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323 Cards in this Set

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What was the Cold War?
A war in which the two superpowers never came to blows directly but each tried to impose their political ideologies on other nations and gain superiority using propaganda, spying and by building up vast stores of weapons.
Why did the Soviet Union mistrust the Allies?
- Still clung to his policy of Socialism in one Country
- Believed that the West wanted to see the destruction of the SU
- Determined to build a buffer zone to prevent any future German invasion-Germany had invaded Russia twice in the 20th century
- Western Allies had intervened in the Civil War (1918-1919)
- Suspected they had encouraged Hitler in the 1930s
- Allies ignored Stalins appeals for a second front in 1942-3 and delayed invading France until 1944
Why did the Western Allies mistrust Stalin?
- Allies had spent 6 years fighting Hitler-they did not want to see another dictator take his place
- Churchill was afraid the Red Army would not leave the Eastern European countries they had 'liberated' from the Nazis
- Soviet treatment of Poland confirmed their fears
-Stalin never declared war on Japan until the last minute
How did the Soviet Union's treatment of Poland confirm the fears of the Allies?
-In 1944, the Red Army refused to help the Poles during the Warsaw uprising
- Seemed only too happy to have a weakened Poland to deal with
- Stalin set up a pro-communist government in Poland and ignored the Polish government who had fled to England at the outbreak of the war
What was the name of the pro-communist government set up by Stalin in Poland?
The Lublin Poles
When was the Yalta conference held?
February 1945
Where was Yalta?
Southern Soviet Union
Which leaders met at Yalta?
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin
Why was the Yalta conference held?
- It was obvious the Germans would not hold out much longer
-Allied forces were about to cross the Rhine and invade Germany in the West and the Red Army was poised to invade Eastern Germany and Hungary
-They needed to decide what to do with Germany after the end of the war
-The Allies were determined to avoid a repetition of the resentment which had occurred after WWI due to the Treaty of Versailles
- Wanted to occupy Germany and keep it under control
What agreements were made at Yalta?
- Germany would be split into 4 zones-each of the 4 Allies would occupy and have responsibility for the area they were fighting in when the Germans surrendered
- However, this meant Berlin would be in the Soviet zone so Berlin too was divided into 4 sectors, to be governed jointly by the Allies
- Stalin accepted France as a superpower and the US agreed to give France part of their zone
- Poland would be given land in the West, taken from Germany, and would lose land in the East, to the SU
- The SU would declare war on Japan 3 months after the end of the war with Germany
- Stalin promised to allow free elections in Eastern Europe
What did Roosevelt think about the agreements made at Yalta?
Roosevelt believed Stalin would keep his promises. He believed the Soviet Army would be needed in the final attack on Japan so was prepared to leave the SU in control of Eastern Europe.
What did Churchill think about the agreements made at Yalta?
Chruchill did not think it was a good idea to trust Stalin and leave him in control of Eastern Europe. By the Potsdam conference he was proved right.
When was the Potsdam conference?
July 1945
Where was Potsdam?
Just outside Berlin
When did the new US President Harry Truman take over from Roosevelt?
12th April 1945, when Roosevelt died
What was Trumans view of the Soviet Union?
He took a much tougher line with Stalin and announced he was going to 'get tough with the Russians'.
Why was the Potsdam conference held?
The actual details of the agreements made at Yalta were left to be decided later which meant that another conference needed to be held at a later date. By this point the war was over (Germany surrendered on May 7th) and the Allies needed to decided how Germany was going to be ruled.
Why did relations start to sour before the Potsdam conference?
- It was becoming clear that Stalin was going back on his promises to allow free elections in Eastern Europe
- Change of leadership in the USA-President Roosevelt had always been inclined to trust Stalin but the new President, Harry Truman, took a much tougher line with Stalin
-When Truman met Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, in April 1945, he immediately told him off for failing to keep the agreements made at Yalta
- Truman realised he no longer needed the Red Army for an invasion of Japan, so could afford to 'get tough with the Russians'
What agreements were made at Potsdam?
- Germany was divided into 4 zones and Berlin into 4 sectors
- Each zone would be occupied by one of the 4 Allies
- Decisions on the government of Germany would be taken jointly and at some time in the future the country would be reunited
- The Nazi Party would be dissolved and war criminals tried and punished
- There would be free elections, freedom of speech and a free press in Germany
- Germany would pay reparations for the damage done by the war, most of which would go to the SU
- The SU would give back to the West food to the value of 25% of the reparations
- All 4 Allies became members of the UN
Why were there disagreements at Potsdam?
- The new US President, Harry Truman, tried to force the SU to allow free elections in Eastern Europe
- However, when the West referred to Poland, Stalin simply referred to Greece where Britain was supporting the Greek government against Communist influence, leading to a civil war
- Stalin was angry that the West was meddling in what he considered his sphere of influence
- Stalin was angry that Truman had not told him about the development of the atomic bomb until the last minute and didn't consult him about using it against Japan
- Truman refused to share atomic secrets with the SU-led to a belief in the SU that the bomb had been dropped as a warning
- In fact, Stalin knew about the bomb-his spies had passed on the information-but he distrusted Truman's secrecy
What major differences between the East and the West soured relations further?
- Stalin believed that Europe had been divided into two spheres of influence at Yalta and Potsdam-the Western Allies could do as they liked in the West but shouldn't interfere in his sphere of influence-Eastern Europe
- Stalin wanted Germany to be kept weak to avoid any possibility of a third war but the West wanted Germany to recover economically to avoid a similar situation to after WWI
How was the Soviet zone of Germany treated?
The Soviet zone of Germany was stripped of machinery and equipment, which was taken to the SU to help rebuild the country after the appalling damage inflicted by the war.
How were the Western zones of Germany treated?
The Western Allies wanted to rebuild their zones and quickly began to reorganise industry and trade unions. Britain and USA agreed to unite their zones and the French zone was later added too-this was the first step on the road to recovery for Germany. The Western Allies also introduced a new currency in their zones of Germany to kickstart the economy.
How was the the Western Allie's treatment of Germany viewed by the Soviet Union?
Whilst Stalin simply appeared to be a merciless predator to the West, to Stalin, the West appeared to be laying the foundations for a stronger Germany-something he deeply feared. The uniting of the British and US zones of Germany was greeted with fury in the SU-not only were the Western Allies acting without their agreement but they appeared to be planning to rebuild Germany whilst Stalin wanted to keep it as weak as possible.
What was the name given to the united British and US zones of Germany?
When was Bizonia created?
January 1947
When had the British and the US agreed to unite their zones of Germany?
December 1946
What was the Joint Kommandatura?
The government of Berlin which contained the military leaders of the 4 Allies.
What was the Iron Curtain?
- The name given to the border between East and West in Europe, set up by Joseph Stalin, in the years after the Second World War.
- It became a 1600 mile wall cutting off the Communist countries of Eastern Europe from the capitalist West and stretching from Bulgaria to Poland.
- The 'curtain' was in fact a series of fences protected by razor wire, dog runs, photo-electric beams, remote-controlled weapons and guard towers.
- The most famous example was the Berlin Wall.
- The Iron Curtain became the most important symbol of the Cold War
- All countries behind the Iron Curtain were brought under Soviet control and pro-communist governments were installed-it proved impossible for the West to intervene
When was the Iron Curtain built?
Why did Stalin build the Iron Curtain?
-Stalin wanted a buffer zone of countries in Eastern Europe to protect the SU
- He did not trust Britain and the US because they had invaded during the Civil War and had delayed invading France until 1944
- He wanted to stop Western capitalist influence reaching the east and refugees leaving for Western Europe
- He wanted to stop the West from interfering in his sphere of influence
When was Romania brought under Soviet control?
March 1945
When was Bulgaria brought under Soviet control?
November 1945
How did Stalin gain control of Romania and Bulgaria?
- Pro-communist governments were set up
- Soviet authorities tried to gain control at elections by persuading political parties to amalgamate with the Communists
- Tried to infiltrate the civil service, the police and the trade unions
Who was Jan Masaryk?
The Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister.
How and when did he die?
In March 1948, in a mysterious fall.
Who was the President of Czechoslovakia?
President Eduard Benes
When was the coup in Czechoslovakia?
Communists were unable to win a majority in Czechoslovakia so carried out a coup in February 1948.
When did the President of Czechoslovakia resign?
President Eduardo Benes resigned in June 1948 handing control to the Communists.
When did Stalin gain control of Hungary?
May 1949
How did Stalin gain control of Hungary?
A general election gave complete victory to the Communist controlled National Independence Front.
Who was the President of Yugoslavia?
President Josip Tito
Why was Stalin unable to gain control in Yugoslavia?
President Tito of Yugoslavia refused to cooperate with the SU despite having set up a Communist government.
Other than Yugoslavia, name one other country that was Communist but not under Soviet control?
Why did Stalin want to 'appear' to use peaceful methods to gain Communist influence over Eastern Europe?
He wanted it to appear to the West that the people in Eastern Europe were 'choosing' Communism.
How would Stalin's treatment of Eastern Europe have gone against the democratic aims and ideals of the West?
- The West would have viewed Stalin's actions in Eastern Europe as undemocratic as they were not allowed to choose their own leaders-the West suspected he was not using peaceful methods
- The Iron Curtain prevented open access to information in countries behind the Iron Curtain
- Free movement and travel would be hugely restricted by the heavily guarded Iron Curtain
- Stalin stripped East Germany of it's goods and factories and tried to prevent it from becoming a strong independent country which would have angered the West.
