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Cold War Revision Notes

Ideologies :
Capitalism: production of goods and distribution is dependent on private capital with a view to
making profit; capitalist economies run by individuals rather than by state
Communism: hostile to capitalism, which exploits workers; ideally all property, businesses &
industry should be state-owned, each gives according to their ability to those according to
their need
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Communism v. capitalism => USA emphasised freedoms of capitalism and limitations on


communism.
US assumptions - poverty, expansionism, oppressive (no choice forced), evil
Spy trials threat internally State Dept , McCarthyism
Truman Doctrine perceived these as subjugation by armed minorities free peoples
Marshall aid perceived as having ideological reasons dollar imperialism
Expansionism (Kennan Russian nature was nationalistic) proof seen in E Europe/Far
East
Guilt over appeasement
Support for newly created UN
Buffer zone/puppet state different perceptions
USSR commitment to world revolution
Liberated people after 2ww or after colonial powers left want independence/self
determination & may choose communism
Soviet actions seemed to confirm US opinion which stressed the world revolutionary
goals of the USSR, state ownership of the means of production and the one party state.
The USSR was encroaching on a long standing US sphere of influence
Americas open door policy was interpreted by the USSR as banditry/imperialism.
The American way of life: liberal democracy, freedom and private ownership seemed
important to JFK.

Personality (Leaders)
o Stalin paranoid e.g. purges, fear of invasion 1917 & civil war foreign intervention
betrayed in 2ww by Hitler but also allies made him wait 2 yrs before opening eastern
front; distrusts Truman as kept A bomb secret at Potsdam despite being allies, thought
bomb dropped in Japan as warning/threat
o suffering huge 20 million, felt needed buffer as protection
o Truman hard headed ignorant of foreign affairs, persuaded by Riga Axiom &
Kennans Long telegram rather than Wilsonian liberalism,no appeasement uphold
Freedoms in UN charter
o Change of leaders during 1945: Relations tricky, suspicion personal e.g. Potsdam
relations Molotov swore at Truman. Trumans Im tired of babying the Soviets and the
only language they understand is the language of force
o USA attitudes (point of view)
o Assumptions (poverty breeds communism, expansionist, evil, monolithic power, puppet
states)
o Fear of appeasement, must confront
(little suffering in war)
o Events of 1945-50 seemed to provide proof for each assumption so justified containment
policy
o Domestic pressure: US spy trials, USSR a bomb, Berlin airlift symbolic support for
democracy under threat by another dictator, China communist soft on communism
Truman found demands to be tough

Secrecy about atomic bomb (1945) => Hiroshima bombing happened just 4 days after
Potsdam.

West didnt consult USSR about their new currency in West Berlin.

Berlin Blockade imposed.

Building of Berlin Wall: physical and psychological barrier to co-operation, symbolic, was now a
real iron curtain.

National security:
conflicting National interests geopolitical attitudes & assumptions drove need for security
o Balance of power/spheres of influence - strategic advantage - containment v. Perceived
as hegemony or expansion by other side
o US perspective different from USSR result of different histories and war time
experiences
o Conflict over E Europe Yalta promises not fulfilled, conflict over Poland, Red Army in
Europe, elections in France/Italy, no elections liberated states, opposition exiled, killed,
imprisoned in E Europe, Greece Truman Doc/Marshall Aid buffer zone
o Conflict over Germany- US rebuild, USSR reparations Berlin division - airlift
o Conflict over Far East Japan (bulwark, defence perimeter) China., Korea, Vietnam
Threats.. perceived to national security. World peace.. balance of power
Actual danger e.g., Berlin airlift Korean invasion
Nuclear advantage: perceived danger of A bomb arms race/NATO/Warsaw Pact
1949 turning pt China communist Sino-Soviet Pact spy trials at home Berlin NATO led to
NSC 68 followed by Korean invasion led to 1st military action UN led invasion of Korea
Korea militarised and globalised Cold War
Economic
Economic containment by US: Marshall Aid, reconstruction of Japan, money to Korea, Vietnam
Germany US rebuild, join zones new currency: USSR reparations
Comecon join E bloc v. Marshall Aid countries , bound by command economy to Moscow

