Only $35.99/year

Terms in this set (7)

The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent.

On the backs of our gold coins, the silver dollar, the half dollar and the quarter, we see an eagle with outspread wings.
On the Great Seal of the United States and in many places which are exponents of our nation's authority we see the same emblem.
The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of lofty mountains, amid the solitary grandeur of Nature, he has unlimited freedom, whether with strong pinions he sweeps into the valleys below, or upward into the boundless spaces beyond.

eagle, image created by Hope Rutledge

It is said the eagle was used as a national emblem because, at one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. "They are shrieking for Freedom," said the patriots.
Thus the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future.
--Maude M. Grant

The Eagle became the National emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted. The Great Seal shows a wide-spread eagle, faced front, having on his breast a shield with thirteen perpendicular red and white stripes, surmounted by a blue field with the same number of stars. In his right talon the eagle holds an olive branch, in his left a bundle of thirteen arrows, and in his beak he carries a scroll inscribed with the motto: "E Pluribus Unum." The Eagle appears in the Seals of many of our States, on most of our gold and silver coinage, and is used a great deal for decorative patriotic purposes.
At the Second Continental Congress, after the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence from Great Britain, the colonies determined they needed an official seal. So Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson as a committee prepared a device for a Seal of the United States of America. However, the only portion of the design accepted by the congress was the statement E pluribus unum, attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
Six years and two committees later, in May of 1782, the brother of a Philadelphia naturalist provided a drawing showing an eagle displayed as the symbol of "supreme power and authority."Congress liked the drawing, so before the end of 1782, an eagle holding a bundle of arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other was accepted as the seal. The image was completed with a shield of red and white stripes covering the breast of the bird; a crest above the eagle's head, with a cluster of thirteen stars surrounded by bright rays going out to a ring of clouds; and a banner, held by the eagle in its bill, bearing the words E pluribus unum. Yet it was not until 1787 that the American bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States. This happened only after many states had already used the eagle in their coat of arms, as New York State did in 1778. Though the official seal has undergone some modifications in the last two hundred years, the basic design is the same.

While the eagle has been officially recognized as America's national bird, there have been dissenters who feel the bird was the wrong choice.



Benjamin Franklin wrote:

I wish that the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country, he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly, you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk, and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to its nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him.... Besides he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest. . . of America.. . . For a truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.

turkey

Franklin was clearly against the eagle and let everyone know it. Likewise, the artist John James Audubon agreed with this opinion of the bald, or white-headed, eagle.

Nevertheless, selected as our national bird, the eagle has appeared on all official seals of the United States, as well as on most coinage, paper money, and on many U.S. stamps. It is curious to note the minted eagles have been issued in a great variety of shapes and positions. Also, there is great variation in the species depicted. Some of the famous images have species other than the bald eagle----for example the famous ten-dollar gold pieces exhibit the "double eagle" instead. Numerous people have complained because many, if not most, of these illustrations show the wide-ranging golden eagle rather than our own national bird, the bald eagle. They feel these representations mislead the general public into believing that they are looking at a bald eagle. The easiest way to distinguish between the golden and bald eagles is by the feathering on the legs. The golden is feathered down the entire leg, while the bald eagle has no feathers on lower part of the leg until at least two or three years of age, when bald eagles also start developing the white head and tail.

eagle and crow,Image created by Hope Rutledge Because of their size, bald eagles are not concerned about threats from other birds. However, eagles are often chased by smaller birds, who are trying to protect their young. Bald eagles are unlikely to bother smaller birds or their young, which makes these efforts unnecessary. Eagles often ignore mobbing behavior by smaller birds. It was Benjamin Franklin's observations of a bald eagle either ignoring or retreating from such mobbing that probably led to his claim of the bald eagle's lack of courage.
This article is about the state of political tension in the 20th century. For the general term, see Cold war (general term). For the current state of political tension, see Cold War II. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation).
"Cold warrior" redirects here. For other uses, see Cold warrior (disambiguation).
The Cold War (1947-1991)

East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, 1961

A U.S. Navy aircraft shadowing a Soviet freighter during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov shake hands in outer space, 1975

Soviet frigate Bezzavetny bumping USS Yorktown, 1988

Mushroom cloud of the Ivy Mike nuclear test, 1952; one of more than a thousand such tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1992

The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins with 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The USSR was a Marxist-Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a leader with different titles over time, and a small committee called the Politburo. The Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, and many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, and funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China, particularly following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In opposition stood the capitalist West, led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system. The First World nations of the Western Bloc were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes throughout the Third World, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies.[1][2] Some major Cold War frontlines such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947.

A neutral bloc arose with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat, but they were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargos, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948-49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the '70s and '80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the Civil Rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955-75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) has been referred to as the Second Cold War.[3]


Contents
1 Origins of the term
2 Background
2.1 Russian Revolution
2.2 Beginnings of World War II
3 End of World War II (1945-1947)
3.1 Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
3.2 Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
3.3 Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
4 Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
4.1 The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
4.2 Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
4.3 Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
4.4 Berlin Blockade and airlift
4.5 Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
4.6 Chinese Civil War and SEATO
4.7 Korean War
5 Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
5.1 Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization
5.2 Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
5.3 Berlin ultimatum and European integration
5.4 Competition in the Third World
5.5 Sino-Soviet split
5.6 Space Race
5.7 Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
5.8 Berlin Crisis of 1961
5.9 Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
6 Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
6.1 French withdrawal from NATO
6.2 Invasion of Czechoslovakia
6.3 Brezhnev Doctrine
6.4 Third World escalations
6.5 Sino-American rapprochement
6.6 Nixon, Brezhnev, and détente
6.7 Late 1970s deterioration of relations
7 "Second Cold War" (1979-1985)
7.1 Soviet War in Afghanistan
7.2 Reagan and Thatcher
7.3 Polish Solidarity movement and martial law
7.4 Soviet and US military and economic issues
8 Final years (1985-1991)
8.1 Gorbachev's reforms
8.2 Thaw in relations
8.3 Eastern Europe breaks away
8.4 Soviet republics break away
8.5 Soviet dissolution
9 Aftermath
9.1 In popular culture
10 Historiography
11 See also
12 References
13 Bibliography and further reading
13.1 Historiography and memory
13.2 Primary sources
14 External links
Origins of the term
Main article: Cold war (general term)
West and East Germans at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989.jpg
Part of a series on the
History of the Cold War

Origins of the Cold War
World War II
(Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
War conferences
Eastern Bloc
Western Bloc
Iron Curtain
Cold War (1947-1953)
Cold War (1953-1962)
Cold War (1962-1979)
Cold War (1979-1985)
Cold War (1985-1991)
Frozen conflicts
Timeline · Conflicts
Historiography
Cold War II
At the end of World War II, English writer George Orwell used cold war, as a general term, in his essay "You and the Atomic Bomb", published 19 October 1945 in the British newspaper Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear warfare, Orwell looked at James Burnham's predictions of a polarized world, writing:

Looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery... James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications—that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of "cold war" with its neighbours.[4]

In The Observer of 10 March 1946, Orwell wrote, "after the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a 'cold war' on Britain and the British Empire."[5]

The first use of the term to describe the specific post-war geopolitical confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States came in a speech by Bernard Baruch, an influential advisor to Democratic presidents,[6] on 16 April 1947. The speech, written by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope,[7] proclaimed, "Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war."[8] Newspaper columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency with his book The Cold War. When asked in 1947 about the source of the term, Lippmann traced it to a French term from the 1930s, la guerre froide.[9]

Background
Main article: Origins of the Cold War
Russian Revolution

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
While most historians trace the origins of the Cold War to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began with the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 when the Bolsheviks took power.[10] In 1919 Lenin stated that his new state was surrounded by a "hostile capitalist encirclement", and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon that should be used to keep the Soviet Union's enemies divided, beginning with the establishment of the Communist International, which called for revolutionary upheavals abroad.[11] Historian Max Beloff argues that the Soviets saw "no prospect of permanent peace", with the 1922 Soviet Constitution proclaiming:

Since the time of the formation of the soviet republics, the states of the world have divided into two camps: the camp of capitalism and the camp of socialism. There—in the camp of capitalism—national enmity and inequality, colonial slavery, and chauvinism, national oppression and pogroms, imperialist brutalities and wars. Here—in the camp of socialism—mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, a dwelling together in peace and the brotherly collaboration of peoples.[12]

According to British historian Christopher Sutton:

In what some have called the First Cold War, from Britain's intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1918 to its uneasy alliance with the Soviet Union against the Axis powers in 1941, British distrust of the revolutionary and regicidal Bolsheviks resulted in domestic, foreign, and colonial policies aimed at resisting the spread of communism. This conflict after 1945 took on new battlefields, new weapons, new players, and a greater intensity, but it was still fundamentally a conflict against Soviet imperialism (real and imagined).[13]

The idea of long-term continuity is a minority scholarly view that has been challenged. Frank Ninkovich writes:

As for the two cold wars thesis, the chief problem is that the two periods are incommensurable. To be sure, they were joined together by enduring ideological hostility, but in the post-World War I years Bolshevism was not a geopolitical menace. After World War II, in contrast, the Soviet Union was a superpower that combined ideological antagonism with the kind of geopolitical threat posed by Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Even with more amicable relations in the 1920s, it is conceivable that post-1945 relations would have turned out much the same.[14]

Beginnings of World War II
After signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and German-Soviet Frontier Treaty, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance".[15][16][17] Finland rejected territorial demands, prompting a Soviet invasion in November 1939.[18] The resulting Winter War ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions.[19] Britain and France, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to its entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations.[17]

In June 1940, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,[16] and the disputed Romanian regions of Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Hertza. But after the German Army invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Soviet Union and the Allied powers formed an alliance of convenience. Britain signed a formal alliance and the United States made an informal agreement. In wartime, the United States supplied Britain, the Soviet Union and other Allied nations through its Lend-Lease Program.[20] However, Stalin remained highly suspicious, and he believed that the British and the Americans had conspired to ensure that the Soviets bore the brunt of the fighting against Germany. According to this view, the Western Allies had deliberately delayed opening a second anti-German front in order to step in at the last minute and shape the peace settlement. Thus, Soviet perceptions of the West left a strong undercurrent of tension and hostility between the Allied powers.[21]

End of World War II (1945-1947)
Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
Further information: Tehran Conference, Yalta Conference, and List of Allied World War II conferences
The Allies disagreed about how the European map should look, and how borders would be drawn, following the war.[22] Each side held dissimilar ideas regarding the establishment and maintenance of post-war security.[22] Some scholars contend that all the Western Allies desired a security system in which democratic governments were established as widely as possible, permitting countries to peacefully resolve differences through international organizations.[23] Others note that the Atlantic powers were divided in their vision of the new post-war world. Roosevelt's goals—military victory in both Europe and Asia, the achievement of global American economic supremacy over the British Empire, and the creation of a world peace organization—were more global than Churchill's, which were mainly centered on securing control over the Mediterranean, ensuring the survival of the British Empire, and the independence of Central and Eastern European countries as a buffer between the Soviets and the United Kingdom.[24]


The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
The Soviet Union sought to dominate the internal affairs of countries in its border regions.[22][25] During the war, Stalin had created special training centers for communists from different countries so that they could set up secret police forces loyal to Moscow as soon as the Red Army took control. Soviet agents took control of the media, especially radio; they quickly harassed and then banned all independent civic institutions, from youth groups to schools, churches and rival political parties.[26] Stalin also sought continued peace with Britain and the United States, hoping to focus on internal reconstruction and economic growth.[27]

In the American view, Stalin seemed a potential ally in accomplishing their goals, whereas in the British approach Stalin appeared as the greatest threat to the fulfillment of their agenda. With the Soviets already occupying most of Central and Eastern Europe, Stalin was at an advantage, and the two western leaders vied for his favors.

The differences between Roosevelt and Churchill led to several separate deals with the Soviets. In October 1944, Churchill traveled to Moscow and proposed the "percentages agreement" to divide the Balkans into respective spheres of influence, including giving Stalin predominance over Romania and Bulgaria and Churchill carte blanche over Greece. At the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Roosevelt signed a separate deal with Stalin in regard of Asia and refused to support Churchill on the issues of Poland and the Reparations.[24] Roosevelt ultimately approved the percentage agreement,[28][29] but there was still apparently no firm consensus on the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe.[30]


Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
At the Second Quebec Conference, a high-level military conference held in Quebec City, 12-16 September 1944, Churchill and Roosevelt reached agreement on a number of matters, including a plan for Germany based on Henry Morgenthau Jr.'s original proposal. The memorandum drafted by Churchill provided for "eliminating the warmaking industries in the Ruhr and the Saar ... looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." However, it no longer included a plan to partition the country into several independent states.[31] On 10 May 1945, President Truman signed the U.S. occupation directive JCS 1067, which was in effect for over two years, and was enthusiastically supported by Stalin. It directed the U.S. forces of occupation to "...take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany".[32]

Some historians have argued that the Cold War began when the US negotiated a separate peace with Nazi SS General Karl Wolff in northern Italy. The Soviet Union was not allowed to participate and the dispute led to heated correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin. General Wolff, a war criminal, appears to have been guaranteed immunity at the Nuremberg trials by Office of Strategic Services (OSS) commander (and later CIA director) Allen Dulles when they met in March 1945. Wolff and his forces were being considered to help implement Operation Unthinkable, a secret plan to invade the Soviet Union which Winston Churchill advocated during this period.[33][34][35]

In April 1945, President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry S. Truman, who distrusted Stalin and turned for advice to an elite group of foreign policy intellectuals. Both Churchill and Truman opposed, among other things, the Soviets' decision to prop up the Lublin government, the Soviet-controlled rival to the Polish government-in-exile in London, whose relations with the Soviets had been severed.[36]

Following the Allies' May 1945 victory, the Soviets effectively occupied Central and Eastern Europe,[30] while strong US and Western allied forces remained in Western Europe. In Germany and Austria, France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States established zones of occupation and a loose framework for parceled four-power control.[37]

The 1945 Allied conference in San Francisco established the multi-national United Nations (UN) for the maintenance of world peace, but the enforcement capacity of its Security Council was effectively paralyzed by the ability of individual members to exercise veto power.[38] Accordingly, the UN was essentially converted into an inactive forum for exchanging polemical rhetoric, and the Soviets regarded it almost exclusively as a propaganda tribune.[39]

Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
Main articles: Potsdam Conference and Surrender of Japan

Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
At the Potsdam Conference, which started in late July after Germany's surrender, serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.[40] Moreover, the participants' mounting antipathy and bellicose language served to confirm their suspicions about each other's hostile intentions, and to entrench their positions.[41] At this conference Truman informed Stalin that the United States possessed a powerful new weapon.[42]

Stalin was aware that the Americans were working on the atomic bomb, and—given that the Soviets' own rival program was in place—he reacted to the news calmly. The Soviet leader said he was pleased by the news and expressed the hope that the weapon would be used against Japan.[42] One week after the end of the Potsdam Conference, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan.[43]

Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
Main article: Eastern Bloc
Further information: Post-World War II economic expansion

Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called 'Iron Curtain'
During the opening stages of World War II, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for the Eastern Bloc by invading and then annexing several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics, by agreement with Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. These included eastern Poland (incorporated into the Byelorussian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR),[44] Latvia (which became the Latvian SSR),[45][46] Estonia (which became the Estonian SSR),[45][46] Lithuania (which became the Lithuanian SSR),[45][46] part of eastern Finland (which became the Karelo-Finnish SSR) and eastern Romania (which became the Moldavian SSR).[47][48]

The Central and Eastern European territories liberated from Germany and occupied by the Soviet armed forces were added to the Eastern Bloc by converting them into satellite states,[49] such as:

People's Republic of Albania (11 January 1946)[50]
People's Republic of Bulgaria (15 September 1946)
Polish People's Republic (19 January 1947)
People's Republic of Romania (13 April 1948)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (9 May 1948)[51]
Hungarian People's Republic (20 August 1949)[52]
German Democratic Republic (7 October 1949)[53]
The Soviet-style regimes that arose in the Bloc not only reproduced Soviet command economies, but also adopted the brutal methods employed by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet secret police in order to suppress both real and potential opposition.[54] In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria in the last month of the war, and it went on to occupy the large swathe of Korean territory located north of the 38th parallel.[55]

As part of consolidating Stalin's control over the Eastern Bloc, the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), led by Lavrentiy Beriya, supervised the establishment of Soviet-style secret police systems in the Bloc that were supposed to crush anti-communist resistance.[56] When the slightest stirrings of independence emerged in the Bloc, Stalin's strategy matched that of dealing with domestic pre-war rivals: they were removed from power, put on trial, imprisoned, and in several instances, executed.[57]

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was concerned that, given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the perception that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.[58] After World War II, US officials guided Western European leaders in establishing their own secret security force to prevent subversion in the Western bloc, which evolved into Operation Gladio.[59]

Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
Main articles: Cold War (1947-1953), Containment, and Truman Doctrine
The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
Further information: X Article § The Long Telegram, Iron Curtain, Iran crisis of 1946, and Restatement of Policy on Germany

Remains of the "iron curtain" in the Czech Republic
In late February 1946, George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow to Washington helped to articulate the US government's increasingly hard line against the Soviets, which would become the basis for US strategy toward the Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. The Truman Administration was receptive to the telegram due to broken promises by Stalin concerning Europe and Iran.[60] Following the WWII Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, the country was occupied by the Red Army in the far north and the British in the south.[61] Iran was used by the United States and British to supply the Soviet Union, and the Allies agreed to withdraw from Iran within six months after the cessation of hostilities.[61] However, when this deadline came, the Soviets remained in Iran under the guise of the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.[62] Shortly thereafter, on March 5, former British prime minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri.[63] The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an "iron curtain" dividing Europe from "Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic".[49][64]

A week later, on March 13, Stalin responded vigorously to the speech, saying that Churchill could be compared to Hitler insofar as he advocated the racial superiority of English-speaking nations so that they could satisfy their hunger for world domination, and that such a declaration was "a call for war on the U.S.S.R." The Soviet leader also dismissed the accusation that the USSR was exerting increasing control over the countries lying in its sphere. He argued that there was nothing surprising in "the fact that the Soviet Union, anxious for its future safety, [was] trying to see to it that governments loyal in their attitude to the Soviet Union should exist in these countries".[65][66]


European military alliances

European economic alliances
In September, the Soviet side produced the Novikov telegram, sent by the Soviet ambassador to the US but commissioned and "co-authored" by Vyacheslav Molotov; it portrayed the US as being in the grip of monopoly capitalists who were building up military capability "to prepare the conditions for winning world supremacy in a new war".[67] On September 6, 1946, James F. Byrnes delivered a speech in Germany repudiating the Morgenthau Plan (a proposal to partition and de-industrialize post-war Germany) and warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely.[68] As Byrnes admitted a month later, "The nub of our program was to win the German people ... it was a battle between us and Russia over minds ..."[69] In December, the Soviets agreed to withdraw from Iran after persistent US pressure, an early success of containment policy.

By 1947, US president Harry S. Truman was outraged by perceived resistance of the Soviet Union to American demands in Iran, Turkey, and Greece, as well as Soviet rejection of the Baruch Plan on nuclear weapons.[70] In February 1947, the British government announced that it could no longer afford to finance the Kingdom of Greece in its civil war against Communist-led insurgents.[71] The US government responded to this announcement by adopting a policy of containment,[72] with the goal of stopping the spread of Communism. Truman delivered a speech calling for the allocation of $400 million to intervene in the war and unveiled the Truman Doctrine, which framed the conflict as a contest between free peoples and totalitarian regimes.[72] American policymakers accused the Soviet Union of conspiring against the Greek royalists in an effort to expand Soviet influence even though Stalin had told the Communist Party to cooperate with the British-backed government.[73] (The insurgents were helped by Josip Broz Tito's Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against Stalin's wishes.)[74][75]

Enunciation of the Truman Doctrine marked the beginning of a US bipartisan defense and foreign policy consensus between Republicans and Democrats focused on containment and deterrence that weakened during and after the Vietnam War, but ultimately persisted thereafter.[76][77] Moderate and conservative parties in Europe, as well as social democrats, gave virtually unconditional support to the Western alliance,[78] while European and American Communists, financed by the KGB and involved in its intelligence operations,[79] adhered to Moscow's line, although dissent began to appear after 1956. Other critiques of the consensus policy came from anti-Vietnam War activists, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the anti-nuclear movement.[80]

Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
Main articles: Marshall Plan, Western Bloc, and 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état

The labeling used on Marshall Plan aid to Western Europe

Map of Cold War-era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid received per nation.

Construction in West Berlin under Marshall Plan aid
In early 1947, France, Britain and the United States unsuccessfully attempted to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union for a plan envisioning an economically self-sufficient Germany, including a detailed accounting of the industrial plants, goods and infrastructure already removed by the Soviets.[81] In June 1947, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan, a pledge of economic assistance for all European countries willing to participate, including the Soviet Union.[81] Under the plan, which President Harry S. Truman signed on 3 April 1948, the US government gave to Western European countries over $13 billion (equivalent to $189.39 billion in 2016) to rebuild the economy of Europe. Later, the program led to the creation of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

The plan's aim was to rebuild the democratic and economic systems of Europe and to counter perceived threats to Europe's balance of power, such as communist parties seizing control through revolutions or elections.[82] The plan also stated that European prosperity was contingent upon German economic recovery.[83] One month later, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, creating a unified Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Council (NSC). These would become the main bureaucracies for US defense policy in the Cold War.[84]

Stalin believed that economic integration with the West would allow Eastern Bloc countries to escape Soviet control, and that the US was trying to buy a pro-US re-alignment of Europe.[85] Stalin therefore prevented Eastern Bloc nations from receiving Marshall Plan aid.[85] The Soviet Union's alternative to the Marshall Plan, which was purported to involve Soviet subsidies and trade with central and eastern Europe, became known as the Molotov Plan (later institutionalized in January 1949 as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).[74] Stalin was also fearful of a reconstituted Germany; his vision of a post-war Germany did not include the ability to rearm or pose any kind of threat to the Soviet Union.[86]

In early 1948, following reports of strengthening "reactionary elements", Soviet operatives executed a coup d'état in Czechoslovakia, the only Eastern Bloc state that the Soviets had permitted to retain democratic structures.[87][88] The public brutality of the coup shocked Western powers more than any event up to that point, set in a motion a brief scare that war would occur and swept away the last vestiges of opposition to the Marshall Plan in the United States Congress.[89]

The twin policies of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan led to billions in economic and military aid for Western Europe, Greece, and Turkey. With the US assistance, the Greek military won its civil war.[84] Under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi the Italian Christian Democrats defeated the powerful Communist-Socialist alliance in the elections of 1948.[90] At the same time there was increased intelligence and espionage activity, Eastern Bloc defections and diplomatic expulsions.[91]

Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
Main articles: Cominform and Tito-Stalin Split
In September 1947, the Soviets created Cominform, the purpose of which was to enforce orthodoxy within the international communist movement and tighten political control over Soviet satellites through coordination of communist parties in the Eastern Bloc.[85] Cominform faced an embarrassing setback the following June, when the Tito-Stalin Split obliged its members to expel Yugoslavia, which remained communist but adopted a non-aligned position.[92]

Berlin Blockade and airlift
Main article: Berlin Blockade

C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
The United States and Britain merged their western German occupation zones into "Bizonia" (1 January 1947, later "Trizonia" with the addition of France's zone, April 1949).[93] As part of the economic rebuilding of Germany, in early 1948, representatives of a number of Western European governments and the United States announced an agreement for a merger of western German areas into a federal governmental system.[94] In addition, in accordance with the Marshall Plan, they began to re-industrialize and rebuild the German economy, including the introduction of a new Deutsche Mark currency to replace the old Reichsmark currency that the Soviets had debased.[95]

Shortly thereafter, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 - 12 May 1949), one of the first major crises of the Cold War, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin.[96] The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries began the massive "Berlin airlift", supplying West Berlin with food and other provisions.[97]

The Soviets mounted a public relations campaign against the policy change. Once again the East Berlin communists attempted to disrupt the Berlin municipal elections (as they had done in the 1946 elections),[93] which were held on 5 December 1948 and produced a turnout of 86.3% and an overwhelming victory for the non-communist parties.[98] The results effectively divided the city into East and West versions of its former self. 300,000 Berliners demonstrated and urged the international airlift to continue,[99] and US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen created "Operation Vittles", which supplied candy to German children.[100] In May 1949, Stalin backed down and lifted the blockade.[56][101]

In 1952, Stalin repeatedly proposed a plan to unify East and West Germany under a single government chosen in elections supervised by the United Nations, if the new Germany were to stay out of Western military alliances, but this proposal was turned down by the Western powers. Some sources dispute the sincerity of the proposal.[102]

Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
Main articles: NATO, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Eastern Bloc media and propaganda

President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other eight western European countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty of April 1949, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[56] That August, the first Soviet atomic device was detonated in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR.[74] Following Soviet refusals to participate in a German rebuilding effort set forth by western European countries in 1948,[94][103] the US, Britain and France spearheaded the establishment of West Germany from the three Western zones of occupation in April 1949.[104] The Soviet Union proclaimed its zone of occupation in Germany the German Democratic Republic that October.[40]

Media in the Eastern Bloc was an organ of the state, completely reliant on and subservient to the communist party. Radio and television organizations were state-owned, while print media was usually owned by political organizations, mostly by the local communist party.[105] Soviet propaganda used Marxist philosophy to attack capitalism, claiming labor exploitation and war-mongering imperialism were inherent in the system.[106]

Along with the broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America to Central and Eastern Europe,[107] a major propaganda effort begun in 1949 was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, dedicated to bringing about the peaceful demise of the communist system in the Eastern Bloc.[108] Radio Free Europe attempted to achieve these goals by serving as a surrogate home radio station, an alternative to the controlled and party-dominated domestic press.[108] Radio Free Europe was a product of some of the most prominent architects of America's early Cold War strategy, especially those who believed that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means, such as George F. Kennan.[109]

American policymakers, including Kennan and John Foster Dulles, acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas.[109] The United States, acting through the CIA, funded a long list of projects to counter the communist appeal among intellectuals in Europe and the developing world.[110] The CIA also covertly sponsored a domestic propaganda campaign called Crusade for Freedom.[111]

In the early 1950s, the US worked for the rearmament of West Germany and, in 1955, secured its full membership of NATO.[40] In May 1953, Beria, by then in a government post, had made an unsuccessful proposal to allow the reunification of a neutral Germany to prevent West Germany's incorporation into NATO.[112]

Chinese Civil War and SEATO
Main articles: Chinese Civil War and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
In 1949, Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army defeated Chiang Kai-shek's United States-backed Kuomintang (KMT) Nationalist Government in China, and the Soviet Union promptly created an alliance with the newly formed People's Republic of China.[113] According to Norwegian historian Odd Arne Westad, the communists won the Civil War because they made fewer military mistakes than Chiang Kai-Shek made, and because in his search for a powerful centralized government, Chiang antagonized too many interest groups in China. Moreover, his party was weakened during the war against Japan. Meanwhile, the communists told different groups, such as the peasants, exactly what they wanted to hear, and they cloaked themselves under the cover of Chinese nationalism.[114]

Chiang and his KMT government retreated to the island of Taiwan. Confronted with the communist revolution in China and the end of the American atomic monopoly in 1949, the Truman administration quickly moved to escalate and expand its containment policy.[74] In NSC 68, a secret 1950 document,[115] the National Security Council proposed to reinforce pro-Western alliance systems and quadruple spending on defense.[74]

United States officials moved thereafter to expand containment into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in order to counter revolutionary nationalist movements, often led by communist parties financed by the USSR, fighting against the restoration of Europe's colonial empires in South-East Asia and elsewhere.[116] In the early 1950s (a period sometimes known as the "Pactomania"), the US formalized a series of alliances with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines (notably ANZUS in 1951 and SEATO in 1954), thereby guaranteeing the United States a number of long-term military bases.[40]

Korean War
Main article: Korean War

General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
One of the more significant examples of the implementation of containment was US intervention in the Korean War. In June 1950, Kim Il-sung's North Korean People's Army invaded South Korea.[117] Stalin approved and sent advisers to plan the North Korean invasion.[118] To Stalin's surprise,[74] the UN Security Council backed the defense of South Korea, though the Soviets were then boycotting meetings in protest that Taiwan and not Communist China held a permanent seat on the Council.[119] A UN force of personnel from South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, Colombia, Australia, France, South Africa, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand and other countries joined to stop the invasion.[120]


U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
Among other effects, the Korean War galvanised NATO to develop a military structure.[121] Public opinion in countries involved, such as Great Britain, was divided for and against the war. Many feared an escalation into a general war with Communist China, and even nuclear war. The strong opposition to the war often strained Anglo-American relations. For these reasons British officials sought a speedy end to the conflict, hoping to unite Korea under United Nations auspices and for withdrawal of all foreign forces.[122]

Even though the Chinese and North Koreans were exhausted by the war and were prepared to end it by late 1952, Stalin insisted that they continue fighting, and the Armistice was approved only in July 1953, after Stalin's death.[40] North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralized, totalitarian dictatorship—which continues to date—according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality.[123][124] In the South, the American-backed strongman Syngman Rhee ran a significantly less brutal but deeply corrupt and authoritarian regime.[125] After Rhee was overthrown in 1960, South Korea fell within a year under a period of military rule that lasted until the re-establishment of a multi-party system in the late 1980s.

Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
Main article: Cold War (1953-1962)
Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
In 1953, changes in political leadership on both sides shifted the dynamic of the Cold War.[126] Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated president that January. During the last 18 months of the Truman administration, the American defense budget had quadrupled, and Eisenhower moved to reduce military spending by a third while continuing to fight the Cold War effectively.[74]

After the death of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet leader following the deposition and execution of Lavrentiy Beria and the pushing aside of rivals Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. On 25 February 1956, Khrushchev shocked delegates to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party by cataloguing and denouncing Stalin's crimes.[127] As part of a campaign of de-Stalinization, he declared that the only way to reform and move away from Stalin's policies would be to acknowledge errors made in the past.[84]

On 18 November 1956, while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Khrushchev used his famous "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you" expression, shocking everyone present.[128] He later claimed that he had not been talking about nuclear war, but rather about the historically determined victory of communism over capitalism.[129] In 1961, Khrushchev declared that even if the USSR was behind the West, within a decade its housing shortage would disappear, consumer goods would be abundant, and within two decades, the "construction of a communist society" in the USSR would be completed "in the main".[130]

Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, initiated a "New Look" for the containment strategy, calling for a greater reliance on nuclear weapons against US enemies in wartime.[84] Dulles also enunciated the doctrine of "massive retaliation", threatening a severe US response to any Soviet aggression. Possessing nuclear superiority, for example, allowed Eisenhower to face down Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East during the 1956 Suez Crisis.[74] US plans for nuclear war in the late 1950s included the "systematic destruction" of 1200 major urban centers in the Eastern Bloc and China, including Moscow, East Berlin and Beijing, with their civilian populations among the primary targets.[131]

Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
Main articles: Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956

March of protesters in Budapest, on 25 October;

A destroyed Soviet T-34-85 tank in Budapest

The maximum territorial extent of countries in the world under Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
While Stalin's death in 1953 slightly relaxed tensions, the situation in Europe remained an uneasy armed truce.[132] The Soviets, who had already created a network of mutual assistance treaties in the Eastern Bloc by 1949,[133] established a formal alliance therein, the Warsaw Pact, in 1955.[40]

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 occurred shortly after Khrushchev arranged the removal of Hungary's Stalinist leader Mátyás Rákosi.[134] In response to a popular uprising,[135] the new regime formally disbanded the secret police, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. The Soviet Army invaded.[136] Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union,[137] and approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary in the chaos.[138] Hungarian leader Imre Nagy and others were executed following secret trials.[139] From 1957 through 1961, Khrushchev openly and repeatedly threatened the West with nuclear annihilation. He claimed that Soviet missile capabilities were far superior to those of the United States, capable of wiping out any American or European city. However, Khrushchev rejected Stalin's belief in the inevitability of war, and declared his new goal was to be "peaceful coexistence".[140] This formulation modified the Stalin-era Soviet stance, where international class conflict meant the two opposing camps were on an inevitable collision course where communism would triumph through global war; now, peace would allow capitalism to collapse on its own,[141] as well as giving the Soviets time to boost their military capabilities,[142] which remained for decades until Gorbachev's later "new thinking" envisioning peaceful coexistence as an end in itself rather than a form of class struggle.[143]

The events in Hungary produced ideological fractures within the communist parties of the world, particularly in Western Europe, with great decline in membership as many in both western and communist countries felt disillusioned by the brutal Soviet response.[144] The communist parties in the West would never recover from the effect the Hungarian Revolution had on their membership, a fact that was immediately recognized by some, such as the Yugoslavian politician Milovan Đilas who shortly after the revolution was crushed said that "The wound which the Hungarian Revolution inflicted on communism can never be completely healed".[144]

America's pronouncements concentrated on American strength abroad and the success of liberal capitalism.[145] However, by the late 1960s, the "battle for men's minds" between two systems of social organization that Kennedy spoke of in 1961 was largely over, with tensions henceforth based primarily on clashing geopolitical objectives rather than ideology.[146]

Berlin ultimatum and European integration
Main articles: Berlin Crisis of 1961 § Berlin ultimatum, and European integration
During November 1958, Khrushchev made an unsuccessful attempt to turn all of Berlin into an independent, demilitarized "free city". He gave the United States, Great Britain, and France a six-month ultimatum to withdraw their troops from the sectors they still occupied in West Berlin, or he would transfer control of Western access rights to the East Germans. Khrushchev earlier explained to Mao Zedong that "Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin."[147] NATO formally rejected the ultimatum in mid-December and Khrushchev withdrew it in return for a Geneva conference on the German question.[148]

More broadly, one hallmark of the 1950s was the beginning of European integration—a fundamental by-product of the Cold War. Truman and Eisenhower promoted the concept politically, economically, and militarily, but later administrations viewed it ambivalently, fearful that an independent Europe would forge a separate détente with the Soviet Union, which would use this to exacerbate Western disunity.[149]

Competition in the Third World
Main articles: Decolonization § After 1945, Wars of national liberation, 1953 Iranian coup d'état, 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, and Congo Crisis

Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
Nationalist movements in some countries and regions, notably Guatemala, Indonesia and Indochina, were often allied with communist groups or perceived in the West to be allied with communists.[84] In this context, the United States and the Soviet Union increasingly competed for influence by proxy in the Third World as decolonization gained momentum in the 1950s and early 1960s.[150] Additionally, the Soviets saw continuing losses by imperial powers as presaging the eventual victory of their ideology.[151] Both sides were selling armaments to gain influence.[152]


1961 Soviet postage stamp demanding freedom for African nations

1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to do away with a string of unfriendly Third World governments and to support allied ones.[84] In 1953, President Eisenhower's CIA implemented Operation Ajax, a covert operation aimed at overthrowing the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The popularly elected and non-aligned Mosaddegh had been a Middle Eastern nemesis of Britain since nationalizing the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951. Winston Churchill told the United States that Mosaddegh was "increasingly turning towards communism."[153][154][155][156] The pro-Western shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, assumed control as an autocratic monarch.[157] The shah's policies included banning the communist Tudeh Party of Iran, and general suppression of political dissent by SAVAK, the shah's domestic security and intelligence agency.

In Guatemala, a CIA-backed military coup ousted the left-wing President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954.[158] The post-Arbenz government—a military junta headed by Carlos Castillo Armas—repealed a progressive land reform law, returned nationalized property belonging to the United Fruit Company, set up a National Committee of Defense Against Communism, and decreed a Preventive Penal Law Against Communism at the request of the United States.[159]

The non-aligned Indonesian government of Sukarno was faced with a major threat to its legitimacy beginning in 1956, when several regional commanders began to demand autonomy from Jakarta. After mediation failed, Sukarno took action to remove the dissident commanders. In February 1958, dissident military commanders in Central Sumatera (Colonel Ahmad Hussein) and North Sulawesi (Colonel Ventje Sumual) declared the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia-Permesta Movement aimed at overthrowing the Sukarno regime. They were joined by many civilian politicians from the Masyumi Party, such as Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, who were opposed to the growing influence of the communist Partai Komunis Indonesia party. Due to their anti-communist rhetoric, the rebels received arms, funding, and other covert aid from the CIA until Allen Lawrence Pope, an American pilot, was shot down after a bombing raid on government-held Ambon in April 1958. The central government responded by launching airborne and seaborne military invasions of rebel strongholds Padang and Manado. By the end of 1958, the rebels were militarily defeated, and the last remaining rebel guerilla bands surrendered by August 1961.[160]

In the Republic of the Congo, newly independent from Belgium since June 1960, the CIA-cultivated President Joseph Kasa-Vubu ordered the dismissal of the democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the Lumumba cabinet in September; Lumumba called for Kasa-Vubu's dismissal instead.[161] In the ensuing Congo Crisis, the CIA-backed Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko quickly mobilized his forces to seize power through a military coup d'état.[161]


An animated map shows the order of independence of the African nations, 1950-2011
In British Guiana, the leftist People's Progressive Party (PPP) candidate Cheddi Jagan won the position of chief minister in a colonially administered election in 1953, but was quickly forced to resign from power after Britain's suspension of the still-dependent nation's constitution.[162] Embarrassed by the landslide electoral victory of Jagan's allegedly Marxist party, the British imprisoned the PPP's leadership and maneuvered the organization into a divisive rupture in 1955, engineering a split between Jagan and his PPP colleagues.[163] Jagan again won the colonial elections in 1957 and 1961; despite Britain's shift to a reconsideration of its view of the left-wing Jagan as a Soviet-style communist at this time, the United States pressured the British to withhold Guyana's independence until an alternative to Jagan could be identified, supported, and brought into office.[164]

Worn down by the communist guerrilla war for Vietnamese independence and handed a watershed defeat by communist Viet Minh rebels at the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French accepted a negotiated abandonment of their colonial stake in Vietnam. In the Geneva Conference, peace accords were signed, leaving Vietnam divided between a pro-Soviet administration in North Vietnam and a pro-Western administration in South Vietnam at the 17th parallel north. Between 1954 and 1961, Eisenhower's United States sent economic aid and military advisers to strengthen South Vietnam's pro-Western regime against communist efforts to destabilize it.[74]

Many emerging nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America rejected the pressure to choose sides in the East-West competition. In 1955, at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, dozens of Third World governments resolved to stay out of the Cold War.[165] The consensus reached at Bandung culminated with the creation of the Belgrade-headquartered Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.[84] Meanwhile, Khrushchev broadened Moscow's policy to establish ties with India and other key neutral states. Independence movements in the Third World transformed the post-war order into a more pluralistic world of decolonized African and Middle Eastern nations and of rising nationalism in Asia and Latin America.[74]

Sino-Soviet split
Main article: Sino-Soviet split

A map showing the relations of the communist states after the Sino-Soviet split as of 1980:
The USSR and pro-Soviet communist states
China and pro-Chinese communist states
Neutral communist nations (North Korea and Yugoslavia)
Non-communist states
The period after 1956 was marked by serious setbacks for the Soviet Union, most notably the breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, beginning the Sino-Soviet split. Mao had defended Stalin when Khrushchev criticized him in 1956, and treated the new Soviet leader as a superficial upstart, accusing him of having lost his revolutionary edge.[166] For his part, Khrushchev, disturbed by Mao's glib attitude toward nuclear war, referred to the Chinese leader as a "lunatic on a throne".[167]

After this, Khrushchev made many desperate attempts to reconstitute the Sino-Soviet alliance, but Mao considered it useless and denied any proposal.[166] The Chinese-Soviet animosity spilled out in an intra-communist propaganda war.[168] Further on, the Soviets focused on a bitter rivalry with Mao's China for leadership of the global communist movement.[169] Historian Lorenz M. Lüthi argues:

The Sino-Soviet split was one of the key events of the Cold War, equal in importance to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Second Vietnam War, and Sino-American rapprochement. The split helped to determine the framework of the Second Cold War in general, and influenced the course of the Second Vietnam War in particular.[170]
Space Race
Main article: Space Race

The United States reached the moon in 1969.
On the nuclear weapons front, the United States and the USSR pursued nuclear rearmament and developed long-range weapons with which they could strike the territory of the other.[40] In August 1957, the Soviets successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),[171] and in October they launched the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1.[172] The launch of Sputnik inaugurated the Space Race. This culminated in the Apollo Moon landings, which astronaut Frank Borman later described as "just a battle in the Cold War."[173]

Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
Main articles: Cuban Revolution and Bay of Pigs Invasion

Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
In Cuba, the 26th of July Movement, led by young revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, seized power in the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.[174]

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista's fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Castro during the latter's trip to Washington, DC in April, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place.[175] Cuba began negotiating for arms purchases from the Eastern Bloc in March 1960.[176]

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government. In April 1961, the administration of newly elected American President John F. Kennedy mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Santa Clara Province—a failure that publicly humiliated the United States.[177] Castro responded by publicly embracing Marxism-Leninism, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide further support.[177]

Berlin Crisis of 1961
Main article: Berlin Crisis of 1961
Further information: Berlin Wall and Eastern Bloc emigration and defection

Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
The Berlin Crisis of 1961 was the last major incident in the Cold War regarding the status of Berlin and post-World War II Germany. By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to restricting emigration movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.[178] However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually emigrated to West Germany through a "loophole" in the system that existed between East Berlin and West Berlin, where the four occupying World War II powers governed movement.[179]

The emigration resulted in a massive "brain drain" from East Germany to West Germany of younger educated professionals, such that nearly 20% of East Germany's population had migrated to West Germany by 1961.[180] That June, the Soviet Union issued a new ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of Allied forces from West Berlin.[181] The request was rebuffed, and on 13 August, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole.[182]

Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
Main articles: Cuban Project and Cuban Missile Crisis

Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
The Kennedy administration continued seeking ways to oust Castro following the Bay of Pigs Invasion, experimenting with various ways of covertly facilitating the overthrow of the Cuban government. Significant hopes were pinned on a covert program named the Cuban Project, devised under the Kennedy administration in 1961. Khrushchev learned of the project in February 1962,[183] and preparations to install Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba were undertaken in response.[183]

Alarmed, Kennedy considered various reactions. He ultimately responded to the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba with a naval blockade, and he presented an ultimatum to the Soviets. Khrushchev backed down from a confrontation, and the Soviet Union removed the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba again.[184] Castro later admitted that "I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons. ... we took it for granted that it would become a nuclear war anyway, and that we were going to disappear."[185]

The Cuban Missile Crisis (October-November 1962) brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever before.[186] The aftermath of the crisis led to the first efforts in the nuclear arms race at nuclear disarmament and improving relations,[132] although the Cold War's first arms control agreement, the Antarctic Treaty, had come into force in 1961.[187]

In 1964, Khrushchev's Kremlin colleagues managed to oust him, but allowed him a peaceful retirement.[188] Accused of rudeness and incompetence, he was also credited with ruining Soviet agriculture and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.[188] Khrushchev had become an international embarrassment when he authorized construction of the Berlin Wall, a public humiliation for Marxism-Leninism.[188]

Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
Main article: Cold War (1962-1979)

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973

United States Navy F-4 Phantom II intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 D aircraft in the early 1970s.
In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Cold War participants struggled to adjust to a new, more complicated pattern of international relations in which the world was no longer divided into two clearly opposed blocs.[84] From the beginning of the post-war period, Western Europe and Japan rapidly recovered from the destruction of World War II and sustained strong economic growth through the 1950s and 1960s, with per capita GDPs approaching those of the United States, while Eastern Bloc economies stagnated.[84][189]

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, combined with the growing influence of Third World alignments such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Non-Aligned Movement, less powerful countries had more room to assert their independence and often showed themselves resistant to pressure from either superpower.[116] Meanwhile, Moscow was forced to turn its attention inward to deal with the Soviet Union's deep-seated domestic economic problems.[84] During this period, Soviet leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin embraced the notion of détente.[84]

French withdrawal from NATO
Main articles: NATO § French withdraw
Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.

Trump was born and raised in the New York City borough of Queens and received an economics degree from the Wharton School. He was appointed president of his family's real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded it from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. The company built or renovated skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products. He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration. He co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal. He owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015, and he produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television show, from 2003 to 2015. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $3.1 billion.

Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and defeated sixteen opponents in the primaries. Commentators described his political positions as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. His campaign received extensive free media coverage; many of his public statements were controversial or false. Trump was elected president in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He became the oldest and wealthiest person ever to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, and the fifth to have won the election while losing the popular vote.[b] His election and policies have sparked numerous protests. Many of his comments and actions have been perceived as racially charged or racist.

During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; after legal challenges, the Supreme Court upheld the policy's third revision. He enacted a tax cut package for individuals and businesses, which also rescinded the individual health insurance mandate and allowed oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. He partially repealed the Dodd-Frank Act that had imposed stricter constraints on banks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He has pursued his America First agenda in foreign policy, withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, imposed import tariffs on various goods, triggering a trade war with China, and negotiated with North Korea seeking denuclearization. He successfully nominated two justices to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

After Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to proceed with investigating links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding its election interference, and any matters arising from the probe. The ongoing investigation has so far led to guilty pleas by several Trump associates to criminal charges including for lying to investigators, campaign finance violations, and tax fraud. Trump has repeatedly denied accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt".


Contents
1 Family and personal life
1.1 Early life and education
1.2 Ancestry and parents
1.3 Wives, siblings, and descendants
1.4 Religion
1.5 Health
1.6 Wealth
2 Business career
2.1 Real estate
2.2 Branding and licensing
2.3 Lawsuits and bankruptcies
2.4 Side ventures
2.5 Foundation
2.6 Conflicts of interest
3 Media career
3.1 Books
3.2 Film and television
3.3 Radio and television commentary
4 Public profile
4.1 Approval ratings
4.2 False statements
4.3 Racial views
4.4 Relationship with the press
4.5 Popular culture
4.6 Social media
4.7 Recognitions
5 Political career
5.1 Political activities up to 2015
5.2 2016 presidential campaign
5.3 Political positions
5.4 Campaign rhetoric
5.5 White supremacist support
5.6 Financial disclosures
5.7 Sexual misconduct allegations
5.8 Election to the presidency
5.9 Protests
6 Presidency
6.1 Early actions
6.2 Domestic policy
6.3 Immigration
6.4 Foreign policy
6.5 Personnel
6.6 Investigations
6.7 Impeachment efforts
6.8 2020 presidential campaign
7 References
7.1 Sources
8 External links
Family and personal life
Early life and education
A black-and-white photograph of Donald Trump as a teenager, smiling and wearing a dark pseudo-military uniform with various badges and a light-colored stripe crossing his right shoulder.
Senior yearbook photo of Trump in 1964 wearing the uniform of his private boarding school, New York Military Academy
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital in the Queens borough of New York City.[1][2] His parents were Frederick Christ Trump, a real estate developer, and Mary Anne MacLeod.[3] Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, and attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade.[4][5] At age 13, he was enrolled in the New York Military Academy,[6][7] a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission.[8][9] In 1964, Trump enrolled at Fordham University.[6][10] After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[10][11] While at Wharton, he worked at the family business, Elizabeth Trump & Son.[12] He graduated in May 1968 with a BSc in economics.[10][13][14]

While in college from 1964 to 1968, Trump obtained four student deferments from serving in the military.[15][16] In 1966, he was deemed fit for service based upon a medical examination and in July 1968, after graduating from college, was briefly classified as eligible to serve by a local draft board. In October 1968, he was given a medical deferment which he later attributed to spurs in both heels, and classified as 1-Y: "Unqualified for duty except in the case of a national emergency."[17] In the December 1969 draft lottery, Trump's birthday, June 14, received a high number which would have given him a low probability to be called to military service even without the 1-Y.[17][18][19] In 1972, he was reclassified as 4-F, disqualifying him from service.[18][20]

Ancestry and parents
Further information: Trump family
Trump's ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate on his father's side, and from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland on his mother's side. All of his grandparents and his mother were born in Europe.[21]

Trump's paternal grandfather, Frederick Trump, first immigrated to the United States in 1885 at the age of 16 and became a citizen in 1892.[22] He amassed a fortune operating boomtown restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada during its gold rush.[22] On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple permanently settled in New York in 1905.[23] Frederick died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.[24]

Trump's father Fred was born in 1905 in the Bronx. Fred started working with his mother in real estate when he was 15, shortly after his father's death. Their company, "E. Trump & Son",[c] founded in 1923,[29] was primarily active in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Fred eventually built and sold thousands of houses, barracks, and apartments.[24][30] In spite of his German ancestry, "Fred Trump sought to pass himself off as Swedish amid anti-German sentiment sparked by World War II."[31] Donald Trump "reaffirmed the myth" in The Art of the Deal.[31][32][33]

Trump's mother Mary Anne MacLeod was born in Tong, Lewis, Scotland. At age 18 in 1930, she immigrated to New York, where she worked as a maid.[34] Fred and Mary were married in 1936 and raised their family in Queens.[34][35]

Wives, siblings, and descendants
Main article: Family of Donald Trump
Trump grew up with three elder siblings—Maryanne, Fred Jr., and Elizabeth—as well as a younger brother named Robert. Maryanne is an inactive Federal Appeals Court judge on the Third Circuit.[36]

Trump has five children by three marriages, as well as nine grandchildren.[37][38] In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, in a ceremony performed by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale.[39][40] They had three children: Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (born 1981), and Eric (born 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.[41] The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump's affair with actress Marla Maples.[42] In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump's daughter, who was named Tiffany in honor of high-end retailer Tiffany & Company.[43] Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993.[44] They divorced in 1999,[45] and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.[46]


Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. From left to right: Trump, his wife Melania, and his children Donald Jr., Barron, Ivanka, Eric, and Tiffany.
In 2005, Trump married his third wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida.[47] In 2006, Melania became a United States citizen[48] and gave birth to a son, Barron.[49][50] Melania became First Lady when Trump became president in January 2017.[51]

Upon his inauguration as president, Trump delegated the management of his real estate business to his two adult sons, Eric and Don Jr.[52] His daughter Ivanka resigned from the Trump Organization and moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband Jared Kushner. She serves as an assistant to the president,[53] and he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.[54]

Religion
Trump is a Presbyterian.[55][56][57] His ancestors were Lutheran on his paternal grandfather's side in Germany[58] and Presbyterian on his mother's side in Scotland.[59] His parents married in a Manhattan Presbyterian church in 1936.[60] As a child, he attended the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, where he had his confirmation.[40] In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan,[61] part of the Reformed Church.[62] The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to Trump's family and mentored him until Peale's death in 1993.[63][61] In August 2015 Trump told reporters, "I am Presbyterian Protestant. I go to Marble Collegiate Church," adding that he attends many different churches because he travels a lot.[64] The Marble Collegiate Church then issued a statement noting that Trump and his family have a "longstanding history" with the church, but that he "is not an active member".[62]

Trump said he was "not sure" whether he ever asked God for forgiveness, stating "If I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture." He said he tries to take Holy Communion as often as possible because it makes him "feel cleansed".[55] While campaigning, Trump referred to The Art of the Deal as his second favorite book after the Bible, saying, "Nothing beats the Bible."[65] The New York Times reported that evangelical Christians nationwide thought "that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure."[66]

Trump has associations with a number of Christian spiritual leaders, including Florida pastor Paula White, who has been called his "closest spiritual confidant."[67] In 2015, he released a list of religious advisers, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Ralph Reed, Michele Bachmann, Robert Jeffress, and others.[68][69]

Health
Main article: Health of Donald Trump
Trump does not drink alcohol, a reaction to his older brother's alcoholism and early death.[70][71] He has stated that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana.[72] In December 2015, Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, released a superlative-laden letter of health which stated that Trump's "physical strength and stamina are extraordinary."[73][74] Bornstein later said that Trump himself had dictated the contents.[75] A follow-up medical report showed Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid functions to be in normal ranges, and that he takes a statin.[76][77] In January 2018, Trump was examined by White House physician Ronny Jackson, who stated that he was in excellent health and that his cardiac assessment revealed no medical issues,[78] although his weight and cholesterol level were higher than recommended.[79] Several outside cardiologists commented that Trump's weight, lifestyle, and LDL cholesterol level ought to have raised serious concerns about his cardiac health.[80]

Wealth
Main article: Wealth of Donald Trump
Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having a share of his family's estimated $200 million net worth. His financial losses in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from the list between 1990 and 1995, and reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993.[81] In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion[a] (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.)[84] making him one of the richest politicians in American history. During the three years since Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots.[85] When he filed mandatory financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July 2015, Trump claimed a net worth of about $10 billion;[86] however FEC figures cannot corroborate this estimate because they only show each of his largest buildings as being worth over $50 million, yielding total assets worth more than $1.4 billion and debt over $265 million.[87] Trump reported hundreds of millions of dollars of yearly income from 2014 to 2018.[86][88][89] Trump stated in a 2007 deposition, "My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings."[90]

Journalist Jonathan Greenberg reported in April 2018 that Trump, using a pseudonym "John Barron," called him in 1984 to falsely assert he then owned "in excess of 90 percent" of the Trump family's business in an effort to secure a higher ranking on the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans.[91]

Trump has often said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, and that he had to pay it back with interest.[92] In October 2018, The New York Times reported that Trump "was a millionaire by age 8", borrowed at least $60 million from his father, and largely failed to reimburse him, and had received $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from his father's business empire over his lifetime.[93][94] According to the report, Trump and his family committed tax fraud, which a lawyer for Trump denied; the tax department of New York says it is "vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation" into it.[95][96] Analyses by The Economist and The Washington Post have concluded that Trump's investments have under-performed the stock market.[97][98] Forbes estimated in October 2018 that the value of Trump's personal brand licensing business had declined by 88% since 2015, to $3 million.[99]

Business career
Main article: Business career of Donald Trump
Real estate

The distinctive façade of Trump Tower, the headquarters of The Trump Organization, in Midtown Manhattan
In 1968, Trump began his career at his father Fred's real estate development company, E. Trump & Son, which, among other interests, owned middle-class rental housing in New York City's outer boroughs.[100][101] Trump worked for his father to revitalize the Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which the elder Trump had bought in 1964.[102][103] The management of the property was sued for racial discrimination in 1969; the suit "was quietly settled at Fred Trump's direction."[103] The Trumps sold the property in 1972, with vacancy on the rise.[103]

When his father became chairman of the board in 1971, Trump was promoted to president of the company and renamed it The Trump Organization.[104][105] In 1973, he and his father drew wider attention when the Justice Department contended in a lawsuit that their company systematically discriminated against African Americans who wished to rent apartments. The Department alleged that the Trump Organization had screened out people based on race and not low income as the Trumps had stated. Under an agreement reached in 1975, the Trumps made no admission of wrongdoing and made the Urban League an intermediary for qualified minority applicants.[106][107] Trump's attorney at the time was Roy Cohn, who valued both positive and negative publicity, and responded to attacks with forceful counterattacks; Trump later emulated Cohn's style.[108]

Manhattan developments
In 1978, Trump launched his Manhattan real estate business by purchasing a 50 percent stake in the derelict Commodore Hotel, located next to Grand Central Terminal. The purchase was funded largely by a $70 million construction loan that was guaranteed jointly by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain.[109][110] When the remodeling was finished, the hotel reopened in 1980 as the Grand Hyatt Hotel.[111]

The same year, Trump obtained the rights to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 664-foot-high (202 m) skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.[112][113] To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished the historic Bonwit Teller store, including art deco features that had initially been marked for preservation.[114] The building was completed in 1983 and houses both the primary penthouse condominium residence of Trump and the headquarters of The Trump Organization.[115][116] Architectural critic Paul Goldberger said in 1983 that he was surprised to find the tower's atrium was "the most pleasant interior public space to be completed in New York in some years".[117][118]


Central Park's Wollman Rink after the Trump renovation
Repairs on the Wollman Rink in Central Park, built in 1955, were started in 1980 by a general contractor unconnected to Trump, with an expected ​2 1⁄2-year construction schedule, but were not completed by 1986. Trump took over the project, completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $775,000 less than the initial budget, and then operated the rink for one year with some profits going to charity in exchange for the rink's concession rights.[119][120][121] According to journalist Joyce Purnick, Trump's "Wollman success was also the stuff of a carefully crafted, self-promotional legend."[122]

In 1988, Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for $407 million and appointed his wife Ivana to manage its operation.[123] Trump invested $50 million to restore the building, which he called "the Mona Lisa".[124] According to hotel expert Thomas McConnell, the Trumps boosted it from a three-star to a four-star ranking. They sold it in 1995, by which time Ivana was no longer involved in the hotel's day-to-day operations.[125]

In 1994, Trump's company refurbished the Gulf and Western Building on Columbus Circle with design and structural enhancements turning it into a 44-story luxury residential and hotel property[126][127] known as Trump International Hotel and Tower.[128]

In 1996, Trump acquired the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, which was a vacant seventy-one story skyscraper on Wall Street. After an extensive renovation, the high-rise was renamed the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street.[129] In 1997, he began construction on Riverside South, which he dubbed Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. He and the other investors in the project ultimately sold their interest for $1.8 billion in 2005 in what was then the biggest residential sale in the history of New York City.[130] From 1994 to 2002, Trump owned a 50 percent share of the Empire State Building. He intended to rename it "Trump Empire State Building Tower Apartments" if he had been able to boost his share.[131][132] In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower.[133] In 2002, Trump acquired the former Hotel Delmonico, which was renovated and reopened in 2004 as the Trump Park Avenue; the building consisted of 35 stories of luxury condominiums.[134]

Palm Beach estate
Main article: Mar-a-Lago

Mar-a-Lago in 2009
In 1985, Trump acquired the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, for $10 million, $7 million for the real estate and $3 million for the furnishings.[135][136] His initial offer of $28 million had been rejected, and he was able to obtain the property for the lower price after a real-estate market "slump".[137] The home was built in the 1920s by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post.[138] After her death, her heirs unsuccessfully tried to donate the property to the government before putting it up for sale.[138][139] In addition to using a wing of the estate as a home, Trump turned Mar-a-Lago into a private club. In order to join, prospective members had to pay an initiation fee[140] and annual dues.[141] The initiation fee was $100,000 until 2016; it was doubled to $200,000 in January 2017.[142][143]

Atlantic City casinos
After New Jersey legalized casino gambling in 1977, Trump traveled to Atlantic City to explore new business opportunities. Seven years later, he opened Harrah's at Trump Plaza hotel and casino; the project was built by Trump with financing from the Holiday Corporation, who also managed its operation.[144] It was renamed "Trump Plaza" soon after it opened.[145] The casino's poor financial results exacerbated disagreements between Trump and Holiday Corp., which led to Trump's paying $70 million in May 1986 to buy out their interest in the property.[146][147] Trump also acquired a partially completed building in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million; when completed in 1985, that hotel and casino became Trump Castle, and Trump's wife Ivana managed that property until 1988.[148][149]

The entrance of the Trump Taj Mahal, a casino in Atlantic City. It has motifs evocative of the Taj Mahal in India.
Entrance of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City
Trump acquired his third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal, in 1988 while it was under construction, through a complex transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[150] It was completed at a cost of $1.1 billion and opened in April 1990.[151][152] The project was financed with $675 million in junk bonds[153] and was a major gamble by Trump.[154] The project underwent debt restructuring the following year,[155] leaving Trump with 50 percent ownership.[156] Facing "enormous debt", he sold his airline, Trump Shuttle, and his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess, which had been indefinitely docked in Atlantic City while leased to his casinos for use by wealthy gamblers.[157][158][159]

In 1995, Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR), which assumed ownership of Trump Plaza, Trump Castle, and the Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana.[160] THCR purchased Taj Mahal in 1996 and underwent bankruptcy restructuring in 2004 and 2009, leaving Trump with 10 percent ownership in the Trump Taj Mahal and other Trump casino properties.[161] Trump remained chairman of THCR until 2009.[162]

Golf courses
Main article: Donald Trump and golf
A golf course. In the background is the Turnberry Hotel, a two-story hotel with white façade and a red roof.
Turnberry Hotel and golf course in Ayrshire, Scotland
As of December 2016, the Trump Organization owns or operates 18 golf course and golf resorts in the United States and abroad.[163] According to Trump's FEC personal financial disclosure, his 2015 golf and resort revenue amounted to $382 million,[164][88] while his three European golf courses did not show a profit.[165]

Trump began acquiring and constructing golf courses in 1999; his first property was the Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach in Florida.[166] By 2007, he owned four courses around the U.S.[166] Following the financial crisis of 2007-2008, he began purchasing existing golf courses and re-designing them.[167] His use of these courses during his presidency was controversial. Despite frequently criticizing his predecessor Barack Obama for his numerous golf outings, Trump golfed 11 times during his first eight weeks in office.[168] According to CNN, Trump visited Trump-owned golf courses 91 times in 2017, although the White House does not disclose whether or not the president actually played on each of those visits.[169]

Branding and licensing
See also: List of things named after Donald Trump

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago
The Trump Organization expanded its business into branding and management by licensing the Trump name for a large number of building projects that are owned and operated by other people and companies. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, The Trump Organization expanded its footprint beyond New York with the branding and management of various developers' hotel towers around the world. These included projects in Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Panama City, Toronto, and Vancouver. There are also Trump-branded buildings in Dubai, Honolulu, Istanbul, Manila, Mumbai, and Indonesia.[170]

The Trump name has also been licensed for various consumer products and services, including foodstuffs, apparel, adult learning courses, and home furnishings. In 2011, Forbes' financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputed this valuation, saying his brand was worth about $3 billion.[171] According to an analysis by The Washington Post, there are more than 50 licensing or management deals involving Trump's name, which have generated at least $59 million in yearly revenue for his companies.[172] The Post reported in April 2018 that — of the 19 consumer goods companies Trump said in 2015 were licensing his name — only two continue to do so, in Panama and Turkey.[173]

Lawsuits and bankruptcies
Main article: Legal affairs of Donald Trump
As of April 2018, Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, according to a running tally by USA Today.[174] As of 2016, he or one of his companies had been the plaintiff in 1,900 cases and the defendant in 1,450. With Trump or his company as plaintiff, more than half the cases have been against gamblers at his casinos who had failed to pay off their debts. With Trump or his company as a defendant, the most common type of case involved personal injury cases at his hotels. In cases where there was a clear resolution, Trump's side won 451 times and lost 38.[175][176]

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, although in 1990 he came within one missed bank loan payment of doing so, agreeing to a deal that temporarily ceded management control of his company to his banks and put him on a spending allowance.[177] Trump claimed to have initiated this deal with his banks as he saw the downturn in the real estate market, but bankers involved in the matter stated they initiated the negotiations before Trump had realized there was a problem.[178] His hotel and casino businesses have been declared bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009 in order to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds.[179][180] Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws - they're very good for me" as a tool for trimming debt.[181][182] The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).[183][184]

During the 1980s, more than 70 banks had lent Trump $4 billion,[178] but in the aftermath of his corporate bankruptcies of the early 1990s, most major banks declined to lend to him, with a notable exception of Deutsche Bank.[185]

