The Cold War Begins 1945 1950

The World in 1945(George, Michael, Marshall, Laura, Chris)

  • 2 major powers left: US and USSR.
  • US:
    • allies exhausted, rivals (Axis powers) defeated.
    • war effort brought tremendous economy to US.
    • Us had the world's mightiest military machine at 1-7 million personnel.
    • well received message of freedom: freedom of speech and worship and freedom from fear and want.
    • only nation with atomic capabilities.
  • USSR:
    • devastated economy; 1/4 the size of US economy.
    • Germans brought destruction of land, resources, industry, and 20 million deaths.
    • formidable land army; lacking in air and sea power.
    • no atomic capabilities until 1949.
  • With Germany and Japan defeated there is no one to keep the Soviet Union in check.
    • decline of British Empire leads to growing Soviet influence in the Middle East.
    • Capitalism would have to unite under the strength of the US economy.
  • Britain did still have its Empire no matter the decline.
    • Commonwealth gave it a crucial network of world-wide bases.
    • reached atomic capabilities in 1952.
    • Britain's economy the strongest in Europe in 1945.
    • however, lost 1/4 prewar wealth and 400,000 people.
    • colonies were essentially independent; india and other colonies had been assured independence.
    • declining influence in Middle East.
  • Germany had lost millions of people; cities and transportation networks were leveled.
    • forced occupation and partition by Allied powers.
  • France divided over collaboration with Germany, damaged by Nazi occupation.
  • Japan devastated by strategic bombing campaigns and atomic bomb drops; occupied by US.
  • Long-range military capabilities had increased drastically by the end of the war.
  • Scientific advances: radar, jet engine, cruise/ballistic missiles, atom/hydrogen bombs.
    • many thought large nuclear arsenals would discourage war- mutually assured destruction (MAD).
    • others feared an "atomic Pearl Harbor."
    • arms race began.
    • diffusion of technology worldwide lessened power gap between industrial nations and 3rd world.
      • emergence of "lethal peasant armies."
  • changes in balance of power dominated international relations
  • regime's ideological underpinnings would determine international alignment
    • WWII- fascists vs. center-left.
    • Postwar Era- right vs. left
  • Future of Capitalism was insecure.
    • after the Great Depression and fascism the right seemed to have been discredited.
    • postwar economic climate favored the left.
    • popular demands for welfare, land, and economic reform.
    • increased government role during the war led to the belief that government planning was necessary.
  • Unlike the inability of the Czars, the Communist regime in the Soviet Union had been able to repel the Germans; this gave it great prestige.
  • Communist parties in France, Italy, Germany, China, and Vietcong identified with resistance movements from WWII and seemed poised to take power.
    • British help in Greece prevented a Communist takeover.
    • for 3rd world people, communism repelled weak agrarianism and ushered in strong industrialism.
  • International economy was in chaos.
    • pre-war world was split into closed trade blocs.
    • this decreased international tradeand national production.
    • during the war trade barriers were dropped only to be re-instated during the post-war period.
  • Independence movements blossomed.
  • Japan lost all of its colonies.
  • China once again sunk into Civil War.
  • All throughout Southeast Asia, countries challenged their European colonizers.
  • Western position in the Middle East was threatened.
    • US, Britain, and USSR replaced the pro-German Iranian Shah in 1941 with his son.
      • this disrupted Iran's economy and politics.
  • Turkey gave Germany concessions during the war but refused to allow the USSR the same concessions.
  • War in Africa had not really affected the colonies.
    • fight against fascism decreased racist tendencies.
    • brought on industrialization.
  • Democratization and reform movements rose in Latin America.
  • Military dictatorships fell and the US worried about regional stability.
  • pre-war distrusts between the US, Great Britain, and the USSR weren't overcome.
    • non-aggression pact, reluctance of Soviet help against Japan, and monetary issues with US lend-lease to USSR were hot topics.
    • USSR still detested West for intervention during the Civil War and refusal to cooperate against Hitler; dismayed at the delay in the opening of the second front and at the small amount of US lend-lease aid received.
  • Soviet Union was aware of the US's atomic capabilities.
    • these capabilities gave the US leverage in peace talks and allowed to free up forces in certain places.
  • US was more reluctant to just hand East Europe over to the Soviet Union.
  • USSR wanted East Europe for air defense; didn't want to back out and seem intimidated; wanted to show strength in pursuing its own atomic program.
  • Yalta was the high point of cooperation.
    • decisions made reflected military positions in Europe; ex. since USSR had overrun East Europe it had more of a say in East European affairs.
  • At Potsdam the pstwar rivalry began to grow.
    • it was decided that each power would draw reparations from its portion of Germany.
    • USSR would be granted limited access to West German industry.

