Topic 2 Nuclear Age & cold war (Sub-topic 2 Atomic bombs and the…
Nuclear Age & cold war
Atomic bombs and the beginning of the Nuclear Age
Unit 2: Why did the USA drop the bombs?
To avoid further casualties
it would have caused the deaths of about 250 000 people per month, mostly Asian.
To keep Stalin out of Japan and to frighten the USSR
The Soviet Union did not have atomic weapons yet.
The USA wanted to show that they were militarily superior to the USSR.
The Americans also wanted to stop the USSR from invading Japan, so that they did not have to share victory with the USSR like they did in Germany.
The bombings of Japanese cities were to intimidate the Soviet Union.
Unit 3: Was it justified?
The issue that has divided historians is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific against Japan.
When, where, why and how did World War II come to an end?
Albert Einstein’s ideas
Best-known scientists who ever lived.
He grew up in Germany and developed scientific ideas that changed our understanding of the universe.
In 1921 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics
Scientific theories used to develop the 1st bomb
The Manhattan Project
1939 to 1945
Top secret research project to research and produce an atomic bomb.
America’s best scientists worked on the Project.
Code name ‘The Gadget’.
On 16 July 1945, successfully exploded in the desert near Los Alamos in the state of New Mexico.
The heat of the blast was so hot that it turned the sand under the explosion to glass.
The end of WW II
Beginning of the Nuclear Age
By May 1945, Germany and Italy had been defeated, but Japan was still fighting.
To defeat Japan, in August 1945, America dropped its newly invented atomic bombs of enormous power on two Japanese cities.
The city of Hiroshima was bombed on 6 August and on 9 August a bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.
The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because they produced weapons of war for Japan.
On 14 August, Japan admitted defeated.
Since America dropped atomic or nuclear bombs, we have been living in an age that is often called the Nuclear Age or the Atomic Age. The threat of terrifying and devastating nuclear weapons changed the nature of war forever.
Sub topic 1
Increase tension between allies after WW2 in Europe
Unit 1: Tension between Russia, and the USA and Britain
The Yalta Conference -
The Allies had decided that when Germany was defeated, it would be divided into four zones.
In June 1945, the Allies divided up Germany and Berlin and took over the government of Germany.
In July 1945 American, British, and French troops moved into Berlin.
The Potsdam Conference
17 July – 2 August 1945
Participants were the Soviet Union, Britain, and the United States
They gathered to decide how to administer punishment to the defeated Nazi Germany.
The Soviet Union was occupying Central and Eastern Europe
Russian troops did not withdraw
Stalin insisted that his control of Eastern Europe was a defensive measure.
Britain had a new Prime Minister
Churchill’s party was defeated. Clement Attlee became the Prime Minister.
Atlee deeply distrusted Stalin.
America had a new President, and the war was ending
The US had tested an atomic bomb. 16 July 1945
Churchill and Truman agreed that the weapon should be used to defeat Japan.
President Roosevelt died-> Harry Truman became the president
Truman was much more suspicious of Stalin than Roosevelt had been.
Stalin knew about the bomb
KGB spies that had infiltrated the group that made the bomb
26 July, the Potsdam Declaration had been broadcast to Japan, threatening total destruction unless the Japanese government surrendered.
Unit 2: The USSR (communism) vs. USA and the West (capitalism)
The USA and the West, and capitalism
The United States of America is a capitalist country. It became an extremely powerful nation during the First World War. It is a very big country that occupies most of North America with its 50 states. The capital city is Washington D.C.
huge industries & wealthly are protected while other people remain very poor.
Individuals own private property
The government does not control the economy.
The possibility of making a profit motivates people to work harder.
Capitalist governments may be democratic, but are sometimes fascist.
The main ideology behind capitalism is the belief that there is nothing wrong with some people being very rich, and other people being poor.
The USSR and communism
The ideology of communism is highly sophisticated.
The ideas were developed by some of the world’s greatest thinkers – men like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.
Communism is a revolutionary movement that promotes the violent overthrow of capitalism. Communism became a popular ideology among poor people all over the world. The governments of America and Western Europe thought that communism was a threat to them, and wherever they could, they tried to stamp it out.
A great change took place in Russia during World War I. In the Russian Revolution of 1917 the king, Tsar Nicholas II, was overthrown and a communist government took over the government. Russia was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Russian Revolution was a turning point in world history.
Communist governments are not usually democratic
Do not like a few rich people controlling all the wealth in the country.
The state owns all large industries and other sources of wealth.
The wealth should be shared equally between people
No one can own private property or make a profit.
A communist economy is centrally planned to make sure that there is economic equality.
Government should rule in the interests of all, not just the rich.
Definition of the Superpowers and the meaning of the ‘Cold War’
Unit 1: Who were the Superpowers and what was the Cold War?
In 1941, Hitler’s invaded Russia. Russia then joined the Allies in the war against the Axis powers.
In WW II, USA & Russia fought the same enemies – that is, Germany, Italy and Japan.
Russia developed its own nuclear weapons by 1949.
Cold War - Nuclear weapons would destroy the world. No faught on the battle field
Areas of conflict and competition between the Superpowers in the Cold War
Unit 2: Space race
The space race grew out of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the most powerful nations after World War II.
