Contents This revision guide is intended to guide you to the key essentials necessary for answering questions on Unit 3. You shouldn’t use at it a replacement for your class notes or your own revision notes, but as a way of supplementing them and ensuring you have a firm awareness of major events, individuals and ideas.
The seeds of conflict
Emergence of Cold War, 1944-53
The ‘Thaw’ & ‘Peaceful Co-existence’
The arms impact of the arms race
End of Cold War
Reminder of the structure of Unit 3
Unit 3 = 25% of total marks
Written exam: 2 hours
Answer ONE question from Section A (30 marks), and ONE from Section B (40 marks) - choice of 2 questions in both sections
Section A – discuss an historical issue
Section B – use source material & knowledge to discuss an historical event
Section A – themes to explore in your revision:
The post-Stalin thaw and the bid for peaceful coexistence in 1950s:
USSR: Khrushchev b) USA: the responses of Dulles, Eisenhower and Kennedy.
the continuation of the Cold War in the 1950s following the retirement of Truman & death of Stalin, despite the bid for improved relations on the part of the USSR in the form of unilateral cuts in the size of the Red Army and withdrawal from Austria and Finland.
the concept of peaceful coexistence & what motivated Khrushchev & the Soviet leadership, & why the USA under Eisenhower & his Secretary of State, Dulles, and later Kennedy and his staff, responded in the way they did.
the role of personality, particularly that of Khrushchev, in shaping relations in these years should be addressed & students should be aware of the Paris Summit, the U2 incident & initial meetings Kennedy & Khrushchev in Vienna.
impact on the west of the crushing of the Hungarian rising & continuing tensions over Berlin
The arms race, 1945-1963:
nuclear technology; delivery systems; Cuban missile crisis; Test Ban Treaty, & hot line
the impact on international relations of developments in weapons technology.
the importance of thermo-nuclear weapons development from the Soviet’s acquisition of fission technology in 1949, the explosion of the first hydrogen bomb in 1952 by the USA and the USSR’s gaining of H–bomb technology 1953
the importance of delivery systems and the strides made by both powers in rocket science and the consequent ‘balance of terror’.
the stages by which the Cuban Missile Crisis developed should be addressed, as should the process of its resolution and the easing of tensions in 1963, marked by the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the ‘hot line’.
Sino-Soviet relations, 1949-76:
From alliance to confrontation in Asia and its impact on US policy.
the complex relationship between the USSR and China and the impact of this on the USA’s relations with both
the reasons for the signing of the Soviet–Chinese Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance in February 1950 and the consolidation of the relationship as a result of the outbreak of the Korean War and confrontation between China and the USA over Taiwan.
the deterioration in Soviet- Chinese relations from 1958 and the development of full-scale confrontation by 1969 and the reasons for, and significance of, these developments.
the launching of ‘ping-pong’ diplomacy, culminating in Nixon’s visit to China, and the use made of it by Nixon and Kissinger to achieve leverage with the Soviet leadership
Détente, 1969-1980: origins of détente and its end
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) & agreements; Helsinki Accords; impact of
the period of improved relations between the USA and USSR during the 1970s, when the influence of the ‘realist’ school, articulated notably by Kissinger, appeared to shape US diplomacy.
why both powers wished to seek accommodation and the notable features of this accommodation, ie the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of the same year and the Helsinki Accords of 1975.
the critics of détente in both superpowers and the unlooked for significance of the Helsinki Accords for liberalisation in eastern Europe and the USSR
The reference to ‘economic realities’ refers to the increasing economic problems of the Soviet block in the 1970s & economic resilience of the west after the oil price shock of 1973 producing a growing imbalance of potential power.
the reasons for the breakdown of détente in 1980 with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the election of Thatcher in 1979 and Reagan in 1981.
Section B – themes to explore in your revision 1. The origins of the Cold War from the last year of the Second World War to Stalin’s death. You need to be aware of the different interpretations and use evidence to support or challenge interpretations in the sources:
developments in this period from the war-time conferences to
confrontations over Berlin and Korea;
understand the differing historical emphases on either Soviet or western aggression, on the importance of ideology or
traditional great power rivalry.
