The United Nations comprises 192 member countries (nearly every country in the world) and works toward maintaining international peace and security and finding solutions for global economic and humanitarian problems. The UN conducts its mission through six main organs, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, the Secretariat, the Security Council, and the Trusteeship Council. The United Nations was founded in 1945 when the UN Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the UK, the US, and a majority of other signatory countries. The UN is headquartered in New York and has offices in Geneva and Vienna.
The Origins of the Cold War
So named because vast resources were poured into a bitter 'bi-polar' ideological struggle between the West, led by the USA, and the East, led by the USSR, which never quite led to open or 'hot' hostilities between the principals.Churchill coined or at least popularized the term 'iron curtain' in a speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March 1946, but before that it was obvious that the two main victors of WW II were heading for confrontation. The two occasions when the war nearly got hot were both Soviet provocations, their 1948 blockade countered by the Berlin airlift and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 when a US blockade forced them to take secretly introduced IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Weapons) out of Cuba.The Cold War might be said to have been declared in 1949, when the USSR exploded its first atomic bomb. Thr US nstarted its policy of containment.
The Yalta Conference
In 1945, the "Big Three" of World War II—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston S. Churchill, and Josef Stalin—had not met since December 1943. Because of Allied landings in France and the Soviet thrust across Poland and into Germany, by the summer of 1944 a second meeting of the three men was deemed necessary. But arguments over the time and place of their meeting delayed the conference until 4-11 February 1945, when they met at Yalta in the Crimea because Stalin refused to leave the Soviet Union.Each man traveled to Yalta for different reasons. Roosevelt came because of his desire to create a United Nations before World War II ended. Churchill feared the growing power of the Soviet Union in a devastated Europe. Stalin was intent on protecting the Soviet Union against another German invasion. The major problems facing the three leaders included Poland, Germany, Soviet entry into the war against Japan, and the United Nations.At Yalta, Roosevelt attained his goal in an agreement for a conference on the United Nations
The containment doctrine, with its ambiguities and imprecision, was a major strategy and the guiding conception in American foreign policy from shortly after World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-1991, and some might argue that containment remained a policy into the twenty-first century for the United States in dealing with communist regimes in Cuba, North Korea, and China. In its most general form, containment denotes the American effort, by military, political, and economic means, to resist communist expansion throughout the world. But precisely because of the looseness of the doctrine and the differing interpretations, including questions about the selective application of efforts to stop communism, the doctrine's author, George F. Kennan, an influential foreign service officer in 1947 and later a respected private scholar, often opposed important tactics that many American policymakers defined as the implementation of containment: the global rhetoric of the Truman Doctrine in 1947, e
A four-year program proposed by U.S. Secretary of state George C. Marshall on June 5, 1947, and instituted at the Paris Economic Conference in July 1947 to provide foreign assistance to seventeen western and southern European nations during World War II reconstruction. Implemented by the Economic Cooperation Administration, it was created to restore economic stability in Europe and to facilitate foreign trade, and it dispensed over $13 billion between 1948 and 1951. It was also designed to contain Soviet and communist expansionism. It was a predecessor of NATO and the Atlantic alliance.
