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

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Japan: Attacked Western imperialism and emphasized the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

Japanese Americans

  • Over 30,000 served in the armed forces.

  • Over 100,000 interned by executive order beginning in 1942 (no German or Italian-Americans were interned)

  • Motivation for internment:

    • Security: Fear of spies and saboteurs

    • Economic: Elimination of competition for other California farmers (but also contributed to food shortages)

  • Impact of internment:

    • Harsh conditions in camps.

    • Property sold at a loss before internment or found vandalized/stolen after the war.

    • Limited compensation ($37 million) provided in 1948 by American Japanese Claims Act; apology and larger reparations ($1.2 billion) issued in 1988.

  • Japanese Canadians faced similar discrimination:

    • Over 20,000 interned, and of these, around 10,000 stripped of their citizenship and deported to Japan near the end of the war.

    • Property confiscated by government and sold at auction.

    • Similar compensation policy ($1.3 million in 1950 and $12 million in 1988).

African Americans

  • Military

    • Over 1 million served in armed forces (including over 600 Tuskegee Airmen).

    • Over 300 killed in Port Chicago naval disaster (contributed to navy becoming first US military branch to desegregate in 1946).

    • In 1948, President Truman desegregated entire armed forces by executive order.

  • Home Front

    • A. Philip Randolph’s March on Washington Movement pressured President Roosevelt in to creating by executive order the Fair Employment Practices Commission, which investigated claims of employment discrimination.

    • Despite the work of the FEPC, blacks still faced racism and unequal pay in the workplace.

    • Organizations both old (NAACP) and new (CORE) led a renewed effort for civil rights, although major gains were not made until the 50s and 60s.

    • With large-scale African-American migration to the North for jobs, anti-black race riots broke out in Detroit, Harlem, and other major cities.

Peace Settlements

Yalta (Feb 1945) - Roosevelt

  • Held during the war, on the surface, the Yalta conference seemed successful. The Allies agreed a Protocol of Proceedings to:

    • divide Germany into four ‘zones’, which Britain, France, the USA and the USSR would occupy after the war.

    • bring Nazi war-criminals to trial.

    • set up a Polish Provisional Government of National Unity 'pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible'.

    • help the freed peoples of Europe set up democratic and self-governing countries by helping them to (a) maintain law and order; (b) carry out emergency relief measures; (c) set up governments; and (d) hold elections (this was called the 'Declaration of Liberated Europe').

    • set up a commission to look into reparations.

  • At Yalta, the negotiations went very much in Stalin's favor, but this was because Roosevelt wanted Russian help in the Pacific, and was prepared to agree to almost anything as long as Stalin agreed to go to war with Japan. Therefore, Stalin promised that:

    • Russia would join the war in the Pacific, in return for occupation zones in North Korea and Manchuria.

    • Russia also agreed to join the United Nations.

  • Although the Conference appeared successful, however, behind the scenes, tension was growing, particularly about reparations, and about Poland.

  • After the conference, Churchill wrote to Roosevelt that ‘The Soviet Union has become a danger to the free world.’ And on their return home both he and Roosevelt were criticized for giving away too much to the Soviets

Potsdam (July 1945)

  • At Potsdam, the Allies met after the surrender of Germany (in May 1945) to finalize the principles of the post-war peace – Potsdam was the Versailles of World War II. Three factors meant that the Potsdam Conference was not successful:

  • Relations between the superpowers had worsened considerably since Yalta. In March 1945, Stalin had invited the non-Communist Polish leaders to meet him, and arrested them. Things had got so bad that, in May 1945, the British Joint Planning Group had drawn up plans for 'Operation Unthinkable' - a 'total war ... to impose our will upon Russia'.

  • Meanwhile, Roosevelt had died, and America had a new president, Truman, who was inclined to ‘get tough’ with the Russians.

  • Also, soon after he had arrived at the Conference, Truman learned (on 21 July) that America had tested the first atomic bomb. It gave the Americans a huge military advantage over everyone else. It also meant that Truman didn't need Stalin's help in Japan. Instead, Truman's main aim at the conference was to find out from Stalin what date the Russians intended to enter the war in the Pacific - something which (unlike Roosevelt) he did NOT want

  • The Conference agreed the following Protocols:

    • to set up the four ‘zones of occupation’ in Germany. The Nazi Party, government and laws were to be destroyed, and 'German education shall be so controlled as completely to eliminate Nazi and militarist doctrines and to make possible the successful development of democratic ideas.

