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Sunday, April 12, 2009




Iron Curtain-
Metaphor for the division of Europe (cold war). It was coined in a speech by Churchill in which he declared that “an iron curtain” had descended across the continent dividing Germany and Europe into two hostile camps.

Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences and post-war Europe-
The overall result of the conferences was the beginnings of the Cold War in which Western and Soviet leaders had different conflicting goals for post-WWII Europe that made compromise nearly impossible.

Harry S. Truman- president after Roosevelt’s death before the war ended..(1945-1952)
- Made the decision to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki since he was convinced that American troops might suffer heavy casualties in the invasion of the Japanese homeland. Japan surrendered unconditionally on August 14, 1945.
- Took a hard-line approach to dealing with Stalin in the post war world. Represented America at the Potsdam Conference in which relations with the Soviets went sour.
- He was president when the Cold War started.

Joseph Stalin-
One of the Big Three who created the post-war world at Yalta. He was determined to guarantee the security of the Soviet Union after the War by creating “friendly” buffer-states between Russia and the West. He was the soviet leader when the Cold War started.

Cold War- 1945-1991
the non-violent conflict between America and the Soviet Union; more of a competition between capitalism and communism that came very close to (but fell short of) an actual “hot” war.
Although allies during WWII, relations with between the west and the USSR deteriorated as the threat from Germany receded.

Posted by: wesleya | Wednesday, April 01, 2009 at 05:20 PM

MORE Section 1 Stuff

East & West Germany-
After WWII, Germany was divided into 4 zones of occupation. The US, British, & French zones were combined to create the West German Federal Republic in 1949 and a month later, the Soviets turned their zone into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Germany’s split was a symbol of the Cold War.

Berlin (East & West)-
Not only was Germany split between US-friendly (west) and Soviet-friendly(east), the capital of Berlin was split as well. However, the city of Berlin was located within the boundary of East (soviet) Germany. This created the odd situation of West Berlin (U.S.) being an island surrounded by an unfriendly Eastern Block country. In 1961 (Section 3), Krushchev created a physical wall separating it from East Berlin/East Germany in order to keep East Germans from escaping to our side.

Cold War (1945-1991)- the non-violent conflict between America and the Soviet Union; more of a competition between capitalism and communism that came very close to but fell short of war.

Iron Curtain- In a speech to an American audience, the former British prime minister Churchill declared that “an iron curtain” had descended across the continent dividing Germany and Europe into two hostile camps.

Marshall Plan-
U.S. Economic recovery plan for Europe. Pumped $13 Billion into Europe to rebuild prosperity and stability.
- U.S. View: Communist aggression fed off economic turmoil. Prosperous nations don’t go Communist.
- Soviet View: the Marshall Plan is just capitalist imperialism.

NATO- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Our Team)
Defensive pact formed in 1949 (Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, West Germany, Greece, Turkey, the United States, & Canada, agreeing to provide mutual assistance if any one of them was attacked.
Significance: 1) U.S. abandons its traditional “isolationist” approach to the world 2) The U.S. takes the dominant spot in the West.

Warsaw Pact- (Their Team)
in response to the formation of NATO, in 1955 Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union organized a formal military alliance (the Warsaw Pact) which again divided Europe into hostile alliance systems

“Monolithic communism”-
Belief that all communists in the world operate under the control of Moscow. No Communists in the world have their own separate agendas.
- Examples: North Korea invaded under orders from Moscow. North Vietnam was acting according to Moscow’s orders. China’s communist revolt was led by Moscow.
- Alternative View: 3rd world countries were trying to get rid of the last remnants of colonialism.

United Nations- a league created to discuss international affairs and keep peace.
It was based on the idea of the great powers controlling the world as opposed to the earlier League of Nation’s design as a world forum

George Kennan “containment”
American diplomat who in 1947 advocated a policy of containment against further aggressive Soviet moves. After the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948, containment of the Soviet Union became formal American policy.

Greece & Turkey-
Communist rebels were threatening both Greece & Turkey. Truman, alarmed by the possibility of Soviet expansion responded with the Truman Doctrine, offering aid for any nation threatened by Communist expansion.

