Recovery and cold war: 1945-1968

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AP Euro Unit 10 Post WWII & the COLD WAR (1945-1989)
The end of World War II left the United States and the Soviet Union as the two dominant world powers, and they soon became locked in a Cold war confrontation. The Cold War spread to become a global ideological conflict between democracy and communism and finally erupted into hot wars in Korea and Vietnam.

  • After the end of the European war it became apparent that the U.S. and the Soviet Union had opposing goals for post-war Europe.

  • This was aggravated by the naturally antagonistic relationship between Communism and Capitalism.

U.S. Goals Soviet Goals

1) Encourage Democratic Capitalism 1) Encourage Communism in other countries to

in other countries to prevent the rise spread the world wide workers’ revolution

of communism

2) Gain access to raw materials & markets 2) Rebuild its war ravaged economy using Eastern

to maintain booming US economy Europe’s industrial equipment & raw materials

3) Rebuild European governments & 3) Control Eastern Europe to protect Soviet borders &

create new markets for US goods balance the US influence in Western Europe

4) A reunited, stable, democratic, 4) A weak, divided Germany unable to wage war in the

and economically strong Germany future. Controlled by a pro-Soviet Communist

allied with the West. government.
I. Roots of the “Cold War”

A. U.S. view

1. Stalin intent on creating “spheres” of influence.

a. Broke pledge made at Yalta Conference, February of 1945

b. The Big Three - Winston Churchill, FDR, Joseph Stalin

1) At Yalta the Big Three agreed to:

a) Divide Germany, temporarily, into zones of occupation administered by the allied countries.

b) Require Germany to pay limited reparations to the Soviets.

c) An occupation plan for the rest of Eastern Europe based primarily on which of the allied armies held that territory.

d) Free elections for post-Nazi Eastern Europe (Poland)

2) Eastern European countries become satellites:

a) Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Albania, and Eastern Germany
2. U.S. wanted democracy throughout the world

a. Ideological battle: democracy vs. communism

b. Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech

B. Soviet view

1. U.S. did not open 2nd front early enough in WWII.

2. U.S. and Britain froze Soviets A-bomb project.

3. U.S. termination of lend-lease to Moscow in 1945

4. Wanted “buffer zone” on its western border.
C. Partitioning of war-torn areas leads to ideological conflicts

1. Iron Curtain

2. Germany divided into 4 zones; Berlin also.

2. Korea & Vietnam:

II. Shaping the Postwar World

A. International Monetary Fund (IMF)

-- Bretton Woods Conference: stabilized the currency of post war era (U.S. dollar strongest currency)

B. United Nations

1. “Big Three” at Yalta established the basis for the UN

2. San Francisco Conference (April 1945) – created the UN as a “peacekeeping” organization
III. The German Question

  1. Nuremburg Trials (1945-1946)

1. Allied nations determined the fate of top Nazi leaders accused of war crimes

2. Potsdam Conference – President Truman demanded democratic elections in Eastern European nations

occupied by the Soviet Union

B. Partition of Germany

1. Soviets dominate their eastern zone

2. West Germany becomes independent in 1949

a. Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)

b. Konrad Adenauer – 1st Chancellor

3. East Germany established in 1949

a. German Democratic Republic (GDR) – pro Soviet, Communist government
IV. Cold War and U.S. policy of “Containment”

  1. George Kennan - U.S. diplomat in Moscow – “long telegram” spelled out the cold war conditions developing between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.

