The Beginnings of the Cold War The Cold War This icon indicates the slide contains activities created in Flash. These activities are not editable. For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation.
What we will learn today • What we will learn today: • What happened at the Yalta Conference? • What changed by the Potsdam Conference? • What were the short-term causes of the Cold War?
The USA and the USSR In five minutes, create a rough table to describe the relationship between the USA and USSR: As you complete this lesson you will explore these ideas.
The Yalta conference Churchill Roosevelt Stalin USA USSR Great Britain These three leaders, known as the Big Three, met at Yalta in Russia in February 1945.
The Yalta conference is often thought of as the beginning of the Cold War. It was a meeting of the Big Three at the former palace of Tsar Nicholas II on the Crimean shore of the Black Sea. They met between 4 and 11 February 1945. Stalin’s army had reached the River Oder and were poised to attack Berlin. The Soviet army had been told to pause while the conference took place. Stalin had occupied Poland and had the largest army in Europe.
Key agreements at Yalta • Stalin accepted France as one of the four powers. • Germany was to be divided into four zones, each occupied by one of the four allies (USA, USSR, Britain, France). Berlin was also to be divided into four sectors. • Poland would get land from Germany, and would lose land to USSR in the east. • The USSR would declare war on Japan three months after the end of the war with Germany. • Stalin promised to allow free elections in the East European countries the Soviet army was occupying. • Germany was to pay reparations of $20 million, half of which was to go to the USSR. Who seems to have done best at the conference?
The Yalta conference – interpretations Read source a and b. Note down which you think is written by an American and which by a Briton. You must explain your choice. “Churchill was anxious to limit Russian influence in Europe, but Roosevelt did not share his aim … Stalin obtained his aims over Poland. Her frontiers were to be the so-called Curzon line … on the east and the western Neisse on the west. Her government was to be … the Lublin Committee rather than … the exiled government in London.” A Ramm, 1992.
“Yalta was widely hailed as a giant step toward world peace – and assailed for the concessions the British and American leaders granted their Soviet partner … In return for Stalin’s pledge to join the war against Japan … the Soviet Union gained the Kurile Islands and parts of Manchuria … On European matters the Western chiefs were even more accommodating…” L Glennon, 1995. Which source was by an American, which by a Briton?
The problems of Yalta The Yalta Conference was initially thought to be very successful. However, problems were emerging between the superpowers. The US thought the agreement to ‘democracy and free elections’ meant that Eastern Europe would have freedom of speech and proper elections. The Soviets’ idea of democracy was the communist one, where the Communist Party represented the people, and all worked for the good of the nation. Problems Whatever the reasons, these tensions at Yalta were the beginnings of much deeper mistrust and suspicion that led to the Cold War. Some suggest Roosevelt was simply naive, others suggest he was trying to keep the USSR in the war.
The Potsdam conference Stalin Atlee Truman Churchill Roosevelt USA USSR Great Britain In July and August 1945, the Big Three met again. However, the Big Three changed. Roosevelt died, and was replaced by Truman. Truman felt Roosevelt had been too soft on the communist USSR. During the Potsdam Conference Churchill lost a general election and was replaced by Atlee.
From 17 July to 2 August 1945, the Allies held a conference in Potsdam, a port 25 km south of Berlin. In May 1945, Germany surrendered. The war still continued in the Pacific, but the Allies had to build on the decisions made at Yalta. The ‘new’ Big Three did not get on as well as the original Big Three. In addition to changes in the leaders, there were other tensions at Potsdam.
Tensions at Potsdam Truman was in the middle of trials for the newatomic bomb. He didn’t reveal this, but Stalin secretly knew from his spies. Stalin was furious that Truman kept the issue a ‘secret’. Stalin was determined to get what he felt the USSR deserved: reparations from Germany and guaranteed future security. Truman was determined to force free elections in Eastern Europe to encourage countries to recover. Stalin had other ideas and wanted to keep the countries weak to act as a buffer zone.
“Agreements” at Potsdam • German reparations were agreed – each country was to take reparations from its own area of occupation. The USSR was also to receive some industrial equipment from the Western zones – little of this was actually handed over. • The details of the German–Polish borders on the rivers Oder and Neisse were agreed, although the British and Americans were unhappy with it. • The German people were to be “re-educated” and Nazism stamped out, and war criminals tried and punished. • Austria was also to be divided into four zones, like Germany. Independence was regained in 1955. • The USSR wanted to help run the rich German industrial area of the Ruhr – the USA rejected this. • The USSR wanted a share in the occupation of Japan – the USA rejected this.
Understanding Potsdam: buffer zone What was the point of this buffer zone Stalin wanted? The USSR had suffered three invasions from the West (1914, 1918 and 1941). It believed the Western Allies were helping Germany to rebuild, meaning Germany would be a threat yet again. Stalin decided the only way to be truly safe was to have a ‘buffer zone’ of ‘friendly states’ between themselves and Germany. From 1945, the USSR made sure the countries of Eastern Europe became communist.
The atomic bomb – nuclear war President Truman had not mentioned the development of the atomic bomb to Stalin at Potsdam. As you have already learnt, Stalin was furious about this. On 6 August 1945, the USA dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, they dropped a different type of atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of people died from radiation poisoning. Debate still rages today about the atomic bomb. Some suggest that it ended the war against Japan, who would never have given up otherwise. Others suggest it was a simply the USA showing its power to the world – and especially the USSR.
The Iron Curtain In March 1946, Winston Churchill gave a speech in Fulton, Missouri. In his speech he was the first to use the term Iron Curtain. “From Stettin, in the Baltic, to Trieste, in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line … all are subject to a high and increasing control from Moscow...”
The ‘Iron Curtain’ stood for the border between East and West set up by Stalin. It soon became a thousand mile fence making a clear division between East and West, the division between communism and capitalism. In December 1946, Britain and the USA agreed to unite their German zones for economic purposes. The Soviets were furious. Not only had they acted without agreement from the Soviets, but they also appeared to be rebuilding Germany, when Stalin wanted to keep it weak. THE COLD WAR HAD BEGUN.
The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid In 1947, US president Harry S Truman gave a speech in which he promised that the USA would give aid to countries that were resisting communist takeover. This became known as the Truman Doctrine. In June the same year, George Marshall, US Secretary of State, gave a speech outlining a way to keep communism at bay and build up markets for US exports. It became known as the ‘Marshall Plan’.
$13 billion was provided by the US government for all European countries to rebuild. In Italy and France, communist parties were growing in size, and the aim was to cut them down. During the plan’s four-year run, industrial production in Western Europe went up by 40%. Marshall Aid was available to all countries who had been affected by the war, but the Soviets would allow none of it to enter their satellite states. Why do you think Stalin would not accept Marshall Aid?
Conclusions • Distrust and suspicion that developed after the defeat of the ‘common enemy’ – Nazi Germany. • Change in leadership created greater distrust and rivalry. • The USA and UK didn’t want to cripple Germany, whereas the USSR did – Stalin was suspicious of why his ‘allies’ wanted to help Germany rebuild. • The USSR didn’t allow free elections in Eastern Europe – Stalin was determined to create a ‘buffer’ protection zone. • The USA didn’t tell the USSR they’d developed an atomic bomb – was it dropped on Japan as a threat to the USSR? Think back to your previous work and create a diagram showing both the long- and short-termcauses.Which do you consider to be the most significant?