In 1947, Soviet‐American tensions developed along the "northern tier" of the Mediterranean and culminated in the Truman Doctrine. The Soviet Union, recently rebuffed in Iran, seemed determined to stage a Communist takeover in Greece and wrest the Dardenelles Straits—connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean—from Turkey. Although it is doubtful that the Soviets were either directly involved in the Greek troubles or actually prepared to take military action against Turkey, the perception of danger distorted reality. The Truman administration feared that the Soviets sought access to the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and ultimately the entire Middle East. Soviet hegemony in this oil‐rich region could promote the collapse of Western Europe.The immediate concern was Greece. The British supported the restoration of the monarchy after World War II, but opposition came from numerous groups, including the Greek Communist Party. Fighting had broken out in Athens in late 1944, which resulted in an uneasy truce i
On 17 July 1945, Josef Stalin, Harry S. Truman, and Winston S. Churchill (who was replaced on 28 July by Clement Attlee) met for eleven days at Potsdam near Berlin. They faced two related issues: ending the war against Japan and restructuring Germany and Eastern Europe. Germany ranked high on everyone's list of problems. Truman's goal was to create principles to guide the proposed Allied Control Council in preparing for unification of Germany. Stalin was concerned about reparations and Germany's border with Poland. Accepted were the American principles, including denazification, demilitarization, and democratization, and the Soviet desire for the Oder and Neisse Rivers as Germany's eastern border. Agreeing on reparations was difficult and was resolved only at the end of the conference by a formula calling for each power to take reparations from its zone, with the Soviets receiving some from other zones.As for Japan, Stalin agreed to Soviet entry into the war by mid‐August, while Truman informed Stalin in vagu
Political, military, and ideological barrier erected by the Soviet Union after World War II to seal off itself and its dependent eastern European allies from open contact with the West and other noncommunist areas. Winston Churchill employed the term in a speech in Fulton, Mo., U.S., about the division of Europe in 1946. The restrictions and the rigidity of the Iron Curtain eased slightly after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, though the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 restored them. The Iron Curtain largely ceased to exist in 1989 - 90 with the communists' abandonment of one-party rule in eastern Europe.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 marked the end of an American tradition of non-tangling alliances from the years of the early Republic. The treaty reflected Cold War fears of Soviet aggression and linked the United States and Canada on one side of the Atlantic with Iceland, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and Italy on the other side. (Subsequently, Greece and Turkey in 1952, West Germany in 1955, Spain in 1982, and the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland in 1999 would join the alliance.) Western-oriented European governments wanted assurances beyond those implied by the Truman Doctrine (1947) and the Marshall Plan (1948-1951) that the United States would defend them against a Soviet attack. Thus, attention has always been directed at Article 5, in which the signatory members agreed that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." If such attack occurred,
The Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Pact was created by the Soviet Union on 14 May 1955 as a political‐military alliance of European Communist states to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), particularly the entry of West Germany into NATO in 1955. Officially called the Warsaw Treaty Organization, the original eight members were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. However, unlike NATO, the Warsaw Pact was a multinational rather than a multilateral military defense organization.The Warsaw Treaty stressed the maintenance of international peace and security (Article 1). It proposed effective arms control measures (Article 2), and obliged member states to consult each other on all aspects of international relations (Article 3). Other alliances prejudicial to the interests of the Warsaw Pact were banned (Article 7). In the event of attack on any Warsaw Pact states they would have the right to individual or collective defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter (Artic
berlin blockade/berlin airlift
Berlin airlift (1948-9). At the end of WW II, Berlin was divided into American, British, French, and Soviet sectors. Supplies for western sectors had to pass through the Soviet-controlled zone, and as friction between the USSR and the West widened so the Soviets increased interference with traffic. In March 1948 the Soviets, then chairing the Allied Control Council which governed Berlin, adjourned a meeting without setting the date for another, and the body never met again. Traffic control became more rigid, and Allied leaders considered a variety of plans from withdrawal to military action to force a route to the city.The Berlin Airlift proved the West would maintain its position in Berlin even at the risk of war. The airlift was a public relations victory for the peaceful use of airpower, heightening the reputation of the U.S. Military Airlift Command and of Generals LeMay and Tunner.
