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Origins of the Cold War 1945 to 1953

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 3 years, 1 month ago


 Winning the Peace:  The Cold War and America's Coming of Age as a Superpower

"...Americans on the home front suffered little from the war, compared to the people of the other fighting nations.  By the end of the war much of the planet was a smoking ruin. But in America the war invigorated the economy and lifted the country out of a decade-long depression.”



“There are now two great nations in the world, which starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans....[E]ach seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835


Image result for iron curtain


Truman and Churchill in Fulton, Missouri


The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American Democracy. For with primacy in power is also joined an awe inspiring accountability to the future. If you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. Opportunity is here now, clear and shining for both our countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time. It is necessary that constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall guide and rule the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must, and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.


The Sinews of Peace (“Iron Curtain” Speech) [Audio]

March 5, 1946

Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri



Fast forward to 16:05 for Iron Curtain




Cold War defined: Diplomatic tension between nations with no actual combat. Usually refers to the state of tension between the US and Soviet Union from the late 1940's to late 1980's. Russians by Sting and 

Cold War themes:

1. Fear and threat of war with Russia Future Unit

2. Mobilization and preparation

3. Conflict – domestic and international; Cold War Policy - Chart


USA vs. USSR Ideological differences:

#1. Communism versus Capitalism

#2 Each economic system calls for the destruction of the other



Creation of the United Nations (1945) :  Established to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. Similar to the League of Nations, the United Nations consisted of over 50 nations with the goal maintaining international peace and security





How did Alfred T. Mahan and George F. Kennan influence U.S. foreign policy? 

Mahan and Kennan




Key elements of Kennan’s containment strategy


His "Long Telegram" (under the pseudonym X)from Moscow in 1946, and the subsequent 1947 article "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" argued that  firm, vigilant containment patiently over the long term if needed. "Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points."


 Soviet regime was inherently expansionist and that its influence had to be "contained" in areas of vital strategic importance to the United States









Truman Doctrine – 1947 ($400 million in aid) 

In 1947 President Truman asked for and received from the U.S. Congress $400 million to provide assistance “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation [enslavement] by armed minorities [communists] or by outside pressures.”  Providing military and economic assistance to nations resisting communist takeovers became known as the Truman Doctrine.  The first nations to receive aid under the Truman Doctrine were Greece and Turkey, both of which then successfully defeated attempted communist takeovers.






"The Marshall Plan was a spectacular success. American dollars pumped reviving blood into the 
economic veins of the anemic Western European nations."   American Pageant - Page 871



Marshall Plan -1947 ($17 billion in aid) 

In 1947 U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall created a plan to rebuild a Europe devastated by World War II.  All European nations, including the Soviet Union, could receive U.S. dollars to rebuild their devastated economies as long as the money was spent on products made in the United States.  In 1948 the U.S. Congress approved $17 billion in aid.  Nations receiving Marshall Plan aid were Great Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, West Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.







Reconstruction Zones?





Berlin Blockade and Airlift – 1948-49

The Berlin Blockade of 1948 left two million West Berliners without electricity, food, and fuel needed for survival.  Unwilling to give up West Berlin to the Soviet Union and unwilling to fight the Soviet army and risk starting World War III, President Truman decided to launch the Berlin Airlift.  For 10 months, starting in August 1948, the United States sent two million tons of supplies to West Berlin on cargo planes.  The planes had to land and take off 24 hours a day to keep from having to give up the West’s occupation zones in the German capital.  The Soviet Union lifted the blockade in May 1949. 







North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - 1949

Fearful that western European nations could not resist a Soviet attack from eastern Europe, President Truman signed a treaty that created a military alliance (a pact between states in a common cause) known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  NATO linked the United States and western Europe in such a way that, as Truman said, “an armed attack against one or more of the [nations] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”  Members of NATO in 1949 were Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and Italy.  Greece and

Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, and East Germany was admitted in 1954





The fall of China 13:12



Communist Victory in China (1949)

In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Chinese Nationalist government, sought to destroy the Chinese Communist forces under Mao Zedong.  In 1931, the Japanese invaded Manchuria and in 1936 invaded China.   Faced with this crisis, the Chinese Nationalists and Communists fought the invader separately.  But after the defeat of Japan in 1945, the civil war continued.  With the support of the peasants Mao’s growing army inflicted one defeat after another on the Nationalists.  By December 1949 Chiang Kai-shek and his followers fled to the island of Formosa (Taiwan) and established the Nationalist government there. 


 Led by Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communists defeated the Chinese nationalists and declared the People’s Republic of China. The communist Chinese led by Mao now controlled all of mainland China.  The United States, however, continued to recognize Chiang’s government on Taiwan as the “legitimate” government of China.





Image result for Russian Detonate A Bomb

August 29, 1949

At a remote test site at in Kazakhstan, the USSR successfully detonates its first atomic bomb, code name “First Lightning.”






Korean War.jpg



The Korean War

After World War II, Soviet forces entered Korea from the north and U.S. forces from the south.  Two Koreas were formed with a dividing line drawn at the 38’ parallel between communist North Korea and Democratic South Korea.  The U.S.S.R. and U.S. withdrew their forces in 1949.  On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops launched a full-scale attack on South Korea in an attempt to unite both nations under a communist government.  UN and U.S. troops were dispatched to Korea as a “police action” to remove the North Koreans from the south.  General Douglas MacArthur quickly drove back communist forces into North Korea, but when MacArthur’s troops approached the border with China at the Yalu River, they were caught in a trap by Chinese armies.  



Image result for korean war landscape + winter



MacArthur’s suggestion to invade China was rejected by Truman who feared that a land war in China would leave the way open for Soviet expansion in Europe and the Middle East and could potentially lead to World War III. 


Truman fired MacArthur and on July 27, 1953, North Korea and the UN reached an agreement with a ceasefire line established just north of the 38th parallel.  In 1954, the U.S. and South Korea entered into a treaty whereby the U.S. agreed to come to the aid of South Korea if attached again.  U.S. troops have been stationed continually in South Korea since 1954.







NSC 68 -- National Security Council recommended increasing US defense spending by 4X, initially ignored, was resurrected by the Korean crisis when Truman recommended raising the armed forces to 3.5 million men and spending 13% of the GNP ($50 billion) annually on defense.








The Truman Show 



Foreign Policy Developments

George Kennan, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan


Domestic Policy Developments 
Jackie Robinson, the Taft-Hartley Act


Foreign Policy Developments
Berlin Airlift - Tell the story of the Cold War though the city of Berlin


Domestic Policy Developments
Desegregation of the US Military, Truman vs. the "Dxiecrats"


Foreign Policy Developments

NATO formed, China falls to the Communists, Soviets detonate the H- Bomb


Domestic Policy Developments
 The House on Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) is formed


I Like Ike




Foreign Policy Developments

North Korea crosses the 38th parallel,  NSC 68 increases defense spending


Domestic Policy Developments
 Joe McCarthy launches another Red Scare, McCarran Internal Securities Act, McCarran




Foreign Policy Developments

Dulles and Brinkmanship, promotion of massive retaliation


Domestic Policy Developments

Dwight Eisenhower wins the Presidency and vows to end Korean War



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