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Flashcards in The Cold War Deck (59)
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Arms Race

The stockpiling of nuclear weapons by both the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  


Explain the objective of the Bay of Pigs invasion

The 1961 plot by the United States to train Cuban exiles to return to Cuba at the Bay of Pigs to spreadhead a revolution to overthrow the new Communist regime started by Fidel Castro. 

Since the United States was not openly supporting this plot, they could not provide air support to the Cuban exiles.  As a result, the mission was a complete disaster and made the United States look poorly in the eyes of the international community. 


How did the Berlin Airlift affect the creation of the two separate countries of East and West Germany?

After the Berlin Airlift, the division between the Soviet-controlled and Western-controlled areas of Germany became official.

The Soviet sector became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the western portion became the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). Armed checkpoints prevented people from leaving East Germany.  

Berlin became divided between the two sectors; in 1961 the Berlin Wall was erected to divide East Berlin from West Berlin.


How did U.S. President Truman and the Western powers respond to Stalin's 1948 closure of road and rail traffic to Berlin?

The U.S., Britain, and France each had sections under their control in Berlin, which had at most a month's worth of food and coal and required 5,000 tons of food per day to supply.

With the assistance of the British and French air forces, Truman launched an airlift into Berlin to keep the city supplied. The Berlin Airlift was a success, and Stalin reopened access to the city in May 1949.


Why did the East German government, at the direction of the Soviet Union, build the Berlin Wall in November 1961?

The Berlin Wall was built to prevent East Germans from escaping into West Germany where economic opportunities and political liberties existed. Kennedy responded by calling up military reserves and positioning tanks in crucial locations. Neither side called each other's bluff and tensions relaxed.



What was the effect of the 1989 Eastern European revolutions on the Soviet Union?

Several of the satellite nations that made up the Soviet Union began advocating for independence. In March 1990, Lithuania declared independence, followed by Estonia and Latvia.

By late 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into the Commonwealth of Independent States, comprised of the 15 former Soviet Republics, and Gorbachev had resigned.


What was the Brezhnev Doctrine?

The Brezhnev Doctrine held that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene in any European country that signaled a shift from communism to capitalism. The Doctrine was announced retroactively (after the fact) to justify the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.


Cold War

The Cold War, often dated from 1945 to 1991, was a longstanding state of political and military tension between the Soviet Union and its allies and the West, primarily the United States and the NATO nations. Neither side's allies were limited to the Western world, as both sides had defense arrangements with countries in Africa and Asia as well.


List a few key events associated with the Cold War

  • Berlin is divided after WWII
  • Space Race
  • Arms Race
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Satellite Nations
  • Iron Curtain
  • Turman Doctrine/Marshall Plan (Containment) 
  • Berlin Blockade



In Eastern Europe, where did the collapse of Communism first begin?

Communism's collapse began in Poland, which broke free from the control of the Soviet Union in 1989. When the U.S.S.R. did nothing, the nations of Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania followed.

In Berlin, it was not Gorbachev but Berliners who tore down the Berlin Wall.


Explain the philosophy behind a Command Economy and some of the challenges that it creates.

An economic structure in which the government owns the means of producing and regulates all prices.  Governments that have attempted to implement a full command economy struggle, as there are too many markets and products to observe and regulate.


What took place in China at the end of World War II?

At the end of the Second World War, a civil war between the Republican forces and the Communist forces, led by Chairman Mao Zedong, resumed. In 1949, Chiang Kai-Shek was defeated and fled to Taiwan, establishing a separate government there. Communist Chinese forces took over Mainland China.

The rise of a Communist Chinese government, allied with the Soviet Union, terrified the Western powers.


Beginning in 1948, U.S. foreign policy centered upon the doctrine of containment. What is containment?

Suggested by George Kennan in 1946, the U.S. foreign policy of containment centered on containing Communism to those countries where it existed and halting its further spread.

Containment led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and to U.S. involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well as sending money over to impoverished European counties to prevent the spread of communism via the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan.


What was the Cuban Missile Crisis?

In 1962, an American Air Force U-2 discovered the Soviets preparing to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S. Kennedy responded by placing a blockade around Cuba and threatening war if any Soviet ship crossed the blockade line.

It was the closest the two superpowers came to nuclear war; Khrushchev backed down when Kennedy vowed not to invade Cuba. 


In 1959, Communists seized control of _____, only 90 miles from U.S. territory.


