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The Cold War: A War with no Battles. The Roots of the Cold War. Following World War II a Cold War broke out between the U.S. and the Soviet Union Cold war – an era of high tension and bitter rivalry between the two nations There were several factors that led to the Cold War

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The Cold War:

A War with no Battles

The roots of the cold war
The Roots of the Cold War

  • Following World War II a Cold War broke out between the U.S. and the Soviet Union

  • Cold war – an era of high tension and bitter rivalry between the two nations

  • There were several factors that led to the Cold War

    • The Soviet Union was a communist, totalitarian, dictatorship

    • The U.S. was a free-enterprise capitalist republic

    • Conflicts from World War II

    • The Soviet Union did not live up to its promise of having free elections in Eastern Europe

    • The U.S. made efforts to stop Soviet expansion

    • The tension caused by the U.S. development of the atomic bomb

The iron curtain
The Iron Curtain

  • Leaders from the U.S. and Britain feared that Stalin aimed to gain power in Eastern Europe, with good reason.

  • To achieve his goals, Stalin outlawed political parties or newspapers that opposed the Communists, jailed his political opponents, and rigged elections to make sure that Communists won throughout Eastern Europe.

  • Soon most of Eastern Europe was under direct control of the Soviet Union

  • The U.S. was also shocked by the harsh treatment of Germans living in Eastern Europe by the Soviets.

The iron curtain1
The Iron Curtain

  • In March 1946 Prime Minister Churchill travelled to the U.S. where he gave his famous “iron curtain” speech.

  • Excerpt of Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech

  • The term iron curtain reflected the belief that communism had created a sharp division in Europe.

  • Stalin used Churchill’s words to persuade his people that the U.S. and Britain were enemies of the Soviet Union, which became the excuse for heavy military build up.

Containment and the truman doctrine
Containment and the Truman Doctrine

  • Containment – the policy, created by American George F. Kennan, to deal with the growing threat of the Soviet Union. Kennan believed that the U.S. should resist Soviet attempts to expand its power and try to influence areas that may be tempted to join the Soviets.

  • The idea of containment became known as the Truman Doctrine – providing economic aid to countries under the threat of Soviet control.

  • The Truman Doctrine first took effect in 1947 when the U.S. sent aid to Greece and Turkey, two countries facing Soviet pressure

The marshall plan
The Marshall Plan

  • Across Europe World War II had devastated cities and ruined farms.

  • Many Americans supported giving aid to Europe to help rebuild

  • In June 1947, US Secretary of State George C. Marshall called for a huge program of aid to help Europe rebuild and grow its economy

  • Marshall Plan – between 1948 and 1951 the US spent over $13 billion in 17 different countries and helped rebuild factories, homes, and cities.

  • The original plan even called for providing aid to the Soviet Union but Stalin refused.

  • The Marshall Plan helped rebuild Western Europe and allowed those nations to buy products from American factories, which also helped the American economy.

  • Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan

Crisis in berlin
Crisis in Berlin

  • After WWII Germany and Berlin were divided into 4 zones

  • The British, French, and American zones all took steps to set up free democratic zones, while the Soviets planned to keep their zone under communist control.

  • The Soviets were not pleased with the idea of a democratic section of Berlin in the middle of their communist zone.

  • In June 1948 the Soviets announced they would block all roads, railroads, and rivers into West Berlin (the part controlled by the Allies).

Crisis in berlin1
Crisis in Berlin

  • In response the Allies planned to supply West Berlin by aircraft, a risky move since the Soviets might respond with force.

  • Berlin airlift – every day British and American planes flew in an average of 7000 tons of supplies into West Berlin.

  • The airlift was an overwhelming (but expensive) success, and in May 1949 the Soviets ended their blockade.

  • Shortly after the blockade ended Germany was officially divided into 2 new nations: West Germany (backed by the US and Britain) and East Germany (backed by the Soviets)


  • Many nations in Western Europe were concerned about war with the Soviets. In 1948 Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the U.K. joined together in a military alliance.

