Cold War

Cold War

Overview


The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars
Proxy war
A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war that results when opposing powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. While powers have sometimes used governments as proxies, violent non-state actors, mercenaries, or other third parties are more often employed...

, and economic competition between the Communist World
Second World
The term "Second World" is a phrase used to describe those countries which are allied with or are supported by the "First World" countries . These include countries supported by the United States, such as Colombia, Israel, etc., and those supported by the former Soviet Union, also known as the the...

—primarily the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and its satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and its allies. Although the chief military forces never engaged in a major battle with each other, they expressed the conflict through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to states deemed vulnerable, proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, conventional and nuclear arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

s, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

.

After the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the USSR and the US saw each other as profound enemies due to their economic and political differences.
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Timeline

1945   The United States, France, Britain and the Soviet Union occupy zones of Berlin

1945   Ten days after World War II ends with Japan announcing its surrender, armed supporters of the Communist Party of China kill Baptist missionary John Birch, regarded by some of the American right as the first victim of the Cold War.

1945   Cold War: Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet Union embassy clerk, defects to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America, signalling the beginning of the Cold War.

1945   Cold War: United States troops arrive to partition the southern part of Korea in response to Soviet troops occupying the northern part of the peninsula a month earlier.

1945   Cold War: Operation Paperclip: The United States Army secretly admits 88 German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.

1946   Cold War: The United States State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power.

1947   Bernard Baruch coins the term "Cold War" to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

1947   Cold War: in an effort to fight the spread of Communism, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs an act into law that will later be called the Truman Doctrine. The act grants $400 million in military and economic aid to Turkey and Greece, each battling an internal Communist movement.

1947   Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.

1948   Cold War: Berlin Airlift – Military forces, under direction of the Russian-controlled government in East Germany, set-up a land blockade of West Berlin. * 1948

 
Encyclopedia


The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars
Proxy war
A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war that results when opposing powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. While powers have sometimes used governments as proxies, violent non-state actors, mercenaries, or other third parties are more often employed...

, and economic competition between the Communist World
Second World
The term "Second World" is a phrase used to describe those countries which are allied with or are supported by the "First World" countries . These include countries supported by the United States, such as Colombia, Israel, etc., and those supported by the former Soviet Union, also known as the the...

—primarily the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and its satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and its allies. Although the chief military forces never engaged in a major battle with each other, they expressed the conflict through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to states deemed vulnerable, proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, conventional and nuclear arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

s, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

.

After the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the USSR and the US saw each other as profound enemies due to their economic and political differences. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 with the eastern European countries it occupied, annexing part or all of some and maintaining others as satellite states. The post-war recovery of Western Europe was facilitated by the United States' Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, while the Soviet Union, wary of the conditions attached, declined to participate and prompted its satellite states to do likewise. An alternative, COMECON
Comecon
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance , 1949–1991, was an economic organisation under hegemony of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world...

, was set up by the Soviets instead. The United States forged NATO, a military alliance using containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 as a main strategy (Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

), in 1949, while the Soviet bloc formed the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 in 1955. Some countries aligned with NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and others chose to stay neutral with the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. Elsewhere, the US and USSR fought proxy wars of various types: in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the USSR assisted and helped foster communist revolution
Communist revolution
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage...

s, opposed by several Western countries and their regional allies; some they attempted to roll back
Rollback
In political science, rollback is the strategy of forcing change in the major policies of a state, usually by replacing its ruling regime. It contrasts with containment, which means preventing the expansion of that state; and with détente, which means a working relationship with that state...

, with mixed results.

The Cold War featured cycles of relative calm and of high tension. The most tense involved the Berlin Blockade
Berlin Blockade
The Berlin Blockade was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War and the first resulting in casualties. During the multinational occupation of post-World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway and road access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied...

 (1948–1949), the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 (1950–1953), the Berlin Crisis of 1961
Berlin Crisis of 1961
The Berlin Crisis of 1961 was the last major politico-military European incident of the Cold War about the occupational status of the German capital city, Berlin, and of post–World War II Germany. The U.S.S.R...

, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 (1959–1975), the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 (1962), the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 (1979–1989), and the Able Archer 83
Able Archer 83
Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO command post exercise starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned Western Europe, centred on the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Headquarters situated at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict...

 NATO exercises in November 1983. Both sides sought détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 to relieve political tensions and deter direct military attack, which would probably guarantee their mutual assured destruction
Mutual assured destruction
Mutual Assured Destruction, or mutually assured destruction , is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of...

 with nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s. In the 1980s, under the Reagan Doctrine
Reagan Doctrine
The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War...

, the United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the nation was already suffering economic stagnation. In the late 1980s, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

("reconstruction", "reorganization", 1987) and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

("openness", ca. 1985). The Cold War ended after the Soviet Union collapsed
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 in 1991, leaving the United States as the dominant military power. The Cold War and its events have had a significant impact on the world today, and it is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media
Media
Media may refer to:- Communications :* Media , tools used to store and deliver information or data** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising...

 featuring themes of espoinage and the threat of nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

.

Origins of the term


At the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, English author and journalist George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 used the term Cold War
Cold war (general term)
A cold war or cold warfare is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates...

in his essay “You and the Atomic Bomb”, published October 19, 1945, in the British newspaper Tribune
Tribune (magazine)
Tribune is a democratic socialist weekly, founded in 1937 published in London. It is independent but supports the Labour Party from the left...

. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

, he warned of a “peace that is no peace”, which he called a permanent “cold war”, Orwell directly referred to that war as the ideological confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. Moreover, in The Observer of March 10, 1946, Orwell wrote that “[a]fter the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a ‘cold war’ on Britain and the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

.”

The first use of the term to describe the post–World War II geopolitical
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

 tensions between the USSR and its satellites and the United States and its western European allies is attributed to Bernard Baruch
Bernard Baruch
Bernard Mannes Baruch was an American financier, stock-market speculator, statesman, and political consultant. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt on economic matters and became a philanthropist.-Early life...

, an American financier and presidential advisor. In South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, on April 16, 1947, he delivered a speech (by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope
Herbert Bayard Swope
Herbert Bayard Swope was a U.S. editor, journalist and intimate of the Algonquin Round Table. Swope spent most of his career at the New York World newspaper. He was the first and three time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting...

) saying, “Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war.” Newspaper reporter-columnist Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War...

 gave the term wide currency, with the book Cold War (1947).

Background



There is disagreement among historians regarding the starting point of the Cold War. While most historians trace its origins to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began towards the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, although tensions between the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, other European countries and the United States date back to the middle of the 19th century.

As a result of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in Russia (followed by its withdrawal from World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

), Soviet Russia found itself isolated in international diplomacy. Leader Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 stated that the Soviet Union was surrounded by a "hostile capitalist encirclement", and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon to keep Soviet enemies divided, beginning with the establishment of the Soviet Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

, which called for revolutionary upheavals abroad.

Subsequent leader Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, who viewed the Soviet Union as a "socialist island", stated that the Soviet Union must see that "the present capitalist encirclement is replaced by a socialist encirclement." As early as 1925, Stalin stated that he viewed international politics as a bipolar world in which the Soviet Union would attract countries gravitating to socialism and capitalist countries would attract states gravitating toward capitalism, while the world was in a period of "temporary stabilization of capitalism" preceding its eventual collapse.

Various events before the Second World War had been demonstrative of mutual distrust and suspicion between the Western powers and the Soviet Union, including the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s' challenge to capitalism; Western support of the anti-Bolshevik White movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

; the 1926 Soviet funding of a British general workers strike causing Britain to break relations with the Soviet Union; Stalin's 1927 declaration of peaceful coexistence with capitalist countries "receding into the past"; conspiratorial allegations during the 1928 Shakhty show trial
Shakhty Trial
The Shakhty Trial of 1928 was the first important show trial in the Soviet Union since the trial of the Social Revolutionaries in 1922.It is often alleged that the charges against the defendants were false, confessions fabricated, and torture or the threat of torture employed...

 of a planned British- and French-led coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

; the American refusal to recognize the Soviet Union until 1933; and the Stalinist
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 Moscow Trials
Moscow Trials
The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials conducted in the Soviet Union and orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge of the 1930s. The victims included most of the surviving Old Bolsheviks, as well as the leadership of the Soviet secret police...

 of the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

, with allegations of British, French, Japanese and Nazi German espionage.

As a result of the German invasion in June 1941, the Allies decided to help the Soviet Union; Britain signed a formal alliance and the United States made an informal agreement. In wartime, the United States supplied both Britain and the Soviets through its Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 Program.

However, Stalin remained highly suspicious and believed that the British and the Americans had conspired to allow the Soviets to bear the brunt of the fighting against Nazi Germany. According to this view, the Western Allies had deliberately delayed opening a second anti-German front in order to step in at the last moment and shape the peace settlement. Thus, Soviet perceptions of the West left a strong undercurrent of tension and hostility between the Allied powers.

Wartime conferences regarding post-war Europe




The Allies disagreed about how the European map should look, and how borders would be drawn, following the war. Each side held dissimilar ideas regarding the establishment and maintenance of post-war security. The western Allies desired a security system in which democratic governments were established as widely as possible, permitting countries to peacefully resolve differences through international organization
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

s.

Given the Russian historical experiences of frequent invasions and the immense death toll (estimated at 27 million) and the destruction the Soviet Union sustained during World War II, the Soviet Union sought to increase security by dominating the internal affairs of countries that bordered it.

The Western Allies were themselves deeply divided in their vision of the new post-war world. Roosevelt's goals – military victory in both Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, the achievement of global American economic supremacy over the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, and the creation of a world peace organization – were more global than Churchill's, which were mainly centered on securing control over the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, ensuring the survival of the British Empire, and the independence of Eastern European countries as a buffer
Buffer state
A buffer state is a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers, which by its sheer existence is thought to prevent conflict between them. Buffer states, when authentically independent, typically pursue a neutralist foreign policy, which distinguishes them from satellite...

 between the Soviets and the United Kingdom.

