A defensive alliance where nations came to together and promised aid to any country threatened by aggression. The US had bases in these countries in order to drop bombs on USSR anytime. Reflecting the continuing US alarm at the spread of postwar communism, in 1949 the Truman administration set up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In it the countries agreed to come to the aid of any member nation threatened with aggression. NATO members included US, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Portugal, and Italy. The NATO was dominated by US military establishment; US commander was supreme leader. NATO's goal was the eventual integration of the national armed forces of the member nations into a unified military command. The US established bases within the NATO and even non-NATO countries which enabled them to be able to drop atomic bombs on the Soviet union from these bases anytime. He came after Stalin and didn't like Stalinism. He was willing to negotiate with the US. He wanted US out of Berlin. He was approachable and in 1959 nuclear disarament talks were in the air. After Stalin died in 1953, a scramble for leadership ensued in the Soviet Union and was resolved by bringing Nikita Khrushchev to power. In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev made a daring secret speech to a closed session of the Twentieth Congress of the Communists Party of the Soviet Union; he criticized Stalin's policies, including his elimination of many innocent people during the 1930's. From then until his removal in 1964, Nikita Khrushchev used criticism of Stalin and Stalinist policies to weaken the power of his political rivals within the party hierarchy. While motivated largely by political concerns, Nikita Khrushchev de-Stalinization campaign also led to less censorship. By the late 1950's the Communist Party under Nikita Khrushchev's leadership had allowed millions of innocent people to be freed from the camps. Nikita Khrushchev also wanted to improve living standards, including increasing agricultural output. To do so, he limited military spending more than some of his political rivals though appropriate. Meanwhile, leadership in the US went from Truman to Eisenhower. Nikita Khrushchev and Eisenhower remained suspicious of each other, they were both more willing than their predecessors to negotiate under appropriate circumstances. Nikita Khrushchev and Eisenhower met at a summit conference in Geneva in 1955 and a momentum was established to lead other meetings. In 1955, the US agreed to end the occupation of Austria, and the Soviet Union recognized the West German government. Selected groups of Americans and Soviet citizens began visiting each other's nations. At the same time, the US media began to tone down their strident anti-communist presentations. During the missile age, Nikita Khrushchev warned western powers that the multi-force occupation of Berlin must end in 6 months or the Soviet Union would turn over the responsibility for Berlin and the supply corridors to East Germany. Despite the missile race, Nikita Khrushchev kept postponing the deadline. He visited the US in 1959 and nuclear disarmament talks were once again in the air. The US, the USSR, and GB stopped testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. the Soviets began producing ICBM's: allowing nuclear warheads to target areas thousands of miles away; the US soon began producing ICBM's, causing a feeling of uneasiness to spread around the world. On October 4, 1957, the cold war moved into a still more dangerous phase. On that day, the Soviet Union, using a powerful new rocket booster, launched a small satellite, sputnik, into an orbit around the earth. Two months earlier, the Soviet Union had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. Eisenhower administration moved quickly and poured money into scientific research in the universities. The government sent up a satellite in 1958 and created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to advance American space exploration. The administration also spend vast sums of money to launch a major ICBM program and to build submarine-launched ballistic missiles that offered the advantage of a portable missile-firing platform that could not be easily detected. The US offered to base intermediate-range and medium-range ballistic missiles in NATO countries but only GB, Italy, and Turkey agreed. By 1962-1963 the US had 450 missiles and 2,000 bombers capable of striking the Soviet Union, compared to 50-100 missiles and 200 bombers of the Soviets. The missile gap had been reversed with a vengeance. Even though the US had more, these missiles on both sides caused a "balance of terror" Another defense alliance: it was created to block Communist expansion. Asian version of NATO. To contain the USSR and China, the US made several alliances with anti-Communist governments in the region. Bilateral mutual defense treaties were concluded with Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and the Republic of China on Taiwan. They were reinforced by multilateral treaties: the South East Asia Treaty Organization established in 1954 which tied GB, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines to a collective defense of the region. When the South East Asia Treaty Organization linked with NATO, the US led alliances succeeded in ringing the Communist bloc. Asian version of NATO, created to block Communist expansion into Southeast Asia. Its HQ was located in Bangkok, Thailand. Lessening tensions after just avoiding nuclear war. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Non-Proliferation Treaty, SALT, Helsinki agreements. It ended when Soviet Troops appeared in Afghanistan in 1979. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, many world leaders became interested in lessening tensions and reducing the chances of nuclear war. In 1963, the major atomic powers joined over 100 nations in signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which prohibited testing in outer space, the atmosphere, and under water. They also signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which prohibited countries from developing atomic weapons. China and France refused. From the Nuclear Test Ban of 1963 through most of the 1970's, superpower relations were generally characterized by a spirit of détente. Both the US and the USSR attempted to find points of agreement and succeeded in expanding trade and cultural contacts and agreeing on a strategic arms limitation treaty. In the 1970's, the US and China ended a long period of hostility and established diplomatic, cultural, and economic relations with each other. Most of the international community, which displayed an increasing tendency toward multipolarity, joined in signing a number of treaties designed to limit the testing and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, however, the uninterrupted postwar arms race produced even more destructive weapons. From time to time, international events such as the war in Indochina and the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, stalled progress toward improved relations. The appearance of Soviet troops in Afghanistan in December 1979 because the allies were scared of Soviets expanding communism and events of the early 1980s signaled the spirit of détente had faded and that the arms race was accelerating. He created the doctrine saying he could intervene anytime he wanted when communism is threatened. The Soviet Union continued to keep military spending as a top priority. The government also improved the living standards. Nikita Khrushchev was ousted from power because of a poor harvest in 1963, bad economy, foreign policy failures, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his attempts to get rid of Stalinism and reform Communist system. Leonid Brezhnev seized power from Nikita Khrushchev and became secretary of the Soviet Communist party in 1964. He was not a dictator but the most prominent of a small group of political leaders in a one-party state. In 1968, in support of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he enunciated the "Brezhnev doctrine," asserting that the USSR could intervene in the domestic affairs of any Soviet bloc nation if Communist rule were threatened. While maintaining a tight rein in Eastern Europe, he favored closer relations with the Western powers, and he helped (1972-74) bring about a détente with the United States. In 1977 he assumed the presidency of the USSR, thereby becoming head of state and head of the party. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, cold war tensions returned with an acceleration in the arms race, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the continued intransigence toward political and economic reform within the Soviet bloc, such as the imposition of martial law in Poland. Brezhnev's regime was criticized for its corruption and failed economic policies. During the Brezhnev era, the Soviet Union in some areas continued to keep military spending as a top priority. The government also improved the living standards. The government continued to develop the nations rich resources of petroleum, gas , and minerals. However, agriculture fell they had a lot of poor harvests. Prague Spring happened in 1968 when Czechoslovakia broke free from the soviet union but the decentralization was not good for them so the Soviets came in and occupied the country. Czechoslovakia was unhappy so Dubcek displayed a desire to place Soviet-Czechoslovakia ties on a more equal footing. The Prague Spring reforms were an attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel reduced censorship, recognized civil liberties. Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. This was the only change that survived the end of Prague Spring. The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent thousands of Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country. A large wave of emigration swept the nation. While there were many non-violent protests in the country, including several suicides by self-immolation (such as that of Jan Palach), there was no military resistance. Czechoslovakia remained controlled until 1989. the formation of the independent trade union was in response to the actions of the Communist government in raising prices for basic goods. The fragile economic and political status of Eastern Europe became especially evident in the early 1980s. In 1980 the Polish government tried to increase meat prices but people were upset. The government was forced to recognize solidarity, a powerful new independent labor union. The government agreed to salary increases and made concessions regarding political prisoners, censorship, additional religious access to the mass media, and a number of other worker demands. Stanislaw Kania was in charge and for the next year, liberalization proceeded at a rapid pace. The Catholic Church headed by the Polish Pope John Paul II, was sympathetic to the union and supported liberalization. As the Polish people gained more freedom, Soviet leaders became increasingly alarmed. In order to please Soviet leaders, in October 1981, replaced Kania with Jaruzelski. Without warning Jaruzelski arrested solidarity leaders and the union called them illegal. Then Jaruzelski raised the food prices. Alarmed by Poland's economic position and the recent crackdown on Solidarity, Western governments became worried about the raising debt of Eastern European nations. Solidarity was: the formation of the independent trade union was in response to the actions of the Communist government in raising prices for basic goods. Political movement in Poland during 1980 in which the Polish government allowed Polish workers to be represented by an independent trade union against the workers' state. This was a paradoxical situation and was crushed by the Soviet Union on December 13, 1981 after 469 days of Solidarity. This was the first of many Eastern European rebellions against the Soviet Union's Communist Policies. He allowed reforms that lead to the collapse of the USSR. He did not follow the Brezhnev Doctrine and he is allowing people to leave the USSR. When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as the Soviet Leader in 1985, the Soviet economy was stagnating and pressures for reform were building. Gorbachev recognized the need for reforms and began pushing a whole series of domestic and foreign policies that soon gathered a momentum of their own. In less than 7 years these policies and numerous other forces, especially popular political movements, led to the collapse of Communist governments in Soviet bloc states in Eastern Europe, the end of the cold war, the reunification of Germany, and the collapse of the USSR itself. Along the way, the USSR signed numerous important arms control treaties with Western powers. The appearance of Gorbachev on the Soviet scene opened in a whole new range of possibilities, however, because he actively encouraged reform. His thinking appeared to be more akin to Alexander Dubeck than to that Brezhnev, who had intervened to overturn the Czechoslovakian leader in 1969. Gorbachev is not following the Brezhnev doctrine: He is allowing the people to leave and he is bringing down communism because he is not actively forcing people to come back.