Theme One: The Emergence of the Superpowers


The Manhattan Project

  • The code name for the US atomic bomb programme.
  • American and British project.
  • 1942-46 (During the second world war)
  • Infiltrated by Soviet spies.
  • Let to Soviet suspicion of the western allies.
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Yalta Conference

  • 4-11 February 1945.
  • Represented the high point of the 'Big Three's' cooperation.
  • Reaffirmed that the members were committed to a lasting concesnsus in international realtions in the post-war order.

Decisions made

  • Germany would be divided into four zones.
  • Berlin would be similarly divided.
  • The UN organisation was formally ratified. (Russia invited to join it)
  • The USSR gained land from Poland. Poland expanded to the west and the north.
  • The Declaration of Liberated Europe was agreed. (set up democracies in eastern Europe)
  • There were to be free elections in Poland.

Both sides made agreements that they did not intend to keep once the war was over which would go on to create tensions.

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Potsdam Conference

  • July 1945.
  • Germany was defeated but Japan had not yet surrendered.
  • The day before the first successful testing of the US atom bomb had taken place (had monopoly)

Nature of conference

  • Russia was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet zone and also 25% from western zones. (west thought that this was too much).
  • Germany was to be completely dearmed and demiltarized.
  • Roosevelt had died and was replaced with Truman (relations not as friendly).
  • Truman was determined to be tougher towards the Russians.
  • Disagreements over the boundaries of the zones of occupation.

Did nothing to reinforce the apparent unity of Yalta.

Failed to define a concensus between east and west.

Didn't establish clarity regarding reparations.

Contributed to growing suspicion between the powers.

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Kennan's long telegram

  • Regarded my many as being seminal for shaping US policy towards the USSR.
  • February 1946.
  • Provided a policy framework.


  • The US should be prepared to use force towards the USSR. (were a threat to the US).
  • Europe was ripe for the spread of communism.
  • Should abandom policy of isolationism as the soviets would use this as an oppurtunity to spread communism in Europe.
  • Soviets no longer have the policy of socialism in one country. Want to expand influence.
  • Enforced the urgency of the matter.
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Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech

  • March 1946
  • Speech was highly critical of the USSR's intentions to expand.
  • Churchill concerned about the possibility that the US would return to isolationism and withdraw from Europe.
  • Convinced that the USSR posed a threat to western Europe and did not think that the western states were strong enough to resist it without American help.
  • Tried to convince the American people that the Soviet threat was real and US presence was essential.

'Iron curtain' refers to the ideological barrier (not physical at this point).

Despite the American oublic being pro soviet at this point it sewed the seeds of doubt as Churchill was such a respected figure in the US.

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Crisis in Iran

  • March 1946
  • Was an opportunity for the west to respond to Kennan's long telegram and stand up to the USSR. Had to be forceful.
  • GB trying to defend its economic interest in vital oil.
  • USSR trying to expand its influence into the middle east. (crisis demonstrated this).
  • In 1941 to prevent the oil fields in Iran from falling into the hands of Germany the Russians and the British jointly occupied Iran.
  • They agreed that they would both withdraw after the war, however the USSR did not.
  • James Byrnes the US secretary of state decided to reprove the USSR publicly before the UN.
  • Stalin had never wanted to risk military confrontation with the west over Iran and so withdrew his troops after a couple of weeks.
  • Crisis foreshadowed the pattern of behaviour that was to come.
  • Helped to further the first between the east and west even though the crisis did not develop into a full scale conflict.
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Council of Foreign Ministers

  • Paris, April 1946
  • Foreign ministers from the victors of the war met in Paris to discuss the peace settlement with Germany.
  • Met to discuss how it was to be divided (building on Yalta)


  • Wanted four power agreements to be broken up.
  • Wanted Germany to remain weak so it would not be a threat.


  • Geran economy needed to recover before the general European economy could.
  • Germany's new eastern boarder with Poland, subject to change in the future.
  • Germany needed to be built up to prevent Soviet expansion.

Highlighted the different positions towards Germany.

Ensured that the post-war settlement of Germany would become a key source of tension during the Cold War.

