|Early Cold War Events (underlined parts are testable!)
#1. YALTA CONFERENCE
Meeting between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin in February of 1945 in Yalta, in southern Soviet Union. Main topics discussed were the creation of an international peace-keeping organization (later called the United Nations), the problems of occupation (who would occupy which areas after the war), and the final defeat of Germany and Japan. A secret agreement was reached on this last point. Russia would declare war on Japan and in return would receive control over parts of Asia. Stalin made promises of democracy for Eastern European countries.
#2. GERMANY DIVIDED INTO EAST & WEST
Western allies control West Germany. The Soviets control East Germany. West Germany has a democratic government while East Germany has a communist government. The Western Allies also control a part of Berlin, which is surrounded by East Germany, which will cause problems for decades.
#3. United Nations Founded
International Organization founded to maintain world peace. Soviets, U.S., China, France, and Great Britain have special roles on the Security Council they can veto U.N. decisions. The U.N., set up to maintain peace, quickly becomes an arena of struggle between the U.S. and Soviet Union as each battles for allies and influence.
#4. POTSDAM CONFERENCE
Becomes clear that Stalin has no intension of granting free elections to Eastern Europe.
#5. CONTAINMENT POLICY ADOPTED
A long term U.S. policy, formulated in 1947: meant to prevent Communism from spreading to countries in Europe and Asia who were seen as vulnerable to a Communist take-over. Later referred to as the “domino theory.” If one country falls to communism, its neighbors will as well. The United States must contain communism in order to ensure the security of democracy throughout the world.
#6. IRON CURTAIN SPEECH
Winston Churchill coined the term in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946. Churchill was referring to the areas in Eastern Europe under communist domination, isolated from the free world. Churchill was warning of future communist advances. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”
#7. TRUMAN DOCTRINE
A program of economic and military aid for countries faced with aggression, specifically for Greece and Turkey, whose governments were being challenged by communist guerillas that were supported by the Soviet Union. President Truman outlined this plan in 1947 and stated it was necessary to the security of the United States. Basically, this plan was the means to bring about the ‘Containment Policy’ mentioned earlier.
#8. MARSHALL PLAN
Named after Secretary of State George C. Marshall and officially known as the European Recovery Program, it was formulated in 1947 and was designed to aid in the economic recovery of Western Europe. Setting the pattern for U.S. foreign policy aid in the future, the plan is credited with helping Western Europe resist both poverty and Communist advances. It differed from the Truman Doctrine by involving the countries not immediately threatened by Communism.
#9. BERLIN AIRLIFT
The USSR cut off all access to Berlin from the summer of 1948 until the spring of 1949 to counter western plans to unify Germany (as a democratic country). The U.S. and Britain reacted by dropping supplies into the city via airplanes. The USSR eventually backed down and ended the blockade.
#10. U.S. FORMS NATO
In April 1949, western nations formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a mutual defense pact. The original members included Britain, France, Spain, Italy, the U.S, and Canada. The agreement states “an armed attack against one or more of [its members] in Europe or American shall be considered an attack against them all.”
#11. CHINESE CIVIL WAR ENDS WITH COMMUNIST VICTORY
Communists led by Mao Zedong fought the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-Shek. The United States sent limited aid to the Nationalists, but in December 1949 Mao proved successful. Mao established the People’s Republic of China. The U.S. refused to acknowledge the new China and blocked their attempt to join the United Nations.
#12. USSR TESTS ATOMIC BOMB
In the fall of 1949 the Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, alarming western nations.
#13. MCCARTHY SPEECH
Senator Joseph McCarthy makes a speech in 1950 in West Virginia. He claims that the government is full of traitors, communist sympathizers, who are weak on fighting the Soviet Union. He demands that there is an investigation to weed out all of these traitors who are jeopardizing the safety of democracy. Because of the hysteria over Communists in the government at the time – the second Red Scare (for example, Alger Hiss, a high ranking member of the U.S. State Department had been convicted of being a Communist)- many believed McCarthy, despite his lack of evidence. Many careers were ruined before the public turned on McCarthy and he was formally criticized by the senate, after which he lost his power.
#14. KOREAN WAR BREAKS OUT
Communist North Korea with Chinese aid invades South Korea. The United Nations condemns the action and sends in U.N. forces, including many American troops, to defend South Korea.
15. Rosenbergs Executed
A husband and wife are accused of having provided the Soviet Union with secrets about the construction of the atom bomb. They are both executed- the first execution of civilians for espionage in the history of the U.S. Much later, information released from Russia proves they were indeed guilty. Greatly adds to the second Red Scare.
16. STALIN FORMS WARSAW PACT
In 1952 as a response to NATO, Stalin creates his own military alliance. Members of the Warsaw Pact included the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania.
Highlight every underlined passage that contains information you didn’t already know.
Which of the 16 events was not on your Cold War Timeline? ____________
Explain how this event (see the previous question) is related to the exact division of post-war Germany. (Use a complete sentence or sentences!)
What is the ‘domino theory’? What is the connection between the Domino Theory and Containment?
Looking over the 16 events, what was the biggest failure of the U.S. ‘containment’ policy?
By the late 1950s, what two alliance groups were separated by the Iron Curtain?
Which year on this list of events probably did the most to cause the second Red Scare? Explain your answer with a complete sentence.
Why do you think our text labels its section on Joseph McCarthy the ‘Witch Hunts’? Give a complete answer in complete sentences.