Truman Doctrine-
The Doctrine that the US would provide money to countries that claimed they were threatened by Communist expansion. Truman argued that if the Soviets weren’t stopped in Greece, then Communism could spread throughout the free world.

Berlin Airlift-
used to keep the 2.5 million people in the three zones of West Berlin alive after the Soviet’s blockaded it in 1948. At its peak, 13,000 tons of supplies were flown to Berlin daily. The Soviets, who like western powers were unwilling to risk war, did not interfere and lifted the blockade in May 1949.

Brinksmanship- the practice of seeking advantage by creating the impression that one is willing and able to push a highly dangerous situation to the limit rather than concede, used during the Berlin Airlift when neither side was willing to wage war, resulting in the Soviet withdrawal of the Berlin blockade.

Korean War- in 1950, with the apparent approval of Joseph Stalin, North Korea (communist) invaded South Korea (not communist). The Americans intervened on behalf of South Korea with U.N. support. U.N. forces (mostly American and South Korean troops) under the command of General Macarthur marched northward across the 38th parallel with the aim of unifying Korea under a single non-communist government. Mao Zedong then sent in Chinese troops and forced Macarthur to retreat back to South Korea. The fighting continued for two more years with no conclusive victory, and in 1953 an armistice was signed, with the 38th parallel remaining the boundary between the two states.


Section 2

Suez Canal (Egypt)- In 1956 Colonel Gamel Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, an act strongly condemned by the British as a threat to their vital interests. British, French, and Israeli forces attacked Egypt, but strong American opposition forced the British to accept a UN cease-fire resolution and withdraw their troops.
Significance: The Suez debacle made it clear that Britain was no longer a world power.
U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

Hungary ’56- after Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and the developments in Poland, national Communists in Hungary were inspired to seek the same kinds of reforms and independence. Intense debates resulted in the ouster of the ruling Stalinist and the selection of Imry Nagy as the new Hungarian leader. Nagy declared Hungary a free nation on November 1, 1956. He promised free elections, which meant for Hungary (who were against communism in general, which was viewed as a Soviet creation) the possible end of Communist rule. However, Khrushchev wasn’t about to let one of his crew flee from communism, and just three days after Nagy’s declaration, the Red Army attacked the capital city of Budapest, reestablishing control over the country. Nagy was replaced.
Significance: Use in an essay discussing Soviet domination of eastern Europe.

Yugoslavia - the Communist resistance movement of Yugoslavia was led by Tito, who seemed to be a loyal Stalinist. However, after the war, he moved toward the establishment of an independent Communist state in Yugoslavia. Stalin hoped to take control of Yugoslavia, just like he had done in other Eastern European countries, but Tito resisted and gave the people the view that the struggle was one of Yugoslav national freedom. Yugoslav Communists did not see themselves as deviating from communism, only Stalinism. They kept with a more decentralized economic and political system in which workers could manage themselves and local communes could exercise some political power.

The Third World-
Third World nations consisted of the newly freed colonies, beset with problems of extreme poverty and antagonistic tribal groups. The First world consisted of the advanced industrial countries (Japan, Western Europe, and North America) and the Second World comprised the Soviet Union and its satellites.

a period where cold war tension was eased as Khrushchev permitted greater freedoms.

Khrushchev plan for ending the system of forced-labor camps and terror of Soviet life under Stalin. More intellectual freedom was permitted, he reduced the secret police, freed a number of political prisoners, and closed some of the Siberian prison camps.
May have encouraged some of the Eastern European power to rebel against the Soviets. Also led to Khrushchev’s downfall.

Gamel Nasser- Nationalistic leader of Egypt.
Nationalized the Suez Canal, creating a rift between the US & Britain.
He played the two superpowers against each other in order to fund the Aswan High Dam.
He refused to join either of the superpowers’ “camp”

Imry Nagy- Hungarian leader in 1956
In 1956 Nagy declared Hungary a free nation. He promised free elections, which meant the possible end of Communist rule in Hungary. However, just three days after Nagy’s declaration, the Red Army attacked the capital city Budapest and reestablished Soviet control over the country. Example of Soviet treatment of the Eastern Bloc.

