The COLD WAR – SYNOPSIS
POST WORLD WAR TWO
1)At the YALTA CONFERENCE in 1945, the “big Three” (FDR, Stalin and Churchill) met to “plan” the post-war world.
2)To solve the “Germany problem” of past wars, Germany would be divided into east and west. Stalin promised “free elections” in Soviet-occupied Europe after the war.
3)Former World War Two allies became divided without a common enemy.
The Soviet Union exploded a nuclear bomb in 1949.
4)The term “cold” war was used because any direct confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union risked the possibility of a “hot” nuclear war.
5)The United Nations was launched in 1945 in San Francisco as a forum to help prevent future “world” wars.
6)The United States became directly involved, unlike after World War One when American “ISOLATIONISM” kept the U.S. out of the League of Nations.
7)This marked a shift to an American “INTERVENTIONISM” foreign policy. This was involvement in an increasingly “globalized” world.
8)British leader Churchill made a speech at a small American college stating a communist “IRON CURTAIN” had DIVIDED EUROPE.
This prevented “western” influences from interacting with Soviet Union eastern Europe.
9)After being invaded from the west in history, Soviet leader Stalin wanted a protection “buffer” between Russia and Europe.
10)The MARSHALL PLAN set up a program to help Europe rebuild.
The U.S. provided $14 billion in aid from 1948 to 1951.
In inflation-adjusted dollars, the Marshall Plan cost $115.3 BILLION, Louisiana Purchase $217 BILLION, the New Deal (1930s) $500 BILLION
11)Churchill called the Marshall Plan the “greatest act of CHARITY in world history.”
The Soviets accused us of trying to “buy ourselves” into European affairs.
12)The United States wanted a peaceful and prosperous Europe.
Hitler and the Japanese military had come to power due in large part to economic depressions.
13)The countries of Germany and Japan were rebuilt with U.$. help.
14)The COMMUNIST MANIFESTO called for violent world-wide revolution by the exploited working classes – “workers of the world unite and overthrow your oppressors”, with the ultimate creation of a “dictatorship of the proletariat”.
15)The TRUMAN DOCTRINE offered aid to countries fighting communist
revolution. He said, “I believe it must be the policy of the U.S. to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside powers.”
16)The Truman Doctrine helps explain American involvement in wars in Korea and Vietnam.
It was aid against totalitarian Communist expansion around the world.
It also helps explain American aid to authoritarian “thug” dictators who happened to be anti-communist.
17)The freedom and prosperity in “Western” Berlin, Germany made the
Communists “look bad.” Stalin cut western road, rail and canal access to Berlin.
18)The BERLIN AIRLIFT supplied Berlin by plane. It lasted ten months.
Stalin eventually gave up due to blockade ineffictiveness.
The west won the first major test of the cold war
19)”CONTAINMENT” stated that, ”…any U.S. policy toward the soviet Union must be that of long-term, but patient containment of Russian expansive tendencies.”
20)The DOMINO THEORY stated that if one country fell to Communism, the ones next would fall in order.
21)The NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (N.A.T.O.) was set up by the West in 1949 after the Berlin Blockade.
It was a military alliance that said an attack on ONE member country was considered an attack on ALL countries in the alliance.
It helped unite countries of the West.
22)N.A.T.O. led to the stationing of U.S. military forces in Europe.
This was to provide a deterrent to possible Soviet invasion and expansion.
23)The communist bloc eventually responded with their own military alliance called the WARSAW PACT.
24)In 1949, Chinese Communist revolutionary MAO Zedong proclaimed a communist republic.
The “NATIONALIST” CHINESE we backed eventually fled to the island of TAIWAN (Taipei).
KOREAN WAR (1950-53)
25)In Korea, the communist north invaded the south in 1950.
The NORTH took almost the whole peninsula.
26)The United Nations sent a military force against the communists.
