Why was the Grand Alliance formed?
Because Hitler invaded the USSR in 1941 with 4 million soldiers.
Why was the Tehran conference significant for international relations?
Because the Grand Alliance was meeting to plan the end of WWII together.
What did the Grand Alliance agree about a ‘second front’ at Tehran?
They agreed that the USA and Britain would open a ‘second front’ by launching an attack on German-occupied Western Europe.
Why did the British and Americans agree to open the ‘second front’ by attacking German-occupied Western Europe (at the Tehran conference)?
Because this would ease pressure on the ‘first front’ or ‘Eastern Front’ where the Soviets were suffering heavy losses. This would ease pressure because the Germans would have to send troops from the East to the West.
What did Stalin promise to do at Tehran in return for the opening of the ‘second front’?
Stalin agreed to attack Japan and supply Soviet troops to help the USA with the war against Japan - but only once the war in Europe was over.
What did the Big Three also agree at Tehran about how to deal with Germany after the war?
They agreed (in principle - not formally) that the aim of the war was to bring about the unconditional surrender of Germany and that Germany should remain weak after the war.
What was agreed about Poland at the Tehran conference?
Again, it was an informal agreement, but the Big Three agreed that Poland should receive land from Germany and that the Soviet Union should keep the land it took from Poland in 1939.
Why was the (informal) agreement about Poland at the Tehran conference important for international relations?
Because it was important for Stalin (he didn’t die until 1953 remember!) that he could make his western border safe after the war by creating a ‘buffer’.
Was there any other general agreement at Tehran other than how to fight the war and what to do with Germany and Poland afterwards?
Yes, they agreed that an international body (organisation) should be set up to settle disputes through discussion and negotiation rather than warfare. This laid the groundwork for the creation of the United Nations later.
How significant was the Tehran conference overall for international relations between the superpowers?
Quite significant. Maybe 7/10? Stalin had arrived thinking that Britain and America were deliberately delaying the opening of a second front in order to weaken the USSR as they fought the Germans in the east. So he was pleased about the decision to open the ‘second offensive’ in the west.
Was there any tension or negative consequences from the Tehran conference?
Yes. Mainly between Britain and America/USSR. Churchill was suspicious of Stalin’s desire to open the second front in the west. Churchill wanted to attack Germany from the Balkans (perhaps landing in Croatia and moving up through Bulgaria, Hungary etc. towards Germany from their eastern side).
How could the tension at the Tehran conference be summarised?
The USA and Britain felt tension because it seemed like Roosevelt (FDR) saw British colonialism as more of a threat to world peace than the Soviet Union. It seemed that good relations between Roosevelt and Stalin might create a position where the Big Three was becoming the Big Two and, after 1945, the USA and Soviet Union might become the only global superpowers.
When was the Yalta conference?
What had changed (at Yalta) since the Tehran conference two years before?
The ‘second front’ had been launched in France. British and American troops were pushing the Germans back towards Berlin. More importantly, Soviet troops had defeated the Germans and now had control of Central and Eastern Europe (exactly what Churchill had feared). .
At Yalta, why was Stalin so obsessed with controlling Central and Eastern Europe?
He wanted a ‘buffer zone’ or cushion against future German invasions.
What agreements were made at Yalta about the division of Germany?
Germany would be divided into 4 zones. Each zone would be controlled by a different power: The USA, Britain, France and the Soviet Union.
What agreements were made at Yalta about reparations?
Germany would pay $20 billion in reparations (payments in goods or money). Half of that would go to the Soviet Union.
What agreements were made at Yalta about Nazis?
The Nazi Party would be banned and war criminals would be prosecuted.
What agreements were made at Yalta about the (informal at Tehran) peace-keeping organisation?
A United Nations would be set up, with the first meeting agreed as 25th April 1945.
Was there any tension because of the agreement to set up the United Nations at Yalta?
Slightly. Stalin wanted to give all 16 Soviet Republics (the countries he had ‘liberated’ from the Nazis) individual membership, but the USA and France disagreed, so only Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus were admitted to the UN.
Were any agreements from Tehran re-affirmed in Yalta?
Yes, Stain agreed to join in the war against Japan. This was three months after the defeat of Germany.
What (now we see as false) promise did Stalin make about Eastern Europe at Yalta?
Stalin agreed that future governments of countries in Eastern Europe would be decided in free elections.