- Nature of a dictatorship meant that people in these Eastern European countries had no freedom of speech, political association or assembly, freedom of worship was restricted and there was no way of leaving the Communist bloc.
When was the Truman Doctrine issued?
March 1947
What was the Truman doctrine?
A political promise made by US President Harry Truman to help any government that was being threatened from within or without its own borders. Whilst he did not mention the Soviet Union and did not specify what form aid might take, it was clear that it was intended as a warning to Stalin that Truman was not going to let him get away with any more attempts to take control of Europe. Truman had said he was going to 'get tough with the Russians'-this was one example of this policy.
Why was the Truman doctrine issued?
- In February 1947, the British government told the US government that it could no longer afford to support the Greek government in it's civil war against Communists
- Truman agreed to take responsibility and provided $400 million of aid-he took this oppurtunity to extend the offer of aid
- Truman wanted to help Europe recover from the devastating effects of WWII-he wanted to the US to play a part in the recovery
- Truman wanted to stop any more countries in Europe from becoming Communist-the Iron Curtain had already cut Europe in two, he didn't want it to go any further
- Truman hoped he could persuade some Eastern European countries to break away from Communism
- Intended as a warning to Stalin
What were the key features of the Truman Doctrine?
- Tried to rebuild the countries of Eastern Europe which were affected by the Second World War
- Aimed to stop the spread of Communism and intended as a warning to Stalin that Truman would no longer tolerate him dominating Eastern Europe and installing Communist governments
- Tried to bring those countries under the Western, capitalist sphere of influence and democracy
- Supported through Marshall Aid
- Containment-stopping the spread of Communism
- Linked these countries with the Western political ideology and economic system
What was Marshall Aid?
Marshall Aid was an attempt to rebuild Europe after the Second World War which put the ideas of the Truman Doctrine into effect.
Who was Marshall Aid named after?
US Secretary of State George C. Marshall
Why was Marshall Aid introduced?
- Marshall Aid aimed to rebuild Europe after the Second World War
- It could only be spent in ways which furthered capitalist aims so it encourage capitalism in the countries which received Marshall Aid
- It served to make capitalism look better than Communism
- Allowed the US to influence the countries of Eastern Europe and undermine Communism
What were the key features of Marshall Aid?
- Truman offered grants of American money to all European countries-he intended that Marshall Aid would be available to all countries in Europe but eventually only countries in the West accepted it
- Any countries wishing to receive Marshall Aid had to join the OEEC which would decide how Marshall Aid would be spent, not the individual countries
- The OEEC ensured that Marshall Aid would only be spent in ways which furthered capitalism
- Once the SU realised what Truman was up to they forced other eastern bloc countries, Czechoslovakia in particular, to withdraw applications for Marshall Aid and Stalin set up COMECON
What was the OEEC?
The Organisation for European Economic Cooperation
What was COMECON?
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, intended to be the Soviet response to Marshall Aid. Stalin offered aid to Communist countries to help them recover from the war.
When was COMECON set up?
January 1949
What were the effects of COMECON?
- COMECON was just a pale shadow of the economic institutions of the West
- The SU lacked the financial strength of the USA and the attempt to set up a Communist rival led to bankruptcy and ruin
- The SU had far fewer resources to offer the countries of Eastern Europe
- COMECON was a major drain on the resources of the SU and helped to bring about its economic downfall in the 1980s
What countries agreed to integrate their economies with COMECON and when?
China, North Korea, North Vietnam and Mongolia in 1958
When was the International Bank of Economic Collaboration established?
What were the effects of Marshall Aid?
- 17 countries received Marshall Aid, to a total of $13.75 billion
- Italy, one of the members of the Axis during the war, received more than $600 million and Spain, which remained neutral during the war, received more than $60 million
- Marshall Aid allowed these countries to recover from the war much faster than the countries of Eastern Europe
- Marshall Aid was the second half of containment-by helping the recovery of Western Europe, Marshall Aid strengthened it against the threat of Communism
- Good for America as it guranteed export markets for American factories
- Led to Stalin setting up COMECON
When did the Berlin blockade come into effect and when did Stalin eventually call it off?
Came into effect-June 1948
Called off-May 1949
What was the Berlin blockade?
- Until the Berlin blockade free travel between the four sectors of Berlin had been easy-people could live in one sector and work in other
- This was very awkward for Stalin as East Berliners were able to see the improvements that Marshall Aid had on life in the West
- Stalin saw West Berlin as a capitalist island behind the Iron Curtain and in June 1948 he decided to get rid of it by blockading West Berlin-he ordered all traffic between West Germany and West Berlin should be stopped
- He was able to close the road, canal and rail routes
- However, he could not prevent the Western Allies from bringing supplies into West Berlin by air
Why did Stalin decide to blockade Berlin?
- Britain and the USA had made it clear that they intended to rebuild the economy their zones-Bizonia was created in 1947 and the French zone was added in 1948 to create Trizonia
- Stalin believed Germany should be kept weak to prevent any risk of another war with Germany
- Stalin also wanted to get reparations from Germany to help rebuild the SU
- In 1948, the Western Allies announced they were going to introduce a new currency in the West-the Deutschmark-to help the economy get going again-this meant East and West would be seperate economically
- West Berlin was a temptation to East Berliners-in the West Marshall Aid was already beginning to improve life
- East Berliners and East Germans were already trying to escape to the West through West Berlin which was seen as an 'escape hatch'
- Stalin saw West Berlin as a capitalist 'seed of evil' in waht he considered his sphere of influence
- Stalin saw East Germany as a satellite state vital to the security of the SU-he believed that if one satellite state fell to capitalist influence then the whole security of the SU could be threatened
- He also wanted to put pressure on the West to try and force the Allies to remove their forces
Berlin was cut off from the West and only had enough food and fuel to last six weeks. How did the West react?
- The Western Allies were determined that Stalin should not succeed
- General Lucius Clay, the US commander in Berlin, said, 'If West Berlin falls, West Germany will be next'.
- Clay offered to fight his way out of Berlin but was ordered not to by Truman
- The Allies believed that if they gave in then Stalin would behave as Hitler had done in the 1930s and more and more countries would be taken over
- The Allies began to bring supplies into West Berlin-this was known as the Berlin airlift
What was the scale of the Berlin airlift?
- 4000 tonnes of supplies per day were needed to supply West Berlin's 2.1 million people-by spring 1949 the Allies were bringing in 8000 tonnes a day, including coal, just to prove a point
- More than 320,000 flights were made altogether
- 79 pilots died in the Berlin airlift
- Allied planes flew round the clock, one landing every 90 seconds
Why did Stalin end the blockade in May 1949?
- Soviet fighter aircraft did all they could to stop the airlift
- However, in order to stop the airlift Stalin would have had to resort to shooting down Western planes-Stalin did not want to start shooting as he feared the USA's nuclear weapons
- It was obvious to Stalin that the West were not going to give in so he gave up and ended the blockade.
What was the impact of the Berlin blockade on the Cold War?
- The blockade made 2 Berlins, West and East
- It was the end of the wartime alliance
- It convinced the West that there was no point in hoping that Stalin would cooperate and keep the promises made at Yalta and Potsdam

When was NATO set up?
April 1949
What does NATO stand for?
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
What was NATO?
A military alliance which committed each member to the defence of all the others if any of them were to be attacked. It was a reaction against the Berlin Blockade which had signalled a complete breakdown in the agreements between Stalin and the West.
Which countries joined NATO?
12 countries joined NATO including the US, Britain and France.
What was the impact of NATO on the Cold War?
- It was a sign that relations were now so bad that some form of military alliance was necessary
- It led to US troops and aircraft being stationed in Western Europe to protect these countries from a possible attack by the countries of Eastern Europe-this was very threatening to the SU- they could intervene very quickly if the Cold War hotted up
- NATO made Western Europe secure against the spread of Communism
- Since the alliance was set up, none of the members has been attacked
When was the Federal Republic of Germany created?
May 1949
Was the Federal Republic of Germany East or West Germany?
West Germany, run by the Allies
What was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany and when was it created?
Bonn, in the Rhineland.
What effect did the creation of West Germany have on superpower relations?
- It was a clear signal that cooperation between the East and West was at an end-West Germany was now a completely seperate state
- Although the Western Allies continued to occupy their three zones, a Parliament was elected
- To help recovery from the war, West Germany was made a full member of the Marshall Plan-this would have angered Stalin as this would have further strengthened the economy, especially compared to the East whcih had been stripped bare by Stalin, and aided the establishment of a capitalist economy
- West Germany became a member of the UN
- All of these actions were aimed at creating a strong independent Germany which would have angered Stalin who wanted to keep Germany work
Who was the first chancellor of post-war West Germany?
Konrad Adenauer
When was the German Democratic Republic created?
October 1949
Was the German Democratic Republic East or West Germany?
East Germany, controlled by Stalin and the Communist Party.
What was the effect on the Cold War of the creation of the German Democratic Republic?
- There were now two completely seperate German states, leading to two independent countries
- East and West Germany existed as seperate countries from 1949 until the collapse of the Communist bloc in 1990
- The two superpowers were no longer making any joint decision-the agreements of Yalta and Potsdam had completely broken down
When di the Soviet Union explode it's first atomic bomb?
July 1949
What effect did the explosion of the Soviet Union's first atomic bomb have on superpower relations?