They re-took almost the whole peninsula. Communist Chinese forces entered the fight, overwhelming U.N. forces.
27)The war in Korea would end in “STALEMATE” – the “cease-fire” lines ended nearly where the war had started.
Over 53,000 Americans died in Korea.
28)A “DE-MILITARIZED ZONE” was set up at the 38th Parallel.
Today, the U.S. still has over 20,000 troops in South Korea. (to be downsized in the future)
HUNGARIAN UPRISING (1956)
29)The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Stalinist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies.
30)After World War II, the Soviet military occupied Hungary and gradually replaced the freely elected government with the Hungarian Communist Party.
31)The Hungarian State Security Police (ÁVH) employed methods of intimidation,false accusations, imprisonment and torture, to suppress political opposition.
32)Radical nationalization of the economy based on the Soviet model produced economic stagnation, lowering standards of living.
33)Living Standards had dropped by 17-20% during the Five-Year Plan of 1949-53.
34)Forced state collectivization on unwilling peasant farmers led to a fall in their tiny incomes. 1952 saw the worst ever yields in Hungarian agriculture.
35)Official statistics revealed that while 15% of the population was above the ‘minimum’ standard of living, 30% were on it and 55% below.
36)A day’s pay for a state farm worker wouldn’t buy a kilo of bread; 15% of working-class families not everyone had a blanket; one in every five workers had no winter coat. Stealing from the state and ‘beating the system’ were done to survive.
37)Writers and journalists were the first to voice open criticism, publishing critical articles in 1955.
The Revolt began as a student demonstration.
About 20,000 protesters convened at Budapest’s Bem statue, chanting the
censored “National Song”: “We vow, … we will no longer remain slaves.”
38)The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell.
Thousands organized into militias, battling the State Security Police (ÁVH) and Soviet troops.
39)Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often execute or imprisoned.
40)Impromptu councils took control from the Communist Party, and demanded changes.
41)The new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections.
42)By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.
43)The new government agreed to establish a multi-party system, declared Hungarian neutrality and appealed to the United Nations.
Western powers failed to respond.
44)American President Eisenhower, aware of a detailed study of Hungarian resistance,
recommended against U.S. military intervention. In a 1998 interview,
Hungarian Ambassador Géza Jeszenszky was critical of Western inaction.
45)After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces,
the Soviets changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution.
46)On November 4, 1956 a large Soviet military force invaded Budapest. Hungarian resistance continued until November 10, 1956. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians died, and 200,000 more fled as refugees.
47)By January, 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. Many saw the Hungarian uprising’s failure as evidence that the Cold War in Europe had become a stalemate.
48)Soviet leader Stalin died in 1953. New Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev sent conflicting messages to the West.
In 1956, Khrushchev used a controversial expression “We will bury you!” while addressing Western ambassadors at the Polish embassy.
The actual quote read: “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side.
We will DIG YOU IN.“ Of course we will not bury you with a shovel.
Your own working class will BURY YOU.”
49)Khrushchev introduced a new policy of co-existence. He said nothing was to be gained by trying to destroy the west.
He tried to create a “popular” image of Soviet communism.
50)The Soviets would “compete” with the West to show it’s superiority.
U.S. Vice-President Nixon visited Moscow, debating Khruschchev about the merits of their respective societies. This became known as the KITCHEN DEBATE.
The SPACE RACE
51)The Soviets sent up Sputnik (Russian for “satellite”) to orbit the Earth in 1957.
The Soviets were also the first to put an animal in orbit around the earth.
52)The first man to orbit the earth was Russian Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
One month later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
53)The first American to orbit the earth was John Glenn in February, 1962.
He would later go up in the space shuttle at age 77.
54)President John F. Kennedy in 1961 made a goal of landing on the moon by the end of the decade.
In July, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
55)Athletics competition also became a battle of “superiority”. The Olympics became another stage of “cold war” battle.