In the American view, Stalin seemed a potential ally in accomplishing their goals, whereas in the British approach Stalin appeared as the greatest threat to the fulfillment of their agenda. With the Soviets already occupying most of Eastern Europe, Stalin was at an advantage and the two western leaders vied for his favors. The differences between Roosevelt and Churchill led to several separate deals with the Soviets. In October 1944, Churchill traveled to Moscow and agreed to divide the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 into respective spheres of influence, and at Yalta Roosevelt signed a separate deal with Stalin in regard of Asia and refused to support Churchill on the issues of Poland and the Reparations.


Further Allied negotiations concerning the post-war balance took place at the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 in February 1945, albeit this conference also failed to reach a firm consensus on the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe. In April 1945, both Churchill and new United States President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 opposed, among other things, the Soviets' decision to prop up the Lublin government
Polish Committee of National Liberation
The Polish Committee of National Liberation , also known as the Lublin Committee, was a provisional government of Poland, officially proclaimed 21 July 1944 in Chełm under the direction of State National Council in opposition to the Polish government in exile...

, the Soviet-controlled rival to the Polish government-in-exile, whose relations with the Soviets were severed.

Following the Allies' May 1945 victory
End of World War II in Europe
The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union took place in late April and early May 1945.-Timeline of surrenders and deaths:...

, the Soviets effectively occupied Eastern Europe, while strong US and Western allied forces remained in Western Europe. In Allied-occupied Germany, the Soviet Union, United States, Britain and France established zones of occupation and a loose framework for four-power control.

The 1945 Allied conference in San Francisco
United Nations Conference on International Organization
The United Nations Conference on International Organization was a convention of delegates from 50 Allied nations that took place from 25 April 1945 to 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, California. At this convention, the delegates reviewed and rewrote the Dumbarton Oaks agreements...

 established the multi-national United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (UN) for the maintenance of world peace, but the enforcement capacity of its Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 was effectively paralyzed by individual members' ability to use veto power
United Nations Security Council veto power
The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council , enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support...

. Accordingly, the UN was essentially converted into an inactive forum for exchanging polemical rhetoric, and the Soviets regarded it almost exclusively as a propaganda tribune.

Potsdam Conference and defeat of Japan




At the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, which started in late July after Germany's surrender, serious differences emerged over the future development of Germany and eastern Europe. Moreover, the participants' mounting antipathy and bellicose language served to confirm their suspicions about each others' hostile intentions and entrench their positions. At this conference Truman informed Stalin that the United States possessed a powerful new weapon.

Stalin was aware that the Americans were working on the atomic bomb and, given that the Soviets' own rival program was in place, he reacted to the news calmly. The Soviet leader said he was pleased by the news and expressed the hope that the weapon would be used against Japan. One week after the end of the Potsdam Conference, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

. Shortly after the attacks, Stalin protested to US officials when Truman offered the Soviets little real influence in occupied Japan.

Beginnings of the Eastern Bloc




During the final stages of World War II, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 by directly annexing several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics that were initially (and effectively) ceded to it by Nazi Germany in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. These included eastern Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (incorporated into two different SSRs), Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 (which became the Latvian SSR
Latvian SSR
The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Latvian SSR for short, was one of the republics that made up the Soviet Union. Established on 21 July 1940 as a puppet state during World War II in the territory of the previously independent Republic of Latvia after it had been occupied by...

), Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 (which became the Estonian SSR), Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 (which became the Lithuanian SSR
Lithuanian SSR
The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Lithuanian SSR, was one of the republics that made up the former Soviet Union...

), part of eastern Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 (which became the Karelo-Finnish SSR
Karelo-Finnish SSR
The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic was a short-lived republic that was a part of the former Soviet Union. The republic existed from 1940 until it was merged back into the Russian SFSR in 1956 ....

) and eastern Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 (which became the Moldavian SSR
Moldavian SSR
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic , commonly abbreviated to Moldavian SSR or MSSR, was one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union...

).

The Eastern European territories liberated from the Nazis and occupied by the Soviet armed forces were added to the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 by converting them into satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s, such as East Germany, the People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the People's Republic of Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

, the People's Republic of Romania and the People's Republic of Albania.

The Soviet-style regimes that arose in the Bloc not only reproduced Soviet command economies, but also adopted the brutal methods employed by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Soviet secret police to suppress real and potential opposition. In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 in the last month of the war, and went on to occupy the large swath of Korean territory located north of the 38th parallel.

As part of consolidating Stalin's control over the Eastern Bloc, the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

, led by Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years ....

, supervised the establishment of Soviet-style secret police systems in the Bloc that were supposed to crush anti-communist resistance. When the slightest stirrings of independence emerged in the Bloc, Stalin's strategy matched that of dealing with domestic pre-war rivals: they were removed from power, put on trial, imprisoned, and in several instances, executed.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 was concerned that, given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the perception that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.
In April–May 1945, the British War Cabinet
Churchill War Ministry
-The War Cabinet:Changes*August 1940: Lord Beaverbrook , Minister of Aircraft Production, joins the War Cabinet*October 1940: Sir John Anderson succeeds Neville Chamberlain as Lord President. Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour, enter the War...

's Joint Planning Staff Committee developed Operation Unthinkable
Operation Unthinkable
Operation Unthinkable was a British plan to attack the Soviet Union. The creation of the plan was ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces' Joint Planning Staff at the end of World War II in Europe.-Offensive operations:The initial...

, a plan "to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire". The plan, however, was rejected by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee
Chiefs of Staff Committee
The Chiefs of Staff Committee is composed of the most senior military personnel in the British Armed Forces.-History:The Chiefs of Staff Committee was initially established as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence in 1923. It remained as such until the abolition of the CID upon the...

 as militarily unfeasible.

Tensions build



In February 1946, George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

's "Long Telegram
X Article
The X Article, formally titled The Sources of Soviet Conduct, was published in Foreign Affairs magazine in July 1947. The article was written by George F. Kennan, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States to the USSR, from 1944 to 1946, under ambassador W. Averell Harriman.-Background:G. F....

" from Moscow helped to articulate the US government's increasingly hard line against the Soviets, and became the basis for US strategy toward the Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. That September, the Soviet side produced the Novikov telegram, sent by the Soviet ambassador to the US but commissioned and "co-authored" by Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

; it portrayed the US as being in the grip of monopoly capitalists who were building up military capability "to prepare the conditions for winning world supremacy in a new war".

On September 6, 1946, James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
James Francis Byrnes was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives , as a Senator , as Justice of the Supreme Court , as Secretary of State , and as the 104th Governor of South Carolina...

 delivered a speech
Restatement of Policy on Germany
"Restatement of Policy on Germany" is a famous speech by James F. Byrnes, the United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946.Also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future U.S...

 in Germany repudiating the Morgenthau Plan
Morgenthau Plan
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany's ability to wage war.-Overview:...

 (a proposal to partition and de-industrialize post-war Germany) and warning the Soviets that the US intended to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely. As Byrnes admitted a month later, "The nub of our program was to win the German people [...] it was a battle between us and Russia over minds [...]"

A few weeks after the release of this "Long Telegram", former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

" speech in Fulton, Missouri
Fulton, Missouri
Fulton is a city in Callaway County, Missouri, the United States of America. It is part of the Jefferson City, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 12,790 in the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Callaway County...

. The speech called for an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviets, whom he accused of establishing an "iron curtain" from "Stettin
Szczecin
Szczecin , is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. It is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. As of June 2009 the population was 406,427....

 in the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 to Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 in the Adriatic
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

".

In 1952, Stalin repeatedly proposed a plan to unify East and West Germany under a single government
Stalin Note
The Stalin Note, also known as the March Note, was a document delivered to the representatives of the Western allied powers from the Soviet Occupation in Germany on March 10, 1952...

 chosen in elections supervised by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 if the new Germany were to stay out of Western military alliances, but this proposal was turned down by the Western powers.

Cominform and the Tito–Stalin split


In September 1947, the Soviets created Cominform
Cominform
Founded in 1947, Cominform is the common name for what was officially referred to as the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties...

, the purpose of which was to enforce orthodoxy within the international communist movement and tighten political control over Soviet satellites
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

 through coordination of communist parties in the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. Cominform faced an embarrassing setback the following June, when the Tito–Stalin split obliged its members to expel Yugoslavia, which remained Communist but adopted a non-aligned
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 position.

Containment and the Truman Doctrine




By 1947, US president Harry S. Truman's advisers urged him to take immediate steps to counter the Soviet Union's influence, citing Stalin's efforts (amid post-war confusion and collapse) to undermine the US by encouraging rivalries among capitalists that could precipitate another war. In February 1947, the British government announced that it could no longer afford to finance the Greek monarchical military regime in its civil war
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

 against communist-led insurgents.

The American government's response to this announcement was the adoption of containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

, the goal of which was to stop the spread of communism. Truman delivered a speech that called for the allocation of $400 million to intervene in the war and unveiled the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

, which framed the conflict as a contest between free peoples and totalitarian regimes. Even though the insurgents were helped by Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

's Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

, US policymakers accused the Soviet Union of conspiring against the Greek royalists in an effort to expand
Domino theory
The domino theory was a reason for war during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect...

 Soviet influence.

Enunciation of the Truman Doctrine marked the beginning of a US bipartisan defense and foreign policy consensus between Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 focused on containment and deterrence
Deterrence theory
Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons, and features prominently in current United States foreign policy regarding the development of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran. Deterrence theory however was...

 that weakened during and after the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, but ultimately held steady. Moderate and conservative parties in Europe, as well as social democrats, gave virtually unconditional support to the Western alliance, while European and American Communists, paid by the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 and involved in its intelligence operations, adhered to Moscow's line, although dissent began to appear after 1956. Other critiques of consensus politics came from anti-Vietnam War activists
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

, the CND and the nuclear freeze movement.

Marshall Plan and Czechoslovak coup d'état





In early 1947, Britain, France and the United States unsuccessfully attempted to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union for a plan envisioning an economically self-sufficient Germany, including a detailed accounting of the industrial plants, goods and infrastructure already removed by the Soviets. In June 1947, in accordance with the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, a pledge of economic assistance for all European countries willing to participate, including the Soviet Union.

The plan's aim was to rebuild the democratic and economic systems of Europe and to counter perceived threats to Europe's balance of power, such as communist parties seizing control through revolutions or elections. The plan also stated that European prosperity was contingent upon German economic recovery. One month later, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

, creating a unified Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

, the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA), and the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

. These would become the main bureaucracies for US policy in the Cold War.