After World War II, military scientists in the USSR and in the USA began developing rockets which could carry nuclear bombs over long distances. These rockets were much faster than aeroplanes, and could be fired without warning. The Russians took the lead in rocket technology.
A rocket could carry bombs across the world, but could also carry people into outer space.
In 1957 the Soviet Union put the first satellite into space. The Americans were stunned. They had no idea that Russian science was so far advanced. There was a fear that America might never catch up. The USA felt inferior and decided to compete in a ‘space race’ with the Russians.
The first person in space
In 1957, the Russians sent a dog called Laika into space.
The dog died after a few hours in space from overheating and stress.
In 1961, the Russian astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, was the first person to go into space. He arrived back on Earth safely.
The race to the moon
On July 20 1969, newspapers around the world reported that three American astronauts
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins — had made it to the moon.
President Kennedy declared that the space race had a clear goal: landing a man on the moon before the Russians.
Unit 1: Arms race
Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). If one side attacked the other with nuclear weapons, then the other side would respond with a nuclear attack too.
The arms race
Threat of nuclear war over Cuba
In the early 1960s, the Cold War almost became a ‘hot’ war as the Superpowers competed over control of Cuba. Both America and Russia had nuclear weapons. The tensions over Cuba were the first signs of war since the end of WW II. Not only were they signs of war, they were also a threat of nuclear destruction.
Castro came to power
implement socialist reforms
land redistribution from the rich to the poor
nationalisation of American-owned businesses.
The nuclear arms race was a competition in which two countries, the United States and the Soviet Union, tried to build up the most nuclear weapons during the Cold War.
Cubans were very unhappy with the Batista government, and many were involved in fighting a guerrilla war against his regime. In 1959 the revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, toppled the Batista regime. Rich Cubans fled to America.
Cuba is an island off the coast of the American state of Florida. It had a capitalist, oppressive and corrupt government ruled by General Batista. Cuba had close economic ties with America. American corporations had important investment in Cuba.
Cuba in the 1950s playground of the rich Americans
Ordinary Cubans were poor and had few human rights.
The Bay of Pigs invasion
The American government decided to try to overthrow Castro’s government.
An army of Cuban exiles trained by the US army, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The Americans were quickly defeated by the Cuban army, and the USA was humiliated.
The Cuban missile crisis
The world came close to a nuclear world war at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.
Castro feared another armed attack on Cuba, and agreed to Russian military assistance.
Khrushchev wanted to have the United States within their range of fire. He argued that this would reduce the risk of a potential attack on Russia the part of the American government. America had nuclear missiles stationed in Western Europe and in Turkey, close to Russian soil.
Unit 3: Division of Germany 1946 and the building of the Berlin Wall 1961
Division of Germany 1946
Britain, France, and the United States combined the economies of the western zones of Germany
The Soviet Union imposed communist rule on its eastern zone.
Between 1946 and 1961 over 3 million people emigrated from East to West
This humiliated the USSR, and damaged the East German economy.
Division of the city of Berlin 1946
People who lived in East Berlin, worked during the day and in the evening could visit West Berlin to meet friends and relatives and go to the movies or the theatre, walk around the shops and read Western newspapers.
About 60 000 people from the East came daily to West Berlin to work in factories and workshops.
For 13 years people could move fairly freely in both parts of the city and meet whenever they wished.
About 200 000 Germans from East Berlin and the Soviet Zone visited West Berlin every day.
About eight million theatre and movie tickets were sold each year in West Berlin to East Berliners.
The Berlin Wall 1961
In August 1961, the USSR ordered the blocking off of East Berlin from West Berlin.
A barbed wire fence was put up across the border.
Over the next few months construction workers began building a solid wall.
People living in East Berlin and East Germany were no longer allowed to go to West Berlin. There was outrage in the West.
American and Soviet tanks faced each other in Berlin. For a short while a real war rather than a Cold War looked possible.
History Sub-topic 5
The end of the Cold War, 1989
Unit 1: The fall of the Berlin Wall 1989
Mikhail Gorbachev 1985 - Reform
Mass demonstrations against the communist government in East Germany took place in 1989.
Erich Honecker, East Germany’s head of state, had to resign in October 1989. The new government prepared a new law to lift the travel restrictions for East German citizens. Gorbachev and the Russian government did nothing to stop this.
On November 9, 1989 a member of the new East German government was asked at a press conference when the new East German travel laws would come into force. Immeditaly
1000s of East Berliners gathered at the border crossing.
Guards on both sides had not been given orders about what to do. They refused at first to open the borders. But then, unable to control the crowds, the border guards allowed the gate to open and thousands of people to pour through, with little or no identity checking.
East Berliners and West Berliners danced in the streets in what became the biggest party the city had ever seen.
The wall remained guarded and the East German military.
The East German government soon collapsed.
German reunification followed in 1990, and the wall was completely destroyed.
Unit 2: The fall of the Soviet Union (very briefly) 1991
From the end of World War II, world politics was dominated by the rivalry between the two Superpowers of the USA and the USSR. In December 1989, after more than four decades, Gorbachev and American President George H.W. Bush Senior declared the Cold War officially over.
Gorbachev thought he would save the communist system in the USSR. However, his new policies failed. In late 1991 the Soviet Union itself dissolved and the communist government came to an end.