Chapter 29: The Cold War Era and the Emergence of a New Europe



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Mr. Dunbar

AP European History



Chapter 29: The Cold War Era and the Emergence of a New Europe

Chapter Overview:

  • Two set of international political relationships have shaped the experience of Europe.

    • Cold War between the US and Soviet Union

    • Decolonization

  • Europe stood divided between the US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Soviet dominated Warsaw Pact

Section One: The Emergence of the Cold War

  • Section Overview

    • Tension between the US and Soviet Union had been budding during World War II.

    • Harry Truman assumed power of the United States after the death of the more sympathetic Franklin Roosevelt.

      • Many Soviets believed Truman used the atomic bomb to keep the Soviet Union out of the Pacific.

    • Russia was opposed by the United States when it claimed permanent possession of Poland and Romania under puppet communist governments.

    • Soviet Union’s attempt to extend its control westward into central Europe and the Balkans and southward into the Middle East stirred anxiety throughout the world.

      • Britain had been the western power responsible for combating Russian aggression; as Britain’s power waned, the United States inherited this task.

      • The growth in France and Italy of large communist parties—taking orders from Moscow—led the Americans to believe Stalin was engaged in a worldwide plot to subvert capitalism.

    • In 1946, both Stalin and his foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, publicly spoke of western democracies as enemies.

  • Containment in American Foreign Policy

    • American policy of containment in 1947

      • Resist the extension of Soviet expansion and influence in the expectation that eventually the Soviet Union would collapse from pressure.

      • Containment led the United States to form overseas alliances, to make formal and informal commitments to regimes across the world, and to dedicate resources to massive military spending.

        • This marks a departure from relative isolationism for the United States.

    • The Truman Doctrine

      • Background—since 1944, civil war had been raging in Greece between the royalist government restored by Britain and insurgents supported by communist countries, chiefly Yugoslavia.

        • On March 12, 1947, President Truman asked congress to provide funds to support Greece and Turkey, which was then under Soviet pressure to yield control of the Dardanelles, and Congress complied.

      • Truman’s Doctrine

        • He advocated a policy of support for “free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” anywhere in the world.

    • Marshall Plan

      • Named after George C. Marshall (1880-1959), the secretary of state who introduced it

      • This program provided broad economic support to European states on the sole condition that they work together for their mutual benefit.

        • Soviet Union was invited to participate as were their satellites.

          • Finland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary were interested in participating, but the Soviet Union forbade them from taking part.

      • Marshall Plan restored prosperity to Western Europe.

      • Christian Democratic movement that dominated politics in Italy, France, and West Germany worked to keep communism at bay.

  • Soviet Domination of Eastern Europe

    • Roots of Soviet decision to occupy Eastern Europe

      • Western European Powers had invaded Russia twice in the nineteenth century—under Napoleon in 1812 and during the Crimean War of 1854-1856.

      • Tsarist Russia had governed most of Poland from the 1790s to 1915.

    • Russia’s interest in the Black Sea area also has historical roots

      • Particularly interested in Turkey and the lands around the Black Sea

    • Due to the Soviet Union’s losses in World War II, it is not surprising that Soviet leaders sought to use their Eastern European satellites as a buffer against future invasions.

    • In 1947, Stalin called a meeting in Warsaw of all communist parties from around the globe.

      • They organized the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform), a revival of the old Comintern, dedicated to spreading revolutionary communism throughout the world.

      • The establishment of the Cominform marked the end of popular front coalitions in Western Europe in which communist parties cooperated with other parties.

      • Hard-liners who supported the Soviet line on every issue replaced communist leaders in the West who favored collaboration and reform.

    • The Soviet Union took direct control of Czechoslovakia in February 1948.

      • The communists expelled the democratic members of the Czech coalition government and murdered Jan Masaryk (1886-1948), the foreign minister and son of the founder of Czechoslovakia, Thomas Masaryk.

      • President Edvard Benes (1884-1948) was forced to resign.

    • During the late 1940s, the Soviet Union required other Eastern European governments to impose Stalinist policies.

      • Characteristics of Stalinist policies

        • One-party political systems

        • Close military cooperation with the Soviet Union

        • Collectivization of agriculture

        • Communist Party domination of education

        • Attacks on the churches

      • In many of these states, longtime Communist leaders were purged and condemned in show trials like those that took place in Moscow during the 1930s.

