Chapter 38: The Bipolar World

The Formation of a Bipolar World
 The wartime alliance between the United States and
the Soviet Union deteriorated quickly after World War
 Competition for control of Europe combined with
earlier competing ideologies of communism and
capitalism acted as catalysts to drive the two
superpowers apart.
 It split Europe into separate spheres, then became
global with the Korean War.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 The Cold War in Europe
 Eastern Europe
Forced to align themselves with the USSR following WWII
Became communist under the watchful eye of the Soviets
 Western Europe
 Capitalist and democratic
 Aligned themselves with the United States
 Berlin
 Germany divided into East and West
 West thrived while East struggled
 Berlin divided as well… The Berlin Wall
 NATO and The Warsaw Pact
 NATO - Non Communist Western countries
 The Warsaw Pact – Communist Eastern countries
 Both built up huge stores of nuclear and conventional weapons.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontation in Korea
 Following WWII, Korea was
divided along the 38th Parallel.
 North Korea - pro-Communist
 South Korea - pro American
 1950 – North Korea invaded
South Korea in an attempt to
unite Korea under one
Communist Regime.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontations in Korea
and Cuba
 U.S enter the war on the
side of South Korea….
 Provided air, sea, and
ground support
The Formation of Bipolar World
 After initial success,
Chinese communist forces
halted the U.N. forces and
the war resulted in a twoyear stalemate along the
38th parallel.
 Korea remained divided
along the 38th parallel.
but Communism was
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontations in Korea and Cuba
 Domino Theory – If one Asian country would fall to
communism, then others would fall in a domino like
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontations with
Korea and Cuba
 April 17, 1961
 The Plan: Cuban
refugees trained by the
CIA would invade Cuba
and overthrow Fidel
 The Result: TOTAL
U.S. looks ignorant and
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontations with Korea
and Cuba
 October 16, 1962- Spy plane
photos revealed Soviet
missile bases being built in
 Cuban Missile Crisis
followed- A stand off
between the S.U. and U.S.
that nearly led to nuclear
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Confrontations with
Korea and Cuba
 Kennedy’s Options:
Negotiate with
Invade Cuba.
Blockade Cuba.
Bomb the missile sites.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Kennedy’s decision:
 Naval Quarantine
 Khrushchev agreed to
remove missiles and
Kennedy removed the
 Kennedy removed
missiles from Turkey.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Cold War Societies
 Soviet and U.S. societies were extremely different from one
 U.S. societies – U.S. had wonderful, modern new appliances
and a fairly high standard of living.
 Soviet societies – Little in home technology and lower
standard of living.
 Stages like the Olympics became peak points of competition
and opportunities to prove superiority
 Despite the intense competition, both countries were
continually tempered by the threat of mutual destruction.
The Formation of a Bipolar World
 Cold War Societies
 Sputnik – Soviet satellite
that was the first artificial
satellite ever sent into space.
Confirmed American fears
of Soviet technological
 U.S. starts NASA.
 U-2 Incident –American U2 spy plane was shot down
over Russia.
 Intensified the Cold War
Challenges to the Superpower
 In most Soviet satellites, rebels and dissidents were
 The People’s Republic of China, however, stood up to
the USSR and managed to maintain its own Marxist
state independently.
 Both powers suffered setbacks when they took on
Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Challenges to Superpower
 Defiance, Dissent, and Intervention in Europe
 After Stalin’s death, the new premier Nikita Khrushchev
began a process of de-Stalinization, which ended the
rule of terror and attempted to erase Stalin’s name and
image from Soviet society.
 Liberalized the government and soviet society.
Challenges to Superpower
 The People’s Republic of China
 After Japan’s defeat in 1945, China broke into a state of Civil
Nationalists vs. Communists
Communists victorious under Mao Zedong formed the People’s
Republic of China
 People’s Republic of China
 Enacted major social reforms including banning child marriages,
foot binding, and granting women access to divorce.
 Collectivized agriculture
 Formed close relationship with Russia, but by 1964 China had
industrialized and their relationship with Russia had deteriorated
 Also successfully tested nuclear weapons.
Challenges to Superpower
 Détente and the Decline of Superpower Influence
 Détente – Reduction of hostilities between the U.S. and Soviet Union
that began in the late 60s.
 Vietnam War
North Vietnam – Communist
South Vietnam – Non-Communist
 Viet Cong – Pro communist South Vietnamese
U.S. comes to aid of South Vietnam
 Guerilla warfare and jungle war proved difficult and in 1973 the U.S. withdrew.
 South Vietnam fell to communism 2 years later
 Afghanistan
 Pro- Soviet coup in 1978 made Afghanistan a communist nation
 New government instituted reforms that led to intense backlash
 Soviet forces aided the government against the mujahideen (Islamic Holy
 U.S. aides mujahideen
 Soviet eventually withdrew after 9 years, and civil war erupted with the Taliban
eventually coming to power in 1996
Challenges to Superpower
 Détente and the Decline of Superpower Influence
 Countercultural movement and youth revolution
Young individuals in all parts of the world criticized the Cold
War and traditional societal practices
Particularly intense opposition to in U.S. in response to the
Vietnam War
Rock and Roll and music played an important part in the
protest movements.
The End of the Cold War
 Revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe
 By 1989, most of the former Soviet countries of central and
eastern Europe had succumbed to revolutions which threw
off communism and Soviet rule
 The Collapse of the Soviet Union
 In the midst of economic collapse and revolution, Mikhail
Gorbachev fell from favor and by 1991 lost power.
 Rule fell to Boris Yeltsin who dismantled the Communist
Party and pushed Russia toward a market economy.
 By December 1991, the Soviet Union was no more.
 Toward and Uncertain future
 The world had been used to the power struggle between the
U.S.A. and Soviet Union, and the fall of the Soviet Union
meant a shift in power that is still working itself out today.
China, North Korea, etc…
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