A2 Cold War, Unit 3 Cold War Revision Guide a world Divided: Superpower relations, 1944-90 Contents

Acceptance of spheres of influence

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Acceptance of spheres of influence: a new stability in the bipolar world, apparently removing reasons for conflict: Korean armistice; secret speech appeared to be a fresh start and hope

USSR recognition of W Germany and removal of troops from Austria allowing her to be neutral appeared to bring stability to central Europe and as well as Asia; US did not intervene in Hungary 1956 i.e accept E Europe in USSR sphere of influence; SEATO/METO/NATO and Warsaw Pact seemed to define the spheres of influence

International crises: Hungary – Soviet repression for fear of Hungary leaving Warsaw Pact and opening a hole in their buffer state barrier; Germany remained unresolved cold war issue and potential flash point just as is had 1945-53 ultimatum 1958 to west to get out.. anniversary of Berlin blockade and exactly the same policy – leading to Wall by 1961 – Tension enormous – Kennedy flew there “Ich bin ein Berliner” symbolised the importance to US of a “free” Berlin but thus also raised the tension. Kennedy always thought there was a real danger of a USSR invasion of Berlin triggering a European war; Middle East – Eisenhower anxious about the tension arising from creation of Israel, the Suez crisis announced extension of containment to Middle East – Eisenhower Doctrine, backed up by military alliance – Baghdad Pact (Or CENTO or METO) to lie alongside NATO and SEATO seemed merely a continuation of previous policies containment ;Czech in USSR sphere of influence supplying Egypt with weapons v. Israel (whom US supporting) seemed both sides falling into same ways as their predecessors.

i.e. no change, no turning point, no thaw

Arms race & technology – i.e. no change, no turning point, no thaw ;1953 – both sides had H bomb & Eisenhower clear that he wanted “more bang for the buck” was on a mission to increase spending on technologically advanced weapons, After Sputnik, US fear that 1st strike lost and bomber strategy clearly useless so refocused on rockets ICBMS; USA; Korean War had also increased US commitments around the globe – NATO/ SEATO and bases world wide also increasing military budgets – army divisions in Germany (figures needed); US had rejected USSR’s Rapacki plan to have a nuclear free Europe and talks about a neutral German immediately ground to a halt – USA needed W Germany in her orbit, for NATO to work as a deterrent US had to be able to threaten to use the nuclear bomb. – US supported W Germany joining NATO (seemed a threat to USSR); Despite open skies suggestion by USA – refused by K and ultimately led to fury about U2 spy plane in 1960 ; U2 shot down 1960 over USSR: K stormed out of Paris summit very melodramatic but not turning back, neither side trusted the other – nothing had changed fundamentally since secret of A bomb not shared at Potsdam; Set up NASA (phutnik), grants for science education, Civil Defence Admin organised for nuclear attack; USSR continued developing her technology as well;Sputnik – another shock but this time to the US – anxiety that USSR further ahead technologically than US or her public had thought, admiration yet anxiety that this might be used for spying or even delivering nuclear bombs i.e first strike capability had potentially been lost;USSR also balanced NATO’s alliance with the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which she protected with the harsh repression of the Hungarian uprising;While E might have known that USSR did not have as many weapons as she claimed thanks to U2 he was not going to tell the public that otherwise his tax revenues would have plummeted, but neither did K feel comfortable about U2s having such good intelligence about their capabilities – hence his fury and anxiety
Policies, paranoia – domestic attitudes same Little had changed, both sides suspicious; USA Duck and Cover – Federal Office of Civil Defence – public shelters; USSR similar fears of a first strike; Sputnik, admiration and fear mingled; Rhetoric similar on both sides as predecessors – massive retaliation, brinkmanship, roll back.. v we will bury you.. missiles being churned out like sausages; Policy containment and protection, spheres of influence, similar Berlin Wall, Korea ceasefire, Warsaw Pact, SEATO etc
The arms impact of the arms race
Growing tensions due to arms race

  • Growth of international tensions – keeping ahead in the technology race helped safeguard the interests of the nation

  • National pride – way of measuring the achievements of East or West

  • Political insecurities of leaders – e.g. Eisenhower & Kennedy increased defence spending in reaction to public demands

  • Insurance policy– use of nuclear weapons was so unimaginable war could be avoided

  • Military-industrial complex – arms race provided jobs

  • New technology – hydrogen, lithium, ICBM etc.