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Paris Peace Conference

  • July 1946
  • Leaders of the 'Big Four' met to resolve outstanding issues such as reparations/future of Germany.
  • There was a lack of cooperation.
  • Little was accomplished.
  • Britain and the US following this failure agreed to unify their two zones in 1947.
  • Created 'Bizonia'.
  • Was the first step towards the division of Germany.
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The Clifford-Elsey Report

  • July 1946
  • A report which reviewed every aspect of post-war Soviet behaviour.
  • Put the blame of the breakdown of the wartime alliance completely on Stalin.
  • Due to this report the US now blamed the USSR directly for the collapse of the alliance.
  • This view went on to inform the Truman Doctrine.
  • This view that it was all the fault of the soviets led to hostility towards the USSR.
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Stuttgart Speech

  • September 1946
  • The US secretary of state James Byrnes stated that the rebuilding of the German economy was vital for wider European economic growth.
  • Suggested that the fair treatment of Germany was crucial for European security.
  • Thought that Poland's new boarder with Germany might be unfair and subject to change in the future.
  • The US and the USSR now expressing different views over the future of Germany.
  • US wanted to restore its economic strength.
  • USSR wanted to keep Germany weak by taking reparations.
  • Speach marked the breakup of thr wartime alliance.
  • The Russians were outraged as their emotions were still raw from the war and saw this as being very insensitive of the Americans.
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Crisis in Greece

  • February 1947
  • Greece has been occupied by the Germans during world war 2.
  • Liberated in 1944 by Greek and British forces.
  • Civil war broke out between the monarchists and the communists.


  • Churchill wanted to restore the Greek monarchy with a pro western government so sent troops to Greece.


  • Wrongly believed that stalin was supporting ELAS (communists group) but was really the Yugoslav leader.

More tension between the powers.

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Orthodox Interpretation of the causes of the Cold

  • Historians writing in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Witnessed the war first hand and were affected by it.
  • USA were a force of good that represented the moral high ground.
  • USSR were manipulative, expansionist and aimed to destroy democracies of the west.
  • War was a product of the aggressive policies of the USSR who aimed to achieve world revolution.
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Revisionist interpretation of the cause of the Col

  • Dominant in the 1970s.
  • Almost complete reversal of the Orthodox approach.
  • Cold War was a result of the provokative actions of the USA.
  • Stresses defensive aspect of Stalin's foreign policy.
  • More critical view of the USA's role in the Cold War.
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Post-Revisionist Interpretation of the Causes of t

  • 1980s
  • Post-war generation able to approach topic in a more detatched manner.
  • Take a more complex approach and don't just blame one side.
  • Wide range of factors and the inter-relationship of causes.
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Truman Doctrine

  • 1947
  • Became known as the response to the situation in Greece but was clear that it had wider implications.
  • Truman stated to Congress that wherever communist forces were attempting to overthrow a democratically elected government the USA would take action.
  • Landmark in US history (turning point as it ends a 200 year period)
  • Involved the complete abondonment of isolationism.
  • Committment to an interventionist policy of containment.
  • Would remain the basis of US policy towards the USSR for the next 50 years.
  • US aid sent to help the Greek government and the communists were defeated.
  • Important-Stalin saw this as US imperialism.
  • This view was reinforced by the Marshall Plan.
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The Marshall Plan

  • June 1947
  • Planned to provide US financial aid to war-torn Europe.
  • There were undoubtedly political and economic motives behind it as well as humanitarian.
  • In theory was avaliable for any European country but in practice only went to west.
  • Conditions were that the countries had to open up their economy to US trade and economic interests.

Economic motives.

  • Conditions were that the countries had to open up their economy to US trade and economic interests.
  • Grants had to be used to buy US goods which created a captive market for them.

Political Motives

  • Link between poverty and communism, those who were poor likely to turn to communism
  • Eg Italy and France where communists got 20% of the vote.
  • Hoped that if the gave marshall aid they would lessen their dependance on the USSR and weaken the soviet sphere.
  • Clear aim to stop the spread of communism (containment)
  • Stalin saw this as an offensive measure and didn't accept it.
  • Increased tensions.
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Effects of the Marshall plan

  • Lead to an intensification of the Cold War.
  • Lead the soviets to take measures to defend themselves.
  • Interpreted by the USA as being aggressive.
  • Lead to further mistrust and suspicion.
  • Stalin saw the future of the alliance as being impossible to he took certain measures.

The Cominform

  • Established by Stalin in 1947.
  • Organisation to coordinate communist parties throughout Europe and provide unity.
  • Further the interests of communism.
  • Promote expansionism and world revolution.
  • Increased US suspicions of expansionism.


