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Period 2:  The Cold War (Truman to Johnson)

Page history last edited by Jacob Leibowtz 10 years, 6 months ago

Cold War (Truman - Johnson)


What was the Cold War?

     The Cold War began over the clash of two of the worlds superpowers. The two countries of U.S.A. and the USSR were fighting over superiority, but the war never became a "hot" war meaning that there were no shots fired. The main reason for this clash was because of their ideological view points. The USSR was based on communism while the U.S. was based on capitalism. They were competing for superiority in weapons development and in the space race and used propaganda, economic warfare, and diplomatic haggling . It is fought in all places - in neutral states, in newly independent nations in Africa, Asia and even in outer space. Started when Truman created anti-communist policy. During this time, both countries were so adamant about being number 1 that there was no compromise until someone surrendered. Communism Vs. Capitalism.




     Ideological: US = Capitalist | Soviets = Communist - the people do not have the right to form their own political parties. 

     Economic: The US encouraged free trade with the rest of the world when the Soviets blocked off their lands from the west for fear that trade,  interaction, etc would interfere and corrupt their totalitarian regime.

     Power Rivalry: Both countries wanted superior weaponry. Both competed in the space race, etc. 


Immediate Causes:

     Russian influence in Europe: the Soviets controlled a majority of Europe, enabling them to take control of military and police forces. This in turn helped them to take control over the votes in the region. 

     US Reactions: Unlike FDR, Truman was not as optimistic...therefore after his gaining office, the US favored a strong resistance against the USSR. The US didn't tell the Soviets about the atomic bomb

     Poor Relations between the US and SovietsLand-Lease was abruptly terminated by the United States and the Russian request for American economic aid for the purposes of post-war reconstruction was ignored by the government of the United States. (http://www.funfront.net/hist/europe/coldwar.htm)





  • 1945: February 4-11-- Yalta Conference Cold War Begins  

    • Took place on February 4th-11th in 1945 at Yalta in the Crimea. It was between the "Big Three" countries: US represented by FDR, Great Britain             represented by Winston Churchill, and the Soviet Union represented by Joseph Stalin. Stalin had the edge in the debate since most of Eastern           Europe was surrounded by Soviet troops. FDR and Churchill tried to restrict post-war influence, but the only compromise they could make was to         promise that free elections would be held in these countries. (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWyalta.htm) 

    • Key Points 

      • There was an agreement that the priority would be the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. After the war, Germany and Berlin would be split into four occupied zones.
      • Stalin agreed that France might have a fourth occupation zone in Germany and Austria but it would have to be formed out of the American and British zones.
      • Germany would undergo demilitarization and denazification.
      • German reparations were partly to be in the form of forced labor.The forced labor was to be used to repair damage Germany inflicted on its victims.
      • Creation of a reparation council which would be located in Russia.
      • The status of Poland was discussed. It was agreed to reorganize the communist Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland that had been installed by the Soviet Union "on a broader democratic basis."
      • The Polish eastern border would follow the Curzon Line, and Poland would receive territorial compensation in the West from Germany.
      • Churchill alone pushed for free elections in Poland. The British leader pointed out that UK "could never be content with any solution that did not leave Poland a free and independent state". Stalin pledged to permit free elections in Poland, but forestalled ever honoring his promise.
      • Citizens of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia were to be handed over to their respective countries, regardless of their consent.
      • Roosevelt obtained a commitment by Stalin to participate in the United Nations.
      • Stalin requested that all of the 16 Soviet Socialist Republics would be granted United Nations membership. This was taken into consideration, but 14 republics were denied.
      • Stalin agreed to enter the fight against the Empire of Japan within 90 days after the defeat of Germany.
      • Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice.
      • A "Committee on Dismemberment of Germany" was to be set up. Its purpose was to decide whether Germany was to be divided into six nations. Some examples of partition plans are shown below: 


The eventual partition of Germany into Allied Occupation Zones:     British zone     French zone (twoexclaves) and from 1947 theSaar protectorate     American zone     Soviet zone, later the DDR     Annexed territory

Partition plan from Winston Churchill:     North German state     South German state, including modern Austria andHungary     West German state

