Chapter 32: The Cold War Section 1: The East-West Split



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- Chapter 32: The Cold War -

- Section 1: The East-West Split -

Germany Divided: In 1945, Germany had been divided into four zones, controlled by G.B., France, the U.S., and the Soviet Union. The zones of the Western Allies included the Western part of Germany, while the Soviet zone encompassed eastern Germany. The city of Berlin, deep within the Soviet Union, was also divided into four sectors.

  • Zones of Occupation: The Western Allies and the Soviets could not reach an agreement on the final peace

treaty for Germany. As relations with Stalin soured, the U.S., G.B., and France decided to include their zones in the Marshall Plan as means to contain communism. While the Soviets stripped their German zone of its industrial resources and equipment, the three Western powers aided their zones toward economic recovery. Free elections for local gov’ts were held in the Western zones. The U.S., G.B., and France also agreed to combine their sectors of Berlin to form what became known as the city of West Berlin. They also planned to form an independent West German state by joining their zones of occupation.

  • The Berlin Blockade: In June 1948, the Soviets tried to block this merger plan by cutting all land access from the West into West Berlin. Two million Berliners depended on the Western Allies for food, fuel, and other needs. The U.S. and other Western countries considered and rejected the idea of using force to regain access to Berlin. Instead, they came up with a plan to airlift needed supplies to the isolated city. They kept the city alive and finally the Soviets lifted the blockade. The Western Allies went ahead with their plans to form an independent West German state. A constitution was approved and in 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany was proclaimed. Its capital was at Bonn. The Soviets then set up the German Democratic Republic or East Germany, with its capital at East Berlin. Thus, Germany was divided into 2 separate countries.


New Alliances: Just before the Berlin blockade, Czechoslovakia was taken over by Communists and incorporated into the Soviet alliance system. Both these crises heightened Western concerns about military defense. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed by the U.S., G.B., France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Canada. It expanded to include Greece and Turkey in 1952 and West Germany in 1955. Members agreed that an attack on one would be considered an attack on all. In response to NATO, the Soviet Union and its Eastern EU allies signed a military agreement known as the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Later events showed that the purpose of the Warsaw Pact was as much to strengthen the Soviet hold on Eastern EU as to defend it. Soviets stationed in Hungary under the terms of the Pact were used to suppress a 1956 uprising there. In 1968 the Soviet Union appealed to the treaty to justify its invasion of Czech, which introduced a liberal form of communism.
Worldwide Struggle: In 1949, the Soviets successfully exploded their first atomic bomb. International tensions further increased as the two superpowers engaged in an arms race, or a competition to strengthen their armed forces and weapons systems. Meanwhile, communism made rapid advances in Asia. In the late 1940s, Communist gov’ts came to power in China and North Korea. In 1950, the North Koreans, allied to the Soviet Union and Communist-ruled China, attacked South Korea, a pro-Western Republic. Although the North Koreans were forced back to their territory, the Korean conflict fed Western fears that in communism, it faced a single, powerful enemy seeking world conquest. In the 1950s, the cold war also came to be not only a test of military strength, but also a test of the superpowers’ competing ideologies, or political and economic philosophies --- democratic capitalism on the part of the U.S., and communism on the part of the Soviet Union.

  • Germany: Germany became a critical flashpoint in the cold war during the 1950s and 1960s. Nikita Khrushchev, who became Soviet leader in the mid-1950s, set out to test the resolve of the new U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, in 1961 by threatening to force the Allies out of West Berlin. JFK stated that the West would defend West Berlin’s freedom and bolstered the U.S. military presence there; Khrushchev did not act on his threats. Meanwhile, large numbers of East Germans were fleeing to West Berlin, which was easily accessible to them. In an effort to halt the drain of its workforce, the East German gov’t, with Soviet backing, built a concrete wall across the divided city of August 1961. The Berlin Wall stemmed the flow of East Germans fleeing communism and raised East-West tensions. It became a symbol of the cold war and the hostile confrontation between democracy and communism.

  • The Developing World: After the 1960s, superpower competition directly affected developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In most areas, such as in Africa and the Caribbean, the superpowers provided aid to their allies in the particular region. Sometimes --- as in the case of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the U.S. in Vietnam --- they became militarily involved themselves. By the late 1070s, however, the division of the world into two blocs or groups of nations, each headed by a superpower, was coming to an end. The U.S., wary of military involvements, faced growing challenges to its hold on world markets. Western EU and Japan, less dependent on the U.S., were prosperous economic powers in their own right. The Soviet Union, faltering economically, was facing internal pressures for change. Finally, many smaller nations, aligned with neither superpower, were following their own path of development. All these events marked the move away from a world dominated by the superpowers to one in which there were many competing groups of countries.

1. One reason the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact was to



  1. ease the transition to democracy

  2. help institute capitalism in Eastern Europe

  3. limit the threat of invasion from Western Europe

  4. challenge the economic successes of the Common Market

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: The Warsaw Pact was formed by the Soviet Union and seven of its satellite states as a response to NATO. The Warsaw Pact was a defensive military alliance.
2. Which statement best describes most Eastern European countries immediately after World War II? They

  1. adopted democratic reforms in their political systems

  2. became satellite states of the Soviet Union

  3. became dependent on aid provided by the Marshall Plan

  4. emerged as world economic powers

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: After World War II, Stalin forced pro-communists governments in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other Eastern European nations. These nations became known as Soviet satellite states. The Soviets retained control through both economic and militaristic means.
3. During the Cold War Era (1945-1990), the United States and the Soviet Union were reluctant to become involved in direct military conflict mainly because of

  1. the peacekeeping role of the United Nations

  2. pressure from nonaligned nations

  3. the potential for global nuclear destruction

  4. increased tensions in the Middle East

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: Bother superpowers had nuclear capabilities, and it was believed that a direct confrontation between them could lead to a nuclear war.
4. “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 might call the Soviet Sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence, but to very high, and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow."

-Winston Churchill

What is the main idea of this quotation?


  1. The Soviet Union has expanded its influence throughout Eastern Europe

  2. The Soviet Union has helped the nations of Eastern Europe improve their standard of living

  3. The democratic nations of Western Europe have stopped the expansion of Soviet influence in the world

  4. The Soviet Union will support communist revolutions in Southeast Asia

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: After World War II, Stalin forced pro-communists governments in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other Eastern European nations. These nations became known as Soviet satellite states. The Soviet's retained control through both economic and militaristic means.

5. “Warsaw Pact Tanks Invade Budapest"


"Wall Divides Berlin”
“Liberal Czechoslovak Government Replaced”

These historical newspaper headlines were related to



  1. Mikhail Gorbachev’s introduction of the policy of Glasnost

  2. Adolf Hitler’s efforts to promote national socialism

  3. the Soviet Union’s acceptance of capitalism

  4. attempts by the Soviet Union to strengthen communist control

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: After World War II, Stalin forced pro-communists governments in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other Eastern European nations. These nations became known as Soviet satellite states. The Soviet’s retained control through both economic and militaristic means.
6. · Blockade of Berlin
· Operation of the Berlin Airlift
· Organization of the Warsaw Pact
· Construction of the Berlin Wall

These events of the Cold War are examples of



  1. efforts to prevent military conflict between the superpowers

  2. situations that increased tensions between communist and democratic nations in Europe

  3. attempts to weaken the Soviet Union’s control of its Eastern European allies

  4. policies of peaceful coexistence and détente

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: These are all examples of situations that caused conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


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