The U-2 INCIDENT (1959)
56)Soviet society was largely “closed”. The United States had difficulties determining Soviet military capabilities.
Initially, U-2 spy planes could fly higher (70,000 feet+) than the Russians could shoot.
Eventually, the Russians shot one down.
57)U-2 Pilot Gary Francis Powers was captured, put on trial and imprisoned. Initially, President Eisenhower said the flight was “accidental”
58)The U-2 INCIDENT heightened tensions and distrust and threatened co-existence.
CUBAN REVOLUTION (1959- )
59)From 1952, Cuba was governed by pro-American dictator Fulgencio BAUTISTA.
In 1959, he was overthrown by rebel leader FIDEL CASTRO.
60)Cuba had been a popular vacation spot (before Las Vegas) and sugar producer for the Americans.
The U.S. cut off all aid to Cuba after Castro’s takeover.
61)Castro “NATIONALIZED” all U.S. assets and property in Cuba.
He eventually made a formal alliance with the Soviet Union.
62)The Soviets agreed to buy Cuban sugar every year at “inflated” prices.
63)A communist country 90 miles away alarmed many in the United States.
64)The “Bay of Pigs” was a U.S. sponsored invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles.
It was initiated by Eisenhower and finally approved by President Kennedy in 1961.
65)The Bay of Pigs Invasion failed miserably without full U.S. military support.
The VIENNA SUMMIT (1961)
66)Did the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion influence Khrushchev to challenge the new American president?
Khrushchev berated, belittled and bullied Kennedy in Vienna.
67)Khrushchev threatened to blockade Western access to Berlin. Kennedy later stated he was shocked at the tone and threats made. Khrushchev told Kennedy,
“Force will be met by force. If the US wants war, that’s its problem. It’s up to the U.S. to decide whether there will be war or peace.”
68)Kennedy refused to capitulate or back down from the American policy of containment of communism in the face of Soviet aggression.
Kennedy replied, “Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold, long winter.”
69)By all accounts, including Kennedy’s own, the meetings were a disaster.
JFK later claimed of Khrushchev, “He beat the hell out of me.”
70)After the summit, Khrushchev stated he had under-estimated Kennedy.
However, JFK felt he had demonstrated perceived weakness to
Khrushchev during the summit- “If he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts, until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him. So we have to ACT.”
71)Regardless of who “won”, did Vienna increase the likelihood of future conflict?
The BERLIN WALL (1961)
72) The freedom and prosperity of Western Berlin attracted many “easterners”.
73)The Communists built a wall to stop the “embarrassment” of “defectors” escaping to West Berlin. Those trying to “escape” were severely punished, even sometimes shot.
74)The BERLIN WALL became a symbol of communist oppression.
75)President Kennedy visited Berlin in 1961 to show his support for “free” Berlin.
He made a famous speech before 100,000 Berliners. JFK promised he would not let them lose their freedom to the communists.
CUBA MISSILE CRISIS (1962)
76)On October 17, 1962, President Kennedy was shown pictures of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. This situation was unacceptable to the United States.
77)President Kennedy addressed the nation of the dangerous situation on national television.
The world seemed on the BRINK of NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST.
78)Kennedy decided on a naval quarentine (BLOCKADE) of Cuba. Soviet ships with more nuclear missiles on them were headed to Cuba.
79)In a game of “CHICKEN”, the Soviet ships with missiles turned away. Secretly, Kennedy planned an invasion of Cuba.
This would likely lead to Soviet “retaliation” – the invasion of Berlin.
“World War Three” loomed.
80)Eventually, a “deal” to remove the missiles was made. The U.S. pledged not toinvade Cuba and would remove NATO missiles in Turkey in six months.
The Soviets could not publicly acknowledge missile removal – lest it look like American appeasement.
75)After this NEAR nuclear catastrophic crisis, the U.S. and Soviets would actively seek a “COOLING DOWN” period of decreased tension called DéTENT.