Partition plan from Franklin D. Roosevelt:     Hanover     Prussia     Hesse        Saxony     Bavaria     International zone (twoexclaves)
     Allied-administered Austria

Morgenthau Plan:     North German state     South German state     International zone     Territory lost from Germany (Saarland to France,Upper Silesia to PolandEast Prussia partitioned between Poland and the USSR)



    • The Main Topics Addressed were: The Division of Germany, The Formation of the United Nations, German War Reparations, The entry of Soviet forces into the Far-Eastern front (Japan), and the Future of Poland 

      • The Future of Poland- Poland was a main argument between these three nations. Stalin explained that Poland either attacked the Soviets or has been used as a passageway for other countries to attack the Soviets. With this, he believed that Poland should contain a strong, pro-communist government to ensure the safety of the Soviet Union. Both other powers were vehemently opposed to this. Churchill exclaimed that the British had once fought a war because the sovereignty of Poland was at risk. Eventually, Stalin promised to hold free elections within the month. This agreement was the start of the deterioration between the Soviets and the Western forces. 

      • Establishment of the United Nations-Roosevelt offered the idea that the UN should have a security council with four permanent members. These members would be: The United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. Each of these members would have a veto. Churchill accepted this proposal. However, at first Stalin wanted all 15 Soviet republics to to be apart of United Nations. Later, Stalin offered that the two main republics (Ukraine and Belorussia), as well as the Soviet Union, have a seat. Roosevelt and Churchill accepted this offer.

      • The Division of Germany- Churchill and FDR did not want another World War cause by Germany. The country that would have the most control over Germany would be in the best position in the future. Everyone had a different idea of how Germany should be divided up. FDR believed that Germany should be separated into five constituent parts. "However, Churchill felt that a division into Prussia and Austria-Bavaria with the German heartland of the Ruhr and Westphalia under international control was best." (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWyalta.htm)  
        The British also pushed for a zone occupa
        tion in France which was later accepted. Winston Churchill and Stalin wanted to capture Berlin. FDR did not agree. The exact boundaries were discussed later on. Germany was divided into 4 zones controlled by the US, Soviets, Great Britain, and the French. A joint Control Commission was set to take over Berlin.   

      • German War Reparations- Stalin wanted Germany to pay 20 billion dollars...half of which should be taken by the Soviets. Churchill did not want any war reparations because the war reparations from WWI led to the rise of Hitler. It was decided that Germany should compensate for war damage. The allies claimed that the Germans owed $320,000,000,000. The Allied Commission on Reparations, established at Yalta, met in Moscow in June and July, 1945 to discuss these matters further.

    • The U.S. Secretary of State, Edward Steitinius, proposed a "Declaration of Liberated Europe". This declaration stated that the three powers pledged to:

      · Establish conditions of internal peace 

      · Carry out measures for the relief of distressed peoples 

      · Form intern governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of governments responsive to the will of the people. 

      · Facilitate where necessary the holding of such elections. 

      This declaration was basically accepted by all the powers with challenge, and it was later used by the United States and Britain to claim that the Soviet Union has broken its agreement by virtue of its actions in Eastern Europe (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWyalta.htm



3. Germany was divided into four occupation zones: (http://www.funfront.net/hist/europe/coldwar.htm)

  1. Britain got the ruins
  2. France got the wine
  3. USA got scenery (Bavaria)
  4. USSR gained the lion’s share and surrounded Berlin


  •  1945: July 17- August 2 -- Potsdam Conference 

    • In July 1945 Truman (USA), Attlee (Britain) and Stalin (USSR) met in a suburb of Berlin, Potsdam.

    • It was agreed that the Foreign Ministers of Britain, France, USA, USSR and China would meet in 1946 to conclude treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary and Rumania

    • The war with Germany was over but no agreement was reached about her long-term future beyond what had been decided at Yalta.

    • The British and Americans were annoyed because Germany west of the Oder-Neisse Line had been occupied by Russian troops and was being run by the pro-Communist Polish government

    • The reparations question was raised again and each country was permitted to extract reparations from its zone. Only USSR took any.

    • It was agreed that German minorities were to be deported to Germany.

    • Truman did not inform Stalin about the nature of the atomic bomb, though the British were told about it during the conference. The first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima two days after the conference had ended. The war was ended without the need for Russian aid, and so did not take part in the occupation of Japan. 