Aswan High Dam-
Dam in Egypt that Nasser funded and gained by playing the superpowers against each other.

Taiwan- Chinese Island where non-communist Chinese fled after the mainland was taken over by Zedong. The U.S. supported those who fled to Taiwan and did not recognize the Mao’s government as legitimate.

“Peaceful Coexistence”-
Khrushchev’s plan to beat the U.S. economically, not militarily. Part of the friendly face of Khrushchev.

Dwight Eisenhower “massive retaliation”- U.S. President 1952-1960
in the mid-50s president Eisenhower adopted a policy of massive retaliation, which advocated the full use of American nuclear bombs to counteract even a Soviet ground attack in Europe. Also, American military alliances were extended around the world, allied militarily with 42 states by the mid-1950s.


John F. Kennedy- U.S. President 1960-1963
Presdent who sparred with Khrushchev over the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“Peaceful Coexistence”-
Khrushchev’s plan to beat the U.S. economically, not militarily. Part of the friendly face of Khrushchev.

Nikita Khrushchev- Soviet leader after Stalin 1956-1964
- De-Stalinized the Soviet Union after condemning Stalin for his “administrative violence, mass repression, and terror” at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party
- Berlin Blockade: In 1958 he announced that unless the West removed its forces from West Berlin within six months, he would turn over control of the access routes to Berlin to the East Germans. Eisenhower and the West however stood firm, and Khrushchev eventually backed down.
- Berlin Wall: Erected the Berlin Wall in 1961 isolating West Berlin from East Germany
- Cuban Missile Crisis: In 1962 Khrushchev decided to send nuclear missiles to Cuba, but later agreed to take them back as long as Cuba wasn’t invaded. His failure to stand firm during the Cuban missile crisis led to his downfall;
- when he was on vacation in 1964, a special meeting of the Soviet Politburo voted him out of office, supposedly because of “deteriorating health” and forced him into retirement, eventually replacing him with (old school) Leonid Brezhnev.

Berlin (East & West)-
Not only was Germany split between US-friendly (west) and Soviet-friendly(east), the capital of Berlin was split as well. However, the city of Berlin was located within the boundary of East (soviet) Germany. This created the odd situation of West Berlin (U.S.) being an island surrounded by an unfriendly Eastern Block country. In 1961, Krushchev created a physical wall separating it from East Berlin/East Germany in order to keep East Germans from escaping to our side.

Cuban Missile Crisis- Closest the cold war ever got to turning ‘hot’
In 1959 Fidel Castro took control of Cuba and established a Soviet-supported communist regime. In 1952, the Soviet Union decided to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. The U.S. did not want to allow nuclear weapons to be in such close striking distance of the mainland, even though it had its own nukes in Turkey in close range to the Soviet Union. When American intelligence discovered that a Soviet fleet carrying missiles was heading to Cuba, President Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba and prevent the fleet from reaching its destination, delaying the confrontation and allowing each side enough time to find a peaceful solution. Khrushchev agreed to turn back the fleet if Kennedy pledged not to invade Cuba. It was later revealed that if Cuba had been invaded, the Soviet Union would have used nuclear devices against American troops.

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 1963- after the Cuban missile crisis scare, a hotline communications system between Moscow and Washington was installed in 1963 to expedite rapid communications between the two superpowers in a time of crisis. Also in the same year, the two powers agreed to ban nuclear tests in the atmosphere, a step serving to lessen the tensions between the two nations.


Section 4

Leonid Brezhnev- leader of the Soviet Union 1964-1982
- Politically, after years of Khruschev, he reflected a more conservative approach.
his policy = “no experimentation”.
- Internationally, in the Brezhnev Doctrine he asserted the right of the Soviet Union to intervene if socialism was threatened in another socialist state, which led to the use of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia in ‘68.
- Economically, he kept with heavy industry; iron, steel, and coal production surpassed that of the US, but overall industrial growth declined. Centralized agriculture became inefficient (plus collective farmers lacked incentive), and the Soviet Union became dependent on capitalist countries.

