The Cold War: Causes, Events and Effects

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    Chinese Civil War:

    Occurred between 1927-1950 between Communist rebels and the Nationalist government. With the help of Mao Zedong, who later became the leader of China, the Communists overthrew the Nationalists, despite their capitalist aid. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan.
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    Arms Race:

    The Arms Race was not a physical race but rather a race to develop nuclear weapons. It occurred from 1941-1991 between the world’s powers, mainly U.S. and Soviet Union. By the end, both had sufficient bombs that, if deployed, could cause enough damage to destroy both nations and many more.
  • Yalta Conference:

    Was held on February 4th to the 11th in 1945 in Yalta, Ukraine. Leaders from Britain, Soviet Union and U.S. attended. (Truman, Churchill and Stalin.) Post-war peace was discussed as well as where to split Germany and what to do with the divided country.
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    Causes

    The end of WWII to beginning of Cold War. (Date not official, but most historians agree it began in 1947.)
  • Stalin’s dislike of Truman:

    Joseph Stalin disliked Harry Truman as equally as Truman disliked Stalin. This hatred only fueled the tension further.
  • Truman’s dislike of Stalin:

    Capitalist and democratic president, Harry Truman, did not just dislike Communism, but also despised Joseph Stalin; the leader of USSR.
  • USSR’s fear of the America's atomic bomb:

    This essentially motivated the Soviet’s to build a bomb of their own to use as a counter-threat for U.S.’s bomb. Whether the United States would have ever dropped the bomb or not may not be known, but with the ensured counter attack, the chances were diminished for both sides.
  • USSR’s hatred of capitalism:

    Neither form of government wanted the other to spread. A strong hatred was formed between them.
  • America’s hatred of communism:

    The United States feared Communism as equally as Communist countries like USSR feared Capitalism.
  • USSR’s actions in the Soviet zone of Germany:

    Germany was split up after WWII into pieces owned by France, U.S., and Britain on the West and Soviets owning the East. Eastern Germany was impoverished and in terrible conditions.
  • America’s refusal to share nuclear secrets:

    It was known after the war that the United State had obtained nuclear weapons. However their refusal to share secrets enraged the USSR, eventually they built the bombs using their own technology.
  • USSR’s expansion east into Eastern Europe: Both Communists and Capitalist saw each other as a threat, but more importantly wanted to expand their borders. Communism was introduced in Asia and pushed in Eastern Europe, despite the Capitalist's best attempt

    xBoth Communists and Capitalist saw each other as a threat, but more importantly wanted to expand their borders. Communism was introduced in Asia and pushed in Eastern Europe, despite the Capitalist's best attempts.
  • USSR’s broken election promises:

    Stalin promised free elections to countries in Eastern Europe but later refuses and converts them to communism, despite the previous arrangement.
  • USSR’s need for a secure western border:

    Just as Stalin was trying to spread communism in the west, the U.S. and other capitalist/democratic countries were trying to spread their belief to the east. This border, or Iron Curtain, was very important to Stalin, and threatening to the western countries
  • U.S.’s containment of Communism:

    The United State’s attempt to stifle Communism was called containment and, ultimately, was their plan of stopping the spread of Communism. Or “containing” it.
  • U.S.’s Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine:

    These plans were another form of U.S.’s attempt at containment wherein they supported any country who rejected communism. The Marshall plan related specifically to countries in Western Europe while the Truman Doctrine affected all countries who opposed communism.
  • Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech:

    Churchill’s speech from Missouri where he explained the threat of the Iron Curtain, or the division between democratic Western Europe and Communist Eastern Europe. Stalin responded by calling this speech a declaration of war.
  • USSR’s aim of spreading world communism:

    Stalin’s tactic of spreading the mindset of his own country in order to better control surrounding areas, especially those who were still weak and rebuilding after the war.
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    Cold War Events

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    Berlin Airlift:

    Occurred from June 1948 to May 1949 where the United States and British air force flew in supplies to Western Germany, when USSR stopped their flow of supplies. Food and other necessities were dropped in to the starving, decrepit civilians.
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    Korean War:

    The Korean War lasted from June 1950 to July 1953. Communist North Korea invaded Democratic South Korea despite the agreed border at the 38th Parallel. They drove them all the way to the southern tip of Korea and assumed they would be victorious until South Korea sought help from the UN. With the assistance from troops from the UN, lead by Douglas MacArthur, South Korea was able to push back North Korea to the 38th Parallel and then further. As Capitalist forces encroached on China
  • Alliances (Warsaw and NATO):