The Fall of China
1644 - 1911/12) Last of the imperial dynasties in China. The name Qing was first applied to the dynasty established by the Manchu in 1636 in Manchuria and then applied by extension to their rule in China. During the Qing dynasty, China's territory and population expanded tremendously. Cultural attitudes were strongly conservative and Neo-Confucianism was the dominant philosophy. The arts flourished: literati painting was popular, novels in the vernacular developed substantially, and jingxi (Peking opera) developed. Qing porcelain, textiles, tea, paper, sugar, and steel were exported to all parts of the world. Military campaigns in the latter part of the 18th century depleted government finances, and corruption grew. These conditions, combined with population pressures and natural disasters, led to the Opium Wars and the Taiping and Nian rebellions, which in turn so weakened the dynasty that it was unable to rebuff the demands of foreign powers. The dynasty ended with the republican revolution of 1911 and the
The Korean War
Korean war (1950-3). In 1945, the Japanese colony of Korea was divided 'temporarily' between the USSR and the USA along the line of the 38th Parallel of latitude. Some five years later the division persisted, despite repeated efforts at reunification by the UN. Stalin established a satellite state under Kim Il-sung in North Korea, while in the south the Republic of Korea (ROK) was formed under an autocratic right-wing coalition, elected under UN supervision. Its president was Syngman Rhee, a fiery old patriot. The leaders of both North and South Korea wished to unite the country by force of arms. Neither the Americans nor Stalin were minded to supply the means to do so. Chafing, each side skirmished indeterminately along the 38th Parallel.This first military operation by UN forces failed to reunite the Korean nation but saved those in South Korea from the tyrannical and incompetent government of Kim Il-sung. It exposed to members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army flaws in Mao's military leadership which
1875-1965, Korean statesman, president of the Republic of Korea (1948-60). Early an advocate of Korean independence, he led a demonstration against the Japanese in 1897 and was condemned to life imprisonment but was released (1904) under an amnesty. Rhee went to the United States, where he studied at Harvard and Princeton (Ph.D., 1910), and after returning to Korea went to Hawaii for a time. In 1919 a group of conspirators for Korean independence made him president of a government in exile, and he never ceased working for the cause. After World War II he became a leader in South Korea under the U.S. occupation, and in 1948 he became first president of the Republic of Korea, which claimed the right to rule over all Korea. When, on July 27, 1953, a truce was reached in the Korean War, Rhee maintained that all Korea should be united. Reelected to his fourth term in 1960, Rhee was accused of rigging the election. Student-led demonstrations protesting the election and government corruption soon led
Kim II Sung
Kim Il-sung headed North Korea's government from 1948 until his death in 1994. Kim gained fame in Korea as a guerilla fighter against the Japanese in Manchuria during the 1930s. When the Korean peninsula was split into North and South Koreas in 1948, Kim grabbed power in North Korea and held it for the next 46 years. His official position was head of the Korean Workers' Party, but in fact he held near-total control of the country's political machinery, much as his contemporary Chairman Mao ran China. His most famous years may have been 1950-53, when he led his country (backed by the Soviet Union and China) in the Korean War against South Korea (backed by the United States and United Nations forces). Before Kim's death in 1994, he arranged for power to pass to his son, Kim Jong-il. In 1998 the younger Kim gave his father the posthumous title of "eternal president."
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur was one of the best-known American military leaders of World War II, when he commanded Allied forces in the southwest Pacific. MacArthur graduated first in his class from West Point Academy in 1903, then went to the Philippines and worked as an aide to his father, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. He served with distinction in World War I, then returned to the Philippines as major general (1922-25) and commander of the Department of the Philippines (1928-30) before a mainland posting as Army chief of staff (1930-35). In 1935 he was again sent to the Philippines to organize defenses in preparation for their independence. In 1937 he retired from the Army rather than leave his Philippine project uncompleted, but he was recalled to active duty when it became clear that war with Japan was imminent. Overrun by Japanese forces at Bataan, MacArthur was ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt to withdraw to Australia. Before MacArthur and his family escaped, he made the famous vow, "I shall return." In 1
Suez War of 1956
The 1956 Suez War is commonly considered a major blunder in modern international relations and a watershed leading to the final demise of British and French colonialism. Within a few years both Great Britain and France lost their positions in the Middle East and North Africa, and their status as first-rate powers waned while dependence on U.S. power grew. The Eisenhower Doctrine of January 1957 gave a symbolic imprimatur to the evolving new situation in the Middle East. The main winner of the entire affair was President Nasser, who not only achieved nationalization of the Suez Company and expelled the last vestiges of British presence along the canal, but also emerged as the uncontested leader of the Arab people and became, along with India's Jawaharlal Nehru and Yugoslavia's Josef Broz Tito, one of the outstanding leaders of the neutralist bloc of nations.