    • to bring Nazi war-criminals to trial.

    • to recognize the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity and hold 'free and unfettered elections as soon as possible'.

    • Russia was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet Zone, and also 10% of the industrial equipment of the western zones as reparations. America and Britain could take reparations from their zones if they wished.

  • President Truman presented it as a 'compromise', but in fact the Allies had disagreed openly about:

    • the details of how to divide Germany.

    • the size of reparations Germany ought to pay.

    • Russian influence over the countries of eastern Europe.


  • Military alliance of the allies

Warsaw Pact

  • Communist version of NATO

Political Changes

War Crimes Tribunals and the UN

  • The United Nations replaced the League of Nations as the international organization responsible for collective security.

  • War criminals were tried and executed in both Germany (Nuremberg Trials) and Japan.

Human Cost

  • 2/3 killed were civilian

  • Poland lost 1/5 of population

  • Refugees

  • 55 million people died

  • Over 90% of the Polish-Jewish community were killed

  • Hitler expelled Polish peasants and replaced them with Germans in his wish to colonize and Germanize the East.

  • The Jewish survivors were sent to Palestine.

Physical Destruction

  • Fighting in the war devastated both cities and the countryside.

  • In Europe, 70% of industrial infrastructure was destroyed, and food production declined by 50%.

Diplomatic and Geopolitical Changes

  • The US and USSR emerged as superpowers  Cold War

  • Communist regimes were established within the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, while parliamentary democracy became the dominant system in Western Europe and Japan (although the emperor remained in place as a figurehead).

  • The Chinese Civil War resumed and eventually resulted in a Communist victory.

  • The European powers were greatly weakened and were eventually forced to relinquish control of their empires (decolonized nations became battlegrounds in the Cold War).

Territorial Changes

  • The Axis Powers were stripped of all occupied territories and imperial holdings.

  • Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia became part of the USSR.

  • Poland’s borders shifted westward (lost territory to the USSR and gained territory from Germany).

  • 12-16 million Germans were expelled from Central and Eastern Europe and forced to resettle in Germany’s new borders (over 500,000 died in the process).

  • Germany lost its Polish territory and itself was divided into four parts among Britain, US, France and USSR. Later the allies merged their portions into Western Germany and USSR retained its part, Eastern Germany. This led to the later rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Economic Problems

  • Debt, Inflation, and Reparations

    • As in World War I, many nations faced heavy debt and inflation as a result of the war.

    • Germany was forced to pay reparations in the form of industrial equipment and forced labor by POWs (particularly in the USSR).

    • The other Axis Powers paid monetary reparations.

  • Recovery

    • Wartime production helped end the Great Depression in the US, which accounted for half of the world’s industrial output at the end of the war.

    • US financial aid to Western Europe (i.e. Marshall Plan), Japan, and elsewhere contributed to the global economic recovery.

  • Marshall Plan – economic aid to prevent weak gov’t falling to communism

  • Comecon – Soviet’s = Marshall Plan = small satellite states produce what USSR needed

  • Western Germany stood more chances of recovery under the Marshall plan than Eastern Germany under Soviet control.

  • There were technological advances in both France and Britain in munitions and aircraft industries. The scientific developments led to later inventions of computers, jet engines, DDT, etc.

Paper 2:

The Cold War

Origins of the Cold War

The collapse of the wartime alliance led to a Cold War between the two superpowers.  



1. The richest country in the world.

1. The biggest country in the world.

2. A democracy with free elections, led by an elected president.

2. A one-party state led by a dictator. There were elections, but you could only vote for the Communist Party.

3. Freedom of speech and belief.

3. State control: censorship, secret police, terror and purges.

4. Capitalism - private ownership and the right to make money.

4. Communism - state ownership of the means of production, and the belief that wealth should be shared.

5. Led by Truman, who believed that Communism was evil.

5. Led by Stalin, who believed that capitalism was evil.

6. Had the atomic bomb - but was scared of Russia's conventional army.

6. Had the biggest army in the world - but was angry that Truman had not warned that he was going to drop the atomic bomb.