Side ventures
After Trump took over the family real estate firm in 1971 and renamed it The Trump Organization, he expanded its real estate operations and ventured into other business activities. The company eventually became the umbrella organization for several hundred individual business ventures and partnerships.[186]

Sports
In September 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals—an American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL). After the 1985 season, the league folded largely due to Trump's strategy of moving games to a fall schedule where they competed with the NFL for audience, and trying to force a merger with the NFL by bringing an antitrust lawsuit against the organization.[187][188]

Trump operated golf courses in several countries.[187] He hosted several boxing matches at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, including Mike Tyson's 1988 heavyweight championship fight against Michael Spinks.[189] He also acted as a financial advisor to Mike Tyson.[190] In 1989 and 1990, Trump lent his name to the Tour de Trump cycling stage race, which was an attempt to create an American equivalent of European races such as the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia.[191]

Miss Universe

Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, installed in 2007
From 1996 to 2015, Trump owned part or all of the Miss Universe pageants.[192][193] The pageants include Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. His management of this business involved his family members—daughter Ivanka once hosted Miss Teen USA.[194] He became dissatisfied with how CBS scheduled the pageants, and took both Miss Universe and Miss USA to NBC in 2002.[195][196] In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as producer of Miss Universe.[197]

Following Trump's controversial statements about illegal Mexican immigrants during his 2015 presidential campaign kickoff speech, NBC ended its business relationship with him, stating that it would no longer air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageants on its networks.[198] In September 2015, Trump bought NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.[199]

Trump University
Main article: Trump University
Trump University was a for-profit education company that was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company ran a real estate training program and charged between $1,500 and $35,000 per course.[200][201][202] In 2005, New York State authorities notified the operation that its use of the word "university" was misleading and violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the company was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute".[203] Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.[204]

Ronald Schnackenberg, a sales manager for Trump University, said in a testimony that he was reprimanded for not trying harder to sell a $35,000 real estate class to a couple who could not afford it.[205] Schnackenberg said that he believed "Trump University was a fraudulent scheme" which "preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money."[205]

In 2013, New York State filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University; the suit alleged that the company made false statements and defrauded consumers.[203][206] In addition, two class-action civil lawsuits were filed in federal court relating to Trump University; they named Trump personally as well as his companies.[207] During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized presiding Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, alleging bias in his rulings because of his Mexican heritage.[208][209] Shortly after Trump won the presidency, the parties agreed to a settlement of all three pending cases, whereby Trump paid a total of $25 million and denied any wrongdoing.[210][211]

Foundation
Main article: Donald J. Trump Foundation
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation[212] that was established in 1988 for the initial purpose of giving away proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal.[213][214] The foundation's funds have mostly come from donors other than Trump,[215] who has not given personally to the charity since 2008.[215]

The foundation's tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups.[216] In 2009, for example, the foundation gave $926,750 to about 40 groups, with the biggest donations going to the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation ($100,000), the New York-Presbyterian Hospital ($125,000), the Police Athletic League ($156,000), and the Clinton Foundation ($100,000).[217][218] From 2004 to 2014, the top donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon of WWE, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007.[215]

In 2016, The Washington Post reported that the charity had committed several potential legal and ethical violations, including alleged self-dealing and possible tax evasion.[219] Also in 2016, the New York State Attorney General's office notified the Trump Foundation that the foundation appeared to be in violation of New York laws regarding charities, ordering it to immediately cease its fundraising activities in New York.[220][221][222] A Trump spokesman called the Attorney General's investigation a "partisan hit job".[220] In response to mounting complaints, Trump's team announced in late December 2016 that the Trump Foundation would be dissolved to remove "even the appearance of any conflict with [his] role as President."[223] According to an IRS filing in November 2017, the foundation intended to shut down and distribute its assets (about $970,000) to other charities. However, the New York Attorney General's office had to complete their ongoing investigation before the foundation could legally shut down,[224] and in June 2018 they filed a civil suit against the foundation for $2.8 million in restitution and additional penalties.[225] The suit names Trump himself as well as his adult children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.[226]

Conflicts of interest
Before being inaugurated as president, Trump moved his businesses into a revocable trust run by his eldest sons and a business associate.[227][228] According to ethics experts, as long as Trump continues to profit from his businesses, the measures taken by Trump do not help to avoid conflicts of interest.[229] Because Trump would have knowledge of how his administration's policies would affect his businesses, ethics experts recommend that Trump sell off his businesses.[228] While Trump has said that his organization would eschew "new foreign deals", the Trump Organization has since pursued expansions of its operations in Dubai, Scotland, and the Dominican Republic.[229] Multiple lawsuits have been filed alleging that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution, which forbids presidents from taking money from foreign governments, due to his business interests; they argue that these interests allow foreign governments to influence him.[229][230] Previous presidents in the modern era have either divested their holdings or put them in blind trusts,[227] and he is the first president to be sued over the emoluments clause.[230] A suit, D.C. and Maryland v. Trump, brought in June 2017 by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, cleared three judicial hurdles to proceed to the discovery phase during 2018,[231][232][233] with prosecutors issuing 38 subpoenas to Trump's businesses and cabinet departments in December before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay days later at the behest of the Justice Department, pending hearings in March 2019.[234][235][236]

Media career
Books
Main article: Bibliography of Donald Trump
Trump has published numerous books. His first published book in 1987 was Trump: The Art of the Deal, in which Trump is credited as co-author with Tony Schwartz, who has stated that he did all the writing for the book.[237][238][239] It reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, stayed there for 13 weeks, and altogether held a position on the list for 48 weeks.[238] According to The New Yorker, "The book expanded Trump's renown far beyond New York City, promoting an image of himself as a successful dealmaker and tycoon."[238] Trump's published writings shifted post-2000 from stylized memoirs to financial tips and political opinion.[240]

Film and television
Wrestling
In 1988 and 1989, Trump hosted WrestleMania IV and V at Boardwalk Hall, and he has been an active participant in several World Wrestling shows.[241] In 2013, he was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden for his contributions to the promotion.[242]

The Apprentice
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, in which contestants competed for a one-year management job with the Trump Organization; applicants were successively eliminated from the game with the catchphrase "You're fired".[243][237][244] He went on to be co-host of The Celebrity Apprentice, in which celebrities compete to win money for their charities.[243][244][245]

In February 2015, Trump stated that he was "not ready" to sign on for another season of the show because of the possibility of a presidential run.[246] Despite this, NBC announced they were going ahead with production of a 15th season.[247] In June, after widespread negative reaction stemming from Trump's campaign announcement speech, NBC released a statement saying, "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."[248]

Acting
Main article: Donald Trump filmography
Trump has made cameo appearances in 12 films and 14 television series,[249] including as the father of one of the characters in The Little Rascals.[250][251] He performed a song with Megan Mullally at the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2005.[252][253]

Trump receives a pension as a member of the Screen Actors Guild.[254] His financial disclosure forms mentioned an annual pension of $110,000 in 2016 and $85,000 in 2017.[254][255][256]

Radio and television commentary
Starting in the 1990s, Trump was a guest about 24 times on the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Show on talk radio.[257] Trump also had his own short-form talk radio program called Trumped! (one to two minutes on weekdays) from 2004 to 2008.[258][259][260] In 2011, Trump was given a weekly unpaid guest commentator spot on Fox & Friends that continued until he started his presidential candidacy in 2015.[261][262][263][264]

Public profile
Approval ratings
Presidential approval polls taken during the first ten months of Trump's term have shown him to be the least popular U.S. president in the history of modern opinion polls.[265][266][267] A Pew Research Center global poll conducted in July 2017, found "a median of just 22 percent has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs". This compares to a median of 64 percent rate of confidence for his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump received a higher rating in only two countries: Russia and Israel.[268] An August 2017 POLITICO/Morning consult poll found on some measures "that majorities of voters have low opinions of his character and competence".[269] By December 2018, Trump's approval ratings, averaged over many polls, stood at roughly 42%, two points below Obama's 44% at the same time in his presidency, and one point above Ronald Reagan.[270]

Trump is the only elected president who did not place first on Gallup's poll of men Americans most admired in his first year in office, coming in second behind Obama.[271][272] The Gallup poll near the end of Trump's second year in office named him the second most admired man in America - behind Obama - for the fourth consecutive year.[273][272]

False statements
Main article: Veracity of statements by Donald Trump
As president, Trump has frequently made false statements in public speeches and remarks.[274][275][276] Trump uttered "at least one false or misleading claim per day on 91 of his first 99 days" in office according to The New York Times,[274] and 1,318 total in his first 263 days in office according to the "Fact Checker" political analysis column of The Washington Post.[277] By Trump's 700th day in office, the Post's tally exceeded 7,500 false or misleading claims,[278] and—in the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections—it had risen to an average of 30 per day[279] from 4.9 during his first 100 days in office.[280] The Post found that Trump averaged 15 false statements per day during 2018.[281]

Racial views
Main article: Racial views of Donald Trump
Trump has a history of making racially controversial remarks and taking actions that are perceived as racially motivated.[282] In 1975, he settled a 1973 Department of Justice lawsuit that alleged housing discrimination against black renters.[101][283][284] He was accused of racism for insisting that a group of black and Latino teenagers were guilty of raping a white woman in the 1989 Central Park jogger attack, even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002. He continued to maintain this position as late as 2016.[285]

Starting in 2011, Trump was a major proponent of "birther" conspiracy theories alleging that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and questioned his eligibility to serve as president.[286][287] Trump later took credit for pushing the White House to release the "long-form" birth certificate from Hawaii,[288][289][290] and he stated during his presidential campaign that his stance had made him "very popular".[291] In September 2016, he publicly acknowledged that Obama was born in the United States, and falsely asserted that the rumors had been started by Hillary Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign.[292]

File:President Trump Gives a Statement on the Infrastructure Discussion.webm
Trump makes a statement (begins at 07:20 into the video) on the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville published by the White House
According to an analysis in Political Science Quarterly, Trump made "explicitly racist appeals to whites" during his 2016 presidential campaign.[293] Trump launched his campaign with a speech in which he stated: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."[294][295][296][297] Later, his attacks on a Mexican-American judge were criticized as racist.[298] His comments following a 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were seen as implying a moral equivalence between the white supremacist marchers and those who protested them.[299] In a January 2018 Oval Office meeting to discuss immigration legislation with Congressional leaders, Trump reportedly referred to El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and African countries as "shitholes".[300] His remarks were condemned as racist worldwide, as well as by many members of Congress.[301][302][303] Trump has denied accusations of racism multiple times, saying he is the "least racist person".[304][305]

Trump's racially insensitive statements and actions[283] have been condemned by many observers in the U.S. and around the world,[306][307] but accepted by his supporters either as a rejection of political correctness[308][309] or because they harbor similar racial sentiments.[310][311] Several studies and surveys have stated that racist attitudes and racial resentment have fueled Trump's political ascendance, and have become more significant than economic factors in determining party allegiance of voters.[311][312] In a June 2018 Quinnipiac University poll, 49 percent of respondents believed that Trump is racist while 47 percent believed he is not. Additionally, 55 percent said he "has emboldened people who hold racist beliefs to express those beliefs publicly."[313][314]

Relationship with the press

President Trump talking to the press, March 2017
Further information: Presidency of Donald Trump § Relationship with the media
Throughout his career, Trump has sought media attention. His interactions with the press turned into what some sources called a "love-hate" relationship.[315][316][317] Trump began promoting himself in the press in the 1970s.[318]

Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign and his presidency, Trump has repeatedly accused the press of intentionally misinterpreting his words and of being biased, calling them "fake news media" and "the enemy of the people".[319][320] In the campaign, Trump benefited from a record amount of free media coverage, elevating his standing in the Republican primaries.[321] After winning the election, Trump told journalist Lesley Stahl that he intentionally demeaned and discredited the media "so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you".[322] Into his presidency, much of the press coverage of Trump and his administration was negative.[323][324] Trump has privately and publicly mused about taking away critical reporters' White House press credentials (despite, during his campaign, promising not to do so once he became president).[325]

A study found that between October 7 and November 14, 2016, while one in four Americans visited a fake news website, "Trump supporters visited the most fake news websites, which were overwhelmingly pro-Trump" and "almost 6 in 10 visits to fake news websites came from the 10 percent of people with the most conservative online information diets".[326][327] Brendan Nyhan, one of the authors of the study, stated in an interview on NBC News: "People got vastly more misinformation from Donald Trump than they did from fake news websites".[328]

Popular culture
Main articles: Donald Trump in popular culture and Donald Trump in music
Trump has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. He has been parodied regularly on Saturday Night Live by Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond, and Alec Baldwin, and in South Park as Mr. Garrison. The Simpsons episode "Bart to the Future", written during his 2000 campaign for the Reform party, anticipated a future Trump presidency. A dedicated parody series called The President Show debuted in April 2017 on Comedy Central, while another one called Our Cartoon President debuted on Showtime in February 2018.[329]

Trump's wealth and lifestyle had been a fixture of hip hop lyrics since the 1980s, as he was named in hundreds of songs, most often in a positive tone.[330][331] Mentions of Trump turned negative and pejorative after he ran for office in 2015.[330][332][333]

Social media
Main article: Donald Trump on social media
Trump's presence on social media has attracted attention worldwide since he joined Twitter in March 2009. He communicated heavily on Twitter during the 2016 election campaign, and has continued to use this channel during his presidency. The attention on Trump's Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as president. He uses Twitter as a direct means of communication with the public, sidelining the press.[334] Many of the assertions he tweeted have been proven false.[335][336][337]

Recognitions
Further information: List of honors and awards received by Donald Trump
In December 2016, Time named Trump as its "Person of the Year".[338] In an interview on The Today Show, he said he was honored by the award, but he took issue with the magazine for referring to him as the "President of the Divided States of America."[339][340] In the same month, he was named Financial Times Person of the Year.[341] In December 2016, Forbes ranked Trump the second most powerful person in the world, after Vladimir Putin.[342] In 2015, Robert Gordon University revoked the honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) it had granted Trump in 2010, stating that "Mr. Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university."[343]

Political career
Political activities up to 2015
Trump's political party affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987,[344] switched to Independent in 1999, Democrat in 2001, and back to Republican in 2009.[344] He made donations to both the Democratic and the Republican party, party committees, and candidates until 2010 when he stopped donating to Democrats and increased his donations to Republicans considerably.[345]

In 1987 Trump spent $94,801 (equivalent to $209,068 in 2018) to place full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming that "America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves."[346] The advertisements also advocated for "reducing the budget deficit, working for peace in Central America, and speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union."[347] After rumors of a presidential run, Trump was invited by then U.S. Senator John Kerry (Democrat from Massachusetts), House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, and Arkansas congressman Beryl Anthony Jr., to host a fundraising dinner for Democratic Congressional candidates and to switch parties. Anthony told The New York Times that "the message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message." Asked whether the rumors were true, Trump denied being a candidate, but said, "I believe that if I did run for President, I'd win."[347] According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America.[348][349]

2000 presidential campaign
Main article: Donald Trump 2000 presidential campaign
In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the nomination of the Reform Party for the 2000 presidential election.[350][351] A July 1999 poll matching him against likely Republican nominee George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee Al Gore showed Trump with seven percent support.[352] Trump eventually dropped out of the race, but still went on to win the Reform Party primaries in California and Michigan.[353][354] After his run, Trump left the party due to the involvement of David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani.[350] Trump also considered running for president in 2004.[355] In 2005, Trump said that he voted for George W. Bush.[356] In 2008, he endorsed Republican John McCain for president.[357]


Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011
2012 presidential speculation
Trump publicly speculated about running for president in the 2012 election, and made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. The speech is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.[358] On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president in the 2012 election.[359] In February 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president.[360]

Trump's presidential ambitions were generally not taken seriously at the time.[361] Trump's moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice.[359][362][363] Before the 2016 election, The New York Times speculated that Trump "accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world" after Obama lampooned him at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April 2011.[364]

2013-2015
In 2013, Trump was a featured CPAC speaker.[365] In a sparsely-attended speech, he railed against illegal immigration while seeming to encourage immigration from Europe, bemoaned Obama's "unprecedented media protection", advised against harming Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and suggested that the government "take" Iraq's oil and use the proceeds to pay a million dollars each to families of dead soldiers.[366][367] He spent over $1 million that year to research a possible 2016 candidacy.[368]

In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump responded that while New York had problems and its taxes were too high, he was not interested in the governorship.[369] A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the more popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election.[370] In February 2015, Trump told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice, as he mulled his political future.[371]

2016 presidential campaign
Republican primaries
Main article: 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries
Trump speaking behind a brown wooden podium, wearing a dark blue suit and a red tie. The podium sports a blue "TRUMP" sign.
Trump campaigning in Laconia, New Hampshire, July 2015
On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in Manhattan. In the speech, Trump discussed illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism, which all remained large priorities during the campaign. He also announced his campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again".[295][294] Trump said his wealth would make him immune to pressure from campaign donors.[372] He declared that he was funding his own campaign,[373] but according to The Atlantic, "Trump's claims of self-funding have always been dubious at best and actively misleading at worst."[374]

In the primaries, Trump was one of seventeen candidates vying for the 2016 Republican nomination; this was the largest presidential field in American history.[375] Trump's campaign was initially not taken seriously by political analysts, but he quickly rose to the top of opinion polls.[376]

On Super Tuesday, Trump won the plurality of the vote, and he remained the front-runner throughout the remainder of the primaries. By March 2016, Trump was poised to win the Republican nomination.[377] After a landslide win in Indiana on May 3, 2016—which prompted the remaining candidates Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their presidential campaigns—RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.[378]

General election campaign
Main article: Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign
After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump shifted his focus to the general election. Trump began campaigning against Hillary Clinton, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee on June 6, 2016.

Clinton had established a significant lead over Trump in national polls throughout most of 2016. In early July, Clinton's lead narrowed in national polling averages following the FBI's re-opening of its investigation into her ongoing email controversy.[379][380][381]

Donald Trump and his running mate for vice president, Mike Pence. They appear to be standing in front of a huge screen with the colors of the American flag displayed on it. Trump is at left, facing toward the viewer and making "thumbs-up" gestures with both hands. Pence is at right, facing toward Trump and clapping.
Candidate Trump and running mate Mike Pence at the Republican National Convention, July 2016
On July 15, 2016, Trump announced his selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate.[382] Four days later on July 19, Trump and Pence were officially nominated by the Republican Party at the Republican National Convention.[383] The list of convention speakers and attendees included former presidential nominee Bob Dole, but the other prior nominees did not attend.[384][385]

Two days later, Trump officially accepted the nomination in a 76-minute speech. The historically long speech received mixed reviews, with net negative viewer reactions according to CNN and Gallup polls.[386][387][388]

On September 26, 2016, Trump and Clinton faced off in their first presidential debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and moderated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt.[389] The TV broadcast was the most watched presidential debate in United States history.[390] The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. The beginning of that debate was dominated by references to a recently leaked tape of Trump making sexually explicit comments, which Trump countered by referring to alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton. Prior to the debate, Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference. The final presidential debate was held on October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Trump's refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election, regardless of the outcome, drew particular attention, with some saying it undermined democracy.[391][392]

Political positions
Main article: Political positions of Donald Trump
Trump's campaign platform emphasized renegotiating U.S.-China relations and free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strongly enforcing immigration laws, and building a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. His other campaign positions included pursuing energy independence while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, modernizing and expediting services for veterans, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code while reducing taxes for all economic classes, and imposing tariffs on imports by companies that offshore jobs. During the campaign, he also advocated a largely non-interventionist approach to foreign policy while increasing military spending, extreme vetting or banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries[393] to pre-empt domestic Islamic terrorism, and aggressive military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. During the campaign Trump repeatedly called NATO "obsolete".[394]

His political positions have been described as populist,[395][396][397] and some of his views cross party lines. For example, his economic campaign plan calls for large reductions in income taxes and deregulation,[398] consistent with Republican Party policies, along with significant infrastructure investment,[399] usually considered a Democratic Party policy.[400][401] According to political writer Jack Shafer, Trump may be a "fairly conventional American populist when it comes to his policy views", but he attracts free media attention, sometimes by making outrageous comments.[402][403]

Trump has supported or leaned toward varying political positions over time.[404][405][406] Politico has described his positions as "eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory",[406] while NBC News counted "141 distinct shifts on 23 major issues" during his campaign.[407]

Campaign rhetoric
In his campaign, Trump said that he disdained political correctness; he also stated that the media had intentionally misinterpreted his words, and he made other claims of adverse media bias.[319][408][409] In part due to his fame, and due to his willingness to say things other candidates would not, and because a candidate who is gaining ground automatically provides a compelling news story, Trump received an unprecedented amount of free media coverage during his run for the presidency, which elevated his standing in the Republican primaries.[321]

Fact-checking organizations have denounced Trump for making a record number of false statements compared to other candidates.[410][411][412] At least four major publications—Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times—have pointed out lies or falsehoods in his campaign statements, with the Los Angeles Times saying that "Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has".[413] NPR said that Trump's campaign statements were often opaque or suggestive.[414]

Trump's penchant for hyperbole is believed to have roots in the New York real estate scene, where Trump established his wealth and where puffery abounds.[415] Trump has called his public speaking style "truthful hyperbole", an effective political tactic that may, however, backfire for overpromising.[415]

White supremacist support
According to Michael Barkun, the Trump campaign was remarkable for bringing fringe ideas, beliefs, and organizations into the mainstream.[416] During his presidential campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white supremacists.[417][418][419] He retweeted open racists,[420][421] and repeatedly refused to condemn David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacists, in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, saying that he would first need to "do research" because he knew nothing about Duke or white supremacists.[422][423] Duke himself was an enthusiastic supporter of Trump throughout the 2016 primary and election, and has stated that he and like-minded people voted for Trump because of his promises to "take our country back".[424][425]

After repeated questioning by reporters, Trump said that he disavowed David Duke and the KKK.[426][427][428] Trump said on MSNBC's Morning Joe: "I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time? I disavowed him in the past, I disavow him now."[428]

The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump's candidacy,[429] due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.[430][431][432] Members of the alt-right enthusiastically supported Trump's campaign.[433] In August 2016, he appointed Steve Bannon—the executive chairman of Breitbart News—as his campaign CEO; Bannon described Breitbart News as "the platform for the alt-right."[434] In an interview days after the election, Trump condemned supporters who celebrated his victory with Nazi salutes.[427][435]

Financial disclosures
As a presidential candidate, Trump disclosed details of his companies, assets, and revenue sources to the extent required by the FEC. His 2015 report listed assets above $1.4 billion and outstanding debts of at least $265 million.[87][436] The 2016 form showed little change.[88]

Trump did not release his tax returns during his presidential campaign or afterward,[437][438] contrary to usual practice by every candidate since Gerald Ford in 1976 and to his promise in 2014 to do so if he ran for office.[439][440][441] Trump's refusal led to speculation that he was hiding something.[442] He said that his tax returns were being audited, and his lawyers had advised him against releasing them.[443][444] Trump has told the press that his tax rate was none of their business, and that he tries to pay "as little tax as possible".[445][446][447]

In October 2016, portions of Trump's state filings for 1995 were leaked to a reporter from The New York Times. They show that Trump declared a loss of $916 million that year, which could have let him avoid taxes for up to 18 years. During the second presidential debate, Trump acknowledged using the deduction, but declined to provide details such as the specific years it was applied.[448] He said that he did use the tax code to avoid paying taxes.[449][450][451]

On March 14, 2017, the first two pages of Trump's 2005 federal income tax returns were leaked to Rachel Maddow and shown on MSNBC. The document states that Trump had a gross adjusted income of $150 million and paid $38 million in federal taxes. The White House confirmed the authenticity of these documents and stated: "Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns."[452][453]

Sexual misconduct allegations
Main articles: Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape and Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations
A total of 19 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct as of December 2017.[454] Trump and his campaign have denied as of October 2016 all of the sexual misconduct accusations, which Trump has called "false smears", and alleged a conspiracy against him.[455][456][457]

Two days before the second presidential debate, a 2005 recording surfaced in which Trump was heard bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women.[458][459][460] The hot mic recording was captured on a studio bus in which Trump and Billy Bush were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood. In the tape, Trump said: "I just start kissing them ... I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab 'em by the pussy."[461] During the recording, Trump also spoke of his efforts to seduce a married woman, saying he "moved on her very heavily".[461]

Trump's language on the tape was described by the media as "vulgar", "sexist", and descriptive of sexual assault. The incident prompted him to make his first public apology during the campaign,[462][463] and caused outrage across the political spectrum,[464][465] with many Republicans withdrawing their endorsements of his candidacy and some urging him to quit the race.[466] Subsequently, at least 15 women[467] came forward with new accusations of sexual misconduct, including unwanted kissing and groping, resulting in widespread media coverage.[468][469] In his two public statements in
Page semi-protected
Vietnam War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
For a full history of wars in Vietnam, see List of wars involving Vietnam. For the documentary television series, see The Vietnam War (TV series).
For other uses of "Nam", see Nam (disambiguation).

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. The readable prose size is 135 kilobytes. (June 2018)
This article's lead section may be too long for the length of the article. (October 2018)
Vietnam War
Chiến tranh Việt Nam (Vietnamese)
Part of the Indochina Wars and the Cold War
VNWarMontage.png
Clockwise, from top left: U.S. combat operations in Ia Đrăng, ARVN Rangers defending Saigon during the 1968 Tết Offensive, two A-4C Skyhawks after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, ARVN recapture Quảng Trị during the 1972 Easter Offensive, civilians fleeing the 1972 Battle of Quảng Trị, and burial of 300 victims of the 1968 Huế Massacre.
Date 1 November 1955[A 1] - 27 January 1973[26] (American involvement)
1 November 1955 - 30 April 1975
(19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Location
South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand
Result
North Vietnamese victory

Withdrawal of U.S from Vietnam
Communist forces take power in South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Reunification of Vietnam
Start of the Cambodian-Vietnamese War
Start of the boat people crisis and Indochina refugee crisis
Territorial
changes Reunification of North and South Vietnam into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Belligerents
North Vietnam
Viet Cong and PRG
Cambodia Government-in-Exile
Khmer Rouge[1]
Pathet Lao
China[2]
Soviet Union[2][3]
North Korea[2][3]
Military support:

Cuba[2][4][5]
Czechoslovakia[6][7]
East Germany[8][9]
Poland[10][11][12]
Other support[show]
South Vietnam
United States[2]
Khmer Republic
Kingdom of Laos[2]
Kingdom of Cambodia (1967-1970)
South Korea[2][17][3]
Thailand[2][17][3]
Australia[2][17][3]
Philippines[2][17][3]
New Zealand[2][17][3]
Military support:

Taiwan[2][18][17][3]
Other support[show]
Commanders and leaders
North Vietnam Hồ Chí Minh †
North Vietnam Lê Duẩn
North Vietnam Võ Nguyên Giáp
North Vietnam Lê Đức Thọ
North Vietnam Phạm Văn Đồng
North Vietnam Trường Chinh
North Vietnam Tôn Đức Thắng
North Vietnam Văn Tiến Dũng
North Vietnam Nguyễn Hữu An
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Huỳnh Tấn Phát
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Nguyễn Hữu Thọ
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Hoàng Văn Thái
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Nguyễn Chí Thanh †
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Trần Văn Trà
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Nguyễn Văn Linh
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Lê Trọng Tấn
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Lê Đức Anh
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Mme Nguyễn Thị Định
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Võ Chí Công
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Mme Nguyễn Thị Bình
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Võ Văn Kiệt
Laos Souphanouvong
Laos Kaysone Phomvihane
Laos Phoumi Vongvichit
Laos Nouhak Phoumsavanh
Norodom Sihanouk
Son Sann
Pol Pot
Khieu Samphan
Nuon Chea
...and others
South Vietnam Ngô Đình Diệm †
South Vietnam Ngô Đình Nhu †
South Vietnam Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
South Vietnam Nguyễn Cao Kỳ
South Vietnam Cao Văn Viên
South Vietnam Ngô Quang Trưởng
South Vietnam Dương Văn Minh
South Vietnam Trần Thiện Khiêm
South Vietnam Trần Văn Hương
South Vietnam Nguyễn Khánh
South Vietnam Nguyễn Văn Hiếu †
South Vietnam Đỗ Cao Trí †
South Vietnam Nguyễn Chánh Thi
United States John F. Kennedy †
United States Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Richard Nixon
United States Gerald Ford
United States Robert McNamara
United States Maxwell D. Taylor
United States William Westmoreland
United States Elmo Zumwalt
United States Creighton Abrams
United States Frederick C. Weyand
United States Paul D. Harkins
United States Melvin Laird
United States Clark Clifford
Lon Nol
Sisowath Sirik Matak
Laos Vang Pao
Laos Souvanna Phouma
Laos Phoumi Nosavan
South Korea Park Chung Hee
...and others
Strength
≈860,000 (1967)

North Vietnam: 690,000 (January 1967, included NVA and Việt Cộng)[27]
Việt Cộng: 200,000 (estimated, 1968)[28][29]
China: 170,000 (1967)[30][31][32]
GRUNK: 70,000 (1972)[33]
Laos Pathet Lao: 48,000 (1960)[34]
North Korea: 200[35]
≈1,420,000 (1968)

South Vietnam: 850,000 (1968)
1,500,000 (1974-75)[36]
United States: 543,000 (April 1969)[37][38]
Laos 72,000 Royal Army and Hmong[39][40]
Cambodia 200,000 (1973)[41]
South Korea: 50,003
Thailand: 32,000 in Vietnam[42] and Laos[43]
Australia: 7,672
Philippines: 2,061
New Zealand: 552[29]
Casualties and losses
North Vietnam & Việt Cộng
65,000-182,000 civilian dead[44][45][46]
849,018 military dead (per Vietnam; 1/3 non-combat deaths)[47][48][49]
666,000-950,765 dead (per US; 1964-74)[a][44][50]
600,000+ wounded[51]
China
≈1,100 dead and 4,200 wounded[32]
North Korea
14 dead[52]
Soviet Union
16 dead[53]
Total military dead: ≈667,130-951,895
Total military wounded: ≈604,200 (excluding GRUNK and Pathet Lao)
South Vietnam
195,000-430,000 civilian dead[44][45][54]
254,256-313,000 military dead[55][56]
1,170,000 wounded[57]
United States
58,318 dead;[58] 303,644 wounded (including 150,341 not requiring hospital care)[A 2]
Laos
15,000 dead[64]
Cambodia
Unknown
South Korea
5,099 dead; 10,962 wounded; 4 missing
Australia[65]
521 dead; 3,129 wounded
Thailand
351 dead[66]
New Zealand
37 dead[67]
Taiwan
25 dead[68]
Philippines
9 dead;[69] 64 wounded[70]
Total military dead: 333,620-392,364
Total wounded: ≈1,340,000+[57]
(excluding FARK and FANK)

Vietnamese civilian dead: 627,000-2,000,000[45][71][72]
Vietnamese total dead: 966,000[44]-3,812,000[73]
Cambodian Civil War dead: 275,000-310,000[74][75][76]
Laotian Civil War dead: 20,000-62,000[73]
Non-Indochinese military dead: 65,494
Total dead: 1,326,494-4,249,494
For more information see Vietnam War casualties and Aircraft losses of the Vietnam War
a Upper figure initial estimate, later thought to be inflated by at least 30% (lower figure), possibly includes civilians misidentified as combatants, see Vietnam War body count controversy[44][50]
vte
Indochina Wars
vte
Military engagements during the Vietnam War
vte
Massacres of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War,[77] and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955[A 1] to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, with U.S. involvement ending in 1973.[78] It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China,[30] and other communist allies; the South Vietnamese army was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies.[79] The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some US perspectives.[80] The war would last approximately 19 years and would also form the Laotian Civil War as well as the Cambodian Civil War, which resulted in all 3 countries becoming communist states in 1975.

