Cold War
Activity 2

Essential Knowledge

  1. Despite mutual distrust and enmity between major democracies of the West and the Soviet Union before World War II, the Soviet Union became an ally of Great Britain (and United States) after the German army marched into Soviet land in 1941.
  2. When World War II ended, the United States and Soviet Union had become the world's dominant powers, and those countries distrusted each other and took actions the other side viewed as hostile.
    1. After learning that the United States had atomic bombs and how destructive those bombs could be, Stalin felt an urgent need to strengthen Soviet military power.
    2. Because, the Soviet Army drove the Nazis from Eastern Europe the Soviet Union was in a position to occupy several nations between it and Germany. It set up pro-Soviet regimes in those nations for security reasons. The United States and its allies viewed such behavior as inconsistent with the Yalta agreement (see 1.c (1) above).
    3. Discussions in the United Nations between the United States and Soviet Union tended to be harsh and belligerent.
    4. Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain Speech" in Fulton, Missouri, made it very clear that there was a major conflict between western democracies and the Soviet Union.
  3. The United States took strong measures to contain the spread of communism: the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.
    1. The Truman Doctrine was applied to Greece and Turkey. At the end of World War II, Greece was devastated and in a state of civil war. British occupation forces tried to maintain peace, but it was difficult. Local communists tried to take control of the country with help from nearby communist countries. The United States responded in 1947 with the Truman Doctrine, which provided economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey, nations that were threatened by communist insurgents.
    2. The Marshall Plan was designed to prevent the spread of communism in Europe. The Truman administration in 1947 adopted the Marshall Plan-a European Recovery Program supported by massive U.S. foreign aid. The Soviet Union refused to let nations under its control participate in aid from the Marshall Plan.
  4. Germany became a hot spot: It was divided into two nations, the Soviet Union blockaded Berlin, and the allies responded with an airlift
    1. The Berlin Blockade was constructed by the Soviets in 1948. The Soviet Union was alarmed and closed off roads.
    2. The Berlin Airlift was a response to the Berlin Blockade. The Truman administration responded with the Berlin Airlift. The Soviet Union could have responded in many ways. It could have gone to war, for example. Instead, it chose to permit the airlift to take place, and finally in 1949, about ten months after the Berlin blockade had begun, it decided to permit traffic to resume to the city.
    3. Germany becomes a divided nation.
      1. (1) The allies (U.S.A., U.K., and France) decided to strengthen Germany in order to contain Soviet expansion. They set up a single currency (the Deutsch Mark) for the three zones they controlled, began rebuilding the country, and formally established the German Federated Republic.
      2. (2) The Soviet Union, which was invaded by Germany in both world wars with immense casualties, feared a strong Germany, dismantled German factories in its zone, took the machinery back to the Soviet Union to strengthen itself, and established a pro-Soviet state in its zone, which it called the German Democratic Republic.
  5. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union developed and began producing hydrogen bombs in the early 1950's.
  6. In 1950 the Korean War began, presenting difficult choices for the United States, the United Nations, the Soviet Union, and China.