The origins of the Cold War 1941-58 (Berlin Blockade + airlift (The USA…
The origins of the Cold War 1941-58
Grand Alliance and Conferences
The Grand Alliance was made up of the Big Three: Britain, The USA and The Soviet Union; it was formed to combat Germany in WW2. They united against a common enemy, their actions of which were decided at 3 conferences.
Tehran was the first in Nov-Dec 1943
where a number of things were decided: USA and Britain would open up a 2nd front by invading Nazi occupied Europe (D Day). The SU would declare war on Japan when Germany was defeated, Poland's borders would move west, they'd get land from Germany and lose it to the soviet union. It was also agreed that there would be an international body to settle future disputes.
Yalta was next in February 1945
- They agreed that Germany, when defeated, would be reduced in size, divided into 4 zones, demilitarised and would be required to pay $20 million in reparations. The UN would be set up and there would be free elections in European countries. Nazi war criminals would be punished and Stalin would join the war against Japan.
However they disagreed over a few things: Stalin wanted all 16 soviet states free admittance to the UN but only Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were admitted. Stalin wanted the Lublin Poles in charge in Poland as they were pro-communist but Churchill wanted the London Poles in charge.
Potsdam in July-August 1945
- There were some changes at this conference since Roosevelt had been replaced with Harry S Truman after his death. Truman was less lenient with Stalin and they didn't have a rapport like Stalin and Roosevelt. Both Churchill and Labour's Clement Attlee were there as they were awaiting the results of the General Election which Churchill actually lost. He left halfway through the conference and this greatly affected the conference since Stalin respected Churchill and didn't have nearly the same respect for liberal Attlee.
This conference was different since Germany had surrendered in May 1945 so there was no longer a common enemy. They decided that Germany would be 4 zones and Berlin would also become 4 zones. Since the SU had the poorest zone they could take a quarter of industrial equipment from other zones.
There was disagreements about how the future of Eastern Europe should progress as Stalin wanted certainty and security for the Soviet Union concerning Eastern Europe.
Mainly, the difference is that one is capitalist and one is communist. Communism focused on the rights of working class while capitalism focused on the rights of the individual. The west focused on individual freedom while the east focused on freedom. The economy has free trades in America while the economy is government planned trade in the Soviet Union. The east is a dictatorship while the west is completely democratic.
The US had developed the Atomic bomb in 1945 and Truman used this fact to his advantage during the Potsdam conference- this is known as atomic diplomacy. This sped the arms race on massively as the Soviet union didn't appreciate the US' atomic monopoly.
Long Telegram (1946)- a secret report from the US ambassador Kennan in Moscow to President Truman which said that: the Soviet Union saw capitalism as a threat to communism to see it destroyed. Also that the Soviet Union was building its military power and that peace between a communist Soviet Union and a capitalist USA was not possible.
Novikov (1946): a report from Novikov, the Soviet ambassador to the USA. He told Stalin that the USA wanted world domination and was building up its military strength.Also that the Soviet Union was the only state that could stand up to the USA left in the world. He also said that the USA was preparing for war with the Soviet Union.
In the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, Stalin agreed to free elections in the Eastern European countries because he thought that they'd willingly choose communism but many did not, so as the red army stayed behind in many countries after liberating them, they took over and rigged the elections to make a communist party win. From the inside, they shut down opposition parties and they became single party states (known as salami tactics). By 1949, they had most of eastern Europe and east Germany as communist states.
Development of the Cold War
COMINFORM, COMECON and NATO
Stood for the Communist Information Bureau which Stalin set up in 1947. It organised all the Communist parties in Europe and arranged them under Moscow. Cominform's goal was to get rid of any communist opposition in satellite states. It also encouraged them to block any Marshall Plan assistance.
Stood for Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. Stalin set it up in 1949 and it was the Soviet response/ alternative to the Marshall Plan. It encouraged and forged trade links between COMECON countries and prevented the same countries from asking for Marshall Aid.
