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the cold war

The Cold War

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow…

-Winston Churchill

teheran conference 1943
Teheran Conference, 1943
  • Attended by: FRD, Churchill, Stalin
  • Location: Teheran, Iran
  • Decisions: agreement to open a second battlefront in Europe; Soviet agreement to enter war against Japan after defeat of Germany; inconclusive discussion about demilitarization and occupation of Germany; outline of the “Four Policemen” concept was developed.
Underlying themes:

-FDR was unwilling or unable to see that the powers held differing views of their respective spheres of interest

-Stalin wanted to annex the Baltic states and eastern and central Europe.

-Churchill was determined to retard the growth of Soviet power on the Continent and to resurrect the prewar British empire.

yalta conference 1945
Yalta Conference, 1945
  • Attended by: FDR, Churchill, Stalin
  • Location: Yalta, Crimea, USSR
  • Decisions: Germany was to be disarmed and divided into four zones of occupation; United Nations to be formed (Big Five: US, USSR, Great Britain, France, & China); territorial borders discussed, many concessions given to the Soviet Union; USSR pledges to hold free elections in Eastern Europe; war crimes trials to be held after the war.

-USSR was in physical possession of most of eastern Europe and eastern Germany

-it would be as free to act unilaterally in its occupation zones as the Western powers were in theirs.

potsdam conference july 1945
Potsdam Conference, July 1945
  • Attended by: Truman, Stalin, Churchill / Attlee
  • Location: Potsdam, Germany
  • Decisions: Potsdam Declaration… unconditional surrender of Japan; set up a council to administer Germany; demographic shift of German people; Stalin announces that there will be no elections in eastern Europe.
  • February 1945: The Big Three - Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill - meet at Yalta Conference to plan policies for dealing with Germany after the end of World War II.
  • May 2, 1945: Soviet soldiers occupy Berlin.
  • May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders, ending World War II in Europe.
  • June 5, 1945: Allied Supreme Command signs agreement to divide Germany into four zones, each to be occupied by one of the Allies. The USSR occupies the eastern zone, Great Britain the northwestern zone, France the western zone, and the U.S. the southwestern zone.
  • June 21, 1945: Stalin establishes new communist-controlled government in Poland.
  • June 26, 1945: United Nations charter is established.
  • July 26, 1945: Potsdam Conference of Big Three disputes how to handle post-war Europe.
  • November 18, 1945: Bulgaria votes in a Communist gov’t
  • January 11, 1946: A pro-Communist People's Republic is proclaimed in Albania.
  • January 31, 1946: A new Yugoslavian constitution is patterned after the Soviet Union's.
  • March 5, 1946: Churchill warns that an "Iron Curtain" is being built across Europe, dividing communist and non-communist nations.
  • May 26, 1946: Communists win elections in Czechoslovakia.
  • June 30, 1946: Poland votes in a one-party government and nationalizes industries.
  • December 2, 1946: The U.S. and Great Britain combine their occupation zones in Germany.
  • February 21, 1947: Truman asks Congress for $350 million for relief of destitute in liberated countries abroad.
  • March 12, 1947: Truman asks for $400 million to help Greece and Turkey hold firm against Communists. The Truman Doctrine promises to help any nation threatened by Communism.
  • May 31, 1947: Pro-Communist government is installed in Budapest, Hungary.
  • June 5, 1947: The Marshall Plan provides economic aid to help rebuild Europe. The U.S. spends $13 billion in aid from 1948-1952.
  • October 5, 1947: Communists from nine nations join COMINTERN to defend themselves against what they see as U.S. imperialism.
  • December 31, 1947: Soviet-backed Communists take over in Romania.