  • Established 1949.
  • Economic response of the USSR to the Marshall Plan.
  • Coordinated the economies of the soviet bloc.
  • Exploited east European economies to their own advantage, gained access to resources of region.
  • Another way in which Europe had become divided.
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Origins of the Berlin Blockade

Situation in Germany between 1945 and 1948. Reparation Crisis

  • Each power could extract reparations from their own zone.
  • Britain, US and France would sent extra to USSR in recognition of their extra suffering during the war.
  • There were arguments over the forms that the reparations would take. 
  • Stalin wanted it in the form of coal but the USA refused.
  • Dispute weakened relations further.

Stuttgart Speech

  • USSR were outraged by this.
  • Marked the final break up of the alliance.


  • Excluded the Soviet zone.
  • Weakened relations further and step towards division of Germany.

Currency reform

  • Proposed by the west, Reichmark to Deutschmark.
  • Sought to create a stable and common currency.
  • Stalin to try and stop this happening stopped western access to Berlin by blocking routes of access.
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Berlin Blockade

Strategic Importance of Germany

  • Between communist and non-communist Europe-vital battleground.
  • West German state dependant on US, vital buffer against communism.
  • Vast economic potential (Ruhr Gebiet) for post-war economic recovery.
  • Potential of Soviet dominated Germany alarming for US.

Importance of Berlin

  • Where there was direct contact between armies of both sides.
  • For west, symbollic and a way of spying on the USSR.
  • For USSR a hostage, way they hoped to gain concessions from the west.
  • Capitalist island ina sea of communism.


  • Key cause was the decision to unite the three western zones.
  • Establish west German state allied to US (give gov back to German people)
  • Marshall aid was accepted by the three western zones.
  • Secret talks between the western powers.
  • Introduction of the Deutschmark to western zones and west Berlin.

Stalin's Response

  • 24th June blocked all western routes of access into Berlin.
  • Wanted to pressurize them to abandon currency reforms or give up west Berlin.
  • Westernb powers mounted an airlift into Berlin in response to this.


  • First crisis for cold war in Europe which marked a victory for containment.
  • Reinforced need for western military alliance which was soon to be enforced (NATO)
  • Led to division of Germany FDR (US sphere) GDR (Soviet sphere)
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The Creation of NATO

  • April 1949
  • The west needed a stronger regional defence system against communist advance.
  • Was put in place to send a message to the USSR highlighting the the US would not accept any further expansion of Soviet influence into Europe.
  • Was initially a political defence system.
  • USSR opposed as it contradicted the principles of the UN.
  • After the USSR tested its first atomic bomb NATO's role quickly turned into a military one.
  • French resistance acceptance of West Germany into NATO.
  • Alternative proposal 'Plevan Plan'.
  • West Germany eventually admitted in May 1955.
  • USSR created the Warsaw Pact in response to this.


  • Committed US to peaceful collaberation with armed services of foreign nations.
  • Signified break of US with its past and determination to stop communist expansion.
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Role of NSC68 in the Globalisation of the Cold War

  • Was the US national security council.
  • After the events of 1949 (China's fall to communism and soviet atomic testing) necessary for US to review policy towards the USSR.
  • A document was produced by the council which emphasized key objectives of Kennan's telegram.
  • US must stay more powerful than USSR to win the Cold War.
  • Need to draw in Japan, Asia and western Europe into their orbit (achieve global balance of power).

Changes Proposed

  • Previously relied upon position as world's dominant economy to wage the CW (M Plan)
  • Proposed a substantial increase in military strength.
  • Clear response to the passing of the atomic monopoly.
  • Proposed increase in convential forces and atompic weapons.


  • Truman agreed with document but saw it as being too expensive.
  • However realised it would be politically unpopular (entail higher taxes)
  • Immediate reaction was to do nothing.
  • Korean war triggered its implementation and the militarisation of the CW after 1950.
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The Cold War in Asia 1949-9


  • After unconditional surrender in 1945 was subject to US military occupation.
  • US main objectives: Demilitarisation, Democratisation, Punishment.
  • The growing influence of USSR in Asia altered US policy to economic reconstruction.
  • Due to its concentration of skilled labour and industrial plant, Japan was seen as neing most imnportant to US national security.
  • 1949, $500 million in aid to Japan to stimulate economic growth (became close ally)


  • After 1945 civil war continued (communists V anti-communists/ nationalists)
  • Nationalist victory seen as essential by US for containment and also US policy in Japan depended on it as it needed China for economic recovery. (resources and markets)
  • Despite aid there was a communist victory, Mao was victorious.
  • This frightened the US (dominob theory).


