In July and August of 1945, representatives from the Soviet Union, the United States, and Great Britain divided Germany into zones of occupation at the _____ _____.
The British, French, Americans, and Soviets each agreed to occupy roughly a quarter of Germany. In addition, the parties divided Berlin (which lay within the Soviet Zone) into four quarters, each assigned to one of the four powers.
In an agreement with the United States, Stalin and the Soviet Union were to allow free elections in the Eastern European countries they occupied at the end of World War II. What were the results of these elections?
The countries of Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia all backed Soviet candidates, although the elections were not open and honest. The Soviets’ failure to allow open and honest elections strained relations with the United States.
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.
In early 1947, U.S. President Harry Truman announced that the United States would provide aid to _____, where pro-Western forces were involved in a civil war with Communist troops.
Truman announced the aid with the statement that “[t]he policy of the United States is to support free people who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outright pressure.” Truman’s support for non-Communist nations resisting Communist forces became known as the Truman Doctrine.
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.
What was the Marshall Plan?
Beginning in 1948, the U.S. provided $13 billion in economic aid to rebuild Europe after the devastation of World War II. Aid was available to all European countries, but was rejected by the Soviet Union and the Communist states of Eastern Europe. The Marshall Plan didn’t only repair damage, but also aimed to modernize European industrial and business facilities. As part of the policy of containment, the Marshall Plan allowed the pro-democracy governments of France and Italy to provide an alternative to Communism.
The Marshall Plan was a resounding success. By 1951, those European countries involved in the Plan saw their economies grow at a rate 35% higher than in 1938. The Marshall Plan also proved advantageous to both the United States and Canada. As the only Western economies not destroyed by war, most Marshall Plan purchases came from these two countries.
How did U.S. President Truman and the Western powers respond to Stalin’s 1948 closure of road and rail traffic to their enclaves in Berlin?
The U.S., Britain, and France each had enclaves 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.
How did the Berlin Airlift affect the creation of the two separate countries of East and West Germany?
After the Berlin Airlift, the de facto 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.
In 1949, in partial response to the Berlin Airlift, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and several other European nations created a mutual defense organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). How did the Soviets respond?
The Soviets created their own alliance with the Eastern European Communist states: the Warsaw Pact. The formation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact formalized the Cold War, which would last until 1991.
Several former Warsaw Pact countries are now members of NATO.
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.
In 1949, the Soviets escalated the Cold War by detonating their first atomic bomb. How did President Truman respond?
Truman countered the Soviet threat by giving approval for the development of the hydrogen bomb, which was 450 times more powerful than the bomb dropped at Nagasaki.
Competition between the U.S.S.R. and the United States had escalated into an arms race, which would continue virtually unabated until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
After the end of the Second World War, who set up democracy in Japan?
General Douglas MacArthur
MacArthur set up a parliamentary democracy, but retained the Japanese Emperor as a figurehead. In addition, the Japanese constitution barred Japan from participation in anything but a defensive war. Japan would by necessity rely on the United States for protection.
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 Tse-Tung, 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.
The Domino Theory held that if one nation fell to Communism, 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.
How did the U.S. and the Soviet Union administer the Korean Peninsula at the end of the Second World War?
After the War, the Korean Peninsula had been divided at the 38th Parallel, with the Soviet Union occupying the northern portion and the United States occupying the southern one.
Elections to establish a permanent government were to take place in 1948, but never happened. Instead, the North formed a Communist government under Kim Il-sung, and the South formed a democratic government, under Syngman Rhee.
How did the Korean War begin?
After advising both Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao of his plans, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung crossed the 38th Parallel on June 25, 1950. American forces and their allies eventually rolled back the Communist advance, and the Korean Peninsula was divided between the Communist North and the Democratic South.
How did Britain, France, and Israel react to Egypt’s seizure of the Suez Canal in 1956?
The combined British, French, and Israeli forces launched an attack and seized the Canal. U.S. President Eisenhower, who hadn’t been advised of the attack, was livid, refused to support the operation militarily or morally, and led the United Nations in condemning the action. Eventually, under American pressure, the combined forces withdrew.
The Suez Crisis signaled the decline of the Western European nations’ ability to act independently without either the participation or approval of the United States.
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.
What event led to the collapse of France’s Fourth Republic?
In 1958, the French colony of Algeria broke into open revolt. While the Algerians advocated separation from France, the colony’s large French population wanted to stay part of France, making the conflict similar to a civil war. When segments of the French military mutinied and assisted the French colonists in Algeria, the Fourth Republic was paralyzed.
Charles de Gaulle, who’d retired from politics 10 years before, emerged and called for the suspension of the French constitution and the creation of a new French government.
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev gave his “Secret Speech” to the 20th Communist Party Congress. Who was the speech’s target?
The target of the Secret Speech (officially titled “On the Cult of Personality”) was recently deceased Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Khrushchev accused Stalin of fostering a cult of personality around himself in opposition to the principles of Communism. The delivery of the speech indicated the beginnings of what became known as the “Khrushchev Thaw.”
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.
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.
In 1959, Communists seized control of _____, only 90 miles from U.S. territory.
Led by Fidel Castro, the Communists deposed 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.
Why did the East German government, at the direction of the Soviet Union, erect the Berlin Wall in November 1961?