7. Feared the spread of communism throughout the world.

7. Was angry because America and Britain had invaded Russia in 1918-19 to try to destroy communism.

8. Angry about the Nazi-Soviet Pact that was a major factor in starting the Second World War.

8. Believed that America and Britain had delayed opening the second front (attacking France) to let Germany and Russia destroy each other on the eastern front.

9. Wanted reconstruction - to make Germany a prosperous democracy and a trading partner.

9. Wanted to wreck Germany, take huge reparations for the damage done during the war, and set up a buffer of friendly states around Russia to prevent another invasion in the future.

Capitalism v Communism

  • Businesses / farms owned by private people

  • Profit is good – a reward for risk-bearing

  • Businesses and farms owned by the state and…

  • …run by the government for the benefit of all people

  • Profit is a form of oppression

Democracy v Dictatorship

  • Multi-party system

  • Free elections

  • Parliament (UK) / Congress (USA) make the laws – separate executive and legislative branches

  • Elections to the ‘Soviets’

  • One party only – the Communist party which…

  • …rules the country

  • Stalin de facto (in fact) an absolute dictator

Freedom v Human Rights

  • ‘His Majesty’s Opposition’ – minority party in UK

  • Protests and demonstrations

  • Human rights respected in law

  • Dissidents imprisoned

  • KGB arrest grumblers

  • The gulag

Free Market v Command Economy

  • Laws of supply and demand control production

  • Competition keeps prices low and quality up – the weak go out of business

  • Strikes and unemployment

  • Freedom of choice

  • Workers ordered to a job / area

  • Wages and hours fixed by law

  • No unemployment – everyone has a job

Equal Opportunity v Equality

  • Everyone has a chance to succeed

  • Consumer economy

  • Great differences in wealth and class – millionaires v poverty

Private medicine, houses, etc (health care is very good, but very expensive)

  • Poor standard of living – ‘producer’ goods (goods made are good for the producer, not necessarily good for the consumer) / empty shops

  • Fewer very poor people

  • Free health care / state-provided housing (health care is poor, but available to everyone)

Free Press v Censorship

  • Freedom of speech

  • Newspapers, books, radio / tv / films not censored

  • Media openly criticize government (Washington Post , New York Times)

  • No freedom of speech

  • The media are owned and run by the government

  • Censorship and propaganda (Pravda, Izvestia)



image: yalta big three - churchill, roosevelt and stalin in february 1945

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin

image: potsdam big three - attlee, truman and stalin in july 1945

Attlee, Truman and Stalin

Germany to be split into four zones.

Arguments about the details of the boundaries between the zones.

Germany will pay reparations.

Disagreements about the amount of reparations Russia wanted to take. It was agreed that Russia could take whatever it wanted from the Soviet zone, and 10 per cent of the industrial equipment of the western zones, but Britain and the US thought this was too much.

A government of 'national unity' to be set up in Poland, comprising both communists and non-communists.

Truman was angry because Stalin had arrested the non-communist leaders of Poland.

Free elections in the countries of eastern Europe. This part of the agreement was called the Declaration of Liberated Europe.

America and Britain were alarmed because communists were coming to power in the countries of Eastern Europe.

Russia would help against Japan when Germany was defeated.

Truman dropped the atomic bomb so that Japan would surrender before Russian troops could go into Japan. America had the bomb in July 1945, but Truman did not tell Stalin about it. When he saw how he had been tricked, Stalin was furious.

Nature and Development of the Cold War

Salami Tactics






The Communists immediately took power.



In the 1945 elections, a Communist-led coalition was elected, but the Communists executed the non-Communists.

East Germany


East Germany was the Soviet zone of Germany. In 1949, they set up a Communist-controlled state called the German Democratic Republic.



In the 1945 elections, a Communist-led coalition was elected to power. The Communists gradually took over and in 1947 they abolished the monarchy.



Stalin had promised to set up a joint Communist/non-Communist government at Yalta, but then he invited 16 non-Communist leaders to Moscow and arrested them. Thousands of non-Communists were arrested, and the Communists won the 1947 election.



The non-communists won the 1945 elections with Zoltan Tildy as president. However, the Communists' leader, Rakosi, took control of the secret police (the AVO), and executed and arrested his opponents. Tildy was forced to resign and Cardinal Mindzenty, head of the Catholic Church, was imprisoned. By 1948, Rakosi had complete control of Hungary.