There are several competing views on the conflict. Some on the North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front side view the struggle against U.S. forces as a colonial war and a continuation of the First Indochina War against forces from France and later on the United States,[81] especially in light of the failed 1954 Geneva Conference calls for elections. Other interpretations of the North Vietnamese side include viewing it as a civil war, especially in the early and later phases following the U.S. interlude between 1965 and 1970,[82] as well as a war of liberation.[81] In the perspective of some, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, the successor to the Việt Cộng, was motivated in part by significant social changes in the post-World War II Vietnam, and had initially seen it as a revolutionary war supported by Hanoi.[83][84] The pro-government side in South Vietnam viewed it as a civil war, a defensive war against communism,[82][85] or were motivated to fight to defend their homes and families.[86] The U.S. government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of the domino theory of a wider containment policy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism.[87]

Beginning in 1950, American military advisors arrived in what was then French Indochina.[88][A 3] Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S.[89] The Việt Cộng, also known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region, while the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), engaged in more conventional warfare, and had launched armed struggles from 1959 onward. U.S. involvement escalated in 1960 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels gradually surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963.[90][91]

By 1964 there were 23,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave Lyndon B. Johnson authorization to increase U.S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000.[90] Every year onward there was significant build-up despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966.[92] U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Following the Tết Offensive, U.S. forces began withdrawal under the Vietnamization phase; the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) unconventional and conventional capabilities increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy fire-power focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders: bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were used by North Vietnam as supply routes and were heavily bombed by U.S. forces.

Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Morale declined significantly among U.S. forces during the wind-down period and incidents of fragging, drug use and insubordination increased[93] with General Creighton Abrams remarking "I need to get this army home to save it".[94] From 1969 onwards the military actions of the Việt Cộng insurgency decreased as the role and engagement of the PAVN grew. Initially fielding less conventional and poorer weaponry, from 1970 onward the PAVN had increasingly became mechanised and armoured, capable of modernised combined arms and mobile warfare and begun to widely deploy newer, untested weapons.[95] These two sides would see significant, rapid changes throughout its lifetime from their original post-colonial armies, and by mid-1970s the ARVN became the fourth largest army[96] with the PAVN became the fifth largest army in the world[97] in two countries with a population of roughly 20 million each.[98]

Despite the Paris Peace Accord, which was signed by all parties in January 1973, the fighting continued as both Saigon and Hanoi attempted to take territory before and after the accord; the ceasefire was broken just days after its signing.[99] In the U.S. and the Western world, a large anti-Vietnam War movement developed as part of a larger counterculture, the largest such anti-war movement up to that point in history.[100] The war changed the dynamics between the Eastern and Western Blocs, altered North-South relations,[101] and significantly influenced the political landscape in the United States.[102] Across much of Western Europe[103] and the U.S., ground-force intervention spurred the rise of transnational political movements and campaigning.[104]

Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case-Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress.[105] The capture of Saigon by the PAVN in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000[44] to 3.8 million.[73] Some 275,000-310,000 Cambodians,[74][75][76] 20,000-62,000 Laotians,[73] and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.[A 2] The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and ties between the DRV and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian-Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea.


Contents
1 Names for the war
2 Background
3 Transition period
4 Diệm era, 1954-63
4.1 Rule
4.2 Insurgency in the South, 1954-60
4.2.1 North Vietnamese involvement
5 Kennedy's escalation, 1961-63
5.1 Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm
6 Johnson's escalation, 1963-69
6.1 Gulf of Tonkin incident
6.2 Bombing of Laos
6.3 The 1964 Offensive
6.4 American ground war
6.5 Tet Offensive
7 Nixon Doctrine and Vietnamization, 1969-72
7.1 Nuclear threats and diplomacy
7.2 Hanoi's war strategy
7.3 U.S. domestic controversies
7.4 Collapsing U.S. morale
7.5 ARVN taking the lead and U.S. ground-force withdrawal
7.6 Cambodia
7.7 Laos
7.8 Easter Offensive and Paris Peace Accords, 1972
8 U.S. exit and final campaigns, 1973-75
8.1 Campaign 275
8.2 Final North Vietnamese offensive
8.3 Fall of Saigon
9 Opposition to U.S. involvement in the war, 1964-73
10 Involvement of other countries
10.1 Pro-Hanoi
10.1.1 China
10.1.2 Soviet Union
10.1.3 Czechoslovakia
10.1.4 North Korea
10.1.5 Cuba
10.1.6 East Germany and Poland
10.2 Pro-Saigon
10.2.1 South Korea
10.2.2 Thailand
10.2.3 Australia and New Zealand
10.2.4 Philippines
10.2.5 Taiwan
10.2.6 Brazil
10.3 Neutral and non-belligerent nations
10.3.1 Canada and the ICC
11 United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races (FULRO)
12 War crimes
12.1 Allied war crimes
12.2 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong war crimes
13 Women in the Vietnam War
13.1 American nurses
13.2 Vietnamese women
13.3 Female journalists
14 Black servicemen in Vietnam
15 Weapons
15.1 Radio communications
15.2 Extent of U.S. bombings
16 Aftermath
16.1 Events in Southeast Asia
16.2 Effect on the United States
16.2.1 Views on the war
16.2.2 Cost of the war
16.2.3 Impact on the U.S. military
16.3 Effects of U.S. chemical defoliation
16.4 Casualties
16.5 In popular culture
16.5.1 Myths
16.6 Commemoration
17 See also
18 Annotations
19 Notes
20 References
20.1 Secondary sources
20.2 Primary sources
20.3 Historiography and memory
21 External links
Names for the war
Further information: Terminology of the Vietnam War
Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most commonly used name in English. It has also been called the Second Indochina War[77] and the Vietnam Conflict.

As there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others.[106] In Vietnamese, the war is generally known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America),[107] but less formally as 'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ' (The American War). It is also called Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War).[108]

Background
See also: History of Vietnam, Cochinchina Campaign, Cần Vương, Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng, Yên Bái mutiny, Vietnam during World War II, War in Vietnam (1945-46), 1940-46 in the Vietnam War, 1947-50 in the Vietnam War, First Indochina War, Operation Vulture, Operation Passage to Freedom, and 1954 in the Vietnam War
The primary military organizations involved in the war were, on one side, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States armed forces, and, on the other side, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (more commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources), and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong in English language sources), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force.[109]

Daniel Ellsberg contends that U.S. participation in Vietnam had begun in 1945 when it gave support to a French effort to reconquer its colony in Vietnam, a nation which had just declared independence in August 1945.[110]

Indochina was a French colony during the 19th century. When the Japanese invaded during World War II, the Viet Minh opposed them with support from the US, the Soviet Union and China. They received some Japanese arms when Japan surrendered. The Viet Minh, a Communist-led common front under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, then initiated an insurgency against French rule. Hostilities escalated into the First Indochina War (beginning in December 1946). By the 1950s, the conflict had become entwined with the Cold War. In January 1950, China and the Soviet Union recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the legitimate government of Vietnam. The following month the United States and Great Britain recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon, led by former Emperor Bảo Đại, as the legitimate Vietnamese government.[111][112] The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 convinced many Washington policymakers that the war in Indochina was an example of communist expansionism directed by the Soviet Union.[113]

Military advisors from the People's Republic of China (PRC) began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.[114] PRC weapons, expertise, and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army.[115] In September 1950, the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers.[116] By 1954, the United States had spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort, shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war.[117]

During the Battle of Dien Bien Phu U.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin and the U.S. conducted reconnaissance flights. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are vague and contradictory.[118][119] According to U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon, the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use three small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French.[118] Nixon, a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam, suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in".[120] U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support, but the British were opposed.[120] Eisenhower decided against U.S. military intervention, being wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.[121] Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.[122]

On 7 May 1954, the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrendered. The defeat marked the end of French military involvement in Indochina. At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Transition period
Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954); Operation Passage to Freedom; Battle of Saigon (1955); Ba Cụt; State of Vietnam referendum, 1955; Land reform in Vietnam; and Land reform in North Vietnam

The Geneva Conference, 1954
At the 1954 Geneva peace conference, Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh had wished to continue the war in the south, but was restrained by his Chinese allies who convinced him that he could win control by electoral means.[123][124] Under the terms of the Geneva Accords, civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.[125] Around one million northerners, mainly minority Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists.[126] This followed an American psychological warfare campaign, designed by Edward Lansdale for the CIA, which exaggerated anti-Catholic sentiment among the Viet Minh and which falsely claimed the US was about to drop atomic bombs on Hanoi.[127][128][129] The exodus was coordinated by a U.S.-funded $93 million relocation program, which included the use of the Seventh Fleet to ferry refugees.[130] The northern, mainly Catholic refugees gave the later Ngô Đình Diệm regime a strong anti-communist constituency.[131] Diệm staffed his government's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics.

In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 130,000 "Revolutionary Regroupees" went to the north for "regroupment", expecting to return to the south within two years.[132] The Viet Minh left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in the south as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism."[133] The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956.[115] The PRC completed its withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time.[114] Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.[134]

Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform", which resulted in significant political oppression. During the land reform, testimony from North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which extrapolated nationwide would indicate nearly 100,000 executions. Because the campaign was concentrated mainly in the Red River Delta area, a lower estimate of 50,000 executions became widely accepted by scholars at the time.[135][136][137][138] However, declassified documents from the Vietnamese and Hungarian archives indicate that the number of executions was much lower than reported at the time, although likely greater than 13,500.[139] In 1956, leaders in Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners.[140]

The south, meanwhile, constituted the State of Vietnam, with Bảo Đại as Emperor and Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. Neither the United States government nor Ngô Đình Diệm's State of Vietnam signed anything at the 1954 Geneva Conference. With respect to the question of reunification, the non-communist Vietnamese delegation objected strenuously to any division of Vietnam, but lost out when the French accepted the proposal of Viet Minh delegate Phạm Văn Đồng,[141] who proposed that Vietnam eventually be united by elections under the supervision of "local commissions".[142] The United States countered with what became known as the "American Plan", with the support of South Vietnam and the United Kingdom.[143] It provided for unification elections under the supervision of the United Nations, but was rejected by the Soviet delegation.[143] The United States said, "With respect to the statement made by the representative of the State of Vietnam, the United States reiterates its traditional position that peoples are entitled to determine their own future and that it will not join in any arrangement which would hinder this".[144] U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in 1954,

I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly eighty percent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader rather than Chief of State Bảo Đại. Indeed, the lack of leadership and drive on the part of Bảo Đại was a factor in the feeling prevalent among Vietnamese that they had nothing to fight for.[145]


Ba Cut in Can Tho Military Court 1956, commander of religious movement the Hòa Hảo, which had fought against the Việt Minh, Vietnamese National Army and Cao Dai movement throughout the first war
According to the Pentagon Papers, however, from 1954 to 1956 "Ngô Đình Diệm really did accomplish miracles" in South Vietnam: "It is almost certain that by 1956 the proportion which might have voted for Ho—in a free election against Diệm—would have been much smaller than eighty percent."[146] In 1957, independent observers from India, Poland, and Canada representing the International Control Commission (ICC) stated that fair, unbiased elections were not possible, with the ICC reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement.[147]

From April to June 1955, Diệm eliminated any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against two religious groups: the Cao Đài and Hòa Hảo of Ba Cụt. The campaign also focused on the Bình Xuyên organized crime group, which was allied with members of the communist party secret police and had some military elements. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted, Diệm increasingly sought to blame the communists.[57]


Originating as a bandit group, the Bình Xuyên was a crime syndicate briefly aligned with the Việt Minh before allying with the French in exchange for control over large parts of Saigon. Headed by Bảy Viễn, it was defeated during the Battle of Saigon in 1955.
In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October 1955, Diệm rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngô Đình Nhu and was credited with 98.2 percent of the vote, including 133% in Saigon. His American advisors had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." Diệm, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[148] Three days later, he declared South Vietnam to be an independent state under the name Republic of Vietnam (ROV), with himself as president.[149] Likewise, Ho Chi Minh and other communist officials always won at least 99% of the vote in North Vietnamese "elections".[150]

The domino theory, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration.[151] John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam."[152]

Diệm era, 1954-63
Main articles: Ngô Đình Diệm and War in Vietnam (1954-59)
Rule
See also: Ngô Đình Diệm presidential visit to Australia

Map of insurgency and "disturbances", 1957 to 1960
A devout Roman Catholic, Diệm was fervently anti-communist, nationalist, and socially conservative. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes that "Diệm represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism."[153] The majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, and were alarmed by actions such as Diệm's dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary.

Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diệm launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. He instituted the death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956.[154] According to Gabriel Kolko about 12,000 suspected opponents of Diệm were killed between 1955 and 1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40,000 political prisoners had been jailed.[155]


U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam in Washington, 8 May 1957
In May 1957, Diệm undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support, and a parade was held in Diệm's honor in New York City. Although Diệm was publicly praised, in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that Diệm had been selected because there were no better alternatives.[156]

Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote in Argument Without End (1999) that the new American patrons of the Republic of Vietnam (ROV) were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. They knew little of the language or long history of the country.[111] There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions, though Diệm warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems.[111]

Insurgency in the South, 1954-60
Main articles: Viet Cong and War in Vietnam (1959-63)

Viet Cong Guerrillas bear automatic weapons and use leafy camouflage as they patrol a portion of the Saigon River in small boats somewhere in South Vietnam.
Between 1954 and 1957 there was large-scale but disorganized dissidence in the countryside which the Diệm government succeeded in quelling. In early 1957 South Vietnam enjoyed its first peace in over a decade. Incidents of political violence began to occur in mid-1957, but the government "did not construe it as a campaign, considering the disorders too diffuse to warrant committing major GVN [Government of Vietnam] resources." By early 1959, however, Diệm had come to regard the (increasingly frequent) disorders as an organized campaign and implemented Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.[157] There had been some division among former Viet Minh whose main goal was to hold the elections promised in the Geneva Accords, leading to "wildcat" activities separate from the other communists and anti-GVN activists.[25]

In December 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF, a.k.a. the Viet Cong) was formally created with the intent of uniting all anti-GVN activists, including non-communists. It was formed in Memot, Cambodia, and directed through a central office known as COSVN. According to the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Cong "placed heavy emphasis on the withdrawal of American advisors and influence, on land reform and liberalization of the GVN, on coalition government and the neutralization of Vietnam." Often the leaders of the organization were kept secret.[25]

Support for the NLF was driven by peasant resentment of Diem's reversal of land reforms in the countryside. The vast majority of the population lived in villages in the countryside, where a key demand was for land reform. In areas they controlled, the Viet Minh had confiscated large private landholdings, reduced rents and debts, and leased communal lands, mostly to the poorer peasants. Diem brought the landlords back to the villages. People who were farming land they had held for years now had to return it to landlords and pay years of back rent. This rent collection was enforced by the South Vietnamese army. The divisions within villages reproduced those that had existed against the French: "75 percent support for the NLF, 20 percent trying to remain neutral and 5 percent firmly pro-government".[158]

North Vietnamese involvement
See also: North Vietnamese invasion of Laos and Ho Chi Minh trail

The Ho Chi Minh trail, known as the Truong Son Road by the North Vietnamese, cuts through Laos. This would develop into a complex logistical system which would allow the North Vietnamese to maintain the war effort despite the largest aerial bombardment campaign in history.
Sources disagree on whether North Vietnam played a direct role in aiding and organizing South Vietnamese rebels prior to 1960. Kahin and Lewis assert:

Contrary to United States policy assumptions, all available evidence shows that the revival of the civil war in the South in 1958 was undertaken by Southerners at their own—not Hanoi's—initiative... Insurgency activity against the Saigon government began in the South under Southern leadership not as a consequence of any dictate from Hanoi, but contrary to Hanoi's injunctions.[25]

Similarly, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. states that "it was not until September 1960 that the Communist Party of North Vietnam bestowed its formal blessing and called for the liberation of the south from American imperialism".[25]


The Ho Chi Minh trail required, on average, four-months of rough-terrain travel for combatants from North Vietnam destined for the Southern battlefields.
By contrast, James Olson and Randy Roberts assert that North Vietnam authorized a low-level insurgency in December 1956.[24] To counter the accusation that North Vietnam was violating the Geneva Accord, the independence of the Viet Cong was stressed in communist propaganda.[159]

In March 1956, southern communist leader Lê Duẩn presented a plan to revive the insurgency entitled "The Road to the South" to the other members of the Politburo in Hanoi, but as both China and the Soviets opposed confrontation at this time, Lê Duẩn's plan was rejected.[159] However, the North Vietnamese leadership approved tentative measures to revive the southern insurgency in December 1956.[160] Communist forces were under a single command structure set up in 1958.[161] The North Vietnamese Communist Party approved a "people's war" on the South at a session in January 1959,[162] and in May Group 559 was established to maintain and upgrade the Ho Chi Minh trail, at this time a six-month mountain trek through Laos. About 500 of the "regroupees" of 1954 were sent south on the trail during its first year of operation.[163] The first arms delivery via the trail was completed in August 1959.[164] About 40,000 communist soldiers infiltrated into the south from 1961 to 1963.[159]

Kennedy's escalation, 1961-63
Main articles: War in Vietnam (1959-63) and Strategic Hamlet Program
See also: Phạm Ngọc Thảo

President Kennedy's news conference of 23 March 1961
In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, Senator John F. Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. Although Eisenhower warned Kennedy about Laos and Vietnam, Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."[165] In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."[166] In June 1961, he bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna to discuss key U.S.-Soviet issues. Only 16 months later, the Cuban Missile Crisis (16-28 October 1962) played out on television worldwide. It was the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war, and the U.S. raised the readiness level of Strategic Air Command (SAC) forces to DEFCON 2.

The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. In 1961, the U.S. had 50,000 troops based in South Korea, and Kennedy faced a three-part crisis—the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement.[167] These crises made Kennedy believe that another failure on the part of the United States to gain control and stop communist expansion would fatally damage U.S. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. Kennedy was thus determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. He told James Reston of The New York Times immediately after his Vienna meeting with Khrushchev, "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place."[168][169]


South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967
Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diệm and his forces had to ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences."[170] The quality of the South Vietnamese military, however, remained poor. Poor leadership, corruption, and political promotions all played a part in weakening the South Vietnamese Army (formally Army of the Republic of Vietnam or ARVN). The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. While Hanoi's support for the Viet Cong played a role, South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis.[171]

One major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets, he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional Soviet invasion of Europe, Kennedy believed that the guerrilla tactics employed by special forces such as the Green Berets would be effective in a "brush fire" war in Vietnam.


Kennedy and McNamara
Kennedy advisors Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers.[172] Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did."[173] By November 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.[174]

The Strategic Hamlet Program was initiated in late 1961. This joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. It was implemented in early 1962 and involved some forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese into new communities where the peasantry would be isolated from Communist insurgents. It was hoped these new communities would provide security for the peasants and strengthen the tie between them and the central government. However, by November 1963 the program had waned, and it officially ended in 1964.[175]

On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising to respect the neutrality of Laos.

Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm
Main articles: Cable 243, Arrest and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm, Buddhist crisis, Krulak Mendenhall mission, McNamara Taylor mission, 1963 South Vietnamese coup, and Reaction to the 1963 South Vietnamese coup
See also: Role of the United States in the Vietnam War § John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt, 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing, Huế Phật Đản shootings, and Xá Lợi Pagoda raids
The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Battle of Ap Bac on 2 January 1963, in which a small band of Viet Cong won a battle against a much larger and better-equipped South Vietnamese force, many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat.[176] The Army of the Republic of Vietnam forces were led by Diệm's most trusted general, Huỳnh Văn Cao, commander of the IV Corps. Cao was a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill, and his main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coup attempts; he had earlier vomited during a communist attack. Some policymakers in Washington began to conclude that Diệm was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups, and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960 and 1962, which he partly attributed to U.S. encouragement. As Robert F. Kennedy noted, "Diệm wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. He was difficult to reason with ..."[177] Historian James Gibson summed up the situation:


ARVN forces capture a Viet Cong.
Strategic hamlets had failed ... The South Vietnamese regime was incapable of winning the peasantry because of its class base among landlords. Indeed, there was no longer a 'regime' in the sense of a relatively stable political alliance and functioning bureaucracy. Instead, civil government and military operations had virtually ceased. The National Liberation Front had made great progress and was close to declaring provisional revolutionary governments in large areas.[178]

Discontent with Diệm's policies exploded in May 1963 following the Huế Phật Đản shootings of nine unarmed Buddhists who were protesting against the ban on displaying the Buddhist flag on Vesak, the Buddha's birthday. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents over the Buddhist majority. Diệm's elder brother Ngô Đình Thục was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government, and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diệm's rule. Diệm refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. On 21 August 1963, the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Lê Quang Tung, loyal to Diệm's younger brother Ngô Đình Nhu, raided pagodas across Vietnam, causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds.

U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup, while the Defense Department favored Diệm. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diệm's younger brother Nhu, who controlled the secret police and special forces, and was seen as the man behind the Buddhist repression and more generally the architect of the Ngô family's rule. This proposal was conveyed to the U.S. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243.


Ngô Đình Diệm after being shot and killed in a coup on 2 November 1963
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was in contact with generals planning to remove Diệm. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. President Diệm was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on 2 November 1963. When Kennedy was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that he "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."[179] Kennedy had not anticipated Diệm's murder. The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[180] Kennedy wrote Lodge a letter congratulating him for "a fine job".[181]

Following the coup, chaos ensued. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed by the communists as a puppet of the Americans; whatever the failings of Diệm, his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable.[182]


Viet Cong fighters crossing a river
U.S. military advisors were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were however criticized for ignoring the political nature of the insurgency.[183] The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. The military leadership in Washington, however, was hostile to any role for U.S. advisors other than conventional troop training.[184] General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963.[185] The CIA was less optimistic, however, warning that "the Viet Cong by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort".[186]

Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions, led by paramilitary officers, against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters.[187] The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participated in Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG), which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes.[188]

Johnson's escalation, 1963-69
Main article: Joint warfare in South Vietnam, 1963-69
Further information: Role of the United States in the Vietnam War § Americanization
See also: 1964 South Vietnamese coup, September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt, December 1964 South Vietnamese coup, and 1965 South Vietnamese coup
President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson had not been heavily involved with policy toward Vietnam.[189][190] Upon becoming president, however, Johnson immediately focused on the war: on 24 November 1963, he said, "the battle against communism ... must be joined ... with strength and determination."[191] Johnson knew he had inherited a rapidly deteriorating situation in South Vietnam,[192] but he adhered to the widely accepted domino theory argument for defending the South: Should they retreat or appease, either action would imperil other nations beyond the conflict.[193]

The military revolutionary council, meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader, was made up of 12 members headed by General Dương Văn Minh—whom Stanley Karnow, a journalist on the ground, later recalled as "a model of lethargy".[194] Lodge, frustrated by the end of the year, cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to get on top of things?" His regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General Nguyễn Khánh.[195] There was also persistent instability in the military, however, as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short period of time.

In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier, Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea."[196] Some have argued that the policy of North Vietnam was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia.[197]

Gulf of Tonkin incident
Main article: Gulf of Tonkin incident
Further information: Credibility gap
On 2 August 1964, USS Maddox, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.[198] A second attack was reported two days later on USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. The circumstances of the attacks were murky.[199] Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish."[200] An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005 revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.[201]

File:1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam.ogv
Universal Newsreel film about the attack on the U.S. Army base in Pleiku and the U.S. response, February 1965
The second "attack" led to retaliatory air strikes, and prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7 August 1964.[202][203] Although most Congressmen at the time denied that this was a full-scale war declaration, the Tonkin Resolution granted the president unilateral power to launch any military actions he deemed necessary.[203] In the same month, Johnson pledged that he was not "committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land".[204]


A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs dropping bombs on North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder
The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. Following an attack on a U.S. Army base in Pleiku on 7 February 1965,[205] a series of air strikes was initiated, Operation Flaming Dart, while Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was on a state visit to North Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light expanded aerial bombardment and ground support operations.[206] The bombing campaign, which ultimately lasted three years, was intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the Viet Cong by threatening to destroy North Vietnamese air defenses and industrial infrastructure. It was additionally aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese.[207] Between March 1965 and November 1968, "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.[208]

Bombing of Laos
Main article: Laotian Civil War

Ho Chi Minh awards a medal to Nguyễn Văn Cốc, who was claimed to have been responsible for downing 11 enemy aircraft.
Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. Other aerial campaigns, such as Operation Barrel Roll, targeted different parts of the Viet Cong and NVA infrastructure. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail supply route, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. The ostensibly neutral Laos had become the scene of a civil war, pitting the Laotian government backed by the US against the Pathet Lao and its North Vietnamese allies.

Massive aerial bombardment against the Pathet Lao and People's Army of Vietnam forces were carried out by the US to prevent the collapse of the Royal central government, and to deny the use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, nearly equal to the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population.[209]

The objective of stopping North Vietnam and the Viet Cong was never reached. The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay, however, had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age".[210]

The 1964 Offensive

ARVN Forces and a US Advisor inspect a downed helicopter, Battle of Dong Xoai, June 1965
Following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Hanoi anticipated the arrival of US troops and began expanding the Viet Cong, as well as sending increasing numbers of North Vietnamese personnel southwards. At this phase they were outfitting the Viet Cong forces and standardising their equipment with AK-47 rifles and other supplies, as well as forming the 9th Division.[211] "From a strength of approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100,000 at the end of 1964 ... Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850,000 to nearly a million men."[183] The numbers for U.S. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were much lower: 2,000 in 1961, rising rapidly to 16,500 in 1964.[212] During this phase, the use of captured equipment decreased, while greater numbers of ammunition and supplies were required to maintained regular units. Group 559 was tasked with expanding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, in light of the near constant bombardment by US warplanes. The war had begun to shift into the final, conventional warfare phase of Hanoi's three-stage protracted warfare model. The Viet Cong was now tasked with destroying the ARVN and capturing and holding areas; however, the Viet Cong was not yet strong enough to assault major towns and cities.

In December 1964, ARVN forces had suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã,[213] in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. Previously, communist forces had utilised hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. At Binh Gia, however, they had defeated a strong ARVN force in a conventional battle and remained in the field for four days.[214] Tellingly, South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June 1965 at the Battle of Đồng Xoài.[215]

American ground war

A Marine from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, moves man suspected to be a Viet Cong activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 km) west of Da Nang Air Base.
On 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were unilaterally dispatched to South Vietnam.[216] This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment.[217] The Marines' initial assignment was defensive. The first deployment of 3,500 in March 1965 was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.[218] The U.S. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare. Regardless of political policies, U.S. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission.[218]

General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific forces, that the situation was critical.[218] He said, "I am convinced that U.S. troops with their energy, mobility, and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF (Viet Cong)".[219] With this recommendation, Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese. By ignoring ARVN units, the U.S. commitment became open-ended.[220] Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war:

Phase 1. Commitment of U.S. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965.
Phase 2. U.S. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down, thrown on the defensive, and driven back from major populated areas.
Phase 3. If the enemy persisted, a period of twelve to eighteen months following Phase 2 would be required for the final destruction of enemy forces remaining in remote base areas.[221]

Peasants suspected of being Viet Cong under detention of U.S. Army, 1966
The plan was approved by Johnson and marked a profound departure from the previous administration's insistence that the government of South Vietnam was responsible for defeating the guerrillas. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967.[222] Johnson did not, however, communicate this change in strategy to the media. Instead he emphasized continuity.[223] The change in U.S. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in a contest of attrition and morale. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation.[224] The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved.[224] Westmoreland and McNamara furthermore touted the body count system for gauging victory, a metric that would later prove to be flawed.[225]

The American buildup transformed the South Vietnamese economy and had a profound effect on society. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. Stanley Karnow noted that "the main PX [Post Exchange], located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon, was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's ..."[226] A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. Meanwhile, the one-year tour of duty of American soldiers deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but for one year 10 times."[227] As a result, training programs were shortened.


Heavily bandaged woman burned by napalm, with a tag attached to her arm which reads "VNC Female" meaning Vietnamese civilian
Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines[228] all agreed to send troops. South Korea would later ask to join the Many Flags program in return for economic compensation. Major allies, however, notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom, declined Washington's troop requests.[229]

The U.S. and its allies mounted complex search and destroy operations, designed to find enemy forces, destroy them, and then withdraw, typically using helicopters. In November 1965, the U.S. engaged in its first major battle with the North Vietnamese Army, the Battle of Ia Drang.[230] The operation was the first large scale helicopter air assault by the U.S., and first to employ Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers in a tactical support role. These tactics continued in 1966-67 with operations such as Masher, Thayer, Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. However, the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. By 1967, these operations had generated large-scale internal refugees, numbering nearly 2.1 million in South Vietnam, with 125,000 people evacuated and rendered homeless during Operation Masher alone, which was the largest search and destroy operation in the war up to that point.[231][232] Operation Masher would have negligible impact, however, as the PAVN/VC returned to the province just four months after the operation ended.[232] Despite the continual conductance of major operations, which the Viet Cong and NVA would typically evade, the war was characterised by smaller-unit contacts or engagements.[233] Up to the war's end, the Viet Cong and NVA would initiate 90% of large firefights, of which 80% were clear and well-planned operations, and thus the NVA/Viet Cong would retain strategic initiative despite overwhelming US force and fire-power deployment.[233] The PAVN/NLF had furthermore developed strategies capable of countering U.S. military doctrines and tactics (see NLF and PAVN battle tactics).


U.S. soldiers searching a village for potential Viet Cong
Meanwhile, the political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilise with the coming to power of prime minister Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and figurehead Chief of State, General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, in mid-1965 at the head of a military junta. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. In 1967, Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy, after rigged elections. Although they were nominally a civilian government, Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. However, Thieu outmanoeuvred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. Thieu, mistrustful and indecisive, remained president until 1975, having won a one-candidate election in 1971.[234][235]


A US "tunnel rat" soldier prepares to enter a Viet Cong tunnel.
The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"[236] in its dealings with the media. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. Over time, this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged, a so-called credibility gap developed.[236] Despite Johnson and Westmoreland publicly proclaiming victory was being achieved, with Westmoreland divulging that the "end is coming into view",[237] internal reports in the Pentagon Papers indicate that Viet Cong forces still retained strategic initiative, and were able to control their losses widely, with 30% of all engagements being Viet Cong attacks against static US positions, 23% being a VC/NVA ambush and encirclement, and just 5% of engagements being US forces attacking a Viet Cong emplacement and 9% being a US ambush against Viet Cong/NVA forces.[233]

Types of Engagements, From Department of Defence Study 1967[233]
TYPE OF ENGAGEMENTS IN COMBAT NARRATIVES Percentage of
Total Engagements

Notes
Hot Landing Zone. VC/NVA Attacks U.S. Troops As They Deploy 12.5% Planned VC/NVA Attacks
Are 66.2% Of All Engagements

Planned VC/NVA Attack Against US Defensive Perimeter 30.4%
VC/NVA Ambushes or Encircles A Moving US Unit 23.3%
Unplanned US Attacks On A VC/NVA Defensive Perimeter,
Engagement A Virtual Surprise To US Commanders

12.5% Defensive Posts Being Well Concealed
or VC-NVA Alerted or Anticipated

Planned US Attack Against Known
VC/NVA Defensive Perimeter

5.4% Planned US Attacks Against
VC/NVA Represent 14.3%

Of All Engagements

US Forces Ambushes Moving VC/NVA Units 8.9%
Chance Engagement, Neither Side Planned 7.1%
Tet Offensive
Main articles: Tet Offensive and United States news media and the Vietnam War

ARVN forces assault a stronghold in the Mekong Delta.

