|The Cold War
The Cold War Begins
After World War II
After WWII the US and the USSR emerged as the
world’s two superpowers. Although allies during
WWII, distrust between the communist USSR and
the democratic US led to the Cold War.
Cold War – Tension and hostility between the US and USSR after 1945 because of political and economic differences, with no armed battle between the superpowers.
Communist Party in Charge
Economic and Religious Freedom
No Economic and Religious Freedom
No Private Property
Respect for Individual Differences
No Respect for Individual Differences*
*Opposing or questioning Stalin risked imprisonment & death.
After WWII, the US liberated western European countries, but the Red Army occupied eastern European countries and forced them to accept communism and become Soviet satellites.
Satellite – A smaller country dominated by a nearby power.
Britain, France and the US united their German sections to create
independent West Germany, while the USSR created East
Germany, another satellite nation. Due to the growing tension, Winston Churchill said that a figurative “iron curtain” had now divided Europe.
Meeting the Soviet Challenge
After WWII, several European and Asian
countries were struggling against communist
movements supported by the Soviets.
the Truman Doctrine, which
was a program to economically and
militarily help nations resist communism
anywhere in the world.
Greece and Turkey received aid and
successfully resisted Stalin’s control.
Victory for US and Democracy
US 1 – USSR 0
In dealing with the Soviet Union, George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and a leading authority on the Soviet Union, believed in a policy of containment.
Containment – The policy of keeping communism contained within its existing borders.
This policy believes that the Stalin would not chance war with the U.S. – a war that might destroy his power in the Soviet Union – just to spread communism.
Containing Soviet Expansion
o strengthen democratic governments and lessen the appeal of communism the US provided a massive economic aid package called
the Marshall Plan. Billions of US dollars helped western
European nations recover from World War II.
Cold War Heats Up
Germany was divided into four zones with Britain, France and the US controlling the west, while the USSR controlled the east. In the Soviet sector was
Berlin, which was also divided into four sections.
Stalin stopped all highway, railway, and waterway traffic from western Germany into Western Berlin.
Germany was the focus of Cold War tension. While the US worked to rebuild the West German economy,
Stalin wanted to keep Germany weak and divided. In 1948 Stalin closed all roads leading to West Berlin in hopes of forcing out the western powers.
In response the western powers
mounted a successful airlift. For
almost a year food and supplies were
flown into West Berlin, until Stalin gave
up and ended the blockade.
Victory for US and Democracy
US 2 – USSR 0
For protection against further Soviet aggression the US and western European countries formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a defensive alliance.
The USSR formed an alliance with its satellites called the Warsaw Pact.
Nonaligned nations such as India and Yugoslavia did not take sides during the Cold War, but instead focused on making economic progress, often accepting aid from both sides.
The Cold War
The Korean War
Communists Control China
After World War II, China broke out into a civil war. Chiang Kai-shek was supported by the US and the communist leader Mao Zedong was supported by the USSR. By promising to feed the people, Mao won increased support and Mao’s forces dominated the war. China fell to the Mao and the Communists.
Victory for USSR & Communism
US 2 – USSR 1
Historical Significance: Communists
regimes controlled about ¼ of the world’s
landmass and 1/3 of its population.
America Fight in Korea
After WWII, Korea was divided into two independent countries by
the US and USSR.
The dividing line was the 38th parallel of
In June 1950, the N. Koreans attacked across the 38th parallel
(armed with powerful Soviet weapons and tanks). S. Koreans lost
their capital city in days and were forced to retreat.
Truman announced that he would support the S. Koreans. Truman did not ask
Congress for a formal declaration of war, as required by the Constitution.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the WWII hero, led a bold plan to drive the invaders from S. Korea. MacArthur’s plan was successful and he pushed back the invaders.
Truman says NO to a N. Korea invasion, but MacArthur says YES! Truman did not to be confronted with a major land war.
MacArthur sent a letter to the House Republican leader attacking the President’s policies. The letter became public and Truman said… You’re Fired! There was a huge outcry in the US, and MacArthur returned home a national hero.
Korean War’s Effects
Korean War’s Impact on America
37,000 Americans killed
Military spending increases
103,000 Americans wounded
Military commitments increase worldwide
Relations with China worsens
Relations with Japan improve
Armed forces racially integrated
Future presidents send military into combat without Congressional approval.
