The struggle to contain Soviet communism worldwide resulted in what came to be known as the "Cold War". Although full-scale war between the U.S. and Soviet Union did not occur, two major wars—Korea and Vietnam--and many smaller conflicts were between 1946 and 1991 over the battle between democracy and communism.
I. Roots of the Cold War
A. U.S. point of view
1. Stalin seemed intent on creating "spheres" of influence in Eastern Europe 2. US wanted democracy spread throughout the worldwith a strong international
organization to maintain global peace (United Nations)
B. Soviet point of view
1. US did not open western front in W. Europe early enough; millions of Soviet
soldiers were dying fighting the brunt of Nazi armies alone until mid-1944.
2. The US and British froze Russia out of the atomic bomb project.
3. US terminated lend-lease to Moscow in 1945 and refused $6 billion plea
from Stalin while granting Britain $3.75 billion in 1946.
II. Shaping the Postwar World
A. Bretton Woods Conference (1944): International Monetary Fund (IMF) created by
1. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) founded to
promote economic growth in war-torn and underdeveloped areas; stabilize currencies
B. United Nations 1. San Francisco Conference opened on April 25, 1945.
a. UN Charter created a General Assembly composed of all member nations which
would act as the ultimate policy-making body.
b. Security Councilcomposed of US, USSR, China, Britain, and France (+ 6
additional nations elected by the General Assembly for 2 year terms)
III. The German Question
A. Nuremberg Trials 1. Potsdam Conference had decided on punishing war crimes and for a program of de-nazifying Germany.
2. Allies tried 22 top Nazis at Nuremberg, Germany during 1945 and 1946.
3. 12 Nazis hanged and seven sentenced to long jail terms.