Soviet Dissidents –
Soviet citizens who opposed their government, they got the beat down during the Brezhnev regime. When Gorbachev came into power, he released most of the dissidents, including Sakharov.
Czechoslovakia ’68- the developments in Poland and Hungary in 1956 did not generate similar revolts in Czechoslovakia. In January 1968, Alexander Dubcek was elected first secretary of the Communist Party and brought reforms including freedom of speech and press, freedom to travel abroad, and a relaxation of the secret police. He hoped to create “communism with a human face”. The resulting period of euphoria was known as the “Prague Spring”. However, the euphoria led many to call for farther-reaching reforms, including neutrality and withdrawal from the Soviet bloc. To prevent this sentiment from materializing, the Red Army invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 and crushed the reform movement, and the old order remained until 1987.

a phase of American-Soviet relations in the 1970s marked by a reduction of tensions between the two superpowers. In the late 1970s, the apparent collapse of détente brought on by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan initiated a new period of East-West confrontation.

Martial Law- a state of military rule. In this section Martial Law is imposed by the Polish Government to crack down on Solidarity.

Solidarity - Polish Labor Union that quickly becomes a symbol of anti-communism in poland

Lech Walesa- led Solidarity and was a symbol of Polish independence.
Solidarity represented 10 million workers of Poland’s 35 million people. Solidarity quickly became a tremendous threat to the communist government’s monopoly of power; they soon won concessions with the support of workers, intellectuals, and the Catholic Church.

Ronald Reagan - President of the US in the 80s.
vs Brezshnev: Reagan took office as a strong anti-communist and pro-military guy. He famously called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire." Things would change when Gorbachev replaced Brezshnev in the mid-80s


Section 7
The EASTERN EUROPE stuff of 1989

The Revolutions of 1989
- In Poland, which suffered from economic problems, Walesa’s Solidarity came to power, then was arrested, but was later given government control as a result of free parliamentary elections.
-In Hungary, which had already moved slightly towards capitalism with the most far-reaching reforms in Eastern Europe, the Democratic Forum (slightly right, highly patriotic party) won the 1990 election and formed a government committing Hungary to democratic government and a free market economy.
- In Czechoslovakia, which unlike the previous two had not been making political/economic reforms (ever since the ’68 invasion that put hard-line communists into power), growing demonstrations by the public led to a collapse of the Communist government. Havel was put in charge, but Czechoslovaia was unable to agree on the makeup of the new state and in 1993 split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia; Havel was elected the first president of the new Czech Republic.
- In Romania, which had been ruled by the repressive dictator Ceausescu, demonstrations got larger and larger until finally the army refused to support any more repression and captured Ceausescu, executing him days later. Leadership passed to the hastily formed National Salvation Front through elections, but questions remained about the new government’s commitment to democracy.

became president of Czechoslovakia after the collapse of the Soviet government.

Nicolae Ceausescu- Romanian communist dictator
The Anti-Communist revolutions of 1989 were peaceful …except this one. He was executed for his barbaric treatment.

Berlin- the separated Berlin was a symbol of East/West Germany as well as the opposing blocs of the Cold War. In 1989, with the fall of the East German Communist government, the Berlin Wall was torn down and Berlin was reunited.

Honeker- East German dictator 1971-1989
Honeker ruled with an iron fist for 18 years. His leadership led to mass demonstrations against the regime in 1989, which by then had fallen into complete disarray. Gorbachev would not prop his regime up, so the Communist government eventually collapsed.

German (re)Unification (10/1990) – After the opening of the borders with West Germany, new East German political parties emerged and in March of 1990, in the first East German elections ever, the Christian Democrats won nearly 50% of the vote. The Christian Democrats supported unification with West Germany. In July of 1990, the economies of East/West Germany were united (the deutsche mark became the official currency), and in October political reunification was achieved.


