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Chapter 38. The Bipolar World. The “Kitchen Debate”. American National Exhibition, 1959 Conflict over Captive Nations resolution passed by Congress Prelude: debate over horse manure vs. pig manure Public discord over Communism vs. Capitalism. The Ideological Struggle.

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Chapter 38

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Chapter 38

Chapter 38

The Bipolar World

The kitchen debate

The “Kitchen Debate”

  • American National Exhibition, 1959

  • Conflict over Captive Nations resolution passed by Congress

  • Prelude: debate over horse manure vs. pig manure

  • Public discord over Communism vs. Capitalism

Chapter 38

The Ideological Struggle

Soviet & Eastern Bloc Nations[“Iron Curtain”]

US & the Western Democracies

GOAL spread world-wide Communism

GOAL “Containment” of Communism & the eventual collapse of the Communist world.[George Kennan]


  • Espionage [KGB vs. CIA]

  • Arms Race [nuclear escalation]

  • Ideological Competition for the minds and hearts of Third World peoples [Communist govt. & command economy vs. democratic govt. & capitalist economy]  “proxy wars”

  • Bi-Polarization of Europe [NATO vs. Warsaw Pact]

Development of the blocs

Development of the Blocs

  • Winston Churchill: the “iron curtain”

  • Division of post-war Germany, especially Berlin

    • Western powers merge occupation zones

    • Introduce German Mark

    • Soviet Blockade of Berlin

Chapter 38

The “Iron Curtain”

From Stettin in the Balkans, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lies the ancient capitals of Central and Eastern Europe.

Sir Winston Churchill, 1946

Chapter 38

Occupied Germany, 1945-1949

Chapter 38

The Eastern Bloc

Chapter 38

Post-War Germany

Chapter 38

The Federated Republicof Germany

  • Created in 1949 withthe capital at Bonn.

  • Its army limited to12 divisions [275,000].

  • Konrad Adenauer, aChristian Democrat,was its 1st President.

    • Coalition of moderates and conservatives.

    • Pro-Western foreign policy.

    • German “economic miracle.”

  • “Father of Modern Germany.”

Chapter 38

Clement Attlee, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, July 1945

Chapter 38

  • At Potsdam, the three leaders agreed on 5 basic principles:

    • Germany should remain a single country, but for the time being it would be divided.

    • Germany must be demilitarized.

    • The Nazi Party must be outlawed.

    • German political structure should be rebuilt on a democratic basis.

    • Individuals responsible for war crimes should be brought to trial.

Berlin airlift

Berlin Airlift

  • 11 months of air shipments to Berlin, beginning June 1948

  • Cold war did not go “hot”

  • Retribution: British/U.S. embargo on Soviet imports

  • Soviets lift blockade in summer 1949

  • East Berlin capital of “German Democratic Republic”

  • Bonn capital of “Federal Republic of Germany”

Chapter 38

Berlin Blockade & Airlift (1948-49)

Chapter 38

The Berlin Airlift

Construction of the berlin wall

Construction of the Berlin Wall

  • 1949-1961: 3.5 million East Germans flee to west

    • Especially younger, highly skilled workers

  • August 1961 construction of wall separating East and West

  • Symbol of the Cold War

Chapter 38

The Berlin Wall Goes Up (1961)


Chapter 38

Construction of the Berlin Wall

The arms race

The Arms Race

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1949

  • Warsaw Treaty Organization (Warsaw Pact), 1955

  • Nuclear proliferation

  • End of 60s: Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)

Chapter 38

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949)

  • United States

  • Belgium

  • Britain

  • Canada

  • Luxemburg

  • Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Portugal

  • 1952: Greece & Turkey

  • 1955: West Germany

  • 1983: Spain

  • Denmark

  • France

  • Iceland

  • Italy

Flag of nato

Flag of NATO

Chapter 38

Warsaw Pact (1955)

  • U. S. S. R.

  • Albania

  • Bulgaria

  • Czechoslovakia

  • East Germany

  • Hungary

  • Poland

  • Rumania

Borders of nato blue and warsaw pact red states

Borders of NATO (blue) and Warsaw Pact (red) states

Division of korea

Division of Korea

  • Characteristic of Cold War: localized conflicts, “proxy wars”

  • Korea divided along 38th parallel after WW II

  • 1948 two Koreas

    • Republic of Korea (South, capital Seoul)

    • People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (North, capital Pyongyang)

Chapter 38

The Korean War: A “Police Action” (1950-1953)

Syngman Rhee

Kim Il-Sung

“Domino Theory”

Korean war

Korean War

  • North Korea invades in 1950, captures Seoul

  • US lands, drives North Koreans back to 38th parallel, then goes on to capture Pyongyang

  • Chinese invade, push USA back to 38th

  • 3 million killed by ceasefire in summer 1953

  • No peace treaty signed, continued tensions

Chapter 38

  • After WWII, Korea had been divided, with the Soviets controlling the north and American troops controlling the south.