A coalition government was set up and led by the non-Communist Benes. However, the Communists' leader Gottwald made sure they controlled the radio, the army and the police. Gottwald became prime minister and set up a secret police force. Non-Communists were arrested. In 1948, Communist workers went on strike, the non-Communist minister Masaryk committed suicide and Gottwald took over the government.

Development of the Cold War

FDR (1933-1945)



Detailed Information

Stalin (1927-1953)

February 4th - 11th 1945

Yalta Conference

Meeting between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin to decide what would happen at the end of the war.

  • Partitioning of Germany

  • Fate of Poland

  • The United Nations

  • German reparations

Truman (1945-1953)

May 8th 1945

V E Day

Victory in Europe as Germany surrenders to the Russian army.

July 17th - August 2nd 1945

Potsdam Conference

  • Formally divided Germany and Austria into four zones.

  • Berlin would be divided into four zones.

  • The Russian Polish border was determined

  • Korea was to be divided into Soviet and American zones.

August 6th 1945



The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima

Russia entered the war in the Pacific

August 8th 1945


The United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

August 14th 1945

V J Day

The Japanese surrendered bringing World War Two to an end.

September 2nd 1945

Vietnam Independence

Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam an independent republic.

March 5th 1946

Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech

Churchill delivers his 'Sinews of Peace' speech which contain the famous phrase " iron curtain has descended on Europe"

March 12th 1947

Truman Doctrine

President Truman promised to help any country facing a Communist takeover (Greek Civil War)

Truman Doctrine


  • After WWI Greece appeared to be ‘under threat’ from Communism

  • Britain was unable to support Greece (as it had done in the past)

  • In 1947 Greece was under attack from Communist rebels and asked the USA for help


  • Truman was concerned about the spread of Communism and was determined to take action

  • He offered arms, supplies and money to Greece

  • Communism in Greece was defeated by 1949 following a civil war


  • Truman was determined that the USA would not live in isolation

  • Offered assistance to ‘all free peoples’ resisting ‘attempted subjugation’

June 5th 1947

Marshall Plan

 Marshall Plan

  • Truman saw war ravaged Europe as a ‘breeding ground’ for Communism

  • He felt it was vital to encourage countries to become prosperous again – to recover from the war

  • US Secretary of State, George Marshall, proposed Marshall Aid

  • Total aid from 1948 – 1951 was close to $13 billion US

Just Being Helpful?

  • Helping European countries to recover also meant creating a market for US exports

  • Also (although not publicly admitted) it was a clear aim to prevent the spread of Communism

  • Stalin saw this as America trying to buy support

  • Countries receiving aid included UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ireland, Iceland


  • 1948 – 1952 saw period of growth in European history

  • Agricultural production surpassed pre-war levels

  • Forged North Atlantic alliances

  • Political stability was achieved in the countries receiving aid

  • Rationing was ended, poverty and starvation disappeared


  • Aid was vital for European economic recovery

  • However, Stalin refused Marshall Aid and banned Eastern European countries under the USSR’s control from accepting it

  • This created tension on both sides

July 1947


Kennan coins the term “Containment” - contain Communism, but not push it back – Containment

September 1947


The USSR set up Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) which was the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties responsible for the creation of the Eastern bloc.

Truman (1945-1953)

February 1948


Communists take over

Stalin (1927-1953)

June 1948

Formation of West Germany

The French, USA and UK partitions of Germany were merged to form West Germany

June 24th 1948

Berlin Blockade

Berlin Blockade 1948

Yalta Background

  • Had been agreed to split Germany into four zones between USSR, France, Britain and USA. Berlin was similarly divided

  • In 1948 USA, Britain and France merged their zones into West Germany and West Berlin

  • USA poured large sums of money into West Berlin

Stalin’s Concerns

  • Stalin was convinced this was a capitalist plot to lure East Germans and East Berliners

  • He was angry that he wasn’t consulted about decisions – such as the new Deutschmark

  • Stalin may have thought the US and its allies were planning to reunite Germany

Stalin’s Reaction

  • June 24, 1948 Stalin ordered all road, rail and canal routes between West Germany and West Berlin to be closed

  • He hoped to force the US and her allies into submission

  • US reacted strongly, claiming this was Stalin’s first step in a take-over of Western Europe