Why was Poland the cause of tension at the Yalta conference?
Because it was agreed that the borders of Poland would be returned to their position in 1921 (this gave Stalin and the Soviets a significant land advantage). Also, it was agreed that there would be free elections.
Why did the agreements about Poland cause tension at Yalta then?
Because Stalin expected the elections to bring about a pro-communist government, whereas the British supported the non-communist London Poles. Also, Churchill by this time was aware that Stalin had ordered his troops not to support an uprising against the Nazis in Warsaw in 1944 and had actually killed several thousand Polish officers after that uprising had been squashed by the Nazis.
When was the Potsdam conference?
Why was the mood different at Potsdam in July-August 1945?
Two big reasons: 1. Change in leaders: FDR (a dove) died in April 1945 and was replaced by Harry Truman (a hawk). Churchill was replaced by Clement Attlee (who was desperate to get back to Britain as quickly as possible).
- World events: Germany had surrendered in May 1945 and the USA had developed the Atomic bomb. Also, the United Nations had been established in June 1945.
When was the Atomic bomb tested by the USA?
The day before the Potsdam conference started - Truman delayed the start so that he could use the successful test to influence the negotiations in his ‘get tough’ policy with Stalin.
When was the Atomic bomb actually used?
After the Potsdam conference - when it was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th 1945.
Why did the change in personalities in Potsdam change the negotiations?
- Compared to Roosevelt and Churchill, Truman and Attlee were very new to diplomatic discussions so it was much harder for them to get their way with Stalin.
- Truman was determined to take a ‘get tough’ approach with Stalin and deliberately delayed the start of the conference until the atomic bomb was ready - to give him an ‘edge’ in the discussions.
- Attlee was a new Prime Minister and wanted to avoid the talks dragging on so that he could return quickly to Britain.
Why did changes in world events change international relations at Potsdam?
The development of the atom bomb soured relations: Truman used it to put pressure on Stalin but also became concerned that Stalin already seemed to know about it. Also, the defeat of Germany had taken away the need to work together.
Was Potsdam only significant because it made international relations worse?
No. Despite the changes in personalities and world events, the allies did find some common ground: they agreed on the division of Germany into four zones and the division of Berlin as well.
What consequences did the agreements at Potsdam have for international relations?
It meant that the allies could still come to some agreements, despite their ideological differences, personality clashes and the changes in world events. It also created the possibility for future tensions because Berlin was so deep inside the Soviet zone, which would eventually lead to the Berlin blockade and airlift in 1948-49.
What disagreements were there at Potsdam about reparations (the money a defeated country has to pay the winners after a war)?
The Soviets wanted Germany to pay heavy reparations, but Truman was concerned that this would make it harder for the German economy to recover.
What resolution was there to the disagreement about reparations at Potsdam?
The big three agreed that each administering country should take reparations from its own zone. Also, because the USSR controlled the poorest zone, it was allowed to take a quarter of the industrial equipment from the other zones.
What disagreement was there at Potsdam about the government of Eastern Europe?
Truman objected to the control that the Soviet Union had over the countries it had ‘liberated’ from Nazi rule. Truman also objected to the arrangements for Poland and the borders that had already been agreed. He wanted to see a new government with less communist influence.
What consequences did the disagreements at Potsdam have for international relations?
The seeds of suspicion were sewn and Truman had begun to see the Red Army as an army of occupation. However, without risking another war, there was little he could do. Also, although there had been some common ground, it was now clear that there were significant issues they could not agree on. In particular, Stalin wanted control of Eastern Europe to act as a ‘buffer’ to protect the security of the Soviet Union. Truman saw this as an aggressive attempt to spread communism, turning the wartime alliance into peacetime hostility.
How important was the development of the atom bomb for international relations with regard to the creation of Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe?
It was very important. It made Truman more confident and determined in the negotiations at Potsdam, so it contributed to his ‘get tough’ policy on Stalin - Truman wanted more democracy and freedom for the countries ‘liberated’ by Stalin from Nazi occupation. Also, it made western countries (like Britain and France) feel more secure about placing themselves under American protection, rather than looking to reach agreement with the USSR. However, it also made Stalin even more determined to make the Soviet Union secure. This drove Stalin on to develop his ‘buffer zone’ of countries sympathetic to communism between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Therefore, the bomb had the opposite effect that the Americans wanted - it didn’t pressure Stalin into giving Eastern European countries more freedom - it did the opposite.
