chapter 25 - SWR Global History

I. The Collapse of the Grand Alliance
A. Soviet Domination of Eastern Europe
1. By 1947, Communist governments had become entrenched in East Germany, Bulgaria,
Romania, Poland, and Hungary
a. Czechoslovakia was taken over in 1948
2. Yugoslavia an exception to Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe
a. Josip Broz (Tito) was a Communist, but refused to accept Soviet control
b. Yugoslavian communism in practice was more decentralized that in the USSR
3. It was probable that Stalin was looking for Communist revolutions in Western Europe,
but was willing to wait for a future capitalist crisis
B. Descent of the Iron Curtain
1. Broad Western suspicion of Soviet/Stalin’s motive
2. March 1946: Winston Churchill’s “iron curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri
C. The Truman Doctrine, 1947
1. Economic problems led to the pull back of Britain from the eastern Mediterranean
2. Civil war in Greece
3. Truman concerned about Communist expansion into southeastern Europe
4. Truman Doctrine stated that the United States would provide aid to any country
threatened by Communism
D. The Marshall Plan, or the European Recovery Program
1. $13 billion in aid to assist in economic recovery in war-torn Europe
2. Economic turmoil might feed Communist ambitions
3. “Our policy is not directed against any country or doctrine, but against hunger,
poverty, desperation and chaos.”
4. From Soviet perspective, the Marshall Plan was simply capitalist imperialism
a. Soviets and their Eastern European satellites refused to participate
E. Europe Divided
1. George Kennan’s policy of “containment,” July 1947 article in Foreign Affairs
2. The problem of Berlin, and the Berlin Airlift
a. Germany had been divided into four zones of occupation
b. Berlin, in the Soviet eastern zone, was also divided into four zones
c. Soviets established the German Communist Party under Walter Ulbricht
d. British, French, and United States began making plans to unify their zones
e. In attempt to prevent the formation of a West Germany and to gain control of
all of Berlin, the Soviets prevent all traffic from entering Berlin’s western zones
f. Berlin Airlift was the Western response
1) 13,000 tons of supplies flown daily into Berlin
g. Soviets lifted the blockade in May 1949
h. Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was created in September 1949
i. German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) created in October 1049
3. Cold War Alliances, and the search for security
a. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), April 1949
1) Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Britain, Italy,
Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, United States, and Canada
b. In the East, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), and
c. The Warsaw Pact, a military alliance to counter NATO
1) Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland,
Romania, and the Soviet Union
4. Who Started the Cold War? A historical debate
a. Initially, most historians saw it as being caused by Stalin and the Soviets, who
snuffed out freedom in Eastern Europe and threatened Western Europe
b. Revisionist historians argued that Truman and his advisors were responsible by
abandoning Yalta agreements and encircling the Soviet Union with client states
c. In retrospect, both sides made decisions based upon traditional power-politics
considerations, influenced by conflicting ideologies
d. But Stalin and the Soviets were more responsible for beginning the Cold War
1) Marxist-Leninist world-view envisioned worldwide revolution
II. Cold War in Asia
A. Slower to develop in Asia than in Europe
1.At Yalta, Stalin agreed to join the war against Japan
a. Moscow in turn would gain influence in Manchuria
b. Stalin agreed to sign treaty of alliance with Chiang Kai-shek
1) Sincere or not?
