Cold war essay questions (I)gcse

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  • There are three key events that led to the Soviet blockades of Berlin: the institution of the Marshall Plan for European Recovery; the London Conferences of winter and spring of 1948; and the resultant London Program which called for a separate West Germany and currency reform as a means to reach this end. In mid-June the west issued a new currency in their zone (but not in western Berlin), and the Soviet Union issued a new currency in their zone. On June 23, the west introduced the new currency into Berlin. The next day the Soviets imposed a complete blockade on Berlin. Railways and highways were restricted so that no surface traffic between the western zones and Berlin could occur. The Berlin Blockade succeeded in blocking off all form of contact between the East and West. Russia offered to drop the blockade if the West withdrew their new currency, the Deutsche mark. In response the allies began the Berlin Airlift airlift to supply West Berliners with fuel, food and other necessities the blockade prevented them getting. It was successful and on 12th May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of Western Germany.
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Cold war essay questions (I)gcse

  1. 1. Section 4 – How did the Cold War develop? Describe one reason why the Allies met at Yalta in February 1945 (2 marks) The allies met to discuss what would happen to Germany know that they had full control over them. They wanted to equally share out the land and resources and thus they decided to divide Berlin into four sections, and Germany into four sections as well – one for each country. Describe one reason why the Marshall Plan was drawn up in 1947 (2 marks) The Marshall Plan was drawn up because the USA wanted to contain the spread of communism. The USA was committed to an economic recovery of the west and believed that poverty and hardship were the breeding ground for communism; thus the USA wanted to make the West prosperous. Describe one reason why NATO was formed in 1949 (2 marks) NATO was formed as a military alliance consisting entire of Western European countries. The main purpose of it was that if one country was attacked by the USSR and communism, the other members would help to defend it. This was strength in numbers. Briefly explain what the Allies decided about Germany in the Potsdam conference in 1945 (6 marks) The Allies came to various decisions about Germany in the Potsdam conference in July/ August 1945. One decision was that USA, GBR, USSR and France would claim reparation costs from each of their zones in Germany. Because the USSR had a less profitable zone, it was agreed that they would receive industrial reparations from the Western zones in return for foodstuff. Another decision was that the Nazi party would be banned. Surviving Nazi war criminals would be punished and tried. Fair elections would be held in all liberated countries including Germanys itself. A further decision was that the allies decided to split Berlin into four sectors. The capital of Germany would be dominated by all four countries. Germany itself would be split into four zones. The USSR’s zone would be located in the Eastern half and the others would be located in the Western half. Briefly explain the key features of the Berlin Blockade in the years 1958-49 (6 marks) One key feature of the Berlin Blockade as that Stalin cut off access to all forms of transport and railways were also closed down. This meant that East Berliners were unable to reach their workplace in West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade succeeded in blocking off all form of contact between the East and West. Another key feature was that Stalin wanted to move western troops out of Berlin. He felt it unfair that the Western zones get to have a part of what was supposed to be his territory. He thought that by forming a blockade around West Berlin, he could force the Western troops out of Berlin. A further key feature was the airlift. The USA began to lift supplies into East Berlin via air ad any other decision would have resulted in a direct war. The airlifts lasted for 11 months when up to 200, 00 flights were made to Berlin. The airlift ended in May 1949 when Stalin realised that the USA would not give in. Briefly explain the key features of Cominform in 1947 and Comecon in 1949 (6 marks)
  2. 2. One key feature of Cominform was that it was an alliance of all communist states. This was the USSR’s response to Marshall Aid and was set up to coordinate the communist governments across Eastern Europe. This enabled Stalin to tighten his hold over the Eastern European countries as contact with the West was limited. Another key feature of Cominform was that it aimed to spread communism. Stalin wanted to gain influence over Western Europe and the only way he could do that was by encouraging minority communist parties in France and other Western European countries to gain more influence. A key feature of Comecon was that it coordinated the production and trade of goods within Eastern Europe. It discouraged trade with the US; instead the Eastern European countries would share resources around. Stalin forced the Eastern European countries to boycott Marshall Aid for Comecon. Briefly explain the key features of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 (6 marks) The Warsaw Pact was Stalin’s response to NATO. It was exactly the same as NATO in that the main purpose was that if one communist state was under threat, the rest of the communist states would come to its aid. This way Stalin was able to secure more control over the Eastern European countries. Another key feature was that Stalin forced members, mainly satellite states and East Germany, to join the Warsaw Pact. This was significant because it expressed Stalin’s total dominance and control over Eastern Europe. It contrasted with NATO whose members willingly joined. A further key feature was that it worried the USA to the extent that they had to increase the numbers of NATO troops in Germany. This led to an increased tension over who would dominate Berlin - the USA was clearly signalling that they refused to move out of West Berlin. Briefly explain the main decisions made about Germany at the Yalta conference in February 1945 (6 marks) One decision made was that Germany would be divided into four sections and Berlin into four sectors – one