GCSE & A Level Revision Notes

Subject: History
Level: GCSE
Exam Boards: AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL



GCSE History Cold War History Notes

  • The pointing fingers indicate whether relations between the USA and USSR improved or worsened as a result of a particular event or policy.

Conflicting Ideologies : Communism v. Capitalism

Who should lead liberated sates after WW2? - Tension between superpowers.

Yalta (Feb 1945):

  • GERMANY AND BERLIN TO BE SPLIT INTO 4 ZONES OF OCCUPATION

  • FREE ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN EASTER EUROPE

  • USSR TO JOIN WAR WITH JAPAN IN EXCHANGE FOR TERRITORY

Potsdam (July-August 1945):

  • NAZI PARTY TO BE BANNED

  • IT’S LEADERS TO BE TRIED AS WAR CRIMINALS

  • ODER-NEISEE LINE TO FORM BOUNDARY BETWEEN GERMANY AND POLAND

MISTRUST BETWEEN THE WESTERN ALLIES AND THE EAST ALREADY BEGAN TO FORM

Arms Race

Russia was annoyed that USA had used atomic bomb without telling Russia that they had it.

Disagreements at Potsdam

  • Western allies denied Stalin a Mediterranean naval base - Stalin believe they mistrusted him.

  • Stalin wanted more reparations for Germany - West did not wish to cripple German after WW1 - Stalin suspicious.

  • Stalin set up communist government in Poland - Britain preferred exiled Polish government in Britain - West suspicious.

## Superpower Rivalry USA

  • Wealthiest country, democratic, capitalist economy.

  • Ended policy of Isolationism and was prepared to support people who wanted democracy and capitalism. Defence of individual against unwanted system.

Truman

  • Less willing to trust USSR than Roosevelt.

  • Believed that Stalin wanted to set up buffer states in E. Europe controlled by USSR.

USSR

  - Totally Communist- Stalin dictator

  - Citizens closely controlled - rights of individuals less important then state.

  - Low quality of life, Stalin afraid of being attacked (happened twice already), wanted
    to set up communist buffer states to protect USSR against USA.

  - Free elections held but all Communist parties won - rigged?

  - Satellite states were created and split Europe: Iron Curtain.

  - Seemed to the West that Stalin was building up Communist Empire.

  - Later Stalin formed Cominform and Comecon (a trading alliance) to help him keep
    a tight grip over the satellite states.

##Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan 1947

  - The civil war in Greece prompted Truman to aid the Royalists against the
  Communist. He then concluded that if he didn’t Communism would spread. He introduced the policy of the __**CONTAINMENT OF COMMUNISM.**__

  - Truman believed that it would be harder for Communism to spread if the countries opposing it in Europe were strong economically.

  - US Sec of State George Marshall came up with European Recovery Programme or Marshall Plan which gave aid to any country which asked for it - Stalin did not allow any Easter European countries to take it. The Marshall plan worked in terms of stopping the spread of Communism in certain areas.

  - Stalin saw it as an attempt to unite countries against Communism and was determined to control the Eastern European countries with the Red Army.

##The Berlin Blockade and Airlift 1948-9

   - In 1948 the Western Allies merged their zones to become West Germany to
  attempt to make Germany more prosperous and more self-sufficient. Yet
  Russia’s zone was still run down compared to the other zone.

   - Stalin saw it as a preparation for an attack on the |east and blockaded Berlin. The
  Allies refused to withdraw and airlifted supplies in. Stalin eventually backed down -
  victory for West.

   - West Germany: Republic of German

   - East Germany: German democratic republic

   - Poor relations followed.

##NATO / Warsaw Pact

   - NATO created in 1949- important as Russia developed Atomic bomb.
   Relations poor.

   - West Germany joins NATO and the USSR creates Warsaw Pact (1955) -
   binding the military strengths of the satellites stares to Red Army.

   - Alliances showed mistrust between the East and West - an alliance on ones side
   looked like a preparation for an attack on the other.

##The Arms Race

   - Nuclear weapons: were cheaper than conventional forces, could act as deterrents
   and showed a country’s power.

   - Both USA and USSR wanted more advanced and more destructive arsenals of
   weapons.

   - USA got A- bomb in 1945, H-bomb 1952, Russia had bother by ’53.

   - In 1957 Russia developed the ICBM and USA had it a year later.

   - Arms race important as it increased tension between the two countries and was very
   costly to both.

   - Prevented 3rd WW as if one superpower used them, Mutually Assured Destruction
   would follow.

##The Space Race

   - Throughout the 1950s and 1960s both superpowers competed to be the first to put a
    rocket into space and then a man into space.

   - The USSR launched Sputnik which had the potential to hold a nuclear warhead -
   Russia could hit America on the other side of the world.
   - The USA developed similar technology, __**yet the space race was more about being
   more advanced than the other power,**__ Russia put the first man into space in 1961 yet America got the first man on the moon in 1969.

##Khrushchev and the “Thaw”

   - During after the Korean War which did little to improve relation Stalin
   died, replaced by Khrushchev who seemed less aggressive, more willing
   to cooperate with West.

   - Khrushchev seemed to encourage greater freedom within the USSR and relations
   improved. Yet when a reforming government took power in Hungary (Imre Nagy) Khrushchev sent in tanks and crushed rebellion ruthlessly, executed Nagy and replaced him with a loyal Communist.

   - The West protested yet did not infer to avoid a war.

##The U2 Incident;

   - Spy plane shot down May ’60, USA denied spying yet was proved to be
   lying by USSR - embarrassment for Eisenhower and relations worsened. Soviet Propaganda victory.

##Berlin 1961

   - Capitalist WB v Communist EB

   - High stand of living / low standard of living “Brain Drain - defectors”

   - Propaganda victory for West - “East need to keep citizens in”.
   
   - Khrushchev pressured new Kennedy who refused to risk war and knock down wall:
   came out of it respected. Relations were tense and bad.

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