First World War (1914-1918) = The Great War = The War to End all Wars = Total War Long Term Causes: [animal]

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Causes and effects of the Prague Spring

Causes of the Prague Spring  

1. The policy of détente encouraged the uprising. Romania had also broken free of Russian control, and was improving relations with the West.  

2. The Czechs hated Russian control, especially:
- Russian control of the economy, which had made Czechoslovakia poor.
- The censorship and lack of freedom.  

3. Some Czechs thought the USA would help them.  

Effects of the invasion of Czechoslovakia  

1. Czechoslovakia returned to communist control and Russian troops were stationed there. Half the leadership of the KSC, along with the directors of many firms (especially publishing companies) were sacked and 47 anti-communists were arrested.  

2. Russia stayed in control behind the Iron Curtain. The Brezhnev Doctrine stated that Iron Curtain countries would not be allowed to abandon communism, "even if it meant a third world war".  

3. Increase of the Cold War. People in the West were horrified and so were many communist countries, especially Romania and Yugoslavia.  

Similarities and Differences between Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968


- Same causes - hostility to Russian control, repression, poor economic performance/poverty.

- Change started when Russia refused to support the old regime.
- Rakosi = Novotny, Nagy = Dubcek
- Brief period when the new government introduced reforms and freedom of speech.
- Russia got scared when Hungary planned to leave the Warsaw Pact; Tito visited Czechoslovakia.
- A letter from some Communists asking for Russia's help was used as the excuse to invade.
- Russia invaded with overwhelming force.
- Kadar = Husak
- The West failed to help either Nagy or Dubcek.

- Started with riots in Hungary, but not in Czechoslovakia.

- Czechoslovakia was much more planned than Hungary; Dubcek's government had a proper Action Plan.
- Nagy announced he was going to leave the Warsaw Pact; Dubcek stressed that he would stay in the Warsaw Pact.
- The Hungarians introduced democracy; Dubcek stressed that he wanted communism, albeit "democratic communism".
- Four months of freedom in Czechoslovakia; five days of freedom in Hungary.
- The Catholic Church took a lead in events in Hungary, but not in Czechoslovakia.
- Hungary fought back; Czechoslovakia had passive resistance.
- Some 4,000 Hungarians executed, while 47 Czechoslovaks were arrested.
- Dubcek was arrested; Nagy was executed.

November 1968

Brezhnev Doctrine

When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries."

December 21st 1968

Space Race

US launched Apollo 8 - first manned orbit of the Moon.

Brezhnev (1964-1982)

Nixon (1969-1973)

20th July 1969

Space Race

US Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon.

November 3, 1969

Nixon Doctrine


  1. United States will keep all of its treaty commitments.

  2. provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us

  3. military and economic assistance when requested

  4. Leads to Détente


You will have come across the term détente when reading about the Cold War during the late 1960s and 1970s. The policy of détente refers to the time when the two superpowers eased tension and tried to co-operate to avoid conflict.

image icon: no nuclear weapons to other countries


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: powers with nuclear weapons agreed not to give any other countries nuclear technology.

image icon: table tennis


The US table tennis team played in China.

image icon: china joins the un


The US dropped its veto and allowed China to join the United Nations.

image icon: nixon in china


President Nixon visited China.

image icon: salt 1 treaty


Russia and America signed the SALT1 Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) agreeing to limit their anti-ballistic missiles and bombers.

image icon: helsinki agreement


The Helsinki Agreement recognized Soviet control over Eastern Europe, concluded a trade agreement, and Russia promised to respect human rights.

image icon: russian and american spacecraft dock


Russian and American spacecraft docked in space.

Causes and limitations of détente

Causes of détente
 1. America was shocked by the Vietnam War and wanted to stay out of world affairs. There was also a vociferous CND movement in the West.  

2. The arms race was very expensive for both superpowers.  

3. The price of oil rocketed in the 1970s, and both superpowers experienced economic problems.  

Limitations of détente  

1. The Non-Proliferation Treaty did not stop other countries developing nuclear weapons (eg China, and perhaps South Africa and Israel).  

2. Neither Russia or America kept to the SALT1 agreement. Neither side reduced their conventional weapons. Further talks were much less successful and a SALT2 Treaty in 1979 added little.  

3. In the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, America supported Israel, and Russia supported Egypt and Syria.  

4. The Helsinki Agreement achieved nothing - it confirmed the Iron Curtain and Russia ignored its promises about human rights.  