  • 1945: August 6 -- United States first used atomic bomb in war

    • Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the US did not tell the soviets about the planned explosions, the suspisions of Joseph Stalin heightened.  

    • The US was afraid of the Soviets because the US lost most weapons during WWII, and the Soviets refused to withdraw their weapons.   


  • 1945: August 14 -- Japanese surrender End of World War II


          After 1945 the USSR feared a Western invasion of her new satellites and the west feared the spread of Marxism.


  • 1946: March -- Winston Churchill delivers "Iron Curtain" Speech

    • Considered one of the opening moments of the Cold War

    • The speech was named by Churchill, “The Sinews of Peace,” and changed the way the democratic West viewed the Communist East

    • Separated Europe into two different parts

      • The Iron Curtain was created by the Soviets who created a military and ideological barrier within Europe. Europe was divided so that the west represented dependence from the Soviets and non-communism, and the east, all the countries controlled by the Soviets.    

    • Churchill began by praising the United States, which he declared stood "at the pinnacle of world power." It soon became clear that a primary purpose of his talk was to argue for an even closer "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain-the great powers of the "English-speaking world"-in organizing and policing the postwar world. In particular, he warned against the expansionistic policies of the Soviet Union. 


      Stalin's Response: Stalin draws an analogy between Churchill and Hitler and accuses Churchill in supporting the racial theory, which Hitler also used to support. Stalin also explains the growing popularity of communism in Eastern Europe and as a result of its policy to provide liberty for the peoples (http://home.aubg.bg/students/HHP030/)

  • 1946: July 29- October 15 -- Paris Peace Conference

    •  21 countries were represented, though the defeated countries were allowed little to say

    • The talks were dominated by the Foreign Secretaries – Byrnes (USA), Bevan (Britain) and Molotov (USSR). There were many instances of friction between the West and the USSR, especially as Molotov’s actions were unpredictable.

    • In February 1947, peace treaties were signed with Italy, Finland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. No treaty was signed with Germany. 



  • 1947: March -- Truman declares active role in Greek Civil War

    •   American intervention in the Greek Civil War resulted in the creation of the Truman Doctrine- the US policy to aid nations defending themselves against communism.

    • On February 21, 1947, the United States was requested by Great Britain to give support to Greece and Turkey. President Truman asked Congress for $400 million of aid to Greece and Turkey.
    • In response to the above, the ELAS ( People's National Army of Liberation) announced the formation of a Communist government, the "Free Greek Government." The ELAS then fought its way south, nearly to Athens.

    • With the US help, the Greeks were able to stabilize their government and push the ELAS back up to the North.
    • "A Communist party split ended Yugoslavian support.  Yugoslavia disagreed with the Soviet Union on certain issues, dividing Communists into supporters of Tito and supporters of Stalin. The Greek Communist Party came to support Stalin and subsequently, Yugoslavia ended its support of the Greek rebels in July 1948."        


  • 1947: June -- Marshall Plan is announced

    • In June 1947 Gen. George Marshall proposed that the US provide aid to all European nations that need it

    • Congress didn’t know whether they should approve it or not but when Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia in Feb. 1948, they quickly approved it

    • They were to give away $12.5 billion 

    • The plan was very successful in both politics and economics

    • It improved both nutrition and industry in many countries

    • By 1952, Western Europe was flourishing and Communist parties lost much of their appeal to voters


  • 1948: June 24 -- Berlin Blockade begins

    • attempt by the Soviet Union to block Allied access to Berlin in 1948 - 1949

    • turned out to be a political failure for the USSR

    • was one of the first major conflicts of the Cold War

    • in order for the Allied forces to get supplies into Berlin, airplanes were used to make supply drops


  • 1949: July -- NATO ratified

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization

    • NATO was formed on April 4, 1949

    • After World War II the countries of Western Europe found themselves too weak politically and militarily to prevent the spread of the communist "iron curtain" on a national level.