Allied Reaction – Berlin Airlift

  • The Allies didn’t want to force their way into Berlin for fear of sparking a war, so they began to fly supplies in

  • Flights began on June 26, reaching a peak of one every 3 minutes by September 1948

Consequences for USSR

  • Stalin couldn’t just shoot the planes down

  • He had to eventually back down – on May 12, 1949 he ended the blockade – it was a major embarrassment

  • Stalin realized the USSR needed the atom bomb to stand up to the US. Atomic testing was increased

Consequences for USA

  • Seen as ‘proof’ that the USSR had plans to take over Europe

  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) formed in April 1949 as a result

  • Stalin saw this as a deliberate threat

  • In 1955 when West Germany joined NATO, the USSR-led ‘Warsaw Pact’ was formed


April 4th 1949

NATO formed

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization formed with member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States

May 12, 1949

End of Berlin Blockade

Russia ended the blockade of Berlin.

September 1949

Mao Zedong

Russians Have Atomic Bomb

Communists are in control of China

Russians explode 1st atomic bomb

February 1950

McCarthy’s Witch hunt

Red Scare

April 1950

NSC 68

Containment w/ force and not diplomacy

June 25th 1950

Korean War

The Korean war began when North Korea invaded South Korea.

The Korean War

The decade after the Second World War saw communism spread to the Far East. In 1950, communist North Korea invaded South Korea and within three months, had conquered most of their land. Following their policy of containment, the USA got UN backing to send troops into Korea to re-take the south, and if possible take the north too. The war lasted three years and peace was only achieved when the use of the atomic bomb was threatened.

In 1945, Korea was split along the 38th parallel between a communist north led by Kim IL Sung, and a non-communist south led by Syngman Rhee.  

But communism was growing in the Far East. In 1949, the Communists had taken power in China. The US developed the 'domino theory' - the idea that, if one country fell to communism, others would follow like a row of dominoes. Then, in 1950, a report by the American National Security Council ('NSC68') recommended that the US stop containment and start to roll back communism.  

The war  

  • In 1950, after getting the support of Russia and China, Kim IL Sung invaded South Korea.

  • The North Korean People's Army (NKPA) easily defeated the Republic of Korea's army (the ROKs).

  • By September, the NKPA had conquered almost the whole of South Korea.

  • The USA went to the United Nations and got them to send troops to defend South Korea.

  • The Russians couldn't veto the idea because they were boycotting the UN at the time.

  • In September, UN troops, led by the US General MacArthur, landed in Korea and drove the NKPA back.

  • By October, the UN forces had almost conquered all of North Korea.

  • In November 1950, Chinese People's Volunteers attacked and drove the Americans back.

  • They recaptured North Korea, and advanced into South Korea.

  • The Americans landed more troops and drove the Chinese back to the 38th parallel, where Truman ordered General MacArthur to stop and sacked him when he disagreed.

  • The war went on as border clashes until 1953 when America's new president, Eisenhower, offered peace, but threatened to use the atomic bomb if China did not accept the offer.

Recently, historians have shown that the Korean crisis almost led to a third world war - many US advisers wanted to use the atomic bomb.

Eisenhower (1953-1961)

March 5th 1953

Death of Stalin

Joseph Stalin died at the age of 74. He was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev.

Khrushchev’s Soviet Union 1953-1964


  • Feb 1956 – Secret Speech (report to govt criticizing Stalin’s purges and cult of personality)

  • Attacked image and reputation of Stalin

  • More freedom for writers and artists

  • Size and power of secret police reduced

  • Political prisoners released

Agricultural Policies

  • Aim was to produce more food

  • Virgin Land Scheme – take fallow land and cultivate it using govt resources

  • Introduce maize

  • Small collective farms became independent

  • Bigger, more efficient Collective Farms were created

Agricultural Problems

  • Khrushchev thought he was an expert, but was not

  • Virgin Land Scheme failed

  • Maize was unsuitable (climate, soil, etc)

  • New collective farms did not work well

Industrial Policies

  • Sovnarkhozy – Regional Economic Councils

  • Controls on workers relaxed

  • Decisions to be taken at a more regional level

  • Ordered more luxury goods

  • Developed Space program

  • “What sort of Communism is it that cannot produce a sausage?”