B. Truman Doctrine, 1947 – Contain the spread of communism to areas already occupied by the Soviet Union

1. Aid for Turkey and Greece ($400 million) to prevent them from becoming communist nations

2. first act of containment: dawn of the Cold War
C. Marshall Plan (1947)

1. European countries still suffering economically

2. George C. Marshall offers joint plan for recovery - Soviets walk out

3. U.S. Congress wary until coup d’etat in Czechoslovakia (Feb. 1948)

4. Plan: $12.5 billion over 4 years in 16 countries = strengthened US and West European relations

D. Berlin Airlift/ Berlin Blockade, 1948

1. Soviets cut off Allied section of E. Berlin from W. Germany

2. U.S. organized massive airlift for nearly a year.

3. Soviets lifted blockade in May 1949

E. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – April, 1949

1. Members: US, Canada, and most of Western Europe

2. Collective security

3. Soviet response: Warsaw Pact, 1955 : satellite countries & USSR

F. Soviets explode A-bomb in Sept. 1949
G. Communist China (Red China), 1949

1. U.S. supported Jiang Jieshi (Chang Kai-shek)

2. Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) led communist victory

-- Nationalists fled to Formosa (Taiwan)

3. Loss of China seen as major defeat for U.S.
V. Cold War in the 1950s

A. The Korean War (1950 -1953)

1. June 25, North Korean invasion backed by Soviets

2. UN Security Council votes military aid to South Korea

a) Douglas MacArthur appointed UN commander

3. MacArthur is fired by Truman for undermining his authority

4. War ends in 1953 – Korea divided North and South at the 39th parallel

B. Hydrogen Bomb

1. U.S. –1952

2. Soviets -- 1953

3. World now had two superpowers

C. President Eisenhower: “massive retaliation” was the US military strategy in the nuclear age

D. “Peaceful Coexistence” with U.S.: Nikita Khrushchev

1. Stalin’s death in 1953 results in easing of tensions

2. Soviet withdrawal from Austria, 1955

3. Geneva Summit, 1955

4. Suez Canal Crisis, 1956

a. Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal

b. British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt

c. U.S. and Soviets back Nasser and force the invading nations out of Egypt

5. Khrushchev visits the U.S.
E. Hungarian Revolt, (1956) Janos Kadar – crushed by Khrushchev when Hungary attempted to join with the West
F. Sputnik, 1957

1. Space Race is triggered with Soviet successful space program

2. Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) – become the new threat of nuclear warfare

G. Khrushchev issues ultimatum on Berlin, 1958 – orders US and westerners out of West Berlin

1. Khrushchev orders the building of the Berlin Wall in 1960

H. U-2 incident, 1960

1. Increased cold war tensions

V1. Decolonization

A. Postwar era saw total collapse of colonial empires

B. Causes

1. Modern nationalism and belief in self-determination

2. Decline of European prestige
C. India played a key role in decolonization

      1. Indian National Congress

-- Nehru led Congress party in push for independence

2. Muslim League -- Jinnah

3. Mohandas Gandhi: passive resistance

4. India supports Britain in WWII in return for guarantees of independence

5. Clement Atlee & Labour party pushed for independence

        • Lord Mountbatten appointed to oversee process

6. India divided into two nations

a. India – Hindu

b. Pakistan – Muslim
D. China

1. Sun Yat-Sen

2. Chang Kai-Shek

3. Mao Tse-Tung (Mao Zedong)

E. Other Asian nations:

1. Sri Lanka, Burma, Philippines, Indonesia

2. Vietnam

a. Ho Chi Minh

b. Dien Bien Phu, 1954

c. Division of Vietnam into north and south

d. U.S. eventually failed to save South Vietnam from communism
F. Arab nationalism

1. Israel and Palestine

a. Balfour declaration, 1917

b. United Nations: creation of Israel in 1948

c. Struggle between Israelis and Palestinians continues to the present

2. Egypt

a. Arab defeat in 1948 triggered nationalist revolution in 1952

b. Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970)

          • Nationalized Suez Canal in 1956

3. Algeria became independent in 1962
G. Sub-Saharan Africa

1. Decolonization went smoother than in North Africa

2. British Commonwealth of Nations

        1. Strong economic ties remained

3. De Gaulle’s offer to French colonies

4. Cultural imperialism continued

5. Result of decolonization in Sub-Saharan Africa - Neocolonialism

VII. Soviet Eastern Europe

A. Stalin’s final years

1. Repressions

2. Stalinism exported to Eastern Bloc nations

a. Czechoslovakia

b. Yugoslavia: Josep Tito successfully resisted Soviet domination c. Stalin cracked down further in Eastern Europe
B. De-Stalinization