The Berlin Wall was erected to prevent East Germans from escaping into West Germany where economic opportunities and political liberties abounded. Kennedy responded by calling up military reserves and positioning tanks in crucial locations. Neither side called each other’s bluff and tensions relaxed.
Kennedy would continue to show U.S. solidarity with the people of West Berlin in a speech in that city in 1963. He said “Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich Bin Ein Berliner’” (I am a Berliner).
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.
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 staunch pro-Soviet government put in place.
The Prague Spring was the name given to the political liberalization of Communist Czechoslovakia between January and August 1968.
Calling for “socialism with a human face,” Prime Minister Alexander Dubček called for greater democratization and the lifting of restrictions on the press and free speech.
Efforts to conciliate the Soviets proved unavailing. In August, the Soviet Union and almost all the Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia. Dubček was deposed and replaced with a pro-Soviet Prime Minister.
In 1961, President Kennedy met with Premier Khrushchev of the U.S.S.R. in Vienna. What was the primary point of discussion at the Vienna Summit?
Once again, the Soviets demanded that the United States abandon West Berlin, which Kennedy refused to do. Kennedy, who had injected a drug cocktail for back pain before the summit, admitted that Khrushchev had “beat the hell out of me.” Khrushchev would continue to challenge Kennedy, who he perceived as weak, by erecting the Berlin Wall and placing missiles in Cuba.
Which country was the first to place an artificial satellite in space?
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the artificial satellite Sputnik. The launch of Sputnik triggered the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, as each nation worked to send increasingly sophisticated systems into outer space.
In response to the Soviet launch, Congress established the National Air and Space Agency (NASA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Defense and Education Act, which included massive funding for scientific research at the university level.
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.
In response to a purported 1964 North Vietnamese attack 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 was the Tết Offensive (1968)?
During a Vietnamese holiday (the Lunar New Year) in January 1968, the Việt Cộng and North Vietnamese launched a massive attack capturing Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital. Although U.S. forces were able to drive their adversaries back and deliver a victory, Walter Cronkite, the most trusted news reporter in America, declared that the war was lost.
What was “Vietnamization”?
Vietnamization was Richard Nixon’s strategy to achieve victory in Vietnam. The policy called for replacing American ground troops by training South Vietnamese forces supported by American money, air power, and war materials. By 1973, only 30,000 forces were left in Vietnam.
After Nixon’s resignation, the North Vietnamese invaded the South, conquering the country in 1975.
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 to justify the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
In 1971, Nixon shocked the world by announcing an official visit to Mainland China in February 1972. The U.S. had had no diplomatic contact with China since 1949, when it had fallen under Communist control. Why did Nixon go to China?
Nixon was engaged in an aggressive foreign policy maneuver. Although both China and the U.S.S.R. were Communist, they were also historic rivals. China sought an ally against the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union in turn sought to placate the U.S., resulting in a visit from Nixon in May of 1972.
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 forestall 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).
Mutually Assured Destruction
Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD, marked the end point when the Cold War turned “hot.” As a theory, MAD contended that both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. would avoid nuclear confrontation because it would result in the destruction of both countries.
MAD required each nation to have enough nuclear weapons to survive a first strike in order to retaliate. In turn, this required a massive arms race.
During the early 1970s, U.S. President Richard Nixon negotiated two arms control treaties with the Soviet Union. What were they?
The two treaties were:
- Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT): SALT froze the number of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).
- Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty: ABMs were capable of destroying inbound missiles, and their use would have started a new arms race. Both sides agreed not to further develop them.
What was the American reaction to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik I and Sputnik II, the first two space satellites, in 1957?
The American reaction can only be described as shock; American technical supremacy over the U.S.S.R. had always been presumed.
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded what Central Asian nation?
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Soviet Invasion was in response to a revolution that sought to depose Afghanistan’s pro-Soviet regime. In response, the United States provided significant military aid to the anti-Soviet mujahideen forces. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been called “Russia’s Vietnam.”
What was the Reagan Doctrine?
As part of the Reagan Administration’s hard-line stance against Communism, under the Reagan Doctrine the U.S. provided aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to supplant Soviet-backed communist governments in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
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 1983, President Reagan announced support for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which pundits dubbed “Star Wars.” What was the SDI?
SDI called for using ground- and space-based systems to protect the United States from nuclear attack. Underlying the concept was a break from the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction, since the policy proposed to ensure that the United States could survive a nuclear attack.
It also put pressure on the Soviet Union to match the U.S. effort, which the Soviet Union could ill afford.
Shortly after Reagan began his second term, a new Soviet leader came to power in the U.S.S.R. Who was he?
Mikhail S. Gorbachev
In 1986, Gorbachev announced glasnost (greater political freedom) and perestroika (moderate economic freedoms). To achieve these twin goals, Gorbachev had to severely curtail military spending and remove Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
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.
What was Solidarity?
Solidarity was a Polish trade union. Beginning in the early 1980s, Solidarity emerged as an anti-bureaucratic rival base of power to Poland’s Communist Party. Headed by Lech Walesa, Solidarity fielded candidates in a free election in 1989. In 1990, Walesa was elected president.
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.
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.
What was the effect of the 1989 Eastern European revolutions on the Soviet Union?
Several of the constituent republics 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.