Stalin believed that economic integration with the West would allow Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries to escape Soviet control, and that the US was trying to buy a pro-US re-alignment of Europe. Stalin therefore prevented Eastern Bloc nations from receiving Marshall Plan aid. The Soviet Union's alternative to the Marshall plan, which was purported to involve Soviet subsidies and trade with eastern Europe, became known as the Molotov Plan
Molotov Plan
The Molotov Plan was the system created by the Soviet Union in 1947 in order to provide aid to rebuild the countries in Eastern Europe that were politically and economically aligned to the Soviet Union...

 (later institutionalized in January 1949 as the Comecon
Comecon
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance , 1949–1991, was an economic organisation under hegemony of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world...

). Stalin was also fearful of a reconstituted Germany; his vision of a post-war Germany did not include the ability to rearm or pose any kind of threat to the Soviet Union.

In early 1948, following reports of strengthening "reactionary elements", Soviet operatives executed a coup d'état of 1948
Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948
The Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 – in Communist historiography known as "Victorious February" – was an event late that February in which the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with Soviet backing, assumed undisputed control over the government of Czechoslovakia, ushering in over four decades...

 in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, the only Eastern Bloc state that the Soviets had permitted to retain democratic structures. The public brutality of the coup shocked Western powers more than any event up to that point, set in a motion a brief scare that war would occur and swept away the last vestiges of opposition to the Marshall Plan in the United States Congress.

The twin policies of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan led to billions in economic and military aid for Western Europe, Greece, and Turkey. With US assistance, the Greek military won its civil war, The Italian Christian Democrats
Christian Democracy (Italy)
Christian Democracy was a Christian democratic party in Italy. It was founded in 1943 as the ideological successor of the historical Italian People's Party, which had the same symbol, a crossed shield ....

 defeated the powerful Communist
Italian Communist Party
The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno, by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party . Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played...

-Socialist
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 alliance in the elections of 1948
Italian general election, 1948
The Italian elections of 1948 were the second democratic elections with universal suffrage ever held in Italy, taking place after the 1946 elections to the Constituent Assembly, responsible for drawing up a new Italian Constitution...

. Increases occurred in intelligence and espionage activities, Eastern Bloc defections
Eastern Bloc emigration and defection
Eastern Bloc emigration and defection was a point of controversy during the Cold War. After World War II, emigration restrictions were imposed by countries in the Eastern Bloc, which consisted of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern and Central Europe...

 and diplomatic expulsions.

Berlin Blockade and airlift




The United States and Britain merged their western German occupation zones into "Bizonia"
Bizone
The Bizone, or Bizonia was the combination of the American and the British occupation zones in 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II. With the addition of the French occupation zone in March 1948, the entity became the Trizone...

 (1 January 1947, later "Trizonia" with the addition of France's zone, April 1949). As part of the economic rebuilding of Germany, in early 1948, representatives of a number of Western European governments and the United States announced an agreement for a merger of western German areas into a federal governmental system. In addition, in accordance with the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, they began to re-industrialize and rebuild the German economy, including the introduction of a new Deutsche Mark currency to replace the old Reichsmark currency that the Soviets had debased.

Shortly thereafter, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade
Berlin Blockade
The Berlin Blockade was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War and the first resulting in casualties. During the multinational occupation of post-World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway and road access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied...

 (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949), one of the first major crises of the Cold War, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

. The United States, Britain, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries began the massive "Berlin airlift", supplying West Berlin with food and other provisions.

The Soviets mounted a public relations campaign against the policy change. Once again the East Berlin communists attempted to disrupt the Berlin municipal elections (as they have done in the 1946 elections), which were held on December 5, 1948 and produced a turnout of 86.3% and an overwhelming victory for the non-Communist parties. The results effectively divided the city into East and West versions of its former self. 300,000 Berliners demonstrated and urged the international airlift to continue, and the US accidentally created "Operation Vittles", which supplied candy to German children. In May 1949, Stalin backed down and lifted the blockade.

NATO beginnings and Radio Free Europe


Britain, France, the United States, Canada and eight other western European countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty
North Atlantic Treaty
The North Atlantic Treaty is the treaty that brought NATO into existence, signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. The original twelve nations that signed it and thus became the founding members of NATO were:...

 of April 1949, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). That August, the first Soviet atomic device was detonated in Semipalatinsk, Kazakh SSR
Kazakh SSR
The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Kazakh SSR for short, was one of republics that made up the Soviet Union.At in area, it was the second largest constituent republic in the USSR, after the Russian SFSR. Its capital was Alma-Ata . Today it is the independent state of...

. Following Soviet refusals to participate in a German rebuilding effort set forth by western European countries in 1948, the US, Britain and France spearheaded the establishment of West Germany from the three Western zones of occupation
Bizone
The Bizone, or Bizonia was the combination of the American and the British occupation zones in 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II. With the addition of the French occupation zone in March 1948, the entity became the Trizone...

 in April 1949. The Soviet Union proclaimed its zone of occupation in Germany the German Democratic Republic that October.

Media in the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 was an organ of the state, completely reliant on and subservient to the communist party
Eastern Bloc information dissemination
Eastern Bloc information dissemination was controlled directly by each country's Communist party, which controlled the state media, censorship and propaganda organs...

, with radio and television organizations being state-owned, while print media was usually owned by political organizations, mostly by the local communist party. Soviet propaganda used Marxist philosophy to attack capitalism, claiming labor exploitation and war-mongering imperialism were inherent in the system.

Along with the broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

 to Eastern Europe, a major propaganda effort begun in 1949 was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, dedicated to bringing about the peaceful demise of the Communist system in the Eastern Bloc. Radio Free Europe attempted to achieve these goals by serving as a surrogate home radio station, an alternative to the controlled and party-dominated domestic press. Radio Free Europe was a product of some of the most prominent architects of America's early Cold War strategy, especially those who believed that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means, such as George F. Kennan.

American policymakers, including Kennan and John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

, acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas. The United States, acting through the CIA, funded a long list of projects to counter the Communist appeal among intellectuals in Europe and the developing world.

In the early 1950s, the US worked for the rearmament of West Germany and, in 1955, secured its full membership of NATO. In May 1953, Beria, by then in a government post, had made an unsuccessful proposal to allow the reunification of a neutral Germany to prevent West Germany's incorporation into NATO.

Chinese Civil War and SEATO



In 1949, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

's People's Liberation Army defeated Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's United States-backed Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) Nationalist Government in China, and the Soviet Union promptly created an alliance with the newly formed People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Chiang and his KMT government retreated to the island of Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. Confronted with the communist revolution in China and the end of the American atomic monopoly in 1949
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

, the Truman administration quickly moved to escalate and expand the containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 policy. In NSC-68
NSC-68
National Security Council Report 68 was a 58-page formerly-classified report issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Written during the formative stage of the Cold War, it was top secret until the 1970s when it was made...

, a secret 1950 document, the National Security Council proposed to reinforce pro-Western alliance systems and quadruple spending on defense.

United States officials moved thereafter to expand containment into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in order to counter revolutionary nationalist movements, often led by communist parties financed by the USSR, fighting against the restoration of Europe's colonial empires in South-East Asia and elsewhere. In the early 1950s (a period sometimes known as the "Pactomania
Pactomania
Pactomania is a term used to describe a period of treaty making by the United States during the Cold War. During the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the United States, mainly through the efforts of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, formed alliances with 42 separate nations along with...

"), the US formalized a series of alliances with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines (notably ANZUS
ANZUS
The Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty is the military alliance which binds Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States to cooperate on defence matters in the Pacific Ocean area, though today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks...

 in 1951 and SEATO
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954 in Manila, Philippines. The formal institution of SEATO was established on 19 February...

 in 1954), thereby guaranteeing the United States a number of long-term military bases.

Korean War



One of the more significant impacts of containment was the outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. In June 1950, Kim Il-Sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

's North Korean People's Army
Korean People's Army
The Korean People's Army , also known as the Inmin Gun, are the military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission...

 invaded South Korea. To Joseph Stalin's surprise, the UN Security Council backed the defense of South Korea, though the Soviets were then boycotting meetings in protest that Taiwan
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 and not Communist China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 held a permanent seat on the Council. A UN force of personnel from South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and other countries joined to stop the invasion.
Among other effects, the Korean War galvanised NATO to develop a military structure. Public opinion in countries involved, such as Great Britain, was divided for and against the war. Many feared an escalation into a general war with Communist China, and even nuclear war. The strong opposition to the war often strained Anglo-American relations. For these reasons British officials sought a speedy end to the conflict, hoping to unite Korea under United Nations auspices and withdrawal of all foreign forces.

Even though the Chinese and North Koreans were exhausted by the war and were prepared to end it by late 1952, Stalin insisted that they continue fighting, and the Armistice was approved only in July 1953, after Stalin's death. North Korean leader Kim Il Sung created a highly centralized and brutal dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

, according himself unlimited power and generating a formidable cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

. In the South, the corrupt
Corruption
Corruption usually refers to spiritual or moral impurity.Corruption may also refer to:* Corruption , an American crime film* Corruption , a British horror film...

 American-backed strongman
Strongman (politics)
A strongman is a political leader who rules by force and runs an authoritarian regime. The term is often used interchangeably with "dictator," but differs from a "warlord".A strongman is not necessarily always a formal head of government, however...

 Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman was the first president of South Korea. His presidency, from August 1948 to April 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the...

 pursued a comparable system of totalitarian
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 rule. Albeit Rhee was overthrown after popular protests against his rigged re-election victory in 1960, South Korea subsequently fell under a period of military rule that lasted until the re-establishment of a multi-party system in 1987.

Khrushchev, Eisenhower and De-Stalinization


In 1953, changes in political leadership on both sides shifted the dynamic of the Cold War. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 was inaugurated president that January. During the last 18 months of the Truman administration, the American defense budget had quadrupled, and Eisenhower moved to reduce military spending by a third while continuing to fight the Cold War effectively.