Industrial Problems

  • Sovnarkhozy didn’t work

  • Managers and workers were not used to the freedom

  • Led to more bureaucracy

  • Consumer goods sacrificed for space program

  • 1961 slogan “Turn Khrushchev into sausage meat”

  • “Whilst Gagarin orbited the earth, we counted on abacuses” – housewife, 1990

Why did he Resign?

  • Prices rose by 30%

  • Agricultural policies had failed

  • Industrial policies had failed

  • Failed foreign policies – Cuba

  • Embarrassment – UN shoe stamping incident during a speech

  • Criticism of Stalin had gone too far for many

  • Forced to resign in 1964

More Peaceful?

Khrushchev said that he wanted ‘peaceful co-existence’


By ‘peaceful co-existence’ he really meant ‘peaceful competition’


Khrushchev had a sense of humor and was always laughing and smiling


He was NOT gentle and easy-going – Stalin had used him to run the terror purges after WWII


In 1956, Khrushchev said that Stalin was a murderer, and he began to ‘destalinize’ Russia. Political prisoners were set free and Beria (responsible for Stalin’s Great Purge) was executed


‘Destalinization’ did not mean a change back to capitalism, or freedom from Russia


Khrushchev often met western leaders at ‘summit’ meetings


Khrushchev loved to argue. This often caused tension between leaders

Iron Curtain?

In 1955 Khrushchev told Tito of Yugoslavia ‘there are different roads to communism’. Western leaders thought this meant an end to the Iron curtain


When communist countries went too far in their reforms, Khrushchev sent in the army (eg Hungary 1956)


At first, the western powers hoped that this would be the start of a ‘thaw’ in the Cold War


Khrushchev gave countries like Burma and Afghanistan economic aid if they supported Russia

July 27th 1953

Korean War

The Korean war ended. North Korea remained affiliated with Russia while South Korea was affiliated with the USA. 38th parallel.

Khrushchev (1953-1964)


Iran and Guatemala

US helps overthrow unfriendly regimes

Summer 1954

Geneva Accords

Ended the French war with the Vietminh & divided Vietnam into North and South. The communist leader of North Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh while the US friendly south was led by Ngo Dinh Diem.

Eisenhower (1953-1961)

May 14th 1955

Warsaw Pact

Communist Pact: East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union.

Khrushchev (1953-1964)

October 23rd 1956



  • In 1945, USSR installed puppet government in Hungary

  • Designed to remove opposition and enforce loyalty

  • Soviet propaganda everywhere and protest groups emerged wanting democracy


  • In February 1956, Khrushchev criticized parts of Stalin’s rule, suggesting that Soviet policy might be changing

  • Those who heard about the speech thought this might mean countries like Hungary would be allowed to have self-determination


  • In October 1956 the Communist dictatorship was overthrown

  • Opposition groups unite and support ex-Prime Minister Imre Nagy

Red Army

  • November 4, 1956 – Khrushchev orders Red Army to take control

  • Tanks and soldiers enter Budapest

  • Bitter street fighting, but Communist leader Rakosi was restored

Pleas for Help

  • Opposition group leaders were all captured and executed

  • Desperate pleas over the radio for US assistance – but there was on US intervention

  • Imre Nagy was imprisoned and then executed


  • Around 30,000 Hungarians died including 20 opposition group leaders and Imre Nagy

  • Showed Soviet policy – countries in her sphere of influence would stay in her sphere of influence

  • USA showed no desire to get involved (this must have made USSR happy)

October 30th 1956

Suez Crisis

Following military bombardment by Israeli forces, a joint British and French force invaded Egypt to regain control of the Suez Canal which had been nationalized by the Egyptian leader Nasser. The attack was heavily criticized by World leaders, especially America because Russia had offered support to Egypt. The British and French were forced to withdraw and a UN peace keeping force was sent to establish order.

January 5 1957

Eisenhower Doctrine

  1. United States would use armed forces upon request in response to imminent or actual aggression to the United States.

  2. Countries that took stances opposed communism would be given aid in various forms

October 1954

Sputnik I

Russia Launched…1st in space

November 1st 1957

Space Race

USSR Sputnik II carried Laika the dog, the first living creature to go into space.