- Reinforced the need for a Western military alliance (NATO)
- The two superpowers were now equal in military might-the US could no longer assume that it could out-gun the SU, and so it began to develop new weapons which were more powerful than those of the SU
- This was the beginning of the Arms Race-from 1949 until the 1980s the two superpowers poured vast sums of money into the development of new weapons of mass destruction
- The military capabilities of the SU were terrifying to the USA
When did Stalin die?
5th March 1953
Which leader succeeded Stalin?
Nikita Khrushchev
What was the name of Khrushchev's policy on the Cold War?
Peaceful co-existence
What did Khrushchev mean by peaceful co-existence?
- Peaceful co-existence was the belief that different political systems could exist alongside each other-rather than try to destroy the West, the SU should accept that it had a right to exist
- It was the foreign policy adopted by Khrushchev when he came into power
- However, Khrushchev wanted to prove that the Soviet system was better-he wanted to compete with the USA throughout the world
What did Khrushchev say about peaceful co-existence?
"The Soviet Union should accept that the West has a right to exist, and that, rather than trying to destroy the West, the Soviet Union should try to compete with the West and prove that it's way of life is better than the Western way of life."
When was Khrushchev's secret speech in which he denounced Stalins's methods?
February 1956
What was Khrushchev's policy on Eastern Europe?
- Khrushchev did not intend to weaken the ties between the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe
- He was not going to take a more lenient attitude to Wst Germany-in 1958 he began a campaign to force the Allies out of West Berlin
- Khrushchev brutally crushed the Hungarian uprising-the Hungarians made the mistake of thinking that the Secret Speech meant greater freedom and independence
- Khrushchev was not prepared to sacrifice the security of the Soviet Union-like Stalin he saw the satellite system as vital-and he needed to retain the support of the Soviet military leaders
How did the West view Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existence?
- The policy was viewed with caution by the West as the speech sounded promising but Khrushchev had clear political motivations for making it as it helped him gain power in the SU
- Khrushchev's unpredictable character and emphasis on competition posed a different kind of threat that led to increased tension
- Many of Khrushchev's actions appeared to the USA as directly contradicting his meassage of co-existence and went against the USA's democratic beliefs e.g. the brutal crushing of the Hungarian uprising
Why did the West mistrust Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existence?
- Khrushchev claimed he believed in peaceful co-existence and had promised greater freedom for the people of the SU
- However, he was NOT willing to sacrifice the security of the SU, so when Hunagry tried to break away he brutally crushed the uprising
- Although he accepted that the West had a right to exist and to decide it's own political system, he was still determined to prove that Communism was better than capitalism and this was a new kind of threat
- They were suspicious of Khrushchev as he had been Stalin's right hand man and had a significant role in the purges in the Ukraine
How was Khrushchev's unpredictable character challenging to the West?
- Although Khrushchev believed in co-existence he was still a fanatical Communist-he had an unpredictable personality and he was outspoken about his Communist beliefs
- From 1957, Khrushchev began to travel the world, meeting foreign leaders and on his travels he deliberately tried to attract newspaper coverage with unusual behaviour
- On a trip to Britain he walked off the red carpet on a visit to a factory and asked workers why they allowed factory owners to exploit them
- The US government found Khrushchev hard to handle
- His lively personality, popular style and unpredictability gave him an automatic advantage over US President Dwight Eisenhower who seemed uninspiring and dull by comparison (this was one reason the US people later voted for the much younger and more charismatic Kennedy)
When was Dwight Eisenhower President?
The Arms Race was a key feature of Khrushchev's rule. Both superpowers now had atomic bombs. In response to the first Soviet atomic bomb, the USA began to develop the hydrogen bomb or H-bomb. When was it perfected?
November 1952
When was the first Soviet hydrogen bomb?
When was the first Soviet ICBM?
What did ICBM stand for?
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
The USA were deeply concerned by the development of the ICBM and began to build their own. Why was the development of the ICBM so terrifying to the USA?
This missile was capable of carrying a warhead from one continent to another, or from the Soviet Union to the USA, which was a clear threat to US security. Until this point, the only way of dropping an atomic bomb was by plane.
When did the USA begin to develop nuclear weapons?
Development and testing of nuclear weapons began in the 1950s, and nuclear weapons became available in the early 1960s.
The Arms Race continued long after Khrushchev's resignation as leader of the Soviet Union. When were the first Soviet ABMs developed?
When did the USA develop it's own ABMs?
What did ABM stand for and what did they do?
ABM stood for Anti-Ballistic Missiles and they could shoot down ICBMs.
When did the USA first develop MIRVs?
What did MIRV stand for and what did they do?
MIRV stood for Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicle. They carried more than one warhead so could hit more than one target, so they were very difficult to shoot down.
When were Soviet SS-20s and US Cruise missiles created?
How did the Arms Race affect superpower relations?
- The competition and military threat to security increased tension between the West and the Soviet Union
- The US was very disturbed by the threat of competition
- Strategic Air Force units were dispersed and put on alert, and short-range rockets were installed in Turkey and Italy
- Money was poured into missile and bomber programmes
Khrushchev competed with the USA in all areas, not just in military might. How did Khrushchev begin to compete with the USA in sport?
- From the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Soviet sportsmen and women challenged the US domination of the medal table
- At the Rome Olympics in 1960, the Soviet Union won more medals than any other country and this pattern continued until the 1980s
- Soviet athletes were supported by the state so that they could concentrate on training
How did Khrushchev compete with the West in the Space Race?
- Khrushchev was determined that the Soviet Union should win the Space Race
- Khrushchev achived great success in the space programme but only through vast expense on the space programme
- This expenditure eventually proved to be ruinous and was one of the main reasons for the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union in the 1980s
The Soviet Union put the first satellite in space. What was it called and when was it launched?
Sputnik in 1957
When did the Soviet Union put the first animal in space and what was it?
Laika the dog in 1957
When did the Soviet Union get the first astronaut into space and who was it?
Yuri Gagarin in 1961
How did the USA react to the Soviet Union's success in the Space Race?
President Kennedy ordered US scientists to get a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
When was John F. Kennedy President of the USA?
1961 until his assassination in 1963
How did Soviet successes cause tension between the two superpowers?
- Soviet successes hit headlines worldwide, as Khrushchev had intended
- Public opinion was focussed on Khrushchev and the SU
- These successes proved that Soviet technology was superior
- This made Communism seem better than capitalism, which would have angered the West
- Khrushchev was constantly trying to prove that the Soviet way of life was better, and that capitalism was not only wrong but inferior, which was very threatening to the West
- Khrushchev's policies were difficult to understand-at least with Stalin the West had known where it stood, but Khrushchev appeared to be trying to beat the West at it's own game

What did Khrushchev say about Soviet successes?
"The Sputniks prove that socialism has won the competition between the socialist and capitalist countries. The economy, science, culture and the creative genius of people in all speheres of life develop better and faster under Communism.'
Which countries did Khrushchev give foreign aid to and why?
The new countries emerging in Asia and Africa, as he wanted to show that Communism was better than capitalism.
When did West Germany became a member of NATO?
Why was the Soviet Union concerned that West Germany had been admitted to NATO?
- As Stalin had pointed out in 1945, Germany had invaded the SU twice in the 20th century
- Furthermore, the creation of NATO had led to US forces being stationed in Western Europe, right on the doorstep of East Germany- satellite considered essential to Soviet security
- From 1949, bombers arrived in Britain and other European countries, which was very threatening to the security of the Soviet Union
How did the Soviet Union respond to West Germany joining NATO?
- The Warsaw Pact was signed in 1955 by the countries of Eastern Europe
- The pact formed a military alliance-it was the Communist equivalent to NATO
Why was the Warsaw Pact created?
The Warsaw Pact was an attempt to protect the USSR by drawing the countries of Eastern Europe even closer together-this showed the fear that the Soviet Union had of a further German invasion.
Who were the members of the Warsaw Pact?
The Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and East Germany.
What was the full title of the Warsaw Pact?
The Pact of Mutual Assistance and Unified Command.
What were the effects of the Warsaw Pact?
- It created a joint command of the armed forces of the alliance
- It set up a Political Committe to coordinate the foreign policies of the members
- It increased the influence of the SU in Eastern Europe and led to more Soviet troops being stationed there, which made the crushing of the anti-Soviet Hungarian uprising all the easier
- As the SU was the most powerful country in the Pact it effectively gained control of all the armed forces
- It gave the SU a much greater hold over the satellite states, meaning they couldn't break away from Communism and threaten Soviet security
- As the SU now had complete control over the foreign policies of the countries in the Pact, the SU was able to prevent the satellite states from building strong foreign relations with the West
What was the satellite system?
The European countries under Communist control, which Stalin gained after WWII when he 'liberated' them from German control. The Soviet Union controlled and influenced these countries which it considered vital to Soviet security.
What did 'indeterminate status' mean in reference to East Germany?
East Germany's indeterminate status refers to the fact that a formal treaty with West Germany had never been signed since the beginning of the war.
Who was Ulbricht?
The Communist leader of East Germany.
Who was Gomulka?
The Polish leader.
What did Allied occupation rights mean?
Allied occupation rights were the rights of France, Britain and the USA to have forces in Berlin.
Why was East Germany's indeterminate status a problem for the Soviet Union?
- East Germany had 'indeterminate status'-there had been no formal agreement with West Germany or the wider world
- This meant that East German frontiers were indeterminate -unofficially East and West Germany had become two seperate countries but the borders had never been agreed or recognised
- Both sides were afraid the other might dispute the borders and start to push back into the other side's territory
- Khrushchev was concerned that the West might try to spread their influence in East Germany- a vital satellite state
- Stabilising East Germany was essential as it was part of the satellite system
What other reasons did Khrushchev have for wanting to stabilise East Germany?