1. Power struggle after Stalin’s death

        • Khrushchev prevailed by 1955

2. 20th Party Congress, 1956

        • Secret anti-Stalin speech

3. Liberalization

a. Vowed to over take the West economically

          • “We will bury you”

          • Gosplan

b. Ferment in the arts

          • Boris Pasternak: Dr. Zhivago

          • Alexander Solzhenitsyn

VIII. Cold War in the 1960s

Socialist regimes: experiment with economic & cultural liberalization

Economic Reforms

  • East bloc economies lagged behind the West = exposed weakness of heavy handed central planning

  • Socialist leaders implemented some decentralization and limited market policies

  • Mixed results:

  1. Hungary: New Economic Mechanism - broke up state monopolies, allowed private retail stores & agriculture = most successful

  2. East Germany: New Economic System (1963) – limited privatization = moderate success (reversed in late 1960’s)

  • Communist planning commissions – recognized that the emphasis on heavy industry could lead to popular discontent – redirected resources to the consumer sector

  1. Shortages of consumer goods led to growing discontent

Cultural Reforms

  • Soviet Union: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn & Boris Pasternak – allowed to publish critical works of fiction

  • Bitterfeld Movement: conference of writers, officials, and workers in East Germany

  • Regime encouraged intellectuals to take a more critical view of life in the East Bloc – so long as they did not directly oppose communism itself.

Ie. Christa Wolf: Divided Heaven (1963) lovers divided between west & east Berlin

  • Dissidents were harassed & forced to emigrate to the west

  • Samizdat “self published” underground literature critical of communism emerged in the Soviet Union and the East Bloc

A. Cold War reheated in late 1950s

1. Sputnik

2. U-2 incident
B. Berlin

1. Khrushchev issued ultimatum on Berlin in 1958

2. Berlin Wall, 1962
C. Cuba

1. Fidel Castro

2. President John F. Kennedy

-- Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961
3. Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct. 1962

a. U.S. issues “quarantine” on Cuba

4. Agreement

a. Soviets would remove missiles from Cuba

b. U.S. promised to never invade Cuba

c. U.S. agreed to remove missiles from Turkey

5. Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 1963

IX. Return to conservative hard-line power in Soviet Union

A. Khrushchev removed in Oct. 1964

1. Conservative resurgence

2. Unsuccessful Cold War policies

3. Slow shift to consumer goods

4. Failed agricultural policies: most important reason
B. Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982)

1. Stagnation and limited re-Stalinization

2. Massive arms buildup

3. More committed to “peaceful coexistence” than Khrushchev

East Bloc countries sought political liberty

  • Czechoslovakia (1968 – Prague Spring): reform elements in the Czechoslovak Communist Party gained a majority and voted out the long-time Stalinist leader for Alexander Dubcek.

  • socialism with a human face “ believed that they could reconcile genuine socialism with personal freedom and internal party democracy , relaxed state censorship, replaced rigid bureaucratic planning with local decision making by trade unions, managers, and consumers.

  • Hard line communist feared liberal reforms / democratic socialism

  • Poland, East Germany strong support for intervention along with Soviet Union = occupation by 500 thousand troops in August – no resistance (arrested leaders surrendered to Soviet demands

  • Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Union and its allies had the right to intervene in any socialist country whenever they saw the need.

  • Showed that only the threat of the Soviet military was holding the East Bloc together

X. Western European recovery after World War II

A. Economic hardship after WWII

B. Political restructuring

1. Experiments with new types of governments

a. Christian Democrats

b. Catholic parties

c. Communists and Socialists

d. Social reform and political transformation created foundations for a great European renaissance

2. Italy

a. Christian Democrats led by Alcide De Gasperi

b. Socialist influence

3. France

a. Fourth Republic: Gen.Charles de Gaulle

b. Catholic Party: Robert Schuman

c. Socialist influence

4. West Germany: Konrad Adenauer--Christian Democrats

5. Great Britain

a. Clement Atlee: Labour Party

b. Britain moved toward “welfare state”