Poland Crisis of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was the first major anti-Soviet uprising in Eastern Europe and the first shooting war to occur between socialist states. In contrast to earlier uprisings after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in March 1953, such as the workers' revolt in East Berlin (1953) and the Polish workers' rebellion in Poznan, Poland (October 1956), the incumbent Hungarian leader, Imre Nagy, did not summon Soviet military troops to squelch the revolution. Instead, he attempted to withdraw Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. Hence, the Hungarian revolution symbolizes perhaps the first major "domino" to fall in a process that ultimately resulted in the Soviet Union's loss of hegemony over Eastern Europe in 1989.
Hungary Crisis of 1956
1956) Popular uprising in Hungary following a speech by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in which he attacked the period of Joseph Stalin's rule. Encouraged by the new freedom of debate and criticism, a rising tide of unrest and discontent in Hungary broke out into active fighting in October 1956. Rebels won the first phase of the revolution, and Nagy Imre became premier, agreeing to establish a multiparty system. On November 1 he declared Hungarian neutrality and appealed to the UN. Western powers failed to respond, and on November 4 the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to stop the revolution. Nevertheless, Stalinist-type domination and exploitation did not return, and Hungary thereafter experienced a slow evolution toward some internal autonomy.
Gamal Abdul Nasser
Nasser led the Free Officer movement in the Egyptian armed forces which seized power in July 1952, under General Neguib. It abolished the monarchy a year later. Nasser ousted Neguib as head of state, Prime Minister, and chairman of the military junta (RCC) in 1954. His decision to nationalize the Suez Canal to finance the construction of the Aswan High Dam led directly to the second Arab-Israeli War of October-November 1956. The successful co-ordinated attacks upon Suez by Israel, France, and Britain were quickly halted and a ceasefire arranged after strong UN and USA pressure. Despite military defeat, Nasser was able to present the war as a great Arab victory over the forces of imperialism and Zionism and he was acclaimed as a great Arab hero. From 1958, Egypt relied increasingly upon Soviet military and economic aid. This ended Egypt's non-aligned policy and she became the principal Soviet client state in the Middle Eastern Cold War. In the name of Arab socialism, Nasser carried out a domestic programme of extensive nationalization, income redistribution, subsidies on basic goods, and a reduction of rent, fares, and educational fees, in 1961. Nasser's post-Suez ascendancy lay chiefly in the wider Arab world, however. He inspired the pan-Arab union of Syria and Egypt, the United Arab Republic, in 1958, which lasted until 1961. Nasser sought the overthrow of Arab monarchies and the vestiges of European rule in the Arab world, by aiding revolutionary nationalist groups, as in Algeria, North Yemen, and Oman, and by supporting radical nationalist governments, like those of Nabulsi in Jordan and Qadhafi in Libya. Nasser sponsored and sought to direct the Palestinian guerrilla groups al-Fatah in 1956 and the PLO in 1964. As Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan moved towards war with Israel, Israel destroyed the airforces of all four countries in pre-emptive airstrikes in June 1967. This enabled Israeli ground forces to win a rapid and crushing military victory in six days that destroyed Nasser's dreams of uniting the Arabs and annihilating Israel.