- Khrushchev was under pressure from Ulbricht and Gomulka, and possibly from other satellites and even China
- Stabilisation of Germany could be seen as the ultimate test of Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence
- West Germany was seen as a capitalist islan or 'seed of evil' which could contaminate East Germany
- People in East Germany could see the prosperity in West Germany and were beginning to defect to the West via the escape hatch of West Berlin
- Khrushchev wanted to end the stream of defectors-he did so by building the Berlin Wall
What did the West think about Khrushchev's idea of terminating Allied occupation rights in Berlin and the stabilisation of East Germany?
- Khrushchev's idea of terminating Allied occupation rights would never be acceptable to the West-if Western troops were removed from Berlin, the SU might gain control of the capital, giving Khrushchev greater control over Germany
- However, they might be willing to recognise East and West Germany as seperate countries and agree post-war frontiers as it would be in the interests of both sides to stabilise the borders and reduce the fear of either side trying to spread their influence
When did Khrushchev build the Berlin Wall?
August 1961
What were the main reasons that relations worsened in the late 1950s and early 1960s?
There were a series of setbacks for the USA-it seemed Khrushchev could do anything he wanted:
- 1955-Khrushchev set up the Warsaw Pact which seemed to increase the risk of a war betweent the superpowers
- Rioting in Poland and the brutal crushing of the Hungarian uprising would have shocked the West
- Fidel Castro gained power in Cuba and formed a close link with the Soviet Union
- The U2 incident
- Bay of Pigs
Why did rioting break out in Poland in 1956?
- Protests began in Poland after Khrushchev's secret speech in which he criticised Stalin
- Government officials were killed
- A number of political prisoners were set free and at the same time a bad harvest led to unrest
- Railway workers led a protest of people calling for 'Cheap bread' and 'Higher wages'-when the police shot some of the marchers and rioting broke out
Rioting in POland led to more than 100 deaths. When did rioting break out?
June 1956
The real trouble began in Poland when the rioters were put on trial. When did this happen?
October 1956
A new leader, who had just been released from prison after serving a 5 year sentence, took control of Poland. When did a new leader take over the Polish Communist Party?
21st October 1956
What was the name of the new leader of the Polish Communist Party?
Wladislaw Gomulka
How did Khrushchev deal with the rioting in Poland?
- Khrushchev sent Soviet troops into Poland to put down the rebels
- He had to decide whether to allow Gomulka to remain in power, or use force, as the Polish Defence Minister demanded
- He left Gomulka in power and removed some unpopular Stalinists from the government
- However, whilst Gomulka could continue the process of de-stalinisation, he had to promise that Poland would remain a loyal member of the Warsaw Pact
- The Communist Party remained firmly in control
- The Defence Minister, Marshal Rokossvky, was summoned to Moscow and accused of taking part in a conspiracy to overthrow Gomulka
What caused unrest in Hungary?
- Poverty-Hungarians were poor, yet much of the food and industrial goods they produced were sent to the Soviet Union
- The Hungairan were very patriotic and hated Soviet control of their country which included censorship, the vicious secret police (called AVH after 1948), control of what schools taught and the economy
- The Hungarians were religious but the Communist Party had banned religion and put Cardinal Mindzenty, the leader of the Catholic church, in prison, causing further resentment
- The situation worsened as the Communist Party tried to destalinise Hungary and things got out of control
Who was the Hungarian leader and how did he try to deal with the unrest?
The Hungarian leader was Rakosi and he asked Khrushchev for permission to arrest 400 troublemakers but Khrushchev would not let him.
Why did the Hungarians think they could break away from Soviet control?
- They interpreted Khrushchev's secret speech and policy of de-stalinisatioon to mean that more independence from Soviet control would be tolerated
- However, Khrushchev was NOT prepared to let any of the satellite states break away from Communist control
- The Hungarians thought that the UN or President Eisenhower would help them if they tried to break away from Soviet control
What happened on the 23rd October 1956 in Hungary?
There were riots of students, workers and soldiers-they smashed up the statue of Stalin and attacked the AVH and Soviet soldiers
When did Imre Nagy, a well known liberal, become prime minister of Hungary and take control of the country?
24th October 1956
What happened as a result of Imre Nagy becoming prime minister?
Fighting broke out between Hungarian and Soviet troops.
What did Nagy ask Khrushchev to do?
Withdraw Soviet troops from Hungary-on the 28th October Khrushchev agreed to remove his troops from Hungary.
What changes did Nagy implement between the 29th October and the 3rd November?
- Nagy set up a new government, which included non-Communists
- On the 30th of October he announced free elections
- The new Hungarian government introduced democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion (Cardinal Mindzenty was released from prison)
- On the 2nd of November Nagy announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warwas Pact
How did Khrushchev react to the changes Nagy implemented in Hungary?
- Khrushchev ordered the Soviet army to invade Hungary and crush the uprising
- On the 4th of November, at daw, 1000 Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest
- There was bitter street fighting-7000 Soviet troops and some 30,000 Hungarians were killed and many more were executed after the event
- The Hungarian people fought bravely-even children fought Soviet troops with machine guns
- By 8.10 am Soviet troops had destroyed the Hungarian army and captured Hungarian Radio-the last words broadcast were 'Help! Help! Help!'
- Nagy was arrested and later hanged
What were the effects of the crushing of the Hungarian uprising?
- The Soviet Union stayed in control behind the Iron Curtain-no other country tried to break away from Soviet control until Czechoslovakia in 1968
- The West realised it could do nothing to help the countries behind the Iron Curtain but this made Western leaders even more determined to 'contain' Communism
- People in the West were horrified at the brutal crushing of the Hungarian uprising-many British Communists left the Communist Party
- The events in Hungary led to the polarisation of the Cold War despite Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence
When did Fidel Castro seize power in Cuba?
Why did Castro seizing power in Cuba worsen superpower relations?
- Until Castro, Cuba had been under US influence and many companies had invested heavily in the country
- The previous leader was the US-supported dictator, Fulgencio Batista
- The USA cut off all aid to Cuba and Castro nationalised all businesses
- Castro was not at first a Communist, but US actions forced him to accept aid from the Soviet Union
- The Soviet Union signed a trade agreement with Cuba to buy Cuban sugar-this tied the two countries closely together
- There was now a Communist country in the Western hemisphere
When did the U2 incident take place and what was it?
In May 1960, a U2, a US spy plane, was shot down over the Soviet Union and the pilot, Gary Powers, was put on trial in Moscow.
Why was the U2 incident humiliating for the USA and President Eisenhower?
- Only a few days after the U2 incident, Khrushchev met President Eisenhower for a summit meeting in Paris
- When Eisenhower refused to apologise for the U2 incident, Khrushchev gleefully stormed out of the meeting and returned to Moscow
- His exit from the building was caught on film by the world's press and he made the most of the oppurtunity
- Relations immediately worsened and a visit by Eisenhower to the Soviet Union was cancelled
When was the Bay of Pigs invasion?
April 1961
What was the Bay of Pigs invasion?
A CIA backed invasion of Cuba by 1300 Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. It was an attempt to overthrow the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, with US support.
Why was the Bay of Pigs invasion humiliating for the USA and President Kennedy?
- The Bay of Pigs invasion ended disastrously and all the invading Cuban exiles were either killed or captured
- Although Kennedy, the new US President, had not been involved in planning the attack, he had not stopped it and he was made to look foolish
Why did Khrushchev decide to build the Berlin Wall in August 1961?
- Long term reasons-Khrushchev wanted to stabilise Germany in order to determine the borders, and prevent people defecting to the West
- Short term reasons-the building of the Berlin Wall followed a series of incidents which made Khrushchev think he had the upper hand in East-West relations-Castro's conversion to Communism in Cuba, the U2 incident and the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion which had humiliated the USA
- In June 1961, Khrushchev and Kennedy met for a summit in Vienna-Khrushchev apparently decided he could take advantage of his young and inexperienced opposite number
- Khrushchev was therefore feeling very confident about his position by 1961-he felt that the USA had been humiliated and that the Soviet Union had one up on them
- Therefore, he felt able to build the Berlin Wall, especially as he did not think that Kennedy would physically prevent him from doing so
How big a problem was defection to the West?
- Defectors were a major problem-people could see what life was like in Western Germany and hundreds of thousands of people had escaped to the West since the end of the Blockade in May 1949
- On average there were 20-25,000 defectors a month
- Most defectors were well-educated-lecturers, engineers, doctors and teachers-the type of people the Communist bloc could not afford to lose as it tried to modernise it's industry and agriculture
Khrushchev wanted the West to give up their Allied occupation rights. How did this affect his decision to build the Berlin Wall?
- Khrushchev wanted the West to leave Berlin-in November 1958 he demanded that the 3 Western powers leave Berlin
- They were refused and called for talks on the reunification of Germany
- At the Rome Olympics in 1960 there was a united German team but nothing more
- Khrushchev refused to discuss reunification and in April 1960 threatened another blockade
The first restriction that was imposed on travel between East and West Berlin was that West Berliners who wasnted to travel to East Berlin had to obtain a police pass. When did this take place?
September 1960
What was life like in the East? Why did defectors try to leave?