6. Massive U.S. economic and military aid: Marshall Plan and NATO

C. The “Economic Miracle”

1. Period of rapid economic growth lasting to late ‘60s

2. Causes

a. Marshall Plan & Korean War

b. Economic growth became gov’t objective

          • Keynesian economics

c. Many people willing to work for low wages

d. Increased demand for consumer goods

e. Emergence of large Common Market

3. Germany: Ludwig Erhard

4. France: Jean Monnet

D. European unity

1. Success of democratic governments

2. Cold War inspired some to seek “ European nation”

3. Council of Europe, 1948

4. Schuman Plan, 1950 - May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister announced a plan for ensured peace among

European nations and post war economic recovery conceived French businessman Jean Monnet.

a. European Coal and Steel Community, 1952

b. The “Six”: France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Luxemburg

c. The ECSC increased coal and steel trade between “the Six” by 129% in the first five years.

5. Treaty of Rome, 1957

        1. Creation of European Common Market

-- Included all sectors of the economy

b. The “Six” – France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, West Germany, Italy

c. Euratom

          • Soviet response: COMECON

6. France steps back from European unity

a. Algerian Crisis

i. Fall of Fourth Republic

ii. Rise of Fifth Republic: Charles de Gaulle

b. De Gaulle seeks truly independent France

i. Withdrew French military from NATO

ii. Twice vetoed British entry into EC

c. 1973 - The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark join the European Community

d. 1986 - Spain and Portugal join the community

7. 1990 - East and West Germany are reunited after the fall of the Berlin wall
E. 1991 Maastricht Treaty is ratified

1. The Maastricht Treaty took effect in November 1993, and was a major overhaul of the founding treaties. It

created the “three pillar” European Union as it exists today.
F. 1999 - EMU and euro launched in eleven EU countries

1. 2002 - The euro becomes legal tender and permanently replaces national currencies in EMU countries

XI. Society in the postwar era

A. Science and technology

1. “Pure theoretical” science & “applied science” effectively joined on massive scale during WWII

          • Radar, jet, computers, Manhattan Project—J. Robert Oppenheimer

2. “Big Science” became the model after WWII

B. Space Race

1. Yuri Gagarin, 1961

2. John Glenn, 1962

3. Apollo Mission, 1969

C. “Brain Drain” – American Challenge

D. Massive growth in the science industry

        • James Watson and Francis Crick: DNA

E. Class structure and social reform

1. More mobile and democratic

2. Changes in structure of middle class

3. Causes for change in rise of middle class

4. Structure of lower class also more flexible & open

5. Governments reduced class tension with social security reform

6. Consumerism worked to level Western society

a. More disposable income

b. “gadget revolution”

c. Leisure and recreation

F. Youth and the Counter Culture

1. Baby Boom after WWII developed distinctive and international youth culture.

2. Some youth rebelled against conformity and boredom of middle-class suburbs

a. Beat movement

b. Rock music

3. Increased sexuality – the “pill”

4. Causes of international youth culture

5. Why in 1960s did youth culture fuse with counter-culture in opposition to the established order?

a. Young people in ‘60s were a new generation

b. Student protests reflected rebirth of romanticism & revolutionary idealism: dreamed of complete freedom &

simpler, purer societies

c. Opposition to Vietnam War

G. Upheaval in late 1960s

1. U.S. involvement in Vietnam – “domino theory”

      • New Left

2. Youth in Europe

a. Increased enrollment in college

b. Problems in higher education

c. French student revolts, 1968

i. Most far reaching of student revolts

ii. Causes – education reform

iii. Results – resignation of de Gaulle
Early 1970’s the West entered into a long period of economic decline

  • Causes: 1) 1971, President Nixon shifted the American dollar from the gold standard = value of the dollar fell sharply and inflation accelerated worldwide

  1. dramatic reversal in the price and availability of energy: 1971 OPEC raised the price of crude oil setting off an energy crisis in the United States & Western Europe (Arab-Israeli Wars)

