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The Cold War. The Cold War. Containment Mutually Assured Destruction Korean War, 1950-1953 Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 Afghanistan, 1979-1989 Mikhail Gorbachev. The Kitchen Debates, 1959. The First Phase, 1947-1953. George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” and the policy of containment

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the cold war
The Cold War
  • Containment
  • Mutually Assured Destruction
  • Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
  • Afghanistan, 1979-1989
  • Mikhail Gorbachev

The Kitchen Debates, 1959

the first phase 1947 1953
The First Phase, 1947-1953
  • George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” and the policy of containment
  • “Lessons” of World War II
  • Truman Doctrine
  • Creation of NATO and Warsaw Pact
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

US and Soviet soldiers meet on

the Elbe, April, 1945

the new superpowers

Capitalist System

Democratic Ideals

Russian support for Communist International



Authoritarian Politics

US Intervention in Russian Civil War

US failure to help Republicans in Spanish Civil War

The New Superpowers
recent problems a bipolar world

Russian refusal to demobilize

Russian treatment of Poland, Eastern Europe - The Iron Curtain

Chinese Civil War

1949 Russian explosion of A-Bomb



US delay in invading France

Truman Doctrine of 1947


US nuclear supremacy

US technological advantages

NATO, Marshall Plan

Recent Problems:A Bipolar World

Nuclear Weapons

  • Technology
  • Threat of nuclear weapons
  • Deterrence and MAD
  • Arms control
  • Massive retaliation

June 1950

US dilemma: how to respond to a Communist invasion of Korea without starting World War III?

“Korea is outside the United States sphere of influence. We have no vital interests there” - American Secretary of State Dean Acheson, 1949.


The UN




  • “We have won an armistice on a single battleground - not peace in the world. We may not now relax our guard nor cease our quest” - President Eisenhower, 1953.
new us defense policies
New US Defense Policies
  • 1950: NSC 68 recommended tripling defense budget
  • 1952: US introduced peacetime conscription
  • 1953: US builds first H-bomb
  • 1950-1953: US sends more military personnel to Europe than to Asia
  • 1955: (West) Germany rearmed

The King gets drafted, 1958

new soviet policies
New Soviet Policies
  • Funding for “Wars of Liberation”
  • Launching of Sputnik, 1957
  • Creation of Berlin Wall, 1961
  • Imposed tight controls on Eastern Europe
  • Built links to Castro in Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America
phase two 1953 1979
Phase Two: 1953-1979
  • USSR and USA want to avoid nuclear war
  • So they fight “proxy” wars in the Third World
  • Connections to wars of anticolonialism
  • Few direct confrontations

Soviet advisors in Vietnam, 1966

cuban missile crisis 1962
Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
  • USSR attempted to place long-range nuclear missiles in Cuba
  • JFK ordered a naval blockade of Cuba
  • US went to highest alert level ever
  • Compromise reached, hot line established between White House and Kremlin
  • Tensions high
arab israeli wars
Arab-Israeli Wars
  • US supported Israel
  • USSR supported Arabs
  • Wars in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982
  • Both sides get to “field test” their equipment
  • US and USSR fuel wars, but also stop them

Israeli pilots in 1973 flying the American-made F-4 Phantom

the cold war in the third world
The Cold War in the Third World
  • Building of US and Soviet military bases worldwide
  • US and USSR funding of wars
  • Afghanistan, 1979
  • India and the “non-aligned” movement
  • China and the Cultural Revolution

US supported mujahedeen rebel in Afghanistan. It seemed like a good idea at the time

final phase 1980 1991
Final Phase, 1980-1991
  • Reagan and “evil empire” rhetoric
  • SDI and massive US military spending
  • Alliances with Saudi Arabia to reduce USSR oil values, bring Arab states into US alliances
  • Defeat USSR with economic effort, not direct military confrontation

Building tight US – Saudi links also seemed like a good idea at the time

soviet initiatives
Soviet Initiatives
  • Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness)
  • USSR spending 50% of its GDP on defense
  • Sign bipartisan disarmament agreements
  • Seek to use the US as a partner not an enemy
  • Dismantle Warsaw Pact, remove troops from Eastern Europe

“I was talking about another time and another era” – Reagan when asked about his “evil empire” statement of 1982