Marshall Plan (1947) provision of fuel, raw materials, goods, loans, food, machinery advisers.
US exploited it financial power to export Western values dollar imperialism
Military tensions: Korean War (1950-3), Vietnam (early 1960s -1973); US military.build-up
Treaties: NATO (1949) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
SEATO (1954) South East Asia Treaty Organisation
Warsaw Pact (1955) military defensive pact amongst eastern European nations
COMECON (1949) Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Propaganda: European Recovery Program propaganda as much as economic.exercise Benefits o
Marshall Plan advertised
Espionage: CIA (1947) founded to co-ordinate information gathering on USSR and.Allies. Activities
included: Support for anti-Communist political leaders, e.g. Christian Democrats, 1948 elections
Arms race: 1945 US tested and detonated 1st atomic bomb
1949 USSR carried out 1st successful nuclear test
1952 tested 1st H-bomb (2,500x more powerful)
1953, USSR produced H-bomb
1961 enough nuclear weapons to destroy world

How did WWII make Cold War more likely?

Conflicts of personality between Big Three


Power vacuum in post-Nazi Germany & Europe

Economic recovery
Emergence of USA & USSR as superpowers
Atomic bomb
Red Army 11 m troops occupied Europe
Ideological differences Wilsonian liberalism v Worldwide Revolution
Distrust over conduct of WWII Second Front

Causes of tension 1920s-30s

Communism was seen as a direct threat to the privileges, status and power of the elites that
formed the governments in the West
The Western allies felt betrayed by Russias decision to pull out of WWI, with the signing of the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918)
The refusal of the Soviet government to repay debts to Western investors, especially after it
nationalised many privately owned companies during the Civil War
The British King George V was personally aggrieved that the Russians by assassinating the Tsar
and his family had executed relatives of the British royal family
The Western Allies had sent help to the Whites during the Russian Civil War (1918-21)
The activities of Comintern alarmed Western nations, especially as their main objective was to
promote communism at the expense of capitalism.
Britains policy of appeasement towards Hitler angered the Russians, who suspected the West of
doing deals with the Nazis which ultimately could lead to a German invasion of their country.
Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with the Nazis (1939) which angered the West. It limited the
threat of a German invasion and allowed the Soviets to occupy parts of Poland.
The personalities and actions of world leaders led to tensions. Stalin was deeply suspicious of the
West, Roosevelt was unwilling to get involved in European affairs despite the rise of the Nazis.

What were the attitudes of the main powers in Europe after WWII?
Stalin

Rebuild & safeguard his country, which had lost 20 million citizens as a result of the war
The leader wanted to strengthen the country and prevent the threat of future invasions.
The occupation of as many Eastern European countries as possible to create a buffer zone
around its borders
The country had been invaded 3 times by the West, during WWI, the Civil War and WWII
To spread Communism around the world, although this may not have been a primary aim
immediately after WWII
Gains after the war should be in proportion to the losses it had endured

Truman

The leader wanted to confront his opponents head on, especially over human rights and
democratic values
His aims was influenced by the fact he was poorly informed on foreign policy matters and aware
of the strength of anti-communist feeling in his own country
His foreign policy was strongly influenced by George Kennans deeply suspicious Long Telegram
(1946) and the policy of containment it inspired
The leader adopted an Iron Fist approach towards foreign policy, in contrast towards
Chamberlains Appeasement policy of the 1930s
The government was keen to protect free trade in Europe to provide a market for US goods
Arms industry were keen to keep tensions high, to avoid a downturn in demand after WWII
Some within the country favoured a return to isolationism

Churchill

Their leader saw the need for an agreement with Stalin


Domestic policy and the setting up of the welfare state was the main consideration
They wanted to their allies to stand firm over the threat of Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe

