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The Cold War 1945-1979 Paper 1 Review also review for Paper 2 and 3 this ppt does not include Cuban Missile Crisis or Vietnam. Long Term Causes. Relations with the West (USA, GB, France) had been strained since the 1917 Revolutions up to WWII: Bolsheviks pulled out of WWI and angered the West

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Long term causes

The Cold War1945-1979Paper 1 Reviewalso review for Paper 2 and 3this ppt does not include Cuban Missile Crisis or Vietnam

Long term causes
Long Term Causes

  • Relations with the West (USA, GB, France) had been strained since the 1917 Revolutions up to WWII:

    • Bolsheviks pulled out of WWI and angered the West

    • USA, GB, France and Japan all sent troops to assist the Whites

    • After Civil War, the West feared spread of communism

    • USA did not recognize USSR until 1933

    • Capitalist democracies versus communist dictatorship

Long term causes cont
Long Term Causes cont.

  • Late 1930s, GB, France and USSR relationship strained further:

    • Stalin feared the GB and France were encouraging Hitler to expand east toward USSR

    • Stalin agreed to Nazi-Soviet Pact August 1939

    • GB and France were shocked, condemned Russia’s invasion of Poland in Sept 1939 and its occupation of Baltic states winter 1939-40

    • Stalin kept USSR on good terms with Hitler through June 1941 to avoid war

Long term causes cont1
Long Term Causes cont.

  • It was only Hitler’s invasion of USSR in June 1941 that brought USSR together with the Allies

  • Also, USSR and USA only became allies in Dec 1941 when Hitler declared war on USA

  • War relations were often strained:

    • Stalin was upset with GB and USA that a “Second Front” was not opened until June 1944, leaving Russians to do most of the fighting against Germany

    • Stalin thought GB and USA were purposefully trying to have USSR weakened by heavy losses on the Eastern Front

Short term causes
Short Term Causes

  • 1945 Yalta (Feb) and Potsdam (July-Aug) GB and USA openly disagreed with USSR on many issues:

    • Particularly the future of Poland and Eastern Europe

  • May 1945 - Germany is defeated and allies become increasingly suspicious of each other

  • Instead of a number of world powers before WWII, only two undisputed powers remained

East west friction over europe 1945 1949
East West Friction over Europe 1945-1949

  • Allies disagreed over post-war settlement of Europe:

    • Yalta and Potsdam – heated arguments about Poland

    • US was worried about USSR’s intentions in eastern Europe and its deployment of forces

      • Feared Stalin’s intent on unlimited expansion

    • Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech 1946

    • USSR forms Cominform (for international communism) in 1947

    • Truman Doctrine of containment 1947

    • Most countries in E. Europe fall to communist dictators by 1948 (Czechoslovakia was the last to fall after suspicious death of Jan Masaryck, which the west blamed on communists)

East west friction over europe 1945 19491
East West Friction over Europe 1945-1949

  • Conflict over Germany:

    • Potsdam Treaty divided Germany into 4 zones – GB, France, USA, USSR

    • Stalin was opposed to reunification

      • Feared a unified Germany would ally with the West and be a threat to USSR

    • Stalin blockades West Berlin 1948-49

      • Results in massive airlift by USA and GB

    • Creates West Germany – capitalist, and East Germany – communist

    • Truman creates NATO in April 1949 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) US, Canada, and 9 European countries

    • Stalin responds with Warsaw Pact when West Germany joined NATO in 1955

East west friction over europe 1945 19492
East West Friction over Europe 1945-1949

  • Soviet fears of Western expansionism:

    • Stalin feared attack by former allies – esp. since US had the atom bomb

    • USSR was vulnerable due to heavy losses in WWII, yet USA was stronger than ever

    • Stalin set up a defensive buffer of communist governments in Eastern Europe for protection

    • Stalin blockaded Berlin because the west violated Potsdam by introducing the deutschmark

    • Stalin interpreted Marshall Aid in 1947 as an aggressive attempt by the USA to spread its influence