  • The Postwar Division of Germany

    • Section overview

      • Soviet actions, especially those in Czechoslovakia, increased the determination of the United States to go ahead with its own arrangements in Germany.

    • Disagreements over Germany

      • Generally speaking, after World War II the Allies agreed that Germany must be dismembered; however, as Soviet expansion took sway after the war, some believed that unification must be maintained to prevent Russian dominance.

      • Economic policies in eastern and western Germany

        • The Russians swiftly dismantled German industry in the eastern zone

        • Fearing the rise of radicalism, the United States wanted to help Germany become self-sufficient which meant restoring, rather than destroying industry.

      • The Soviets claimed the right to industrial equipment in all zones, and the Americans resisted their demands.

    • Berlin Blockade

      • Rising tensions over control of Berlin lead to the Soviet blockade of the city

        • When the Western powers agreed to go forward with a separate constitution for the western sectors of Germany in February 1948, the Soviets walked out of the joint Allied Control Commission.

        • Western powers issued a new currency in their zone which was circulating Berlin at better rates than their own currency.

        • All four powers governed Berlin, though it was well within the Soviet zone.

        • The Soviets chose to seal the city off by closing all railroads and highways that led from Berlin to West Germany in order to drive the Western powers out of Berlin.

      • Western allies responded to the blockade by airlifting supplies into the city for almost a year and in May 1949, the Russians were forced to lift the blockade.

      • The increased tension over the Blockade led to the creation of two independent German states.

        • West Germany formally became the German Federal Republic in September 1949.

        • The eastern region became the German Democratic Republic

      • The two Germanys and the divided city of Berlin, isolated within east Germany, would remain central fixtures in the geopolitics of the Cold War until 1989.

  • NATO and the Warsaw Pact

    • Treaty of Brussels (March 1948)

      • Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and Britain signed the Treaty of Brussels, providing for cooperation in economic and military affairs.

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (April 1949)

      • The nations who signed the Treaty of Brussels were joined by Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Canada, and the United States to form NATO

      • Members of NATO agreed to mutual assistance if any of them was attacked.

      • A few years later, Western Germany, Turkey, and Greece joined NATO

    • NATO marks the first time in history that the United States was committed to defend allies outside the Western Hemisphere.

    • Council of Mutual Assistance (COMECOM)

      • In 1949, the Soviets formed the COMECOM in order to formally integrate the economies of Eastern Europe with that of the Soviet Union.

    • Warsaw Pact of May 1955

      • Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union formally established an alliance in response to NATO.

      • Consequently, Europe was divided into two hostile blocs.

    • The Cold War, however, was not limited to Europe as flash points would erupt around the world especially in the Middle East and Asia.

      • Establishment of communist Cuba in 1959 brought the conflict very close to America.

  • The Creation of the State of Israel

    • Section Overview

      • The Middle East following World War I

        • Britain exercised chief political influence in the region under various mandates from the League of Nations.

      • The Middle East after World War II

        • Both the Zionist movement and Arab nationalists challenged British authority in the Middle East.

    • British Balfour Declaration

      • Zionist movement

        • Founded by Theodor Herzel

        • Chaim Weizmann led the movement for many years

      • Arthur Balfour and the Balfour Declaration

        • Arthur Balfour was the British Foreign Secretary who declared that Britain favored establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, which was under Ottoman rule.

      • Zionism between World War I and World War II

        • Thousands of Jews, mainly from Europe, immigrated to what became British-ruled Palestine.

        • Yishuv, or Jewish community in Palestine, developed its own political parties, press, labor unions, and educational system.

        • Arab inhabitants of Palestine considered the Jewish settlement an intrusion and violent clashes ensued.

      • The dreadful plight of the European Jewish community during World War II united the Jewish community throughout the world who won sympathy from the Western powers to whom it seemed morally right to do something for the Jewish refugees of Nazi concentration camps.

    • The UN Resolution

      • In 1947, Britain turned to the United Nations to settle disputes between the Arab and Jewish inhabitants in Palestine.

      • The United Nations passed a resolution that divided Palestine into two states, on Jewish and one Arab.

      • The Arabs in Palestine resisted the resolution and many were displaced and became refugees.