The Emergence of Cold War


Yalta & Potsdam Conferences
Yalta, Feb. 1945
Agreement

Potsdam, July-Aug
Tension

Agreement

Military

Reparations

Eastern European

Mili

Russia agreed to enter war


against Japan following German
surrender

Stalin wanted Germany to pay


USSR reparations

New boundaries agreed (OderNiesse rivers formed border


between Germany & Poland)

Stal
Med

In return Russia would receive


territory in Manchuria & Sakhalin
Island

Germany

Germany temporarily divided into


four zones
Berlin divided into four zones

Eastern Europe

'Declaration of Liberated Europe'


(to set up democracies in East
Europe).
Set up Polish Government of
National Unity

Stalin wanted payments in coal,


US wanted coal to rebuild
Europe, Russian demands
ignored

Poland

USSR wanted to extend Polish


border too far West for western
allies
Stalin disregarded calls for free
elections and arrested noncommunists

Germany

USSR forced Germans to sell


food & raw materials to Soviet
Union
Some German factories
dismantled & moved to USSR

Rep
Germany

Germany & Berlin divided into


separate sectors and zones as
agreed at Yalta
Demilitarisation

Stal
repa
US
(as

Democracy re-established free


press & freedom of speech

Stal
wan
it re

International organizations

Pola

Nazi Party was to be banned in


Germany

Stal
Pola

Legal trials at Nuremberg of 21


Nazi leaders for war crimes

GB
Poli
Lon

Allies agreed to participate fully in


UNO

US
inten

International organizations

Setting up of UNO (to replace


League of Nations), to which
Russia was invited
International War Tribunal to put
Nazi war criminals on trial

Iron Curtain speech

Delivered during a speech at Fulton, Missouri in March 1946


From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the
Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous
cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are
subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases
increasing measure of control from Moscow.
Speech given as a private individual Churchill no longer PM
Truman present, and agreed with Iron Fist message
Moscow branded Churchill warmonger

Reactions to Churchills speech

USSR wanted to create a buffer zone

West benefited from Marshall Aid, East needed assistance from Comecon

Moscow keen to demonstrate momentum to set up Communism came from ordinary people, e.g.
use of political processes to extend influence

British had its own sphere of influence Empire

Truman Doctrine

Kennans Long Telegram, recommending firm action against Soviet expansion (1946)
Churchills Iron Curtain speech (1946)
Civil war between monarchists & communists
GB govt unable to continue military & economic aid
Iron Fist & containment of spread of communism

Marshall Aid

Need for economic recovery after WWII


The most unselfish act in history (Churchill)
Market for US goods
Avoid global recession
Fear of Europe becoming breeding grown for communism

Soviet reaction

Dollar imperialism

govt

Eas
Com

Atom
secr

Eastern European countries pressurised to refuse


Cominform (1947)
Comecon (1949)

Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe

Country

Influence of Communism steps taken to set up Communist regimes

Poland

Communists joined a coalition government after the war, becoming outright


leaders in 1947, forcing non-communist leader into exile

Romania &
Bulgaria

Yugoslavia
Greece
Hungary

Czechoslovakia

Finland

Romania: Communist elected PM, 1945 within a left-wing coalition. 1947,


Communists also abolished the monarchy
Bulgaria: left-wing coalition won elections, 1945. Communist members of
coalition executed leaders of other parties
Marshal Tito led war-time resistance to the Nazis, elected President in
1945, determined to apply Communism in his own way & expelled from
Cominform in 1948
Britain and USA supported Royalist side in a civil war, defeating
Communist opposition
Communists became second largest party in 1947 elections. Imprisoned
opposition politicians, attacked Church leaders
Left-wing coalition won elections in 1945. Communists became largest
single party, but still in a coalition. In 1948, when their position was
threatened, banned other parties and made Czechoslovakia a Communist,
one-party state
Initially the WWII leader Marshal Mannerheim allowed to stay in power
despite cooperating with Hitler, while only one Communist remained in
power
Stalin was keen to be moderate in his approach to demonstrate
ideological dtente