PLAF before departing to participate in the Tet Offensive around Saigon-Gia Dinh

In late 1967 the PAVN lured American forces into the hinterlands at Đắk Tô and at the Marine Khe Sanh combat base in Quảng Trị Province, where the U.S. engaged in a series of battles known as The Hill Fights. These actions were part of a diversionary strategy meant to draw US forces towards the Central Highlands.[238] Preparations were underway for the General Offensive, General Uprising, known as Tet Mau Than, or the Tet Offensive, with the intention of Văn Tiến Dũng for forces to launch "direct attacks on the American and puppet nerve centers—Saigon, Hue, Danang, all the cities, towns and main bases..."[239] Hanoi sought to placate critics of the ongoing stalemate by planning a decisive victory.[240] They reasoned this could be achieved through sparking a general uprising within the towns and cities,[241] along with mass defections among ARVN units, who were on holiday leave during the truce period.[242]

The Tet Offensive began on 30 January 1968, as over 100 cities were attacked by over 85,000 enemy troops, including assaults on key military installations, headquarters, and government buildings and offices, including the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.[243] U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were initially shocked by the scale, intensity and deliberative planning of the urban offensive, as infiltration of personnel and weapons into the cities was accomplished covertly;[239] the offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.[228][244] Most cities were recaptured within weeks, except the former capital city of Huế in which NVA and Viet Cong troops captured most of the city and citadel except the headquarters of the 1st Division and held on in the fighting for 26 days.[245][246] During that time, they had executed approximately 2,800 unarmed Huế civilians and foreigners they considered to be enemy's spies.[247] In the following Battle of Huế American forces employed massive firepower that left 80 percent of the city in ruins.[248] Further north, at Quảng Trị City, the ARVN Airborne Division, the 1st Division and a regiment of the US 1st Cavalry Division had managed to hold out and overcome an assault intended to capture the city.[249][250] In Saigon, Viet Cong/NVA fighters had captured areas in and around the city, attacking key installations and the neighbourhood of Cholon before members of the ARVN Rangers dislodged them after three weeks.[251] During one battle, Peter Arnett[252] reported an infantry commander
This article is about the state of political tension in the 20th century. For the general term, see Cold war (general term). For the current state of political tension, see Cold War II. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation).
"Cold warrior" redirects here. For other uses, see Cold warrior (disambiguation).
The Cold War (1947-1991)

East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, 1961

A U.S. Navy aircraft shadowing a Soviet freighter during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov shake hands in outer space, 1975

Soviet frigate Bezzavetny bumping USS Yorktown, 1988

Mushroom cloud of the Ivy Mike nuclear test, 1952; one of more than a thousand such tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1992

The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins with 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The USSR was a Marxist-Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a leader with different titles over time, and a small committee called the Politburo. The Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, and many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, and funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China, particularly following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In opposition stood the capitalist West, led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system. The First World nations of the Western Bloc were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes throughout the Third World, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies.[1][2] Some major Cold War frontlines such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947.

A neutral bloc arose with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat, but they were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargos, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948-49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the '70s and '80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the Civil Rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955-75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) has been referred to as the Second Cold War.[3]


Contents
1 Origins of the term
2 Background
2.1 Russian Revolution
2.2 Beginnings of World War II
3 End of World War II (1945-1947)
3.1 Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
3.2 Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
3.3 Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
4 Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
4.1 The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
4.2 Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
4.3 Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
4.4 Berlin Blockade and airlift
4.5 Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
4.6 Chinese Civil War and SEATO
4.7 Korean War
5 Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
5.1 Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization
5.2 Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
5.3 Berlin ultimatum and European integration
5.4 Competition in the Third World
5.5 Sino-Soviet split
5.6 Space Race
5.7 Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
5.8 Berlin Crisis of 1961
5.9 Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
6 Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
6.1 French withdrawal from NATO
6.2 Invasion of Czechoslovakia
6.3 Brezhnev Doctrine
6.4 Third World escalations
6.5 Sino-American rapprochement
6.6 Nixon, Brezhnev, and détente
6.7 Late 1970s deterioration of relations
7 "Second Cold War" (1979-1985)
7.1 Soviet War in Afghanistan
7.2 Reagan and Thatcher
7.3 Polish Solidarity movement and martial law
7.4 Soviet and US military and economic issues
8 Final years (1985-1991)
8.1 Gorbachev's reforms
8.2 Thaw in relations
8.3 Eastern Europe breaks away
8.4 Soviet republics break away
8.5 Soviet dissolution
9 Aftermath
9.1 In popular culture
10 Historiography
11 See also
12 References
13 Bibliography and further reading
13.1 Historiography and memory
13.2 Primary sources
14 External links
Origins of the term
Main article: Cold war (general term)
West and East Germans at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989.jpg
Part of a series on the
History of the Cold War

Origins of the Cold War
World War II
(Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
War conferences
Eastern Bloc
Western Bloc
Iron Curtain
Cold War (1947-1953)
Cold War (1953-1962)
Cold War (1962-1979)
Cold War (1979-1985)
Cold War (1985-1991)
Frozen conflicts
Timeline · Conflicts
Historiography
Cold War II
At the end of World War II, English writer George Orwell used cold war, as a general term, in his essay "You and the Atomic Bomb", published 19 October 1945 in the British newspaper Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear warfare, Orwell looked at James Burnham's predictions of a polarized world, writing:

Looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery... James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications—that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of "cold war" with its neighbours.[4]

In The Observer of 10 March 1946, Orwell wrote, "after the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a 'cold war' on Britain and the British Empire."[5]

The first use of the term to describe the specific post-war geopolitical confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States came in a speech by Bernard Baruch, an influential advisor to Democratic presidents,[6] on 16 April 1947. The speech, written by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope,[7] proclaimed, "Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war."[8] Newspaper columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency with his book The Cold War. When asked in 1947 about the source of the term, Lippmann traced it to a French term from the 1930s, la guerre froide.[9]

Background
Main article: Origins of the Cold War
Russian Revolution

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
While most historians trace the origins of the Cold War to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began with the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 when the Bolsheviks took power.[10] In 1919 Lenin stated that his new state was surrounded by a "hostile capitalist encirclement", and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon that should be used to keep the Soviet Union's enemies divided, beginning with the establishment of the Communist International, which called for revolutionary upheavals abroad.[11] Historian Max Beloff argues that the Soviets saw "no prospect of permanent peace", with the 1922 Soviet Constitution proclaiming:

Since the time of the formation of the soviet republics, the states of the world have divided into two camps: the camp of capitalism and the camp of socialism. There—in the camp of capitalism—national enmity and inequality, colonial slavery, and chauvinism, national oppression and pogroms, imperialist brutalities and wars. Here—in the camp of socialism—mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, a dwelling together in peace and the brotherly collaboration of peoples.[12]

According to British historian Christopher Sutton:

In what some have called the First Cold War, from Britain's intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1918 to its uneasy alliance with the Soviet Union against the Axis powers in 1941, British distrust of the revolutionary and regicidal Bolsheviks resulted in domestic, foreign, and colonial policies aimed at resisting the spread of communism. This conflict after 1945 took on new battlefields, new weapons, new players, and a greater intensity, but it was still fundamentally a conflict against Soviet imperialism (real and imagined).[13]

The idea of long-term continuity is a minority scholarly view that has been challenged. Frank Ninkovich writes:

As for the two cold wars thesis, the chief problem is that the two periods are incommensurable. To be sure, they were joined together by enduring ideological hostility, but in the post-World War I years Bolshevism was not a geopolitical menace. After World War II, in contrast, the Soviet Union was a superpower that combined ideological antagonism with the kind of geopolitical threat posed by Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Even with more amicable relations in the 1920s, it is conceivable that post-1945 relations would have turned out much the same.[14]

Beginnings of World War II
After signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and German-Soviet Frontier Treaty, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance".[15][16][17] Finland rejected territorial demands, prompting a Soviet invasion in November 1939.[18] The resulting Winter War ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions.[19] Britain and France, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to its entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations.[17]

In June 1940, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,[16] and the disputed Romanian regions of Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Hertza. But after the German Army invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Soviet Union and the Allied powers formed an alliance of convenience. Britain signed a formal alliance and the United States made an informal agreement. In wartime, the United States supplied Britain, the Soviet Union and other Allied nations through its Lend-Lease Program.[20] However, Stalin remained highly suspicious, and he believed that the British and the Americans had conspired to ensure that the Soviets bore the brunt of the fighting against Germany. According to this view, the Western Allies had deliberately delayed opening a second anti-German front in order to step in at the last minute and shape the peace settlement. Thus, Soviet perceptions of the West left a strong undercurrent of tension and hostility between the Allied powers.[21]

End of World War II (1945-1947)
Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
Further information: Tehran Conference, Yalta Conference, and List of Allied World War II conferences
The Allies disagreed about how the European map should look, and how borders would be drawn, following the war.[22] Each side held dissimilar ideas regarding the establishment and maintenance of post-war security.[22] Some scholars contend that all the Western Allies desired a security system in which democratic governments were established as widely as possible, permitting countries to peacefully resolve differences through international organizations.[23] Others note that the Atlantic powers were divided in their vision of the new post-war world. Roosevelt's goals—military victory in both Europe and Asia, the achievement of global American economic supremacy over the British Empire, and the creation of a world peace organization—were more global than Churchill's, which were mainly centered on securing control over the Mediterranean, ensuring the survival of the British Empire, and the independence of Central and Eastern European countries as a buffer between the Soviets and the United Kingdom.[24]


The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
The Soviet Union sought to dominate the internal affairs of countries in its border regions.[22][25] During the war, Stalin had created special training centers for communists from different countries so that they could set up secret police forces loyal to Moscow as soon as the Red Army took control. Soviet agents took control of the media, especially radio; they quickly harassed and then banned all independent civic institutions, from youth groups to schools, churches and rival political parties.[26] Stalin also sought continued peace with Britain and the United States, hoping to focus on internal reconstruction and economic growth.[27]

In the American view, Stalin seemed a potential ally in accomplishing their goals, whereas in the British approach Stalin appeared as the greatest threat to the fulfillment of their agenda. With the Soviets already occupying most of Central and Eastern Europe, Stalin was at an advantage, and the two western leaders vied for his favors.

The differences between Roosevelt and Churchill led to several separate deals with the Soviets. In October 1944, Churchill traveled to Moscow and proposed the "percentages agreement" to divide the Balkans into respective spheres of influence, including giving Stalin predominance over Romania and Bulgaria and Churchill carte blanche over Greece. At the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Roosevelt signed a separate deal with Stalin in regard of Asia and refused to support Churchill on the issues of Poland and the Reparations.[24] Roosevelt ultimately approved the percentage agreement,[28][29] but there was still apparently no firm consensus on the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe.[30]


Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
At the Second Quebec Conference, a high-level military conference held in Quebec City, 12-16 September 1944, Churchill and Roosevelt reached agreement on a number of matters, including a plan for Germany based on Henry Morgenthau Jr.'s original proposal. The memorandum drafted by Churchill provided for "eliminating the warmaking industries in the Ruhr and the Saar ... looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." However, it no longer included a plan to partition the country into several independent states.[31] On 10 May 1945, President Truman signed the U.S. occupation directive JCS 1067, which was in effect for over two years, and was enthusiastically supported by Stalin. It directed the U.S. forces of occupation to "...take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany".[32]

Some historians have argued that the Cold War began when the US negotiated a separate peace with Nazi SS General Karl Wolff in northern Italy. The Soviet Union was not allowed to participate and the dispute led to heated correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin. General Wolff, a war criminal, appears to have been guaranteed immunity at the Nuremberg trials by Office of Strategic Services (OSS) commander (and later CIA director) Allen Dulles when they met in March 1945. Wolff and his forces were being considered to help implement Operation Unthinkable, a secret plan to invade the Soviet Union which Winston Churchill advocated during this period.[33][34][35]

In April 1945, President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry S. Truman, who distrusted Stalin and turned for advice to an elite group of foreign policy intellectuals. Both Churchill and Truman opposed, among other things, the Soviets' decision to prop up the Lublin government, the Soviet-controlled rival to the Polish government-in-exile in London, whose relations with the Soviets had been severed.[36]

Following the Allies' May 1945 victory, the Soviets effectively occupied Central and Eastern Europe,[30] while strong US and Western allied forces remained in Western Europe. In Germany and Austria, France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States established zones of occupation and a loose framework for parceled four-power control.[37]

The 1945 Allied conference in San Francisco established the multi-national United Nations (UN) for the maintenance of world peace, but the enforcement capacity of its Security Council was effectively paralyzed by the ability of individual members to exercise veto power.[38] Accordingly, the UN was essentially converted into an inactive forum for exchanging polemical rhetoric, and the Soviets regarded it almost exclusively as a propaganda tribune.[39]

Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
Main articles: Potsdam Conference and Surrender of Japan

Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
At the Potsdam Conference, which started in late July after Germany's surrender, serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.[40] Moreover, the participants' mounting antipathy and bellicose language served to confirm their suspicions about each other's hostile intentions, and to entrench their positions.[41] At this conference Truman informed Stalin that the United States possessed a powerful new weapon.[42]

Stalin was aware that the Americans were working on the atomic bomb, and—given that the Soviets' own rival program was in place—he reacted to the news calmly. The Soviet leader said he was pleased by the news and expressed the hope that the weapon would be used against Japan.[42] One week after the end of the Potsdam Conference, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan.[43]

Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
Main article: Eastern Bloc
Further information: Post-World War II economic expansion

Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called 'Iron Curtain'
During the opening stages of World War II, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for the Eastern Bloc by invading and then annexing several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics, by agreement with Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. These included eastern Poland (incorporated into the Byelorussian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR),[44] Latvia (which became the Latvian SSR),[45][46] Estonia (which became the Estonian SSR),[45][46] Lithuania (which became the Lithuanian SSR),[45][46] part of eastern Finland (which became the Karelo-Finnish SSR) and eastern Romania (which became the Moldavian SSR).[47][48]

The Central and Eastern European territories liberated from Germany and occupied by the Soviet armed forces were added to the Eastern Bloc by converting them into satellite states,[49] such as:

People's Republic of Albania (11 January 1946)[50]
People's Republic of Bulgaria (15 September 1946)
Polish People's Republic (19 January 1947)
People's Republic of Romania (13 April 1948)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (9 May 1948)[51]
Hungarian People's Republic (20 August 1949)[52]
German Democratic Republic (7 October 1949)[53]
The Soviet-style regimes that arose in the Bloc not only reproduced Soviet command economies, but also adopted the brutal methods employed by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet secret police in order to suppress both real and potential opposition.[54] In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria in the last month of the war, and it went on to occupy the large swathe of Korean territory located north of the 38th parallel.[55]

As part of consolidating Stalin's control over the Eastern Bloc, the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), led by Lavrentiy Beriya, supervised the establishment of Soviet-style secret police systems in the Bloc that were supposed to crush anti-communist resistance.[56] When the slightest stirrings of independence emerged in the Bloc, Stalin's strategy matched that of dealing with domestic pre-war rivals: they were removed from power, put on trial, imprisoned, and in several instances, executed.[57]

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was concerned that, given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the perception that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.[58] After World War II, US officials guided Western European leaders in establishing their own secret security force to prevent subversion in the Western bloc, which evolved into Operation Gladio.[59]

Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
Main articles: Cold War (1947-1953), Containment, and Truman Doctrine
The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
Further information: X Article § The Long Telegram, Iron Curtain, Iran crisis of 1946, and Restatement of Policy on Germany

Remains of the "iron curtain" in the Czech Republic
In late February 1946, George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow to Washington helped to articulate the US government's increasingly hard line against the Soviets, which would become the basis for US strategy toward the Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. The Truman Administration was receptive to the telegram due to broken promises by Stalin concerning Europe and Iran.[60] Following the WWII Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, the country was occupied by the Red Army in the far north and the British in the south.[61] Iran was used by the United States and British to supply the Soviet Union, and the Allies agreed to withdraw from Iran within six months after the cessation of hostilities.[61] However, when this deadline came, the Soviets remained in Iran under the guise of the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.[62] Shortly thereafter, on March 5, former British prime minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri.[63] The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an "iron curtain" dividing Europe from "Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic".[49][64]

A week later, on March 13, Stalin responded vigorously to the speech, saying that Churchill could be compared to Hitler insofar as he advocated the racial superiority of English-speaking nations so that they could satisfy their hunger for world domination, and that such a declaration was "a call for war on the U.S.S.R." The Soviet leader also dismissed the accusation that the USSR was exerting increasing control over the countries lying in its sphere. He argued that there was nothing surprising in "the fact that the Soviet Union, anxious for its future safety, [was] trying to see to it that governments loyal in their attitude to the Soviet Union should exist in these countries".[65][66]


European military alliances

European economic alliances
In September, the Soviet side produced the Novikov telegram, sent by the Soviet ambassador to the US but commissioned and "co-authored" by Vyacheslav Molotov; it portrayed the US as being in the grip of monopoly capitalists who were building up military capability "to prepare the conditions for winning world supremacy in a new war".[67] On September 6, 1946, James F. Byrnes delivered a speech in Germany repudiating the Morgenthau Plan (a proposal to partition and de-industrialize post-war Germany) and warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely.[68] As Byrnes admitted a month later, "The nub of our program was to win the German people ... it was a battle between us and Russia over minds ..."[69] In December, the Soviets agreed to withdraw from Iran after persistent US pressure, an early success of containment policy.

By 1947, US president Harry S. Truman was outraged by perceived resistance of the Soviet Union to American demands in Iran, Turkey, and Greece, as well as Soviet rejection of the Baruch Plan on nuclear weapons.[70] In February 1947, the British government announced that it could no longer afford to finance the Kingdom of Greece in its civil war against Communist-led insurgents.[71] The US government responded to this announcement by adopting a policy of containment,[72] with the goal of stopping the spread of Communism. Truman delivered a speech calling for the allocation of $400 million to intervene in the war and unveiled the Truman Doctrine, which framed the conflict as a contest between free peoples and totalitarian regimes.[72] American policymakers accused the Soviet Union of conspiring against the Greek royalists in an effort to expand Soviet influence even though Stalin had told the Communist Party to cooperate with the British-backed government.[73] (The insurgents were helped by Josip Broz Tito's Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against Stalin's wishes.)[74][75]

Enunciation of the Truman Doctrine marked the beginning of a US bipartisan defense and foreign policy consensus between Republicans and Democrats focused on containment and deterrence that weakened during and after the Vietnam War, but ultimately persisted thereafter.[76][77] Moderate and conservative parties in Europe, as well as social democrats, gave virtually unconditional support to the Western alliance,[78] while European and American Communists, financed by the KGB and involved in its intelligence operations,[79] adhered to Moscow's line, although dissent began to appear after 1956. Other critiques of the consensus policy came from anti-Vietnam War activists, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the anti-nuclear movement.[80]

Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
Main articles: Marshall Plan, Western Bloc, and 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état

The labeling used on Marshall Plan aid to Western Europe

Map of Cold War-era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid received per nation.

Construction in West Berlin under Marshall Plan aid
In early 1947, France, Britain and the United States unsuccessfully attempted to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union for a plan envisioning an economically self-sufficient Germany, including a detailed accounting of the industrial plants, goods and infrastructure already removed by the Soviets.[81] In June 1947, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan, a pledge of economic assistance for all European countries willing to participate, including the Soviet Union.[81] Under the plan, which President Harry S. Truman signed on 3 April 1948, the US government gave to Western European countries over $13 billion (equivalent to $189.39 billion in 2016) to rebuild the economy of Europe. Later, the program led to the creation of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

The plan's aim was to rebuild the democratic and economic systems of Europe and to counter perceived threats to Europe's balance of power, such as communist parties seizing control through revolutions or elections.[82] The plan also stated that European prosperity was contingent upon German economic recovery.[83] One month later, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, creating a unified Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Council (NSC). These would become the main bureaucracies for US defense policy in the Cold War.[84]

Stalin believed that economic integration with the West would allow Eastern Bloc countries to escape Soviet control, and that the US was trying to buy a pro-US re-alignment of Europe.[85] Stalin therefore prevented Eastern Bloc nations from receiving Marshall Plan aid.[85] The Soviet Union's alternative to the Marshall Plan, which was purported to involve Soviet subsidies and trade with central and eastern Europe, became known as the Molotov Plan (later institutionalized in January 1949 as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).[74] Stalin was also fearful of a reconstituted Germany; his vision of a post-war Germany did not include the ability to rearm or pose any kind of threat to the Soviet Union.[86]

In early 1948, following reports of strengthening "reactionary elements", Soviet operatives executed a coup d'état in Czechoslovakia, the only Eastern Bloc state that the Soviets had permitted to retain democratic structures.[87][88] The public brutality of the coup shocked Western powers more than any event up to that point, set in a motion a brief scare that war would occur and swept away the last vestiges of opposition to the Marshall Plan in the United States Congress.[89]

The twin policies of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan led to billions in economic and military aid for Western Europe, Greece, and Turkey. With the US assistance, the Greek military won its civil war.[84] Under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi the Italian Christian Democrats defeated the powerful Communist-Socialist alliance in the elections of 1948.[90] At the same time there was increased intelligence and espionage activity, Eastern Bloc defections and diplomatic expulsions.[91]

Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
Main articles: Cominform and Tito-Stalin Split
In September 1947, the Soviets created Cominform, the purpose of which was to enforce orthodoxy within the international communist movement and tighten political control over Soviet satellites through coordination of communist parties in the Eastern Bloc.[85] Cominform faced an embarrassing setback the following June, when the Tito-Stalin Split obliged its members to expel Yugoslavia, which remained communist but adopted a non-aligned position.[92]

Berlin Blockade and airlift
Main article: Berlin Blockade

C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
The United States and Britain merged their western German occupation zones into "Bizonia" (1 January 1947, later "Trizonia" with the addition of France's zone, April 1949).[93] As part of the economic rebuilding of Germany, in early 1948, representatives of a number of Western European governments and the United States announced an agreement for a merger of western German areas into a federal governmental system.[94] In addition, in accordance with the Marshall Plan, they began to re-industrialize and rebuild the German economy, including the introduction of a new Deutsche Mark currency to replace the old Reichsmark currency that the Soviets had debased.[95]

Shortly thereafter, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 - 12 May 1949), one of the first major crises of the Cold War, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin.[96] The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries began the massive "Berlin airlift", supplying West Berlin with food and other provisions.[97]

The Soviets mounted a public relations campaign against the policy change. Once again the East Berlin communists attempted to disrupt the Berlin municipal elections (as they had done in the 1946 elections),[93] which were held on 5 December 1948 and produced a turnout of 86.3% and an overwhelming victory for the non-communist parties.[98] The results effectively divided the city into East and West versions of its former self. 300,000 Berliners demonstrated and urged the international airlift to continue,[99] and US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen created "Operation Vittles", which supplied candy to German children.[100] In May 1949, Stalin backed down and lifted the blockade.[56][101]

In 1952, Stalin repeatedly proposed a plan to unify East and West Germany under a single government chosen in elections supervised by the United Nations, if the new Germany were to stay out of Western military alliances, but this proposal was turned down by the Western powers. Some sources dispute the sincerity of the proposal.[102]

Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
Main articles: NATO, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Eastern Bloc media and propaganda

President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other eight western European countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty of April 1949, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[56] That August, the first Soviet atomic device was detonated in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR.[74] Following Soviet refusals to participate in a German rebuilding effort set forth by western European countries in 1948,[94][103] the US, Britain and France spearheaded the establishment of West Germany from the three Western zones of occupation in April 1949.[104] The Soviet Union proclaimed its zone of occupation in Germany the German Democratic Republic that October.[40]

Media in the Eastern Bloc was an organ of the state, completely reliant on and subservient to the communist party. Radio and television organizations were state-owned, while print media was usually owned by political organizations, mostly by the local communist party.[105] Soviet propaganda used Marxist philosophy to attack capitalism, claiming labor exploitation and war-mongering imperialism were inherent in the system.[106]

Along with the broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America to Central and Eastern Europe,[107] a major propaganda effort begun in 1949 was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, dedicated to bringing about the peaceful demise of the communist system in the Eastern Bloc.[108] Radio Free Europe attempted to achieve these goals by serving as a surrogate home radio station, an alternative to the controlled and party-dominated domestic press.[108] Radio Free Europe was a product of some of the most prominent architects of America's early Cold War strategy, especially those who believed that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means, such as George F. Kennan.[109]

American policymakers, including Kennan and John Foster Dulles, acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas.[109] The United States, acting through the CIA, funded a long list of projects to counter the communist appeal among intellectuals in Europe and the developing world.[110] The CIA also covertly sponsored a domestic propaganda campaign called Crusade for Freedom.[111]

In the early 1950s, the US worked for the rearmament of West Germany and, in 1955, secured its full membership of NATO.[40] In May 1953, Beria, by then in a government post, had made an unsuccessful proposal to allow the reunification of a neutral Germany to prevent West Germany's incorporation into NATO.[112]

Chinese Civil War and SEATO
Main articles: Chinese Civil War and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
In 1949, Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army defeated Chiang Kai-shek's United States-backed Kuomintang (KMT) Nationalist Government in China, and the Soviet Union promptly created an alliance with the newly formed People's Republic of China.[113] According to Norwegian historian Odd Arne Westad, the communists won the Civil War because they made fewer military mistakes than Chiang Kai-Shek made, and because in his search for a powerful centralized government, Chiang antagonized too many interest groups in China. Moreover, his party was weakened during the war against Japan. Meanwhile, the communists told different groups, such as the peasants, exactly what they wanted to hear, and they cloaked themselves under the cover of Chinese nationalism.[114]

Chiang and his KMT government retreated to the island of Taiwan. Confronted with the communist revolution in China and the end of the American atomic monopoly in 1949, the Truman administration quickly moved to escalate and expand its containment policy.[74] In NSC 68, a secret 1950 document,[115] the National Security Council proposed to reinforce pro-Western alliance systems and quadruple spending on defense.[74]

United States officials moved thereafter to expand containment into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in order to counter revolutionary nationalist movements, often led by communist parties financed by the USSR, fighting against the restoration of Europe's colonial empires in South-East Asia and elsewhere.[116] In the early 1950s (a period sometimes known as the "Pactomania"), the US formalized a series of alliances with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines (notably ANZUS in 1951 and SEATO in 1954), thereby guaranteeing the United States a number of long-term military bases.[40]

Korean War
Main article: Korean War

General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
One of the more significant examples of the implementation of containment was US intervention in the Korean War. In June 1950, Kim Il-sung's North Korean People's Army invaded South Korea.[117] Stalin approved and sent advisers to plan the North Korean invasion.[118] To Stalin's surprise,[74] the UN Security Council backed the defense of South Korea, though the Soviets were then boycotting meetings in protest that Taiwan and not Communist China held a permanent seat on the Council.[119] A UN force of personnel from South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, Colombia, Australia, France, South Africa, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand and other countries joined to stop the invasion.[120]


U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
Among other effects, the Korean War galvanised NATO to develop a military structure.[121] Public opinion in countries involved, such as Great Britain, was divided for and against the war. Many feared an escalation into a general war with Communist China, and even nuclear war. The strong opposition to the war often strained Anglo-American relations. For these reasons British officials sought a speedy end to the conflict, hoping to unite Korea under United Nations auspices and for withdrawal of all foreign forces.[122]

Even though the Chinese and North Koreans were exhausted by the war and were prepared to end it by late 1952, Stalin insisted that they continue fighting, and the Armistice was approved only in July 1953, after Stalin's death.[40] North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralized, totalitarian dictatorship—which continues to date—according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality.[123][124] In the South, the American-backed strongman Syngman Rhee ran a significantly less brutal but deeply corrupt and authoritarian regime.[125] After Rhee was overthrown in 1960, South Korea fell within a year under a period of military rule that lasted until the re-establishment of a multi-party system in the late 1980s.

Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
Main article: Cold War (1953-1962)
Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
In 1953, changes in political leadership on both sides shifted the dynamic of the Cold War.[126] Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated president that January. During the last 18 months of the Truman administration, the American defense budget had quadrupled, and Eisenhower moved to reduce military spending by a third while continuing to fight the Cold War effectively.[74]

After the death of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet leader following the deposition and execution of Lavrentiy Beria and the pushing aside of rivals Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. On 25 February 1956, Khrushchev shocked delegates to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party by cataloguing and denouncing Stalin's crimes.[127] As part of a campaign of de-Stalinization, he declared that the only way to reform and move away from Stalin's policies would be to acknowledge errors made in the past.[84]

On 18 November 1956, while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Khrushchev used his famous "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you" expression, shocking everyone present.[128] He later claimed that he had not been talking about nuclear war, but rather about the historically determined victory of communism over capitalism.[129] In 1961, Khrushchev declared that even if the USSR was behind the West, within a decade its housing shortage would disappear, consumer goods would be abundant, and within two decades, the "construction of a communist society" in the USSR would be completed "in the main".[130]

Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, initiated a "New Look" for the containment strategy, calling for a greater reliance on nuclear weapons against US enemies in wartime.[84] Dulles also enunciated the doctrine of "massive retaliation", threatening a severe US response to any Soviet aggression. Possessing nuclear superiority, for example, allowed Eisenhower to face down Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East during the 1956 Suez Crisis.[74] US plans for nuclear war in the late 1950s included the "systematic destruction" of 1200 major urban centers in the Eastern Bloc and China, including Moscow, East Berlin and Beijing, with their civilian populations among the primary targets.[131]

Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
Main articles: Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956

March of protesters in Budapest, on 25 October;

A destroyed Soviet T-34-85 tank in Budapest

The maximum territorial extent of countries in the world under Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
While Stalin's death in 1953 slightly relaxed tensions, the situation in Europe remained an uneasy armed truce.[132] The Soviets, who had already created a network of mutual assistance treaties in the Eastern Bloc by 1949,[133] established a formal alliance therein, the Warsaw Pact, in 1955.[40]

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 occurred shortly after Khrushchev arranged the removal of Hungary's Stalinist leader Mátyás Rákosi.[134] In response to a popular uprising,[135] the new regime formally disbanded the secret police, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. The Soviet Army invaded.[136] Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union,[137] and approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary in the chaos.[138] Hungarian leader Imre Nagy and others were executed following secret trials.[139] From 1957 through 1961, Khrushchev openly and repeatedly threatened the West with nuclear annihilation. He claimed that Soviet missile capabilities were far superior to those of the United States, capable of wiping out any American or European city. However, Khrushchev rejected Stalin's belief in the inevitability of war, and declared his new goal was to be "peaceful coexistence".[140] This formulation modified the Stalin-era Soviet stance, where international class conflict meant the two opposing camps were on an inevitable collision course where communism would triumph through global war; now, peace would allow capitalism to collapse on its own,[141] as well as giving the Soviets time to boost their military capabilities,[142] which remained for decades until Gorbachev's later "new thinking" envisioning peaceful coexistence as an end in itself rather than a form of class struggle.[143]

The events in Hungary produced ideological fractures within the communist parties of the world, particularly in Western Europe, with great decline in membership as many in both western and communist countries felt disillusioned by the brutal Soviet response.[144] The communist parties in the West would never recover from the effect the Hungarian Revolution had on their membership, a fact that was immediately recognized by some, such as the Yugoslavian politician Milovan Đilas who shortly after the revolution was crushed said that "The wound which the Hungarian Revolution inflicted on communism can never be completely healed".[144]

America's pronouncements concentrated on American strength abroad and the success of liberal capitalism.[145] However, by the late 1960s, the "battle for men's minds" between two systems of social organization that Kennedy spoke of in 1961 was largely over, with tensions henceforth based primarily on clashing geopolitical objectives rather than ideology.[146]

Berlin ultimatum and European integration
Main articles: Berlin Crisis of 1961 § Berlin ultimatum, and European integration
During November 1958, Khrushchev made an unsuccessful attempt to turn all of Berlin into an independent, demilitarized "free city". He gave the United States, Great Britain, and France a six-month ultimatum to withdraw their troops from the sectors they still occupied in West Berlin, or he would transfer control of Western access rights to the East Germans. Khrushchev earlier explained to Mao Zedong that "Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin."[147] NATO formally rejected the ultimatum in mid-December and Khrushchev withdrew it in return for a Geneva conference on the German question.[148]

More broadly, one hallmark of the 1950s was the beginning of European integration—a fundamental by-product of the Cold War. Truman and Eisenhower promoted the concept politically, economically, and militarily, but later administrations viewed it ambivalently, fearful that an independent Europe would forge a separate détente with the Soviet Union, which would use this to exacerbate Western disunity.[149]

Competition in the Third World
Main articles: Decolonization § After 1945, Wars of national liberation, 1953 Iranian coup d'état, 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, and Congo Crisis

Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
Nationalist movements in some countries and regions, notably Guatemala, Indonesia and Indochina, were often allied with communist groups or perceived in the West to be allied with communists.[84] In this context, the United States and the Soviet Union increasingly competed for influence by proxy in the Third World as decolonization gained momentum in the 1950s and early 1960s.[150] Additionally, the Soviets saw continuing losses by imperial powers as presaging the eventual victory of their ideology.[151] Both sides were selling armaments to gain influence.[152]


1961 Soviet postage stamp demanding freedom for African nations

1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to do away with a string of unfriendly Third World governments and to support allied ones.[84] In 1953, President Eisenhower's CIA implemented Operation Ajax, a covert operation aimed at overthrowing the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The popularly elected and non-aligned Mosaddegh had been a Middle Eastern nemesis of Britain since nationalizing the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951. Winston Churchill told the United States that Mosaddegh was "increasingly turning towards communism."[153][154][155][156] The pro-Western shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, assumed control as an autocratic monarch.[157] The shah's policies included banning the communist Tudeh Party of Iran, and general suppression of political dissent by SAVAK, the shah's domestic security and intelligence agency.