After the death of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 became the Soviet leader following the deposition and execution of Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years ....

 and the pushing aside of rivals Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Malenkov
Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov was a Soviet politician, Communist Party leader and close collaborator of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin's death, he became Premier of the Soviet Union and was in 1953 briefly considered the most powerful Soviet politician before being overshadowed by Nikita...

 and Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

. On February 25, 1956, Khrushchev shocked delegates to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 by cataloguing and denouncing Stalin's crimes
On the Personality Cult and its Consequences
On the Personality Cult and its Consequences was a report, critical of Joseph Stalin, made to the Twentieth Party Congress on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It is more commonly known as the Secret Speech or the Khrushchev Report...

. As part of a campaign of de-Stalinization
De-Stalinization
De-Stalinization refers to the process of eliminating the cult of personality, Stalinist political system and the Gulag labour-camp system created by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953...

, he declared that the only way to reform and move away from Stalin's policies would be to acknowledge errors made in the past.

On November 18, 1956, while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Khrushchev used his famous "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you" expression, shocking everyone present. He later claimed that he had not been talking about nuclear war, but rather about the historically determined victory of communism over capitalism. In 1961, Khrushchev declared that even if the USSR was behind the West, within a decade its housing shortage would disappear, consumer goods would be abundant, and within two decades, the "construction of a communist society" in the USSR would be completed "in the main".

Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, initiated a "New Look
New Look (policy)
The New Look was the name given to the national security policy of the United States during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower...

" for the containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 strategy, calling for a greater reliance on nuclear weapons against US enemies in wartime. Dulles also enunciated the doctrine of "massive retaliation", threatening a severe US response to any Soviet aggression. Possessing nuclear superiority, for example, allowed Eisenhower to face down Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East during the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

.

Warsaw Pact and Hungarian Revolution




While Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's death in 1953 slightly relaxed tensions, the situation in Europe remained an uneasy armed truce. The Soviets, who had already created a network of mutual assistance treaties in the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 by 1949, established a formal alliance therein, the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

, in 1955.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 occurred shortly after Khrushchev arranged the removal of Hungary's Stalinist leader Mátyás Rákosi
Mátyás Rákosi
Mátyás Rákosi was a Hungarian communist politician. He was born as Mátyás Rosenfeld, in present-day Serbia...

. In response to a popular uprising, the new regime formally disbanded the secret police, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 and pledged to re-establish free elections. The Soviet army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 invaded. Thousands of Hungarians were arrested, imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union, and approximately 200,000 Hungarians fled Hungary in the chaos. Hungarian leader Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

 and others were executed following secret trials.

From 1957 through 1961, Khrushchev openly and repeatedly threatened the West with nuclear annihilation. He claimed that Soviet missile capabilities were far superior to those of the United States, capable of wiping out any American or European city. However, Khrushchev rejected Stalin's belief in the inevitability of war, and declared his new goal was to be "peaceful coexistence". This formulation modified the Stalin-era Soviet stance, where international class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

 meant the two opposing camps were on an inevitable collision course where Communism would triumph through global war; now, peace would allow capitalism to collapse on its own, as well as giving the Soviets time to boost their military capabilities, which remained for decades until Gorbachev's later "new thinking" envisioning peaceful coexistence as an end in itself rather than a form of class struggle.

The events in Hungary produced ideological fractures within the Communist parties of the world, particularly in Western Europe, with great decline in membership as many in both western and communist countries felt disillusioned by the brutal Soviet response. The communist parties in the west would never recover from the effect the Hungarian Revolution had on their membership, a fact that was immediately recognized by some, such as the Yugoslavian politician Milovan Djilas who shortly after the revolution was crushed said that "The wound which the Hungarian Revolution inflicted on communism can never be completely healed"

America's pronouncements concentrated on American strength abroad and the success of liberal capitalism. However, by the late 1960s, the "battle for men's minds" between two systems of social organization that Kennedy spoke of in 1961 was largely over, with tensions henceforth based primarily on clashing geopolitical objectives rather than ideology.

Berlin Ultimatum and European integration


During November 1958, Khrushchev made an unsuccessful attempt to turn all of Berlin into an independent, demilitarized "free city", giving the United States, Great Britain, and France a six-month ultimatum to withdraw their troops from the sectors they still occupied in West Berlin, or he would transfer control of Western access rights to the East Germans. Khrushchev earlier explained to Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 that "Berlin is the testicles of the West. Every time I want to make the West scream, I squeeze on Berlin." NATO formally rejected the ultimatum in mid-December and Khrushchev withdrew it in return for a Geneva conference on the German question.

More broadly, one hallmark of the 1950s was the beginning of European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

—a fundamental by-product of the Cold War that Truman and Eisenhower promoted politically, economically, and militarily, but which later administrations viewed ambivalently, fearful that an independent Europe would forge a separate détente with the Soviet Union, which would use this to exacerbate Western disunity.

Worldwide competition



Nationalist movements in some countries and regions, notably Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 were often allied with communist groups, or perceived in the West to be allied with communists. In this context, the United States and the Soviet Union increasingly competed for influence by proxy in the Third World as decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

 gained momentum in the 1950s and early 1960s; additionally, the Soviets saw continuing losses by imperial powers as presaging the eventual victory of their ideology. Both sides were selling armaments to gain influence.

The United States made use of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) to do away with a string of unfriendly Third World governments and to support allied ones. In 1953, President Eisenhower's Central Intelligence Agency implemented Operation Ajax
Operation Ajax
The 1953 Iranian coup d'état was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States under the name TPAJAX Project...

, a covert operation aimed at the overthrow of the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The popularly-elected and non-aligned Mosaddegh had been a Middle Eastern nemesis of Britain since nationalizing the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951. Churchill told the United States that Mosaddegh was "increasingly turning towards communism" and was moving Iran towards the Soviet sphere. The pro-Western shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, assumed control as an autocratic monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

. The shah's policies included the banning of the communist Tudeh Party and general suppression of political dissent by SAVAK
SAVAK
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah on the recommendation of the British Government and with the help of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency SAVAK (Persian: ساواک, short for سازمان اطلاعات و امنیت کشور...

, the shah's domestic security and intelligence agency.

In Guatemala, a CIA-backed military coup ousted the left-wing President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán
Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán
Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was a Guatemalan military officer and politician who served as Defense Minister of Guatemala from 1944–1951, and as President of Guatemala from 1951 to 1954....

 in 1954. The post-Arbenz government, a military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 headed by Carlos Castillo Armas
Carlos Castillo Armas
Carlos Castillo Armas was a Guatemalan Colonel who came to power in a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1954. He held the title of President of Guatemala from July 8, 1954 until his assassination in 1957.-The coup:...

, returned nationalized American property, set up a National Committee of Defense Against Communism
National Committee of Defense Against Communism
The National Committee of Defense Against Communism, established on 19 July 1954, was a committee formed by Carlos Castillo at the request of the United States Central Intelligence Agency...

, and decreed a Preventive Penal Law Against Communism
Preventive Penal Law Against Communism
The Preventive Penal Law Against Communism was a Guatemalan decree passed by the military junta of Carlos Castillo Armas on 24 August 1954. The decree was preceded by the formation of the National Committee of Defense Against Communism...

 at the request of the United States.

In the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)
The Republic of the Congo was an independent republic established following the independence granted to the former colony of the Belgian Congo in 1960...

, newly independent from Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 since June 1960, the CIA-cultivated President Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu was the first President of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 ordered the dismissal of the democratically-elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis...

 and the Lumumba cabinet in September; Lumumba called for Kasa-Vubu's dismissal instead. In the ensuing Congo Crisis
Congo Crisis
The Congo Crisis was a period of turmoil in the First Republic of the Congo that began with national independence from Belgium and ended with the seizing of power by Joseph Mobutu...

, the CIA-backed Colonel Mobutu quickly mobilized his forces to seize power through a military coup d'état.

In British Guiana
British Guiana
British Guiana was the name of the British colony on the northern coast of South America, now the independent nation of Guyana.The area was originally settled by the Dutch at the start of the 17th century as the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice...

, the leftist People's Progressive Party
People's Progressive Party (Guyana)
The People's Progressive Party is a political party in Guyana led by Bharrat Jagdeo. The party has been in power since the 1992 elections and currently holds 36 of the 65 seats in the National Assembly.-History:...

 (PPP) candidate Cheddi Jagan
Cheddi Jagan
Cheddi Berret Jagan was a Guyanese politician who was first elected Chief Minister in 1953 and later Premier of British Guiana from 1961 to 1964, prior to independence. He later served as President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997.- Biography :The son of ethnic Indian sugar plantation workers, Jagan...

 won the position of chief minister in a colonially-administered election in 1953, but was quickly forced to resign from power after Britain's suspension of the still-dependent nation's constitution. Embarrassed by the landslide electoral victory of Jagan's allegedly Marxist party, the British imprisoned the PPP's leadership and maneuvered the organization into a divisive rupture in 1955, engineering a split between Jagan and his PPP colleagues. Jagan again won the colonial elections in 1957 and 1961; despite Britain's shift to a reconsideration of its view of the left-wing Jagan as a Soviet-style communist at this time, the United States pressured the British to withhold Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

's independence until an alternative to Jagan could be identified, supported, and brought into office.

Worn down by the communist guerrilla war for Vietnamese independence
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

 and handed a watershed defeat by communist Vietminh rebels at the 1954 Battle of Điện Biên Phủ, the French accepted a negotiated abandonment of their colonial stake in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Peace accords signed in Geneva
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 left Vietnam divided between a pro-Soviet administration in North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 and a pro-Western administration in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 at the 17th parallel north
17th parallel north
The 17th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

. Between 1954 and 1961, Eisenhower's United States sent economic aid and military advisers to strengthen South Vietnam's pro-Western regime against communist efforts to destabilize it.

Many emerging nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America rejected the pressure to choose sides in the East-West competition. In 1955, at the Bandung Conference
Asian-African Conference
The first large-scale Asian–African or Afro–Asian Conference—also known as the Bandung Conference—was a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on April 18–24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia...

 in Indonesia, dozens of Third World governments resolved to stay out of the Cold War. The consensus reached at Bandung culminated with the creation of the Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

-headquartered Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 in 1961. Meanwhile, Khrushchev broadened Moscow's policy to establish ties with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and other key neutral states. Independence movements in the Third World transformed the post-war order into a more pluralistic world of decolonized African and Middle Eastern nations and of rising nationalism in Asia and Latin America.