  • During WW2 Korea was occupied by Japan.
  • Yalta was agreed that Korea would be divided by 38th parallel. USSR north. US south.
  • Meant to be temporary but due to worsened relations between powers couldn't agree on terms for election and reunification.
  • 1948 two separate Korean states emerged.
  • Both sides were intent on reunifying Korea using force.


  • Vietnam had also been occupied by Japanese during the war.
  • French expected to resume control over it (former colony)
  • Communist nationalist movement had emerged (Vietminh), hostilities with the French
  • US sided with the French.
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The Korean War

  • June 1950 North Korean forces launched a suprise attack on south Korea.
  • USA mistook this as Soviet expansionism and so became involved to prevent domino theory.
  • Saw it as a test to resist communism across the world.
  • War broke out which involved the US and China on opposite sides (aimed to unify Korea)
  • No longer containment but rollback, trying to regain territory under communist control.
  • After death of Stalin in March 1953 peace talks were opened up and an armistace was signed in July in which the 38th parallel was restored.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Implemantation of N

Did the war see continuity or change in America's conduct of the Cold War?

Implementation of NSC 68

  • US falsely assumed USSR was behind south Korean invasion and so thought this could happen elsewhere in the world, US had to be ready to fight communism around the globe
  • Truman now supported militarisation as US needed to achieve parity of conventional forces and remain its nuclear superiority. Spend a lot of money on doing this.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Strengthening of NA

  • Before war it was a statement of intent but after it was a full military alliance.
  • The organisation was strengthened and enlarged. (1951 Greece and Turkey)
  • Military bases in Turkey gave the US the capability to launch air raids against southern USSR and blocked attempts of soviet advance on oil fields in the Middle East.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Rearmament of West

  • Seen as central to the reinforcement of NATO.
  • French didn't want it to join NATO so instead the Plevan Plan which meant that Germany would take its place within a European army (European Defence Community).
  • The West German Chancellor traded this consent in for full sovereignty of West Germany.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Restoration of Sove

  • Korean war had been the source of an economic boom for Japan as during it the US placed $3 billion of war related orders in Japan.
  • Was home to hundreds of thousands of US troops so Japan benefitted from their spending power.
  • In the San Francisco Treaty of 1951 Japan regained independance in return of their signiture on a Mutual Security Agreement which guaranteed US military bases in Japan.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Increased Aid to th

  • US increased subsidies to France for its war against the Vietminh.
  • By early 1950s was spending $1 billion a year on military aid.
  • Believed fate of south-east Asia and the future of Japan were connected.
  • China was no longer a marketplace for Japanese goods or source of raw materials so Indochina (south-east Asia) had to fill this vacuum.
  • Japan and the non-communist countries of south-east Asia must be integrated into a regional economy which would guarantee mutual prosperity.
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Consequences of the Korean War-Resumption of Aid t

  • Change in US policy towards Taiwan as soon as the war had started.
  • US had given up on leader after the communist victory in China.
  • However Truman ordered the seventh fleet to defend the island against a communist invasion.
  • War destroyed any chances that the USA might recognise China under Mao.
  • US recognised Taiwan as the only official Chinese state until 1971.
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Conclusion of the Korean War

  • Pivotal episode in the Cold War (marked an acceleration of US policy).
  • The consequences happened sooner than they would have done as a result of the war.
  • Accelerated the globalisation of the Cold War.
  • Had new military commitments across the world which were reflected in higher levels of defence spending.
  • Brought about the militarisation of US policy as America was now willing to increase military spending to defend the 'free world'.
  • Important as it shaped the course of the cold war.
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The 'New Look' Policy

  • 1953 Truman was replaced by Eisenhower.
  • Borught with him a harder line in US policy.
  • Was an approach to containment which rested on the premise that the US would in future be prepared to use nuclear weapons as a first not last resort when dealing with the USSR.
  • Implied US were prepared to engage in Brinkmanship.
  • Consider Massive retaliation as a serious option.

Reasons for the 'New Look'

  • The US were alarmed by the USSR's ideologically motivated expansionist foreign policy and its nuclear capaicty as it had extinguished US atomic monopoly much quicker than they had expected.
  • McCarthy had managed to convince Americans that communist threat was on their doorstep.
  • The policy was a vote winner. There was an increased fear of communsim due to events such as Berlin Blockade, Korean War, China's fall and expansion in eastern Europe.
  • Financial motivation as the threat of the use of nuclear weapons was much cheaper than conventional weapons

Ironically despite all this there was a great improvement in relations during the first three years of Eisenhower's presidency 'The Thaw'.

