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Confrontation of Superpowers
 After World War II Stalin feared the Capitalists in
the West and the U.S. feared communism.
 Superpower- countries whose military power is
combined with political influence
Rivalry in Europe
 Eastern Europe was the first area of disagreement.
 The U.S. believed that Eastern Europe should freely
determine their own governments.
 Having freed the Eastern Europeans from Nazi
control the Soviet army stayed in the conquered
areas preventing the free elections.
 In Greece, the Communist People’s Liberation Army
and the anti-communist forces supported by Great
Britain were fighting a civil war for control of Greece.
 Great Britain was forced out because of economic
Truman Doctrine
 Harry S. Truman was alarmed by the British
withdrawal from Greece and feared the possibility of
Soviet expansion into the eastern Mediterranean.
 The Truman Doctrine stated that the United States
would provide money to countries threatened by
Communist expansion.
 If the Soviets were not stopped in Greece then the
United States would have to face the spread of
communism throughout the free world.
The Marshall Plan
 The Marshall Plan was designed to rebuild the
prosperity and stability of war-torn Europe.
 Underlying the Marshall Plan was the belief that
Communist aggression was successful in countries
where there were economic problems.
 The Soviets saw the Marshall Plan as an attempt to
buy the support of countries.
 Policy of Containment- to keep communism within
its existing borders and prevent further Soviet
aggressive moves. This became U.S. policy.
The Division of Germany
 The fate of Germany also became a source of heated
contention between the Soviets and the West.
 At the end of the war, the Allied Powers divided
Germany into four zones, each occupied by one of
the Allies—the United States, the Soviet Union, Great
Britain, and France.
 Berlin, located deep inside the Soviet zone, was also
divided into four zones.
 The three western powers planned to unify the three
Western Sections of Germany and Berlin and create
a West German government.
 The Soviets opposed the creation of a separate West
German state and attempted to prevent the
unification by creating a blockade.
 To prevent another World War the Allies began the
Berlin Air Lift.
 For more than 10 months American and British
planes brought supplies to the Allied zone of Berlin.
 In September 1949, the Federal Republic of
Germany, or West Germany, was formally created.
 The German Democratic Republic was set up by the
Soviets on the Eastern Side of Germany with East
Berlin as its capital.
 Berlin was now divided into two parts.
The Spread of the Cold War
 In 1949, Chinese Communists took control of the
government in China, strengthening U.S. fears about
the spread of communism.
 The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in
 All too soon, the United States and the Soviet Union
were involved in a growing arms race, in which both
countries built up their armies and weapons.
 Nuclear weapons became increasingly destructive.
 Both sides came to believe that an arsenal of nuclear
weapons would prevent war.
They believed that if one nation attacked with
nuclear weapons, the other nation would still be able
to respond and devastate the attacker.
According to this policy, neither side could risk using
their massive supplies of weapons.
Deterrence- huge arsenals of nuclear weapons on
both sides prevented war.
Mutually Assured Destruction.
New Military Alliances
 The search for security during the Cold War led to
the formation of new military alliances.
 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization-All the
powers agreed to provide mutual help if any one of
them was attacked.
 Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact in response to
 Europe was once again divided into hostile alliance
systems, just as it had been before World War I.
A Wall in Berlin
 Nikita Khrushchev, who emerged as the new leader
of the Soviet Union, realized the need to stop the
flow of refugees from East Germany to West
 The East German government began to build a wall
separating West Berlin form East Berlin.
 The Berlin Wall became a striking symbol of the
division between the two superpowers.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
 During the John F. Kennedy administration, the
Cold War Confrontation between the United States
and the Soviet Union reached frightening levels.
 Fidel Castro overthrew a Cuban dictator to set up a
Soviet supported totalitarian regime in Cuba.
 Kennedy approved a secret plan for Cuban exiles to
invade and overthrow Castro, but was unsuccessful
at the Bay of Pigs.
 The Soviet Union then sent nuclear missiles to Cuba
to counteract the United States placement of missiles
in Turkey.
 Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba to prevent
missiles from reaching Cuba.
 Krushchev and Kennedy agreed that if the U.S.
would not invade Cuba the Soviet Union would
remove the missiles.
 A Soviet officer revealed that if the United States
would have invaded Cuba, they would have launched
the missles.
Vietnam and the Domino Theory
 In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson increased the number of
U.S. troops in Vietnam.
 Their purpose was to keep the Communist regime of
North Vietnam from gaining control of South
 Domino Theory- if one country falls to Communism
other countries would fall as well.
 Despite the massive superiority in equipment and
firepower of the American forces, the United States
failed to defeat the determined North Vietnamese.
 The increasing numbers of troops in Vietnam created
an antiwar movement in the U.S.
 The mounting destruction of the conflict, brought
into American homes every evening on television,
also turned American public opinion against the war.
 President Johnson was condemned for the his
handling of the costly war and decided not to run for
 Richard Nixon won the election with his pledge to
stop the war and bing the American people together.
 Nixon reached an agreement with North Vietnam to
remove American troops, eventually uniting Vietnam
under a Communist regime.
 The domino theory proved unfounded because of a
split between Communist China and Communist
 Under Nixon, American and Chinese relations were
improved opening a new age of American-Soviet
The Reign of Stalin
 World War II devastated the Soviet Union.
 Stalin increased production and exports but at the
expense of the workers.
 Heavy industry, the manufacture of machines and
equipment, increased.