    • 10 West European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal joined with the US and Canada to form a defensive military alliance from fear of the Soviet aggression  


  • 1949: May 12 -- Berlin Blockade ends


  • 1949: October -- Mao Zedong, a Communist, takes control of China 

    • creates the People's Republic of China and drives Nationalists to Taiwan




  • 1950: February -- Joe McCarthy begins Communist witch hunt

    • was a politician from 1946 - 1957, and was a member of the senate for the state of Wisconsin

    • 1950: he made a speech claiming that communists had infiltrated the State Department while waiving around a sheet of paper with the traitors names on it.

    • an investigation was initiated and found that the charges he made were false

    • McCarthy used his position in the senate to initiate a "crusade" against communism by accusing many people with little to no proof of his claims

    • McCarthy relied on accusations, slander and innuendo to tarnish his opponent's reputation which later became known as McCarthyism

    •  In 1954, McCarthy televised one of his anti-communist speeches allowing millions of Americans to hear him slander some military officials. After an investigation, McCarthy's claims were proved false. This outraged the public and cost his his seat in the senate.

    • A few years later he died at the age of 49 through alcohol complications 


  • 1950: June -- Korean War begins

  • North Korea is backed by Soviets and Chinese

  • Mcarthur wants to assault China directly with Nuclear Weapons

  • Truman publicly denounced Mcarthur 

  • 1951: January 12 -- Federal Civil Defense Administration established

    • Emphasized the use of fallout shelters for fear of Soviet nuclear strikes


  • 1953: July -- Korean War ends

  • Korea divided into South and North 


  • 1954: March -- KGB established (http://library.thinkquest.org/10826/timeline.htm)

    • The KGB was the security agency of the Soviet Union government which was involved in nearly all aspects of life in the Soviet Union since March 1954.

    • Main Causes:

      • Assistance in governing the Soviet Union - The KGB had considerable power in government affairs, particularly foreign affairs.

      • Suppression of internal resistance - The KGB was responsible for silencing or eliminating dissidence.

      • Protecting leaders - National leaders were physically protected and the information about them was screened by the KGB.

      • Ensuring economic efficiency - The KGB disciplined workers and quelled strikes.

      • Criminal investigations - The KGB investigated many crimes, especially those by foreigners and those which were against the government.

      • Enforcing morals - Dealing with those who had deviated from Soviet ideology was another KGB task.

      • Punishment - The KGB oversaw the punishment of political criminals.

      • Informing leaders - Soviet leaders were kept up to date about all types of information because of KGB reports.

      • Diminishing foreign threat - The KGB sought to decrease opposition from abroad and foreign influence within the Soviet Union. Foreigners in the Soviet Union, including diplomats and tourists, were individually monitored by a KGB agent who employed a number of techniques to spy. These foreigners were often the target of recruitment for espionage, made possible by the agency's adept abilities of persuasion. Threats, bribery, and seduction could all be used.

      • Secret operations - Exceptionally secret work was handled by the KGB, including the building of an underground complex beneath Moscow for their own protection, which necessitated the establishment of the Directorate of Tunnel Diggers.

      • Propaganda - The KGB had strict control over what information was made public.

  • 1954: July -- Vietnam split at 17th parallel


  • 1955: May -- German / Austrian Peace Treaty

    • Austria and Vienna were divided into four zones, but unlike Germany they were allowed their own government because they were seen not as a defeated country but as a state liberate from the Nazis. The Austrian government had limited powers and had a problem similar to that of Germany, the three western powers built up their zones and the USSR insisted on squeezing reparations from its zone, mainly in the form of food supplies. (http://www.rpfuller.com/gcse/history/8.html) 
    • In May, 1955, a peace treaty was signed most probably because the Soviets feared a merge between the western zones of Germany and Austria

    • Austria was made a neutral country and was forbidden to unite with Germany.
    • A peace treaty never reached country because of it's constant division.


  • 1957: October 4 -- Sputniklaunched into orbit (Begining of Space Race)

    • Soviets held the advantage for the first half of the space race with manned and unmanned satelites

    • Both sides feared the enemy would use satellites to spy on them or launch an attack. 

    • First space craft were based on long range rockets an missiles

    • The Soviet Union began the space race by launching the first satellite into space, but America is considered thw winnner by sending the first man to the moon. 


