
or Playa Girón in Cuba”
unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles
invade southern Cuba with support from US government
to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
The Cuban armed forces
trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the
exile combatants in three days. Bad Cuban-American
relations were made worse by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
1.) Naval blockade - shipments of missiles
2.) The “do nothing” option was not feasible because Congress had already passed a joint
resolution backing military action if offensive weapons were found in Cuba, and Republicans
were using the possibility of the existence of
3.) Diplomacy and Peace Talks between Khrushchev
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a
confrontation between the
United States, the Soviet Union
and Cuba in October 1962,,
In the Soviet Union, former
Eastern Bloc countries, and
other communist countries such
as North Korea and the nation
In September 1962, the Cuban
and Soviet governments placed
nuclear missiles in Cuba.
When United States military
intelligence discovered the
weapons, the U.S. government
sought to do all it could to
ensure the removal of the
The crisis ranks with the Berlin
Blockade as one of the major
confrontations of the Cold War.
ARMS RACE AND PARANOIA
CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
Testimony from retired Air Force Major (WWII sailor, Cold War),
De La Cruz (Sara’s grandfather), referencing the Cuban Missile
“We (the United States Air Force) were given direct orders by
Kennedy to prepare the launching of our Missiles from the
Niagara Falls Missile Site. Nora (Sara’s grandmother) and your
mother (Sara’s mother) were told to go underground and take
the children on base with them when I made the call to launch
the missiles. We did not know if we would wake up the next
morning as it may have been the end of the world.”
At 9 a.m., on October 28th, a new message from
Khrushchev was broadcast on Radio Moscow.
Khrushchev stated that, "the Soviet government, in
addition to previously issued instructions on the
cessation of further work at the building sites for the
weapons, has issued a new order on the dismantling
of the weapons which you describe as 'offensive' and
their crating and return to the Soviet Union.“
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS AND
Kennedy immediately responded, issuing a
statement calling the letter "an important and
constructive contribution to peace…I consider
my letter to you of October twenty-seventh and
your reply of today as firm undertakings on the
part of both our governments which should be
promptly carried out... The U.S. will make a
statement in the framework of the Security
Council in reference to Cuba as follows: it will
declare that the United States of America will
respect the inviolability of Cuban borders, its
sovereignty, that it take the pledge not to
interfere in internal affairs, not to intrude
themselves and not to permit our territory to be
used as a bridgehead for the invasion of Cuba,
and will restrain those who would plan to carry
an aggression against Cuba, either from U.S.
territory or from the territory of other countries
neighboring to Cuba."
THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION
1980s – US increased diplomatic, military, and economic
pressures against the USSR, which had already suffered
severe economic stagnation.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the
“liberalizing reforms of perestroika”
• "reconstruction“ or "reorganization“ - year 1987
• glasnost or "openness“ - year 1985).
• The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991
• The collapse of The Soviet Union left the United States as the
MOST POWERFUL military power.
• On the contrary, the collapse of the Soviet Union left Russia
possessing most of the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal.
• Russia’s nuclear arsenal poses a great militaristic threat to the