The Cold War

Essay! [use this essay frame to write the following essay, using pages 2–6] Why had the Superpowers become suspicious of each other by

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[use this essay frame to write the following essay, using pages 2–6]

Why had the Superpowers become suspicious of each other by

March 1946, when Churchill made his important speech at Fulton?
They became suspicious of each other because they had different beliefs. The USA. . . . . . . . . . The USSR . . . . . . . . . . This caused suspicion because . . . . . . . . . .
History made the USA and the USSR suspicious of each other. The Soviet Union . . . . . . . . . . The USA . . . . . . . . . . This caused suspicion because . . . . . . . . . .
Both the USA and the USSR had very different aims. The USA . . . . . . . . . . The USSR, however, . . . . . . . . . . This caused suspicion because . . . . . . . . . .
Finally, because neither side trusted each other, events made them hate each other more.

  • The Yalta Conference (Feb 1945) caused problems because . . . . . . . . . .

  • The Potsdam Conference (Jul 1945) . . . . . . . . . .

  • Also, salami tactics (1945–48) caused suspicion because . . . . . . . . . .

New Words

doctrine: a belief.
Congress: the American ‘parliament’.


aggressor: someone who starts a quarrel.

Containment: holding something in – stopping the USSR growing.

Source A

Every nation must choose between different ways of life . . . We must help free peoples to work out their own destiny in their own way.
President Truman, speaking in March 1947.

Source B

This ‘American duty’ is just a smokescreen for a plan of expansion . . . They try to take control of Greece by shouting about ‘totalitarianism’
The Russian newspaper Izvestia, March 1947.


Churchill’s speech did not start the Cold War, but he was the first person to stop pretending to be friends with Russia. Thus, his Fulton speech was the start of the Cold War; after it, America and Russia got into a number of conflicts.


By 1946, Greece and Czechoslovakia were the only countries in eastern Europe that weren’t Communist. Even in Greece, the government, which was being supported by British soldiers, was having to fight a civil war against the Communists.

In February 1947, the British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece. President Truman stepped in. The USA paid for the British soldiers in Greece.

The Truman Doctrine

In the 1930s, Americans had kept out of Europe’s business.

Now, in March 1947, Truman told Americans that it was America’s DUTY to interfere (Source A). His policy towards the Soviet Union was one of ‘containment’ – he did not try to destroy the USSR, but he wanted to stop it growing any more. This was called the ‘Truman Doctrine’.

Source C

This Russian cartoon shows the Greek government being ‘helped’ by America.

The Marshall Plan

In June 1947, the American general George Marshall went to Europe. He said every country in Europe was so poor that it was in danger of turning Communist! Europe was ‘a breeding ground of hate’. He said that America should give $17 billion of aid to get Europe’s economy going.


The Soviet Union hated Marshall aid (see Sources D and E). Stalin forbade Communist countries to ask for money. Instead, in October 1947, he set up Cominform. Every Communist party in Europe joined. It allowed Stalin control of the Communists in Europe.


At first, the American Congress did not want to give the money for Marshall Aid. But then, in February 1948, the Communists took power in Czechoslovakia.

Congress was scared, and voted for Marshall Aid on 31 March 1948.


  1. Using the dates in bold, make notes, in chronological order, on the events from February 1947 to 31 March 1948.

  2. Read Source A. Talk about the events in your list – as though you were an American.

  3. Now read Sources B–E. Describe the same events – as though you were a Russian Communist

  4. Did the Truman Doctrine cause the Cold War?

  5. What was the first event of the Cold War?

  6. Work out an argument that the creation of Cominform was the first event of the Cold War.

Source D

The ruling gang of American imperialists has taken the path of open expansion, of enslaving weakened capitalist countries. It has hatched new war plans against the Soviet Union. Imitating Hitler, the new aggressors are using blackmail.
GM Malenkov, a Soviet politician, speaking in 1947.

Source E

Communists in Germany oppose Marshall Aid.

Source F

A British cartoon shows Truman and Stalin as two taxi-drivers trying to get customers.

The Berlin Blockade, 1948–49

The USSR had already disagreed with Britain and the USA at Potsdam (July 1945, see page 5) about what should be done with Germany. Germany had been split into four zones. Berlin, in Russia’s zone, was also split into four zones.

What caused it?