- Life in the East was dominated by the Communist Party
- No other political parties were allowed and elections involved a selection from a list of candidates supplied by the Communists
- The Communist Party controlled the media which meant there was no legal means of finding out what was happening on the other side of the Iron Curtain-the media could only report the official version of events
- People were subject to the secret police, the KGB-such organisations existed outside the law and there was little ordinary citizens could do about their actions
- Freedom of expression was greatly limited-Khrushchev allowed more freedom but criticism of Communism and the Soviet way of life was not allowed
- Consumer goods were limited and often of poor quality
- Completely cut off from the world on the other side of the Iron Curtain
Why were people attracted to the idea of life in the West?
- The possibility of greater freedom
- Higher earnings
- Higher standard of living
- The West had benefited from Marshall Aid whereas the East had been stripped bare by Stalin
What were the benefits of living in the East?
- All citizens of the countries of Eastern Europe had a job-according to Soviet records, the last person found a job in 1932, during the 1st Five-Year Plan
- Prices were controlled as a low level-rent, electricity, gas and telephone charges were minimal by Western standards
- Public transport was cheap and very reliable
When did the government finally close the border between East and West Berlin?
13th August 1961
When did they begin to build the Berlin Wall?
15th August 1961
What were the key features of the Berlin Wall?
- It plugged the gap in the Iron Curtain and ended the stream of defectors leaving via the escape hatch of Berlin
- The building of the Berlin Wall was the final stage in the building of the Iron Curtain-it completely seperated the East and the Communist bloc from the Western capitalist countries
- East and West Berlin remained completely cut off until the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989
- It made it virtually impossible to leave the Soviet Union-in the 28 years the Berlin Wall stood, 133 people were confirmed dead trying to cross it-the Communist government gave strict orders to kill anyone who tried to cross it
- There were many escape attempts, with people jumping out of apartment windows, jumping the barbed wire, sliding along aerial wires, digging tunnels and once even using a hot air balloon-there were 5000 successful escapees
- Many families in Berlin were seperated for decades and many Berliners were cut off from their jobs literally overnight
How did Kennedy react to the building of the Berlin Wall?
- Kennedy ordered 3 increases in the US defence budget over the next 2 years
- He realised that he could not afford to lose out again and would have to stand up to Khrushchev the next time
- He went to Berlin and gave a speech to hundreds of thousands of Berliners
- He said 'Ich bin ein Berliner' which was meant to show that he was sharing their difficulties but actually meant 'I am a doughnut'-'Berliner' was a slang term for doughnut
When did the Cuban missile crisis take place?
The Cuban missile crisis took place in October 1962 and brought the Superpowers to the brink of nuclear war.
Castro seized power in Cuba in January 1959. Who was the leader of Cuba before the revolution?
Fulgencio Batista a US-supported dictator.
What changes did Castro make in Cuba?
- Castro did not like the US exploiting Cuba as a purely holiday destination for drinking and women
- Castro planned land reforms (agrarian reform) to give the land back to the people
- Castro nationalised industry, bringing it under Cuban control
- Castor had close links with the ordinary people and they loved him
Why did the revolution and Castro's reforms anger the US?
- The revolution was seen as Communist although Castro was not a Communist
- Castro planned land reforms to give the land back to the people but to the US this looked like socialist reform
- Previously, the US had invested a lot of money in Cuba and a lot of industry was owned by the USA
- Castro nationalised industry and altough he offered the USA compensation, they would not accept his terms
When did Castro go to New York to meet with President Eisenhower?
April 1959
What happened when Castro went to NY to meet President Eisenhower?
- Castro was told that President Eisenhower was playing golf and instead he had to meet with Vice-President Nixon
- Castro wanted to extend the hand of friendship but Nixon judged Castro to be a Communist and informed President Eisenhower that he was
- Castro expected to be treated as an important person, as he was in Cuba, and was hurt and bitter that he was not seen as important in America
How did the USA react to Castro's decision to eject all US businesses and investment from Cuba?
- The USA began a trade embargo and refused to buy Cuban sugar
- Sugar was Cuba's main export so this was disastrous for Castro
- They also refused Castro's appeals for financial aid
Castro was forced to turn to the Soviet Union as the USA had refused him financial aid and begun a trade embargo. The Soviet Union saw an oppurtunity to gain influence in the Caribbean. What offer did the Soviet Union make to Cuba?
The Soviet Union offered to buy 1 million tonnes of Cuban sugar per year and also to provide machinery, oil and technological assistance.
What effects did the trade agreements made between Cuba and the Soviet Union have?
- It united the two countries
- It enabled the Soviet Union to gain influence in the Caribbean
America went on the offensive against Cuba and Castro. How did the USA try to get rid of Castro?
- When the revolution took place, many people associated with the old government had to flee to the USA
- The CIA trained these exiles and provided them with weapons to support a counter-revolutionary attack
- The Cuban exiles in Florida were trained to ruin the Cuban economy by sabotage -they set fire to the sugar cane etc.
- Castro's former girlfriend and secretary returned to the USA and was recruited by the CIA to go back to Cuba and kill Castro using poison capsules
- However, when she returned to Cuba, Castro asked her if she intended to kill him and she couldn't do it
- US fears of Castro and Communism led to a series of assassination attempts
- The CIA planned 3 attacks on Castro, including a plan to make his beard fall out as they thought the Cuban people would ridicule him!
- The US trade embargo banned all American companies from trading with Cuba
How did the US actions towards Castro and Cuba strengthen the relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union?
- Castro gave a speech, denouncing the sabotage of the Cuban economy, with Khrushchev in the audience
- Khrushchev did everything in his power to help Castro and Cuba
- The US actions towards Cuba later enabled the Soviet Union to claim that they were putting missiles on Cuba to DEFEND it
How did the tension between the USA and Cuba affect relations between the two countries?
- Castro now feared an invasion
- America worried that Cuba was becoming a Soviet base
In April 1961, 1400 Cuban exiles tried to overthrow Castro's government with US support. What happened at the Bay of Pigs, on the south coast of Cuba?
- The 1400 Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs
- Castro led his people against the Cuban exiles and mobilised the Cuban people, who were ready to fight to the death
- The invasion caused patriotic feelings and huge resistance from the Cuban people
- The Cubans suffered heavy casualties, many armed only with pistols, and many were burned by napalm
- America tried to deny involvement but it was obvious
- Fearing world criticism, Kennedy refused to allow any more attacks from the US navy
- Cuban exiles were stranded on Cuba and fought for 3 days on 1 day's worth of ammunition
- They were abandoned by the US and denied the use of their own airforce
How many Cuban exiles were captured and held to ransom and how many were killed?
Captured and held to ransom-over 1200
Killed-more than 100
How many Cubans died defending their homeland against their own people?
How did the disastrous failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion affect the USA and Kennedy, who had come into power in 1961?
- The Bay of Pigs was a political disaster for Kennedy
- Kennedy was humiliated-although he had not been involved in the planning of the attack, he did not try to stop it either
- It made Kennedy even more determined to get rid of Castro and Communism
When did Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in Vienna to discuss relations?
June 1961
What happened when the two leaders met for the summit in Vienna?
- Khrushchev came believing he was the stronger man, having grown up in a tough environment, whereas Kennedy had grown up a rich man's son
- Khrushchev immediately went on the offensive about Cuba and was very confident as Kennedy had been humiliated
When did Castro announce that he was setting up a Communist government in Cuba?
December 1961
What effect did Castro's decision to make Cuba a Communist country have on relations?
- This was a very serious blow to the USA
- Communism was now established for the very first time in the Western hemisphere
- There was now a Communist country within 90 miles of American soil, right on the doorstep of the USA
- This presented a real challenge to Kennedy and he increased military spending
What did Khrushchev think about Castro's decision to make Cuba a Communist country?
- Cuba was supposed to be a showcase for Communism
- It was the first time the Soviet Union had gained influence in a country outside of the Communist bloc
- Khrushchev thought Cuba would prove that Communism was better than capitalism
- He hoped that Communism would spread throughout Latin America
By the end of 1961 there had been Soviet military advisers and combat units stationed on Cuba. He continued to send military supplies to Cuba throughout 1962, and in September, Soviet technicians had begun to install ballistic missiles. Why had Khrushchev begun to build missiles on Cuba?
- Khrushchev saw the move into Cuba as the beginnings of the spread of Communism into Latin America
- He was concerned by US missile bases in Turkey and Italy, and thus Soviet bases in Cuba would restore the balance of power
- He could claim to be defending Cuba from future attacks from the USA and disgruntled Cuban exiles
- Khrushchev was able to say that any weapons that were being sent to Cuba were defensive, not offensive, unlike the missiles the USA had placed in Turkey
- Khrushchev was irritated by criticism from Mao Zedong and by his inability to match the US in ICBMs or push the West out of Berlin
When did a US spy plane, a U2, fly over Cuba and take photographs?
14th October 1962

This suddenly and drastically changed the situation.
What did the photographs taken by the U2 which flew over Cuba show?
- They showed that the Soviet Union was building missile bases in the Soviet Union
- They showed Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles being built
- The following day, the CIA reported that there were at least 16 Soviet missiles in Cuba already
- On the same day, 20 Soviet ships were seen in the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Cuba, carrying what appeared to be missiles
Why was this hugely threatening to the USA?
The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles being built on Cuba, had the power to attack almost any US city and so posed a serious threat to the country's security. It was estimated that they could be operational by November 1962.
How did Kennedy react to the discovery of Soviet missiles on Cuba?
- Kennedy realised that he must act and summoned the National Security Council to begin a series of meetings which lasted from the 16th to the 22nd of October
- The majority of the member of the security council advised military action against Cuba, but Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba instead
- On the 22nd of October, Kennedy went on national television to explain his policy to the US people, hoping it would be heard in the Soviet Union
How did Khrushchev respond?