for each superpower. This newfound territorial gain would enable the superpowers to maintain control over Germany and prevent retaliation occurring by the Germans. Another decision was that Germany would pay reparation costs for all the damage done to the superpowers. Germany did not have much money left after spending on World War II thus it was agreed that the reparation costs would be paid back through various resources in each of their zones e.g. Coal, foodstuff. A further decision was that the Nazi party would be banned from Germany. The superpowers would establish their own governments in their won sectors. Any surviving Nazi criminals/supporters would be put on trial and punished. Briefly explain the key features of the NATO in 1949 (6 marks) One key feature was that NATO was formed because the USA was worried about the threat of nuclear war with the USSR. The USSR had developed its first atomic bomb thus starting the Arms Race. This was a risk for Western European countries as none had created the atomic bomb yet, except the USA. Another key feature was that it was a military alliance consisting of Western European countries. The main aim was that if one member was attacked the other members would help to defend it. Thus other Western European countries granted permission for the USA to build airbases with planes containing nuclear weapons, within their countries. A further key feature of NATO was that although it was formed as a militarily defensive alliance, the USSR didn’t see it that way. Stalin assumed that it was a direct threat to the USSR and thus this worsened relations between the two superpowers. Briefly explain the key features of the beginnings of the Arms Race in the years 1945-49 (6 marks)
  3. 3. One key feature of the Arms Race was that Truman announced the development of the atomic bomb in the Potsdam conference of July/August 1945. Although Stalin did not show visible interest in this mew development, he was highly worried about the threat the atomic bomb would pose to soviet control over Eastern European countries. Another key feature was that Stalin began working on the USSR’s own atomic bomb which was made in 1949. This was the trigger of the Arms Race as both countries were equally militarily matched and posed an equal threat to each other’s safety. A further key feature was that after Stalin had produced his own atomic bomb, the USA increased military spending on the development of more nuclear weapons. Likewise, the USSR also increased their spending on the Arms Race. Both countries used vast amounts of money from the economy to fund for the nuclear weapons. Explain why Stalin decided to blockade Berlin in 1948 (12 marks) One reason why Stalin blockaded Berlin was because the allies joined their zones together to form Trizonia. Whilst the USSR’s zone was full of poverty, Trizonia was prospering and recovering. Stalin thought that the allies were building up Germany to attack him. Stalin wanted Berlin to be dependent on the USSR. He wanted to blockade around West Germany so that he could control them. He did not want the western zones to be strong because this could be a threat to the USSR. Thus the blockade would make West Berlin dependant on the USSR. A further reason is because Stalin did not want East Berliner’s to see the poverty they were living in. He wanted the western zones and West Berlin in to be poor so that the people in the East would not realise the poverty they were living in. This would keep Germany poor and prevent them from being strong enough to attack the USSR. It was a combination of all of these factors that made Stalin decided to blockade Berlin. However, the most significant reason was because Stalin did not want West Berlin to prosper because it threatened his control over his zones. He wanted to keep Germany weak so that they could not retaliate. Explain why relations between the USA and USSR worsened in the years 1947-49 (12 marks) One reason why relations worsened was because of the Marshall Plan in 1947. This was an economic recovery programme which would help countries to recover financially. The USSR saw this as dollar imperialism – the USA trying to buy its allies. Thus the USSR made its own version of Marshall Aid, known as Comecon in 1949. Stalin forced members of Comecon to boycott Marshall Aid. This worsened relations. Another reason was because of the Berlin Blockade in 1948. Stalin wanted West Berlin dependant on the USSR so he cut off all canal, road and rail links from West Berlin to West Germany. However, the USA decided to airlift supplies from the West to East Berlin. This expressed that they would not give in to Stalin. The airlifts lasted for 11 months until Stalin realised that the USA would not give up. This worsened relations and made the superpowers more competitive towards each other. A further reason was because of the formation on NATO in 1949. The USSR had developed its own atomic bomb. This placed the rest of the Western European countries at risk because they didn’t have an atomic bomb to defend themselves. NATO was formed as a military alliance so that if one member was attacked, the other members would help to defend it. Stalin did not see this as a defensive alliance rather a direct threat to the USSR. In conclusion it was a combination of all these reasons that relations worsened. However, the most significant reason was because of the Berlin Blockade. This signified that neither superpower were willing to give up and would put up a good fight. However, the other reasons did contribute to the worsening of relations. Section 5 – The three Cold War crises