  • In the north a communist government led by Kim Il Sung took power. In the south, Syngman Rhee led.

  • In June of 1950, North Korea invaded the South. The UN spearheaded troops and supplies to stop the invasion. With most of the troops coming from the US, together with South Korea, the north was pushed back.

  • As US troops approached the Chinese border in North Korea, China became threatened. China sent thousands of troops to help North Korea.

  • This drove the troops back to the 38th parallel or the division between North and South Korea.

Chapter 38

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of Korea

Chapter 38

Current Leaders of the Korean Peninsula

Kim Jong Un

Aka Lil’ Kim or Psy

Park Geun-hye



  • Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), Asian version of NATO

  • “Domino Theory” moves Eisenhower to consider nuclear weapon use in Korea

Chapter 38


  • Fidel Castro Ruz (1926-), 1959 revolution

  • Cancels promised elections, expropriates foreign properties, kills or exiles political enemies

  • US imposes trade embargo

  • Soviets step in with massive aid, gain foothold off US shores

Chapter 38

Khruschev Embraces Castro,1961

The bay of pigs

The Bay of Pigs

  • Castro declares undying allegiance to Soviet foreign policy, 1960

  • Kennedy and CIA send 1,500 Cubans into Bay of Pigs to spur revolution

  • American Air support does not appear, force destroyed in 3 days

  • US embarrassment

Chapter 38

Bay of Pigs Debacle (1961)

Cuban missile crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis

  • October 1962 Soviets begin assembling missiles in Cuba

  • Kennedy publicly challenges USSR

  • Quarantines CUBA

  • Soviets concede, but US guarantees non-interference with Castro regime

  • US Secretary of State Dean Rusk: “Eyeball to eyeball, they blinked first”

Chapter 38

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

Chapter 38

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

We went eyeball-to-eyeball with the Russians, and the other man blinked!

Chapter 38

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

Chapter 38

The Cold War, 1949-1962



  • Western success with household technologies

  • US Marshall plan for rebuilding Europe: 13 billion, 1948-1952

  • Europeans owning cars:

    • 1955: 5 million

    • 1963: 44 million

Economic growth as a result of the marshall plan

Economic growth as a result of the Marshall Plan

Chapter 38

A promotional poster for the Marshall Plan

Internal us developments

Internal US Developments

  • Red Scare in USA

    • Senator Joseph McCarthy (1909-1957)

    • “domestic containment”

  • Feminism

    • Women pressured to leave workforce

    • Betty Friedan (1921-), The Feminist Mystique

The civil rights movement

The Civil Rights Movement

  • Irony of American “freedom,” exploited by USSR propaganda

  • Influence of Gandhi on Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

  • Gradual successes:

    • Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954, against school segregation

    • Rosa Parks, Montgomery Alabama, 1955

The space race

The Space Race

  • Nonviolent aspect of cold war rivalry

  • Initial Soviet successes:

    • 1957: Sputnik, first satellite

    • 1961: Yuri Gagarin orbits space’

  • US sets up NASA, lands Apollo XI on the moon, July 1969

Chapter 38

The Arms Race:A “Missile Gap?”

  • The Soviet Union exploded its first A-bomb in 1949.

  • Now there were two nuclear superpowers!

Chapter 38

Sputnik I (1957)

The Russians have beaten America in space—they have the technological edge!

Challenges to soviet hegemony

Challenges to Soviet Hegemony

  • Rebellions quashed:

    • Yugoslavia expelled from Soviet bloc, 1948

      • Tito

    • Hungary, 1956

    • Prague Spring, 1968

  • Brezhnev Doctrine: right to invade any socialist country threatened by elements “hostile to socialism”

Chapter 38

Hungarian Revolutionary, 1956

Chapter 38

“Prague Spring” (1968)

Former Czech President, Alexander Dubček

Communism with a human face!

Chapter 38

“Prague Spring” Dashed!

Dissidents/playwrights arrested [like Vaclav Havel—future president of a free Czech Republic].

Chapter 38

Soviet Tanks Enter Prague, 1968

The people s republic of china

The People’s Republic of China

  • Civil war between Communists and Nationalists erupts after defeat of Japan

  • Jiang Jieshi (Chang Kai-shek) forced to retreat to island of Taiwan with Nationalist forces

    • Takes most of China’s gold reserves

  • Mao Zedong proclaims People’s Republic of China, 1949

    • Begins dramatic transformation of Chinese society into Communist mold

Chapter 38

Call me

Mao Zedong!!

(Do it. Now.)

  • Mao tried to unite the majority of peasants behind his belief that it was them who would provide the basis for China’s Communist Revolution.

  • Mao’s leadership was bolstered by a growing threat from the Japanese and the belief that Chiang should be fighting the Japanese, not other Chinese.

Chapter 38

  • The are five main reasons why the Communists were able to win over Chiang’s Nationalists:

    • Mao won the support of the huge peasant majority by promising them more land.