The Struggle for Europe, pages 14-23 Lucy, Maya, Kristen, Tina, Shandra, Alex

(beginning of our section, ends on the top of page 16)
end of the war – removed incentive for cooperation and lessened inclination for compromise
Germany’s defeat and successful test of atomic bomb = the end of U.S. and British willingness to respect Soviet Union’s vital interests
defeat of Germany and Japan = lessened Soviet Union willingness to defer to Western interests and sensitivities
WWII – facilitated broad public acceptance of a global conception of U.S. security interests and requirements
U.S. leaders wanted:
• balance of power in Europe and Asia
• an international economic environment open to U.S. trade and investment
• maintain the integration of the Third World in the world economy
• maintain atomic weapons monopoly and have the ability to punish possible aggressors
believed that, in order to accomplish those things, the U.S. needed an overseas base system that would provide the nation with defense in depth and allow it to deter aggression by projecting power into potential trouble spots
U.S. security policies were formulated to –
preserve “American way of life” (through an international order that would be open to and compatible with U.S. interests and ideals), protect physical security of the U.S. and allies
Roosevelt dies in April 1945
collapse of German and Japanese power = political vacuum, changed balance of political forces in the rest of Europe à gave Soviet Union lots of chances to expand power/influence (which would complicated, and possibly prevent, U.S. postwar plans)
WWII – affected Soviet Union security perceptions and policies
Soviet Union security objectives –
• create strong safeguards against future German aggressors, secure borders, buffer zone in Eastern Europe
• reconstructing the Soviet Union’s industrial base
• maintain strong military (develop atomic bombs)

Soviet leaders knew that economic base was inferior to U.S. economy à wanted extensive reparations from Germany, which would rebuild Soviet Union economy and reduce Germany’s military potential
initially, Soviet Union sought help of United States
(United States was the only country that could afford to help Soviet Union economically and was also the only country who could prevent Soviet Union from accomplishing goals)
Soviet Union’s postwar goals disagreed with Western ideals, economic objectives, and security requirements
Western nations thought that the Soviet Union was out to get Germany and the rest of Europe, which would enhance the political prospects of communist parties