2. Reasons for the sudden ending of the Cold War in the 1980s
You need to be aware of the different interpretations and use evidence to support or challenge interpretations in the sources:
emphasis on personalities (Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Pope John Paul)
stress on the importance of economics or the moral bankruptcy of Marxist Leninism, or popular protest
a combination of chance events & factors.
Seeds of conflict What were the characteristics of Cold War? Ideologies : Communism v. capitalism
Capitalism: production of goods and distribution is dependent on private capital with a view to making profit; capitalist economies run by individuals rather than by state
Communism: hostile to capitalism, which exploits workers; ideally all property, businesses & industry should be state-owned, ‘each gives according to their ability to those according to their need’
Economics: Marshall Plan (1947) – provision of fuel, raw materials, goods, loans, food, ……………..machinery advisers
US exploited it financial power to export Western values – dollar imperialism
1948-52, US Congress voted nearly $13bn economic aid to Europe
Trade war with Communist countries, e.g. Cuba
Military tensions: Korean War (1950-3), Vietnam (early 1960s -1973); US …………military …………..build-up, e.g. 1960 2.4 US military personnel around world; …………1959, 1,500 ………….military bases in 31 countries
Treaties: NATO (1949) – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
SEATO (1954)– South East Asia Treaty Organisation
Warsaw Pact (1955)– military defensive pact amongst eastern European nations
COMECON (1949)– Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Propaganda: European Recovery Program – propaganda as much as economic ………..exercise
Benefits of Marshall Plan advertised
Italy became a focus of economic rebuilding after WWII - ‘Operation Bambi’ used minstrels, puppet shows and film
Espionage: CIA (1947) – founded to co-ordinate information gathering on ………USSR and ………..Allies. Activities included:
Support for anti-Communist political leaders, e.g. Christian Democrats, 1948 elections
‘Regime change’, e.g. overthrow of left-wing govt in Iran & Guatemala, Operation Executive Action (1961), collaborated with Mafia to overthrow Fidel Castro
Arms race: 1945 US tested and detonated 1st atomic bomb
1949 USSR carried out 1st successful nuclear test
1952 tested 1st H-bomb (2,500x more powerful)
1953, USSR produced H-bomb
1961 enough nuclear weapons to destroy world
1967 China produced H-bomb
1981, USA 8000 ICBMs, USSR 7,000
MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction
Space race: 1957, launch of Sputnik
1957, 1st animal in space
1961, Yuri Gagarin 1st man in space
21 July 1969 Apollo 11 mission successfully land 1st man on moon
Sport & culture: 1980, ‘Miracle on Ice’ – US hockey teams defeats USSR ………‘’giants’
1980 Moscow Olympics, 1984 LA Olympics – boycotted by US & USSR
Ballet – defections to West, e.g. Nureyev
World Chess Championships– Bobby Fisher v. Boris Spassky (1972)
Liberated peoples after 2ww or after colonial powers left want independence/self
determination & may choose communism
Stalin paranoid – e.g. purges, fear of invasion – betrayed in 2ww by Hitler but also allies made him wait 2 yrs before opening eastern front; distrusts Truman as kept A bomb secret at Potsdam,
Truman – hard headed – ignorant of foreign affairs, persuaded by Riga Axiom & Kennan’s Long telegram rather than Wilsonian liberalism,no appeasement uphold Freedoms in UN charter
Change of leaders during 1945: Relations tricky, suspicion personal e.g. Potsdam relations – Molotov swore at Truman. Truman’s “I’m tired of babying the Soviets” and the “only language they understand is the language of force”
Fear of appeasement, must confront (little suffering in war)
Events of 1945-50 seemed to provide proof for each assumption so justified containment policy
Domestic pressure: US spy trials Fucks, Hiss, Rosenburgs 1949 & USSR a bomb, Berlin airlift symbolic support for democracy under threat by another dictator, China communist “soft on communism” – Truman found demands to be tough
USSR attitudes (point of view – perspective)
