The Cold War, 1945-1990 2-5 cha Super-powers

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The Cold War, 1945-1990 2-5 cha


At the end of the World War II, Europe was in ruins. The two victorious nations stood above the others and were seen as superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States. The superpowers represented opposing forms of government and competing ideas for the future. After the war, the superpowers divided up Europe.


Beginning in the October 1917 Revolution, the Soviet Union was dedicated to communism, the belief in common work and common benefit. All citizens are equal workers. Nothing is owned as private property. The government controls every aspect of life. Communism was enforced with violence in the Soviet Union.

Eastern Bloc,

Warsaw Pact

Bloc is the French word for group. After the war, the Soviet Union claimed the eastern half of Germany, plus Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and others. They were forced to become communist and follow Soviet orders. They signed a pact in Warsaw, Poland, in 1955; they were the Warsaw Pact countries, the Eastern Bloc.

Democracy, Capitalism

The US was founded as a democracy, a country governed by the free choice of citizens. Freedom of thought and individual choice are core beliefs of democracy. Capital is the name for a pile of money owned by an individual. Capitalism is the belief in the importance of individual citizens owning private property, or capital.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The countries of Western Europe, led by West Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, joined with the US and Canada to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. NATO was an alliance of open, free, democratic, capitalist countries against the spread of communism from the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc.

“Iron Curtain”

Countries in the Eastern Bloc were not allowed to trade or communicate with NATO countries. In a 1946 speech, Winston Churchill said it feels as if an “iron curtain” has cut off Eastern Europe from the West. The metaphor stuck.

Cold War

The capitalist, democratic West, led by the US, opposed the communist East, controlled by the Soviet Union. For forty-five years, the two superpowers made the rest of the world take sides; they both built up huge military forces; they both threatened to use nuclear weapons; but they never fought a war.



When Europe was divided between the Soviet East and the NATO West, the German city of Berlin was divided, too. So many people wanted to migrate out of East Germany that in 1961 the communist government put up a huge wall to block the border, ninety miles long and twelve feet high, patrolled by armed guards. For 28 years the Berlin Wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War.

Breakup of the Soviet Union

In 1985, the Soviet economy started to collapse. Countries in the Eastern Bloc began experimenting with reforms, and the Soviet leaders decided not to use violence to crush them. In 1989, Poland had democratic elections, and Hungary decided to open its border with Austria. The new openness gained energy as every country left the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union became Russia again in 1991.

Germany Reunified

By November 1989, the Berlin Wall was pointless. The gates were opened and East Berliners flowed through to the west. Huge crowds danced at the Wall, and it was officially torn down. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the free travel, free speech, and free ideas that were now welcome in countries that had been in the Eastern Bloc. East and West Germany were reunified in 1990

The Cold War, 1945-1990 N____________ 2-5 cha

D ______________ C _____

After WWII, what two countries were the Superpowers?


___________ ________ _________ __________

The West side was called The East side was the

N_______ E_____________

A___________ B _______, or the

T____________ W ___________

O_____________ P _______

Winston Churchill described the dividing line with a metaphor: the _______ _____________

The Superpowers had opposing views on everything.

Describe the US-NATO ideas:

Describe the Soviet-Eastern Bloc ideas:

Germany was split in half by the Superpowers.

W_____ Germany joined N __ __ __,

led by the ________________ _____________,

with ____________

and the __________ ___________, and others.

E_____ Germany belonged to the

_____________ ______, or _________ ____,

led by the __________ ____________, with __________, _________________, and others.

The German capital Berlin was split in half by the Superpowers

West Berlin shared two ideals with the US,

________________ and ___________________.

East Berlin shared the ideal of the Soviet Union, ___________________________

Dividing East and West Berlin, the __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ was constructed in 1961.

The tension of the Cold War lasted for forty-five years, from __________ until ____________.

What did the Superpowers do during the Cold War? What did they not do?

Then in 1985, the ___________ ___________ loosened its grip on the __________ __________.

In 1989, Poland _______________________________________________________

In 1989, Hungary ______________________________________________________

In 1989 in Berlin, _______________________________________________________

In 1990, East and West Germany _________________________________________

In 1991, the Soviet Union ________________________________________________

Was the Cold War a contest? Did one side win? Write a sentence using the word because.

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