Led by Fidel Castro, the Communists overthrew Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed president of Cuba. Eisenhower immediately gave the Central Intelligence Agency permission to begin training Cuban dissidents, who would participate in the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an attempt to overthrow the newly established Communist dictatorship, but it failed horribly when the U.S. refused to supply air support to the returning Cuban refugees in an attempt to seem uninvolved in the attack.


What was de-Stalinization?

After the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, his successor Nikita Khrushchev began to unwind the cult of personality that had surrounded Stalin. 

In addition to increasing the production of consumer goods, he also lifted some restrictions on the state by curbing the KGB and allowing some limited freedom to writers and intellectuals such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. 


Beginning in India in 1947, the British, French, and other European governments began the process of _____.


One of the earliest nations to achieve independence was India in 1947, and Britain rarely fought to keep her colonies. France was more reluctant to give up her colonies. A French force attempted to retake French Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) and was defeated at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam.



Détente is a French term referring to the easing of a strained relationship. Détente with the Soviet Union occurred during the Nixon Administration, as the President and Henry Kissinger successfully negotiated several agreements with the U.S.S.R. to relieve tensions and avoid nuclear war.

At least in part, Nixon's détente resulted from renewed relations between the U.S. and China (a traditional Russian rival, though both, were Communist).


Domino Theory

The Domino Theory held that if one nation fell to Communism, other nations in the immediate region would also fall, creating a chain reaction. The Domino Theory was used to justify American intervention in both Korea and Vietnam.


In contrast to his predecessors' focus on détente, President Reagan took a hard-line on the Soviet Union. What term did he apply to the U.S.S.R. in 1983?

Reagan called the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire," while making the case for deploying U.S. nuclear missiles to NATO countries after the U.S.S.R. had done the same in Eastern Europe. Reagan's rhetoric and actions marked an intention to match aggressive Soviet behavior.


In 1987, Reagan gave the most famous speech of his presidency, stating

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" 

Where was Reagan speaking?

In Berlin, where the Berlin Wall had divided the city for decades. Three years later, the Wall fell as the Warsaw Pact disintegrated.


Identify Fidel Castro's role in the Cuban Revolution

Fidel was a lawyer who gains support in Cuba by winning over the peasant population.  He led a  Communist revolution in Cuba with the help of Che Guevara and established a Communist government 90 miles from Florida, which concerned the U.S.


In 1954, the United States was a participant in the Geneva Conference regarding the fate of what nation?


The conference was called after the French were defeated by Vietnamese forces. Vietnam was divided in two, with the North under the control of Communist forces and the South under the control of American allies.



The Russian policy of "openness and transparency" implemented by Gorbachev towards the end of the Cold War. 

Glasnost called for an end of censorship which had become a long-standing issue in the Soviet Union.  Gorbachev encouraged citizens to speak out against the problems occurring in the Soviet Union.


Starting in 1986, Gorbachev began to offer significant concessions to the United States on nuclear weapons levels, conventional force size, and policy in Eastern Europe. Why?

The Soviet military had become an unsustainable burden on the Soviet economy, which was in shambles.

Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost required him to redirect Soviet resources from costly Cold War military commitments to more profitable areas in the civilian sector.


In response to a supposed attack in 1964 by the North Vietnamese on the USS Turner Joy and the USS Maddox, Congress passed which measure that allowed the President to conduct all necessary measures to ensure that South Vietnam survived?

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

The resolution allowed President Lyndon Johnson to vastly increase the scope of U.S. operations in Vietnam -- from a few thousand troops in 1964 to 450,000 troops in 1967.


What prompted the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956?

Believing that de-Stalinization meant greater freedom for the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, Hungarians revolted against the Communist leadership, chanting "[t]his we swear, this we swear, that we will no longer be slaves."

In late October, liberal communist and Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced that Hungary was leaving the Warsaw Pact.

Seventeen divisions of the Soviet Army attacked and conquered the country easily. Nagy and several hundred Hungarians were executed and a loyal pro-Soviet government put in place.


Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) missile with a range of 3,400 miles designed for delivering nuclear weapons attacks.  They were built and strategically positioned all throughout the Cold War.


In 1954, the Central Intelligence Agency, with the knowledge of President Eisenhower, incited a coup d'état in an effort to access which country's oil supplies?


With the cooperation of the British (British Petroleum "BP" owned the oil fields), the Iranian government was overthrown and more power placed in the hands of a pro-American monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.


What did Winston Churchill declare an "Iron Curtain" in 1946?

Churchill was referring to the Soviet Union's domination of the countries of Eastern Europe.

The term Iron Curtain came to represent the ideological and economic divide between the countries of Western Europe and those countries of Eastern Europe under Communist control.