On 23rd October, Khrushchev replied with a statement at the UN accusing the USA of interfering in Cuba's internal affairs.
When did the blockade of Cuba come into effect?
24th October
What forces were used to blockade Cuba?
- 180 ships were used including a fleet of Polaris submarines
- 156 ICBMs were put on combat readiness
- Troops were moved into the south-east of the USA
- Strategic Air Force was put on alert
How did the Soviet Union respond to the blockade of Cuba?
- Almost immediately, some Soviet ships turned back
- The remaining Soviet ships slowed down and stopped
- Khrushchev sent two letters to Kennedy, the first offering a compromise but the second much more menacing
What did Khrushchev say in his first letter to Kennedy?
"No more weapons to Cuba and those in Cuba withdrawn or destroyed. You reply by ending your blockade and also agreeing not to invade Cuba."
What did Khrushchev say in his second letter to Kennedy?
"You have surrounded the Soviet Union with missiles, your rockets are aimed at us. Do you believe that you have the right to demand security for your own country while not recognising it for us?"
While Kennedy was deciding how to respond to the two messages, news arrived that a U2 had been shot down over Cuba, killing the pilot. How did Kennedy respond?
In order to avoid any further complications, Kennedy apologised:

"I regret this incident and will see to it that every precaution is taken to prevent recurrence.'
How did Kennedy respond to Khrushchev's original offer?
On the 27th of October, Kennedy accepted Khrushchev's proposals.
How did the Cuban Missile Crisis end?
- Khrushchev sent one final letter on the 28th of October summing up the agreement
- This letter brought the crisis to a peaceful conclusion and sounded like a real note of hope for the future
When was the final meeting held and between whom?
Late on the 27th of October, Robert Kennedy met the Soviet Ambassador.
What did they agree at this meeting?
They informally agreed that US missiles would be removed in time from Turkey and Italy.
Why did it look like Khrushchev had backed down?
The missiles in Turkey and Italy were part of a NATO force so their removal could not be announced immediately. The missiles were removed 3 months later, almost unnoticed.
Why did the Cuban missile crisis end like this?
- Kennedy realised that he had to make a stand but refused to be pushed into a war despite most of the National Security Council advising military action
- Khrushchev realised that he had gone too far and was simply not prepared to go to war for Cuba or anything else
- Neither of the superpowers wanted a nuclear war
- The crisis focused the minds of the leaders on their responsibilities
- This was a sign of new understanding between the superpowers-both leaders realised they needed to allow the other to save face
- Therefore Kennedy publically agreed to leave Cuba alone and privately agreed to remove the missiles from Turkey and Italy
- Similarly, Khrushchev publically agreed to remove missiles from Cuba and also accepted Kennedy's invitation to begin discussions about détente
How did Dean Rusk, the US Secretary of State, describe the Cuban missile crisis?
"We're eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked.'

This famous comment summed up the nature of the crisis exactly-for 2 weeks, the superpowers squared up to each other, but then backed down.
How did the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis change relations?
- Both Superpowers realised how close they had come to a nuclear war
- The end of the Cuban missile crisis led to improved relations in the short-term
- Kennedy invited Khrushchev to begin the process of détente
What does the term 'détente' mean?
- The term 'détente' refers to the relaxing of tensions between the two superpowers after the Cuban missile crisis
- The term was used by Kennedy in one of his letters to Khrushchev
- 'Détente' is the French word for relaxation
- After the Cuban missile crisis, in October 1962, both sides realised that they did not want to enter into a direct conflict or start a third world war
- Détente was the first time the two superpowers had attempted to work together since the beginning of the Cold War
When did détente begin?
The process of détente began in 1963.
What changes showed that the two superpowers were making attempts to get along?
- The first real sign of détente was the Hot-line, which was a direct tele-printer between the Kremlin and the White House
- In fact, it was hardly ever used, except during the Afghanistan War and onwards, but it symbolised the attempts the two were making to get along
- In 1963, the Test Ban Treaty was signed
- It prevented all nuclear tests above ground
- As far as the superpowers were concerned this was only a minor concession, as most tests were carried out underground anyway-BUT once again it signalled a new degree of cooperation
- The USA also agreed to sell the Soviet Union grain
When was Khrushchev forced to resign as the leader of the Soviet Union?
October 1964
Who succeeded Khrushchev?
Leonid Brezhnev
How did the change of leadership in the Soviet Union affect relations?
- From 1965, relations took a turn for the worse
- Brezhnev was an old-style Communist who turned back to Stalin's methods-he was prepared to use terror to control the Soviet Union-this would have been viewed very negatively by the West
- Brezhnev appeared to be less interested in détente and more interested in maintaining the military power of the Soviet Union
- He began to increase spending on the arms race (eventually leading to a severe budget deficit in the Soviet Union)
- He also began to use the KGB to crush opposition in the Soviet Union
- This all led to a worsening of relations with the West
What two crises further worsened relations between the two superpowers?
The Vietnam War and the crushing of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.
Who succeeded Kennedy as President of the USA, when he was assassinated in 1963?
President Lyndon Johnson
What was the Domino Theory?
China had fallen to Communism. The Domino Theory was the belief in the USA that one by one, every country in Asia would follow, and become Communist.
When did a Communist leader declare Vietnam's independence?
September 1945
When did the Vietnam war begin?
After the Second World War.
Why did the Vietnam War begin?
France wanted Vietnam to remain part of it's empire after WWII but a Communist leader decleared the country's independence in September 1945.
How did President Truman react to the events in Vietnam?
The French asked for financial aid and President Truman gave almost $3 million dollars because he wanted to stop the spread of Communism. The USA was very fearful of the spread of Communism so was keen to help the French defeat the Communists.
Who was the leader of South Vietnam?
An anti-Communist Catholic politician, Ngo Dinh Diem.
Who was the leader of North Vietnam?
The North was controlled by the Communist regime of Ho Chi Minh.
Why did the USA become involved in the Vietnam war?
- The French had asked for financial aid back in 1945
- They were concerned about the spread of Communism-as China was a Communist country they feared that other countries in Asia would follow-the Domino Theory
- They wanted to stop the spread of Communism-containment
- The USA wanted to prevent Ho Chi Minh from taking over the whole of Vietnam, even though Ngo Dinh Diem was a corrupt dictator
How were the USA involved in the Vietnam War?
- At first the USA only gave aid to France to help them keep control of Vietnam
- US involvement began to grow in the 1950s-between 1954 and 1961 the USA gave more than $1 billion in financial aid to South Vietnam-most of which was spent on military spending
- The USA began to send military advisers to South Vietnam
- However, they were not involved in direct fighting until later
When did President Johnson authorise the deployment of US troops in Vietnam for the first time?
What effect did US involvement in Vietnam have on superpower relations?
- Until 1965, the US had only s]given financial aid and sent military advisers-now they were actively involved in the fighting for the first time
- Now the USA were actively fighting Communism which would have greatly angered the Soviet Union
When did Richard Nixon become the new President of the USA?
When did Nixon decide to withdraw US forces from Vietnam?
When did Brezhnev send Warsaw Pact forces into Czechoslovakia?
August 1968
Why was there unrest in Czechoslovakia?
- Since January 1968, the Czech government had shown increasing independence from the Soviet Union
- There were no riots or demonstrations but, during 1967, students and writers were complaining about the lack of freedom, and the poor performance of the Czech economy
Who was the Czechoslovak President at the time?
Antonin Novotny
What did Novotny do about the unrest in Czechoslovakia?
He asked Leonid Brezhnev for help, but Brezhnev would not support him.
Novotny fell from power. Who took over from him and when?
On the 5th of January 1968, Alexander Dubcek, a reformer, took over as leader of the Communist Party (KSC).
When did Dubcek's government announce an Action Plan for what it called a new model of socialism?
April 1968
What changes did the Action Plan implement in Czechoslovakia?
- Removed state controls over industry
- Allowed freedom of speech, the press, assembly and religion
For the next 4 months there was freedom in Czechoslovakia. What was this period known as?
The Prague Spring.
How did the revolution start to run out of control in Czechoslovakia?
- Dubcek announced he was still dedicated to democratic communism, but other political parties were set up
- Dubcek stressed that Czechoslovakia would stay in the Warsaw Pact, but in August, President Tito of Yugoslavia, a country not in the Warsaw Pact, visited Prague
What happened at a meeting in Bratislava on the 3rd of August 1968?
Brezhnev read out a letter from some Czechoslovakian Communists asking for help.
What happened July 1968?
- The situation was now so serious that the Czech Prime Minister, Alexander Dubcek, was summoned to Moscow
- When he refused to go, the entire Soviet Poliburo visited Prague
- President Tito of Yugoslavia and Ceaucescu of Romania, both visited Prague to offer support to the Czech government
When did Brezhnev order 500,000 Warsaw Pact troops to invade Czechoslovakia?
20th August 1968
What happened when the Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia?
- The Czechoslovakians did not fight, just passively resisted
- Dubcek was dismissed and became Czech Ambassador to Turkey
- Brezhnev appointed Gustav Husak, a supporter of the Soviet Union, as leader of the KSC
- Czechoslovakia returned to Communist control and Soviet troops were stationed there
- Half the leadership of the KSC, along with the directors of many firms (especially publishing companies) were sacked
- 47 anti-Communists were arrested
Why did Brezhnev send troops into Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring?