In Guatemala, a CIA-backed military coup ousted the left-wing President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954.[158] The post-Arbenz government—a military junta headed by Carlos Castillo Armas—repealed a progressive land reform law, returned nationalized property belonging to the United Fruit Company, set up a National Committee of Defense Against Communism, and decreed a Preventive Penal Law Against Communism at the request of the United States.[159]

The non-aligned Indonesian government of Sukarno was faced with a major threat to its legitimacy beginning in 1956, when several regional commanders began to demand autonomy from Jakarta. After mediation failed, Sukarno took action to remove the dissident commanders. In February 1958, dissident military commanders in Central Sumatera (Colonel Ahmad Hussein) and North Sulawesi (Colonel Ventje Sumual) declared the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia-Permesta Movement aimed at overthrowing the Sukarno regime. They were joined by many civilian politicians from the Masyumi Party, such as Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, who were opposed to the growing influence of the communist Partai Komunis Indonesia party. Due to their anti-communist rhetoric, the rebels received arms, funding, and other covert aid from the CIA until Allen Lawrence Pope, an American pilot, was shot down after a bombing raid on government-held Ambon in April 1958. The central government responded by launching airborne and seaborne military invasions of rebel strongholds Padang and Manado. By the end of 1958, the rebels were militarily defeated, and the last remaining rebel guerilla bands surrendered by August 1961.[160]

In the Republic of the Congo, newly independent from Belgium since June 1960, the CIA-cultivated President Joseph Kasa-Vubu ordered the dismissal of the democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the Lumumba cabinet in September; Lumumba called for Kasa-Vubu's dismissal instead.[161] In the ensuing Congo Crisis, the CIA-backed Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko quickly mobilized his forces to seize power through a military coup d'état.[161]


An animated map shows the order of independence of the African nations, 1950-2011
In British Guiana, the leftist People's Progressive Party (PPP) candidate Cheddi Jagan won the position of chief minister in a colonially administered election in 1953, but was quickly forced to resign from power after Britain's suspension of the still-dependent nation's constitution.[162] Embarrassed by the landslide electoral victory of Jagan's allegedly Marxist party, the British imprisoned the PPP's leadership and maneuvered the organization into a divisive rupture in 1955, engineering a split between Jagan and his PPP colleagues.[163] Jagan again won the colonial elections in 1957 and 1961; despite Britain's shift to a reconsideration of its view of the left-wing Jagan as a Soviet-style communist at this time, the United States pressured the British to withhold Guyana's independence until an alternative to Jagan could be identified, supported, and brought into office.[164]

Worn down by the communist guerrilla war for Vietnamese independence and handed a watershed defeat by communist Viet Minh rebels at the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French accepted a negotiated abandonment of their colonial stake in Vietnam. In the Geneva Conference, peace accords were signed, leaving Vietnam divided between a pro-Soviet administration in North Vietnam and a pro-Western administration in South Vietnam at the 17th parallel north. Between 1954 and 1961, Eisenhower's United States sent economic aid and military advisers to strengthen South Vietnam's pro-Western regime against communist efforts to destabilize it.[74]

Many emerging nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America rejected the pressure to choose sides in the East-West competition. In 1955, at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, dozens of Third World governments resolved to stay out of the Cold War.[165] The consensus reached at Bandung culminated with the creation of the Belgrade-headquartered Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.[84] Meanwhile, Khrushchev broadened Moscow's policy to establish ties with India and other key neutral states. Independence movements in the Third World transformed the post-war order into a more pluralistic world of decolonized African and Middle Eastern nations and of rising nationalism in Asia and Latin America.[74]

Sino-Soviet split
Main article: Sino-Soviet split

A map showing the relations of the communist states after the Sino-Soviet split as of 1980:
The USSR and pro-Soviet communist states
China and pro-Chinese communist states
Neutral communist nations (North Korea and Yugoslavia)
Non-communist states
The period after 1956 was marked by serious setbacks for the Soviet Union, most notably the breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, beginning the Sino-Soviet split. Mao had defended Stalin when Khrushchev criticized him in 1956, and treated the new Soviet leader as a superficial upstart, accusing him of having lost his revolutionary edge.[166] For his part, Khrushchev, disturbed by Mao's glib attitude toward nuclear war, referred to the Chinese leader as a "lunatic on a throne".[167]

After this, Khrushchev made many desperate attempts to reconstitute the Sino-Soviet alliance, but Mao considered it useless and denied any proposal.[166] The Chinese-Soviet animosity spilled out in an intra-communist propaganda war.[168] Further on, the Soviets focused on a bitter rivalry with Mao's China for leadership of the global communist movement.[169] Historian Lorenz M. Lüthi argues:

The Sino-Soviet split was one of the key events of the Cold War, equal in importance to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Second Vietnam War, and Sino-American rapprochement. The split helped to determine the framework of the Second Cold War in general, and influenced the course of the Second Vietnam War in particular.[170]
Space Race
Main article: Space Race

The United States reached the moon in 1969.
On the nuclear weapons front, the United States and the USSR pursued nuclear rearmament and developed long-range weapons with which they could strike the territory of the other.[40] In August 1957, the Soviets successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),[171] and in October they launched the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1.[172] The launch of Sputnik inaugurated the Space Race. This culminated in the Apollo Moon landings, which astronaut Frank Borman later described as "just a battle in the Cold War."[173]

Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
Main articles: Cuban Revolution and Bay of Pigs Invasion

Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
In Cuba, the 26th of July Movement, led by young revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, seized power in the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.[174]

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista's fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Castro during the latter's trip to Washington, DC in April, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place.[175] Cuba began negotiating for arms purchases from the Eastern Bloc in March 1960.[176]

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government. In April 1961, the administration of newly elected American President John F. Kennedy mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Santa Clara Province—a failure that publicly humiliated the United States.[177] Castro responded by publicly embracing Marxism-Leninism, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide further support.[177]

Berlin Crisis of 1961
Main article: Berlin Crisis of 1961
Further information: Berlin Wall and Eastern Bloc emigration and defection

Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
The Berlin Crisis of 1961 was the last major incident in the Cold War regarding the status of Berlin and post-World War II Germany. By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to restricting emigration movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.[178] However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually emigrated to West Germany through a "loophole" in the system that existed between East Berlin and West Berlin, where the four occupying World War II powers governed movement.[179]

The emigration resulted in a massive "brain drain" from East Germany to West Germany of younger educated professionals, such that nearly 20% of East Germany's population had migrated to West Germany by 1961.[180] That June, the Soviet Union issued a new ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of Allied forces from West Berlin.[181] The request was rebuffed, and on 13 August, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole.[182]

Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
Main articles: Cuban Project and Cuban Missile Crisis

Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
The Kennedy administration continued seeking ways to oust Castro following the Bay of Pigs Invasion, experimenting with various ways of covertly facilitating the overthrow of the Cuban government. Significant hopes were pinned on a covert program named the Cuban Project, devised under the Kennedy administration in 1961. Khrushchev learned of the project in February 1962,[183] and preparations to install Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba were undertaken in response.[183]

Alarmed, Kennedy considered various reactions. He ultimately responded to the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba with a naval blockade, and he presented an ultimatum to the Soviets. Khrushchev backed down from a confrontation, and the Soviet Union removed the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba again.[184] Castro later admitted that "I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons. ... we took it for granted that it would become a nuclear war anyway, and that we were going to disappear."[185]

The Cuban Missile Crisis (October-November 1962) brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever before.[186] The aftermath of the crisis led to the first efforts in the nuclear arms race at nuclear disarmament and improving relations,[132] although the Cold War's first arms control agreement, the Antarctic Treaty, had come into force in 1961.[187]

In 1964, Khrushchev's Kremlin colleagues managed to oust him, but allowed him a peaceful retirement.[188] Accused of rudeness and incompetence, he was also credited with ruining Soviet agriculture and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.[188] Khrushchev had become an international embarrassment when he authorized construction of the Berlin Wall, a public humiliation for Marxism-Leninism.[188]

Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
Main article: Cold War (1962-1979)

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973

United States Navy F-4 Phantom II intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 D aircraft in the early 1970s.
In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Cold War participants struggled to adjust to a new, more complicated pattern of international relations in which the world was no longer divided into two clearly opposed blocs.[84] From the beginning of the post-war period, Western Europe and Japan rapidly recovered from the destruction of World War II and sustained strong economic growth through the 1950s and 1960s, with per capita GDPs approaching those of the United States, while Eastern Bloc economies stagnated.[84][189]

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, combined with the growing influence of Third World alignments such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Non-Aligned Movement, less powerful countries had more room to assert their independence and often showed themselves resistant to pressure from either superpower.[116] Meanwhile, Moscow was forced to turn its attention inward to deal with the Soviet Union's deep-seated domestic economic problems.[84] During this period, Soviet leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin embraced the notion of détente.[84]

French withdrawal from NATO
Main articles: NATO § French withdraw
This is a good article. Follow the link for more information. Page semi-protected Listen to this article
Cold War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
This article is about the state of political tension in the 20th century. For the general term, see Cold war (general term). For the current state of political tension, see Cold War II. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation).
"Cold warrior" redirects here. For other uses, see Cold warrior (disambiguation).
The Cold War (1947-1991)

East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, 1961

A U.S. Navy aircraft shadowing a Soviet freighter during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov shake hands in outer space, 1975

Soviet frigate Bezzavetny bumping USS Yorktown, 1988

Mushroom cloud of the Ivy Mike nuclear test, 1952; one of more than a thousand such tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1992

The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins with 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The USSR was a Marxist-Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a leader with different titles over time, and a small committee called the Politburo. The Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, and many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, and funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China, particularly following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. In opposition stood the capitalist West, led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system. The First World nations of the Western Bloc were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes throughout the Third World, most of which were the Western Bloc's former colonies.[1][2] Some major Cold War frontlines such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947.

A neutral bloc arose with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat, but they were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides' nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargos, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948-49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the '70s and '80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the Civil Rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955-75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) has been referred to as the Second Cold War.[3]


Contents
1 Origins of the term
2 Background
2.1 Russian Revolution
2.2 Beginnings of World War II
3 End of World War II (1945-1947)
3.1 Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
3.2 Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
3.3 Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
4 Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
4.1 The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
4.2 Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
4.3 Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
4.4 Berlin Blockade and airlift
4.5 Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
4.6 Chinese Civil War and SEATO
4.7 Korean War
5 Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
5.1 Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization
5.2 Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
5.3 Berlin ultimatum and European integration
5.4 Competition in the Third World
5.5 Sino-Soviet split
5.6 Space Race
5.7 Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
5.8 Berlin Crisis of 1961
5.9 Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
6 Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
6.1 French withdrawal from NATO
6.2 Invasion of Czechoslovakia
6.3 Brezhnev Doctrine
6.4 Third World escalations
6.5 Sino-American rapprochement
6.6 Nixon, Brezhnev, and détente
6.7 Late 1970s deterioration of relations
7 "Second Cold War" (1979-1985)
7.1 Soviet War in Afghanistan
7.2 Reagan and Thatcher
7.3 Polish Solidarity movement and martial law
7.4 Soviet and US military and economic issues
8 Final years (1985-1991)
8.1 Gorbachev's reforms
8.2 Thaw in relations
8.3 Eastern Europe breaks away
8.4 Soviet republics break away
8.5 Soviet dissolution
9 Aftermath
9.1 In popular culture
10 Historiography
11 See also
12 References
13 Bibliography and further reading
13.1 Historiography and memory
13.2 Primary sources
14 External links
Origins of the term
Main article: Cold war (general term)
West and East Germans at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989.jpg
Part of a series on the
History of the Cold War

Origins of the Cold War
World War II
(Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
War conferences
Eastern Bloc
Western Bloc
Iron Curtain
Cold War (1947-1953)
Cold War (1953-1962)
Cold War (1962-1979)
Cold War (1979-1985)
Cold War (1985-1991)
Frozen conflicts
Timeline · Conflicts
Historiography
Cold War II
At the end of World War II, English writer George Orwell used cold war, as a general term, in his essay "You and the Atomic Bomb", published 19 October 1945 in the British newspaper Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear warfare, Orwell looked at James Burnham's predictions of a polarized world, writing:

Looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery... James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications—that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of "cold war" with its neighbours.[4]

In The Observer of 10 March 1946, Orwell wrote, "after the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a 'cold war' on Britain and the British Empire."[5]

The first use of the term to describe the specific post-war geopolitical confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States came in a speech by Bernard Baruch, an influential advisor to Democratic presidents,[6] on 16 April 1947. The speech, written by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope,[7] proclaimed, "Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war."[8] Newspaper columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency with his book The Cold War. When asked in 1947 about the source of the term, Lippmann traced it to a French term from the 1930s, la guerre froide.[9]

Background
Main article: Origins of the Cold War
Russian Revolution

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
While most historians trace the origins of the Cold War to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began with the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 when the Bolsheviks took power.[10] In 1919 Lenin stated that his new state was surrounded by a "hostile capitalist encirclement", and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon that should be used to keep the Soviet Union's enemies divided, beginning with the establishment of the Communist International, which called for revolutionary upheavals abroad.[11] Historian Max Beloff argues that the Soviets saw "no prospect of permanent peace", with the 1922 Soviet Constitution proclaiming:

Since the time of the formation of the soviet republics, the states of the world have divided into two camps: the camp of capitalism and the camp of socialism. There—in the camp of capitalism—national enmity and inequality, colonial slavery, and chauvinism, national oppression and pogroms, imperialist brutalities and wars. Here—in the camp of socialism—mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, a dwelling together in peace and the brotherly collaboration of peoples.[12]

According to British historian Christopher Sutton:

In what some have called the First Cold War, from Britain's intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1918 to its uneasy alliance with the Soviet Union against the Axis powers in 1941, British distrust of the revolutionary and regicidal Bolsheviks resulted in domestic, foreign, and colonial policies aimed at resisting the spread of communism. This conflict after 1945 took on new battlefields, new weapons, new players, and a greater intensity, but it was still fundamentally a conflict against Soviet imperialism (real and imagined).[13]

The idea of long-term continuity is a minority scholarly view that has been challenged. Frank Ninkovich writes:

As for the two cold wars thesis, the chief problem is that the two periods are incommensurable. To be sure, they were joined together by enduring ideological hostility, but in the post-World War I years Bolshevism was not a geopolitical menace. After World War II, in contrast, the Soviet Union was a superpower that combined ideological antagonism with the kind of geopolitical threat posed by Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Even with more amicable relations in the 1920s, it is conceivable that post-1945 relations would have turned out much the same.[14]

Beginnings of World War II
After signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and German-Soviet Frontier Treaty, the Soviet Union forced the Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—to allow it to station Soviet troops in their countries under pacts of "mutual assistance".[15][16][17] Finland rejected territorial demands, prompting a Soviet invasion in November 1939.[18] The resulting Winter War ended in March 1940 with Finnish concessions.[19] Britain and France, treating the Soviet attack on Finland as tantamount to its entering the war on the side of the Germans, responded to the Soviet invasion by supporting the USSR's expulsion from the League of Nations.[17]

In June 1940, the Soviet Union forcibly annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,[16] and the disputed Romanian regions of Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Hertza. But after the German Army invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Soviet Union and the Allied powers formed an alliance of convenience. Britain signed a formal alliance and the United States made an informal agreement. In wartime, the United States supplied Britain, the Soviet Union and other Allied nations through its Lend-Lease Program.[20] However, Stalin remained highly suspicious, and he believed that the British and the Americans had conspired to ensure that the Soviets bore the brunt of the fighting against Germany. According to this view, the Western Allies had deliberately delayed opening a second anti-German front in order to step in at the last minute and shape the peace settlement. Thus, Soviet perceptions of the West left a strong undercurrent of tension and hostility between the Allied powers.[21]

End of World War II (1945-1947)
Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe
Further information: Tehran Conference, Yalta Conference, and List of Allied World War II conferences
The Allies disagreed about how the European map should look, and how borders would be drawn, following the war.[22] Each side held dissimilar ideas regarding the establishment and maintenance of post-war security.[22] Some scholars contend that all the Western Allies desired a security system in which democratic governments were established as widely as possible, permitting countries to peacefully resolve differences through international organizations.[23] Others note that the Atlantic powers were divided in their vision of the new post-war world. Roosevelt's goals—military victory in both Europe and Asia, the achievement of global American economic supremacy over the British Empire, and the creation of a world peace organization—were more global than Churchill's, which were mainly centered on securing control over the Mediterranean, ensuring the survival of the British Empire, and the independence of Central and Eastern European countries as a buffer between the Soviets and the United Kingdom.[24]


The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
The Soviet Union sought to dominate the internal affairs of countries in its border regions.[22][25] During the war, Stalin had created special training centers for communists from different countries so that they could set up secret police forces loyal to Moscow as soon as the Red Army took control. Soviet agents took control of the media, especially radio; they quickly harassed and then banned all independent civic institutions, from youth groups to schools, churches and rival political parties.[26] Stalin also sought continued peace with Britain and the United States, hoping to focus on internal reconstruction and economic growth.[27]

In the American view, Stalin seemed a potential ally in accomplishing their goals, whereas in the British approach Stalin appeared as the greatest threat to the fulfillment of their agenda. With the Soviets already occupying most of Central and Eastern Europe, Stalin was at an advantage, and the two western leaders vied for his favors.

The differences between Roosevelt and Churchill led to several separate deals with the Soviets. In October 1944, Churchill traveled to Moscow and proposed the "percentages agreement" to divide the Balkans into respective spheres of influence, including giving Stalin predominance over Romania and Bulgaria and Churchill carte blanche over Greece. At the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Roosevelt signed a separate deal with Stalin in regard of Asia and refused to support Churchill on the issues of Poland and the Reparations.[24] Roosevelt ultimately approved the percentage agreement,[28][29] but there was still apparently no firm consensus on the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe.[30]


Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
At the Second Quebec Conference, a high-level military conference held in Quebec City, 12-16 September 1944, Churchill and Roosevelt reached agreement on a number of matters, including a plan for Germany based on Henry Morgenthau Jr.'s original proposal. The memorandum drafted by Churchill provided for "eliminating the warmaking industries in the Ruhr and the Saar ... looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." However, it no longer included a plan to partition the country into several independent states.[31] On 10 May 1945, President Truman signed the U.S. occupation directive JCS 1067, which was in effect for over two years, and was enthusiastically supported by Stalin. It directed the U.S. forces of occupation to "...take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany".[32]

Some historians have argued that the Cold War began when the US negotiated a separate peace with Nazi SS General Karl Wolff in northern Italy. The Soviet Union was not allowed to participate and the dispute led to heated correspondence between Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin. General Wolff, a war criminal, appears to have been guaranteed immunity at the Nuremberg trials by Office of Strategic Services (OSS) commander (and later CIA director) Allen Dulles when they met in March 1945. Wolff and his forces were being considered to help implement Operation Unthinkable, a secret plan to invade the Soviet Union which Winston Churchill advocated during this period.[33][34][35]

In April 1945, President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry S. Truman, who distrusted Stalin and turned for advice to an elite group of foreign policy intellectuals. Both Churchill and Truman opposed, among other things, the Soviets' decision to prop up the Lublin government, the Soviet-controlled rival to the Polish government-in-exile in London, whose relations with the Soviets had been severed.[36]

Following the Allies' May 1945 victory, the Soviets effectively occupied Central and Eastern Europe,[30] while strong US and Western allied forces remained in Western Europe. In Germany and Austria, France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States established zones of occupation and a loose framework for parceled four-power control.[37]

The 1945 Allied conference in San Francisco established the multi-national United Nations (UN) for the maintenance of world peace, but the enforcement capacity of its Security Council was effectively paralyzed by the ability of individual members to exercise veto power.[38] Accordingly, the UN was essentially converted into an inactive forum for exchanging polemical rhetoric, and the Soviets regarded it almost exclusively as a propaganda tribune.[39]

Potsdam Conference and surrender of Japan
Main articles: Potsdam Conference and Surrender of Japan

Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
At the Potsdam Conference, which started in late July after Germany's surrender, serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.[40] Moreover, the participants' mounting antipathy and bellicose language served to confirm their suspicions about each other's hostile intentions, and to entrench their positions.[41] At this conference Truman informed Stalin that the United States possessed a powerful new weapon.[42]

Stalin was aware that the Americans were working on the atomic bomb, and—given that the Soviets' own rival program was in place—he reacted to the news calmly. The Soviet leader said he was pleased by the news and expressed the hope that the weapon would be used against Japan.[42] One week after the end of the Potsdam Conference, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan.[43]

Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc
Main article: Eastern Bloc
Further information: Post-World War II economic expansion

Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called 'Iron Curtain'
During the opening stages of World War II, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for the Eastern Bloc by invading and then annexing several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics, by agreement with Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. These included eastern Poland (incorporated into the Byelorussian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR),[44] Latvia (which became the Latvian SSR),[45][46] Estonia (which became the Estonian SSR),[45][46] Lithuania (which became the Lithuanian SSR),[45][46] part of eastern Finland (which became the Karelo-Finnish SSR) and eastern Romania (which became the Moldavian SSR).[47][48]

The Central and Eastern European territories liberated from Germany and occupied by the Soviet armed forces were added to the Eastern Bloc by converting them into satellite states,[49] such as:

People's Republic of Albania (11 January 1946)[50]
People's Republic of Bulgaria (15 September 1946)
Polish People's Republic (19 January 1947)
People's Republic of Romania (13 April 1948)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (9 May 1948)[51]
Hungarian People's Republic (20 August 1949)[52]
German Democratic Republic (7 October 1949)[53]
The Soviet-style regimes that arose in the Bloc not only reproduced Soviet command economies, but also adopted the brutal methods employed by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet secret police in order to suppress both real and potential opposition.[54] In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria in the last month of the war, and it went on to occupy the large swathe of Korean territory located north of the 38th parallel.[55]

As part of consolidating Stalin's control over the Eastern Bloc, the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), led by Lavrentiy Beriya, supervised the establishment of Soviet-style secret police systems in the Bloc that were supposed to crush anti-communist resistance.[56] When the slightest stirrings of independence emerged in the Bloc, Stalin's strategy matched that of dealing with domestic pre-war rivals: they were removed from power, put on trial, imprisoned, and in several instances, executed.[57]

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was concerned that, given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the perception that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.[58] After World War II, US officials guided Western European leaders in establishing their own secret security force to prevent subversion in the Western bloc, which evolved into Operation Gladio.[59]

Containment and the Truman Doctrine (1947-1953)
Main articles: Cold War (1947-1953), Containment, and Truman Doctrine
The Iron Curtain, Iran, Turkey, and Greece
Further information: X Article § The Long Telegram, Iron Curtain, Iran crisis of 1946, and Restatement of Policy on Germany

Remains of the "iron curtain" in the Czech Republic
In late February 1946, George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow to Washington helped to articulate the US government's increasingly hard line against the Soviets, which would become the basis for US strategy toward the Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. The Truman Administration was receptive to the telegram due to broken promises by Stalin concerning Europe and Iran.[60] Following the WWII Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, the country was occupied by the Red Army in the far north and the British in the south.[61] Iran was used by the United States and British to supply the Soviet Union, and the Allies agreed to withdraw from Iran within six months after the cessation of hostilities.[61] However, when this deadline came, the Soviets remained in Iran under the guise of the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.[62] Shortly thereafter, on March 5, former British prime minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri.[63] The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an "iron curtain" dividing Europe from "Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic".[49][64]

A week later, on March 13, Stalin responded vigorously to the speech, saying that Churchill could be compared to Hitler insofar as he advocated the racial superiority of English-speaking nations so that they could satisfy their hunger for world domination, and that such a declaration was "a call for war on the U.S.S.R." The Soviet leader also dismissed the accusation that the USSR was exerting increasing control over the countries lying in its sphere. He argued that there was nothing surprising in "the fact that the Soviet Union, anxious for its future safety, [was] trying to see to it that governments loyal in their attitude to the Soviet Union should exist in these countries".[65][66]


European military alliances

European economic alliances
In September, the Soviet side produced the Novikov telegram, sent by the Soviet ambassador to the US but commissioned and "co-authored" by Vyacheslav Molotov; it portrayed the US as being in the grip of monopoly capitalists who were building up military capability "to prepare the conditions for winning world supremacy in a new war".[67] On September 6, 1946, James F. Byrnes delivered a speech in Germany repudiating the Morgenthau Plan (a proposal to partition and de-industrialize post-war Germany) and warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely.[68] As Byrnes admitted a month later, "The nub of our program was to win the German people ... it was a battle between us and Russia over minds ..."[69] In December, the Soviets agreed to withdraw from Iran after persistent US pressure, an early success of containment policy.

By 1947, US president Harry S. Truman was outraged by perceived resistance of the Soviet Union to American demands in Iran, Turkey, and Greece, as well as Soviet rejection of the Baruch Plan on nuclear weapons.[70] In February 1947, the British government announced that it could no longer afford to finance the Kingdom of Greece in its civil war against Communist-led insurgents.[71] The US government responded to this announcement by adopting a policy of containment,[72] with the goal of stopping the spread of Communism. Truman delivered a speech calling for the allocation of $400 million to intervene in the war and unveiled the Truman Doctrine, which framed the conflict as a contest between free peoples and totalitarian regimes.[72] American policymakers accused the Soviet Union of conspiring against the Greek royalists in an effort to expand Soviet influence even though Stalin had told the Communist Party to cooperate with the British-backed government.[73] (The insurgents were helped by Josip Broz Tito's Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against Stalin's wishes.)[74][75]

Enunciation of the Truman Doctrine marked the beginning of a US bipartisan defense and foreign policy consensus between Republicans and Democrats focused on containment and deterrence that weakened during and after the Vietnam War, but ultimately persisted thereafter.[76][77] Moderate and conservative parties in Europe, as well as social democrats, gave virtually unconditional support to the Western alliance,[78] while European and American Communists, financed by the KGB and involved in its intelligence operations,[79] adhered to Moscow's line, although dissent began to appear after 1956. Other critiques of the consensus policy came from anti-Vietnam War activists, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the anti-nuclear movement.[80]

Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état
Main articles: Marshall Plan, Western Bloc, and 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état

The labeling used on Marshall Plan aid to Western Europe

Map of Cold War-era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid received per nation.