Section 7: The U.S.S.R Stuff
Mikhail Gorbachev- leader of the Soviet Union 1985 – Glasnost! Perestroika!
- New Generation of Soviet leadership. he issued radical reforms
- Perestroika (restructuring): limited private property and free enterprise was allowed.
- Glasnost (openness): Soviet citizens and officials were encouraged to openly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet Union.
- Internationally, he allowed eastern Europe to leave the Soviet sphere.
- His reforms opened up a floodgate of discontent and eventually led to the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Glasnost- “openness”
Gorbachev’s policy to encourage the open discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet Union

Perestroika- “restructuring”
Gorbachev’s policies calling for the beginning of a market economy with limited free enterprise and some private property.

The Collapse of the Soviet Union 1991- From 1990-1991, Gorbachev struggled to deal with Lithuania and other problems unleashed by his reforms; he tried to appease conservatives who complained of the growing disorder in the Soviet Union, and he tried to accommodate the liberals, who favored a new kind of decentralized Soviet federation. In August of 1991, a group of discontented rightists (conservative leaders of the traditional Soviet institutions- army, government, KGB, military industries) arrested Gorbachev and attempted to seize power. After Yeltsin and a mob of Russians stopped the coup, Gorbachev pleaded for the Soviet republics to remain in the Union, but one by one they declared their independence and in December of 1991 the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus announced that the Soviet Union “ceased to exist” and would be replaced by a Commonwealth of Independent States. Gorbachev turned over his responsibilities of commander-in-chief to Yeltsin in December 1991.

Boris Yeltsin-
elected president of the Russian Republic in June 1991.
Had become the hero of Russia when the conservatives tried to seize power after arresting Gorbachev in 1991. Yeltsin and mobs of Russians who had taken to the streets resisted and caused the coup to fail. After the disintegration of the USSR, Yeltsin worked to introduce a free market economy as quickly as possible, but the transition proved difficult. Despite the odds, he won reelection in 1996, but his alcoholism made him a weak leader in a time of ethnic problems and severe economic hardships.

The End of the Cold War 1991- with the breaking apart and independence of the former Soviet republics, there was no longer a Soviet Union and thus no longer a Cold War. The US became the sole superpower.


Slobadon Milosevic- Serbian Nationalist, War Criminal
became leader of the Serbian Communist Party in 1987; he emphasized Serbian nationalism but rejected the separatist desires of other Yugoslavian republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia). He maintained that these republics could be independent if new border arrangements were made to accommodate the Serb minorities in those republics who didn’t want to live outside the boundaries of a Greater Serbian state. After negotiations with the other republics failed, Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence in June of 1991. Milosevic’s government sent in the Yugoslavian army (which it controlled) into Slovenia, but without much success. In September, it began an assault against Croatia, and by the time a cease-fire was called the Serbs gained control of 1/3 of Croatia’s territory. By mid 1993, Serbian forces had gained 70% of Bosnian territory, and began their policy of “ethnic cleansing”. The tides began to turn in 1995 when Bosnia and Croatia with the help of NATO bombers were able to regain territory. The U.S. encouraged all sides to end the war, and a peace treaty was signed on December 14, splitting Bosnia into a loose union of a Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation.
Yugoslavia, Serbia, Bosnia- Yugoslavia had been an “artificial creation” since its beginnings in 1919, but had been held together by Tito until his death in 1980. After his death, the individual ethnic groups that once comprised Yugoslavia began to separate politically.

The War in Kosovo- in 1989 Milosevic stripped Kosovo of its autonomous status and outlawed any official use of the Albanian language. In 1993, some groups of ethnic Albanians founded a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and began a campaign against Serbian rule in Kosovo. Serb forces responded with massacring ethnic Albanians in an effort to crush the KLA, causing the U.S. and NATO to seek a settlement. After months of negotiations, the Kosovo Albanians agreed to a peace plan that would have given ethnic Albanians in Kosovo broad autonomy for 3 years. Milosevic refused to sign the agreement, and the U.S. and NATO began a bombing campaign to force the Yugoslavian government to cooperate. Instead, Serb forces in Kosovo continued their policy of ethnic cleansing of Albanians, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homeland.

Ethnic Cleansing-
Generally: any attempt to wipe out an ethnic group.
Specifially: the Serbian policy in the former Yugoslavia, which killed or forcibly removed Muslims from Bosnia. They killed 250,000 and left 2,000,000 homeless.

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