  • After the crisis in Berlin the U.S. and 6 other nations, including Canada) joined the alliance creating NATO

  • NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • The NATO treaty declared that an attack against one nation in the group would be considered an attack against all

Life in america after wwii
Life in America after WWII

  • Many Americans feared economic trouble for the US after WWII

    • No more orders for tanks, planes, ships, and weapons

    • 12 million soldiers coming home that need jobs

    • Women who had taken work during the war were often pressured to leave work so a male veteran could have their job

  • In June 1944 FDR signed the GI Bill

    • Provided money for veterans to attend college or job training

    • Arranged for loans for veterans that wanted to buy a home or business

    • Provided unemployment benefits to veterans that could not find work

  • The GI Bill and the overall demand for consumer goods that were not available during the war led to economic growth for the nation

  • The two decades following WWII also saw a baby boom – a large rise in the birthrate and helped keep the demand for goods up.

Life in america after wwii1
Life in America after WWII

  • Many labor unions sought an end to the limits placed on them during WWII

  • However, in 1947 Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act that further reduced the power of labor unions

  • In June 1948 President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 – ended segregation in the armed forces

Politics in postwar america
Politics in Postwar America

  • When FDR died in April 1945, Harry Truman had been vice-president for less than 3 months and had almost no knowledge of the issues facing the nation

  • In 1946 the Republicans gained a majority in Congress creating tension between Congress and the Democratic White House

  • However, they agreed on the Marshall Plan and Truman’s handling of the Berlin airlift

Politics in postwar america1
Politics in Postwar America

  • Election of 1948

    • Democrat – Harry Truman

    • Progressive Party (a breakaway group of Democrats) – Henry Wallace

    • Dixiecrat (an anti-civil rights party) – Strom Thurmond

    • Republican – Thomas Dewey

  • A few weeks before the election, in a poll of 50 political writers, every single one predicted that the Republican Dewey would win

  • Truman campaigned hard and told the crowds about the “do-nothing” Congress

  • In one of the most surprising election outcomes in American history, Harry Truman won re-election.

Politics in postwar america2
Politics in Postwar America

  • Having won the election, Truman was able to implement his own plan for the nation

  • Fair Deal – similar to FDR’s New Deal it expanded the role of the federal government

    • A federal health insurance program

    • Funding for education

  • However, Congress did not agree with Truman’s plans and few of his Fair Deal ideas ever became law

Global community
Global Community

  • In June 1945 representatives from over 50 nations met to form the United Nations (UN).

    • “save succeeding generation from the scourge of war”

    • “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights”

  • In December 1948 the UN adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights – included a variety of rights on the basis that all human beings are born free and equal

    • No slavery, torture, inhumane punishment, etc.

    • Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was the US Representative that helped write the UDHR

Global community1
Global Community

  • World Bank (1944) – organization for providing loans to countries in an attempt to reduce poverty

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF, 1944) – provided a system for orderly financial relationships between countries, designed to prevent economic crises and encourage trade and economic growth

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, 1946) – member nations made agreements on rules for international trade, focused on reducing tariffs and other trade barriers

  • Together with the UN, these organizations helped to increase global participation and communication.

Cold war activities
Cold War Activities

  • SHEG

  • Red dot game

Growing fear of communism
Growing Fear of Communism

  • In 1949 two events occurred that greatly increased the concerns of American leaders over the spread of communism

  • 1) In August the Soviets tested their first atomic bomb

    • No longer could the US rely only on its atomic weapons as a means of dealing with the Soviet threat

  • 2) Communist take over in China

    • Civil war in China between the Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists, led by Mao Zedong who ended up winning

    • Americans feared that the new communist government in China would support the Soviets and become a threat to the US

Fighting communism
Fighting Communism

  • Based on the events of 1949 there was a growing concern of Communist influence in American government

  • In 1947 a group called HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) began investigating and exploring possible Communist influence in the American film industry

  • Hollywood Ten – a group of writers and directors who were thought to hold radical views. They were called to testify before HUAC and refused to answer questions. Found guilty of contempt of Congress and sentenced to a year in jail.

  • This case led to further fears in Hollywood of being labeled a Communist, and many began to provide names of possible Communists to HUAC.