    (1955-1991) Two alliances were formed during the Cold War; one communist and one democratic. The Warsaw pact was communist and composed of the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was democratic and composed of the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
  • Space Race:

    Occurred between USSR and United States in 1957. Both countries were racing to get either a satellite or space ship into outer space. USSR technically won with their launching and successful orbit of the satellite Sputnik, however U.S. were the first to get a man on the moon.
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    Vietnamese War

    The United States also sent troops to fight in Vietnam when Communist North Vietnam threatened Southern Vietnam. They fought in the country for many years against the vietcong but unfortunately lost and Communist Vietnam was formed.
  • U2 Incident:

    The U2 incident happened on May 1st, 1960 when the Soviet Union shot down an American spy plane above their territory. Despite the fact that the drone was unmanned, the attack only increased previously standing tensions between the two countries.
  • Creation of Berlin Wall:

    The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to divide Eastern communist Germany and Western democratic Germany. Iit was torn down in 1989, but stood as a symbol of the extreme division between the different mindsets. The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to divide Eastern communist Germany and Western democratic Germany. Iit was torn down in 1989, but stood as a symbol of the extreme division between the different mindsets.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis:

    From October 14-28, in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened the United States. The Soviet Union was found to have plans for bombs to be kept on Cuba, very close to U.S. territory. The United States set up a blockade around the island and eventually the Soviets retreated.
  • Cultural Revolution:

    The Cultural Revolution occurred in China under Communist Mao Zedong and lead by Red Guards, of radical youth intent on converting the entire country to Communism. Their ideal was a entire system of peasant workers all equal however they did not succeed.
  • S.A.L.T.:

    The S.A.L.T., or Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, replaced brinksmanship under Nixon’s presidency in 1972. This policy was an attempt to diminish Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.
  • Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan:

    In December 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in efforts to protect Communist government from the threat of revolution..
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    1980 Olympics:

    The 1980 Olympics, in the summer and winter of 1980, proved to be much more than games. Many citizens saw relations between the teams and their home countries, so the games became more than just country vs, country, but Communist vs. Capitalist.
  • Berlin wall torn down in 1989:

    Germany, who had been split initially at the Yalta Conference, tore down the Berlin Wall and became a unified country again.
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    Cold War Effects

    How the Cold War left effects still evident today.
  • Wepons:

    Despite S.A.L.T., the threat of nuclear war did not disappear. Countries, including the United States, still have weapons of mass destruction, and the fear has caused many conflicts that are evident today.
  • Detente:

    President Nixon created a policy called “dentente” whose purpose was to ease tensions between the Soviet Union and United States, and any other nations caught up in Cold War conflicts.
  • Alliances still enact today:

    The NATO alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is still around today.
  • Many veterans from Vietnam and Korean wars:

    Many people in the U.S. fought or knew someone who fought in one of these wars.
  • Many economies devastated:

    Although the Cold War was never an actual war, many countries felt the wartime hardships even years after tensions dissolved.
  • Laws passed against discrimination and other racial conflicts:

    Racial equality and civil rights were improved when laws were established demanding fair employment commissions and other human rights for minorities.
  • New illnesses came about with exposure to radiation:

    In places like Hiroshima and other cities in Russia, radiation and effects from nuclear bomb testing still have lasting effects today. Birth defects and cancer are just some of the harmful effects still felt today.
  • New technological advances:

    Along with bombs the world also made many technological advances. The microchip, for example, was invented during the Cold War.
  • Communism collapsed worldwide:

    One can argue that there was infact a winner and loser of the Cold War, since Communism decreased across the globe following the war, and democracy has been adopted by many countries.
  • Smaller European countries achieved independence:

    As Communism fell away, many smaller countries in Europe and Eurasia gained independence. This explains why the country lines and names have changed when we look at old maps.
  • America became the sole superpower of the world:

    The Soviet Union used to be the most powerful country, but after the Cold War their government and economy fell apart, leaving the United States on top.
  • The Warsaw Pact disintegrated:

    Unlike NATO, the Warsaw Pact did not survive into post-Cold War times.
  • Conflict still remains between Communism and Democracy:

    Despite it all there are lingering affects of the conflict between Communism and Democracy to this day.
  • Third world countries advanced:

    Countries like India began to modernize and appear on the global spectrum had not been seen before.