(bottom paragraph on page 22 to the end of our section)
Soviet efforts to force ideological and political uniformity in Eastern Europe = sharp split between Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in 1948
Yugoslav communists - Josip Broz Tito (leader), wanted to determine their own domestic and foreign policies
Tito-Stalin split = intensified efforts by Soviet Union to control the region à purge trials from 1948-1952, removal of “national communists” from power, cut off Eastern European communist parties off from their mass base
short-term result – greater Soviet Union control over Eastern Europe
long-term impact – counterproductive, Eastern European communist regimes became sources of tension, instability, and drained resources
“security dilemma” – tendency for a country’s quest for increased security to raise the anxieties of its prospective adversaries and to provoke countermeasures
Soviet attempts to force the West to take Soviet interests = reinforced Western resolve to rebuild and defend against Soviet Union
Soviet blockade on all land and water routes to Berlin (June 1948 – May 1949) – protest against Western plans to unify and rebuild the three Western zones of Germany, instead led to a Western airlift that led to the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany (September 1949)
Soviets ended blockade, created German Democratic Republic
1948 – Soviets began to strengthen and modernize armed forces, atomic bomb successfully tests in August 1949
- The Soviet Union powers didn’t get extensive reparations from Germany of aid from the United States, and so their only remaining options for obtaining resources for reconstruction were to exact resources from Eastern Europe or from the Soviet people.
- Both plans had drawbacks: Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were poorer than Germany, and taking resources from them would leave them without resources for their own reconstruction and development. Taking resources from the Soviet people meant reimposing harsh political controls on them.
- So, Stalin decided to go with a combination of both options.
- Stalin instituted a harsh program of economic reconstruction that imposed heavy burdens on workers and peasants and sacrificed consumption to investment to investment in heavy industry.
- He also turned to Eastern Europe, extracting an estimate 13 billion dollars with of resources from them, and Soviet occupation zones in Germany. This irreparably damaged Soviet relations with Eastern Europe.
- By the end of the war, the Soviet Union had reabsorbed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and had annexed portions of Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Germany. They also established communist regimes in Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Albania.
- However, the establishment of these regimes was not solely the result of a conscious effort by the USSR to dominate the region. The War had created revolutionary conditions there, paving the way for communist regimes to take place.
- The annihilation of the region’s Jews and the expulsion of Germans had disrupted the regions economic life.
- Soviet efforts to create more secure borders in neighboring countries interfered with their reconstruction requirements and also were complicated by resistance of local populations, which was often harshly repressed.
- The expansion of Soviet power and influence into central Europe alarmed the United States and other Western leaders and made them worry that soviet domination of Eastern Europe would lead to limited access to needed international markets. It also posed a security threat to Western Europe.
- So, based on the “long telegram” by George Kennan, the United States fashioned a foreign policy that focused on containing the spread of Soviet powerful and communist influence.
- The United States did not fear a war from the USSR because they knew they were too weak. Rather, they feared that communist would exploit postwar power vacuums and take power, and that this would turn the global balance of power against the united states and deny them access to important market worldwide.
-US policymakers believed that to improve the global economy, had to fix Western Europe and Japan’s economies
-Kennan’s concerns confirmed
• Rejected US plan to control atomic energy (Bernard Baruch, 1946)
• Rejected the part of plan where permanent members of UN Security Council had to give up right of veto in matters relating to atomic energy.
-Cold War tensions:
• British power shrinking
• Regional rivalries
• Internal political polarization (combined in Iran, Greece, Turkey)
-1942 Soviet treaty with Iran—delayed withdrawing occupation forces
-Civil war in Greece resumes (commie-led guerrillas took up arms against the gov.)
-Yugoslav commies aided Greek rebels
-Truman Doctrine of 1947
• Containment of communism
• Elicited political support which enabled US leaders to act on beliefs about relationship between politics, economics, and US security.
-National Security Act (advise the president on foreign affairs and defense policy)
-Thus creating the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) to gather and analyze intelligence and conduct covert operations.
-US leaders regarded communism a threat because of the connections with Soviet Power, ideological and economic threat (hostility to free market and essentially, a capitalist society)
-Political freedom! Many Americans scared.
-Truman requests aid for Greece and Turkey (thus, Turkey is determined to resist Soviet pressure. Also, provided US with forward bases to support aerial assaults on Soviet Union in case of war.)
-US actions in Greece, Turkey, Iran demonstrates US’ determination to resist communism and maintain access to oil.
-Fuel crisis from harsh winter of 46-47 led to economic growth stunted in Western Europe, social unrest, political instability, and declining foreign exchange reserves.
Source of Western Europe’s economic difficulties = trade and payment problems
Key problem = collapse of German production—forced other European countries to turn to the U.S.
- turned to U.S. for food, fuel and manufactured goods
Western Europe struggled—financing the war effort left them with a lack of foreign investment—wartime losses caused a decrease in shipping earnings as well
U.S. leaders feared that economic distress would translate into support for communist parties, especially in France and Italy.
U.S. then provided billions of dollars for Western Europe in the form of grants.
U.S. influenced:
- how Western European elites defined their own interests
- the alteration of the internal balance of power among the decision-making groups
U.S. also helped promote European economic integration
rebuilding German economic strength = crucial to the recovery of European economy
German reconstruction = offered solution to problems of increasing European production and reducing Europe’s dollar imports
U.S.—made Germany eligible for Marshall Plan aidàmoving Germany toward self-government
Marshall Plan also solidified Europe—worried Soviets
Soviet fear:
- Western aid in Europe would undermine their influence
Soviet action:
- prohibited Eastern European countries from participating in the Marshall Plan
- created a new international communist organization—Communist Information Bureau (Cominform)
- Molotov Plan—concluded series of trade agreements with Eastern Europe
- supported efforts by local communists to end the “democratic interludes” in Hungary and Czechoslovakia
- beginning to institute collectivization of agriculture, supporting heavy industry, and cracking down dissent
- urged Western European communist parties to oppose the Marshall Plan