Born a Ukrainian peasant, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev joined the Communist party in 1918 and in four decades rose through the ranks to become the leader of all the Soviet Union. Khrushchev first became a member of the party's central committee in 1934. He had a close connection to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and after Stalin's death in 1953 Khrushchev emerged as the new leader. He began to reform Stalin's most brutal excesses, and when he denounced some crimes of Stalin in 1956 it was regarded as a stunning development. Khrushchev also attempted to ease relations with the United States; in 1959 he toured the U.S. and met with President Dwight Eisenhower. When a U.S. spy plane piloted by Gary Powers was shot down over Russia in 1960, Khrushchev grew more belligerent, and he grabbed the attention of the world by pounding his shoe on a conference table at the United Nations that fall. Khrushchev, the U2 incident, and the Cold War all became major issues in the 1960 U.S. presidential contest between Vice President Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, which was won by Kennedy. Two years later Khrushchev was forced to back down to Kennedy over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, in what became known as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Further domestic and foreign relations disasters weakened Khrushchev's power, and in 1964 he was replaced as Soviet leader by Leonid Brezhnev.
The Berlin Wall was erected in September 1961 to prevent the outflow of skilled manpower from the German Democratic Republic and other Soviet bloc countries into the Western-controlled sectors of the city and thence into the West as a whole. It came to symbolize the Cold War and the rigid division of Europe into two armed camps. Its removal in November 1989 had precisely the opposite implications, culminating in German unification and the end of the Cold War.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban missile crisis (1962). In May 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev promised military assistance to the beleaguered Castro regime in Cuba. Two years later, he saw that the USSR's relations with Cuba also represented a unique opportunity to offset the threat posed to Moscow by US nuclear missiles based in Turkey. In addition to aircraft, air defence systems, armoured vehicles, and troops, Khrushchev offered a selection of nuclear-armed medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles. Castro accepted the offer and within months the USA and the USSR were on the verge of all-out nuclear war. On 14 October 1962, following indications of increased military activity on Cuba and a growing Soviet presence, an American U-2 aircraft photographed missile sites in western Cuba. Subsequent intelligence indicated that the missiles—SS-4 and SS-5, both with 1 megaton warheads—had the ability to reach almost the entire continental USA, including every Strategic Air Command base. On 22 October 1962, after intense debate in the Executive Committee (ExComm) of the National Security Council, during which the possibilities of aerial bombardment or invasion of Cuba were discussed, US Pres John Kennedy announced a maritime blockade to prevent further shipments of missiles and military equipment. Kennedy also demanded that Khrushchev dismantle and remove all missiles from Cuba. For six terrifying days, the two superpowers considered their options until on 28 October Khrushchev agreed to Kennedy's demands. In return, the USA agreed never to invade Cuba and (secretly) to remove its missiles from Turkey.
Literally 'loosening'. Détente was used to refer to periods of reduced tension in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was closely associated with the process (and progress) of arms control, and the main period of détente ran from the Partial Test Ban Treaty 1963 to the late 1970s. The term has fallen out of use with the end of the Cold War, but it has generic standing and can be used to describe any easing of tension in relations between states that are otherwise expected to be hostile.
Soviet statesman. General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1966 to 1982 and President from 1977 to 1982. His period in power was marked by intensified persecution of dissidents at home and by attempted détente followed by renewed cold war in 1968; he was largely responsible for the invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968). His name was linked to the "Brezhnev Doctrine" by which the Soviet Bloc states had the right to intervene in one another's internal affairs when the interests of "socialism" as a whole were threatened.
Czech politician. In World War II he took part in the underground resistance to Nazi occupation. After the war he rose in Communist Party ranks to become a member of the Presidium of the party's Central Committee (1962). In 1968 he forced Antonín Novotný (1904 - 75) to resign and replaced him as head of the Communist Party. He introduced liberal reforms in the brief period known as the Prague Spring, which ended when the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Demoted to lesser posts, he was expelled from the party in 1970. He returned to prominence in 1989 after the Communist Party had given up its monopoly on power, and was elected speaker of the Czech parliament.