2) Possibly Stalin did not trust Mao’s ambitions
B. The Chinese Civil War
1. Weakness of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government
a. Endemic corruption
b. Chiang had held his military in reserve to use again Mao’s PLA
2. During the war, Mao Zedong had built up Communist power to use against Chiang
3. United States tried to support Chiang but also mediate between Chiang and Mao, but
4. The Communist Triumph
a. Civil war resulted
b. Many peasants supported Mao because of land reform
c. Urban middle classes were alienated by Chiang’s corruption
d. In 1949, Chiang and 2 million of his followers abandoned the mainland and
fled to Taiwan
5. “Who lost China?” became a major political issue in the United States
a. Truman’s “white paper” blamed Chiang
C. The New China
1. Communists hoped to restore territorial integrity and influence of Imperial China
a. Succeeded in Manchuria, Tibet, and Xinjiang, but failed in Korea and Taiwan
b. Taiwan became the Republic of China under Chiang, and a Cold War focus
D. The Korean War
1. After World War II and Japan’s defeat, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel by the
United States and the Soviet Union into two occupation zones
2. Two separate governments evolved, a communist north and an anti-communist south
3. June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, with the apparent approval of Stalin
4. Truman responded with the approval of the United Nations Security Council
5. North Koreans were pushed back across the 38th parallel
6. When the United Nations forces under General MacArthur approached the Yalu River,
the border between North Korea and China, Chinese “volunteers” entered the war
7.Eventually a static defense line was established near the 38th
8. Chinese motives for intervening in Korea?
a. Mao was convinced a revolutionary wave was sweeping Asia
b. Also feared hostile United States forces would be stationed on China’s frontier
9. The United States Seventh Fleet was stationed between Taiwan and the mainland
a. The Republic of China/Taiwan held China’s seat on the Security Council
10. China became isolated except for the Soviet Union
11.A cease-fire ended the Korean War in July 1953
E. Conflict in Indochina
1. Vietnam had been occupied by Japan during World War II
2. In 1946, a civil war broke out in Vietnam between returning France, the colonial
power, and Ho Chi Minh, a Communist, and his nationalist alliance, the Vietminh Front
3. By the early 1950s, the civil war had become part of the Cold War
a. China supported Ho Chi Minh and the United States aided the French
4. Geneva Peace Conference, 1954, after France tied of fighting a “dirty war”
a. Vietnam divided at the 17th parallel into a northern Democratic Republic
(Communist) and a non-Communist south, known as the Republic of Vietnam
5. Conflict resulted in increasing tensions between China and the United States
III. From Confrontation to Coexistence
A. 1950s opened with world on the edge of a nuclear catastrophe, but ended with some sanity
1. Death of Stalin in 1953
2. His successors, Georgy Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev, wanted to improve Soviet
relations with the West
a. Khrushchev called for “peaceful coexistence”
b. He ended occupation of Austria in 1955
B. Ferment in Eastern Europe against the “little Stalins”
1. Stalinism was imposed, resulting in political repression and economic stagnation
a. Uprising in East Berlin in 1953 and protests in Poland in 1956
1) In Poland it led to some reforms under Wladyslaw Gomulka
2. The Hungarian Revolution, October 1956
a. Student riots led to replacement of hard-line Stalinist by Imre Nagy, who
promised reforms, but Soviet troops were sent, removing Nagy
3. Different Roads to Socialism
a. United States protested Soviet repression, promising to “roll back”
communism, but realized it could lead to nuclear war
b. In 1955, Khrushchev told Tito that there were “different roads to socialism”
c. Cultural exchange programs between the United States and the Soviet Union
1) Leningrad Ballet, Benny Goodman, film West Side Story
C. Rivalry in the Third World
1. Early 1960s Khrushchev said he would support national liberation movements
a. Soviet alliances with Indonesia’s Sukarno, India’s Nehru, Cuba’s Castro
2. The Cuban Missile Crisis
a. Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959, establishing a totalitarian regime
b. John F. Kennedy administration attempted to overthrow Castro in the “Bay of
Pigs” incident, but failed
c. Soviet Union decided to place nuclear missiles in Cuba
d. United States blockade Cuba, world at edge of nuclear war
e. Compromise: Khrushchev had the missile fleet turned back and Kennedy
pledged not to invade Cuba
f. In the aftermath, a “hot-line” was installed between Moscow and Washington
D. The Sino-Soviet Dispute
1. Khrushchev’s “peaceful coexistence” with the West weakened Soviet-China relations
2. Mao believed he should be the world leader of communism after Stalin died
3. Mao wanted Soviets to push for world revolution, and aid in recovering Taiwan
E. The Second Indochina War