The Struggle for Europe

Globalizing the Cold War—pgs. 23-30 (Emily Dowling, Gabbie Watts, Jen Kim, and Matthew Tyler)

  • U.S. believed that controlling the resources of the THird World was necessary for containment and for economic prosperity in the First World
  • U.S. funding in the 3rd World would be transferred to Europe and Japan who would then trade with the U.S., solving its dollar shortage
  • Before war, U.S. was anti-colonization (radicalism, hostility); after war, feared decolonization would lead to communism
  • The Cold War reinforced U.S. desire to maintain sphere of influence in Latin America
    • Encouraged shift to the right; U.S. locked to military and elites to maintain and protect foreign investors
    • Rio Treaty (1947): regional security
    • Organization of American States (1948)
  • Cold War also impacted development in Africa
    • U.S. supported colonial powers in Southern Africa to prevent Soviet influence
    • South Africa rich in minerals, especially uranium; U.S. wanted to control access to these resources
  • 1947-48: U.S. began emphasizing economic recovery and political stability in Japan
    • reestablishment of old elites to establish political order
    • demilitarization under 1947 constitution (to prevent future aggression)
  • Revolutions in 3rd World: struggle against foreign domination and internal social revolution
  • Some powers worked with non-communist independence groups to ensure stability
    • U.S. and the Phillippines (after 1946)
    • Britain and South Asia
    • Independence given to: India-Pakistan (1947), Ceylon/Sri Lanka (1947), Burma (1948)
  • Others (French & Duthc) opposed Independence movements with force
    • Both saw colonies as vital sources of raw materials
    • Vietnam
    • Indonesia
  • Communist activity in Korea
    • Soviet occupation forces supported Kim Il Sung
    • U.S. helped conservatives establish the Republic of Korea (1948)
    • Republic of korea (South) vs. Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North)
    • Foreign troops left in 1948/49
    • Divided by 38th parallel (still exists today)
  • World War I showed the importance of oil to modern warfare, and the U.S. turned to the Middle East to aid European adn Japanese economic recovery
  • However, at the same time, France and Britain were forced to withdraw from many of their mandates and colonies
  • The competition among the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States for oil and influence in the Middle East helped exacerbate Iran's growing political polarization
  • The U.S. initially planned to remake Japanese society, purging those elements responsible for the war and promoting democratization, demilitarization and deconcentration of economic power
  • The Chinese model of peasant revolutionary struggle had a profound impact on the Third World (inspirational)
  • After the Soviets tested the atomic bomb, the U.S. lost their atomic monopoly while the First World suffered from limited resources, U.S. leaders feared that without corrective measures the global distribution of power could turn against the "free world"
  • a communist-controlled Korean would expand the buffer zone on Soviet borders improve the Soviet strategic situation vis-a-vis rebuilding Japan, maintain Soviet leadership of the Asian revolution and divert U.S. attention from Europe
  • The Korean War cost over 3 million lives, over 50000 U.S. servicemen, and led to the militarization and intensification of the Cold war
  • U.S. interpreted the North Korean attack on South Korea as a test of Western resolve to resist communist aggression and feared that failure to respond would undermine the credibility of U.S. commitments
  • The Truman administration secured a mandate from the United Nations to send U.S. forces to aid South Korea
  • The UN was able to act because the Soviet representative on the security council was boycotting the meeting in protest of the UN refusal to recognize the People's Republic of China
  • The Soviet were surprised by the U.S. reaction, provided military equipment and operation plans and some air support, carefully avoided large-scale involvement in the war
  • Mao wanted to use the Korean War to mobilize public support for accelerating his own revolution and to deter U.S. interference in China
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