    • Israel Declares Independence

      • In May 1948, the British officially withdrew from Palestine and the Yishuv declared the independence of a new Jewish state called Israel on May 14, 1948.

      • US President Truman officially recognized Israel’s statehood

      • David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister.

      • Immediately, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq invaded Israel.

        • Fighting lasted for about two years and Israel extended its borders much further than that which was defined by the UN resolution.

      • Both the Soviet Union and the US had major economic interest in the Middle East.

      • The existence of the state of Israel would become one of the major points of contention between the United States and the governments of the various Arab states and later one of the chief complaints of radical political Islamists against the United States.

  • The Korean War

    • Origins of the Korean War

      • As part of a UN police action, the United States intervened militarily in Korea, following the same principle of containment that directed its actions in Europe.

      • Japan, an Asian colonial power, had occupied and exploited the former independent kingdom of Korea, but at the close of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union expelled the Japanese and divided Korea into two parts along the thirty-eighth parallel.

      • Two independent states emerge

        • Democratic People’s Republic in the north, supported by the Soviet Union

        • Republic of Korea in the south, supported by the United States.

      • In late June 1950, after border clashes, North Korea invaded South Korea across the thirty-eighth parallel.

    • The United States intervened unilaterally at first but was there under the authority of the UN.

      • Great Britain, Turkey, Australia, and other countries sent token forces

      • For the United States, the point of the Korean conflict was to contain the spread and halt the aggression of communism.

    • When UN forces came near the border with China, the Chinese responded by sending troops to support North Korea.

      • At the time, the United States believed the movement of Chinese troops into Korea was yet another example of communist pressure against a noncommunist state, and that China was a puppet of Moscow.

        • However, it is now well known that Stalin and Mao Zedong disliked each other and there was tension between Moscow and China.

    • On June 16, 1953, the Eisenhower administration concluded an armistice ending the Korean War restoring the border near the thirty-eighth parallel.

      • Thousands of American troops are still stationed in South Korea.

    • The Korean War confirmed the American government’s faith in containment.

Section Two: The Khrushchev Era in the Soviet Union

  • Section Overview

    • Stalin’s Soviet Union after World War II

      • No other nation suffered greater losses or depravation than the Soviet Union during World War II.

      • When the war ended, the Russian people hoped there would be a reduction in the scope of the police state and a redirection of the economy away from heavy industry and toward consumer products.

      • Stalin died on March 6, 1953

    • For a period of time after the death of Stalin, the presidium (the renamed Politburo)pursued a policy of collective leadership.

    • Leadership gradually fell to Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), who had been named party secretary in 1953 and three years later he became premier.

  • Khrushchev’s Domestic Policies

    • Khrushchev sought to reform the Soviet system but to maintain the dominance of the Communist Party.

      • Intellectuals were freer to express their ideas.

        • For example, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was allowed to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1963 which was a grim account of life in a Soviet labor camp under Stalin.

      • Khrushchev made modest efforts to meet the demand for more consumer products and to decentralize economic planning.

      • In agriculture, he removed restrictive regulations on private cultivation and sought to expand the area available for growing wheat.

    • The Secret Speech of 1956

      • At the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party, Khrushchev delivered a secret speech in which he denounced Stalin and his crimes against socialist justice during the purges of the 1930s.

      • Gradually, Khrushchev removed the strongest supporters of Stalinist policies from the presidium.

      • Khrushchev’s speech alerted Communist parties in Eastern Europe that they could govern with greater leeway than before.

  • The Three Crises of 1956

    • The Suez Intervention

      • In July 1956, President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal which threatened British and French—who organized the construction and maintenance of the canal—shipping interest in the Persian Gulf.

      • In October 1956, War broke out between Israel and Egypt.

        • Lacking the support of the United States, the British and the French intervened militarily on the side of Egypt but were forced out of the conflict when the Soviet Union vehemently protested their involvement.

      • The Suez intervention proved that without the United States, the nations of Western Europe could no longer impose their will on the rest of the world.

    • Polish Efforts Toward Independent Actions

      • When the prime minister of Poland died in 1956, the Polish Communist Party refused to replace him with Moscow’s nominee, despite considerable pressure from the Soviet nations.

      • Wladyslaw Gomulka (1905-1982) emerged as the new Communist leader of Poland.

        • He was the choice of the Poles.

