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CLS IGCSE - The Origins of the Cold War

CLS IGCSE - International Relations 1945 - 1989; the Origins of the Cold War
What was the Yalta Conference?
February 1945
Who was present at the Yalta Conference?
The leaders present at Yalta were Stalin (USSR), Roosevelt (USA) and Churchill (Britain).
When was the Potsdam Conference?
July 1945
Who was present at the Potsdam Conference?
The leaders present were Stalin (USSR), Truman (USA), and Attlee (Britain)
What was agreed at Yalta?
Stalin agreed to join the war against Japan once Germany was defeated. All 3 agreed to join the United Nations. Germany divided into four zones of occupation (Br, Fr, USA, USSR). Berlin to be divided into four zones, as Germany. Stalin to have 'a sphere of influence' in Eastern Europe. 'Free elections' to be held to decide governments in countries liberated from Nazi occupation.
What was in dispute at Yalta?
Stalin insisted on a 'friendly government' in Poland. The West demanded free elections in Poland.
What was agreed on at Potsdam?
USSR to gain eastern Poland and Poland to be compensated with some German territory - the German border was settled at the Oder-Neisse Line. Nazi Party to be banned and Nazi war criminals to be put on trial.
What was in dispute at Potsdam?
Stalin demanded harsh reparations from Germany for the USSR - demanded $20 billion compensation. This figure was rejected by Truman and Attlee - they did not want to make the same mistakes as at Versailles. Stalin denied a naval base in the Mediterranean. Stalin had set up a communist government in Poland without free elections being held - this angered Truman and Attlee and made them suspicious of Stalin's motives.
What did the US do during the Potsdam Conference that changed international relations?
On 16th August, during the Potsdam Conference, the USA successfully tested their first A Bomb. Truman informed Stalin about it, but was not willing to share the technology. This made Stalin even more suspicious of the West and encouraged him to begin an arms race to make the USSR's weapons equal in force to those of the USA.
What type of government did the USSR have?
Communist - one party state, no free elections, state owned industry and agriculture. The government planned the economy and what should be produced. There is a lack of freedom and strict censorship.
What type of government did the USA have?
Capitalist - democratic and capitalist, free elections, industry and agriculture were privately owned and run for profit. Free press and freedom of movement.
Why was Stalin suspicious of the West?
Allied forces had invaded Russia during the Civil War. Hitler had invaded in 1941. Stalin believed it was essential to have friendly countries on his border to prevent this happening again. The West had appeased Hitler in the 1930s and was slow to open the Second Front during the Second World War.
What was USA post-war international policy?
The USA was determined not to repeat its isolationist policies of the interwar years. The USA believed appeasement did not work, and that dictators had to be confronted and democracy supported. As the richest and most successful country in the world the USA expected to have a say in the way the world was run. It was confident no other power had nuclear weapons. The USA did not want to return to the Depression and wanted to secure markets for its goods, it did not believe that the communist countries would buy American goods and so was determined to prevent the spread of communism. It was not in the USA's economic interests to allow the spread of communism.
How did the USSR respond to its nuclear inferiority?
The USSR responded to its nuclear inferiority by strengthening its control over Eastern Europe. Rigged elections, violence, intimidation and other methods were used to gain control over Eastern European states including Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
What does Winston Churchill call Soviet 'buffer zone'
The Iron Curtain
The Truman Doctrine
Between 1945 and 1949 the USA sought to contain the spread of communism, first in Europe but later around the globe. The USA believed that the USSR was determined to expand and that the USA should use any means possible to stop that expansion.
"I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures ."
President Truman 12 March 1947
What was Domino Theory?
The USA should prevent one country from falling to communism to stop others from following suit.
What was containment?
It was believed that it was America's duty to protect democracies from the threat of communism. It would do this by providing money, aid, advisors or even weapons to any country threatened by communism.
What was the Marshall Plan?
US Secretary of State George Marshall believed that countries suffering from poverty and unemployment were more likely to turn to communism. The aim of the Marshall Plan was therefore to rebuild the shattered European economy so that it could resist the spread of communism. A fund of $15 billion was made available to any nation who applied for it.