End of Détente
Détente began to unravel in 1979 due to a series of events. The Iranian Revolution and the subsequent hostage crisis embarrassed the United States and led much of the American public to believe their nation had lost its international power and prestige. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that was to shore up a struggling allied regime led to harsh criticisms in the west and a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, which were to be held in Moscow. American President Jimmy Carter boosted the U.S. defense budget and began financially aiding the President of Pakistan General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq heavily, who would in turn subsidize the anti-Soviet Mujahideen fighters in the region. The 1980 American presidential election saw Ronald Reagan elected on a platform opposed to the concessions of Détente. Negotiations on SALT II were abandoned.
(born March 2, 1931, Privolye, Stavropol region, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Soviet official and last president of the Soviet Union (1990 - 91). After earning a law degree from Moscow State University (1955), he rose through the ranks to become a full Politburo member (1980) and general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1985 - 91). His extraordinary reform policies of glasnost and perestroika were resisted by party bureaucrats; to reduce their power, Gorbachev changed the Soviet constitution in 1988 to allow multicandidate elections and removed the monopoly power of the party in 1990. He cultivated warmer relations with the U.S., and in 1989 - 90 he supported the democratically elected governments that replaced the communist regimes of eastern Europe. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Russia's economic and political problems led to a 1991 coup attempt by hard-liners. In alliance with president Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev quit the Communist Party, disbanded its Central Committee, and shifted political powers to the Soviet Union's constituent republics. Events outpaced him, and the various republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States under Yeltsin's leadership. On Dec. 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned the presidency of the Soviet Union, which ceased to exist that same day.
An independent union formed in Poland in 1980 under the leadership of Lech Walesa, Solidarity tapped into the public's disaffection with communist power. Following mass strikes, the communist regime was forced into unprecedented concessions to society. Although after martial law in 1981, the union was banned, its legacy devastated communism in Poland. It was allowed to re-form in 1986, and was a partner in the Round Table talks which led to the orderly withdrawal of one-party rule beginning in 1988. Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland in 1990, and although party politics saw a fracturing of the Solidarity organization, the Solidarity Electoral Action coalition, formed in 1996, emerged as the largest party grouping in the 1997 election.
A former country of southeast Europe bordering on the Adriatic Sea. It was formed in 1918 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. Under the leadership of Marshal Tito, the country became a Communist-led regime after World War II. After Tito's death in 1980, economic problems and ethnic tensions grew. Communist party control ended in 1990, and four of the six constituent republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia) declared independence in 1991. Serbia and Montenegro, the remaining states, abandoned the name Yugoslavia in 2003 and dissolved the federation entirely in 2006.
(born Feb. 1, 1931, Sverdlovsk, Russia, U.S.S.R. — died April 23, 2007, Moscow, Russia) Russian politician and president of Russia (1990 - 99). After attending the Urals Polytechnic Institute, he worked at construction projects in western Russia (1955 - 68). He became Communist Party leader in Sverdlovsk in 1976, and he was an ally of Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev later charged Yeltsin with eliminating corruption in the Moscow party organization, and as first secretary (mayor) of Moscow (1985 - 87) he proved a determined reformer. His criticism of the slow pace of reform led to a break with Gorbachev, and Yeltsin lost his position. In 1989 he was elected to the new Soviet parliament by a landslide, then became president of the Russian Republic (1990) and resigned from the Communist Party. In 1991 he won the presidency again in the first popular election in Russian history. When communist hard-liners staged a coup against Gorbachev, Yeltsin successfully opposed it, facing down its leaders with a dramatic outdoor speech in Moscow. He led the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (1991) and began to transform Russia's economy into one based on free markets and private enterprise. Hard-liners staged an unsuccessful coup against Yeltsin in 1993. When Chechnya unilaterally declared independence, Yeltsin sent troops to fight the rebels (1994). The Chechnya situation and Russia's deepening economic distress lessened his popularity, but he won reelection over a Communist Party challenger in 1996. After suffering a heart attack, he spent several months recovering. Continuing poor health led to his resignation on Dec. 31, 1999. He was succeeded by Vladimir Putin.