Construction in West Berlin under Marshall Plan aid
In early 1947, France, Britain and the United States unsuccessfully attempted to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union for a plan envisioning an economically self-sufficient Germany, including a detailed accounting of the industrial plants, goods and infrastructure already removed by the Soviets.[81] In June 1947, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan, a pledge of economic assistance for all European countries willing to participate, including the Soviet Union.[81] Under the plan, which President Harry S. Truman signed on 3 April 1948, the US government gave to Western European countries over $13 billion (equivalent to $189.39 billion in 2016) to rebuild the economy of Europe. Later, the program led to the creation of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

The plan's aim was to rebuild the democratic and economic systems of Europe and to counter perceived threats to Europe's balance of power, such as communist parties seizing control through revolutions or elections.[82] The plan also stated that European prosperity was contingent upon German economic recovery.[83] One month later, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, creating a unified Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Council (NSC). These would become the main bureaucracies for US defense policy in the Cold War.[84]

Stalin believed that economic integration with the West would allow Eastern Bloc countries to escape Soviet control, and that the US was trying to buy a pro-US re-alignment of Europe.[85] Stalin therefore prevented Eastern Bloc nations from receiving Marshall Plan aid.[85] The Soviet Union's alternative to the Marshall Plan, which was purported to involve Soviet subsidies and trade with central and eastern Europe, became known as the Molotov Plan (later institutionalized in January 1949 as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).[74] Stalin was also fearful of a reconstituted Germany; his vision of a post-war Germany did not include the ability to rearm or pose any kind of threat to the Soviet Union.[86]

In early 1948, following reports of strengthening "reactionary elements", Soviet operatives executed a coup d'état in Czechoslovakia, the only Eastern Bloc state that the Soviets had permitted to retain democratic structures.[87][88] The public brutality of the coup shocked Western powers more than any event up to that point, set in a motion a brief scare that war would occur and swept away the last vestiges of opposition to the Marshall Plan in the United States Congress.[89]

The twin policies of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan led to billions in economic and military aid for Western Europe, Greece, and Turkey. With the US assistance, the Greek military won its civil war.[84] Under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi the Italian Christian Democrats defeated the powerful Communist-Socialist alliance in the elections of 1948.[90] At the same time there was increased intelligence and espionage activity, Eastern Bloc defections and diplomatic expulsions.[91]

Cominform and the Tito-Stalin Split
Main articles: Cominform and Tito-Stalin Split
In September 1947, the Soviets created Cominform, the purpose of which was to enforce orthodoxy within the international communist movement and tighten political control over Soviet satellites through coordination of communist parties in the Eastern Bloc.[85] Cominform faced an embarrassing setback the following June, when the Tito-Stalin Split obliged its members to expel Yugoslavia, which remained communist but adopted a non-aligned position.[92]

Berlin Blockade and airlift
Main article: Berlin Blockade

C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
The United States and Britain merged their western German occupation zones into "Bizonia" (1 January 1947, later "Trizonia" with the addition of France's zone, April 1949).[93] As part of the economic rebuilding of Germany, in early 1948, representatives of a number of Western European governments and the United States announced an agreement for a merger of western German areas into a federal governmental system.[94] In addition, in accordance with the Marshall Plan, they began to re-industrialize and rebuild the German economy, including the introduction of a new Deutsche Mark currency to replace the old Reichsmark currency that the Soviets had debased.[95]

Shortly thereafter, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 - 12 May 1949), one of the first major crises of the Cold War, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin.[96] The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries began the massive "Berlin airlift", supplying West Berlin with food and other provisions.[97]

The Soviets mounted a public relations campaign against the policy change. Once again the East Berlin communists attempted to disrupt the Berlin municipal elections (as they had done in the 1946 elections),[93] which were held on 5 December 1948 and produced a turnout of 86.3% and an overwhelming victory for the non-communist parties.[98] The results effectively divided the city into East and West versions of its former self. 300,000 Berliners demonstrated and urged the international airlift to continue,[99] and US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen created "Operation Vittles", which supplied candy to German children.[100] In May 1949, Stalin backed down and lifted the blockade.[56][101]

In 1952, Stalin repeatedly proposed a plan to unify East and West Germany under a single government chosen in elections supervised by the United Nations, if the new Germany were to stay out of Western military alliances, but this proposal was turned down by the Western powers. Some sources dispute the sincerity of the proposal.[102]

Beginnings of NATO and Radio Free Europe
Main articles: NATO, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Eastern Bloc media and propaganda

President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other eight western European countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty of April 1949, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[56] That August, the first Soviet atomic device was detonated in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR.[74] Following Soviet refusals to participate in a German rebuilding effort set forth by western European countries in 1948,[94][103] the US, Britain and France spearheaded the establishment of West Germany from the three Western zones of occupation in April 1949.[104] The Soviet Union proclaimed its zone of occupation in Germany the German Democratic Republic that October.[40]

Media in the Eastern Bloc was an organ of the state, completely reliant on and subservient to the communist party. Radio and television organizations were state-owned, while print media was usually owned by political organizations, mostly by the local communist party.[105] Soviet propaganda used Marxist philosophy to attack capitalism, claiming labor exploitation and war-mongering imperialism were inherent in the system.[106]

Along with the broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America to Central and Eastern Europe,[107] a major propaganda effort begun in 1949 was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, dedicated to bringing about the peaceful demise of the communist system in the Eastern Bloc.[108] Radio Free Europe attempted to achieve these goals by serving as a surrogate home radio station, an alternative to the controlled and party-dominated domestic press.[108] Radio Free Europe was a product of some of the most prominent architects of America's early Cold War strategy, especially those who believed that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means, such as George F. Kennan.[109]

American policymakers, including Kennan and John Foster Dulles, acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas.[109] The United States, acting through the CIA, funded a long list of projects to counter the communist appeal among intellectuals in Europe and the developing world.[110] The CIA also covertly sponsored a domestic propaganda campaign called Crusade for Freedom.[111]

In the early 1950s, the US worked for the rearmament of West Germany and, in 1955, secured its full membership of NATO.[40] In May 1953, Beria, by then in a government post, had made an unsuccessful proposal to allow the reunification of a neutral Germany to prevent West Germany's incorporation into NATO.[112]

Chinese Civil War and SEATO
Main articles: Chinese Civil War and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization

Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
In 1949, Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army defeated Chiang Kai-shek's United States-backed Kuomintang (KMT) Nationalist Government in China, and the Soviet Union promptly created an alliance with the newly formed People's Republic of China.[113] According to Norwegian historian Odd Arne Westad, the communists won the Civil War because they made fewer military mistakes than Chiang Kai-Shek made, and because in his search for a powerful centralized government, Chiang antagonized too many interest groups in China. Moreover, his party was weakened during the war against Japan. Meanwhile, the communists told different groups, such as the peasants, exactly what they wanted to hear, and they cloaked themselves under the cover of Chinese nationalism.[114]

Chiang and his KMT government retreated to the island of Taiwan. Confronted with the communist revolution in China and the end of the American atomic monopoly in 1949, the Truman administration quickly moved to escalate and expand its containment policy.[74] In NSC 68, a secret 1950 document,[115] the National Security Council proposed to reinforce pro-Western alliance systems and quadruple spending on defense.[74]

United States officials moved thereafter to expand containment into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in order to counter revolutionary nationalist movements, often led by communist parties financed by the USSR, fighting against the restoration of Europe's colonial empires in South-East Asia and elsewhere.[116] In the early 1950s (a period sometimes known as the "Pactomania"), the US formalized a series of alliances with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines (notably ANZUS in 1951 and SEATO in 1954), thereby guaranteeing the United States a number of long-term military bases.[40]

Korean War
Main article: Korean War

General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
One of the more significant examples of the implementation of containment was US intervention in the Korean War. In June 1950, Kim Il-sung's North Korean People's Army invaded South Korea.[117] Stalin approved and sent advisers to plan the North Korean invasion.[118] To Stalin's surprise,[74] the UN Security Council backed the defense of South Korea, though the Soviets were then boycotting meetings in protest that Taiwan and not Communist China held a permanent seat on the Council.[119] A UN force of personnel from South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, Colombia, Australia, France, South Africa, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand and other countries joined to stop the invasion.[120]


U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
Among other effects, the Korean War galvanised NATO to develop a military structure.[121] Public opinion in countries involved, such as Great Britain, was divided for and against the war. Many feared an escalation into a general war with Communist China, and even nuclear war. The strong opposition to the war often strained Anglo-American relations. For these reasons British officials sought a speedy end to the conflict, hoping to unite Korea under United Nations auspices and for withdrawal of all foreign forces.[122]

Even though the Chinese and North Koreans were exhausted by the war and were prepared to end it by late 1952, Stalin insisted that they continue fighting, and the Armistice was approved only in July 1953, after Stalin's death.[40] North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralized, totalitarian dictatorship—which continues to date—according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality.[123][124] In the South, the American-backed strongman Syngman Rhee ran a significantly less brutal but deeply corrupt and authoritarian regime.[125] After Rhee was overthrown in 1960, South Korea fell within a year under a period of military rule that lasted until the re-establishment of a multi-party system in the late 1980s.

Crisis and escalation (1953-1962)
Main article: Cold War (1953-1962)
Khrushchev, Eisenhower and de-Stalinization

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
In 1953, changes in political leadership on both sides shifted the dynamic of the Cold War.[126] Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated president that January. During the last 18 months of the Truman administration, the American defense budget had quadrupled, and Eisenhower moved to reduce military spending by a third while continuing to fight the Cold War effectively.[74]

After the death of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet leader following the deposition and execution of Lavrentiy Beria and the pushing aside of rivals Georgy Malenkov and Vyacheslav Molotov. On 25 February 1956, Khrushchev shocked delegates to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party by cataloguing and denouncing Stalin's crimes.[127] As part of a campaign of de-Stalinization, he declared that the only way to reform and move away from Stalin's policies would be to acknowledge errors made in the past.[84]

On 18 November 1956, while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Khrushchev used his famous "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you" expression, shocking everyone present.[128] He later claimed that he had not been talking about nuclear war, but rather about the historically determined victory of communism over capitalism.[129] In 1961, Khrushchev declared that even if the USSR was behind the West, within a decade its housing shortage would disappear, consumer goods would be abundant, and within two decades, the "construction of a communist society" in the USSR would be completed "in the main".[130]

Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, initiated a "New Look" for the containment strategy, calling for a greater reliance on nuclear weapons against US enemies in wartime.[84] Dulles also enunciated the doctrine of "massive retaliation", threatening a severe US response to any Soviet aggression. Possessing nuclear superiority, for example, allowed Eisenhower to face down Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East during the 1956 Suez Crisis.[74] US plans for nuclear war in the late 1950s included the "systematic destruction" of 1200 major urban centers in the Eastern Bloc and China, including Moscow, East Berlin and Beijing, with their civilian populations among the primary targets.[131]

Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution
Main articles: Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956

March of protesters in Budapest, on 25 October;

A destroyed Soviet T-34-85 tank in Budapest

The maximum territorial extent of countries in the world under Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
While Stalin's death in 1953 slightly relaxed tensions, the situation in Europe remained an uneasy armed truce.[132] The Soviets, who had already created a network of mutual assistance treaties in the Eastern Bloc by 1949,[133] established a formal alliance therein, the Warsaw Pact, in 1955.[40]

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 occurred shortly after Khrushchev arranged the removal of Hungary's Stalinist leader Mátyás Rákosi.[134] In response to a popular uprising,[135] the new regime formally disbanded the secret police, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. The Soviet Army invaded.[136] Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union,[137] and approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary in the chaos.[138] Hungarian leader Imre Nagy and others were executed following secret trials.[139] From 1957 through 1961, Khrushchev openly and repeatedly threatened the West with nuclear annihilation. He claimed that Soviet missile capabilities were far superior to those of the United States, capable of wiping out any American or European city. However, Khrushchev rejected Stalin's belief in the inevitability of war, and declared his new goal was to be "peaceful coexistence".[140] This formulation modified the Stalin-era Soviet stance, where international class conflict meant the two opposing camps were on an inevitable collision course where communism would triumph through global war; now, peace would allow capitalism to collapse on its own,[141] as well as giving the Soviets time to boost their military capabilities,[142] which remained for decades until Gorbachev's later "new thinking" envisioning peaceful coexistence as an end in itself rather than a form of class struggle.[143]

The events in Hungary produced ideological fractures within the communist parties of the world, particularly in Western Europe, with great decline in membership as many in both western and communist countries felt disillusioned by the brutal Soviet response.[144] The communist parties in the West would never recover from the effect the Hungarian Revolution had on their membership, a fact that was immediately recognized by some, such as the Yugoslavian politician Milovan Đilas who shortly after the revolution was crushed said that "The wound which the Hungarian Revolution inflicted on communism can never be completely healed".[144]

America's pronouncements concentrated on American strength abroad and the success of liberal capitalism.[145] However, by the late 1960s, the "battle for men's minds" between two systems of social organization that Kennedy spoke of in 1961 was largely over, with tensions henceforth based primarily on clashing geopolitical objectives rather than ideology.[146]

Berlin ultimatum and European integration
Main articles: Berlin Crisis of 1961 § Berlin ultimatum, and European integration
During November 1958, Khrushchev made an unsuccessful attempt to turn all of Berlin into an independent, demilitarized "free city". He gave the United States, Great Britain, and France a six-month ultimatum to withdraw their troops from the sectors they still occupied in West Berlin, or he would transfer control of Western access rights to the East Germans. Khrushchev earlier explained to Mao Zedong that "Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin."[147] NATO formally rejected the ultimatum in mid-December and Khrushchev withdrew it in return for a Geneva conference on the German question.[148]

More broadly, one hallmark of the 1950s was the beginning of European integration—a fundamental by-product of the Cold War. Truman and Eisenhower promoted the concept politically, economically, and militarily, but later administrations viewed it ambivalently, fearful that an independent Europe would forge a separate détente with the Soviet Union, which would use this to exacerbate Western disunity.[149]

Competition in the Third World
Main articles: Decolonization § After 1945, Wars of national liberation, 1953 Iranian coup d'état, 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, and Congo Crisis

Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
Nationalist movements in some countries and regions, notably Guatemala, Indonesia and Indochina, were often allied with communist groups or perceived in the West to be allied with communists.[84] In this context, the United States and the Soviet Union increasingly competed for influence by proxy in the Third World as decolonization gained momentum in the 1950s and early 1960s.[150] Additionally, the Soviets saw continuing losses by imperial powers as presaging the eventual victory of their ideology.[151] Both sides were selling armaments to gain influence.[152]


1961 Soviet postage stamp demanding freedom for African nations

1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to do away with a string of unfriendly Third World governments and to support allied ones.[84] In 1953, President Eisenhower's CIA implemented Operation Ajax, a covert operation aimed at overthrowing the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The popularly elected and non-aligned Mosaddegh had been a Middle Eastern nemesis of Britain since nationalizing the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951. Winston Churchill told the United States that Mosaddegh was "increasingly turning towards communism."[153][154][155][156] The pro-Western shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, assumed control as an autocratic monarch.[157] The shah's policies included banning the communist Tudeh Party of Iran, and general suppression of political dissent by SAVAK, the shah's domestic security and intelligence agency.

In Guatemala, a CIA-backed military coup ousted the left-wing President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954.[158] The post-Arbenz government—a military junta headed by Carlos Castillo Armas—repealed a progressive land reform law, returned nationalized property belonging to the United Fruit Company, set up a National Committee of Defense Against Communism, and decreed a Preventive Penal Law Against Communism at the request of the United States.[159]

The non-aligned Indonesian government of Sukarno was faced with a major threat to its legitimacy beginning in 1956, when several regional commanders began to demand autonomy from Jakarta. After mediation failed, Sukarno took action to remove the dissident commanders. In February 1958, dissident military commanders in Central Sumatera (Colonel Ahmad Hussein) and North Sulawesi (Colonel Ventje Sumual) declared the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia-Permesta Movement aimed at overthrowing the Sukarno regime. They were joined by many civilian politicians from the Masyumi Party, such as Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, who were opposed to the growing influence of the communist Partai Komunis Indonesia party. Due to their anti-communist rhetoric, the rebels received arms, funding, and other covert aid from the CIA until Allen Lawrence Pope, an American pilot, was shot down after a bombing raid on government-held Ambon in April 1958. The central government responded by launching airborne and seaborne military invasions of rebel strongholds Padang and Manado. By the end of 1958, the rebels were militarily defeated, and the last remaining rebel guerilla bands surrendered by August 1961.[160]

In the Republic of the Congo, newly independent from Belgium since June 1960, the CIA-cultivated President Joseph Kasa-Vubu ordered the dismissal of the democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the Lumumba cabinet in September; Lumumba called for Kasa-Vubu's dismissal instead.[161] In the ensuing Congo Crisis, the CIA-backed Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko quickly mobilized his forces to seize power through a military coup d'état.[161]


An animated map shows the order of independence of the African nations, 1950-2011
In British Guiana, the leftist People's Progressive Party (PPP) candidate Cheddi Jagan won the position of chief minister in a colonially administered election in 1953, but was quickly forced to resign from power after Britain's suspension of the still-dependent nation's constitution.[162] Embarrassed by the landslide electoral victory of Jagan's allegedly Marxist party, the British imprisoned the PPP's leadership and maneuvered the organization into a divisive rupture in 1955, engineering a split between Jagan and his PPP colleagues.[163] Jagan again won the colonial elections in 1957 and 1961; despite Britain's shift to a reconsideration of its view of the left-wing Jagan as a Soviet-style communist at this time, the United States pressured the British to withhold Guyana's independence until an alternative to Jagan could be identified, supported, and brought into office.[164]

Worn down by the communist guerrilla war for Vietnamese independence and handed a watershed defeat by communist Viet Minh rebels at the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French accepted a negotiated abandonment of their colonial stake in Vietnam. In the Geneva Conference, peace accords were signed, leaving Vietnam divided between a pro-Soviet administration in North Vietnam and a pro-Western administration in South Vietnam at the 17th parallel north. Between 1954 and 1961, Eisenhower's United States sent economic aid and military advisers to strengthen South Vietnam's pro-Western regime against communist efforts to destabilize it.[74]

Many emerging nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America rejected the pressure to choose sides in the East-West competition. In 1955, at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, dozens of Third World governments resolved to stay out of the Cold War.[165] The consensus reached at Bandung culminated with the creation of the Belgrade-headquartered Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.[84] Meanwhile, Khrushchev broadened Moscow's policy to establish ties with India and other key neutral states. Independence movements in the Third World transformed the post-war order into a more pluralistic world of decolonized African and Middle Eastern nations and of rising nationalism in Asia and Latin America.[74]

Sino-Soviet split
Main article: Sino-Soviet split

A map showing the relations of the communist states after the Sino-Soviet split as of 1980:
The USSR and pro-Soviet communist states
China and pro-Chinese communist states
Neutral communist nations (North Korea and Yugoslavia)
Non-communist states
The period after 1956 was marked by serious setbacks for the Soviet Union, most notably the breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, beginning the Sino-Soviet split. Mao had defended Stalin when Khrushchev criticized him in 1956, and treated the new Soviet leader as a superficial upstart, accusing him of having lost his revolutionary edge.[166] For his part, Khrushchev, disturbed by Mao's glib attitude toward nuclear war, referred to the Chinese leader as a "lunatic on a throne".[167]

After this, Khrushchev made many desperate attempts to reconstitute the Sino-Soviet alliance, but Mao considered it useless and denied any proposal.[166] The Chinese-Soviet animosity spilled out in an intra-communist propaganda war.[168] Further on, the Soviets focused on a bitter rivalry with Mao's China for leadership of the global communist movement.[169] Historian Lorenz M. Lüthi argues:

The Sino-Soviet split was one of the key events of the Cold War, equal in importance to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Second Vietnam War, and Sino-American rapprochement. The split helped to determine the framework of the Second Cold War in general, and influenced the course of the Second Vietnam War in particular.[170]
Space Race
Main article: Space Race

The United States reached the moon in 1969.
On the nuclear weapons front, the United States and the USSR pursued nuclear rearmament and developed long-range weapons with which they could strike the territory of the other.[40] In August 1957, the Soviets successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),[171] and in October they launched the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1.[172] The launch of Sputnik inaugurated the Space Race. This culminated in the Apollo Moon landings, which astronaut Frank Borman later described as "just a battle in the Cold War."[173]

Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion
Main articles: Cuban Revolution and Bay of Pigs Invasion

Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
In Cuba, the 26th of July Movement, led by young revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, seized power in the Cuban Revolution on 1 January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.[174]

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista's fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Castro during the latter's trip to Washington, DC in April, leaving Vice President Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place.[175] Cuba began negotiating for arms purchases from the Eastern Bloc in March 1960.[176]

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government. In April 1961, the administration of newly elected American President John F. Kennedy mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Santa Clara Province—a failure that publicly humiliated the United States.[177] Castro responded by publicly embracing Marxism-Leninism, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide further support.[177]

Berlin Crisis of 1961
Main article: Berlin Crisis of 1961
Further information: Berlin Wall and Eastern Bloc emigration and defection

Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
The Berlin Crisis of 1961 was the last major incident in the Cold War regarding the status of Berlin and post-World War II Germany. By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to restricting emigration movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.[178] However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually emigrated to West Germany through a "loophole" in the system that existed between East Berlin and West Berlin, where the four occupying World War II powers governed movement.[179]

The emigration resulted in a massive "brain drain" from East Germany to West Germany of younger educated professionals, such that nearly 20% of East Germany's population had migrated to West Germany by 1961.[180] That June, the Soviet Union issued a new ultimatum demanding the withdrawal of Allied forces from West Berlin.[181] The request was rebuffed, and on 13 August, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole.[182]

Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev's ouster
Main articles: Cuban Project and Cuban Missile Crisis

Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
The Kennedy administration continued seeking ways to oust Castro following the Bay of Pigs Invasion, experimenting with various ways of covertly facilitating the overthrow of the Cuban government. Significant hopes were pinned on a covert program named the Cuban Project, devised under the Kennedy administration in 1961. Khrushchev learned of the project in February 1962,[183] and preparations to install Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba were undertaken in response.[183]

Alarmed, Kennedy considered various reactions. He ultimately responded to the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba with a naval blockade, and he presented an ultimatum to the Soviets. Khrushchev backed down from a confrontation, and the Soviet Union removed the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba again.[184] Castro later admitted that "I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons. ... we took it for granted that it would become a nuclear war anyway, and that we were going to disappear."[185]

The Cuban Missile Crisis (October-November 1962) brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever before.[186] The aftermath of the crisis led to the first efforts in the nuclear arms race at nuclear disarmament and improving relations,[132] although the Cold War's first arms control agreement, the Antarctic Treaty, had come into force in 1961.[187]

In 1964, Khrushchev's Kremlin colleagues managed to oust him, but allowed him a peaceful retirement.[188] Accused of rudeness and incompetence, he was also credited with ruining Soviet agriculture and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.[188] Khrushchev had become an international embarrassment when he authorized construction of the Berlin Wall, a public humiliation for Marxism-Leninism.[188]

Confrontation through détente (1962-1979)
Main article: Cold War (1962-1979)

NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973

United States Navy F-4 Phantom II intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 D aircraft in the early 1970s.
In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Cold War participants struggled to adjust to a new, more complicated pattern of international relations in which the world was no longer divided into two clearly opposed blocs.[84] From the beginning of the post-war period, Western Europe and Japan rapidly recovered from the destruction of World War II and sustained strong economic growth through the 1950s and 1960s, with per capita GDPs approaching those of the United States, while Eastern Bloc economies stagnated.[84][189]

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, combined with the growing influence of Third World alignments such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Non-Aligned Movement, less powerful countries had more room to assert their independence and often showed themselves resistant to pressure from either superpower.[116] Meanwhile, Moscow was forced to turn its attention inward to deal with the Soviet Union's deep-seated domestic economic problems.[8
This is a good article. Follow the link for more information. Page semi-protected
United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
"America", "US", and "USA" redirect here. For the landmass comprising North, Central and South America, see Americas. For other uses, see America (disambiguation), US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation).
Coordinates: 40°N 100°W

United States of America
Flag of the United States
Flag
{{{coat_alt}}}
Great Seal
Motto:
"In God We Trust"[1][a]
Other traditional mottos
Anthem:
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
March:
"The Stars and Stripes Forever"[2][3]
Projection of North America with the United States in green
The contiguous United States with Alaska and Hawaii
The United States and its territories
The United States including its territories
Capital Washington, D.C.
38°53′N 77°01′W
Largest city New York
40°43′N 74°00′W
Official languages None at federal level[b]
National language English[c]
Ethnic groups (2016)[6] By race:
77.1% White
13.3% Black
5.6% Asian
2.6% Other/multiracial
1.2% Native American
0.2% Pacific Islander
Ethnicity:
17.6% Hispanic or Latino
82.4% non-Hispanic or Latino
Religion (2016)[7] 73.7% Christian
18.2% Unaffiliated
2.1% Jewish
0.8% Muslim
2.5% Other
2.6% Unknown
Demonym(s) American
Government Federal presidential constitutional republic
• President
Donald Trump
• Vice President
Mike Pence
• House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi
• Chief Justice
John Roberts
Legislature Congress
• Upper house
Senate
• Lower house
House of Representatives
Independence from Great Britain
• Declaration
July 4, 1776
• Confederation
March 1, 1781
• Treaty of Paris
September 3, 1783
• Constitution
June 21, 1788
• Last polity admitted
March 24, 1976
Area
• Total area
3,796,742 sq mi (9,833,520 km2)[8] (3rd/4th)
• Water (%)
6.97
• Total land area
3,531,905 sq mi (9,147,590 km2)
Population
• 2018 estimate
327,167,434[9] (3rd)
• 2010 census
308,745,538[10] (3rd)
• Density
85/sq mi (32.8/km2) (179th)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
$20.513 trillion[11] (2nd)
• Per capita
$62,518[11] (11th)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total
$20.513 trillion[11] (1st)
• Per capita
$62,518[11] (7th)
Gini (2015) Positive decrease 39.0[12]
medium
HDI (2017) Increase 0.924[13]
very high · 13th
Currency United States dollar ($) (USD)
Time zone UTC−4 to −12, +10, +11
• Summer (DST)
UTC−4 to −10[d]
Date format mm/dd/yyyy
Driving side right[e]
Calling code +1
ISO 3166 code US
Internet TLD .us
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.[f] At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area[g] and slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles (10.1 million km2). With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.[19]

Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago.[20] European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776. The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power.[21] The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories,[22] displacing Native American tribes, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848.[22] During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.[23][24] By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean,[25] and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar.[26] The Spanish-American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 Moon landing. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower.[27]

The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a federal republic and a representative democracy, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law".[28] The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The United States is a highly developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for approximately a quarter of global GDP.[29] The U.S. economy is largely post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world.[30] The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value.[31][32] Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total,[33] the U.S. holds 33% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country.[34] The United States ranks among the highest nations in several measures of socioeconomic performance, including human development, per capita GDP, and productivity per person,[35] while experiencing a substantial amount of income and wealth inequality. The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending,[36] and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.[37]


Contents
1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Indigenous peoples and pre-Columbian history
2.2 Effects on and interaction with native populations
2.3 European settlements
2.4 Independence and expansion (1776-1865)
2.5 Civil War and Reconstruction era
2.6 Further immigration, expansion, and industrialization
2.7 World War I, Great Depression, and World War II
2.8 Cold War and civil rights era
2.9 Contemporary history
3 Geography, climate, and environment
3.1 Wildlife
4 Demographics
4.1 Population
4.2 Language
4.3 Religion
4.4 Family structure
4.5 Health
4.6 Education
5 Government and politics
5.1 Political divisions
5.2 Parties and elections
5.3 Foreign relations
5.4 Government finance
5.5 Military
6 Law enforcement and crime
7 Economy
7.1 Science and technology
7.2 Income, poverty and wealth
8 Infrastructure
8.1 Transportation
8.2 Energy
8.3 Water supply and sanitation
9 Culture
9.1 Food
9.2 Literature, philosophy, and visual art
9.3 Music
9.4 Cinema
9.5 Sports
9.6 Mass media
10 See also
11 References
11.1 Footnotes
11.2 Citations
11.3 Bibliography
12 External links
Etymology
See also: Naming of the Americas, Names for United States citizens, and American (word)

The Americas are believed to be named for the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.[38]
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (Latin: Americus Vespucius).[39] The first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq., George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army. Addressed to Lt. Col. Joseph Reed, Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort.[40][41][42] The first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776.[43]

The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the 'United States of America'".[44] The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be 'The United States of America'".[45] In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence.[44] This draft of the document did not surface until June 21, 1776, and it is unclear whether it was written before or after Dickinson used the term in his June 17 draft of the Articles of Confederation.[44]

The short form "United States" is also standard. Other common forms are the "U.S.", the "USA", and "America". Colloquial names are the "U.S. of A." and, internationally, the "States". "Columbia", a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name "District of Columbia".[46]

The phrase "United States" was originally plural, a description of a collection of independent states—e.g., "the United States are"—including in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865.[47] The singular form—e.g., "the United States is"—became popular after the end of the American Civil War. The singular form is now standard; the plural form is retained in the idiom "these United States". The difference is more significant than usage; it is a difference between a collection of states and a unit.[48]

A citizen of the United States is an "American". "United States", "American" and "U.S." refer to the country adjectivally ("American values", "U.S. forces"). In English, the word "American" rarely refers to topics or subjects not directly connected with the United States.[49]

History
Main articles: History of the United States, Timeline of United States history, American business history, Economic history of the United States, and Labor history of the United States
Indigenous peoples and pre-Columbian history
Further information: Native Americans in the United States

Monks Mound in Cahokia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest and most influential settlement in Mississippian culture. The concrete staircase follows the approximate course of ancient wooden stairs.

The Cliff Palace, built by the Ancestral Puebloans, is the largest Native cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park.
It has been generally accepted that the first inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 12,000 years ago however, increasing evidence suggests an even earlier arrival.[20][50][51] After crossing the land bridge, the first Americans moved southward along the Pacific coast[52] and through an interior ice-free corridor between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets.[53] The Clovis culture appeared around 11,000 BC, and is considered to be an ancestor of most of the later indigenous cultures of the Americas.[54] The Clovis culture was believed to represent the first human settlement of the Americas.[55] Over the years, more and more evidence has advanced the idea of "pre-Clovis" cultures including tools dating back about 15,550 years ago. It is likely these represent the first of three major waves of migrations into North America.[56]

Over time, indigenous cultures in North America grew increasingly complex, and some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture in the southeast, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies.[57] From approximately 800 to 1600 AD[58] the Mississippian culture flourished, and its largest city Cahokia is considered the largest, most complex pre-Columbian archaeological site in the modern-day United States.[59] While in the Four Corners region, Ancestral Puebloans culture developed.[60] Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Taos Pueblo. The earthworks constructed by Native Americans of the Poverty Point culture in northeastern Louisiana have also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.[61] In the southern Great Lakes region, the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) was established at some point between the twelfth[62] and fifteenth centuries,[63] lasting until the end of the Revolutionary War.[64]

Effects on and interaction with native populations
Further information: American Indian Wars, Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, and James Cook

Death of Captain Cook by Johann Zoffany (1795)
While estimating the original native population of North America at the time of European contact is difficult, an attempt was made in the early part of the twentieth century by James Mooney using historic records to estimate the indigenous population north of Mexico in 1600.[65][66] In more recent years, Douglas H. Ubelaker of the Smithsonian Institute has updated these figures.[67] While Ubelaker estimated that there was a population of 92,916 in the south Atlantic states and a population of 473,616 in the Gulf states, most academics regard the figure as too low.[65] Anthropologist Henry F. Dobyns believed that the populations were much higher, suggestion 1,100,000 along the shores of the gulf of Mexico, 2,211,000 people living between Florida and Massachusetts, 5,250,000 in the Mississippi Valley and tributaries and 697,000 people in the Florida peninsula.[65][66]

The first interaction between Europeans and Native Americans was made by the Norsemen. A number of surviving Norse sagas provide information regarding The Maritimes and its indigenous people. The Norse attempted to settle in North America about 500 years before Columbus.[68][69][70]

In the early days of colonization, many European settlers were subject to food shortages, disease, and attacks from Native Americans. Native Americans were also often at war with neighboring tribes and allied with Europeans in their colonial wars. At the same time, however, many natives and settlers came to depend on each other. Settlers traded for food and animal pelts, natives for guns, ammunition and other European wares.[71] Natives taught many settlers where, when and how to cultivate corn, beans, and squash. European missionaries and others felt it was important to "civilize" the Native Americans and urged them to adopt European agricultural techniques and lifestyles.[72][73]

Captain James Cook's last voyage included sailing along the coast of North America and Alaska searching for a Northwest Passage for approximately nine months. He returned to Hawaii to resupply, initially exploring the coasts of Maui and the big island, trading with locals and then making anchor at Kealakekua Bay in January 1779. When his ships and company left the islands, a ship's mast broke in bad weather, forcing them to return in mid-February. Cook would be killed days later.[74] [h][i]

European settlements
Further information: Colonial history of the United States, European colonization of the Americas, and Thirteen Colonies

Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States (1565)[91]

The Mayflower Compact, 1620 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
With the advancement of European colonization in the territories of the contemporary United States, the Native Americans were often conquered and displaced.[92] The first Europeans to arrive in the territory of the modern United States were Spanish conquistadors such as Juan Ponce de León, who made his first visit to Florida in 1513; however, if unincorporated territories are accounted for, then credit would go to Christopher Columbus who landed in Puerto Rico on his 1493 voyage. The Spanish set up the first settlements in Florida and New Mexico such as Saint Augustine[91] and Santa Fe. The French established their own as well along the Mississippi River. Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620. Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom. The continent's first elected legislative assembly, Virginia's House of Burgesses created in 1619, the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.[93][94]

Most settlers in every colony were small farmers, but other industries developed within a few decades as varied as the settlements. Cash crops included tobacco, rice, and wheat. Extraction industries grew up in furs, fishing and lumber. Manufacturers produced rum and ships, and by the late colonial period, Americans were producing one-seventh of the world's iron supply.[95] Cities eventually dotted the coast to support local economies and serve as trade hubs. English colonists were supplemented by waves of Scotch-Irish and other groups. As coastal land grew more expensive, freed indentured servants pushed further west.[96]

A large-scale slave trade with English privateers was begun.[97] The life expectancy of slaves was much higher in North America than further south, because of less disease and better food and treatment, leading to a rapid increase in the numbers of slaves.[98][99] Colonial society was largely divided over the religious and moral implications of slavery, and colonies passed acts for and against the practice.[100][101] But by the turn of the 18th century, African slaves were replacing indentured servants for cash crop labor, especially in southern regions.[102]