Fighting communism1
Fighting Communism

  • President Truman did his part in the Communist hunt by investigating over 3 million government workers. Only 200 were judged “disloyal”

  • In 1949 the federal government charged several leaders of the Communist Party under the Smith Act which made it a crime to call for the overthrow of the government or belong to an organization that does so

  • Fear of communist spies in the American government began to spread

  • Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs


  • In 1950 a young Senator named Joseph McCarthy began making speeches telling Americans that he had a list of known Communists working in the US State department

  • McCarthy’s charges caused a sensation, even though McCarthy never produced the names supposedly on his list

  • With his new fame McCarthy began to make even more charges

  • When people complained or confronted McCarthy he suggested that perhaps they were a communist or had something to hide

  • McCarthyism – the name given by a political cartoonist to the growing fear and hysteria around communism in America


  • The public seemed to believe McCarthy which pushed him to make more accusations against people in other parts of government

  • Officials and employers were afraid that if they didn’t take action when someone was accused that they would appear “soft” on communism, leading to thousands of people being fired from their jobs for political reasons

  • By 1954 the public increasingly viewed McCarthy’s actions as unfair and his career faded, but the fear of communism did not.

Korean war
Korean War

  • SHEG

  • Video

  • IR

Election of 1952
Election of 1952

  • Even though Truman had already served 8 years as President, he could have run again in 1952, but decided not to.

  • The Democrats nominated Adlei Stevenson, while Republicans chose popular war General Dwight Eisenhower

  • Eisenhower was well on his way to winning the election when his Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon was accused of taking money from political supporters (which was not illegal, but made him look dishonest)

  • Nixon's "Checkers" Speech

  • Despite the bad publicity Eisenhower won the election

The cold war continues
The Cold War Continues

  • Eisenhower did not believe that the policy of containment was enough.

  • His Secretary of State John Dulles proposed a new idea

    • Brinkmanship – the art of going to the brink of war without actually getting into war by making strong threats that would bring results without having to follow through on the threats

    • Massive retaliation – if the US needed to it would use nuclear force against the Soviet Union

  • Under the leadership of Dulles in 1947 the CIA was created and it grew in the 50’s as it continued spying on other nations in secrecy

Changes in the soviet union
Changes in the Soviet Union

  • In March 1953 Joseph Stalin died

  • Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the Soviet Union

  • In 1955 Khrushchev and the Soviets created the Warsaw Pact – a military alliance similar to NATO made with all the Soviet-dominated countries of Eastern Europe

  • In countries like Poland and Hungary anti-Communists were killed and the Soviets used force to ensure that their satellite nations would not defect

Us soviet relations
US-Soviet Relations

  • In 1955 the US and the Soviets met for a summit in Geneva, Switzerland where Eisenhower proposed an “open skies” treaty – both nations could fly over each other’s territory

  • The Soviets rejected the open skies treaty but the American citizens still approved of Eisenhower and re-elected him in 1956 when he defeated Adlei Stevenson (again)

  • In the late 1950’s and early 60’s the US sent U-2 aircraft into Soviet airspace to inspect their military facilities

  • In 1960 the Soviets shot down American pilot Gary Powers and he was captured. The Soviets held Powers until 1962 when they released him in exchange for a Soviet spy held prisoner by the US

Trouble in the middle east
Trouble in the Middle East

  • In 1956 Egypt and Israel went to war over disputes dealing with access to the Suez Canal.

  • England and France backed Israel, while the Soviets backed Egypt, and the US feared that further escalation could draw the US into the conflict.

  • The Suez Crisis ended when the US intervened and told the Israelis to leave Egypt

  • Eisenhower Doctrine – declared the right of the US to help, on request, any nation in the Middle East trying to resist armed Communist aggression.

The hydrogen bomb
The Hydrogen Bomb

  • During the Korean War US scientists were developing new weapons, including the hydrogen bomb – used nuclear fusion instead of nuclear fission and was over 100 times more powerful than the atomic bomb

    • It was so devastating that many scientists argued against ever building it

  • In 1952 the US tested the hydrogen bomb on a small uninhabited island. After the blast the island was gone.

  • This test put the US ahead of the Soviets in weapons technology, but not for long as the Soviets tested their own hydrogen bomb in 1953.

Arms race
Arms Race

  • The testing of hydrogen bombs was the beginning of the stockpiling of weapons by both the US and the Soviets

  • Arms race – the stockpiling of weapons and creation of new technology in order to get ahead of the other nation

  • The arms race led to many changes in military strategies

    • More reliance on nuclear weapons, less on conventional weapons

    • New long range airplanes that would be used to deliver nuclear weapons, such as the B-52

    • ICBM’s – Intercontinental ballistic missiles, that could travel thousands of miles and strike very close to their intended target

Soviet advancements
Soviet Advancements

  • In 1957 the Soviets shocked the world when they launched the first ever artificial satellite named Sputnik

  • A month later Sputnik II took the first living creature into space (a dog named Laika)

  • Americans responded with fear that the Soviets would use satellites to spy or attack the US and feared that it signaled that the Soviets had surpassed Americans in terms of technical skill and knowledge

  • In response, the US government created NASA – National Aeronautics Space Administration to keep pace with the Soviets.