5. Table tennis and space meetings were just one-off propaganda stunts.  

6. Brezhnev said that Communists would still try to destroy capitalism. Some historians suggest that Nixon only went to China to drive a wedge between Russia and China.

April 30th 1970

Vietnam War

President Richard Nixon ordered US troops to go to Cambodia.

February 1972


Nixon visits China

May 1972


Nixon visits Moscow

May 26th 1972


Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty signed between the US and USSR.
Anti-Ballistic Missiles

August 15th 1973


The Paris Peace Accords ended American involvement in Vietnam.

September 1973


US helps overthrow Chili Gov’t

October 1973

Egypt and Syria attack Israel

Egypt asks for Soviet help

August 1974

Nixon Resigned


Ford (1974-1977)

April 17th 1975

Cambodia Killing fields

The Khmer Rouge attacked and took control of Cambodia. Any supporters of the former regime, anyone with links or supposed links to foreign governments as well as many intellectuals and professionals were executed in a genocide that became known as the 'killing fields'.

April 30th 1975


North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese led to the whole country becoming Communist.

July 1975

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Joint space venture between USA and USSR heralded as an end to the 'Space Race'


January 20th 1977

Carter President

Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the United States

July 1979


  • 1979 – SALT 2 treaty proposed to cover long-range nuclear missiles.

  • Never ratified by US Congress due to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

  • USSR claimed they had been asked to ‘restore order’. US saw it as an invasion and supported Afghan rebels

  • Joe Biden was in on the discussions with Gromyko

November 4th 1979

Iranian hostage crisis

A group of Iranian students and militants stormed the American embassy and took 53 Americans hostage to show their support for the Iranian Revolution.

December 24th 1979


Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan

Brezhnev (1964-1982)

January 1980

Carter Doctrine

“Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

July 1980

Olympic Boycott by USA

A number of countries including the USA boycotted the summer Olympics held in Moscow in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Other countries including Great Britain participated under the Olympic flag rather than their national flag

December 13th 1980


Martial law was declared to crush the Solidarity movement

Reagan (1981-1989)

January 20th 1981

Iranian hostage crisis ended

The Iranian hostage crisis ended 444 days after it began

June 1982


During a summit in Geneva Reagan proposed Strategic Arms Reduction Talks


“Star Wars”

Ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles

Andropov (1982-1984)

July 1984

Olympic boycott by Russia

Russia and 13 allied countries boycotted the summer Olympics held in Los Angeles in retaliation for the US boycott of 1980.

Chernenko (1984-1985)

March 11th 1985

Govbachov leader of USSR

Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union

Gorbachev (1985-1991)


Iran-Contra Affair

Arms sold to Iran, profits used to support contras (rebels) in Nicaragua

April 26th 1986

Chernobyl Disaster

An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine  remains the worst nuclear disaster in history

June 1987

Glasnost and Perestroika

Mikhail Gorbachev announced his intention to follow a policy of glasnost - openness, transparency and freedom of speech; and perestroika - restructuring of government and economy.

He also advocated free elections and ending the arms race.

Bush (1989-1993)

February 15th 1989


The last Soviet troops left Afghanistan

June 4th 1989

Tiananmen Square

Anti Communist protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China were crushed by the government. The death count is unknown.

August 1989


Tadeusz Mazowiecki elected leader of the Polish government - the first eastern bloc country to become a democracy

Gorbachev (1985-1991)

October 23rd 1989


Hungary proclaimed itself a republic

November 9th 1989

Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin wall was torn down

November 17th - December 29th 1989

Velvet Revolution

The Velvet Revolution, also known as the Gentle Revolution, was a series of peaceful protests in Czechoslovakia that led to the overthrow of the Communist government.

December 2nd, 3rd 1989

Malta Summit

This meeting between Mikhail Gorbachov and George H W Bush reversed much of the provisions of the Yalta Conference 1945. It is seen by some as the beginning of the end of the cold war.

December 16th - 25th 1989

Romanian Revolution

Riots broke out which culminated in the overthrow and execution of the leader Ceauşescu and his wife.

October 3rd 1990

German reunification

East and West Germany were reunited as one country.

1st July 1991

End of Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact which allied Communist countries was ended

31st July 1991


The Strategic Arms Reduction treaty was signed between Russia and the USA

25th December 1991

Gorbachev resigned

Mikhail Gorbachev resigned. The hammer and sickle flag on the Kremlin was lowered

26th December 1991

End of the Soviet Union

Russia formally recognized the end of the Soviet Union
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