Eastern Europe and the Cold War 1948-1989

Terms in this set (19)

1. Revolution in Iran
In 1979, the Shah, was overthrown in Iran during the Iranian revolution, a period of time when the Iranian people were aiming to move towards having a government and society firmly grounded in Islamic beliefs. The Americans supported the shah who had given them access to Iran's immense oil supply. The new government however, was strongly anti- American and anti-Communist, and the revolution had created a ripple effect throughout the Middle East, shifting the balance of power. Both superpowers were extremely worried about how the other would respond, which increased tensions.

2. Civil Wars In Nicaragua, El Salvador And In Angola
During this period in time, communist rebels in El Salvador, Angola, and Nicaragua were receiving funding from the USSR and Cuba to aid them in attempting to overthrow their respective governments. In response to this, the USA began funding the governments, to help them against the rebels, and in Angola, a long running civil war ensued which was funded by both superpowers.

3. Human Rights
Another incidence, which intensified the tension between the USA and USSR, was American president, Jimmy Carter's criticism of the Soviet's policy of suppressing dissidents, or people who critiqued the communists throughout the soviet bloc.

4. New Nuclear Weapons
In 1977, the USSR began placing the newly developed SS-20 nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe to replace the older, out-of-date weapons. President carter was extremely unnerved, as he saw the new weapons as a warning of a new potential battlefield, confined to Europe. In response, he authorized the development of the Cruise missile, and by 1979 Pershing missiles had been placed in Western Europe.

5. Collapse of SALT 2
By 1974, the terms of the SALT 2 agreement had been established, and it was signed in June of 1979. However, congress refused to ratify the agreement, as US- Soviet relations had degenerated.

6. Afghanistan
By 1979, the Mujahedeen, or the Muslim opponents to the Pro- Soviet government running Afghanistan had gained popularity, and became a serious threat for the Soviets. The USSR then sent troops into Afghanistan, on the 25th of December 1979, in the hopes of regaining control. This alarmed the USA, who were worried about the USSR being so close to the West's oil supplies in the Middle East. President Carter then declared the Soviet's invasion "the biggest threat to peace since the second world war". The USA then began sending financial aid as well as arms through Pakistan to the Mujahedeen. The soviet's invasion was incredibly unpopular, and there was no chance of them winning, and they left in the early 1990's.

7. The Moscow and Los Angeles Olympics
The Americans boycotted the 1980 Olympic games held in Moscow in protest of the soviet's campaign in Afghanistan. In response, the USSR boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

8. Ronald Reagan
In 1981, Ronald Reagan was elected as the American President, who famously called the USSR the "Evil Empire". He supported anti- communists in Nicaragua and Afghanistan, and was helped by Britain's prime- minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher, who supported his approach to handling the USSR.
Meanwhile, he continued to escalate the arms race in the hopes of ending it, increasing the Defense budget by $32.6 billion. In 1982, he approved the Strategic Defense Institute, which was a multi-million dollar project, that aimed to create a defense mechanism which could destroy missiles before they reached their targets, using satellites and lasers. This increased tensions, as it would completely change how the Cold War was handled by both superpowers.