1. Geneva Accords promised “national” elections Vietnam
2. The south’s anticommunist Ngo Dinh Diem refused to hold elections as he feared Ho
Chi Minh would win
a. The United States backed Diem
3. Ho turned to revolution, using the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communists)
4. By 1963, South Vietnam was on the verge of collapse
b. With United States approval, Diem was overthrown, but situation got worse
5. In March 1965, Lyndon Johnson sent United States combat troops to Vietnam
6. The Role of China: mixed feelings
a. A Communist Vietnam was perhaps good, but the threat of confrontation with
the United States was a danger
b. China gave verbal support to Ho Chi Minh but refused to cooperate with
Moscow in shipping Soviet goods to Vietnam through Chinese territory
7. By 1968, a stalemate
a. 500,000 American troops
8. Richard Nixon promised to end the war
a. Improve relations with China, and Nixon visited China in 1972
b. Slowly withdraw American troops
9. The Fall of Saigon
a. No political settlement between North and South Vietnam
b. In 1975, North Vietnam resumed the military offensive, and South collapsed
10. Consequences
a. South Vietnam’s destruction was a humiliation for the United States, but
b. Strategic impact limited because of improved China-United States relations
1) Formal diplomatic relations established in 1979
IV. An Era of Equivalence
A. The Brezhnev Doctrine
1. Khrushchev replaced by Leonid Brezhnev/Alexei Kosygin in 1964
2. Cold war tensions increased in Eastern Europe
a. Czechoslovakia, 1968: hard-liner replaced be reformer Alexander Dubcek
1) “Socialism with a human face”
2) Soviet/Warsaw pact troops crushed the reform movement
b. East Germany: a loyal Soviet satellite under Walter Ulbricht
1) Many East Germans fled to the West
2) 1961 the Berlin Wall was built to stop flight
3) East Germany had the strong economy among the satellite states
B. An End to Détente, or a reduction of tensions between the Cold War opponents
1. Even under Brezhnev, peaceful coexistence was the Soviet policy
2. Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, or SALT I, in 1972
3. Both sides recognized that “equivalence” or balance existed between them
4. Helsinki Agreement, 1975
a. West acknowledged the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe
b. Soviet and other signers agreed to recognize and protect human rights
C. Renewed Tensions in the Third World
1. Souring of Soviet-American relations
a. Soviet influence in Somalia and Ethiopia
b. Cuban troops sent to Angola
c. Soviet troops sent to Afghanistan to protect a Marxist regime
1) American concern about Persian Gulf oil fields
2) The Carter Doctrine: United States use force to preserve access to oil
3) Soviets more concerned with Islamic fundamentalism than oil
d. Fear in United States that Soviets attempting nuclear superiority rather than
accepting “equivalence”
1) Senate refused to ratify SALT II treaty of 1979
D. Countering the Evil Empire
1. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and a return to the harsh rhetoric of the Cold War
a. Labeled the Soviet Union an “evil empire” in 1980
b. United States military buildup, a new arms race
1) Nuclear-tipped cruise missiles
2) Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or Star Wars
c. A more activist stance in foreign affairs
1) Reagan administration supported the Contras, a guerrilla movement
opposed the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua
2) And gave support to the anti-Soviet insurgents in Afghanistan
V. Conclusion
1. “The Truman Doctrine”—Is the request for funds by the President in accord with pre-World War II
American policy and action or is it a new departure? What justification does he give for his request? What
role did the Yalta meeting play in Truman’s reasoning? Is this a specific, limited action or is it part of a
broad policy program? Why or why not? (page 725)
2. “Who Lost China?”—Do the three options noted in this excerpt from the White Paper seem to have
been the only ones available? Do the reasons given for the United States’ actions seem reasonable? Was
American public opinion as unwilling to implement the second option as the paper says? Why did the
“fall of China” become such a major political issue? If the second option had been followed, might the
United States have experienced a much larger “Vietnam”? Why or why not? (p. 731)
3. “The Cuban Missile Crisis from Khrushchev’s Perspective”— According to his memoirs, what were
Khrushchev’s motives for placing Soviet missiles in Cuba? Is he convincing? Why or why not? What
might be the American response to Khrushchev’s statement? Did anyone “win” the Cuban missile crisis,
and if so, who? Why? (p. 737)
4. “A Plea for Peaceful Coexistence”—In his speech, what are Khrushchev’s justifications for a policy of
peaceful coexistence? Are there possibly other unstated reasons? Is Khrushchev reinterpreting the views
of Lenin in light of altered circumstances, or is he using Lenin to try to conciliate the ardent Communism
of Mao Zedong and his associates? Why did Mao reject Khrushchev’s call for peaceful coexistence?