Czech Crisis

Communists mounted a coup dtat


Police force taken over by communists
Non-communist personnel removed
Non-communists removed from govt
Fear & coercion used to remove remaining opponents, e.g. Jan Masaryk defenestrated
President Benes forced to resign & replaced by communist Gottwald
Shocked West: - symptomatic of Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe & communist expansionism;
last remaining democratic country in Eastern Europe; memories of WWII failure of appeasement &
Nazi expansionism

Berlin Blockade

Reasons Berlin so important: Capital of Germany - cause of two world wars; place where East met
West, communism v. capitalism; focus of world events at Yalta & Potsdam (1945), Berlin Blockade (19489), Berlin Wall (1961, 1989)
Causes of Berlin Blockade: Divisions over future of Berlin dating back to Yalta & Potsdam; tensions of
economic differences West zones benefited from Marshall Aid;differences in living standards; failure of
Council of Ministers; introduction of new currency Deutche Mark; merger of Western zones
Consequences: 1st major flashpoint of Cold War; 1949, Western allies estd. Federal Republic of West
Germany; 1949, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) founded; end to US isolationism; divisions
between East & West Germany became permanent

Why did Cold War extend to the Far East?


Trigger: Invasion of S Korea by North
UN decision to intervene moral obligation as had temporary control over Korea after 2ww to
set up new Gov & run elections
NSC 68 dramatic reassessment of US foreign policy meant US supported UN intervention
National security
o US perceived that their national security under threat by Korean invasion
o Jan 1950 announced US defence perimeter Pacific and Japan but not Taiwan and mainland,
yet by June had changed and intervened on mainland.. why: NSC 68s analysis
o NSC 68 written in light of events in 1949/50 and earlier: 1946-8 E Europe taken over, Berlin Airlift,
1949 China communist, spy trials, USSR A bomb, Feb 1950 Sino-Soviet Pact= confirmed
monolithic bloc, puppet state expansionist assumptions & seen as threat
o US perceived invasion of south Korea by north as ultimately controlled by Moscow via China i.e.
puppet state using a power vacuum as they had in Europe, same pattern, thus confrontation
needed as in Berlin, since economic containment seemed insufficient in each region.
o NSC 68 recommended: no appeasement must confront authoritarian expansionist rule wherever
it attempts to expand; massive rearmament needed; there is very likely to be a war with
communism within 5 years. Truman reluctant to sign as would mean tax rise and mid term
elections 1950
o Korean invasion in June seemed to confirm NSC 68s analysis Truman thus agreed and
supported action, even pushed UN into action. Domestic pressure (start of McCarthyism)
UN role
o UN at moment of votes on Korea lacked USSR (communist) representatives boycotting UN as
had voted not to give new communist gov of China a seat in UN but to allow Taiwan to keep the
China seat
o US made vigorous campaign to get UN to vote for action, at times Trumans speeches about
intervention made even before the vote taken in UN
o UN had moral obligation to oversee situation in Korea. At end of 2ww UNTOK oversaw setting up
of new gov after Japanese defeated and left a power vacuum there. Agreement to divide nation
temporarily until nationwide elections could be held 2 yrs later
o USSR had had a mandate in north after 2WW until elections could be held and she allowed Kim Il
Sung to rule creating a communist area, with land reform and punishing landlords; UN could not
guarantee fair elections there as UN officials too few and N Korea not eager to allow them in.
o UNTOK thus failed to organise nationwide elections in 1948 and had agreed to elections only in
south where US had had a mandate.
o By agreeing to hold elections only in south UN had effectively created potential for a civil war
o So UN had a responsibility to protect south Korea and to resolve situation
o US had a disproportionate amount of influence in UN at this time given communist boycott
Japan/economic motives
o US had particular interest in the region as had a huge vested interest in protecting Japan