  2. Recession: failing energy-intensive industries, high unemployment, productivity & living standards declined, inflation soared

  3. Islamic revolution in Iran, 1979: doubled price of crude oil = second oil shock

  4. Stagflation: combination of low growth and high inflation that led to worldwide recession


  • Manufacturing jobs shifted from US and northern Europe to Asia (Japan, Singapore, S. Korea)

  • Hi-tech information industries: biotech, medicine, banking = “the information age” or postindustrial society

  • Heavy industry rapidly decline in US & western Europe

  • Misery index: combined rates of inflation and unemployment in a single, powerfully emotional number

  • Western governments maintained welfare programs through massive budget deficits


  • Neoliberalism: distant roots in laissez –faire policies

  • Milton Friedman – government should cut support for social services such as housing, education, and health insurance, retreat from regulation of all kinds, privatize public industries (transportation, communication)

  • England: Margaret Thatcher (prime minister 1979-1990) Conservative Party – neoliberal

  • Cut spending on health care, education, and public housing, reduced taxes, privatized or sold off government-run enterprises

  • Encouraged low- and moderate income renters in state-owned housing projects to buy their apartments at rock-bottom prices = created a whole new class of property owners

  • Falkland War (1982)- British victory over Argentina = “iron lady”

  • Replaced by John Major (Conservative Party Leader)

  • United States: Ronal Reagan (President 1980-1988) “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”

  • Cut income taxes, failed to limit spending – primarily defense, and social programs (unemployment, health care, welfare) = budget deficit soared / debt tripled

  • Germany: Helmut Kohl (Chancellor) cut taxes & government spending = increased unemployment in heavy industry also led to solid economic growth

  • agreed with US (Reagan) – put US Pershing II and cruise missiles in West Germany which renewed cold war tensions

  • dismantled the Berlin Wall in 1989

  • reunification of East & West Germany in 1990

  • France: Francois Mitterrand – with the Socialist Party marked a significant change in French politics

  • 1st coalition (included Communist Party); launched vast program to nationalization and public investment designed to spend the country out of economic stagnation

  • By 1983 – program was a massive failure, socialist were compelled to reprivatize industries nationalized during the 1st term.


  • 1970’s: feminist movement devoted to securing genuine gender equality & promoting the general interest of women

  • 3 major reasons:

  1. Changes in underlying patterns of motherhood and paid work created novel conditions and new demands

  2. Vanguard of feminist intellectuals articulated a powerful critique of gender relations

  3. Lessons of the civil rights movement / anti-Vietnam War protest = women understood the need to organize

  • Feminist Writers:

  1. Simone Beauvoir The Second Sex (1949) only thru courageous action and self-assertive creativity could a woman become completely free and escape the role of the inferior “other.”

  2. Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique (1963) Housewives lived in a gilded gage

  • NOW (National Organization for Women) – organized in 1966 to press for women’s rights

  • Equality in the workplace, laws against discrimination, equal pay for equal work, maternal leave, affordable day care, right to divorce, legalize abortion,

  • Anti-War (Vietnam / Afghanistan) – West Germany (anti-missile protest)


  • Rachel Carson Silent Spring (1962) striking impact on the growth of the environmental movement in Europe

  • Industrial pollution- major rivers, acid rain, oil spills

  • New ecologist 2 main goals:

  1. Worked to lessen the effects of unbridled industrial development on the natural environment

  2. Linked local environmental issues to poverty, inequality, and violence on a global scale

  • Green Peace, 1971 – nongovernmental organization dedicated to environmental conservation and protection

Separatism & Right-Wing Extremism

  • Separatist: Spain – Basque (ETA: Basque Homeland and Freedom)

  • 1975 – After death of Franco, new constitution granted the Basque region special autonomy

  • IRA (Irish Republican Army) paramilitary organization in Northern Ireland = continued war of independence past the 1922 granting of autonomy for all but the most northern provinces of Ireland.

  • Bloody Sunday, January 1972

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