Sino-Soviet split, space race, ICBMs


The period after 1956 was marked by serious setbacks for the Soviet Union, most notably the breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, beginning the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

. Mao had defended Stalin when Khrushchev attacked him after his death in 1956, and treated the new Soviet leader as a superficial upstart, accusing him of having lost his revolutionary edge. For his part, Khrushchev, disturbed by Mao’s glib attitude toward nuclear war, referred to the Chinese leader as a "lunatic on a throne".

After this, Khrushchev made many desperate attempts to reconstitute the Sino-Soviet alliance, but Mao considered it useless and denied any proposal. The Chinese-Soviet animosity spilled out in an intra-communist propaganda war. Further on, the Soviets focused on a bitter rivalry with Mao's China for leadership of the global communist movement.

On the nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s front, the United States and the USSR pursued nuclear rearmament and developed long-range weapons with which they could strike the territory of the other. In August 1957, the Soviets successfully launched the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

 (ICBM) and in October, launched the first Earth satellite, Sputnik. The launch of Sputnik inaugurated the Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

. This culminated in the Apollo Moon landings, which astronaut Frank Borman
Frank Borman
Frank Frederick Borman, II is a retired NASA astronaut and engineer, best remembered as the Commander of Apollo 8, the first mission to fly around the Moon, making him, along with fellow crew mates Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, the first of only 24 humans to do so...

 later described as "just a battle in the Cold War."

Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion



In Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, the 26th of July Movement
26th of July Movement
The 26th of July Movement was the revolutionary organization planned and led by Fidel Castro that in 1959 overthrew the Fulgencio Batista government in Cuba...

 seized power in January 1959, toppling President Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

, whose unpopular regime had been denied arms by the Eisenhower administration.

Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States continued for some time after Batista's fall, but President Eisenhower deliberately left the capital to avoid meeting Cuba's young revolutionary leader Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 during the latter's trip to Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in April, leaving Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 to conduct the meeting in his place. Eisenhower's officials were not sure as to whether Castro was a communist, but hostile toward the Cubans' efforts to decrease their economic reliance on the United States.

In January 1961, just prior to leaving office, Eisenhower formally severed relations with the Cuban government. In April 1961, the administration of newly-elected American President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 mounted an unsuccessful CIA-organized ship-borne invasion of the island at Playa Girón and Playa Larga in Las Villas Provincea failure that publicly humiliated the United States. Castro responded by embracing Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

, and the Soviet Union pledged to provide support.

Berlin Crisis of 1961




The Berlin Crisis of 1961
Berlin Crisis of 1961
The Berlin Crisis of 1961 was the last major politico-military European incident of the Cold War about the occupational status of the German capital city, Berlin, and of post–World War II Germany. The U.S.S.R...

 was the last major incident in the Cold War regarding the status of Berlin and post–World War II Germany
History of Germany since 1945
As a consequence of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II Germany was split between the two global blocs in the East and West, a period known as the division of Germany. While seven million prisoners and forced laborers left Germany, over 10 million German speaking refugees arrived there from...

. By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to restricting emigration movement
Eastern Bloc emigration and defection
Eastern Bloc emigration and defection was a point of controversy during the Cold War. After World War II, emigration restrictions were imposed by countries in the Eastern Bloc, which consisted of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern and Central Europe...

 was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually emigrated to West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 through a "loophole" in the system that existed between East and West Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, where the four occupying World War II powers governed movement.

The emigration resulted in a massive "brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

" from East Germany to West Germany of younger educated professionals, such that nearly 20% of East Germany's population had migrated to West Germany by 1961. That June, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 issued a new ultimatum
Ultimatum
An ultimatum is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests...

 demanding the withdrawal of Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 forces from West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

. The request was rebuffed, and on August 13, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, effectively closing the loophole.

Cuban Missile Crisis and Khrushchev ouster


Continuing to seek ways to oust Castro following the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Kennedy and his administration experimented with various ways of covertly facilitating the overthrow of the Cuban government. Significant hopes were pinned on a covert program named the Cuban Project
Cuban Project
The Cuban Project was a program of Central Intelligence Agency covert operations developed during the early years of the administration of President of the United States John F. Kennedy...

, devised under the Kennedy administration in 1961.

In February 1962, Khrushchev learned of the American plans regarding Cuba: a "Cuban project"approved by the CIA and stipulating the overthrow of the Cuban government in October, possibly involving the American militaryand yet one more Kennedy-ordered operation to assassinate Castro. Preparations to install Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba were undertaken in response.

Alarmed, Kennedy considered various reactions, and ultimately responded to the installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba with a naval blockade and presented an ultimatum to the Soviets. Khrushchev backed down from a confrontation, and the Soviet Union removed the missiles in return for an American pledge not to invade Cuba again.

The Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 (October–November 1962) brought the world closer to nuclear war than ever before. It further demonstrated the concept of mutually assured destruction
Mutual assured destruction
Mutual Assured Destruction, or mutually assured destruction , is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of...

, that neither nuclear power was prepared to use nuclear weapons fearing total destruction via nuclear retaliation. The aftermath of the crisis led to the first efforts in the nuclear arms race
Nuclear arms race
The nuclear arms race was a competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the United States, the Soviet Union, and their respective allies during the Cold War...

 at nuclear disarmament and improving relations, although the Cold War's first arms control agreement, the Antarctic Treaty
Antarctic Treaty System
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land...

, had come into force in 1961.

In 1964, Khrushchev's Kremlin colleagues managed to oust him, but allowed him a peaceful retirement. Accused of rudeness and incompetence, he was also credited with ruining Soviet agriculture and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war
Brinkmanship (Cold War)
Brinkmanship is a term that was used to refer to the constant competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.-Origin:The the term "brinkmanship" was originally coined by United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles during the height of the Cold War...

. Khrushchev had become an international embarrassment when he authorized construction of the Berlin Wall, a public humiliation for Marxism-Leninism.

Confrontation through détente (1962–79)



In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Cold War participants struggled to adjust to a new, more complicated pattern of international relations in which the world was no longer divided into two clearly opposed blocs. From the beginning of the post-war period, Western Europe and Japan rapidly recovered from the destruction of World War II and sustained strong economic growth through the 1950s and 1960s, with per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 GDPs approaching those of the United States, while Eastern Bloc economies stagnated
Eastern Bloc economies
After the Soviet Union's occupation of much of the Eastern Bloc during World War II, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin implemented socioeconomic transformations of each of the Eastern Bloc economies that comported with the Soviet Communist economic model...

.

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, combined with the growing influence of Third World alignments such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

 (OPEC) and the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

, less-powerful countries had more room to assert their independence and often showed themselves resistant to pressure from either superpower. Meanwhile, Moscow was forced to turn its attention inward to deal with the Soviet Union's deep-seated domestic economic problems. During this period, Soviet leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 and Alexei Kosygin embraced the notion of détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

.

French NATO withdrawal



The unity of NATO was breached early in its history, with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

's presidency of France from 1958 onwards. De Gaulle protested at the United States' strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship
Special relationship
The Special Relationship is a phrase used to describe the exceptionally close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, following its use in a 1946 speech by British statesman Winston Churchill...

 between the United States and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the United States and the United Kingdom, and also for the expansion of NATO's coverage to include geographical areas of interest to France, most notably French Algeria
French Algeria
French Algeria lasted from 1830 to 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France, much like Corsica and Réunion are to this day. The vast arid interior of Algeria, like the rest...

, where France was waging a counter-insurgency and sought NATO assistance.

Considering the response given to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began the development of an independent French nuclear deterrent and in 1966 withdrew from NATO's military structures and expelled NATO troops from French soil.

Czechoslovakia invasion



In 1968, a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 called the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 took place that included "Action Program
Action Programme (1968)
The Action Programme is a political plan, devised by Alexander Dubček and his associates in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia , that was published on April 5, 1968. The program suggested that the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic find its own path towards mature socialism rather than follow the...

" of liberalizations, which described increasing freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

, freedom of speech and freedom of movement, along with an economic emphasis on consumer goods, the possibility of a multiparty government, limiting the power of the secret police and potentially withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact.

In answer to the Prague Spring, the Soviet army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

, together with most of their Warsaw Pact allies, invaded Czechoslovakia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

. The invasion was followed by a wave of emigration, including an estimated 70,000 Czechs initially fleeing, with the total eventually reaching 300,000. The invasion sparked intense protests from Yugoslavia, Romania and China, and from Western European communist parties.

Brezhnev Doctrine




In September 1968, during a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party
Polish United Workers' Party
The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the People's Republic of Poland from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism.- The Party's Program and Goals :...

 one month after the invasion of Czechoslovakia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

, Brezhnev outlined the Brezhnev Doctrine
Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet Union foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article, entitled “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.” Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the...

, in which he claimed the right to violate the sovereignty of any country attempting to replace Marxism-Leninism with capitalism. During the speech, Brezhnev stated:

The doctrine found its origins in the failures of Marxism-Leninism in states like Poland, Hungary and East Germany, which were facing a declining standard of living contrasting with the prosperity of West Germany and the rest of Western Europe.

Third World escalations


In late April 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 landed some 22,000 troops in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 for a one-year occupation of the republic in an invasion codenamed Operation Power Pack, citing the threat of the emergence of a Cuban-style revolution in Latin America. Presidential elections held in 1966, during the occupation, handed victory to the conservative Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Balaguer
Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1960 to 1962, from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996.-Early life and introduction to politics:...

. Although Balaguer enjoyed a real base of support from sectors of the elites as well as peasants, his formally running Dominican Revolutionary Party
Dominican Revolutionary Party
The Dominican Revolutionary Party is one of the main political parties of the Dominican Republic. It has a moderate centrist position, social democratic in name. The party's distinctive color is white....

 (PRD) opponent, former President Juan Bosch
Juan Bosch
Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was a politician, historian, short story writer, essayist, educator, and the first cleanly elected president of the Dominican Republic for a brief time in 1963. Previously, he had been the leader of the Dominican opposition in exile to the dictatorial regime of Rafael...

, did not actively campaign. The PRD's activists were violently harassed by the Dominican police and armed forces.

In Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, the hardline anti-communist General Suharto wrested control of the state from his predecessor Sukarno
Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

 in an attempt to establish a "New Order". From 1965 to 1966, the military orchestrated the mass killing of an estimated half-million members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party and other leftist organizations.

Escalating the scale of American intervention in the ongoing conflict between Ngô Đình Diệm's South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

ese government and the communist National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) insurgents opposing it, Johnson stationed some 575,000 troops in Southeast Asia to defeat the NLF and their North Vietnamese allies in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, but his costly policy weakened the US economy and, by 1975, ultimately culminated in what most of the world saw as a humiliating defeat of the world's most powerful superpower at the hands of one of the world's poorest nations.

In Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, the Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Chile
The Socialist Party of Chile is a political party, that is part of the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy coalition. Its historical leader was the late President of Chile Salvador Allende Gossens, who was deposed by General Pinochet in 1973...

 candidate Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 won the presidential election of 1970, becoming the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. Backed by the CIA, General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

 carried out a violent coup against the government on September 11, 1973 and quickly consolidated all political power as a military dictator. Allende's reforms of the economy were rolled back and leftist opponents were killed or detained in internment camps under the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA).

Additionally, the continent-wide South American Operation Condor
Operation Condor
Operation Condor , was a campaign of political repression involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America...

employed by dictators in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Chile, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

, and Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 to suppress leftist dissentwas backed by the United States, which (sometimes accurately) perceived Soviet or Cuban support behind these opposition movements.

Displeasing the United States, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 began pursuing closer relations with the Cuban government as a result of Michael Manley
Michael Manley
Michael Norman Manley ON OCC was the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica . Manley was a democratic socialist....

's election in 1972. The United States' covert response included financing Manley's political opponents, the instigation of mutiny in the Jamaican army, and the fitting out of a private mercernary army against the Manley government. Violence ensued.

Moreover, the Middle East continued to be a source of contention. Egypt, which received the bulk of its arms and economic assistance from the USSR, was a troublesome client, with a reluctant Soviet Union feeling obliged to assist in both the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 (with advisers and technicians) and the War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

 (with pilots and aircraft) against pro-Western Israel. Despite the beginning of an Egyptian shift from a pro-Soviet to a pro-American orientation in 1972 (under Egypt's new leader Anwar El Sadat), rumors of imminent Soviet intervention on the Egyptians' behalf during the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 brought about a massive American mobilization that threatened to wreck détente. Although pre-Sadat Egypt had been the largest recipient of Soviet aid in the Middle East, the Soviets were also successful in establishing close relations with communist South Yemen, as well as the nationalist governments of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Indirect Soviet assistance to the Palestinian side of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 included support for Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

's Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO).

In Africa, Somali
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 army officers led by Mohamed Siad Barre carried out a bloodless coup in 1969, creating the socialist Somali Democratic Republic
Somali Democratic Republic
The Somali Democratic Republic was the name that the communist regime of former President of Somalia Major General Mohamed Siad Barre gave to Somalia after seizing power during a bloodless coup d'état in 1969...

. The Soviet Union vowed to support Somalia. Four years later, the pro-American Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a 1974 coup by the Derg
Derg
The Derg or Dergue was a Communist military junta that came to power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Haile Selassie I. Derg, which means "committee" or "council" in Ge'ez, is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, a committee of...

, a radical group of Ethiopian army officers led by the pro-Soviet Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is a politician who was formerly the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991...

, who built up relations with the Cubans and Soviets. When fighting between the Somalis and Ethiopians broke out in the 1977-1978 Somali-Ethiopian Ogaden War
Ogaden War
The Ogaden War was a conventional conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977 and 1978 over the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. In a notable illustration of the nature of Cold War alliances, the Soviet Union switched from supplying aid to Somalia to supporting Ethiopia, which had previously been...

, Barre lost his Soviet support and allied with the United States. Cuban troops took part in the war on the side of the Ethiopians.

The 1974 Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 against the authoritarian Estado Novo returned Portugal to a multi-party system and facilitated the independence of the Portuguese colonies Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

. In Africa, where Angolan rebels had waged a multi-faction independence war against Portuguese rule since 1961
Angolan War of Independence
The Angolan War of Independence began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and became a multi-faction struggle for control of Portugal's Overseas Province of Angola with three nationalist movements and a separatist movement...

, a two-decade civil war
Angolan Civil War
The Angolan Civil War was a major civil conflict in the Southern African state of Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with some interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. Prior to this, a decolonisation conflict had taken...

 replaced the anti-colonial struggle as fighting erupted between the communist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), backed by the Cubans and Soviets, and the National Liberation Front of Angola
National Liberation Front of Angola
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola was a militant organization that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence under the leadership of Holden Roberto. The FNLA became a political party in 1992....

 (FNLA), backed by the United States, the People's Republic of China, and Mobutu's government in Zaire
Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

. The United States, the apartheid government of South Africa, and several other African governments also supported a third faction, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Without bothering to consult the Soviets in advance, the Cuban government sent its troops to fight alongside the MPLA. Apartheid South Africa sent troops to support the UNITA, but the MPLA, bolstered by Cuban personnel and Soviet assistance, eventually gained the upper hand.

In southeast Asia, the colony of East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

 unilaterally declared independence under the left-wing Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor is a leftist political party in East Timor. They presently hold a plurality of seats in the National Parliament and formed the government in East Timor from independence until 2007...

 (Fretilin) in November 1975. Supported by Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and the United States, Suharto's Indonesia invaded in Decemberthe beginning of an occupation that would last a quarter-century
Indonesian occupation of East Timor
Indonesia occupied East Timor from December 1975 to October 1999. After centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in East Timor, a 1974 coup in Portugal led to decolonization among its former colonies, creating instability in East Timor and leaving its future uncertain...

.

Sino-American rapproachment




As a result of the Sino–Soviet split, tensions along the Chinese–Soviet border reached their peak in 1969, and United States President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 decided to use the conflict to shift the balance of power towards the West in the Cold War. The Chinese had sought improved relations with the Americans in order to gain advantage over the Soviets as well.

In February 1972, Nixon announced a stunning rapprochement with Mao's China by traveling to Beijing and meeting with Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 and Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

. At this time, the USSR achieved rough nuclear parity with the United States; meanwhile, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 both weakened America's influence in the Third World and cooled relations with Western Europe. Although indirect conflict between Cold War powers continued through the late 1960s and early 1970s, tensions were beginning to ease.

Nixon, Brezhnev, and détente



Following his China visit, Nixon met with Soviet leaders, including Brezhnev in Moscow. These Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 resulted in two landmark arms control treaties: SALT I, the first comprehensive limitation pact signed by the two superpowers, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons....

, which banned the development of systems designed to intercept incoming missiles. These aimed to limit the development of costly anti-ballistic missiles and nuclear missiles.

Nixon and Brezhnev proclaimed a new era of "peaceful coexistence" and established the groundbreaking new policy of détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

(or cooperation) between the two superpowers. Meanwhile, Brezhnev attempted to revive the Soviet economy, which was declining in part because of heavy military expenditures.
Between 1972 and 1974, the two sides also agreed to strengthen their economic ties, including agreements for increased trade. As a result of their meetings, détente would replace the hostility of the Cold War and the two countries would live mutually.

Meanwhile, these developments coincided with the "Ostpolitik
Ostpolitik
Neue Ostpolitik , or Ostpolitik for short, refers to the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic beginning in 1969...

" of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

. Other agreements were concluded to stabilize the situation in Europe, culminating in the Helsinki Accords
Helsinki Accords
thumb|300px|[[Erich Honecker]] and [[Helmut Schmidt]] in Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in Helsinki 1975....

 signed at the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

 in 1975.

Late 1970s deterioration of relations


In the 1970s, the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

, led by Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

, continued to persecute distinguished Soviet personalities such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

 and Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

, who were criticising the Soviet leadership in harsh terms. Indirect conflict between the superpowers continued through this period of détente in the Third World, particularly during political crises in the Middle East, Chile, Ethiopia, and Angola.

Although President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 tried to place another limit on the arms race with a SALT II
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 agreement in 1979, his efforts were undermined by the other events that year, including the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 and the Nicaraguan Revolution
Nicaraguan Revolution
The Nicaraguan Revolution encompasses the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front which led to the violent ousting of that dictatorship in 1979, and the...

, which both ousted pro-US regimes, and his retaliation against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in December.

Second Cold War (1979–85)



The term second Cold War has been used by some historians to refer to the period of intensive reawakening of Cold War tensions and conflicts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Tensions greatly increased between the major powers with both sides becoming more militaristic.

Soviet war in Afghanistan



During December 1979, approximately 75,000 Soviet troops invaded
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 Afghanistan in order to support the Marxist government formed by ex-Prime-minister Nur Muhammad Taraki
Nur Muhammad Taraki
Nur Muhammad Taraki was an Afghan politician and statesman during the Cold War. Taraki was born near Kabul and educated at Kabul University, after which he started his political career as a journalist...

, assassinated that September by one of his party rivals.

In a post-Afghan War interview conducted by French weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur
Le Nouvel Observateur
Le Nouvel Observateur is a weekly French newsmagazine. Based in Paris, it is the most prominent French general information magazine in terms of audience and circulation ....

, President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

's National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981....

 stated that the president had already signed a directive to provide aid to the anti-communist mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 insurgency against the pro-Soviet PDPA
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

 government of Afghanistan in July, some six months prior to the Soviet military intervention. Asked by the interviewer if he had regrets, given that "the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan" and that "people didn't believe them," Brzezinski responded:


Carter responded to the Soviet intervention by withdrawing the SALT II
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 treaty from the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, imposing embargoes on grain and technology shipments to the USSR, and demanding a significant increase in military spending, and further announced that the United States would boycott the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

. He described the Soviet incursion as "the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War".

Reagan and Thatcher



In January 1977, four years prior to becoming president, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 bluntly stated, in a conversation with Richard V. Allen
Richard V. Allen
Richard Vincent Allen was the United States National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1982.Allen was born in 1936 in Collingswood, New Jersey. A graduate of Saint Francis Preparatory School in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, Allen received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the...