o
o
o

o
o
o

Japan reconstructed after 2WW huge amounts of money, economic containment build a
capitalist trade network in region to bind region to capitalist success (stop poverty v communism)
and act as bulwark against communism
Japan edge of defence perimeter and fears therefore of signs of communist expansion in region
threatening Japan
MacArthur, general in region in 2ww oversaw Japan, passionate Republican and anti communist.
Very critical of Trumans policy soft on communism particularly when abandoned Taiwan Jan
1950 and lost China. Rumoured to have made private trip to Taiwan and guarantees of
protection and pushed for action in Korea, pressure on Truman great. Domestic pressure
(election year) and heroic status meant he had influence (wrote letter to veterans criticising
Truman and pushing for action)
Truman began to give money to France at this time to support their war in Vietnam versus
communists in north
US saw a regional problem after Chinese communist revolution spreading just as had in Europe
so needs containment, just as had done in Berlin, perceived as puppet states controlled by China
and ultimately Moscow
Economic containment alone not sufficient in Europe (NATO now set up after Berlin
confrontation), and not sufficient in Japan therefore in light of NSC 68 need military confrontation

USSR role
o Now appears Stalin very reluctant to become involved. Kim Il Sung visited Moscow and Stalin
rebuffed his requests for help. Only a short time after Berlin humiliation. Stalin recognised that an
invasion would cause US to react
o Ultimately Mao asked for some support for fellow communists.. Stalin gave a few MiG fighter jets
only and even then charged Mao for lending them to his forces (Mao hugely resentful!)
China role
o Mao only just won civil war, not in a position to give much support as needed to consolidate own
nation
o Mao however believed in supporting fellow communist so agreed to give members of PLA who
had ethnic links with Korea
o Once MacArthur had crossed 38th parallel and moved quickly north to Yalu River appearing to
threaten China,Mao sent diplomatic warnings to west which were not given much weight by west
o US jets bombed across Yalu River and Mao then sent his forces; i.e. only sent them in when
perceived a direct threat and provocation. MacArthur continuously rejected the earlier intelligence
reports of large numbers of Chinese forces
o Maos forces did not go beyond 38th parallel when US withdrew south again ceasefire line
respected
Korea
Divided temporarily 1945 when Japan defeated and power vacuum left. UN to organise elections 2 yrs
later to reunify country. USSR oversaw north. N Korea ruled by Kim Il Sung began communist land
reforms. Elections not held in north as UN couldnt guarantee their fairness and US experts predicted
Communists win. Both sides frequently made speeches about reunifying nation & often clashed on 38 th
parallel border.

NSC-68, 1950

Need to
Improve defences against threat of all-out nuclear war
Reassure general public
Provide rapid US military response
Respond to threat of espionage & internal sabotage
Protect US economic interests
Strengthen foreign anti-Soviet allies
Undermine links between USSR and satellite states
Raise public awareness of threat of Communism

Evidence of hardening of relations

World politics interpreted in bi polar terms


Increased military spending
Use of alarmism to promote fear of spread of Communism abroad or at home, e.g. McCarthyism
Move from containment to roll back actively undermining relationships between Moscow and
satellite countries
Widening terms of Truman doctrine to enlist support of foreign countries with US security

Historiography of Cold War origins


Key schools of thought

Historiography study of historians views


Traditional (orthodox) conventional, western view, USSR to blame
Revisionist looking at history from different, revised perspectives, the US must share the blame
Post-revisionists not who but what was to blame, e.g. break down of diplomacy, economic
factors

US responsibility

Change of policy from conciliation under Roosevelt to Iron Fist


Truman lacked Roosevelts negotiating skills
Truman felt less secure in his position, e.g. challenges from Dixiecrats over Civil Rights policies
like Fair Deal
His approach hardened divisions between East & West