- Brezhnev was an old-style Communist who was prepared to return to Stalin's methods of terror to control the SU
- He feared that Czechoslovakia, a vital satellite state, would try to break away from Communist control
- He was not prepared to sacrifice the security of the SU and would use brutal methods to prevent it's collapse
- He was already concerned about people trying to defect to the West, and he saw the building of the Berlin Wall, under Khrushchev, as a lack of control
- He wanted to secure the SU and increase it's military power
- Brezhnev advocated a return to the methods of Stalin-he would not have liked the idea od democratic Communism or greater freedom for the people
- He feared that Czechoslovakia would leave the Warsaw Pact-altough Dubcek was a Communist and had no intention of doing so
- Censorship was decreased in Czechoslovakia, political prisoners were released and taboo subjects, such as the political show trials, were discussed more freely-Brezhnev would not have liked this
How would the USA have viewed the Soviet Union's actions in Czechoslovakia?
- The invasion of Czechoslovakia was another reason for the blip in relations between the superpowers, alongside the Vietnam war
- The Soviet Union's actions in Czechoslovakia led to an increase in the Cold War, as many people in the West were horrified, as were many Communist countries, such as Romania and Czechoslovakia
- The West would have seen the invasion as brutal and the removal of Dubcek from power as undemocratic
- The crushing of the Prague Spring went against all of the West's ideological principles and democratic beliefs
When was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed?
What did the superpowers agree in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
- The superpowers guaranteed not to supply nuclear technology to other countries
- This was symbolic but not particularly significant
- Neither of the superpowers wanted to give control of nuclear weapons to foreign countries-it was too risky
Why did relations start to improve again when Nixon came into power in the USA in 1969?
- The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had been signed in 1968, despite the invasion of Czechoslovakia
- Nixon was determined to improve relations between East and West
- He was committed to withdrawing US troops from Vietnam and also made real efforts to improve relations with Communist China
How and why did Brezhnev help Nixon in his attempts to improve relations?
- When Brezhnev came into power in 1964, he had tried to develop Soviet industry but this had failed so he gave up any further attempts
- However, he realised that he needed to reduce the enormous budget deficit of the Soviet Union
- He tried to do this by reducing Soviet military spending so that he could sort out the problems facing the Soviet economy, and the most obvious way to do this was to cut expenditure on arms
When did Brezhnev agree to begin SALT talks?
What did SALT stand for?
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The SALT talks led to the signing of the SALT I treaty. When was the SALT I treaty signed?
What was agreed in the SALT I treaty?
- It limited increases in numbers of nuclear missiles
- There would be a 5 year delay on the building of more missiles
- At the end of the 5 year period, a further agreement would be necessary
What were SLBMs?
Submarine-launched Ballistic Missiles
What were the numbers agreed in the SALT I treaty?

Soviet Union:
What did a seperate treaty restrict?
The number of Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs).
What talks began at the same time as the SALT talks?
Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Talks (MBFR). These continued until the 1980s, when there had been almost 300 meetings with almost no agreements.
What other agreement was made between the two superpowers?
Both sides agreed to allow the other to use spy satellites to check that numbers were being kept to.
When were the SALT II talks held?
What did the SALT II talks seek to do?
It sought to curtail the manufacture of strategic nuclear weapons, and it was a continuation of the progress made during the SALT I talks.
What links were developed between the USA and the Soviet Union?
- The USA signed a trade deal to export wheat to the Soviet Union
- Both sides agreed to develop artistic and sporting links
- In 1975, US and Soviet astronauts met up in space for the fisrt time
Why were the arms agreements significant?
- SALT I was the first time that the superpowers had reached any agreement on arms limitation
- However, talks only dealt with strategic weapons, long-range nuclear weapons
- They did not cover multiple warhead missiles or battlefield weapons (tactical nuclear weapons)
- The USA continued to produce multiple warheads, at the rate of 3 a day, throughout the 1970s
- However, these agreements were symbolic of the first real attempts to improve relations-détente
- The artisic and sporting links developed between the two countries were real signs of improvements in relations
When did the USA and the Soviet Union, along with 33 other countries, sign the Helsinki Agreement on Human Rights?
What did the Helsinki Agreement on Human Rights agree?
It guaranteed that the countries would respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.
When did Jimmy Carter become President of the USA?
Why did relations begin to break down in the late 1970s, before agreement was reached on SALT II?
- In 1977, President Carter of the USA, criticised the Soviet Union's human rights record at the Belgrade conference
- He wanted to link the issue of human rights to arms reduction
- The Soviet Union was not prepared to do this
What was the conclusion to the SALT II talks?
In 1979, the SALT II treaty was signed by Carter and Brezhnev, but before it could be ratified, relations broke down between East and West.
Why did relations break down in 1979?
The year of 1979 was one of turmoil around the world.
What happened in Iran in 1979?
- The Shah, who was pro-Western, was overthrown and an Islamic republic was set up
- The US embassy in the capital, Tehran, was attacked and hostages seized
- The USA suspected that the new Iranian government would be pro-Soviet
What happened in El Salvador in 1979?
- An extreme right wing military junta seized power and began to rule by terror
- 800 people were murdered in the first 3 months of 1980
What happened in Nicaragua in 1979?
- As in Iran, there was a revolution in Nicaragua
- Communist guerrilla, the Sandanistas, took power after a civil war in 1979
- They supported the rebels in El Salvador
- In 1981, this led the US government to suspend all aid to Nicaragua
- In 1984, the US Congress voted to send funds to the right wing rebels, the Contras
What happened in Angola?
- Communist forces, supported by Cuban forces, the Cuban Brigade and the Soviet Union fought to control the country
- Rebels in UNITA were supported by South Africa
What was happening in Mozambique?
- In 1976, a Communist government had taken power in Mozambique and, in 1977, they had signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union
- In 1980, there was a rebellion by RENAMO, which was backed by South Africa
What else added to the tension between the two superpowers in 1979?
- In Europe, new Soviet SS-20 missiles were deployed in the Eastern bloc, and there was a build up of conventional forces in the Warsaw Pact
- In December 1979, NATO announced that Cruise and Pershing missiles would be deployed in Europe
When did Soviet forces invade Afganistan?
Christmas Day 1979
What happened in Afganistan?
- The President, Hafizullah Amin, was arrested and executed, and a pro-Communist government was set up
- Brezhnev announced that the Soviet Union 'had responded to an urgent request from the Kabul government for help'
Who became the new President in Afghanistan?
Barbrak Kamal
Why did Soviet forces invade Afghanistan?
- In 1978, a Marxist government had come to power in Afghanistan
- In September 1979, Nur Momhammad Tarakia, the Marxist President of Afghanistan, was deposed and murdered
- The post of President was taken by Amin
- The Soviet Union feared this would lead to the collapse of Marxist government and intervened following the Brezhnev Doctrine
- The situation in Afghanistan was more complex than the Soviet Union had realised
- In the summer of 1979, Muslim resistance groups had been set up to oppose land reforms and educational changes
- When the Soviet forces invaded, the Mujaheddin, as they became known, continued their resistance
What was the Brezhnev Doctrine?
- The Brezhnev Doctrine stated that countries behind the Iron Curtain would not be allowed to abandon Communism, "even if it meant a Third World War"
- The Soviet Union would not allow any Eastern European country to reject Communism
- It stated that the Soviet Union was entitled to use force to protect Socialism in any country where it was under attack-it was used to excuse the Soviet Union's actions in Czechoslovakia and, later, in Afganistan
Why did the Soviet forces lose the Afganistan War?
- The Soviet forces were initiall successful; they were able to take control of the cities
- However, they were increasingly unable to counter the guerilla tactics of the Mujaheddin and lost control of the mountainous countryside
- Many of the Soviet troops sent ot Afghanistan were conscripts, unprepared for the fighting they were exposed to
- Their heavy weapons could not be used effectively and they were subject to constant and sudden attacks
- Increasingly, there was little appetite for war amongst the Soviet troops-Afghanistan did not seem worth fighting and dying for
- Their opponents, on the other hand, believed they were fighting for their religion
What effects did the Afghan War have on the Soviet Union?
- There was increasing opposition to the war from many people inside the Soviet Union as casualties mounted-a Superpower was being humiliated by guerillas
- The cost of the war was colossal and played a significant part in the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s-this in turn led to the efforts amde by Gorbachev to reform the Soviet economy
What effects did the Afghan War have on relations between superpowers?
- Since the 1960s, relations between the superpowers had been improving
- Almost immediately after the invasion, the good relations between the Soviet Union and the USA broke down
- Exports of US grain to the Soviet Union were stopped
- The USA refused to ratify SALT II
- There were Olympic boycotts on both sides
- The actions of the Soviet Union went completely against the human rights agreements that had just been made and were very undemocratic and brutal, which would have angered the West
When did the USA boycott the Moscow Olympic Games?
For the next five years there was almost no progress towards détente. This was worsened by the illness of Brezhnev and the deaths of his two successors and the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the Soviet Union. When did Reagan become President?
What was Reagan's attitude towards the Soviet Union and détente?
- Reagan made no secret of his hatred for the Soviet Union
- He called it the 'Evil Empire'
- However, Reagan had become President after being Governor of California, where he had made his name by reducing taxatioon
- He knew that one way of reducing taxes was cutting expenditure, and defence was an obvious target, so he was prepared to discuss arms limitation
- Reagan made it clear, however, that he was only prepared to negotiate from strength and if things did not work out, he was not prepared to compromise
When did talks begin on Intermediate Range Missiles (SS-20s and Cruise)?
What agreement did Reagan offer and what did it mean?