Mohandas K. Ghandi
Revered in India as the "Father of the Nation," Mohandas K. Gandhi is also a worldwide icon of non-violent political resistance. Gandhi was born in India and studied law in England, then spent 20 years defending the rights of immigrants in South Africa. He returned to India in 1914, eventually becoming the leader of the Indian National Congress. At the time, India was part of the British Empire, and Gandhi urged non-violence and civil disobedience as a means to independence. His public acts of defiance landed him in jail many times as the struggle continued through World War II. In 1947 he participated in the postwar negotiations with Britain that led to Indian independence. He was shot to death by a Hindu fanatic the next year for being to accepting towards Muslims.
(born Nov. 14, 1889, Allahabad, India — died May 27, 1964, New Delhi) First prime minister of independent India (1947 - 64). Son of the independence advocate Motilal Nehru (1861 - 1931), Nehru was educated at home and in Britain and became a lawyer in 1912. More interested in politics than law, he was impressed by Mohandas K. Gandhi's approach to Indian independence. His close association with the Indian National Congress began in 1919; in 1929 he became its president, presiding over the historic Lahore session that proclaimed complete independence (rather than dominion status) as India's political goal. He was imprisoned nine times between 1921 and 1945 for his political activity. When India was granted limited self-government in 1935, the Congress Party under Nehru refused to form coalition governments with the Muslim League in some provinces; the hardening of relations between Hindus and Muslims that followed ultimately led to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. Shortly before Gandhi's assassination in 1948, Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India. He attempted a foreign policy of nonalignment during the Cold War, drawing harsh criticism if he appeared to favour either camp. During his tenure, India clashed with Pakistan over the Kashmir region and with China over the Brahmaputra River valley. He wrested Goa from the Portuguese. Domestically, he promoted democracy, socialism, secularism, and unity, adapting modern values to Indian conditions. His daughter, Indira Gandhi, became prime minister two years after his death.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a lawyer and politician who fought for the cause of India's independence from Britain, then moved on to found a Muslim state in Pakistan in 1947. Jinnah entered politics in India in 1905 and by 1917 his charisma and diplomacy had made him a national leader and the most visible supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. His strong belief in gradual and peaceful change was in contrast to the civil disobedience strategies of Mohandas Gandhi, and in the '20s Jinnah broke from the Indian National Congress to focus on an independent Muslim state. In 1940 he demanded a separate nation in Pakistan and by 1947 he somehow managed to get it from the British and India. Through civil wars, a rotten economy and millions of displaced refugees, Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah ("great leader") pretty much built a country from scratch.
Partition of India
The Partition of India is the process that led to the creation, on 14 August 1947 and 15 August 1947, respectively, of the sovereign states of Dominion of Pakistan (later Islamic Republic of Pakistan) and Union of India (later Republic of India) upon the granting of independence from the British Empire, marking the end of the British rule of India.
(born Nov. 19, 1917, Allahabad, India — died Oct. 31, 1984, New Delhi) Prime minister of India (1966 - 77, 1980 - 84). The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, she studied in India and at the University of Oxford. In 1942 she married Feroze Gandhi (d. 1960), a fellow member of the Indian National Congress. In 1959 she was given the largely honorary position of party president, and in 1966 she achieved actual power when she was made leader of the Congress Party and, consequently, prime minister. She instituted major reforms, including a strict population-control program. In 1971 she mobilized Indian forces against Pakistan in the cause of East Bengal's secession. She oversaw the incorporation of Sikkim in 1974. Convicted in 1975 of violating election laws, she declared a state of emergency, jailing opponents and passing many laws limiting personal freedoms. She was defeated in the following election but returned to power in 1980. In 1984 she ordered the army to move into the Golden Temple complex of the Sikhs at Amritsar, with the intent of crushing the Sikh militants hiding inside the temple; some 450 Sikhs died in the fighting. She was later shot and killed by her own Sikh bodyguards in revenge.