, his basic expectation in relation to the Cold War. "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic," he said. "It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?" In 1980, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, vowing to increase military spending and confront the Soviets everywhere. Both Reagan and new British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 denounced the Soviet Union and its ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

. Reagan labeled the Soviet Union an "evil empire
Evil empire
The phrase evil empire was applied to the Soviet Union especially by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who took an aggressive, hard-line stance that favored matching and exceeding the Soviet Union's strategic and global military capabilities, in calling for a rollback strategy that would, in his words,...

" and predicted that Communism would be left on the "ash heap of history
Ash heap of history
The ash heap of history is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc...

".

Despite anti-American sentiment in Iran as a result of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 against the pro-American shah and an accompanying breakdown in relations with the new Ayatollah Khomeini government over the Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

, the Reagan administration reached out to the anti-communist Khomeini in an effort to recruit the theocracy into the American camp in the early 1980s. Then-CIA director William Casey
William J. Casey
William Joseph Casey was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1981 to 1987. In this capacity he oversaw the entire United States Intelligence Community and personally directed the Central Intelligence Agency ....

 described the Khomeini government as "faltering and [possibly] moving toward a moment of truth... The U.S. has almost no cards to play; the USSR has many." One mode of American support for the Iranians consisted of secret arms sales. In 1983, the CIA passed an extensive list of Iranian communists and other leftists secretly working in the Iranian government to Khomeini's administration. A Tower Commission
Tower Commission
Commissioned on November 26, 1986 by American President Ronald Reagan, the Tower Commission was in response to the Iran Contra scandal. Taking effect on December 1, Reagan appointed Republican and former Senator John Tower of Texas, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National...

 report later observed that the list was utilized to take "measures, including mass executions, that virtually eliminated the pro-Soviet infrastructure in Iran."

By early 1985, Reagan's anti-communist position had developed into a stance known as the new Reagan Doctrine
Reagan Doctrine
The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War...

which, in addition to containment, formulated an additional right to subvert existing communist governments. Besides continuing Carters' policy of supporting the Islamic opponents of the Soviet Union and the Soviet-backed PDPA
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

 government in Afghanistan, the CIA also sought to weaken the Soviet Union itself by promoting political Islam in the majority-Muslim Central Asian Soviet Union
Soviet Central Asia
Soviet Central Asia refers to the section of Central Asia formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, as well as the time period of Soviet administration . In terms of area, it is nearly synonymous with Russian Turkestan, the name for the region during the Russian Empire...

. Additionally, the CIA encouraged anti-communist Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI) agency to train Muslims from around the world to participate in the jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 against the Soviet Union.

Polish Solidarity movement and martial law


Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 provided a moral focus for anti-communism
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

; a visit to his native Poland in 1979 stimulated a religious and nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 resurgence centered on the Solidarity movement that galvanized opposition and may have led to his attempted assassination two years later.

In December 1981, Poland's Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's...

 reacted to the crisis by imposing a period of martial law
Martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it. Thousands of opposition...

. Reagan imposed economic sanctions on Poland in response. Mikhail Suslov
Mikhail Suslov
Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1965, and as unofficial Chief Ideologue of the Party until his death in 1982. Suslov was responsible for party democracy and the separation of power...

, the Kremlin's top ideologist, advised Soviet leaders not to intervene if Poland fell under the control of Solidarity, for fear it might lead to heavy economic sanctions, representing a catastrophe for the Soviet economy.

Soviet and US military and economic issues





Moscow had built up a military that consumed as much as 25 percent of the Soviet Union's gross national product at the expense of consumer goods
Consumer goods in the Soviet Union
The industry of the Soviet Union was usually divided into two major categories. Group A was "heavy industry," which included all goods that serve as an input required for the production of some other, final good...

 and investment in civilian sectors. Soviet spending on the arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

 and other Cold War commitments both caused and exacerbated deep-seated structural problems in the Soviet system, which saw at least a decade of economic stagnation during the late Brezhnev years.

Soviet investment in the defense sector was not driven by military necessity, but in large part by the interests of massive party and state bureaucracies
Nomenklatura
The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the...

 dependent on the sector for their own power and privileges. The Soviet Armed Forces
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 became the largest in the world in terms of the numbers and types of weapons they possessed, in the number of troops in their ranks, and in the sheer size of their military–industrial base
Military-industrial complex
Military–industrial complex , or Military–industrial-congressional complex is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the industrial sector that supports them...

. However, the quantitative advantages held by the Soviet military often concealed areas where the Eastern Bloc dramatically lagged behind the West.


By the early 1980s, the USSR had built up a military arsenal and army surpassing that of the United States. Soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, president Carter began massively building up the United States military. This buildup was accelerated by the Reagan administration, which increased the military spending from 5.3 percent of GNP in 1981 to 6.5 percent in 1986, the largest peacetime defense buildup in United States history.

Tensions continued intensifying in the early 1980s when Reagan revived the B-1 Lancer
B-1 Lancer
The Rockwell B-1 LancerThe name "Lancer" is only applied to the B-1B version, after the program was revived. is a four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force...

 program that was canceled by the Carter administration, produced LGM-118 Peacekeepers, installed US cruise missiles in Europe, and announced his experimental Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

, dubbed "Star Wars" by the media, a defense program to shoot down missiles in mid-flight.

With the background of a buildup in tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, and the deployment of Soviet RSD-10 Pioneer ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s targeting Western Europe, NATO decided, under the impetus of the Carter presidency, to deploy MGM-31 Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe, primarily West Germany. This deployment would have placed missiles just 10 minutes' striking distance from Moscow.

After Reagan's military buildup, the Soviet Union did not respond by further building its military because the enormous military expenses, along with inefficient planned manufacturing
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 and collectivized agriculture, were already a heavy burden for the Soviet economy
Economy of the Soviet Union
The economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was based on a system of state ownership of the means of production, collective farming, industrial manufacturing and centralized administrative planning...

. At the same time, Reagan persuaded Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 to increase oil production, even as other non-OPEC nations were increasing production. These developments contributed to the 1980s oil glut
1980s oil glut
The 1980s oil glut was a serious surplus of crude oil caused by falling demand following the 1970s Energy Crisis. The world price of oil, which had peaked in 1980 at over US$35 per barrel , fell in 1986 from $27 to below $10...

, which affected the Soviet Union, as oil was the main source of Soviet export revenues. Issues with command economics, oil prices decreases and large military expenditures gradually brought the Soviet economy to stagnation.

On September 1, 1983, the Soviet Union shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 with 269 people aboard, including sitting Congressman Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald
Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgia as a Democrat...

, when it violated Soviet airspace just past the west coast of Sakhalin Island
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 near Moneron Island
Moneron Island
Moneron Island, is a Russian possession located off Sakhalin Island.-Description:Moneron has an area of about and a highest point of . It is approximately long by wide, and is located from Sakhalin's port of Nevelsk and about directly southwest of Sakhalin Island itself at the northeastern...

 —an act which Reagan characterized as a "massacre". This act increased support for military deployment, overseen by Reagan, which stood in place until the later accords between Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The Able Archer 83
Able Archer 83
Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO command post exercise starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned Western Europe, centred on the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Headquarters situated at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict...

 exercise in November 1983, a realistic simulation of a coordinated NATO nuclear release, has been called most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis, as the Soviet leadership keeping a close watch on it considered a nuclear attack to be imminent.

US domestic public concerns about intervening in foreign conflicts persisted from the end of the Vietnam War. The Reagan administration emphasized the use of quick, low-cost counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 tactics to intervene in foreign conflicts. In 1983, the Reagan administration intervened in the multisided Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

, invaded Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, bombed Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and backed the Central American Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

, anti-communist paramilitaries seeking to overthrow the Soviet-aligned Sandinista
Sandinista National Liberation Front
The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas in both English and Spanish...

 government in Nicaragua. While Reagan's interventions against Grenada and Libya were popular in the United States, his backing of the Contra rebels was mired in controversy
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

.

Meanwhile, the Soviets incurred high costs for their own foreign interventions. Although Brezhnev was convinced in 1979 that the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 would be brief, Muslim guerrillas, aided by the US and other countries, waged a fierce resistance against the invasion. The Kremlin sent nearly 100,000 troops to support its puppet regime in Afghanistan, leading many outside observers to dub the war "the Soviets' Vietnam". However, Moscow's quagmire in Afghanistan was far more disastrous for the Soviets than Vietnam had been for the Americans because the conflict coincided with a period of internal decay and domestic crisis in the Soviet system.

A senior US State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 official predicted such an outcome as early as 1980, positing that the invasion resulted in part from a "domestic crisis within the Soviet may be that the thermodynamic law of entropy
Entropy
Entropy is a thermodynamic property that can be used to determine the energy available for useful work in a thermodynamic process, such as in energy conversion devices, engines, or machines. Such devices can only be driven by convertible energy, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency when...

  up with the Soviet system, which now seems to expend more energy on simply maintaining its equilibrium than on improving itself. We could be seeing a period of foreign movement at a time of internal decay". The Soviets were not helped by their aged and sclerotic leadership either: Brezhnev, virtually incapacitated in his last years, was succeeded by Andropov and Chernenko, neither of whom lasted long. After Chernenko's death, Reagan was asked why he had not negotiated with Soviet leaders. Reagan quipped, "They keep dying on me".

Final years (1985–91)




Gorbachev reforms



By the time the comparatively youthful Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 became General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 in 1985, the Soviet economy was stagnant and faced a sharp fall in foreign currency earnings as a result of the downward slide in oil prices in the 1980s. These issues prompted Gorbachev to investigate measures to revive the ailing state.

An ineffectual start led to the conclusion that deeper structural changes were necessary and in June 1987 Gorbachev announced an agenda of economic reform called perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

, or restructuring. Perestroika relaxed the production quota
Production quota
A production quota is a goal for the production of a good. It is typically set by a government or an organization, and can be applied to an individual worker, firm, industry or country. Quotas can be set high to encourage production, or can be used to limit production to control the supply of goods...

 system, allowed private ownership of businesses and paved the way for foreign investment. These measures were intended to redirect the country's resources from costly Cold War military commitments to more productive areas in the civilian sector.

Despite initial skepticism in the West, the new Soviet leader proved to be committed to reversing the Soviet Union's deteriorating economic condition instead of continuing the arms race with the West. Partly as a way to fight off internal opposition from party cliques to his reforms, Gorbachev simultaneously introduced glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

, or openness, which increased freedom of the press and the transparency of state institutions. Glasnost was intended to reduce the corruption at the top of the Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 and moderate the abuse of power in the Central Committee
Central Committee
Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the twentieth century and of the surviving, mostly Trotskyist, states in the early twenty first. In such party organizations the...