  4. 4. Describe one reason why the summit conference between Eisenhower and Khrushchev in May 1960 collapsed (2 marks) The Paris Summit in 1960 collapsed because Khrushchev demanded an apology from Eisenhower over the U2 incident where the soviets had caught an American spy plane on their territory. However, Eisenhower refused to apologise which led to Khrushchev walking out on the summit. Describe one international reaction to USSR’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (2 marks) Although the USA was opposed to the invasion of Czechoslovakia, also known as the Prague Spring, they did not interfere with the soviet invasion because they did not want to disrupt improving relations between the two superpowers. Describe one way that the USSR re-established control in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (2 marks) Brezhnev moved 400,000 Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia to restore the strict communist government. The Czechs did not resist militarily rather they offered passive resistance - thus they were easily able to overthrow the riots and reform leaders and re-establish soviet control over Czechoslovakia. Describe the key features of the involvement of the USA in the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 (6 marks) One key feature was that Kennedy wanted to use pro-US Cuban rebels to invade Cuba. Kennedy did not use his own US troops because he did not want outright war against the USSR by directly intervening. Instead he sent 1, 400 Cuban exiles to the Bay of Pigs to overthrow Castro. Another key feature was that Kennedy’s attempt at using the Cuban exiles failed. Castro was prepared for the attack and the Cuban people did not support the rebels as the USA has expected. Moreover, the US had not provided air cover so the Cubans were easily outnumbered by Castro’s troops. 20,000 Cuban troops were killed. A further key feature was that the USA was left humiliated because everyone knew that they were indirectly behind the attack. This made Castro look stronger and he gained more popularity. The USSR and Cuba became even closer allies due to this event. Briefly explain the key features of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 (6 marks) One key feature was that Kennedy used Cuban rebels to try to overthrow Castro. This way the USA was not directly intervening or risking a nuclear war. He placed 1,400 anti-communism Cuban rebels at the Bay of Pigs. Another key feature was that the attempted invasion failed. Castro was prepared for the attack and the Cuban rebels were outnumbered. Also, the US had not provided ait cover. Thus, 20,000 Cuban troops were killed. A further key feature was that Kennedy and the US were left humiliated because everyone knew that they were indirectly responsible for the attempted overthrow. Castro was made to look stronger and ties between Cuba and the USSR grew stronger. Briefly explain the key features of the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (6 marks) One key feature was that Kennedy knew that the USSR was placing nuclear missiles on Cuba. Cuba was located only 90 miles away from the US. Kennedy was very worried about the threat that nuclear war from the USSR could pose through Cuba.
  5. 5. A further key feature was that Kennedy had to decide the best was to retaliate. His advisors, the Hawks, wanted n aggressive policy whilst the Doves wanted a peaceful solution. Ultimately, he decided on a naval blockade to prevent anymore soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. A further key feature was the Thirteen Days where deliberations between the USSR and USA took place. During this time the USSR and USA sent letters back and forth discussing what either party would do considering the circumstances. During this time the world held its breath. However, USSR agreed to withdraw missiles from Cuba is USA (secretly) withdrew missiles from Turkey. Explain why there was a crisis over Cuba in 1962 (12 marks) One reason why there was crisis over Cuba was because a U2 American spy plane took pictures which showed soviet missile bases in Cuba. This was a direct threat to US security as Cuba was located only 90 miles away from the USA. This meant that the USSR could fire nuclear missiles from Cuba and the USA would not have time to retaliate. Another reason was because Kennedy was unsure of his options to stop soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. His advisors, the Hawks, wanted an aggressive retaliation whilst the Doves wanted a peaceful solution. Ultimately he decided on a naval blockade as any other option would have led to a direct nuclear war. A further reason was because of the 13 days of negotiation between the USSR and USA. Kennedy and Khrushchev sent threatening letters back and forth until they came to an agreement. The USA would remove missiles from Turkey if the USSR removed their missiles from Cuba. This way the threat of nuclear war was not so possible to either country. In conclusion, all of these reasons led to the Cuban crisis. Although the other events did contribute to Cuba being in crisis, the most significant reason was the 13 days because that was when the world held its breath as the risk of nuclear war was at its most serious.
  6. 6. A further key feature was that Kennedy had to decide the best was to retaliate. His advisors, the Hawks, wanted n aggressive policy whilst the Doves wanted a peaceful solution. Ultimately, he decided on a naval blockade to prevent anymore soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. A further key feature was the Thirteen Days where deliberations between the USSR and USA took place. During this time the USSR and USA sent letters back and forth discussing what either party would do considering the circumstances. During this time the world held its breath. However, USSR agreed to withdraw missiles from Cuba is USA (secretly) withdrew missiles from Turkey. Explain why there was a crisis over Cuba in 1962 (12 marks) One reason why there was crisis over Cuba was because a U2 American spy plane took pictures which showed soviet missile bases in Cuba. This was a direct threat to US security as Cuba was located only 90 miles away from the USA. This meant that the USSR could fire nuclear missiles from Cuba and the USA would not have time to retaliate. Another reason was because Kennedy was unsure of his options to stop soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. His advisors, the Hawks, wanted an aggressive retaliation whilst the Doves wanted a peaceful solution. Ultimately he decided on a naval blockade as any other option would have led to a direct nuclear war. A further reason was because of the 13 days of negotiation between the USSR and USA. Kennedy and Khrushchev sent threatening letters back and forth until they came to an agreement. The USA would remove missiles from Turkey if the USSR removed their missiles from Cuba. This way the threat of nuclear war was not so possible to either country. In conclusion, all of these reasons led to the Cuban crisis. Although the other events did contribute to Cuba being in crisis, the most significant reason was the 13 days because that was when the world held its breath as the risk of nuclear war was at its most serious.

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