American reactions
American Reactions

  • Americans began to fear the threat of nuclear war

  • Nuclear fallout – the aftermath of nuclear weapons that could be as deadly as direct attack

  • The Truman administration created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) to educate and prepare the public for nuclear emergencies

    • Air raid sirens

    • Nuclear drills

    • Duck and Cover Video

  • Even with these tests, the American people realized that a nuclear attack in an urban area of the US would be catastrophic

    • “…war no longer presented the possibility of victory or defeat, but only the alternative of varying degrees of destruction”

American reactions1
American Reactions

  • In response to fear of nuclear attack many Americans began installing bomb shelters in their yards

  • The 1950’s also saw that President Eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial complex – the idea that military needs, including weapons, were no longer a temporary wartime industry.


  • The 1950’s saw the growth in popularity of the home television

    • 1950-5 million TV’s

    • 1959-40 million TV’s

  • TV stars like Lucille Ball and Milton Berle became household names

    • Lucy at the Chocolate Factory

  • There were only 3 networks showing dramas, game shows, and comedy variety shows


  • Besides programs, the TV became a very significant part of American culture

  • Politics – American leaders realized the power of the TV early on. In fact, it was TV that brought down Senator McCarthy after his hearings were aired

  • Advertising – early on advertisers sponsored an entire show (ex: The Colgate Comedy Hour). After that became too expensive companies began buying 1-2 minute segments of the show, thus giving birth to the TV commercial

  • 1950's Make up Commercial

  • Even in the 1950’s people were already concerned with violence on TV


  • In the 1950’s the first computers came into use. They were very expensive, large, and not as advanced as today

  • In 1952 scientist Jonas Salk developed a polio vaccine, changing a disease that affected thousands to a disease that is essentially nonexistent today.


  • The 1950’s were a time of economic growth

    • American workers and farmers produced about 1/3 of the world’s goods and services

    • Americans began purchasing automobiles on a more regular basis

    • Bill and Alfred Levitt created Levittown, NY – one of the first examples of suburban development

    • These suburban homes were filled with the latest devices – stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, and TV’s

    • People began moving away from northern areas to the sunbelt – the warmer southern and western parts of the US

      • California’s population grew by 5 million in the 1950’s alone


  • Interstate Highway System

  • The beginning of rebellion

    • Film stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean

    • The early stages of rock and roll

    • Elvis Presley

    • Rock and roll music was a collaboration between jazz, blues, and a new invention – electric guitars

Election of 1960
Election of 1960

  • President Eisenhower’s Vice-President Richard Nixon

    vs. Democrat John F. Kennedy

  • This election is particularly significant because it included

    the first televised presidential debates

  • Kennedy/Nixon Debate

  • Voters associated Nixon with the older Eisenhower and felt that he opposed new ideas, while many were concerned about Kennedy being a Roman Catholic.

  • The election was incredibly close (less than 0.2%) but Kennedy won the electoral college vote 303-219, becoming the youngest elected President

  • Throughout Kennedy’s Presidency he focused on change and strongly anti-Communist

  • Kennedy also assembled a very young group of advisors and cabinet members, including his brother Bobby as Attorney General.

Bay of pigs
Bay of Pigs

  • During the 1960 election Kennedy learned that President Eisenhower had authorized the CIA to secretly train a group of Cuban exiles in Central America to invade Cuba.

  • Eisenhower authorized this training in hopes of overthrowing Cuban dictator Fidel Castro

  • In 1959 Castro seized power, the next year signing a trade agreement with the Soviet Union and instituting a Communist government.

  • The CIA believed that the invasion would inspire other Cubans to rise up against Castro, a belief that Eisenhower did not share.

Bay of pigs1
Bay of Pigs

  • Kennedy had a difficult decision to make – he was strongly against Castro and his Communist government and he was assured by the CIA that the operation was a guaranteed success.