- Reagan offered 'Zero Option'
- This meant that both sides would dismantle and remove all their missiles from Europe
- Brezhnev refused
When was martial law imposed in Poland?
December 1981
Why was martial law imposed in Poland?
To stop the activities of the trade union, Solidarity, which had been set up the previous year, in the Gdansk shipyards, to protest against rising food prices.
Who was the leader of Solidarity and what happened to him?
The leader of Solidarity was Lech Walesa, who was arrested.
Why was Solidarity a threat to the Soviet Union?
Trade unions protect employees and had the ability to challenge the Soviet Union.
What effect did martial law have in Poland?
The army would control Poland, and due to the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union had control of the army, giving them a greater hold over Poland.
How did Reagan react to the Soviet Union's actions in Poland?
Reagan responded by stopping high technology exports to the Soviet Union-a serious blow as the Soviet Union depended on imports of technology to develop it's industry.
Whhat was the outcome of the Soviet Union's actions in Poland?
- Lech Walesa was released from prison in October 1982
- However, new trade union laws were passed, banning Solidarity
- For the next 7 years, Solidarity compaigned against the Communist government
When did START talks begin?
What did START stand for?
Strategic Arms Reduction Talks
Why did the START talks quickly become deadlocked?
Reagan announced plans for the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI)-or Star Wars as it became known.
What was the Strategic Defence Initiative?
A plan to use lasers to destroy missiles from space.
How did the Soviet Union react to the Strategic Defence Initiative?
- The Soviet Union immediately condemned Reagan's actions, but the leadership began to realise it was a no-win situation
- Whether Reagan was serious or not, the Soviet Union had neither the finance, nor the technology, to build an equivalent to Star Wars
What happened in 1983 in Grenada?
US troops landed on the West Indian island of Grenada to crush a Communist takeover, which the Soviet Union strongly condemned.
When did the Soviet Union, along with other Communist countries, boycott the Los Angeles Olympics?
When did Brezhnev die and who succeeded him?
Brezhnev died in 1982 and he was succeeded by Yuri Andropov.
Andropov was taken seriously ill almost immediately, with kidney disease. He was last seen in public in August 1983. When did Andropov die and who succeeded him?
Andropov died in February 1984 and he was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko.
Chernenko was already in this 70s when he came into power and he was already seriously ill. When did Chernenko die and who succeeded him?
Chernenko died in March 1985 and he was succeeded by Gorbachev.
What effect did these constant changes in leadership and the ill-health of the successive leaders have on the Soviet Union and relations?
- Decisive action to change policies was almost impossible
- The Soviet economy was allowed to drift still further
- The corruption, which had developed under Brezhnev, continued
- Swift, decisive action was needed if the Soviet Union was to be saved from financial ruin
How did the appointment of Gorbachev change relations?
- Gorbachev was the first leader of the Soviet Union who had grown up in the post-Stalin period
- Gorbachev knew that the Soviet Union was bankrupt and that it's survival depended on the West
- He needed investment, new technology and most of all arms agreements, which would allow him to reduce the Soviet Union's massive defence spending
- He came to power with two policies, Perestroika and Glasnost
What was Gorbachev's policy of Perestroika and how did it affect the Soviet Union?
- Perestroika referred to 'economic restructuring' in the Soviet Union
- Gorbachev believed that the Soviet Union could only survive if the economy was completely rebuilt, doing away with the command economy which had existed under Stalin
- Gorbachev's policy of Perestroika was intended to greatly improve the Soviet economy but it was too little, too late-the Soviet people had once again been promised change that didn't happen and they became even more disillusioned with Communism
Profit-making was allowed, prices no longer subsidised by the state
Economic restructuring
Reforming industry
Encouraging enterprise/competition
State monopolies broken down
Technology required from the USA
Rebuilding the economy-the Soviet Union was bankrupt
Organisation was no longer centralised-no command economy
Industry had been stifled by control
Khrushchev and other leaders had caused huge debts
Allowed a limited form of capitalism
What was Gorbachev's policy of Glasnost and how did it affect the Soviet Union?
-Glasnost referred to a new sense of 'openness', both within the Soviet Union and also with the West
- The powers of the KGB were restricted and criticism of the government was allowed
- Gorbachev's policy of Glasnost meant greater freedom in the SU-but this only led to demands for even more
- The policy of Glasnost would have appealed to the West's democratic ideals and helped improve relations
Gorbachev met Soviet citizens and argued about the changes
Lubianka prison closed-KGB restricted and terror no longer used
Allowed free elections in 1990
Soviet people could criticise the government
New sense of freedom
'Openness' both within the Soviet Union and with the wider world
Soviet Union was flooded with Western ideas, music and culture
The restrictions and censorship of the press was destroyed
Why was the Soviet Union bankrupt?
- For 40 years, the SU had been propping up Communist regimes around the world, through COMECON
- In 1977, Cuba joined and began almost completely dependent on the SU for aid
- Military expenditure ahd continued to rise despite Brezhnev's attempts at arms limitation
- The space programmed had been ambitious and expensive, especially under Khrushchev-the success had only been achived by vast expenditure which proved ruinous
- Within the SU itself, prices were controlled and subsidised which was a heavy drain on the government's budget
- The weakness of the economy and the inefficiency of Soviet industry meant that the SU increasingly relied on imports of food and technology from the West which had to be paid for in foreign currency
- Soviet exports were poor quality e.g. the notorious Lada car or cheap Qualiton records-the only goods the SU could sell abroad were raw materials
- There was little incentive for worker's to raise standards-everyone was guaranteed a job, cheap public services and housing
How did the need for foreign exchange worsen the economic problems in the Soviet Union?
- The Soviet Union became desperate for foreign exhange, which was needed to pay for imports and to revive the Soviet economy
- The sale of roubles was strictly controlled
- Foreign visitors were encouraged to buy in 'Beriozka' shops which contained goods not available to Soviet citizens-this was an extra source of foreign exchange
- There was an immense black market in Western goods and currency
- Tourists would be offered roubles at 3-5 times the official exchange rate
- By 1985, Isvestia beleived there was a black market in the SU worth 7,000,000,000 roubles
- This money was being exchanged illegally, without money being put back into the economy to fund policies, via taxes
How was did the Afghan War affect the economic problems in the Soviet Union?
- The Afghan War was the final straw-for 10 years, from 1979-1989, the Red Army struggled to defeat the Muslim guerillas
- The cost in lives, equipment and money was immense
How did Reagan help relations to improve?
- Like Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan also wanted to cut military expenditure
- In 1983, the USA spent $300,000,000,000 on defence-almost as much as the entire British budget
What agreements were made between Reagan and Gorbachev?
- In 1986, the two leaders met and agreed to remove Intermediate Range Missiles (SS-20s and Cruise)
- The Intermediate Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, was signed in 1987
- Further talks were held to discuss the reductioons in conventional forces
- However, before any conclusions could be met, the Eastern bloc disintegrated and the Soviet Union did nothing to stop it
The spark was provided in Poland. What happened to begin the disintegration of the Communist bloc?
- In 1989, Communist rule collapsed in Poland
- The trade union, Solidarity, had been campaigning since 1980
- In 1989, price rises led to strikes and mass protests
- The Communist Party gave in and allowed free elections, hoping to hang on to power
- The plan went badly wrong and Solidarity took over the government
- Lech Walesa became the President of Poland in 1990
What happened in September 1989?
- Hungary and East Germany opened their borders with Austria
- Massive numbers of refugees began to flood West
- When the Communist leaders appealed to Gorbachev for help, he told them they must sort out their own futures
What happened in November 1989?
- The Communist governments of Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria all resigned
- The Berlin Wall was torn down
What happened in December 1989?
In Romania, Nicolai Ceaucescu, the Stalinist dictator, was murdered.
Which countries was Gorbachev forced to remove troops from in 1990, allowing them their independence?
The Baltic states-Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Why was the Eastern bloc allowed to collapse?
- Gorbachev wanted the people of the Soviet Union to choose Communism
- He was NOT prepared to use the Red Army or the secret police to control the Soviet Union
- Gorbachev refused to consider using force to keep control of Eastern Europe-to him the prospect of bloodshed was unacceptable
- He was not prepared to send the Red Army into Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia
- As soon as the peoples of Eastern Europe realised that they no longer had to fear that the Red Army would crush opposition, as it had done in Hungary in 1956, they began to break away and demand their independence
Why did the Cold War come to an end so suddenly?
- The Soviet Union was bankrupt-the cost of supporting Communist regimes and revolutions around the world, and subsidising the standard of living of the Soviet people, was simply too much for a fourth-rate economy
- Therefore Gorbachev realised he needed to cut arms expenditure-and so did Reagan
- The Afghan War was the final straw-the cost in lives, equipment and money was immense, but even more significant was the loss of faith in the Soviet leaders as more and more families lost sons in the mountains of Afghanistan
- The government was unable to pay the wages of the Red Army-by the 1980s it could barely afford an army at all
- When the Red Army units in East Germany were almost destitute, the West German government offered to pay for their removal and the cost of their rehousing in the SU-the bill came to £30,000,000,000
- Mikhail Gorbachev was adamant that he was not going to use force to keep control of Eastern Europe
- Since the countries of Eastern Europe had only been kept in the Communist bloc by the threat of retribution from the Red Army, Gorbachev's withdrawal of that threat meant the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the destruction of the Iron Curtian and the end of the Cold War
When did Gorbachev meet the new US President, George Bush, and declare the Cold War to be over?
December 1989