With the British colonization of Georgia in 1732, the 13 colonies that would become the United States of America were established.[103] All had local governments with elections open to most free men, with a growing devotion to the ancient rights of Englishmen and a sense of self-government stimulating support for republicanism.[104] With extremely high birth rates, low death rates, and steady settlement, the colonial population grew rapidly. Relatively small Native American populations were eclipsed.[105] The Christian revivalist movement of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening fueled interest in both religion and religious liberty.[106]


The Thirteen Colonies and neighboring polities in 1748
During the Seven Years' War (in the United States, known as the French and Indian War), British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies. Excluding the Native Americans, who were being conquered and displaced, the 13 British colonies had a population of over 2.1 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain. Despite continuing new arrivals, the rate of natural increase was such that by the 1770s only a small minority of Americans had been born overseas.[107] The colonies' distance from Britain had allowed the development of self-government, but their success motivated monarchs to periodically seek to reassert royal authority.[108]

In 1774, the Spanish Navy ship Santiago, under Juan Pérez, entered and anchored in an inlet of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in present-day British Columbia. Although the Spanish did not land, natives paddled to the ship to trade furs for abalone shells from California.[109] At the time, the Spanish were able to monopolize the trade between Asia and North America, granting limited licenses to the Portuguese. When the Russians began establishing a growing fur trading system in Alaska, the Spanish began to challenge the Russians, with Pérez's voyage being the first of many to the Pacific Northwest.[110][j]

After having arrived in the Hawaiian islands in 1778, Captain Cook sailed north and then northeast to explore the west coast of North America north of the Spanish settlements in Alta California. He made landfall on the Oregon coast at approximately 44°30′ north latitude, naming his landing point Cape Foulweather. Bad weather forced his ships south to about 43° north before they could begin their exploration of the coast northward.[112] In March 1778, Cook landed on Bligh Island and named the inlet "King George's Sound". He recorded that the native name was Nutka or Nootka, apparently misunderstanding his conversations at Friendly Cove/Yuquot; his informant may have been explaining that he was on an island (itchme nutka, a place you can "go around"). There may also have been confusion with Nuu-chah-nulth, the natives' autonym (a name for themselves). It may also have simply been based on Cook's mispronunciation of Yuquot, the native name of the place.[113]

Independence and expansion (1776-1865)
Further information: American Revolutionary War, United States Declaration of Independence, American Revolution, and Territorial evolution of the United States

Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull
The American Revolutionary War was the first successful colonial war of independence against a European power. Americans had developed an ideology of "republicanism" asserting that government rested on the will of the people as expressed in their local legislatures. They demanded their rights as Englishmen and "no taxation without representation". The British insisted on administering the empire through Parliament, and the conflict escalated into war.[114]

The Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, which recognized, in a long preamble, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights and that those rights were not being protected by Great Britain, and declared, in the words of the resolution, that the thirteen United Colonies formed an independent nation and had no further allegiance to the British crown. The fourth day of July is celebrated annually as Independence Day.[115] The Second Continental Congress declared on September 9 "where, heretofore, the words 'United Colonies' have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the 'United States' ".[116] In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak government that operated until 1789.[115]


U.S. territorial acquisitions-portions of each territory were granted statehood since the 18th century.
Britain recognized the independence of the United States following its defeat at Yorktown in 1781.[117] In the peace treaty of 1783, American sovereignty was recognized from the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River. Nationalists led the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in writing the United States Constitution, ratified in state conventions in 1788. The federal government was reorganized into three branches, on the principle of creating salutary checks and balances, in 1789. George Washington, who had led the revolutionary army to victory, was the first president elected under the new constitution. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791.[118]

Although the federal government criminalized the international slave trade in 1808, after 1820, cultivation of the highly profitable cotton crop exploded in the Deep South, and along with it, the slave population.[119][120][121] The Second Great Awakening, especially 1800-1840, converted millions to evangelical Protestantism. In the North, it energized multiple social reform movements, including abolitionism;[122] in the South, Methodists and Baptists proselytized among slave populations.[123]


Map of the states and territories of the United States, c. 1834
Americans' eagerness to expand westward prompted a long series of American Indian Wars.[124] The Louisiana Purchase of French-claimed territory in 1803 almost doubled the nation's area.[125] The War of 1812, declared against Britain over various grievances and fought to a draw, strengthened U.S. nationalism.[126] A series of military incursions into Florida led Spain to cede it and other Gulf Coast territory in 1819.[127] The expansion was aided by steam power, when steamboats began traveling along America's large water systems, which were connected by new canals, such as the Erie and the I&M; then, even faster railroads began their stretch across the nation's land.[128]

From 1820 to 1850, Jacksonian democracy began a set of reforms which included wider white male suffrage; it led to the rise of the Second Party System of Democrats and Whigs as the dominant parties from 1828 to 1854. The Trail of Tears in the 1830s exemplified the Indian removal policy that resettled Indians into the west on Indian reservations. The U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845 during a period of expansionist Manifest destiny.[129] The 1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain led to U.S. control of the present-day American Northwest.[130] Victory in the Mexican-American War resulted in the 1848 Mexican Cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest.[131]


The national mammal, an American bison in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The California Gold Rush of 1848-49 spurred western migration and the creation of additional western states.[132] After the American Civil War, new transcontinental railways made relocation easier for settlers, expanded internal trade and increased conflicts with Native Americans.[133] Over a half-century, the loss of the American bison (sometimes called "buffalo") was an existential blow to many Plains Indians culture.[134] In 1869, a new Peace Policy nominally promised to protect Native-Americans from abuses, avoid further war, and secure their eventual U.S. citizenship. Nonetheless, conflicts and state-sanctioned murder, including the California Genocide, continued throughout the West into the 1900s.[135][136][137][138]

Civil War and Reconstruction era
Further information: American Civil War and Reconstruction era

The Battle of Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup
Differences of opinion regarding the slavery of Africans and African Americans ultimately led to the American Civil War.[139] Initially, states entering the Union had alternated between slave and free states, keeping a sectional balance in the Senate, while free states outstripped slave states in population and in the House of Representatives. But with additional western territory and more free-soil states, tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over federalism and disposition of the territories, whether and how to expand or restrict slavery.[140]

With the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, the first president from the largely anti-slavery Republican Party, conventions in thirteen slave states ultimately declared secession and formed the Confederate States of America (the "South"), while the federal government (the "Union") maintained that secession was illegal.[140] In order to bring about this secession, military action was initiated by the secessionists, and the Union responded in kind. The ensuing war would become the deadliest military conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 618,000 soldiers as well as many civilians.[141] The South fought for the freedom to own slaves, while the Union at first simply fought to maintain the country as one united whole. Nevertheless, as casualties mounted after 1863 and Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation, the main purpose of the war from the Union's viewpoint became the abolition of slavery. Indeed, when the Union ultimately won the war in April 1865, each of the states in the defeated South was required to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery.

Three amendments were added to the U.S. Constitution in the years after the war: the aforementioned Thirteenth as well as the Fourteenth Amendment providing citizenship to the nearly four million African Americans who had been slaves,[142] and the Fifteenth Amendment ensuring in theory that African Americans had the right to vote. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power[143] aimed at reintegrating and rebuilding the South while guaranteeing the rights of the newly freed slaves.

Reconstruction began in earnest following the war. While President Lincoln attempted to foster friendship and forgiveness between the Union and the former Confederacy, an assassin's bullet on April 14, 1865, drove a wedge between North and South again. Republicans in the federal government made it their goal to oversee the rebuilding of the South and to ensure the rights of African Americans. They persisted until the Compromise of 1877 when the Republicans agreed to cease protecting the rights of African Americans in the South in order for Democrats to concede the presidential election of 1876.

Southern white Democrats, calling themselves "Redeemers", took control of the South after the end of Reconstruction. From 1890 to 1910, so-called Jim Crow laws disenfranchised most blacks and some poor whites throughout the region. Blacks faced racial segregation, especially in the South.[144] They also occasionally experienced vigilante violence, including lynching.[145]

Further immigration, expansion, and industrialization
Main articles: Economic history of the United States and Technological and industrial history of the United States

Ellis Island, in New York City, was a major gateway for European immigration[146]

The Statue of Liberty in New York City, dedicated in 1886, is a symbol of the United States as well as its ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice [147]
In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe supplied a surplus of labor for the country's industrialization and transformed its culture.[148] National infrastructure including telegraph and transcontinental railroads spurred economic growth and greater settlement and development of the American Old West. The later invention of electric light and the telephone would also affect communication and urban life.[149]

The United States fought Indian Wars west of the Mississippi River from 1810 to at least 1890.[150] Most of these conflicts ended with the cession of Native American territory and the confinement of the latter to Indian reservations. This further expanded acreage under mechanical cultivation, increasing surpluses for international markets.[151] Mainland expansion also included the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.[152] In 1893, pro-American elements in Hawaii overthrew the monarchy and formed the Republic of Hawaii, which the U.S. annexed in 1898. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were ceded by Spain in the same year, following the Spanish-American War.[153] American Samoa was acquired by the United States in 1900 after the end of the Second Samoan Civil War.[154] The United States purchased the U.S. Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917.[155]

Rapid economic development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries fostered the rise of many prominent industrialists. Tycoons like Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie led the nation's progress in railroad, petroleum, and steel industries. Banking became a major part of the economy, with J. P. Morgan playing a notable role. Edison and Tesla undertook the widespread distribution of electricity to industry, homes, and for street lighting. Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry. The American economy boomed, becoming the world's largest, and the United States achieved great power status.[156] These dramatic changes were accompanied by social unrest and the rise of populist, socialist, and anarchist movements.[157] This period eventually ended with the advent of the Progressive Era, which saw significant reforms in many societal areas, including women's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, regulation of consumer goods, greater antitrust measures to ensure competition and attention to worker conditions.[158][159][160]

World War I, Great Depression, and World War II
Further information: World War I, Great Depression, and World War II

Crowd gathering on Wall Street after the 1929 crash
The United States remained neutral from the outbreak of World War I, in 1914, until 1917 when it joined the war as an "associated power", alongside the formal Allies of World War I, helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson took a leading diplomatic role at the Paris Peace Conference and advocated strongly for the U.S. to join the League of Nations. However, the Senate refused to approve this and did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles that established the League of Nations.[161]

In 1920, the women's rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage.[162] The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of radio for mass communication and the invention of early television.[163] The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal, which included the establishment of the Social Security system.[164] The Great Migration of millions of African Americans out of the American South began before World War I and extended through the 1960s;[165] whereas the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration.[166]

At first effectively neutral during World War II while Germany conquered much of continental Europe, the United States began supplying material to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to join the Allies against the Axis powers.[167] During the war, the United States was referred as one of the "Four Policemen"[168] of Allies power who met to plan the postwar world, along with Britain, the Soviet Union and China.[169][170] Although the nation lost more than 400,000 soldiers,[171] it emerged relatively undamaged from the war with even greater economic and military influence.[172]


The Trinity test of the Manhattan Project was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, which lead Oppenheimer to recall verses from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita, notably being: "I am become [sic] Death, the destroyer of worlds".
The United States played a leading role in the Bretton Woods and Yalta conferences with the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and other Allies, which signed agreements on new international financial institutions and Europe's postwar reorganization. As an Allied victory was won in Europe, a 1945 international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war.[173] The United States developed the first nuclear weapons and used them on Japan in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; causing the Japanese to surrender on September 2, ending World War II.[174][175] Parades and celebrations followed in what is known as Victory Day, or V-J Day.[176]

Cold War and civil rights era
Main articles: History of the United States (1945-64), History of the United States (1964-80), and History of the United States (1980-91)
Further information: Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, War on Poverty, Space Race, and Reaganomics

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to an anti-Vietnam War rally at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul on April 27, 1967

U.S. President Ronald Reagan (left) and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, meeting in Geneva in 1985
After World War II the United States and the Soviet Union jockeyed for power during what became known as the Cold War, driven by an ideological divide between capitalism and communism[177] and, according to the school of geopolitics, a divide between the maritime Atlantic and the continental Eurasian camps. They dominated the military affairs of Europe, with the U.S. and its NATO allies on one side and the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies on the other. The U.S. developed a policy of containment towards the expansion of communist influence. While the U.S. and Soviet Union engaged in proxy wars and developed powerful nuclear arsenals, the two countries avoided direct military conflict.

The United States often opposed Third World movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored, and occasionally pursued direct action for regime change against left-wing governments.[178] American troops fought communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War of 1950-53.[179] The Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the first artificial satellite and its 1961 launch of the first manned spaceflight initiated a "Space Race" in which the United States became the first nation to land a man on the moon in 1969.[179] A proxy war in Southeast Asia eventually evolved into full American participation, as the Vietnam War.

At home, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion and a rapid growth of its population and middle class. Construction of an Interstate Highway System transformed the nation's infrastructure over the following decades. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments.[180][181] In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th and last U.S. state added to the country.[182] The growing Civil Rights Movement used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination, with Martin Luther King Jr. becoming a prominent leader and figurehead. A combination of court decisions and legislation, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1968, sought to end racial discrimination.[183][184][185] Meanwhile, a counterculture movement grew which was fueled by opposition to the Vietnam war, black nationalism, and the sexual revolution.

The launch of a "War on Poverty" expanded entitlements and welfare spending, including the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, two programs that provide health coverage to the elderly and poor, respectively, and the means-tested Food Stamp Program and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.[186]

The 1970s and early 1980s saw the onset of stagflation. After his election in 1980, President Ronald Reagan responded to economic stagnation with free-market oriented reforms. Following the collapse of détente, he abandoned "containment" and initiated the more aggressive "rollback" strategy towards the USSR.[187][188][189][190][191] After a surge in female labor participation over the previous decade, by 1985 the majority of women aged 16 and over were employed.[192]

The late 1980s brought a "thaw" in relations with the USSR, and its collapse in 1991 finally ended the Cold War.[193][194][195][196] This brought about unipolarity[197] with the U.S. unchallenged as the world's dominant superpower. The concept of Pax Americana, which had appeared in the post-World War II period, gained wide popularity as a term for the post-Cold War new world order.

Contemporary history
Main articles: History of the United States (1991-2008) and History of the United States (2008-present)
Further information: Gulf War, September 11 attacks, War on Terror, 2008 financial crisis, and Affordable Care Act

The World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan during the September 11 terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda in 2001

One World Trade Center, newly built in its place
After the Cold War, the conflict in the Middle East triggered a crisis in 1990, when Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded and attempted to annex Kuwait, an ally of the United States. Fearing that the instability would spread to other regions, President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Desert Shield, a defensive force buildup in Saudi Arabia, and Operation Desert Storm, in a staging titled the Gulf War; waged by coalition forces from 34 nations, led by the United States against Iraq ending in the successful expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, restoring the former monarchy.[198]

Originating in U.S. defense networks, the Internet spread to international academic networks, and then to the public in the 1990s, greatly affecting the global economy, society, and culture.[199]

Due to the dot-com boom, stable monetary policy under Alan Greenspan, and reduced social welfare spending, the 1990s saw the longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history, ending in 2001.[200] Beginning in 1994, the U.S. entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), linking 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. The goal of the agreement was to eliminate trade and investment barriers among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico by January 1, 2008. Trade among the three partners has soared since NAFTA went into force.[201]

On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., killing nearly 3,000 people.[202] In response, the United States launched the War on Terror, which included war in Afghanistan and the 2003-11 Iraq War.[203][204] In 2007, the Bush administration ordered a major troop surge in the Iraq War,[205] which successfully reduced violence and led to greater stability in the region.[206][207]

Government policy designed to promote affordable housing,[208] widespread failures in corporate and regulatory governance,[209] and historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve[210] led to the mid-2000s housing bubble, which culminated with the 2008 financial crisis, the largest economic contraction in the nation's history since the Great Depression.[211] Barack Obama, the first African-American[212] and multiracial[213] president, was elected in 2008 amid the crisis,[214] and subsequently passed stimulus measures and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in an attempt to mitigate its negative effects and ensure there would not be a repeat of the crisis. The stimulus facilitated infrastructure improvements[215] and a relative decline in unemployment.[216] Dodd-Frank improved financial stability and consumer protection,[217] although there has been debate about its effects on the economy.[218]

In 2010, the Obama administration passed the Affordable Care Act, which made the most sweeping reforms to the nation's healthcare system in nearly five decades, including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges. The law caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance, with 24 million covered during 2016,[219] but remains controversial due to its impact on healthcare costs, insurance premiums, and economic performance.[220] Although the recession reached its trough in June 2009, voters remained frustrated with the slow pace of the economic recovery. The Republicans, who stood in opposition to Obama's policies, won control of the House of Representatives with a landslide in 2010 and control of the Senate in 2014.[221]

American forces in Iraq were withdrawn in large numbers in 2009 and 2010, and the war in the region was declared formally over in December 2011.[222] The withdrawal caused an escalation of sectarian insurgency,[223] leading to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the successor of al-Qaeda in the region.[224] In 2014, Obama announced a restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time since 1961.[needs update][225] The next year, the United States as a member of the P5+1 countries signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement aimed to slow the development of Iran's nuclear program,[226] though the U.S. withdrew from the deal in May 2018.[227] In the United States presidential election of 2016, Republican Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. Trump is both the oldest and wealthiest person elected president in United States history.[228]

Geography, climate, and environment
Main articles: Geography of the United States, Climate of the United States, and Environment of the United States

A composite satellite image of the contiguous United States and surrounding areas

Köppen climate classifications
The land area of the entire United States is approximately 3,800,000 square miles (9,841,955 km2),[229] with the contiguous United States making up 2,959,064 square miles (7,663,940.6 km2) of that. Alaska, separated from the contiguous United States by Canada, is the largest state at 663,268 square miles (1,717,856.2 km2). Hawaii, occupying an archipelago in the central Pacific, southwest of North America, is 10,931 square miles (28,311 km2) in area. The populated territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands together cover 9,185 square miles (23,789 km2).[230] Measured by only land area, the United States is third in size behind Russia and China, just ahead of Canada.[231]

The United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest nation by total area (land and water), ranking behind Russia and Canada and just above or below China. The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted, and how the total size of the United States is measured.[g] The Encyclopædia Britannica, for instance, lists the size of the United States as 3,677,649 square miles (9,525,067 km2), as they do not count the country's coastal or territorial waters.[232] The World Factbook, which includes those waters, gives 3,796,742 square miles (9,833,517 km2).[233]

The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont.[234] The Appalachian Mountains divide the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest.[235] The Mississippi-Missouri River, the world's fourth longest river system, runs mainly north-south through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.[235]


Highest peak in the country, Denali
The Rocky Mountains, at the western edge of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in Colorado.[236] Farther west are the rocky Great Basin and deserts such as the Chihuahua and Mojave.[237] The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast, both ranges reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m). The lowest and highest points in the contiguous United States are in the state of California,[238] and only about 84 miles (135 km) apart.[239] At an elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190.5 m), Alaska's Denali (Mount McKinley) is the highest peak in the country and North America.[240] Active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska's Alexander and Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii consists of volcanic islands. The supervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent's largest volcanic feature.[241] The United States has the most ecoregions out of any country in the world.[242]

The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south.[243] The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Western mountains have an alpine climate. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Hawaii and the southern tip of Florida are tropical, as are the populated territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific.[244] Extreme weather is not uncommon—the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and most of the world's tornadoes occur within the country, mainly in Tornado Alley areas in the Midwest and South.[245]

Wildlife
Main articles: Fauna of the United States and Flora of the United States
See also: Category:Biota of the United States

The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.[246]
The U.S. ecology is megadiverse: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland.[247] The United States is home to 428 mammal species, 784 bird species, 311 reptile species, and 295 amphibian species.[248] About 91,000 insect species have been described.[249] The bald eagle is both the national bird and national animal of the United States, and is an enduring symbol of the country itself.[250]

There are 59 national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas.[251] Altogether, the government owns about 28% of the country's land area.[252] Most of this is protected, though some is leased for oil and gas drilling, mining, logging, or cattle ranching; about .86% is used for military purposes.[253][254]

Environmental issues have been on the national agenda since 1970. Environmental controversies include debates on oil and nuclear energy, dealing with air and water pollution, the economic costs of protecting wildlife, logging and deforestation,[255][256] and international responses to global warming.[257][258] Many federal and state agencies are involved. The most prominent is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), created by presidential order in 1970.[259] The idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since 1964, with the Wilderness Act.[260] The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is intended to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats, which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.[261]

Demographics
Main articles: Demography of the United States, Americans, and Race and ethnicity in the United States
Population
See also: List of U.S. states by population and List of United States cities by population
Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1790 3,929,214 —
1800 5,308,483 35.1%
1810 7,239,881 36.4%
1820 9,638,453 33.1%
1830 12,866,020 33.5%
1840 17,069,453 32.7%
1850 23,191,876 35.9%
1860 31,443,321 35.6%
1870 38,558,371 22.6%
1880 50,189,209 30.2%
1890 62,979,766 25.5%
1900 76,212,168 21.0%
1910 92,228,496 21.0%
1920 106,021,537 15.0%
1930 123,202,624 16.2%
1940 132,164,569 7.3%
1950 151,325,798 14.5%
1960 179,323,175 18.5%
1970 203,211,926 13.3%
1980 226,545,805 11.5%
1990 248,709,873 9.8%
2000 281,421,906 13.2%
2010 308,745,538 9.7%
Est. 2018[9] 327,167,434 6.0%
1610-1780 population data.[262]
Note that the census numbers do
not include Native Americans until 1860.[263]
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the country's population to be 327,167,434 as of July 1, 2018, and to be adding 1 person (net gain) every 13 seconds, or about 6,646 people per day.[33] The U.S. population almost quadrupled during the 20th century, from 76.2 million in 1900 to 281.4 million in 2000.[264] The third most populous nation in the world, after China and India, the United States is the only major industrialized nation in which large population increases are projected.[265] In the 1800s the average woman had 7.04 children; by the 1900s this number had decreased to 3.56.[266] Since the early 1970s the birth rate has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 with 1.76 children per woman in 2017.[267] Foreign-born immigration has caused the U.S. population to continue its rapid increase with the foreign-born population doubling from almost 20 million in 1990 to over 40 million in 2010, representing one-third of the population increase.[268] The foreign-born population reached 45 million in 2015.[269] The United States has a very diverse population; 37 ancestry groups have more than one million members.[270] German Americans are the largest ethnic group (more than 50 million) - followed by Irish Americans (circa 37 million), Mexican Americans (circa 31 million) and English Americans (circa 28 million).[271][272]

White Americans (mostly European ancestry group with 73.1% of total population) are the largest racial group; black Americans are the nation's largest racial minority (note that in the U.S. Census, Hispanic and Latino Americans are counted as an ethnic group, not a "racial" group), and third-largest ancestry group.[270] Asian Americans are the country's second-largest racial minority; the three largest Asian American ethnic groups are Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, and Indian Americans.[270] According to a 2015 survey, the largest American community with European ancestry is German Americans, which consists of more than 14% of total population.[273] In 2010, the U.S. population included an estimated 5.2 million people with some American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry (2.9 million exclusively of such ancestry) and 1.2 million with some native Hawaiian or Pacific island ancestry (0.5 million exclusively).[274] The census counted more than 19 million people of "Some Other Race" who were "unable to identify with any" of its five official race categories in 2010, over 18.5 million (97%) of whom are of Hispanic ethnicity.[274]


Most common ancestry in each U.S. state in 2000
German American Mexican Irish African Italian English Japanese Puerto Rican
The population growth of Hispanic and Latino Americans (the terms are officially interchangeable) is a major demographic trend. The 50.5 million Americans of Hispanic descent[274] are identified as sharing a distinct "ethnicity" by the Census Bureau; 64% of Hispanic Americans are of Mexican descent.[275] Between 2000 and 2010, the country's Hispanic population increased 43% while the non-Hispanic population rose just 4.9%.[276] Much of this growth is from immigration; in 2007, 12.6% of the U.S. population was foreign-born, with 54% of that figure born in Latin America.[277][k]

The drop in the U.S. fertility rate from 2.08 per woman in 2007 to 1.76 in 2017 was mostly due to the declining birth rate of Hispanics, teenagers, and young women, although the birth rate for older women rose.[284]

Minorities (as defined by the Census Bureau as all those beside non-Hispanic, non-multiracial whites) constituted 37.2% of the population in 2012[285] and over 50% of children under age one,[286][281] and are projected to constitute the majority by 2044.[286]

The United States has a birth rate of 13 per 1,000, which is 5 births below the world average.[287] Its population growth rate is positive at 0.7%, higher than that of many developed nations.[288] In fiscal year 2016, over one million immigrants (most of whom entered through family reunification) were granted legal residence.[289] Mexico has been the leading source of new residents since the 1965 Immigration Act. China, India, and the Philippines have been in the top four sending countries every year since the 1990s.[290] As of 2012, approximately 11.4 million residents are illegal immigrants.[291] As of 2015, 47% of all immigrants are Hispanic, 26% are Asian, 18% are white and 8% are black. The percentage of immigrants who are Asian is increasing while the percentage who are Hispanic is decreasing.[269] The estimated number of illegal immigrants dropped to 10.7 million in 2017, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. In 2017, 33,000 refugees were resettled in the United States. This was fewer than were resettled in the rest of the world for the first time in decades.[292] A 2017 Gallup poll concluded that 4.5% of adult Americans identified as LGBT with 5.1% of women identifying as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men.[293] The highest percentage came from the District of Columbia (10%), while the lowest state was North Dakota at 1.7%.[294]

About 82% of Americans live in urban areas (including suburbs);[233] about half of those reside in cities with populations over 50,000.[295] The U.S. has numerous clusters of cities known as megaregions, the largest being the Great Lakes Megalopolis followed by the Northeast Megalopolis and Southern California. In 2008, 273 incorporated municipalities had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than one million residents, and four global cities had over two million (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston).[296] There are 52 metropolitan areas with populations greater than one million.[297] Of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas, 47 are in the West or South.[298] The metro areas of San Bernardino, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Phoenix all grew by more than a million people between 2000 and 2008.[297]


Leading population centers (see complete list) viewtalkedit
Rank Core city (cities) Metro area population Metropolitan Statistical Area Region[299]
New York City
New York City

Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Chicago
Chicago

Dallas
Dallas

1 New York City 20,320,876 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA Northeast
2 Los Angeles 13,353,907 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA West
3 Chicago 9,533,040 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA Midwest
4 Dallas-Fort Worth 7,399,662 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA South
5 Houston 6,892,427 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA South
6 Washington, D.C. 6,216,589 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA South
7 Miami 6,158,824 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL MSA South
8 Philadelphia 6,096,120 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA Northeast
9 Atlanta 5,884,736 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA South
10 Boston 4,836,531 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA Northeast
11 Phoenix 4,737,270 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ MSA West
12 San Francisco 4,727,357 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA West
13 Riverside-San Bernardino 4,580,670 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA West
14 Detroit 4,313,002 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI MSA Midwest
15 Seattle 3,867,046 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA West
16 Minneapolis-St. Paul 3,600,618 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA Midwest
17 San Diego 3,337,685 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA West
18 Tampa-St. Petersburg 3,091,399 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA South
19 Denver 2,888,227 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO MSA West
20 Baltimore 2,808,175 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD MSA South
Based on 2017 MSA population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau[300]
Language
Main article: Languages of the United States
See also: Language Spoken at Home in the United States of America, List of endangered languages in the United States, and Language education in the United States
English (American English) is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2010, about 230 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language.[301][302] Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in 32 states.[303]

Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii, by state law.[304] Alaska recognizes twenty Native languages as well as English.[305] While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French.[306] Other states, such as California, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents including court forms.[307]

Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan[308] is officially recognized by American Samoa. Chamorro[309] is an official language of Guam. Both Carolinian and Chamorro have official recognition in the Northern Mariana Islands.[310] Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico and is more widely spoken than English there.[311]

The most widely taught foreign languages in the United States, in terms of enrollment numbers from kindergarten through university undergraduate studies, are: Spanish (around 7.2 million students), French (1.5 million), and German (500,000). Other commonly taught languages (with 100,000 to 250,000 learners) include Latin, Japanese, ASL, Italian, and Chinese.[312][313] 18% of all Americans claim to speak at least one language in addition to English.[314]

Languages spoken at home by more than 1 million persons in the U.S. (2016)[315][316][l]
Language Percent of
population Number of
speakers Number who
speak English
very well Number who
speak English
less than
very well
English (only) ~80% 237,810,023 N/A N/A
Spanish
(including Spanish Creole but excluding Puerto Rico) 13% 40,489,813 23,899,421 16,590,392
Chinese
(all varieties, including Mandarin and Cantonese) 1.0% 3,372,930 1,518,619 1,854,311
Tagalog
(including Filipino) 0.5% 1,701,960 1,159,211 542,749
Vietnamese 0.4% 1,509,993 634,273 875,720
Arabic
(all varieties) 0.3% 1,231,098 770,882 460,216
French
(including Patois and Cajun) 0.3% 1,216,668 965,584 251,087
Korean 0.2% 1,088,788 505,734 583,054
Religion
Main article: Religion in the United States
Religious affiliation in the U.S. (2014)[317]
Affiliation % of U.S. population
Christianity 70.6

Protestant 46.5

Evangelical Protestant 25.4

Mainline Protestant 14.7

Black church 6.5

Catholic 20.8

Mormon 1.6

Jehovah's Witnesses 0.8

Eastern Orthodox 0.5

Other Christian 0.4

Judaism 1.9

Hinduism 1.2

Islam 0.9

Buddhism 0.9

Other faiths 1.8

Irreligion 22.8

Nothing in particular 15.8

Agnostic 4.0

Atheist 3.1

Don't know or refused answer 0.6

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids Congress from passing laws respecting its establishment.

In a 2013 survey, 56% of Americans said that religion played a "very important role in their lives", a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation.[318] In a 2009 Gallup poll, 42% of Americans said that they attended church weekly or almost weekly; the figures ranged from a low of 23% in Vermont to a high of 63% in Mississippi.[319]

As with other Western countries, the U.S. is becoming less religious. Irreligion is growing rapidly among Americans under 30.[320] Polls show that overall American confidence in organized religion has been declining since the mid to late 1980s,[321] and that younger Americans, in particular, are becoming increasingly irreligious.[317][322] According to a 2012 study, the Protestant share of the U.S. population had dropped to 48%, thus ending its status as religious category of the majority for the first time.[323][324] Americans with no religion have 1.7 children compared to 2.2 among Christians. The unaffiliated are less likely to get married with 37% marrying compared to 52% of Christians.[325]

According to a 2014 survey, 70.6% of adults in the United States identified themselves as Christians;[326] Protestants accounted for 46.5%, while Roman Catholics, at 20.8%, formed the largest single denomination.[327] In 2014, 5.9% of the U.S. adult population claimed a non-Christian religion.[317] These include Judaism (1.9%), Hinduism (1.2%), Buddhism (0.9%), and Islam (0.9%).[317] The survey also reported that 22.8% of Americans described themselves as agnostic, atheist or simply having no religion—up from 8.2% in 1990.[327][328][329] There are also Unitarian Universalist, Scientologist, Baha'i, Sikh, Jain, Shinto, Confucian, Taoist, Druid, Native American, Wiccan, humanist and deist communities.[330]

Protestantism is the largest Christian religious grouping in the United States, accounting for almost half of all Americans. Baptists collectively form the largest branch of Protestantism at 15.4%,[331] and the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest individual Protestant denomination at 5.3% of the U.S. population.[331] Apart from Baptists, other Protestant categories include nondenominational Protestants, Methodists, Pentecostals, unspecified Protestants, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, other Reformed, Episcopalians/Anglicans, Quakers, Adventists, Hol