  • The Bay of Pigs invasion was a disaster

    • The NY Times reported the plan a week before it was to take place

    • The air strike against Cuba’s air force failed

    • A damaged bomber flew to Key West, Florida instead of back to Nicaragua, making it impossible for the US to deny involvement

    • When the land invasion occurred the Cubans were prepared and were captured

    • Kennedy decided not to invade Cuba and rescue the invasion force because he feared how it would affect US-Soviet relations

Bay of pigs2
Bay of Pigs

  • The Bay of Pigs invasion was a failure for several reasons

    • 1) Poor planning and lack of US air cover

    • 2) The CIA underestimated the support of the Cuban people for Castro

  • Instead of eliminating the threat of communism close to the US the Bay of Pigs incident only strengthened Castro’s ties to the Soviet Union.

  • “We shall render [the] Cuban government all necessary assistance” – Nikita Khrushchev

Berlin crisis part 2
Berlin Crisis (Part 2)

  • In 1961 President Kennedy met with Khrushchev in Vienna, Austria to try to ease tensions between the 2 nations

  • Instead, Khrushchev saw the US as weak after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and demanded that the US recognize East Germany as an independent nation and that the US withdraw from West Berlin

  • Kennedy refused and instead began a troop buildup in West Germany.

  • Khrushchev responded to the troop buildup by closing the crossing points between East and West Berlin

  • Within hours there were 25,000 troops patrolling the border with a barb wire fence put up around West Berlin, which was soon replaced by a large concrete wall.

Berlin crisis part 21
Berlin Crisis (Part 2)

  • Kennedy was actually relieved by the wall, because he had feared that the Soviets would invade West Berlin

  • Eventually the Berlin Wall would completely surround West Berlin, covering nearly 100 miles, dividing families, neighborhoods, streets, even cemeteries.

  • Two years after the wall went up President Kennedy visited Berlin to give his support to the people of West Berlin

  • Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Kennedy s foreign policy
Kennedy’s Foreign Policy

  • Peace Corps – trained and sent volunteers to Africa, Asia, and Latin America to serve for two years as teachers, healthcare workers, agricultural advisors, or other jobs that aided the host country’s development.

  • Alliance for Progress – gave billions of dollars to Latin American nations for building schools, hospitals, roads, housing, and power plants.

    • The purpose was to encourage these nations not to turn to communism, but the program failed because most money went to anti-communist dictators

  • Flexible response – designed to strengthen American forces and give options besides nuclear weapons in a time of crisis.

Kennedy s image
Kennedy’s Image

  • President Kennedy knew that in the world of television and media image was everything.

  • He was often photographed engaged in physical activities, even though he had numerous health problems and a bad back

  • His wife Jackie and children added to the image of perfection which came to be known as Camelot.

New frontier
New Frontier

  • Kennedy’s plans for America became known as the New Frontier

    • Reduce taxes to fight rising unemployment

    • Federal aid for education

    • Health care for older Americans

  • However, like Truman’s Fair Deal, most of his ideas were shot down by the Republican controlled Congress (and Democrats who were still not fans of JFK).

Space program
Space Program

  • In April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space

  • Khrushchev claimed the Soviet lead in space showed the superiority of communism, leading JFK to make a bold statement

  • President Kennedy: We Choose to go to the Moon

The warren court
The Warren Court

  • In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as the chief justice of the Supreme Court

  • In his 16 years the Supreme Court made several rulings that extended civil rights, voting rights, rights of the accused, and religious freedom

  • Brown v. Board of Education

  • Reynolds v. Sims

  • Gideon v. Wainwright

  • Miranda v. Arizona

  • Engel v. Vitale

  • Escobedo v. Illinois

  • Mapp v. Ohio

  • Griswold v. Connecticut

The kennedy assassination
The Kennedy Assassination

  • With the 1964 election approaching JFK flew to Texas to try and gain the support of Southern Democrats on November 22, 1963

  • News Reports of Kennedy Assassination

  • Kennedy’s death shocked the nation and a time of mourning overcame the nation

  • Within hours of Kennedy’s death Vice President Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One

  • Assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, but he too was shot before he could stand trial by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner with ties to organized crime

  • Warren Commission – a group led by Earl Warren that investigated the JFK assassination. Despite many conspiracy theories the commission reported that Oswald and Ruby acted alone.