  1. Cold War

was just getting started (e.g. Czechoslovakia, March 1948)

2. Aims

Stalin wanted to destroy Germany – Britain and the USA wanted to rebuild Germany.

3. Bizonia

The Russians were taking German machinery back to the USSR. In January 1948, Britain and the USA joined their two zones together to try to get German industry going. They called the new zone Bi-zonia (‘two zones’).

  1. American Aid

Congress voted for Marshall Aid on 31 March 1948. Immediately, the Russians started stopping and searching all road and rail traffic into Berlin.

  1. New Currency

On 1 June, America and France announced that they wanted to create the new country of West Germany; and on 23 June they introduced a new currency into ‘Bizonia’ and western Berlin. The next day the Russians stopped all road and rail traffic into Berlin – Stalin was trying to force the USA out of Berlin.

Source A

[The Americans had introduced a new currency into Berlin.]

Old money flooded into the Soviet Zone. Some restrictions were placed on links between Berlin and western zones, but the Soviet side was ready to supply food to all Berlin.

Yet every day 380 American planes flew into Berlin. It was simply a propaganda move intended to make the cold war worse.
From a Russian history book.

New Words

Blockade: a siege.
Currency: money.

Source B:

Airlift Facts

  1. The blockade lasted 318 days (11 months).

  2. In the winter of 1948–49 Berliners lived on dried potatoes, powdered eggs and cans of meat. They had 4 hours of electricity a day.

  3. 275,000 flights carried in 1½ million tons of supplies. A plane landed every 3 mins.

  4. On 16 April 1949, 1400 flights brought in 13,000 tons of supplies in one day – Berlin only needed 6,000 tons a day to survive.

  5. The USA stationed B-29 bombers (which could carry an atomic bomb) in Britain.

What happened?

The American Army wanted to fight its way into Berlin – that would have caused a war. Instead, Truman decided to supply Berlin by air (see Source B)

The situation was bad at first, but things got better as the blockade went on. On 12 May 1949, Stalin re-opened the borders.

What were the Results?

  1. Cold War got worse

It almost started an all-out war.

2. East and West Germany

Germany split up. In May 1949, America, Britain and France united their zones into the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). In October 1949, Stalin set up the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) .

3. NATO and the Warsaw Pact

In 1949, the western Allies set up NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) as a defensive alliance against Russia. NATO countries surrounded Russia; in 1955, the Soviet Union set up the Warsaw Pact – an alliance of Communist states.

  1. Arms Race

After Berlin, the USA and the USSR realised that they were in a competition for world domination. They began to build up their armies and weapons.


  1. Copy the five causes of the Berlin Crisis.

  2. The Berlin blockade and airlift was one of the first episodes of the Cold War. Write an essay to describe what happened.

Start the story in Jan 1948, and finish it on 12 May 1949.

  1. Working as a whole class, draw a spidergram to show all the reasons why the Berlin blockade failed.

The Korean War, 1950–53

The Korean War was the time when the Cold War became a global conflict.

What caused it?

President Truman was interested in the Far East:

  • Cold War: Truman realised the USA was in a competition for world domination with the USSR. Europe was not the only place where Communists were coming to power. In the Far East, too, they were getting powerful – China turned Communist in 1949.

  • Japan: Truman was worried that, in the end, the Communists would capture Japan.

  • Domino theory: Truman believed that, if one country fell to Communism, then other would follow, like a line of dominoes.

Stalin, also, was involved in the Far East:

  • Kim II Sung visited Stalin. In 1949, he persuaded Stalin that he could conquer South Korea. Stalin was worried that America would get involved, but he gave his agreement. Kim II Sung also went to see Mao Tse Tung, the leader of China, to get his agreement.

In 1950, Syngman Rhee boasted that he was going to attack North Korea. It was a good enough excuse – the North Koreans invaded South Korea.

This started the Korean War.

The war had FIVE phases.

Did you know?
In 1945, Korea was freed from the Japanese. The country was split in half at the 38th parallel.
North Korea

  • (led by Kim II Sung) was Communist.

South Korea

  • (led by Syngman Rhee) was capitalist.

The two countries hated each other.

Source B

Asia is where the communist conspirators have decided to make their play for global conquest. If we lose this war, the fall of Europe is inevitable. There is no choice but victory.

The US General MacArthur, speaking in 1950.

New Words

global: whole world
38th parallel: a line of latitude on the map.
Kim II Sung

Syngman Rhee

Mao Tse Tung

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