What were aims of the Marshall Plan?
The Marshall Plan aimed to:
Raise living standards in western Europe to reduce the appeal of communism. To rebuild Germany.To weaken Soviet control over Eastern Europe.To help the US economy by increasing US exports to Europe. They did not want a repeat of the 1920s.
What happened to Czechoslovakia between 1948 - 1949?
By 1948 Czechoslovakia was not under the control of the communists. The government considered accepting Marshall Aid. Elections were due to take place in Spring 1948 and the communists were expected to do badly. A communist coup saw the non-communists removed from office, Jan Masaryk, a minister who supported the west was murdered. The communists took control of Czechoslovakia.
What was Stalin's Reaction to the Marshall Plan?
Stalin called the Marshall Plan 'dollar imperialism' and claimed the USA was trying to control industry and trade in Europe. He believed that it sought to undermine communism and to promote the spread of capitalism across the globe. He refused to accept any economic aid and stopped any Eastern bloc country applying for it.
How did Stalin react to the actions of the West 1945-1949?
To try to prevent any eastern European countries applying for aid and to strengthen his grip on the countries on his borders Stalin offered help and support to eastern Europe by setting up two organisations, Cominform (1947) and Comecon (1949).
What was Cominform?
Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) was an alliance of European communist parties to help them plan and to work together and spread Stalin's ideas. It increased the control Stalin had over these countries, and limited their independence. Only Marshal Tito, the communist leader of Yugoslavia, would not accept Stalin's total leadership and split with Moscow.
What was Comecon?
Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Aid) was set up to coordinate the production and trade of the eastern European communist countries. They were expected to trade with each other and not the West. However, it favoured the USSR more than any of its other members.
What was NATO?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in April 1949 by the Western powers. This was during the period of the Berlin Blockade, and was partly in response to Stalin's aggression. NATO was a military alliance that committed all members to the defence of all the others. But NATO was more than a promise of American help in an emergency. The alliance was to be supported by large numbers of troops on the ground.
Who were the original twelve members of NATO?
The original twelve members of NATO in 1949 were the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg
How did Stalin view NATO?
Stalin, unsurprisingly, saw NATO as a threat to the USSR and Eastern Europe.
What was the Warsaw Pact?
The Warsaw Pact was set up in 1955. The Warsaw Pact was a defensive military alliance of the USSR and its satellite states in Eastern Europe. It was intended as a counter-force to NATO, which was a military alliance of western powers. The Warsaw Pact, like NATO, relied on collective security - if one nation was attacked, the others would come to its support. The Warsaw Pact helped to make Eastern Europe an effective 'buffer zone' for the USSR against the West.
What were the causes of the Berlin Crisis 1948 - 1949?
Britain, France and the USA had merged their zones of West Germany into one in March 1948. Britain, France and the USA had then introduced a new currency to western Germany, which was intended to help it become economically stronger. Capitalism was drawing many people away from the Communist east towards greater opportunities and freedoms. As a result Stalin felt threatened by Germany's growing strength, Stalin was angry that the west had not consulted him before making changes in their zones of Germany and Stalin wanted the 'cancer' of west Berlin to be removed from East Germany.
What happened in the Berlin Blockade?
In June 1948 Stalin cut off all road, rail and canal links to West Berlin - the Berlin Blockade. The city only had 6 weeks supplies of food and fuel. Stalin aimed to starve the 2 million inhabitants in West Berlin into submission. He believed that Truman would either have to give up West Berlin or go to war. But the West responded with a massive airlift - food, fuel and supplies were flown into Berlin for 10 months. Stalin dared no shoot down any planes - it would be an act of war. Stalin called off the Blockade in May 1949.
What was the outcome of the Berlin Blockade?
A propaganda victory for the West - Truman had shown he would not allow the policy of containment to fail. Stalin was humiliated - the USSR had failed to extend its influence
The division of Germany into two separate states - in May 1949 the new Federal Republic of Germany was set up. In October the eastern zone became the German democratic Republic. The formation of NATO.
Deepened hostility between East and West.