NATO was set up in 1949 and was a military alliance between the US and many western countries. It was based off collective security, if one country was attacked, the others would have to assist against it. It was against a possible attack from the Soviet Union.
NATO showed that after the Berlin Blockade and the Soviet's own development of the atomic bomb, neither the US nor Western European governments were prepared to accept future Soviet aggression. This triggered the formation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 which was to strengthen their own defense against the US. Now there were two military alliances, one on each side of the Iron Curtain each in their own sphere of influence.
Truman doctrine and Marshall Plan
The Truman Doctrine was in 1947
which was sparked by events in Greece. The British sent in troops in 1945 to supervise free elections and restore order to Greece. In 1946, the USSR protested the UN that the British were a threat to peace, the UN took no action so the communists tried to take power by force. A civil war quickly developed, the British couldn't afford a war so they announced they would withdraw in Feb 1947. Truman stepped in and paid for some to stay, they helped to restore the Monarchists by 1950.
was known as containment and was the doctrine to contain the spread of communism from Eastern Europe. Truman would provide money and troops to help free governments to combat communist takeovers in order to preserve freedom.
was the economic faction of the Truman Doctrine and was the $13 billion made available by the US to help rebuild Europe. Communist appealed to people who didn't have anything to lose, the Marshall plan made sure that people would have a stake and a debt to the capitalist system. Countries had to trade with the USA to get the money; 16 countries took the money. The USSR called this plan
adn as an attack on the Soviet Regime.
Berlin Blockade + airlift
The USA wanted a united, capitalist Germany that would be easier to trade with so Britain and the US joined zones in Germany to form Bizonia in 1947 and later France joined to form West Germany (jokingly called Trizonia sometimes). This area was in on the Marshall plan, the unification was extremely unpopular with the Soviets since they thought it was against the agreements made at Potsdam; he also though Truman was out to permanently divide richer West Germany from poorer East Germany.
Stalin failed to get political control of Berlin so he tries to take economic control via the blockade. He didn't want the deutschemark circulating as this would make west Germany even stronger and would make communism look inferior. In December 1947 there was a conference in London with Britain, France and the USA to discuss the future of Germany- Russia wasn't invited which provoked Stalin.
Between the 23rd and 24th of June 1948, Stalin cut off all rail and road links from West Berlin to western Germany, as well as cutting the supply of electricity from East Berlin to the Western Sector. The allies couldn't force their way into Berlin so instead they airlifted supplies in, starting on the 28th June 1948.By the end of july 1948, the planes were flying in over 2000 tons of food and raw materials everyday. In the winter they lived on dried potatoes and powdered eggs and cans of meat as well as 4 hours of electricity per day.
Some pilots dropped sweets and chocolate which showed that they would give them luxuries- made the west look stronger. The blockade lasts 11 months but carries on to 30th September 1949 in order to build up a reserve of supplies.
After the Berlin Crisis, diplomatic relations broke down between the US and SU.
Within a few weeks of the crisis, West Germany formally became known as the Federal Republic of Germany (sept 1949) while East Germany became known as the German Democratic Republic (oct 1949).
The Cold War intensifies
1945- USA had an atomic bomb and dropped 2 on 2 Japanese Cities.
AUGUST 1949- USSR develops their own atomic bomb
1951- US Strategic Air Command (SAC) develops policy of constant readiness. 6000 USSR targets are identified in case of a war.
NOVEMBER 1952- USA detonates the very first H-bomb which is 1000 times more powerful than the atom bomb.
AUGUST 1953- USSR detonates its own H-bomb
MARCH 1954- USA develops H-bomb small enough to be dropped from a bomber.
USSR drops a test H-bomb from a bomber.
JULY 1956- USA develops U-2 spy plane to spy on soviet weapons development
MAY 1957- USSR develops the first ICBM
OCTOBER 1957- USSR launches Sputnik satellite into orbit around the earth. USA shocked by Soviet advances in the space race.
JANUARY 1958- USA puts a satellite into orbit.