  • The Americans secretly develop atomic bomb technology in New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project, culminating in the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

  • The UN tries to control the development of atomic weaponry through the Baruch Plan in 1946. Ultimately the plan fails due to distrust between the different sides.

  • The Russians successfully test their own nuclear weapon on 29 August 1949

  • 1 November 1952, the US successfully detonate the first hydrogen bomb

  • 1953 the USSR develops its first lithium bomb – a more easily deployable bomb than the US hydrogen bomb

  • 1954, the US detonates its first lithium bomb

  • By 1955, the US had developed the first intercontinental bomber, the B52 Stratofortress

  • The USSR develops its first intercontinental bomber, the TU20 Bear in 1956

  • Intercontinental bombers were vulnerable and so ICBMs were developed, the first being the Soviet, ‘SS-6 Sapwood’ in Kazhakhstan in 1957

  • 5 October 1957 the Soviets launched the first ever man-made satellite, ‘Sputnik’

  • Sputnik II in November 1957 carried the first live passenger, the dog Laika

  • In 1961, the USSR launches the first man into space Yuri Gagarin

  • The US develops U2 spy plane technology in the early 1960s

  • July 1960 US develops first submarine-launched ballistic missile, Polaris

  • By 1962, the US has 4,000 nuclear warheads compared to the USSR’s 220

Reducing tensions

  • Learnt lessons – hot line, Partial Test Ban Treaty – real fear of how close they came – new rules

  • Gain concessions e.g. Treaties in detente or deals e.g after Cuba take missiles out & US from Turkey.

  • Both sides knew to their advantage to talk but both desired to be taken seriously so had to gain parity or even 1st strike so believed at negotiating table – though non intended using it. Mao of China similarly desperate to get nuclear bomb (1964) but also called it a paper tiger , knew it couldn’t be used but couldn’t sit at world table unless had it to force others to listen. Threat more than reality

  • 1968 Non Proliferation Treaty so nuclear weapons not expand to other nations. SALT 1, 2 START, Helsinki Accords – both sides seriously talk & agree for own national security boundaries

  • 1950s “peaceful coexistence” – both K and E knew of horror of war – made efforts to contain the threat – summits, start of reduction of tension Austrian State Treaty, exchange of experts, other summits and visits e.g. K to Camp David etc..

  • Efforts to contain nuclear weapons in Europe e.g. Rapacki Plan 1954, European Security Area (failed) Plans to make Germany nuclear free area

  • Suggested open skies policy , peaceful coexistence

  • Both sides careful to limit any conflict that did happen e.g. Korea – USSR reluctant to become involved only sending MiG fighters to China and USA withdrew when war seemed likely to escalate & no nuclear weapons were deployed even though McArthur desired them

  • Vietnam similarly – conventional war –and in Berlin crisis 1961 no mention of nuclear weapons

  • Used to threaten, but the risk always present. They might be used.

The real question is – would any leader really have pressed the button? Presumably only if they could guarantee they had absolute first strike capability with no fear of MAD – but this unlikely, therefore in reality it is unlikely a nuclear war will ever take place unless by a rogue state with nothing to lose

Cuba – turning point or not?
Not a turning point

Continuity of policy and action before and after 1962


  • Détente – in fact despite the talking the countries still armed and still engaged in confrontation e.g. Germany, and 3rd World beginning, the ideological battle continued – Germany remained flashpoint

  • US continued rearming, Kennedy ordered 41 new nuclear subs and new ICBMs

  • 1980s US put Pershing 2 missiles in Europe within range of Moscow – causing increasing tension. NATO had 108 MRBMs withinrange of Moscow.. had lessons been learnt?

  • 1983 USSR believed USA & NATO about to attack.. in fact an exercise but USSR believed it until last minute

  • More stable relations with each other but still a 2nd cold war began in 1970s – lessons not learnt as a new arms race began as USA began to believe a new missile gap opening up and uncomfortable at expansion of communism in 3rd world.