. Glasnost also enabled increased contact between Soviet citizens and the western world, particularly with the United States, contributing to the accelerating détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 between the two nations.

Thaw in relations



In response to the Kremlin's military and political concessions, Reagan agreed to renew talks on economic issues and the scaling-back of the arms race. The first was held in November 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

. At one stage the two men, accompanied only by an interpreter, agreed in principle to reduce each country's nuclear arsenal by 50 percent. A second Reykjavík Summit
Reykjavik Summit
The Reykjavík Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, held in the famous house of Höfði in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland, on October 11–12, 1986...

 was held in Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. Talks went well until the focus shifted to Reagan's proposed Strategic Defense Initiative, which Gorbachev wanted eliminated: Reagan refused. The negotiations failed, but the third summit in 1987 led to a breakthrough with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. Signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, it was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and...

 (INF). The INF treaty eliminated all nuclear-armed, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles) and their infrastructure.

East–West tensions rapidly subsided through the mid-to-late 1980s, culminating with the final summit in Moscow in 1989, when Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 signed the START I
START I
START was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994...

 arms control treaty. During the following year it became apparent to the Soviets that oil and gas subsidies, along with the cost of maintaining massive troops levels, represented a substantial economic drain. In addition, the security advantage of a buffer zone was recognised as irrelevant and the Soviets officially declared
Sinatra Doctrine
"Sinatra Doctrine" was the name that the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev used jokingly to describe its policy of allowing neighboring Warsaw Pact nations to determine their own internal affairs...

 that they would no longer intervene in the affairs of allied states in Eastern Europe.

In 1989, Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan and by 1990 Gorbachev consented
Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany
The Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany, was negotiated in 1990 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic , and the Four Powers which occupied Germany at the end of World War II in Europe: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the...

 to German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

, the only alternative being a Tiananmen
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

 scenario. When the Berlin Wall came down, Gorbachev's "Common European Home
Common European Home
The "Common European Home" was a concept created and espoused by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.The concept has some antecedents in Brezhnev's foreign policy, who used the phrase during a visit to Bonn in 1981. However, at this time it was likely used in an attempt to sow discord...

" concept began to take shape.

On December 3, 1989, Gorbachev and Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, declared the Cold War over at the Malta Summit
Malta Summit
The Malta Summit consisted of a meeting between U.S. President George H. W. Bush and U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev, taking place between December 2-3 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was their second meeting following a meeting that included then President Ronald...

; a year later, the two former rivals were partners in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 against Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

.

Faltering Soviet system




By 1989, the Soviet alliance system was on the brink of collapse, and, deprived of Soviet military support, the Communist leaders of the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 states were losing power. In the USSR itself, glasnost weakened the bonds that held the Soviet Union together and by February 1990, with the dissolution of the USSR looming, the Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 was forced to surrender its 73-year-old monopoly on state power.

At the same time freedom of press and dissent allowed by glasnost and the festering "nationalities question" increasingly led the Union's component republics to declare their autonomy from Moscow, with the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 withdrawing from the Union entirely. The 1989 revolutionary wave
Revolutions of 1989
The Revolutions of 1989 were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.The events began in Poland in 1989, and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and...

 that swept across Central and Eastern Europe overthrew the Soviet-style communist states, such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, Romania being the only Eastern-bloc country to topple its communist regime violently and execute its head of state.

Soviet dissolution




Gorbachev's permissive attitude toward Eastern Europe did not initially extend to Soviet territory; even Bush, who strove to maintain friendly relations, condemned the January 1991 killings in Latvia
January 1991 events in Latvia
The Barricades were events that took place between 13 and 27 January 1991 in Latvia. Latvia, which had declared independence from the Soviet Union a year earlier, anticipated that Soviet Union might attempt to violently regain control over the country....

 and Lithuania
January Events
The January Events took place in Lithuania between January 11 and 13, 1991 in the aftermath of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. As a result of Soviet military actions, 14 civilians were killed and more than 1000 injured...

, privately warning that economic ties would be frozen if the violence continued. The USSR was fatally weakened by a failed coup and a growing number of Soviet republics
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

, particularly Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

, who threatened to secede from the USSR. The Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

, created on December 21, 1991, is viewed as a successor entity to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 but, according to Russia's leaders, its purpose was to "allow a civilized divorce" between the Soviet Republics
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

 and is comparable to a loose confederation
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

. The USSR was declared officially dissolved on December 25, 1991.

Aftermath



Following the Cold War, Russia cut military spending dramatically, creating a wrenching adjustment as the military-industrial sector had previously employed one of every five Soviet adults, meaning its dismantling left millions throughout the former Soviet Union unemployed. After Russia embarked on capitalist economic reforms in the 1990s, it suffered a financial crisis and a recession more severe than the US and Germany had experienced during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. Russian living standards have worsened overall in the post–Cold War years, although the economy has resumed growth since 1999.

The aftermath of the Cold War continues to influence world affairs. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the post–Cold War world is widely considered as unipolar, with the United States the sole remaining superpower. The Cold War defined the political role of the United States in the post–World War II world: by 1989 the US held military alliances with 50 countries, and had 526,000 troops posted abroad in dozens of countries, with 326,000 in Europe (two-thirds of which in west Germany) and about 130,000 in Asia (mainly Japan and South Korea). The Cold War also marked the apex of peacetime military-industrial complex
Military-industrial complex
Military–industrial complex , or Military–industrial-congressional complex is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the industrial sector that supports them...

es, especially in the USA, and large-scale military funding of science
Military funding of science
The military funding of science has had a powerful transformative effect on the practice and products of scientific research since the early 20th century...

. These complexes, though their origins may be found as early as the 19th century, have grown considerably during the Cold War. The military-industrial complexes have great impact on their countries and help shape their society, policy and foreign relations.

Military expenditures by the US during the Cold War years were estimated to have been $8 trillion, while nearly 100,000 Americans lost their lives in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. Although the loss of life among Soviet soldiers is difficult to estimate, as a share of their gross national product the financial cost for the Soviet Union was far higher than that incurred by the United States.

In addition to the loss of life by uniformed soldiers, millions died in the superpowers' proxy war
Proxy war
A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war that results when opposing powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. While powers have sometimes used governments as proxies, violent non-state actors, mercenaries, or other third parties are more often employed...

s around the globe, most notably in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. Most of the proxy wars and subsidies for local conflicts ended along with the Cold War; interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, as well as refugee and displaced persons crises have declined sharply in the post–Cold War years.

The aftermath of Cold War conflict, however, is not always easily erased, as many of the economic and social tensions that were exploited to fuel Cold War competition in parts of the Third World remain acute. The breakdown of state control in a number of areas formerly ruled by Communist governments has produced new civil and ethnic conflicts, particularly in the former Yugoslavia. In Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War has ushered in an era of economic growth and an increase in the number of liberal democracies
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

, while in other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, independence was accompanied by state failure
Failed state
The term failed state is often used by political commentators and journalists to describe a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government...

.

Historiography



As soon as the term "Cold War" was popularized to refer to post-war tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, interpreting the course and origins of the conflict has been a source of heated controversy among historians, political scientists, and journalists. In particular, historians have sharply disagreed as to who was responsible for the breakdown of Soviet–US relations after the Second World War; and whether the conflict between the two superpowers was inevitable, or could have been avoided. Historians have also disagreed on what exactly the Cold War was, what the sources of the conflict were, and how to disentangle patterns of action and reaction between the two sides.

Although explanations of the origins of the conflict in academic discussions are complex and diverse, several general schools of thought on the subject can be identified. Historians commonly speak of three differing approaches to the study of the Cold War: "orthodox" accounts, "revisionism", and "post-revisionism".

"Orthodox" accounts place responsibility for the Cold War on the Soviet Union and its expansion into Eastern Europe. "Revisionist" writers place more responsibility for the breakdown of post-war peace on the United States, citing a range of US efforts to isolate and confront the Soviet Union well before the end of World War II. "Post-revisionists" see the events of the Cold War as more nuanced, and attempt to be more balanced in determining what occurred during the Cold War. Much of the historiography on the Cold War weaves together two or even all three of these broad categories.

See also



  • American imperialism
  • Canada in the Cold War
    Canada in the Cold War
    Canada played a middle power, and occasionally an important, role in the Cold War. Throughout the US/Soviet rivalry, Canada was normally on the side of the United States...

  • Cold war (general term)
    Cold war (general term)
    A cold war or cold warfare is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates...

  • Culture during the Cold War
    Culture during the Cold War
    The Cold War was reflected in culture through music, movies, books, and other media. One element of the Cold War often seen relates directly or indirectly to the threat of a nuclear war. Another is the conflict between the superpowers in terms of espionage. Many works use the Cold War as a...

  • Danube River Conference of 1948
    Danube River Conference of 1948
    The Danube River Conference of 1948 was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to develop a new international regime for the development and control of the Danube in the wake of World War II...

  • Index of Soviet Union-related articles
  • List of Soviet Union–United States summits
  • McCarthyism
    McCarthyism
    McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

  • Post–World War II economic expansion
  • Soviet Empire
    Soviet Empire
    During the Cold War, the informal term "Soviet Empire" referred to the Soviet Union's influence over a number of smaller nations who were nominally independent but subject to direct military force if they tried to leave the Soviet system; see Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and Prague Spring.Though...

  • Timeline of events in the Cold War
    Timeline of events in the Cold War
    -1945:*February 4: The Yalta Conference occurs, deciding the post-war status of Germany. The Allies of World War II divide Germany into four occupation zones. The Allied nations agree that free elections are to be held in all countries occupied by Nazi Germany...

  • Unethical human experimentation in the United States
  • World War III
    World War III
    World War III denotes a successor to World War II that would be on a global scale, with common speculation that it would be likely nuclear and devastating in nature....


:Category:Cold War by period & :Category:Cold War by year

Primary sources

  • Hanhimaki, Jussi and Odd Arne Westad, eds. The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts (Oxford University Press, 2003). ISBN 0-19-927280-8.


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