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Leadership Changes in the USSR

  • March 1953 Stalin died and was replaced by a collective leadership.
  • Prompted hopes that tensions would ease which appeared to happen eg. the new leadership put pressure on North Korea to agree to a ceasefire.
  • New leader Krushchev adopted the policy of 'Peaceful Coexistence'.
  • Further indication that relations could be improved Feb 1956 was the process of Destalinisation.

Benefits of this approach

  • Stable foreign affairs would allow leadership contenders to focus on leadership struggle.
  • Less money would have to be spent on defence and more on improving standard of living.
  • Nuclear weapons made war a risky strategy.
  • According to Krushchev there were only two ways, peaceful coexistence or the most destructive war in history.
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The Thaw 1953-6


  • After the signing of the Korean Armistace the old allies were able to agree on a treaty in May 1955 which would restore independance to Austria.
  • Followed up by the Geneva Summit in October-first summit between powers since Potsdam.
  • 'Geneva Spirit'.
  • The importance of the summit was more abstract as little in terms of practical results were achieved.


  • Demonstrated the effect that individual leaders could have on the Cold War.
  • Was short term and gave way to the most dangerous and hostile phase of the CW.
  • Hungary represented continuity in soviet policy as the essential dynamics remained the same. (security concerns and ideological expansion).
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West Germany Joins Nato

  • In 1954 the French changed their position on West German rearmament.
  • Rejected EDC and called for further safeguards
  • The US threatened to withdraw US troops from western Europe and leave the region vulnerable to Soviet land armies.
  • Eventual solution was reached, Germany would be admitted into NATO with various restrictions to pacify the french.
  • GB would maintain four divisions and a tactical airforce on the continent as a security guarantee to the french.
  • Germany would not be allowed to manufacture atomic, biological or chemical weapons.
  • German armed forces would not exceed 50,000 and would be placed under a NATO supreme allied commander in Europe.

Reactions of USSR

  • A sign of easing tensions was that the USSR accepted the membership and recognised the west German state.
  • Seemed to finally accept West Germany would not be part of Soviet bloc.
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The Warsaw Pact

  • Was the eastern bloc's reply to West German admittance to NATO.
  • Agreement to coordinate the defence of the socialist bloc.
  • Way of securing more power and gaining security.
  • If one of the members was attacked all others would come to its aid.
  • Made members reliant on Soviet protection.
  • Now two alliances in place in the world.
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The Geneva Summit

  • October 1955.
  • Sign of improvement in relations.
  • Little in the way of practical achievements.
  • Significance that it brought the leaders face to face for the first time.
  • First constructive talks since 1945.
  • 'Geneva Spirit' coined to describe more positive feel.
  • Mood reinforced by Krushchev's speech.
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The Impact of Destalinisation

  • Policy that dates back from Krushchevs speech.
  • Refers to the attack launched by Krushchev on Stalin's leadership.
  • criticised his rule, for falsifying history and victimising innocent people.
  • Carefully attacked his leadership and not the system as he was still a communist.
  • Stated that he distorted a system that was basically sound.


  • Caused unrest inside and outside of the party.
  • Pro-Stalin supporters rioted.
  • Anti-SOviet riots in Poland.
  • Criticised by the Chinese who disliked attacks on Stalin and Peaceful Coexistence.
  • Uprising in Hungary.
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The Hungarian revolution

  • 1956
  • In response to Krushchev's speech.
  • Revolution in Budapest led by Imre Nagy.
  • Rebelled against the influence of communism.
  • Withdrew from the Warsaw pact and aimed to abolish the one party system.
  • Soviet response was violent whixh highlighted that there had been no significant change in their policy.
  • Hungary was brought back into communist control.
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Sino-Soviet Relations

Relationship with Stalin

  • After China fell to communism in 1949 relations between the two were warm.
  • Two leading communist regimes in the world so were natural allies.
  • Mao respected Stalin as a fellow revolutionary and builder of socialism.

After the Death of Stalin

  • Relationship between the countries deteriorated.
  • Stalin's successors were not revolutionaries and possessed a different attitude.
  • Mao criticised Krushchev's revisionist approach and disliked his denounciation of Stalin and peaceful coexistence.
  • Increasingly accused Krushchev of being 'soft' on the west (Berlin and Cuban crisises)
  • Behind the scenes was putting pressure on Krushchev that was beginning to influence his behaviour.
  • 'World communist movement' had split.
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The Berlin Crisis

  • 1958-61

Reasons for Soviet action over Berlin

  • Believed the USSR to have the lead in missile technology. (sputnick etc)
  • Needed foreign policy success to divert attention away from domestic failures.
  • Criticism from the Chinese. Needed to assert his power.
  • Ulbricht put pressure on Krushchev due to the negstive effect drain of east German refugees was having on the economy. (East Germany didnt not receive Marshall aid and so was not such an attractive place to live).
  • Needed to assert his power within the USSR.

