The “Iron Curtain” From Stettin in the Balkans, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lies the ancient capitals of Central and Eastern Europe.-- Sir Winston Churchill, 1946
Improve your knowledge • Truman had been horrified at the pre-war Allied policy of appeasement and was determined to stand upto any Soviet intimidation.The Truman Doctrine in March 1947 promised that the USA “would support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”. Triggered by British inability to hold the line in Greece, it was followed by aid to Greece and Turkey, and also money to secure upcoming elections in Italy and the advance of Communist trade unions in France.It signalled the end of “isolationist” policies.
Rebuilding Europe • The Marshall Planreflected the strength of the US economy and offered huge sums to enable the war shattered economies of Europe to rebuild and, by generating prosperity, to reject the appeal of Communism, Czechoslovakia showed interest in receiving Marshall Aid but was blocked by Russia.The Soviet system was as much dependent upon creating a self-contained economic bloc as it was in maintaining a repressive political system.
Marshall Plan  • “European Recovery Program.” • Secretary of State, George Marshall • The U. S. should provide aid to all European nations that need it. This move is not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. • $12.5 billion of US aid to Western Europe extended to Eastern Europe & USSR, [but this was rejected].
Berlin Airlift (10:13) • June 1947 the Western allies announced they were creating West Germany. • USSR blockaded West Berlin • airlifted supplies went into West Berlin round-the-clock for 321 days • 277,569 flights • food, cars, oil, coal, etc. • USSR lifted the blockade
Hunting Communists at Home · A dramatic fear of communism and communist spies spread across the nation. Joseph Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov depicted saluting a military parade in Red Square above the message "Long Live the Worker-Peasant Red Army— a Dependable Sentinel of the Soviet Borders!"
· In 1949, the U.S. learned that the Soviet Union also possessed atomic weapons. Video: Atomic tests(4:35)
Video: The Tsar Bomba (7:37) Following the detonation of the "Bravo" hydrogen test in the Pacific, Igor Kurchatov, scientific director of the Soviet nuclear weapons program, and three other scientists wrote a report warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons. (1954) “The power of one or two modern hydrogen bombs translated into an equivalent quantity of TNT is comparable to the total amount of explosives used by the fighting sides in the last world war.” Igor Kurchatov
“Aside from the destructive impact of atomic and hydrogen bombs there is another threat for mankind involved in atomic war--poisoning the atmosphere and the surface of the globe with radioactive substances originating from nuclear explosions. In the form of minuscule particles and gases, these are lifted by the force of the blast together with dust particles to comparatively high altitudes. Wind spreads them all over the earth's atmosphere. Later these radioactive substances fall onto the surface of the earth with rain, snow, and dust, thus poisoning it.” - Igor Kurchatov
BELARUS. Maiski. 1997. Nikolai Yanchen, one of 600,000 ‘liquidators’ conscripted to fight the fires and clean up the radioactive ash and contaminated villages. He lost his right leg to cancer. He can no longer work and lives alone in a small village in a contaminated area near the 30km ‘hot zone’.
BELARUS. Minsk. 1997. Children’s Home No 1. This hospital receives many of the most deformed babies soon after birth. Nurse Alla Komarova hugs 3-year-old Yulya, whose brain is in a membrane in the back of his head.
Code Name: Ivy Mike The fireball was approximately 3.25 miles wide, and the mushroom cloud rose to an altitude of 57,000 feet in less than 90 seconds. One minute later it had reached 108,000 feet , before stabilizing at 136,000 feet with the top eventually spreading out to a diameter of 100 miles with a stem 20 miles wide. The blast created a crater 6,240 feet in diameter and 164 feet deep where Elugelab had once been; the blast and water waves from the explosion (some waves up to twenty feet high) stripped the test islands clean of vegetation, as observed by a helicopter survey within 60 minutes after the test, by which time the mushroom cloud and steam had been blown away. Irradiated coral debris fell upon ships stationed 30 miles from the blast, and the immediate area around the atoll was heavily contaminated for some time. Video – Ivy Mike Test (2:19)
“Radiation from that blast would later bring early death to many of us on the island at that time. Some of us are still dying of radiation from Bravo.” - Bob Markey, Sr., naval officer, stationed on the island of Kwajalein, 150 miles from Bikini Atoll. Castle Bravo H-Bomb shot at Bikini Atoll. Largest U.S. H-Bomb ever exploded. The explosion was 1000 times greater than Hiroshima. 1954 Video: H-bomb testing at Bikini Atoll(1:25)
Example of American fears of Communism: - Americans, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were accused of stealing nuclear secrets for the Soviets. - The Rosenbergs were executed for their crimes in 1953. Testing of an Atomic Cannon(1:17 - 1953)
McCarthy’s reckless claims: · In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy announced that he had a list of 205 State Department employees that were members of the Communist party. Video: McCarthy Witch Hunt Trials (5:47)
· McCarthy’s claim was never proven, but he helped to increase a fear of communism in America known as the “Red Scare”. · After thousands of Americans had their lives ruined after being accused of being communists, McCarthy’s popularity lessened as the nation learned that he had no proof behind his accusations.
Communists at the State Department: - State Department official Alger Hiss was imprisoned for perjury in 1950. - Hiss had lied under oath, denying that he was a part of a Soviet spy ring that sent U.S. government secrets to the Soviet Union.
The Cold War in Africa and Asia · The United States and Soviet Union supported their allies worldwide, turning small conflicts into international wars. Examples: - In Africa, the U.S. supported Somalia while the Soviets supported Ethiopia. - In Asia, Pakistan became an ally of the U.S., while India accepted assistance from both the U.S. and the Soviets. Also, the U.S. supported democratic forces in Indochina while the Soviets supported the communists. - (Note: today, Indochina consists of the nations of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.)
Premier Nikita Khrushchev About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether we (Soviet Union) exist.If you don't like us, don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it our not, history is on our side. We will bury you. -- 1956 De-Stalinization Program Russians With Lyrics Link(3:54)
Proxy Wars • The years after WWII would be marked by a number of conflicts that would indirectly pit the Soviet Union against the U.S. as they attempted to spread Communism and we attempted to “contain” it. • These wars include the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. To be continued…
Cold War Movies • Red Dawn • WarGames • Blast from the Past • Miracle • The Day the Earth Stood Still • AND MANY MORE…