Turning point because

Differences in policy and action after 1962


  • Nuclear war can be managed – there can be brinkmanship but it can lead to bargaining with nuclear weapons

  • Wise and careful leaders can defend and deter , they can manipulate crisis to their advantage JFK wonderful wise leader (Schlesinger)

  • Revisionists condemn JFK as reckless as bluff could have been called and chain reaction leading to nuclear holocaust unleashed

  • Soviets learnt that – USA might act like this again so prepare for it, reinforced their rearmament programme and conventional forces and fleet as well as their spheres of influence esp in 3rd world & remove leader who put them in such a dangerous position

  • Détente – countries inspired to talk to each other.. to limit arms SALT, to halt testing Partial Test ban treaty and to talk – hotline – Give details

  • Some wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons completely even Robert Kennedy and even Nixon later

  • Fear: Nuclear wars must never be fought again – we must never pass this way again – Bundy etc. and they did not. USA did not continue to dispute Cuba – it remains communist today & Castro intervened in communists movements in 3rd world, Africa, s America, USSR withdrew its missiles from Cuba. Cuba remains peaceful & any conflict is dealt with via diplomacy e.g. 1970s dispute over nuclear subs there could have resulted in conflict instead dealt with via diplomats

  • Marked an end of a dangerous phase in cold war – in fact a dangerous phase in Khrushchev’s policy – increasingly irascible and unpredictable, even USSR Politburo concerned – Berlin and Cuba seen by some as putting USSR in unnecessarily dangerous confrontation with USA

Consequences of Cuba

  • Gave Kennedy a foreign-policy success – removal of Soviet weapons from USA’s ‘backyard’

  • Kennedy assured USSR he wouldn’t remove Castro from Cuba

  • Removal of US weapons from Turkey

  • Use of ‘flexible approach’ – brinkmanship & diplomacy

  • ‘Hot line’ telephone link

  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)

  • Threat of nuclear retaliation led to ‘tacit cooperation among bitter antagonists’ (Gaddis)

  • Alternative military strategies developed, ‘limited war’, e.g. Korea & Vietnam

  • Brinkmanship & threat of massive retaliation

  • MAD

  • Continuing need for conventional weapons & military superiority

  • Technological advances, e.g. computer technologies

  • Economic costs – civilian sector held back

Sino-Soviet relations

Sino-Soviet Treaty (1950)

  • Formal alliance

  • Economic aid - $300m; technical assistance

  • Soviet military assistance

  • Soviet promise to restore Chinese soverignty over Manchuria

Fragile Alliance

  • Mao treated as an instrument of Soviet power

  • Sino-Soviet Treaty (1950) heavily favourable to USSR

  • 1920s-1949, USSR supported Chinese nationalists and defended its own interests in Manchuria

  • Mao needed Soviet support against USA & in constructing communist society in China

  • Terms of Sino-Soviet treaty (1950), e.g. Mongolia part of USSR sphere of influence, no support over Taiwan, no revolutionary strategy for East Asia

Why was there a split in Sino-Soviet relations?

Ideological clashes

Stalin felt that Mao’s interpretation of Marxism using peasants as basis for revolution & small scale industry not genuinely revolutionary as Marx focussed on proletariat & urban class war. “from infancy of CCP Mao’s contact with Moscow was neither pleasant nor gratifying” Hsu

Both men competed for the “true” interpretation of Marxism and & fell out over destalinisation & peaceful coexistence(implying that global revolution could happen without armed struggle – heresy as far as Mao concerned esp when Austrian State Treaty and Geneva Summit had K visit and compromise with capitalists), secret speech (critical of Stalin) Hungary (failure to curb reactionaries), as a result denounced K as a “revisionist”with wealthyelites in USSR; Cuba(giving into capitalism), Albania (abandoning a revolutionary ally) - launched cultural revolution to cleanse China of revisionists possibly influenced by USSR

