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Beginnings of the Cold War. SWBAT: explain how hopes of post-war peace slowly slipped away and created a new conflict between the US and USSR. Homework: None

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Beginnings of the cold war

Beginnings of the Cold War

SWBAT: explain how hopes of post-war peace slowly slipped away and created a new conflict between the US and USSR.

Homework: None

Do Now: It’s after WWII. In your opinion, which country worked harder at winning WWII? Which country should have the most say after WWII is over? Does the chart matter?



Yalta conference agreements feb 1945
Yalta Conference Agreements, Feb. 1945

  • As early as the Yalta Conference, it was clear a post-war world was going to face problems.

  • Among the important things discussed at Yalta, the leaders issued a "Declaration of Liberated Europe” pledging:

    • "to form interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of Governments responsive to the will of the people.”

      • What do the italicized words means?

      • Why might the Soviet Union have a problem with this?


Optimism for peace after wwii
Optimism for peace after WWII

  • Throughout the war Franklin Roosevelt had repeatedly expressed optimism regarding the postwar relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    • Yalta seemed to suggest that despite ideological differences, peace was possible.

  • When differences between them emerged, he insisted his personal relationship with Stalin would be enough to smooth them over.

  • When FDR died in April, 1945 any hopes that Stalin and Roosevelt’s relationship would be enough died with him.

  • Harry Truman would not foster the same relationship with Stalin.


The end of one w ar the beginning of another
The end of one war, the beginning of another

  • The United States and the Soviet Union emerged from the World War II to displace Western Europe as the world’s superpowers.

  • However, with the defeat of their common enemy, their primary bond was broken.

  • Their differences, most notably their visions of a postwar Europe, drove the allied nations into an ideological conflict that would span 45 years, force most nations to choose sides, and bring the world to the brink of destruction.

  • This was the beginning of the Cold War.


Problems begin
Problems begin

  • Within a few months of WWII’s end, policy makers in the Truman administration had come to believe that Stalin was not living up to his side of those agreements made at Yalta.

  • Instead it appeared as though the Russians were trying to create a series of puppet states in Eastern Europe.

  • The result:

    • Stalin installed communist governments in Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland.

    • Became known as satellite nations.


Stalin s reasoning
Stalin’s Reasoning

Security border

  • Stalin argued that because the USSR had such heavy causalities during the war, they deserved claim to parts of Eastern Europe.

  • Also believed that their security required "friendly" regimes along their border, and that Western-style democratic elections were unlikely to produce pro-Soviet governments.

  • To Truman this seemed like a betrayal of everything that the Allies had fought for in their war against the Axis.


How to handle the problem
How to handle the problem

  • The result? A debate over what U.S. policy toward the Soviets should be.

  • Some argued that Stalin's need for security had to be acknowledged, even if it meant tolerating Soviet dominance over Eastern Europe.

  • Others saw in the Soviet Union a growing threat to world peace—one that had to be met with firmness and, if necessary, military force.


The us establishes a new foreign policy
The US establishes a new foreign policy

  • In 1946, George F. Kennan proposed the policy of containment.

  • What does this mean?

    • Meant taking measures to prevent communism spreading to other countries.

  • Why?

    • Was a fear of a domino affect. If one country turned communist then others might too.

    • Containing communism would prevent this.

  • This policy would remain in effect on and off from 1946 to 1989.


The iron curtain
The Iron Curtain

  • Europe was now divided into 2 political regions; a mostly democratic West and a communist East.

  • In March 1946, Winston Churchill gave a speech that described the creation of an iron curtain between the two halves.

  • The phrase “iron curtain” came to stand for the division of Europe.


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