Cold war in the far east 1949 53
Cold War in the Far East 1949-53

  • The USA was increasingly worried about communist expansion in Far East

  • Civil War in China renewed in 1946

  • Mao’s Chinese Communist Party won in 1949

  • USSR and China sign Friendship Treaty in Feb 1950

  • USA refused to recognize People’s Republic of China until 1979

  • Fear of a spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia

Cold war in the far east 1949 531
Cold War in the Far East 1949-53

  • USA anxiety over spread of communism reached new heights during Korean War 1950-53

  • After WWII, USSR troops occupied North, while USA occupied South

  • Rival govts were established – Syngman Rhee in South and Kim Il-Sung in North

  • USA and USSR leave Korea in 1949

  • North invaded the South in June 1950

  • Truman believed invasion was a test of containment and got the UN to send troops to Korea

  • By the end of 1950, US goal was to liberate all of Korea from communism, not just to liberate the South from the North

  • MacArthur supported the policy and pushed to the North

  • China intervened with 200,000 troops

  • 1953 Eisenhower visited Korea and an armistice was drawn up dividing Korea at the 38th Parallel – still the most heavily guarded border in the world

The thaw of the mid 1950s
The “Thaw” of the mid-1950s

  • Korean War ended 1953

  • Stalin died 1953

  • 1955 Geneva Summit

    • GB, France, USA, and USSR

    • First meeting since 1945

  • 1956 Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” – denounces Stalin’s crimes and purges

    • Calls for a “Peaceful Coexistence”

  • Eastern Europe expected more freedoms as a result

    • Poland problems led Khrushchev to grant limited freedom

    • BUT – Hungary’s revolution against communism was brutally crushed in Nov 1956

The thaw of the mid 1950s1
The Thaw of the mid-1950s

  • Thaw did not mean an end to the rivalry or that there were no confrontations:

    • Nuclear arms race grew in 50s

      • 1952 USA tested H-bomb

      • USSR tested one in 1953

      • 1957 USSR built first ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)

      • USA did also a few months later

    • 1955 USSR upset when West Germany joined NATO, and created Warsaw Pact to counter

    • 1957 USSR stunned USA by launching Sputnik – first satellite in space (space race)

What was peaceful coexistence mid 1950s
What was Peaceful Coexistence? mid 1950s

  • Khrushchev made it clear that the rivalry between the east and west should be played out peacefully. He did not mean an end to competition, as he actually thought communism would triumph over capitalism

  • But he feared that the growing arms race had generated dangerous tensions

  • Unfortunately, peaceful coexistence gave way to confrontation from 1958-68

The following confrontations challenged the idea of peaceful coexistence from 1958 1968
The following CONFRONTATIONS challenged the idea of “peaceful coexistence” from 1958-1968

1 confrontation berlin 1958 61
1. Confrontation: Berlin 1958-61

  • Berlin Blockade and airlift of 1948-49 was not a permanent solution

  • USSR refused to recognize the legitimacy of West Germany, and USA and others didn’t recognize East Germany

  • West Germany joined NATO in 1955

  • Many East Germans were defecting to the West via West Berlin (late 1950s +/- 200,000 each year)

  • East German economy was stagnating, while West Germany was prospering

  • Many leaving East Germany were young and talented, further hurting the economy

  • Khrushchev needed a foreign policy triumph in order to deflect internal criticism of his economic policies

Berlin events
Berlin Events

  • Khrushchev’s first ultimatum, Nov 1958:

    • Demanded USA, GB, France sign a formal peace treaty recognizing East and West Germany and agree to withdraw from Berlin and make it an international city

    • Khrushchev threatened to give the East Germans control of the access routes into West Berlin (would have been a new blockade)

    • West was given 6 months to agree, but in March 1959 he suspended the deadline

Berlin events1
Berlin Events

  • Khrushchev visited the USA, Sept 1959:

    • Eisenhower and Khrushchev meet at Camp David to resolve the Berlin issue

    • Meeting is positive and they agree to continue discussions at the Paris Summit coming in May 1960

Berlin events2
Berlin Events

  • Paris Summit and the U-2 Incident, May 1960:

    • Paris Summit is wrecked by the USSR shooting down an American U-2 spy plane over the USSR

    • USA initially claimed it was a weather gathering mission

    • USSR publicly shows the pilot who confessed to being on a spy mission

    • Eisenhower admitted to spying but refused to apologize

    • Khrushchev walked out of the summit demonstrating to Soviets and also to China that he was not “soft” on the West

Berlin events3
Berlin Events

  • The Vienna Summit and Khrushchev’s second Ultimatum, June 1961:

    • Khrushchev met Kennedy for the first time

    • Used Kennedy’s youth to try to bully him?