Ideological struggle also meant competed for spheres of influence in developing world eg Int conf 1957 – Mao condemned K as revisionist and revolution would not happen if worked alongside capitalists – well argued at Conf and showed strong leadership of communism for emerging nations.Chinese attacks on ideology of USSR continued in 1958 visit & accused USSR of sending spies

K accused Mao of Trotskyist deviation when threatening Quemoy 58, pursuing revolution whatever the cost – fanaticism

Great Leap Forward – accused Mao of “unorthodox” & erroneous approach – undermined Mao in communist world

Cuba – Mao presented as poorly handled by K and evidence of lack of revolutionary zeal – openly placing missiles foolish, & gave in

Territorial disputes (sphere of influence)
National security

Mao annoyed at USSR lack of support for fellow comm. nation: civil war – during this Mao had helped GMD rather than CCP as wanted strong Chinese gov v Japan and Stalin not convinced mao win & though USSR would get more border recognition from GMD than CCP – Mao resented this for evermore. Treaty of Alliance 1950 “Moscow making puppets out of China” US description – mutual – in fact USSR charged loans from China for the aid, but during talks Chinese felt snubbed but aid did come & military & technological aid even if had to pay for it. Korean War – USSR encouraged China to take part & provided aid but then asked for repayment for the aid $1.35 million (Hsu) Taiwan, Quemoy 54 & 58, USSR did not support Mao’s actions, Sino Indian War 1962 USSR supplied Mao’s enemy with MIGs & allowed U2 to overfly China to find A bomb so no support! A bomb programme help agreed 1955 after Quemoy but withdrawn 1959 after Quemoy bombed.& furious 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty felt betrayed by USSR. USSR would not allow China to develop independent weapon, Mao furious. Did it anyway by 1964 (even called 1st bomb 59/6 after year and month USSR aid withdrawn)

Territorial disputes: Mongolia – USSR refused to leave area & clashes along mutual border 15 divisions there 1967, 30 by 1970. Damansky Is disputed border region – Mao claimed USSR Tsarist and going back on word to restore territory

Self interest presented as ideological: Peaceful coexistence – a form of detente designed to isolate China from west?

Albania – Mao used this as a way to attack USSR when USSR criticised Albania for Stalinist methods, China came to support it – seems ideological but actually for self interest and aggrandisement led to ending of diplomatic relations USSR and China 1961

potential ally India and USSR had aided the enemy in the war.

Brezhnev Doctrine 1968 – USSR could invade client states appearing to undermine socialism – China condemned as really feared it could be used against her so appears ideological in fact self interest.

FINAL STRAW 1969 Damansky is. Clash – appears ideological as China accused USSR of imperialism as had not returned territory from Tsarist times – escalated aligned missiles and tanks. Fear of nuclear war – nadir in relations.

Vietnam: China gave moral and diplomatic support to North but little else. But struggle between USSR and China to win Vietcong to their side in ideological split – appears ideological but self interest. USSR sent most aid to N and signed friendship treaty. So China turned to Cambodia. 1978 Vietnam invaded Cambodia therefore now Viet + USSR v Cambo + China thus 1979 China invaded Viet from north. War ended same year but very nasty.

Strategic strength
money, economy A bomb, relative strength and power compared US China)

Treaty of Mutual Alliance 1950 – later on mao angry that had to repay with interest – i.e imbalance in relationship from start – accepted by Mao as needed aid and assumed fellow communists be treated well. Soon clear not an equal partnership & USSR in position of strength at start so Mao had to accept – later on he breaks away from what Mao sees as an unfair partnership

Korea – limited help from USSR & bill sent for aid after (MiGs)

A bomb promised to China but withdrawn 1958 and advisers then purged by Mao in 1966 cultural revolution

Economic inequality – Mao desperate to catch up

A bomb – agreed to share technology but firstly Partial Test Ban treaty 1963 agreed USSR and USA would mean China could not have A bomb so refused to sign, annoying USSR, USSR decided 1958 not to share A bomb -& USSR experts withdrawn after cultural rev and

Leaders/personalities clash

Stalin feared Mao as a leader of revolutionary world; Mao meanwhile convinced taht Stalin wanted a divided and weak China so USSR would be dominant in Asia therefore resented Stalin. Mao syuspicious that Stalin deliberately delayed ending Korean war to exhaust China – thus 1953 death brought brief honeymoon period with better terms in treaties/loans etc. But Mao’s suspicions of Khrushchev grew & now Mao stronger position domestically so could make a clearer stand away from K. Mao furious at secret speech 1956, took as personal insult from K on his style of leadership given his criticism of Stalin’s cult of personality.

