Cold War Superpowers Face Off

Conflicts between US & USSR shape the modern world.

Allies Become Enemies

After war ended, the U.S. alliance with the Soviet Union had begun to unravel because the U.S. was upset that Joseph Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Germany in 1939. Also, Stalin blamed the Allies for not invading German-occupied Europe earlier than 1944. The leaders of the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union met at the Soviet Black Sea resort of Yalta in February 1945. While there, they agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation. These zones were controlled by the Allied military forces, and Germany would have to pay the Soviet Union to compensate for loss of life and property. Joseph Stalin promised that Eastern Europeans would have free elections and to join war against Japan. The U.S. and the Soviet Union set their differences aside in June 1945. Together they formed the United Nations which was made to protect the members against aggression.48 other countries also joined.
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Eastern Europe’s Iron Curtain

The major goal of the soviet union was to shield itself from another invasion. Russia lacked natural western borders so it fell victim to each of its neighbors in turn.

Soviets Build a Buffer: As World War II ended, the Soviet troops pushed the Nazi’s back across Eastern Europe. The Soviets occupied a strip of countries along the Soviet Union’s western border. Stalin called these countries a wall of protection. He ignored the Yalta agreement and secured Communist governments in Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Franklin D. Roosevelt died so Harry S. Truman came into office. He met with Stalin and Churchill at Potsdam, Germany in July 1945. Truman presses Stalin to permit free elections in Eastern Europe but Stalin refused. He declared that communism and capitalism could not exist in the same world.

An Iron Curtain Divides East and West: Germany split into two sections. The Soviets controlled the eastern part, including half the capital of Berlin. East Germany was named the German Democratic Republic. The western became the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. Winston Churchill called this division the “iron curtain”.


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United States Tries to Contain Soviets

In the two years following the war US and Soviet relations began to worsen. President Truman adopted the foreign policy of containment, and that was a policy directed to blocking the spread of Communism and stopping the influence of Communism. By doing this the US helped weak countries resist Soviet advances. The Truman Doctrine was written for countries that rejected American help, however the US still helped the, it gave over $400 million to countries that did not want US help. The Marshall Plan gave 12.5 billion dollars to countries in Europe that were being influenced by the Soviets or needed relief from the war.
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The Cold War Divides the War

A cold war is a struggle over political differences carried on by means of short military action/war. In 1949 the superpowers used spying, propaganda, diplomacy, and secret operations in dealing with each other. The Soviet Union finally broke up in 1991, the Cold War dictated not only U.S. and Soviet Union foreign policy, but influenced world alliances as well. America and Canada formed a pact known as NATO and in response the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. China did not trust the Soviets and remained non-allied. The Cold War threatened to destroy the world and in 1949 the Soviet Union created its own atomic weapon. So Pres. Truman was determined to create a thermonuclear weapon, or the H-bomb, which would be thousands of times more powerful than the A-bomb. Brinkmanship, or willingness to go to the brink of war, was acquired in the U.S. by Pres. Eisenhower appointing an anti-communist John Foster Dulles secretary of state in 1953. Brinkmanship required a reliable source of nuclear weapons and airplanes to deliver them. In August 1957, the soviets launched Sputnik past earth’s atmosphere, drawing America into what we refer to as the Space Race. While Soviets were squaring off with the U.S. china was engaging in a Civil War.


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SuperPower 2 - Cold War Becomes Hot.