    • Khrushchev gave a 6 month deadline about Berlin again – same terms as the 1st ultimatum

    • Kennedy refused to give in

      • Asked Congress for a $3.25 billion increase in the defense budget and went on tv to announce his commitment to West Berlin

Berlin events4
Berlin Events

  • The Berlin Wall, August 1961:

    • Tensions continued to grow between East and West Berlin

    • East German police began putting up barbed wire along the 54 km border, soon replaced by a concrete wall

    • The West protested but did little else

    • Wall drastically reduced number of defections and the East Berlin economy stabilized

    • June 1963 Kennedy visited the wall and announced “Ich bin ein Berliner”

    • Wall remained a physical barrier and symbol of the Cold War until November 1989

2 confrontation kennedy and the flexible response 1961 63
2. Confrontation: Kennedy and the “flexible response” 1961-63

  • Kennedy had adopted a tough stance on combating communism – said Eisenhower has allowed a “missile gap” (the USA was actually ahead of the USSR in missiles)

  • Eisenhower had put most defense resources into building a nuclear arsenal, Kennedy decided to increase both conventional and nuclear forces to fight, if necessary, limited wars in Asia or Europe

  • Defense budget increased by $6 billion (13%)

3 confrontation cuban missile crisis 1962
3. Confrontation: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 1961-63

Not included in this powerpoint

Background Review:

1934-58 Batista – military dictator with close ties to US government and business

1953-58 revolutionary guerrilla movement

1959 Castro

1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion

Cuba results
Cuba Results 1961-63

  • Kennedy’s reputation is enhanced

  • Khrushchev’s reputation is damaged

  • US – Cuban relations get more hostile

  • US quietly withdraws Jupiter missiles from Turkey in 1963

  • Both leaders got scared and agree to take steps to reduce future confrontations (détente)

    • A hotline is established between White House and Kremlin

  • USA, USSR and GB sign Partial Test Ban Treaty – banned above ground testing

4 confrontation soviet invasion of czechoslovakia 1968
4. Confrontation: Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968 1961-63

  • 1966 Antonin Novotny, leader of Czech Communist Party – introduced limited economic reforms increasing consumer production to provide greater incentives for productivity

  • Jan 1968 Alexander Dubcek, Communist Party Chairman, replaced Novotny and commits to increased reform

    • He also relaxed censorship in order to encourage more debate

    • Wanted to make the Communist Party more open to criticism and responsive to peoples’ needs

Czechoslovakia 1968 cont
Czechoslovakia 1968 cont 1961-63

  • April 1968, Czech Communist Party published “Action Programme” - proposed reforms and encouraged debate

  • June 1968, censorship was relaxed (“Prague Spring”) – resulted in harsh criticism of former hard-line policies

  • Soviet leadership became very concerned over Czech developments

    • Brezhnev feared Communist control in Czech was being endangered

  • July 1968, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary and USSR met to discuss events in Czechoslovakia

    • Published the “Warsaw Letter” – warned Dubcek that he was undermining international socialism

    • Dubcek responded by announcing reform would continue but that Czechoslovakia remained loyal to USSR and socialism

Czechoslovakia 1968 cont1
Czechoslovakia 1968 cont 1961-63

  • August 1968 – same countries meet in Bratislava (Slovak capital) and agree to “Bratislava Declaration” – commitment to advancement of socialism

  • 3 weeks later troops from those same countries invade Czechoslovakia – little resistance

    • Condemned by the West but no action taken (USA in Vietnam War)

  • Dubcek arrested and taken to Moscow

    • Allowed to return and remained in power

    • But in April 1969 he was replaced by Husak

    • Dubcek expelled from communist party in 1970

  • Result - Eastern Bloc was accepted by the West as a Soviet sphere of influence

The brezhnev doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine 1961-63

  • November 1968

  • Justification for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia

  • USSR and other socialist states had the right and duty to intervene in a country where socialism was threatened (a threat to socialism in one country was a threat to socialism everywhere)