Was the development of the atomic bomb important for international relations in any other ways?
Yes. The USA’s monopoly didn’t last and the Soviets had their own bomb by 1949. By 1964, Britain, France and China also had the atomic bomb.
This new nuclear arms race dramatically increased tensions in the Cold War. Now, a nuclear war could kill millions and destroy the world many times over. However, the increased terrible consequences of using atomic bombs also made the USA and USSR more reluctant to go to a ‘hot war’. Instead, it intensified the cold war as they competed to have more and more powerful weapons.
What was the Long Telegram?
It was a message sent by George Kennan, the US ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1946 reporting on the Soviet attitude towards the USA.
What did the Long Telegram say?
The Long Telegram said that Stalin wanted to see the destruction of capitalism and that Stalin felt the world outside the USSR was hostile and looking to destroy communism.
However, it also said that the Soviet Union was not suicidal and would back down if the USA showed strong resistance.
What consequence did the Long Telegram have for the relationship between the USA and USSR?
It intensified the tension between the superpowers. The Long Telegram shaped US policy towards the Soviet Union and in the coming years, America believed there should be a policy of ‘containment’ to stop the spread of communism. This then led directly towards the Truman Doctrine, which many historians see as the starting point of the cold war.
What was the Novikov Telegram?
It was a message sent by the Soviet ambassador to Washington in 1946, reporting on the American attitude towards the Soviet Union.
What did the Novikov Telegram say?
It said that the USA wanted to use their massive military power to dominate the world. Novikov believed that, since Roosevelt’s death, the Americans no longer wanted to co-operate with the Soviet Union and the American people would support their government if this led to war.
What consequence did the Novikov Telegram have for the relationship between the USSR and USA?
It also intensified the suspicions and made Stalin more and more determined to develop as much protection as possible in Eastern Europe.
What was the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech?
It was a public speech made by Winston Churchill (no longer PM but very influential) in March 1946 while he was in Fulton, Missouri in America.
What did Winston Churchill say in the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech?
Churchill made it clear that he thought the Soviet Union was a threat to freedom and world peace. He was provoked to make the speech by the fact that communist governments had recently been set up in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
What consequence did the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech have on the cold war?
It shocked a lot of ordinary civilians in the west who still saw Stalin and the Soviet Union as allies from WWII. So in an important sense, it started the cold war in the minds of the populations of western countries. In the Soviet Union, along with the Novikov Telegram, it led to an intensification of anti-Western propaganda and led the Soviet Union to strengthen its forces. Therefore, it intensified the growing hostility between East and West.
When (and how) were the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia made into Soviet satellite states?
They were conquered by the Soviet Union in 1940 and treated as part of the USSR.
When (and how) was Czechoslovakia made into a Soviet satellite state?
Czechoslovakia was strongly democratic from 1918-38 and they tried to return to democracy after the war but Stalin saw this as a threat to his ‘buffer zone’ so he supported a communist coup in February 1948 and a pro-Soviet communist government was set up under the leadership of Klement Gottwald.
When (and how) was Poland made into a Soviet satellite state?
In 1944, Poles staged a rebellion against German occupation known as the Warsaw Uprising. The Soviets had promised to support them, but instead of helping, the Red Army waited for the Nazis to crush the uprising. Then the Soviets invaded and put a pro-communist government in place. At first, the government included some of the (democracy-loving) London Poles but after the supposedly free election of 1947, they were forced to flee or face imprisonment and another Soviet satellite state had been added to Stalin’s buffer zone.
When (and how) was Hungary made into a Soviet satellite state?
In Hungary, there were elections in 1945 but not enough communists were elected to form a government. In the 1947 election, voters were intimidated by a campaign that was supported by Moscow and a communist party government was elected. By 1949, Hungary was a one-party communist state.
When (and how) were Bulgaria, Romania and East Germany made into Soviet satellite states?
In 1944 and 1945, the Red Army took control of these areas as they pushed towards Berlin. As in Poland, there were ‘free’ elections, but in reality voters were intimidated and all the elections produced communist governments.
What effect did the creation of Soviet satellite states have on international relations?
Truman saw this as evidence that the Soviet Union wanted to spread communism worldwide, which worsened relations between the USA and Soviet Union.
Also, it led to US-funded support for the Greek (Royalist) government army in the Greek Civil War, fighting against a communist force supported by Moscow.