November 1958


Khrushchev demands withdrawal of troops from Berlin

January 1959

Castro’s Cuba

Cuba taken over by Fidel Castro

September 1959


Khrushchev visits United States; denied access to Disneyland

May 1960


Talks between Nikita Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower concerning the fate of Germany broke down when a USA U2 spy plane was shot down over Russian airspace.


January 1961

Kennedy Doctrine

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

April 12th 1961

Space Race

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyvich Gagarin became the first human being in space.

Khrushchev (1953-1964)

April 17th 1961

Bay of Pigs Invasion

A force of Cuban exiles, trained by the CIA, aided by the US government attempted to invade Cuba and overthrow the Communist government of Fidel Castro. The attempt failed.

August 13th 1961

Berlin Wall


  • At Yalta, Berlin had been divided into four zones (just as Germany had been)

  • In 1948-49, the Berlin Blockade saw Stalin attempt to ‘starve’ West Berlin into submission

  • Stalin was forced to back down following the Berlin Airlift


  • Apart from the Berlin Blockade, those living in Berlin could travel freely – live in the East and work in the West and vice versa

  • Khrushchev proclaimed that Berlin was being used by the West as a base for spying and sabotage


  • In reality, he wanted to prevent all the highly skilled and educated from working in West Berlin

  • East Berlin was still suffering badly, whereas West Berlin was recovering well

  • Between 1945-60 it is thought 3 million people crossed from East to West Berlin

August 13, 1961

  • Overnight a well guarded fence was constructed dividing the city in two

  • People were trapped in either East or West Berlin

  • The fence was guarded by Red Army machine gun posts

Concrete Wall

  • By August 17th, the barbed wire fence was replaced with a concrete wall, split only by well guarded checkpoints

  • From 1961 to 1989 nearly 90 people died trying to cross

  • The wall became a symbol of the division between Communism and Capitalism


  • In some ways it was a propaganda victory for the ‘West’ – they claimed Communist countries had to build a wall to imprison people

  • However, there was very little the West could do to stop it – and the wall did serve its purpose



US involvement in Vietnam increases

October 14th 1962

Cuban Missile Crisis


  • In 1959 Fidel Castro’s rebels overthrew corrupt pro-US government in Cuba

  • Castro tried to make a trade agreement with the USA

  • USA refused as they saw Castro as a Communist

  • Thus Castro turned to the USSR, who readily made a deal

Nuclear Site Spotted

  • In return for buying Cuban goods, the USSR got permission to build a nuclear missile site in Cuba

  • On October 14, 1962 a US U2 spy plane spotted the nuclear site being built

ExComm Set Up

  • US President Kennedy set up ‘ExComm’ a committee to decide what to do

  • On October 22, Kennedy ordered the US navy to blockade Cuba

  • He stated that any Soviet vessel that tried to break the blockade would be destroyed

On the Brink of War

  • On October 23, the United Nations backed the US and ordered any missiles to be removed

  • Soviet ships were spotted heading towards Cuba

  • The world was on the brink of all out nuclear war


  • On October 27, Khrushchev secretly offered to pull out of Cuba if the USA pulled out of Turkey

  • Kennedy agreed and a day later Khrushchev ordered Soviet ships to turn around


  • Major propaganda victory for USA – they looked to have ‘won’

  • As the compromise was a secret, Khrushchev appeared to have backed down

  • Both sides began seeking ways of improving relations (a hotline was set up providing immediate contact)

July 1963

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Banned nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water.

November 22nd 1963

JFK Assassination

JF Kennedy was assassinated while on a visit to Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder but there has always been speculation that he was not a lone killer and that there may have been communist or CIA complicity.


August 1964

Gulf of Tonkin Incident and Resolution

US claimed N Vietnam attacked our ship; not true

Johnson and declare war in SE Asia

How the US got involved

During the Second World War, South-East Asia had been under Japanese control, but, in 1945, the French re-occupied Indo-China, which had been a French colony before the war.

During the war the Japanese had been opposed by a Vietnamese nationalist group called the Vietminh, led by Ho Chi Minh. The Vietminh, however, had been fighting for their independence, and not to reinstate the French Empire, so now they tried to drive out the French. In 1954, the Vietminh surrounded and wiped out the French army at Dien Bien Phu.

The French realized they would have to leave, and over the next 20 years, America was dragged into fighting a costly and disastrous war in Vietnam.

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