        • The Soviets accepted him as he promised to continue economic and military cooperation with Moscow and he continued Poland’s membership in the Warsaw Pact.

    • The Hungarian Uprising

      • Demonstrations of sympathy for the Poles in Budapest led to street fighting.

      • The Hungarian communists installed a new ministry headed by former premier Imre Magy (1896-1958) who sought greater autonomy from Moscow.

        • He supported an independent Communist state for Hungary.

        • He appealed to non-communist groups for support in Hungary.

        • He called for the removal of Soviet troops and the ultimate neutralization of Hungary.

      • In 1958, Soviet troops invaded Hungary, deposed Nagy, who was later executed, and imposed Janos Kadar as premier.

Section Three: Later Cold War Confrontations

  • Section Overview

    • After 1956, the Soviet Union—having displayed technological superiority over the West with the launching of Sputnik—began to discuss peaceful coexistence with the United States.

      • In 1958, the two nations began negotiating limits on nuclear weapons.

      • Western leaders visited Moscow.

      • Khrushchev toured the United States in 1959.

    • Summit meeting scheduled for May 1960 and President Eisenhower was scheduled to go to Moscow

      • Just before the Paris Summit Conference, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 aircraft that was flying reconnaissance over Soviet territory.

      • Eisenhower accepted full responsibility for the surveillance policy but refused to apologize publicly to Khrushchev.

      • Consequently, Khrushchev refused to attend the summit conference and Eisenhower’s visit to Moscow was canceled.

    • By 1960, the communist world had been divided between the Soviet Union and China who were portraying the Russians as lacking revolutionary zeal; boycotting the conference showed the soviet willingness to take a hard-line stance against the capitalist world.

  • The Berlin Wall

    • Throughout 1961, thousands of refugees from East Berlin crossed the border into West Berlin

      • Impact of the refugee situation

        • Embarrassed the east

        • Hurt its economy

        • Demonstrated the Soviet Union’s inability to control Eastern Europe

    • In August 1961, the East Germans, with Soviet support, erected a concrete wall along the border between East and West Berlin, separating the two parts of the city.

    • In 1961, the new US president, John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), and Premier Khrushchev met in Vienna with inconclusive results.

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis

    • Background to the Cuban Missile Crisis

      • Cuba lies less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida

      • The United States had dominated the island since the Spanish-American War in 1898.

      • In 1957, Fidel Castro (b. 1926) launched an insurgency in Cuba which toppled the dictatorship of Flugencio Batista (1901-1973) on New Year’s Day 1959.

      • Castro formed a communist government and Cuba became an ally of the Soviet Union.

    • In 1962, the Soviet Union secretly began to place nuclear missiles in Cuba and, in response, the American government blockaded Cuba, which halted the shipment of new missiles.

    • After a tense week, when nuclear war seemed a real possibility, the Soviets backed down, and the crisis ended.

      • Khrushchev’s decision to back down to the US made many Soviets question his commitment to their security and survival.

      • This crisis convinced Soviet military leaders that they needed to strengthen their military so they would be stronger than the United States.

    • In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union concluded a nuclear test ban treaty.

Section Four: The Brezhnev Era

  • Section Overview

    • By 1964, many in the Soviet Party were unhappy with the results of Khrushchev’s policies and, therefore, forced him to resign.

    • Khrushchev was replaced by Alexei Kosygin (1904-1980) as premier and Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982) as party secretary.

    • Brezhnev emerged as the dominant figure in the Soviet government.

  • 1968: The Invasion of Czechoslovakia

    • The Prague Spring 1968

      • Czechoslovakian leader Alexander Dubcek (1921-1992) began to experiment with a more liberal communism.

        • He expanded intellectual rights and freedom of discussion at a time when the Soviet Union was suppressing them.

  • In the summer of 1968, the Soviet government and its allies in the Warsaw Pact sent troops into Czechoslovakia and replaced Dubcek with communist leaders more to their liking.

  • Brezhnev Doctrine declared the right of the Soviet Union to interfere in the domestic politics of other communist nations

  • Whereas the Truman Doctrine of 1947 had supported democratic governments and offered help to resist further communist penetration in Europe, the Brezhnev Doctrine of 1968 sought to sustain communist governments of Eastern Europe and prevent any liberalization in the region.
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