D tente
Détente 1961-63

  • “a relaxation of tension”

  • After the events in Berlin and Cuba, relations in the late 1960s improved considerably

  • This did not mean that there were no confrontations, or that the superpowers stopped trying to increase their global influence

  • By the late 1970s though, relations again deteriorated drastically

Why d tente
Why Détente? 1961-63

  • Soviet Motives:

    • Did not want further escalation of arms race

    • Concerned about danger of nuclear war

    • Wanted to reduce costs of weapons program – Soviet economy was stagnating

    • Wanted to encourage East-West trade (USSR needed Western technology)

    • By 1970, USSR had closed missile gap (USSR had 1,300 ICBMs and USA had 1,054), so not worried about an inferiority complex any longer

    • USSR was worried about deteriorating relations with China and improved Sino-American relations

Why d tente1
Why Détente? 1961-63

  • American Motives:

    • To reduce the risk of nuclear war

    • Nixon and Kissinger (Nat’l security advisor and later Sec of State) pursued “linkage”

      • Carrot and stick – deter USSR from expansionist foreign policy by providing economic incentives to maintain better relations with the USA

    • Nixon wanted Soviet and Chinese help in achieving an acceptable peace in Vietnam

    • Nixon was worried about escalating costs of arms race and of Vietnam on economy (US in recession in 1973)

Willy brandt s ostpolitik eastern policy
Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik (eastern policy) 1961-63

  • West German Chancellor 1969-74

  • Improved relations between USSR and USA

    • August 1970 - Soviet-West German Non-Aggression Pact

      • Formally ended WWII

    • Dec 1970 – West German-Polish Treaty

      • Formally recognized Poland’s western border

    • Dec 1972 – East German-West German Basic Treaty

      • Stopped short of full diplomatic recognition but did a lot to regularize relations between the two states

Examples of d tente
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • July 1968 Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty

    • Start of détente, signed by GB, US, USSR

    • Banned transfer of nuclear tech to other countries

    • France and China refused to sign

  • Nov 1969 SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks)

    • USA and USSR

    • Held in Helsinki, Finland

Examples of d tente1
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • April 1971 “Peace Program” - Brezhnev

    • Called for end to violence in Middle East and Vietnam

    • Called for collective security and mutual recognition of existing European borders

    • Called for reduction in weapons levels

  • Sept 1971 US-Soviet Nuclear Accidents Agreement

    • Promised to increase safeguards against accidents or unauthorized firing of nukes

    • Provided for immediate notification if incident did occur

Examples of d tente2
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • Sept 1971 – Four Power Agreement on Berlin

    • France, GB, USA, USSR agree to maintain the status quo of Berlin – divided East and West

  • April 1972 – Biological Weapons Convention

    • Signed by 126 countries

    • Banned development, production and use, but lacked verification mechanisms

  • May 1972 – SALT 1

    • Signed by Nixon and Brezhnev

    • Two treaties

Long term causes

  • SALT 1 1961-63 included:

    • Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty

      • Number of ABM systems was limited to two each

      • USA had been developing these since 60s, but USSR was ahead in deploying them

      • Seen as destabilizing – if one side could prevent a nuclear attack, they had more incentive to use nukes

    • Interim Agreement on Offensive Arms

      • Placed a maximum number on ICBMs (Intercontinental ballistic missiles) and a five year freeze on ICBM and SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missiles) levels

      • Arms control, not disarmament

      • Did not place limits on long-range bombers, or MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) (MIRVs are ICBMs with multiple warheads)

Examples of d tente3
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • May 1972 – The Basic Principles of Relations Between the USSR and the USA

    • Formal commitment to peaceful co-existence and working toward lower international tension

    • Valued highly by Brezhnev, less by Nixon and Kissinger

  • Oct 1972 – Soviet-US Trade Agreement

    • USSR wanted Western technology

    • Nixon wanted peace settlement in North Vietnam

    • Came to an end by US Senate Jackson-Vanik amendment – further trade required USSR to allow Soviet Jews to emigrate (this was unacceptable to Soviet leadership)

Examples of d tente4
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • June 1973 – The Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement

    • USA and USSR

    • Provided for communication in times of crisis

  • Aug 1975 – The Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)

    • Signed by all of Europe, USA and Canada

    • Covered security, co-operation, human rights

    • Recognized existing borders

    • Any country had to notify others if conducting military exercises larger than 25,000 troops

    • USSR did not implement the human rights piece

Examples of d tente5
Examples of Détente 1961-63

  • June 1979 – SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty)

    • Went further than SALT I

    • Limited ICBMs and SLBMs to 2,400 each

    • Included a ceiling on # of MIRVs

    • Never formally agreed to by USA

    • But still adhered to by both sides until mid 1980s

  • US – Soviet Summits (face to face meetings)

    • Moscow 1972, Brezhnev – Nixon

    • Washington 1973, Brezhnev – Nixon

    • Moscow 1974, Brezhnev – Nixon

    • Vladivostok 1974, Brezhnev – Ford

    • Vienna 1979, Brezhnev - Carter

Long term causes

  • Achievements of détente, although significant, were limited 1961-63

  • Carter’s administration, for example, was deeply divided over its continuation

  • Even Carter’s achievement of a 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel helped to undermine détente because USSR was not involved in the peace negotiations (an earlier promise made by the USA)

  • Détente had totally collapsed by 1980 as the “Second Cold War” started

1 yom kippur war 1973
1. Yom Kippur War, 1973 1961-63

  • Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on Israel in October

  • Israel counterattacked with assistance by US military equipment

  • Egyptian and Syrian forces were pushed back beyond the Suez Canal and surrounded

  • Brezhnev proposed a US-USSR joint operation to impose a cease-fire, and threatened to go alone without US help

  • Nixon rejected the proposal and put US forces on alert world-wide

  • USSR backed down and accepted US suggestion of a UN peacekeeping force

2 soviet intervention in africa
2. Soviet Intervention in Africa 1961-63

  • Though the USSR accepted détente in Europe, it actively intervened in developing world to extend its influence (USA had much more influence than USSR did and USSR felt inferior)

  • USSR wanted relations with countries that could provide naval bases (USSR navy was bigger than USA but had no bases outside USSR, while NATO bases were widespread)

  • Caused greater tensions:

    • Egypt (1967-72)

    • Angola (all of 1970s)

    • Ethiopia and Somalia (1977-78)

3 soviet invasion of afghanistan 1979
3. Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 1979 1961-63

  • Probably most severe cause of collapse of détente

  • April 1978 - a left-wing group (PDPA, People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan) staged a successful coup

  • PDPA signed a Friendship Treaty with USSR Dec 1978

  • PDPA then introduced radical reforms that offended Islamic fundamentalists

  • Civil War broke out

  • Rebel groups received aid from Iran and Pakistan, and USSR suspected CIA too

  • PDPA also had factional infighting

  • USSR sent 85,000 troops in Dec 1979 and installed a new president

  • USSR was concerned over fundamentalism spreading to USSR’s Muslim population (Iran had Islamic revolution in 1979)

Soviet invasion of afghanistan 1979
Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 1979 1961-63

  • Effects in USA:

    • Carter was accused of being to soft on Soviets by Republicans in Congress

    • Carter responds by saying Afghanistan was most serious threat to world peace since WWII

    • Carter ends attempts to get SALT II ratified by Senate

    • US embargo on certain exports to USSR – grain

    • 1980 Moscow Olympic boycott of 60 countries

    • US defense spending to increase 5% per year over next five years

4 deployment of ss 20s and cruise missiles
4. Deployment of SS-20s and Cruise Missiles 1961-63

  • Nuclear race intensified in late 1970s

  • 1977 – USSR deploys SS-20s (intermediate range nuclear missile) in USSR aimed at Western Europe and China

  • SS-20s were moveable

  • USA and NATO respond by deploying Pershing II and Cruise missiles in West Germany and 5 other countries by 1983

  • USSR was worried about a first-strike

  • Anti-nuclear groups protest in Europe

5 the new right in usa
5. The New “Right” in USA 1961-63

  • Republicans and conservative Dems favor substantial increases in defense to deter Soviet expansionism and pull US economy out of severe recession since 1973-74