 This allowed the Soviets to have the first space
satellite, Sputnik I.
 Stalin remained the undisputed master of the Soviet
 He distrusted competitors, exercised sole power, and
had little respect for other Communist Party leaders.
 He forced all literary and scientific work to conform
to the political needs of the state.
 A new series of purges seemed likely until his death
in 1953.
 The growth rate for industry was three times that for
consumer goods.
 The housing market took the biggest hit.
 All Soviet families were forced to live in one bedroom
The Khrushchev Era
 Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the General Secretary
of the Communist Party, and took steps to undo
some of the worst features of Stalin’s regime.
Khrushchev condemned Stalin for his administrative
violence, mass repression, and terror.
The process of eliminating the more ruthless policies
of Stalin became known as de-Stalinization.
He loosened the government controls on literary
Placed more emphasis on producing consumer goods
and increased agriculture output.
 The failure of the agricultural projects, increased
military spending and the decrease in industrial
output hurt the Soviet Union’s economy.
 Foreign policy failures also damaged Khrushchev’s
 While on vacation the Soviet leaders voted him out of
power due to “deterioration health” which forced
him to retire.
 After World War II, Soviet-controlled Communist
governments took control of Eastern European countries.
 After World War II, Yugoslavia, led by Josip Broz or Tito,
was an independent Communist state until Tito’s death
in 1980.
 After Stalin’s death many Eastern European states tried
to make reforms. The Soviet Union, however, made it
that it would not allow its Eastern European satellites to
become independent.
 In 1956 revolts against communism erupted in Poland
and a series of reforms were adopted. Fearful of a Soviet
armed response, however, the Poles pledged to remain
loyal to the Warsaw Pact.
 In 1956, after calls for revolt from Soviet control,
Hungarian leader Imre Nagy declared Hungary a
free nation. Three days later, Soviet troops attacked
Budapest and reestablished control of the country.
 In January 1968, Alexander Dub∨cek was elected
first secretary of the Communist party in
Czechoslovakia. He introduced reforms to the
country, including freedom of speech and press. By
August 1968 the Soviet Army invaded
Czechoslovakia and crushed the reform movement
and reestablished Soviet control.
Western Europe: Recovery
 With the aid of the Marshall Plan, the countries of
Western Europe recovered relatively rapidly from the
devastation of World War II.
 After World War II, many Europeans wanted European
unity. Nationalism, however, was too strong for
European nations to give up their sovereignty. Instead
the countries focused on economic unity.
 In 1957, France, West Germany, the Benelux countries,
and Italy created the European Economic Community
(EEC), also known as the Common Market. The sixmember nations would impose no tariffs on each other’s
 By the 1960s, the EEC was an important trading bloc—a
group of nations with a common purpose.
The United States in the 1950s
 Between 1945 and 1970, the ideals of Franklin
Roosevelt’s New Deal determined the patterns of
American domestic politics.
 Prosperity at home and Cold War struggles abroad
characterized the 1950s in the United States.
 Between 1945 and 1973 real wages—the actual
purchasing power of income—grew an average of 3
percent a year.
Red Scare
 The Cold War led to
widespread fear that
Communists had
infiltrated the United
 Senator Joseph R.
McCarthy charged that
hundreds of communists
were in high government
positions. This created a
massive “Red Scare.”
 President John F. Kennedy,
the youngest elected
president of the United
States, was assassinated in
 Vice President Lyndon
Johnson became president
and was elected in a
landslide victory to another
term in 1964.
 President Johnson’s Great
Society programs included
health care for the elderly,
measures to fight poverty,
and aid to education.
Civil Rights
 The U.S. civil rights
movement began in 1954
with the Supreme Court
ruling that made racial
segregation in public
schools illegal.
 In 1963 the Reverend
Martin Luther King, Jr., a
leader of the civil rights
movement, led a march on
Washington, D.C., for
 He advocated the use of
passive disobedience in
gaining racial equality.
 In 1964 the Civil Rights Act helped end segregation
and discrimination in the workplace and in public
 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made it easier for
African Americans to vote in southern states.
Domestic Issues in the United States
 In 1965, race riots began in the Watts district of Los
In 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King,
Jr., race riots broke out in over a hundred cities in the
United States.
The race riots caused a “white backlash” and racial
division in the U.S. continued.
As the Vietnam War continued through the second half
of the 1960s, antiwar protests throughout the United
States grew.
Republican Richard M. Nixon was elected president
based on his ”law and order” campaign in 1968.
Post Cold War
 By the 1970s, United
States-Soviet relations had
reached détente—a
relaxation of tension and
improved relations.
 By 1979, however, a new
period of East-West
confrontation began when
the Soviets invaded
Afghanistan. They wanted
to restore a pro-Soviet
regime there.
 The United States viewed
this as an act of expansion.
 In 1980, President Ronald Reagan began a military
buildup and a new arms race with the Soviet Union.
Reagan gave military aid to the Afghan rebels to fight
the Soviets.
 In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the
Soviet Union.
 In 1987 Gorbachev made an agreement with the
United States—the Intermediate-range Nuclear
Force (INF) Treaty—to eliminate intermediate-range
nuclear missiles.
 Gorbachev changed Soviet
policy by stopping military
support to Communist
governments in Eastern
Europe. This led to the
overthrow of Communist
regimes in these countries.
 Germany was reunified in
1990– signaling the end of
the Cold War.
 In 1991 the Soviet Union
was dissolved.