**Establishment of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was a defensive alliance aimed at preventing the spread of communism.
The Cold War
The Cold War Expands
Arms Race Heightens Tensions
The USSR detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949.
The US and the
USSR also developed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),
which were long-range rockets carrying nuclear warheads.
Both superpowers spent great amounts of money on weapons,
and many feared world destruction.
However, with ICBMs came the possibility of MAD, or mutually assured destruction. This theory stated that a nuclear war between the superpowers would result in the total annihilation of both nations, and would therefore actually result in a tense, but stable
Eisenhower & New Policies
President Eisenhower & John Foster Dulles (Sec. of State) had a new vision for the role that the U.S. would play in world affairs.
Eisenhower wanted to stockpile nuclear weapons.
He assumed that if there were a war, it would be nulcear. Dulles announced the policy of massive retaliation.
Massive Retaliation – Policy of threatening to use massive force (possibly nuclear) in
response to aggression.
Dulles believed that only by going to the brink of war could the US protect its allies, discourage communist aggression, and prevent war.
This policy became known as brinkmanship.
Joseph Stalin dies on March 5th, 1953
and Nikita Khrushchev assumes power.
Uprisings Shake Eastern Europe
First In Poland
orkers in Poland rioted against Soviet rule and won greater control of their government. The Polish never threatened to leave the Warsaw Pact, so Soviet leaders permitted the actions.
Next In Hungary
Encouraged by Khrushchev’s words and Poland’s example, Hungarian
students and workers organized huge demonstrations.
They demanded Soviet troops to be withdrawn and free elections to be
restored. Khrushchev sends in the army and tanks and Crushes the Rebellion.
Historical Significance: Eisenhower’s massive retaliation
approach was powerless.
old War Goes Global
Eisenhower announced that the US would use force to help
any Middle Eastern nation threatened by communism.
Central Intelligence Agency
The Eisenhower administration also used the CIA in its
struggle against communism. During the 1950s the CIA
aided coups in Iran and Guatemala that installed new
The Space Race
The superpowers also competed in space. In 1957 the USSR
launched the satellite Sputnik into Earth’s orbit.
US Congress soon created NASA to improve space technology,
and the race was on. Both the USSR and the US used satellites as propaganda.
The Cold War
The Cold War At Home
The Red Scare
The spreading of communism to China and the apparent growing
strength of the Soviet Union led some Americans to fear that
communism could spread to the United States. This fear led
some Americans to take actions that violated the civil rights of others.
Smith Act he Truman Administration passed the Smith Act, which made it illegal for anyone to advocate “overthrowing…any government in the US by force” or to “affiliate” with groups that called for such action.
HUAC was formed as a temporary investigative unit to look into communist activity in the US. HUAC operated for 30 years and was well known for attacking the
movie industry, which led to the blacklisting many in Hollywood. HUAC attacked one group of writers, directors, & producers known as the
Spy Cases Worry America
iss was a former advisor to FDR and was charged with
having been a Communist spy during the 1930s.
Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member,
made these charges, which Hiss denied.
Hiss was eventually convicted on perjury charges and fueled the
Republicans argument that FDR and Truman had not been alert
enough to the dangers of communism.
Julius & Ethel Rosenberg
The Rosenbergs were charged with giving atomic
secrets to the atomic during World War II. After
a highly controversial trial, they were convicted of espionage.
The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953.
The Wisconsin Senator began to hunt for his communists.
In 1950, he claimed to have a list of State Department
employees known to be communists.
Over the next four years, McCarthy went on to charge that
many other people and government agencies had been
corrupted to communism.
In 1954, McCarthy charged that even the army was full of
communists. McCarthy made bold accusations without any evidence. This tactic became known as “McCarthyism.”
He held televised investigations into these charges and for the first time, millions of Americans saw McCarthy’s
bullying tactics for themselves.
His public support quickly faded away, and in 1954 the Senate denounced him for “conduct unbecoming a member.”
Historical Significance: The fall of McCarthy ended the red scare of the 1950s, although anticommunist attitudes lingered as the Cold War continued to drag on.