    • Mao won the support of women by reforming inequalities of Confucian order.

    • Mao’s army employed guerilla tactics.

    • Many viewed the Nationalist government as corrupt.

    • Many felt that the Nationalists had allowed foreigners to dominate China.

Social and economic transformations

Social and Economic Transformations

  • Power concentrated in Communist Party

  • Ex-nationalists executed or sent to reform camps

  • Rapid industrialization under Soviet-style Five-Year Plan, 1955

    • Massive land redistribution

    • Collective farms replace private farming

  • Universal health care, education

  • Dramatic challenges to gender discrimination

Mao zedong

Mao Zedong

  • People’s Republic of China, 1949

  • Great Leap Forward, 1958

  • Communes

  • Production Quotas

Chapter 38

  • In 1966, trying to keep the faith of his supporters, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution.

  • This was an attempt to rid China of its old customs, habits and thoughts.

Chinese poster saying: "Smash the old world / Establish a new world."

The red guards

The Red Guards

Beijing moscow relations

Beijing-Moscow Relations

  • Mutual concern over US rehabilitation of Japan

  • Beijing recognizes primacy of USSR as Communist leader

    • Receives military aid in return

    • Soviet Union principal trading partner

  • Friction over Moscow’s neutrality in conflict with India over Tibet, claimed by China in 1950

  • Rift sharpened in 1964 as Khrushchev moves toward peace with US

D tente


  • Reduction in hostility between nuclear superpowers

  • Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (1972, 1979)

  • Friction in early 1980s over improvement in relations between US and China

    • Also, USSR intervention in Afghanistan

    • Earlier US intervention in Vietnam

Chapter 38

Vietnam War: 1965-1973

The us defeat in vietnam

The US Defeat in Vietnam

  • US aids noncommunist Vietnam in south after French departure from territory

  • US aid increases, reaches 500,000 troops in 1968

  • Conflict with northern communists ends in stalemate

  • President Richard Nixon attempts to end war by escalating bombings, extending into Cambodia

  • US eventually leaves in 1973, war continues until south is defeated in 1975

Chapter 38

Ho Chi Minh

Chapter 38

Ngo Dinh Diem

Chapter 38

National Chief of Police executes an Viet Cong officer in Saigon during the Tet Offensive.

Chapter 38

Viet Cong base camp after an attack.

Chapter 38

Children flee a South Vietnamese napalm strike

Soviet setbacks in afghanistan

Soviet setbacks in Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan a Islamic nation, nonaligned until 1978, becomes pro-Soviet through a coup

  • Radical non-Islamic reforms provoke backlash

  • Soviet Union intervenes, fights nine-year battle against Afghan mujahideen (Islamic warriors)

    • CIA supplies them with ground-to-air Stinger missiles

  • 1986 USSR forced to pull out

  • 1994 Taliban takes over after civil war

Cold war countercultural protests

Cold War Countercultural Protests

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    • Critique of nuclear power policies

  • Massive anti-Vietnam protests

  • Rock and Roll as counterculture

  • Watergate Scandal (1972-1974)

    • President Nixon orders illegal wiretaps, discovered and forced to resign 1974

End of the cold war

End of the Cold War

  • President Ronald Reagan (in office 1981-1989) deeply opposes USSR

    • The “evil empire”

  • Promotes massive military spending, beyond Soviet economy to keep up

    • Strategic Defense Initiative (“star wars”)

  • Forces Soviet Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1931- ) to implement reforms, ultimately brings down the USSR

Revolutions in eastern and central europe

Revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe

  • Polish trade union Solidarity movement opposes Polish Communist Party rule, forces multiparty elections, 1989

  • Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania follow

  • The “Velvet Revolution”

    • Bloodless revolutions

  • East Germany decides to open the Berlin Wall

    • East and West Germany reunite (1990)



  • Leading up to 1989 in Poland, communist leadership continued to decrease.

  • International pressure and well as internal nationalism led to the first free election in 50 years.

  • Solidarity, an independent trade union that called for political change, had their candidate Lech Walesa elected.

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Chapter 38

The collapse of the Soviet Union and European communist regimes

Collapse of the soviet union

Collapse of the Soviet Union

  • Reforms under Gorbachev

    • Economic

    • Social

  • Perestroika: “restructuring”

  • Glasnost: “openness”

  • Nationalist sentiments, long suppressed, come to the surface

  • Several non-Russian republics secede, August 1991

  • Attempted hardliner takeover in Moscow fails, Soviet Union collapses by end of the year

The fall of the soviet union

The Fall of the Soviet Union


Leadership of Gorbachev

  • Glasnost

  • Perestroika

  • Economic Problems

  • Freedom Movement in Eastern Europe


  • Formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States

  • Loss of role as superpower

  • End of Cold War

  • Economic Hardships

  • Conflicts b/w pro-communist and pro-democracy groups

  • Minority revolts and civil conflicts

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