BUT

Truman was responding to hostility within US administration to USSR caused by communist


expansion in Eastern Europe
Key advisers, e.g. George Kennan, Long Telegram (1946) spoke about steady advance of
Russian nationalism
Previous administrations had been too soft on communism
Soviet aggression gave Truman no other choice than to adopt an Iron Fist to avoid war
Military-industrial complex encouraged conflict to secure capitalist markets and provide continued
investment in military spending after WWII

Reasons for US involvement in the Far East


Domino theory & Roll back
Unwilling to repeat experience of Eastern Europe
Communist Peoples Republic of China (1949)
Intervention from China & USSR
Red scare & McCarthyism (1950s)
Internal pressure - NSC-68

Soviet responsibility

Russian revolutionaries, e.g. Trotsky believed ideals of Communism would be under threat from
capitalism
Trotsky believed in Permanent Revolution & Stalin Socialism in One Country

Comintern (aka Third International, 1919-43)


Replaced by Cominform (1947)
Soviet actions after WWII - power-vacuum exploited by Communists, e.g. Soviet expansion in
Eastern Europe, Communist support for guerrillas in Greece, Communist coup in Czech. (1948)
Soviet expansionism confirmed by Kennan in Long Telegram and The Sources of Soviet
Conduct
BUT

Protective zone around USSR (view supported by John Lewis Gaddis)


Expansionism was the product of Soviet defence rather than aggression
Need to appease or control hostile states, e.g. Poland
Hardline US approach made imposition of Communist govts. A necessity

Who was to blame?


USSR

Communist expansionism, e.g. Red Army, Communist takeovers in Eastern Europe, Communist
institutions e.g. Cominform, Warsaw Pact
Attitudes of Stalin: suspicion of West, failure to implement Yalta & Potsdam, Berlin Blockade,
psychotic personality

US

Development of nuclear weapons and arms race


Foreign policy of US, e.g. containment & roll back, abandonment of isolationism
Attitudes of leaders, esp. Truman
Anti-communism in US, e.g. Long Telegram, NSC-68

Other factors
Role of Western governments, e.g. Churchill & Iron Curtain speech, need for financial aid after
WWII, Greece (1947)
Domestic pressures, e.g. pressure on Truman to adopt hard-line approach, Stalins fear of
internal takeover
Breakdown of machinery of diplomacy, e.g. end of WWII, Council of Foreign Ministers
Causes of Lorean War:

Debate over who made first move: North claimed S Korean troops seized N Korean town of
Haeju; South claimed it had been invaded by North
Disputes over elections after WWII UN committee dominated by US
Characteristics of governments in N & S Korea: anti-communist leadership in S Korea & v
Democratic Peoples Republic in N Korea
Withdrawal of US & USSR troops after 1949: S Korea left vulnerable

Traditional view:

Responsibility of North view endorsed by David Rees, Korea: Limited War

Truman intervene to protect Koreans from Communist aggression

UN was used as a cover for US foreign policy

US feared further Communist expansion domino theory after revolution in China, 1949

Revisionist view:

Stalin was too cautious to prompt a war in Korea view endorsed by Kathryn Weathersby in
Stalin, Kim il Sung & the Prelude to War, Khrushchev's memoirs & recent Russian historians

Stalin was a facilitator rather than originator of war

Stalin wished to forestall an attack by South

Local/ international factors:

Local war which drew in superpowers view endorsed by Bruce Cumings, Origins of the Korean
War

US policy of containment escalated civil war into Cold War

US, USSR & China used Korea to play out international differences

Trumans foreign policy:

Domestic political pressure Truman acccused of being soft on Communism

Red Scare & McCarthy witch hunt gathering popular support in US in early 1950s

Hawks in US administration put pressure on Truman to act decisively

Schools of thought table


Schools of thought

Characteristics
Product of aggression & expansionist foreign policy of Stalin

Orthodox (traditional)