Could Khrushchev’s speech also have been also aimed at Western governments and Western public
opinion as well? Why or why not? (p. 738)
5. “Combating the Americans”—Are there any references to Marxism or communism in the NLF’s
statement? Why or why not? What elements of an appeal to nationalism appear in the excerpt? How
does the NLF portray the South Vietnamese government and its leaders? Is that portrayal correct? Why
or why not? In 1965, what might have been the response of the United States government to the NLF’s
statement? (p. 739)
6. “A Manual for Revolutionaries”—Do the contents of this passage reflect traditional Marxist thinking?
Why or why not? Do its words deal with ideology or are they designed primarily to enhance antiimperialist success? Do they reflect the new geopolitical circumstances in which China had been placed
by the Sino-Soviet dispute? Why or why not? How would Khrushchev respond to Lin Biao’s statement?
Is Lin Biao correct in his belief that rural peasants hold the key to successful world-wide communist
revolution? Why or why not? (p. 740)
7. “A New Beginning in Sino-American Relations”— Was the “new beginning” truly a new beginning? If
so, how? What were the possible rationales for each side to establish formal diplomatic relations with the
other? Was the timing significant? What is the major explicit subject in both statements? What are the
differences over Taiwan in the two documents? Are the differences reconcilable? Why or why not?
(p. 743)
8. “The Brezhnev Doctrine”—What are the reasons or justifications for issuing the letter? Are there other,
unstated, reasons? If so, what might they be? Does the letter sound at all like the reasons that a colonial
power might give for “disciplining” a wayward colony about to embark upon an “unwise” path, such as
independence? Would the NATO countries have thought and/or acted similarly if one of their members
had appeared inclined to flirt with Communism? Why or why not? (p. 744)
1. Ask students to research the physical conditions of the food, housing and related lifestyle elements of
everyday life in Britain or Russia to see what many “winners” of World War II faced. Then have them
assess the need for, and impact of, the Marshall Plan.
2. Have students study the motives and actions of President Truman as the Cold War moved from the
economic aid of the immediate postwar period, through the Berlin Crisis and other crises, to limited
warfare in Korea. Ask them to then assess the validity of his major foreign policy moves when seen from
the viewpoint of that year and of today.
3. Have students organize a debate on the issue of whether the Cold War was inevitable or instead
resulted from the errors of judgment and miscalculation by Soviet and Western leaders.
4. Have students review earlier developments in China. Ask them to determine if the post-victory foreign
policies of the Communist regime under Mao Zedong were dramatically different or much the same as
those of earlier Chinese regimes, and why.
5. Have students discuss and debate the issue of “Who lost China?” The discussion could be revealing as
illustrating the difficulties often facing American foreign policy experts as well as the influence of politics
and public opinion on contentious international issues.
6. Have students probe the causes, natures, and international ramifications of the Korean War, the
Vietnam Wars, and the war in Afghanistan. Then have them consider similarities and differences between
them, and what “lessons,” if any, they might hold for present and future policy makers in the post-9/11
era. Their views could inaugurate a productive debate.
7. Assign students to examine the roles of Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and their successors in moving
toward détente. Ask them to assess the degree to which personalities and values, as opposed to the
ongoing flow of events, influenced the process.
8. Have students examine and discuss the reasons and the timing for Nikita Khrushchev’s call for
peaceful coexistence, and also explore its consequences or results in the subsequence policies and actions
of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and the United States.
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