1959- USA develops sophisticated ICBMs and Polaris missiles (fired from submarines). US public are worried that the USSR has more nuclear weapons however Eisenhower knows this is not true but doesn't tell them.
APRIL 1961- Soviet Cosmonaut becomes first man in space.
OCTOBER 1961- USSR detonates the largest ever H-bomb which is more powerful than all explosives from both sides used in WWW combined.
By the mid 1950s the development of nuclear weapons started to produce larger warheads and missile delivery systems which meant that nay nuclear war would destroy both sides (known as Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD). They had to come up with diplomatic ways of solving issues so there wouldn't be a war that involved nuclear weapons.
Stalin died in 1953 and after a brief struggle for power, Nikita Khrushchev emerged as leader in 1955. He didn't like Stalin's violent and extreme methods and so began to 'De-Stalinise' Russia which involved a slightly more lenient form of communism. He set political prisoners free and reduced the activity of the secret police. He said he wanted 'peaceful co-existence' with the US and the USA hoped this would be the end of the cold war.
Hungary had suffered under Stalin, all their food and industrial products were shipped to Russia. Any opposition was ruthlessly wiped out by their brutal leader Rakosi. He was known as Stalin's 'Best pupil' and the 'Bald Butcher'. Soon, communist rule became extremely unpopular.
Under Rakosi, life was hard, religion was heavily suppressed- Cardinal Mindszenty (leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church) was imprisoned for life for no real reason in 1949. Terror was used to control the public. Approx. 2000 were killed and 200,000 were imprisoned.The secret police the
were used heavily and became a dreaded part of life.
The people (mainly students) in Hungary were inspired by Khrushchev's policy of De-Stalinisation that they may be able to have a better life, they thought that he'd be more lenient. They were also sick of the suppression of their patriotism and religious identity- Hungarians were devout Catholics so this was a main motive. They thought they'd receive support from the USA but they didn't as: they were in the Warsaw Pact, they didn't want a war. The US' policy was containment and this issue was not containment, it was not their responsibility to turn communist states capitalist, simply stop capitalist states turning communist. Eisenhower was in the middle of an election campaign and didn't want to hurt his chances; also, the US were also helping in the Suez Crisis in Egypt.
In June 1956, Rakosi was opposed by a group within the communist party, he appealed to Moscow for help but they denied and replaced him with Erno Gero. However, he was no more acceptable to the Hungarian people, as shown by the knocking down of the statue of Stalin in October 1956 which sparked Moscow to let a new government be formed under the leadership of Imre Nagy. He was much more lenient and liked the idea of a more autonomous Hungary: he asked Khrushchev to pull Russian troops out and he agreed - 28th October 1956- Soviet troops pull out of Budapest.
On the 3rd November 1956, Nagy announced that they were going to leave the Warsaw Pact which was unacceptable to a Soviet Russia. At dawn the next day, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest and killed 4000 Hungarians. Janos Kadar was put in power by Khrushchev next.
200,000 fled and were taken in by other European Nations. This strengthened Khrushchev's position internationally and he became much more confident in dealing with the USA.
International response to Hungarian uprising
Many were horrified and it made the West even more determined to contain communism. In many ways, this uprising made the USA look weak but they didn't want to compromise containment.
The USA supported the Hungarians in terms of sending monetary aid and medical aid and they also accepted refugees but they did no action in terms of military aid.
The UN condemned Soviet actions and some countries boycotted the 1956 Olympics but no further actions were taken.
Other satellite states saw that the USA wouldn't come to their aid and so Soviet control re-tightened.
The Warsaw pact was a collective defense strategy involving Soviet states and satellite states. It was set up on the 14th May 1955 following the entry of West Germany into NATO on the 9th May 1955 which greatly threatened the Soviet Union.
The formation of the Warsaw Pact meant that there were two opposing military alliances on either side of the Iron Curtain in Europe.
The Warsaw pact gave the Soviet Union direct control over the armed forces of its satellite states, thus strengthening its grip on Eastern Europe.