Characterised by George Kennans deeply suspicious view of Soviet


intentions in Long Telegram (1946)
Examples of supporters of this view: W.H. McNeil, America, Britain and
Russia: Their Co-operation and Conflict, H.Feis, Churchill, Roosevelt &
Stalin, A.Schlesinger, Origins of Cold War who spoke about The
intransigence of Leninist ideology the madness of Stalin
Shaped by attitudes of West at start of Cold War and desire to support Iron
Fist approach to foreign policy
Considers provocative actions of US in political and economic expansionism
& also the defensive aspects of Soviet foreign policy, e.g. need for buffer
zone

Revisionist

Post-revisionist

Supporters of this view include: William A Williams, The Tragedy of American


Diplomacy (1959). New left rights influenced by failures in US foreign policy
in Vietnam and more openly cynical view of US administration in 1960s
Move away from who was to blame, to what. Authors writing at end of Cold
War & could adopt a more detached, objective response looking at complex
factors which led to break down in relations between two sides. Many still
include blame for Stalins part, e.g. V.Zubok & C.Pleshakov, Inside the
Kremlins Cold War
Factors which have been considered include: impact of WWII which made
ideological aspirations harder to realise for the Soviets; European pressure
put on US to take a more aggressive stance on USSR (e.g. Churchills Iron
Curtain speech); internal pressures on the Soviet & US leadership led to a
more hardline approach towards foreign policy
Supporters of this view include: J.L. Gaddis We Now Know (1997) &

D.Yergin, Shattered Peace (1980)


Increased availability of Cold War documents has fuelled this approach as
archives have opened up

Soviet perspective sees the toughs stance of USSR necessary in the defence
against capitalist advance
Supporters of this view include: Molotov in Problems of Foreign Policy
(1946), Ponomaryov, Official History of USSR sees Truman Doctrine and
Marshall Aid as smoke screen for US imperialism

Soviet

Russian writers since


1991

More open assessment of Russias part in Cold War. Comintern actively


promoted communism worldwide and Soviet great power status
Supporters of this view include, Volkogonov, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet
Empire (1998) Volkogonov was a senior member within Soviet army & has
an insiders knowledge, albeit very sceptical one

Words

Public rhetoric in speeches was played to domestic audiences to ensure their loyalty to the
government of the day.

Ambiguity: actions can be seen as provocative on both sides.

Khrushchev boasts about Soviet weaponry fuelled/justified US fear of a missile gap.

Propaganda highlighted ideological differences: xenophobic campaigns (but there would be


caution and negotiation in private).

USA media (films/radio) portrayed communists as rude/humourless/cruel to animals. The


Russians tried a similar tactic but were at a disadvantage due to their technological backwardness.

Weapons (Arms Race)

Not since Pearl Harbour had an enemy been so close to the USA.

It was in the interests of the military-industrial complex in the USA and the USSR to
emphasise the threat from the enemy to pressurise politicians.

USA was paranoid that they were behind in the arms race, especially with the introduction of
the Russian sputnik.

Both sides had nuclear weapons installed near the other superpower (Cuba, Turkey) and
claimed their own were defensive.

JFK had said that in 1962 he was entitled to sue nuclear weapons.

USA had a sizeable lead in the arms race by 1962.

Lack of trust, non-co-operation

Espionage

Used to gain information about the enemy and to support other methods of securing influence,
e.g. KGB agents got information about the atomic bomb, U2 spy planes in Cuba etc.

Geo-political interests clash

Regardless of ideology, rivalry is likely between large countries with extensive economic
resources.

Both wanted to extend their spheres of influence, especially the USSR in Eastern Europe after
the power vacuum imposed by the collapse of Nazi Germany.

Economic Measures

Marshall Plan and Comecon were used to bring spheres of influence under their control and
gain consent for rival economic systems.

Berlin Blockade => West Berlin prospered under the Marshall Plan and introduction of new
currency, whereas the East was impoverished.

In the 1960s/70s both offered financial assistance to newly independent countries (namely
Africa

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