The Cold War SOL WHII.12
Competition between the United States and the U.S.S.R. laid the foundation for the Cold War.
KGB Statue Comes Down The Cold War set the framework for global politics for 45 years after the end of World War II. It lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met at Yalta when an Allied victory was in sight. The three leaders agreed to divide Austria and Germany into zones of military occupation.
The Yalta Conference and the Soviet control of Eastern Europe marked the beginning of the Cold War as the different ideologies squared off.
The Soviet Union was determined to protect itself from any future attack from the West. The West viewed the Soviet demands as evidence that the Soviets hoped to expand and one day dominate all of Europe.
One conflict that existed had its roots in democracy and the free enterprise system v. dictatorship and communism.
When the Soviets installed a pro-Soviet government in Poland, this seemed to violate the agreement made at Yalta regarding free elections.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union emerged from WWII as world super powers. There existed a rivalry between these two countries.
The United States felt communism was a threat to world peace. President Truman declared in the Policy of Containment that the United States would take what actions necessary to prevent the further spread of communism.
The Truman Doctrine, which was the Policy of Containment, stated the United States would consider the spread of communism to be a threat to democracy.
As the West put their policy of containment into place, the Soviets tightened their grip on Eastern and Central Europe. Several Soviet satellite nations in Eastern Europe installed communist governments.
The "Iron Curtain" is a Western term made famous by Winston Churchill referring to the boundary which symbolically, ideologically, and physically divided Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War.
Because of the East-West split, new political and military alliances formed. Twelve western nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization pledging a united action if any of their members were attacked.
The Eastern bloc responded with a mutual defense agreement called the Warsaw Pact. Warsaw Pact
Korean Conflict The Korean Conflict was a product of the Cold War. Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations condemned the attack. This conflict eventually ended in a stalemate with South Korea free of communist occupation.
Vietnam War The Vietnam War was another conflict that was a product of the Cold War. North Vietnam was communist while South Vietnam was not. The communist government of North Vietnam attempted to install through force a communist government in South Vietnam.
American leaders did not want Vietnam to fall to communism. They felt that if that happened all of Southeast Asia would follow. This resulted American involvement in the war to prevent a North Vietnamese communist takeover.
Berlin Wall The division of Berlin was also a product of the Cold War. East Berlin was communist and West Berlin was a democracy. The Berlin Wall was built between these two sections to physically divide communism from democracy!
Cuban Missile Crisis Cuba was also a site of Cold War confrontations. Fidel Castro led a communist revolution that took over Cuba in the late 1950s.
In 1962, the Soviet Union stationed missiles in Cuba, instigating the Cuban Missile Crisis.
President Kennedy ordered the Soviets to remove their missiles and for several days the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Eventually, the Soviet leadership “blinked” and removed their missiles.
Nuclear Weapons Nuclear weapons, in theory, became a deterrent in the Cold War. Both the United States and the Soviet Union built a stockpile of nuclear weapons to hold each other in check. The presence of these weapons supposedly was to deter either side from acting aggressively.
Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
The collapse of the Soviet economy was a major cause of the fall of communism. Most Soviets experienced a decline in their standard of living and reform was needed.
A spirit of nationalism caused some Soviet republics to demand independence. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia tried to secede from the Soviet Union. Countries in the Warsaw Pact likewise began to break away from Soviet rule.
The tearing down of the Berlin Wall became a major symbol of the end of communism.
By 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The breakup of the Soviet Union created about 15 independent republics.
NATO expanded its influence into Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This action was opposed by Russia.