  • 1958: November -- Khrushchev demands withdrawal of troops from Berlin


  • 1959: January -- Cuba taken over by Fidel Castro




  • 1960: November -- John F. Kennedy elected President


  • 1961: April -- Bay of Pigs invasion

    • Approved by Eisenhower in 1960

    • Took place in April, 1961

    • Planned out by the CIA who trained and armed Cuban exiles

    • plan to overthrow the new government led by Fidel Castro

    • the invasion failed when airstikes failed and the exiles were met by Castro's army of 20,000 men, with Soviet tanks and Jets

    • J.F.K. took responsibility and paid $53 million for the captured exiles


  • 1961: August 17 -- Construction of Berlin Wall begins


  • 1962: October -- Cuban Missile Crisis

    • closest the world has ever come to World War III

    • Castro was threatening to launch nuclear weapons if the U.S. invaded Cuba

    • Nuclear weapons were provided by Krushchev for the availability of soviet weapons within range of America

    • U-2 spy plane located missile sights

    • J.F.K. prepared a 200,000 man invasion force in Florida, and blockaded Soviet Ships 500 miles from Cuba. 

    • Eventually after threats were made, the USSR and America came to agreements and the nuclear weapons were removed from Cuba (J.F.K. publicly promised to not invade Cuba, and secretly promised to remove Nuclear Missles from Turkey.


  • 1963: July -- Ban on nuclear weapons testing ratified


  • 1963: November -- President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas 

  •  1964: Krushchev removed from power in Soviet Union  

  • 1969: July 20 -- Apollo 11 lands on the moon making America the first nation to send a person to the moon


Effects of the Cold War in America


Fear of Communism

  • 1945, 2 state department workers discovered passing classified documents to pro-communist magazines
  • in the same year, it was discovered that information about the atomic bomb was passed on too
  • Anti - communist republicans accused Truman of being to soft on Communism
  • by 1953, 39 states passed laws to make it illegate to plan governmental overthrows
  • laws were created that violated ones right of free speech
  • pedestrians on the streets refused to sign petitions in fear of being convicted of being a communist


Loyalty Review Board

  • purpose of investigating government officials and to dismiss those of being disloyal to U.S.A.
  • 1947 - 1951 there were 3.2 million employees investigated with 212 being dismissed


The House Committee on Un-American Activities - developed from hte congressional committee to search for disloyalty before WWII. In 1947 it investigated communist influence in the movie industry.


The Hollywood Ten

  • "unfriendly" witnesses who testified for communism in Hollywood, but refused to cooperate with the committee because they believed the hearings were unconstitutional, they were then sent to prison.
  • Many people lost their careers after being black listed


The McCarran Act

  • made it illegal to plan any action that could lead to dictatorship
  • Truman vetos it and says that in a free country you are convicted only of crimes that you commit
  • however the veto was over run  



  • Alger Hiss was convicted of being a spy and was prosecuted by Richard Nixon, and the evidence was provided by the National Security Agency.
  • The Rosenbergs: Gave the Soviet Union secret information of the Atomic bomb that allowed them to make one 18 months faster htan predicted. They were found guilty and were given the death penalty. Evidence was provided be\y Soviet cables from the National Security Agency. 


American Propaganda





Cold War Video



Cold War Game




Cold War Video 






 Kort , Michael. The Cold War. Brookfeild Connecticut: Millbrook Press, 1994. Print

 Lloyd , C. Gardner. The Korean War. New York City: New Yok Times, 1972. Print.

 Danzer, Gerald A., J. Jorge Klor de Alva, Larry S. Kreiger, Louis E. Wilson, and

 Nancy Woloch. "Unit 7 World War II and its Aftermath ." Chapter 26 Cold War

      Conflicts. 7. Evanston IL: McDougal Littel Inc., 1998. Print.

 Broz - Tito, Josip. "Tito Speaks." Life May 12, 1952: Print.


o        American intervention resulted in the Truman Doctrine, the U.S. policy of aiding nations defending themselves against Communist forces.

Comments (2)

Peter H. Bond said

at 3:59 pm on Jun 7, 2010

This is excellent work! My only complaint is that you've given so much it is difficult to decide (from a student perspective) what is truly important - and what is background, etc. (So, you need more explicit and clear COMMENTARY directing students to the most important issues, etc.)

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