History – fear of invasion: Russian past constant invasion, 1917 & civil war foreign intervention, – betrayed in 2ww by Hitler but also allies made him wait 2 yrs before opening eastern front; suffering huge 20 million, felt needed buffer as protection
distrusts Truman as kept A bomb secret at Potsdam, despite being allies, thought bomb dropped in Japan as warning/threat
Stalin had agreed with Churchill to have some influence in E Europe after war, not honoured by Truman as not a formalised agreement
Balance of power/spheres of influence - strategic advantage - containment v. Perceived as hegemony or expansion by other side
US perspective different from USSR – result of different histories and war time experiences
Conflict over E Europe – Yalta promises not fulfilled, conflict over Poland, Red Army in Europe, elections in France/Italy, no elections liberated states, opposition exiled, killed, imprisoned in E Europe, Greece – Truman Doc/Marshall Aid – buffer zone
Conflict over Germany- US rebuild, USSR reparations – Berlin division - airlift
Conflict over Far East – Japan (bulwark, defence perimeter)– China., Korea, Vietnam
Threats.. perceived to national security. World peace.. balance of power
Actual danger – e.g., Berlin airlift Korean invasion
Nuclear advantage: perceived danger of A bomb – arms race/NATO/Warsaw Pact
1949 turning pt China communist – Sino-Soviet Pact – spy trials at home – Berlin – NATO led to NSC 68 – followed by Korean invasion – led to 1st military action UN led invasion of Korea
Korea militarised and globalised Cold War
Economic containment by US: Marshall Aid, reconstruction of Japan, money to Korea, Vietnam
Germany – US rebuild, join zones new currency: USSR reparations
Comecon – join E bloc v. Marshall Aid countries , bound by command economy to Moscow
Military Stalin denied a naval base in Mediterranean
Reparations Stalin demanded more in reparations than US or GB
US didn’t want to cripple Germany (as in WWI)
Stalin suspicious about why West wanted to protect Germany & help it recover
Poland Stalin set up Communist govt. in Poland
GB preferred non-Communist Polish govt. which had lived in London
US & USSR suspicious of Stalin’s intentions in setting up Communist govt. in Lublin
Iron Curtain speech
Delivered during a speech at Fulton, Missouri in March 1946
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow. “
Speech given as a private individual – Churchill no longer PM
Truman present, and agreed with ‘Iron Fist’ message
Moscow branded Churchill ‘warmonger’
Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram’, recommending firm action against Soviet expansion (1946)
Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech (1946)
Civil war between monarchists & communists
GB govt unable to continue military & economic aid
‘Iron Fist’ & containment of spread of communism
Need for economic recovery after WWII
‘The most unselfish act in history’ (Churchill)
Market for US goods
Avoid global recession
Fear of Europe becoming ‘breeding grown’ for communism
Influence of Communism – steps taken to set up Communist regimes
Communists joined a coalition government after the war, becoming outright leaders in 1947, forcing non-communist leader into exile
Romania & Bulgaria
Romania: Communist elected PM, 1945 within a left-wing coalition. 1947, Communists also abolished the monarchy
Bulgaria: left-wing coalition won elections, 1945. Communist members of coalition executed leaders of other parties
Marshal Tito led war-time resistance to the Nazis, elected President in 1945, determined to apply Communism in his own way & expelled from Cominform in 1948
Britain and USA supported Royalist side in a civil war, defeating Communist opposition
Communists became second largest party in 1947 elections. Imprisoned opposition politicians, attacked Church leaders
Left-wing coalition won elections in 1945. Communists became largest single party, but still in a coalition. In 1948, when their position was threatened, banned other parties and made Czechoslovakia a Communist, one-party state
Initially the WWII leader Marshal Mannerheim allowed to stay in power despite cooperating with Hitler, while only one Communist remained in power
Stalin was keen to be moderate in his approach to demonstrate ‘ideological détente’