The Cold War Thaws

Dayhanara, Jalen, Serena, Wyatt

Soviet Policy in eastern Europe and China

Soviet Policy in eastern Europe and China

  • More moderate rulers came into power after Stalin’s death
  • They let surrounding countries have more independence, as long as they were still allies with the Soviet Union
During the 1950’s and 1960’s protests started happening in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was scared they would lose their grip on the region.
  • Tension grew in China, so the Soviet Union turned towards the east.


  • Destalinization and Rumblings of Protest
  • Stalin died in 1953, then Nikita Khrushchev became the dominant leader of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin for jailing and killing citizens that were loyal to the Soviet Union.
  • Workers destroyed monuments of the old dictator.
  • Khrushchev called for “peaceful competition” with capitalist states.
  • Soviet outlook did not change in surrounding countries.
    • In October 1956 the Hungarian army joined protesters to overthrow the Soviet-controlled Hungarian government.
  • A pro-Soviet government was installed, and Nagy was executed, eventually.

Revolt in Czechoslovakia

Revolt in Czechoslovakia

● After 1964 when Khrushcev lost his power, Leonid Brezhnev (his replacement) quickly adopted repressive domestic policies

● The party enforced laws to limit basic human rights like freedom of speech and the right to practice any religion

● Brezhnev clamped down on anyone who protested him or his laws

● 1968, Czech communist leader Alexander Dubcek loosened controls on censorship to offer his country socialism

● This period of reform was known as Prague Spring

● Prague Spring did not last long, on August 20, armed forces from the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia

● Brezhnev justified the invasion by claiming the the Soviet Union had the right to prevent its satellites from rejecting communism. This was known as “Brezhnev Doctrine”

The Soviet-Chinese Split

  • China was so committed to communism, to make an unbreakable tie between the communist powers Mao and Stalin signed a 3o-year treaty of friendship in 1950

  • The soviets thought china would always follow their leadership in world affairs, but the chineses became more independent, they started to resent being in Moscow’s shadow

  • The spread their own communist beliefs in Africa and parts in Asia

  • In 1959 as punishment, Khrushchev refused to share Nuclear secrets

  • 1960 the soviets ended economical aids

  • fighting broke out along their common borders

  • after incidents repeated the two neighbouring maintained a fragile egg shelly peace.


Translation of Image:

Let him live and grow stronger indestructible friendship and cooperation Soviet and Chinese peoples.

From Brinkmanship to Détente

Brinkmanship Breaks Down

  • A policy followed during the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson led to one terrifying crisis after another.

  • In 1960, the U-2 incident prevented the meeting between the United States and the Soviet Union to discuss the buildup of arms on both sides.

  • John F. Kennedy in the early 1960’s started the Cuban Missile Crisis made the superpowers’ use of nuclear weapons to a real possibility.



The United States Turns to Dètente

● Widespread protest wracked the United States during the Vietnam War

● The withdrawing of the US from the Vietnam war only seemed to solve only some little problems.

● The United States backed away from its policy of direct confrontation with the Soviet Union Dètente, a policy of lessening Cold war tensions, replaced brinksmanship under Richard Nixon

● President Nixon’s move toward dètente grew out of a philosophy known as realpolitik ● While the US tried to continue to try to stop the spread of communism, the 2 superpowers agreed to pursue dètente and to reduce tensions

  • However with the change in Soviet leadership in 1985, a new policy to the United States and the final thaw.


Nixon Visits Communist Powers


  • President Nixon took a strong anti- Communist position, he became the first U.S. president to visit Communist China.
  • The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) limited the number of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched missiles each country could have.

  • In 1975, 33 nations joined the United States and the Soviet Union in signing a commitment to detente and cooperation.

  • Under presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford, the United States improved relations with China and the Soviet Union.

The Collapse of Détente


Reagan Takes an Anti-Communist Stance

  • An anti communist U.S. President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. Tensions increased as U.S. activities pushed the United States and the Soviet Union further from detente.
  • He increased defense spending, putting both economic and military pressure on the Soviets.
  • In 1983, Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the program to protect against enemy missiles.
  • Not put through effect but remained a symbol of U.S. anti-Communist sentiment.
  • A change in Soviet leadership in 1985 brought a new policy toward the United States and the beginnings of a final thaw in the Cold War.

The Cold War

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