Chiang Kai Shek
Chiang Kai-shek was one of the most important political leaders in 20th century Chinese history, sandwiched between Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong. Early in the 20th century Chiang Kai-shek fought for Sun Yat-sen's United Revolutionary League and the Kuomintang party to overthrow China's imperial dynasty. The Republic of China was established in 1912, but by the end of the 1920s the Kuomintang split with the Communists (led by Mao Zedong) . After the death of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang became the leader of the Kuomintang army and seized control of the government. Still engaged in a civil war with the Communists, Generalissimo Chiang also led the army against Japanese invaders in Manchuria (1937). During World War II Chiang had the support of the Allied powers and was the supreme commander of the China theater for the length of the war, the acknowledged leader of a war-torn and impoverished China. After World War II ended, the Kuomintang and the Communists re-ignited the civil war, and Chiang was eventually driven off the mainland to the island of Taiwan (1949), where the Kuomintang set up a government-in-exile. Until his death in 1975, Chiang ruled Taiwan under martial law and modernized the economy, receiving support from the West for his anti-communism. His international position waned after the 1971 United Nations decision to recognize the Communists as the official government of China.
Mao Zedong (also Mao Tse-Tung) was the world's most prominent Chinese communist during the 20th century. Mao's Red Army overthrew Chiang Kai-Shek in 1949, and the communists seized power of mainland China. Ruthless and ambitious, Mao turned China into a world military power and created a cult of personality, forcing the distribution of his image and his "Little Red Book" (a collection of political maxims) upon the Chinese people. His campaign to export communism made China a threat to the West and led to confrontations in Southeast Asia and Korea. Under Mao's rule China endured a series of economic disasters and political terrorism, but for more than 25 years Mao was China, as far as the rest of the world was concerned. After his death, leaders like Deng Xiaoping steered the country away from pure communism, and the Cult of Mao began to disappear. These days Mao is ranked among the worst of 20th century dictators. alongside Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.
Great Leap Forward
Failed industrialization campaign undertaken by the Chinese communists between 1958 and early 1960. Mao Zedong hoped to develop labour-intensive methods of industrialization that would emphasize manpower rather than the gradual purchase of heavy machinery, thereby putting to use China's dense population and obviating the need to accumulate capital. Rather than building large new factories, he proposed developing backyard steel furnaces in every village. Rural people were organized into communes where agricultural and political decisions emphasized ideological purity rather than expertise. The program was implemented so hastily and zealously that many errors occurred; these were exacerbated by a series of natural disasters and the withdrawal of Soviet technical personnel. China's agriculture was severely disrupted, causing widespread famine in 1958 - 62. By early 1960 the government had begun to repeal the Great Leap Forward; private plots were returned to peasants, and expertise began to be emphasized again.
A comprehensive reform movement in China initiated by Mao Zedong in 1965 to eliminate counterrevolutionary elements in the country's institutions and leadership. It was characterized by political zealotry, purges of intellectuals, and social and economic chaos.
European Economic Community
An economic organization established in 1957 to reduce tariff barriers and promote trade among the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and West Germany. These countries became the original members of the European Community in 1965.
An economic and political union established in 1993 after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty by members of the European Community and since expanded to include numerous Central and Eastern European nations. The establishment of the European Union expanded the political scope of the European Economic Community, especially in the area of foreign and security policy, and provided for the creation of a central European bank and the adoption of a common currency, the euro.
Treaty of Maastricht
The Maastricht agreement (signed 7 February 1992) was an important amendment to the Treaty of Rome and associated treaties of the European Communities. Building on the 1986 Single European Act (SEA) , the Maastricht agreement accelerated and enhanced the institutions and processes of European integration. Upon implementation (November 1993) the European Community was replaced by the European Union, the process leading to Economic and monetary union was outlined, and a Common Foreign and Security Policy was developed. It became the focus of campaigns against further European integration, notably in Denmark and the United Kingdom.