Results of the Crisis for Kennedy

  • Building of the wall was a relief as Krushchev had solved the refugee problem without infringing western rights over West Berlin.
  • JFK criticised by Berliners for lack of action over building of wall, wondered if USA was still prepared to fight for Berlin.

Results for Krushchev

  • Had managed to solve the refugee problem.
  • The chinese were critical his methods as they believed he should have been firmer and pushed the west out of west Berlin.
  • Still needed a foreign policy success.
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The Berlin Crisis 1958-61

Why did the US refuse to concede to Soviet demands over Berlin?

  • Ideological Value Represented the hopes of a 'free world'.
  • Propaganda Value Capitalist island in a sea of communsim.
  • Stragetic Value was vital.
  • US prestige at stake. Wanted to prevent the domino effect occuring.

At this point there was freedom of movement between sectors of Berlin.

  • Krushchev returned to more Stalin-like policy of bullying the west.
  • Ultimatum, demanded end to western occupation of west Berlin, transform it into a 'free city' and recognise East Germany.
  • Threatened to sign separate treaty with East Germany giving them control to access routes to West Berlin if they did not agree.
  • West had choice to withdraw or face conflict with the USSR.

Crisis put on hold

  • Good realtions between Eisenhower and Krushchev.
  • E able to defuse situation by inviting K to USA. Withdrew ultimatum deadline.
  • Importance of personal diplomacy.
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Berlin Crisis Krushchev and Kennedy

  • Eisenhower replaced by Kennedy who called for a tougher appraoch against the USSR.
  • Leadership change threatened the future of Peaceful Coexistence.
  • Increasing pressure from China and Ulbricht, Krushchev needed to assert his leadership.
  • Saw Kennedy as being a weaker president and raised issue of Berlin again demanding withdrawal and east German recognition. (at the Vienna Summit)

Kennedy's refusal to give up Berlin

  • Wanted to show his strength to his domestic opposition.
  • Wider policy of standing uo to USSR.
  • Economic importance of Germany.
  • Symbolic, would be admitting defeat over communism.
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Berlin-Summer of Crisis

  • After the Vienna summit the tension rapidly increased.
  • East Berliners became scared that these public disagreements would result in the boarders being closed.
  • Large-scale migration from east to west.
  • July/August up to 1000 a day were leaving east Berlin for the west. (climax of crisis)

Construction of the Wall

  • Night of August 12 1961 Krushchev gave the order for the boarders of East Berlin to be closed.
  • Remained in place until 1989.
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Effect of Sputnick on USA

  • Satellite disguised the fact that the USSR was far behind and trying to catch up.
  • US believed that they had an advantage as they had no defence against an attack from space.
  • Propaganda gain for USSR (promoted communism)

Gaither Report (NSC 68)

  • Nov 1957 leaked to the press
  • Based on assumptions rather than concrete evidence.
  • Confirmed a 'missile gap'.
  • Defence budget necessary to close the gap.
  • Eisenhower not panicked due to U2 intelligence.

Reality of the Soviet Threat

  • USSR didn't actually have superiority.
  • Inadequate nuclear delivery system.
  • Stark gap between US and USSR capability.
  • Had fewer ICBMS.
  • USSR can't match the US missile bases that are really close to the SU.

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U2 Plane incident

  • US U2 spy plane shot down over Soviet territory.
  • USSR used this to embarrass the USA (were secretly spying on the USSR)
  • US unwilling to admit that they had been spying from air.
  •  propaganda victory by exposing US versions of events as a lie.
  • Paris Summit K demanded U2 flights were to be condemned.
  • Rejected by Eisenhower.
  • U2 incident ruined summit.
  • Prevented progress being made on issues such as Berlin and test bans.
  • Relations at their lowest point.
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Effects of the Arms Race by 1962

  • Soviet lead and missile gap were a gross over-estimation.
  • Proved to be false as US had more missile warheads.
  • Missile race conferred parity of nuclear threat.
  • Kennedy abandoned doctrine of nuclear relatiation for flexible response. (moved away from first use of nuclear weapons).
  • Both powers forced to accept MAD.
  • USSR had gained advantage of MAD
  • US developed lead in missile and space race.
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