  • Felt USA had had spirit of détente, but USSR did not:

    • USSR exploited détente

    • USSR never improved human rights record

    • USSR increasingly intervened in developing world

  • USA had to reassert itself as world leader

New right cont
New Right cont. 1961-63


  • Events in:

    • Iran, 1979 revolution (pro-American Shah was ousted)

    • Grenada, 1979 – left-wing coalition, Sandinistas, came to power

  • 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected, representing the “new Right”

    • Ignites the arms race

    • Second Cold War, lasting until 1986

Arms control review
Arms Control review 1961-63

  • Background:

    • Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945

    • USSR tests first atom bomb 1949

    • USA develops H bomb 1952

    • USSR develops H bomb 1953

    • USA and USSR develop first ICBMs 1957-58

    • USA develops MIRVs 1970

    • By 1980s, USA and USSR each have over 10,000 nuclear warheads

    • Other nukes:

      • 1960 – France and GB

      • 1964 – China

      • 1974 India

Arms control review cont
Arms Control review cont 1961-63

  • Desirability of disarmament and/or arms control naturally developed as destructive power of nukes increased and after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought world close to war

  • 1950s and 60s – disarmament was discussed regularly, but since 60s arms control has been dominant approach

  • No disarmament agreement was successful until the mid 1980s

Arms control chronology
Arms Control Chronology 1961-63

  • 1959 – Antarctic Treaty – banned military use of Antarctica, signed by 40 countries

  • 1961 – McCloy-Zorin Agreement

    • Disarmament talks in Moscow

    • Principles adopted by UN, but no formal agreement could be reached by USA, GB, USSR

  • 1963 – Test Ban Treaty – banned above ground testing, signed by 90 countries excluding France and China

  • 1968 – Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty – US, USSR, GB

Arms control chronology1
Arms Control Chronology 1961-63

  • 1969 – SALT talks begin– Helsinki

  • 1971 – Nuclear Accidents Agreement – US and USSR

  • 1972 – Biological Weapons Convention – signed by 126 countries

  • 1972 – SALT 1 – Nixon and Brezhnev

  • 1973 – Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement – US and USSR

  • 1975 – The Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)

  • 1979 – SALT 2

Results of vietnam
Results of Vietnam 1961-63

  • By 1975, all of Indo-China was communist

  • US containment had failed in S-East Asia

  • US paid huge cost – lives, money, political capital

  • 58,000 US troops dead

  • +/- $150 billion

  • Partly contributed to US recession of 1973-74

  • Johnson’s social and health reforms were undermined by cost of war

  • USA was divided over involvement

  • Total North + South = 1.8 million dead

Results of vietnam cont
Results of Vietnam cont 1961-63

  • Lots of physical damage to region from bombing (7 million tons, 3x amount dropped on Germany in WWII)

  • US defeat led to reluctance to intervene in future conflicts in Africa and Central Asia

  • Helped the process of East-West détente – US wanted to improve relations with China and USSR after disastrous Vietnam

Poland 1961-63

  • Between 1968 and 1981 the Polish Communist Party faced a series of crises, mostly provoked by govt attempts to reform the economy

  • March 1968 – anti-Russian riots by Polish students were brutally put down by Polish security forces

  • 1970 – widespread and violent protests by industrial workers in response to rising prices, esp. food

    • Govt was trying to end expensive state subsidies which had kept food prices artificially low

    • Hundreds of workers were killed by police

    • Party leader was replaced, but problems continued

    • Crisis only ended when govt cancelled the price rises

Poland 1961-63

  • 1976 – new round of price increases

    • Govt needed to reform the economy as it was heavily in debt and exports were in decline (recession of 1973-74 really hurt Poland)

    • More widespread strikes made the govt back down

    • But economic problems continued

  • 1980 – new round of price increases

    • Extensive, coordinated and widespread strikes (largest in Polish history)

    • Trade union (Solidarity) led the workers’ movement

    • At first, Solidarity was recognized, but it was then outlawed and martial law was imposed

    • USSR was relieved that Polish Communist Party restored order on its own

    • USSR could not afford Poland to be undermined as USSR was busy with Afghanistan

    • USSR was not eager to mess with Polish nationalism by sending in Russian Troops