Mao treated K “as a superficial upstart, neglecting no opportunity to confound him with petty humiliations.. K could never be sure what Mao meant” Gaddis e.g. the visit to Beijing, Mao received him in swimming pool (tight shorts rubber ring) & no air con.1958

1961 after Albanian dispute K called Mao “Asian Hitler”and a “living corpse”, even racist talking of inborn deviousness and selfishness while Mao called K a “redundant old boot” & after Cuba “ a coward”

Relations with US

Three way relations – as relations with US and China improved so need for USSR to be friendlier with USA grew as feared they would be left out in cold. But as each became frienflier with US, relations between USSR and China worsened.

Taiwan – unresolved situation & enemy; Mao tested US resolve deterred in 1954 & tried again in 58 without giving Soviets advance warning. Troop manoeuvres near Quemoy, US also prepared for war – K furious and said would not help but also accused Mao of being Trotskyist, pursuing revolution whatever the cost. – consequences grave as K removed all Soviet advisers & cancelled contracts to build nuclear technology given in 55 after last Taiwan threat.

Brezhnev & Mao died. Deng Xiaping adopted more tolerant line. – Rapprochment with USSR and west.

1972 Nixon visit China – USSR furious

Domestic issues

Domestic problems Great Leap forward 1958 disastrous, 14-30 mill dead, backyard furnaces created, new agric techniques =famine, Mao purged “rightists” who criticised it but then stepped down 59 realising he would be held responsible. Soviets criticised it as faulty in design and erroneous in practice” Mao furious as undermined in communist international community. Soviet criticism continued during Cultural Revolution (Brezhnev) which sought to eliminate “revisionists” ie USSR & China descended into chaos so criticised China for her illegal opium trade, illegal support for apartheid regime etc. Ideological criticism served self interest

Why did Sino-Us relations improve?
US Motives: “improved Sino-American relations became a key to the Nixon administration’s Soviet strategy” Kissinger

  • Vietnam: linkage pressure on Ho. & Public support /pressure in US for more constructive efforts to end war

  • US wanted to reduce commitments in Asia (1972 Communique)& but still have bases therefore needed to ensure stability in region

  • Pressure on USSR to discuss arms limits “scope for Soviet instransigence narrow even evaporate”Kissinger, fearful of a US-China alliance against them

  • Nixon personally wanted to make history Kissinger “restore fluidity”

  • China now had ICBMs dangerous to leave her isolated

  • Economic savings

  • Sino-Soviet split showed US global communism, not monolithic “deal with countries on basis of their actions not ideological formulas” Nixon

  • UN membership changing, ex colonies & votes might change, US wd not be able to control vote much longer

China’s motives:

  • Geopolitical – threats to Chinese security – tension on all sides (Vietnam, Taiwan, S Korea, Japan, India & clashes on border with USSR)

  • Sino-Soviet split so did not want 2 enemies, reduce tension with US therefore essential – real fear of Soviet attack; knew US would not want this as feared USSR expansion

  • US seemed a declining power (Vietnam) = do deals

  • Rapprochement would mean China could gain much e.g. UN, Taiwan, US out of Vietnam, even region

  • China worried about Japan wanted its power limited

  • Personal: Mao just stepped back into power so it was to relaunch himself

  • Ideological: critical of reactionary Soviet revisionism seemed greater threat than US; desire to lead comm...

  • 3rd world countries would see China as less fanatical if she talked to west & so China wd be respected more

  • China argued detente temporary legitimate to play enemies off against each other so that in long run defeat them (Mao)

  • Sino –American rapprochement enormously enhanced Washington’s strategic position in its global competition with the USSR” Jian

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