Cold War Mrs. Saunders United Nations In 1945, the Allies founded the United Nations as an international organization to promote world peace and progress. The United Nations replaced the League of Nations as a means for the world’s nations to try to prevent future global wars. The United States immediately joined the United Nations. After World War II the American people believed the United States had an important role to play in maintaining the peace. This belief contrasted sharply with the American feeling after World War I, when the United States refused to join the League of Nations. American forces occupied Japan after its surrender in August 1945. Under American direction, Japan soon adopted a democratic form of government, resumed selfgovernment (governed itself), and became a strong ally (friend) of the United States. Japan Europe At the end of World War II, Europe lay in ruins. Soviet forces occupied most of Eastern and Central Europe and the eastern portion of Germany. American, British, and French forces occupied West Germany. The Allies partitioned (divided) Germany into East and West Germany. In a few years West Germany became democratic and resumed selfgovernment. East Germany remained under the domination of the Soviet Union and adopted a communist instead of a democratic government. Cold War Soon after World War II ended, the Cold War began. The Cold War was an uneasy peace after World War II, marked by a fierce rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. One might call the Cold War a war of words between the United States and the Soviet Union, which lasted from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War set the framework for global politics for forty-five years after the end of World War II. It also influenced American domestic politics (issues inside the U.S.), the conduct of foreign affairs, and the role of the American government in the economy after 1945. Cold War The Cold War was basically a competition between two very different ways of organizing government, society, and the nation’s economy. The United States and the Soviet Union possessed very different fundamental values. The American-led western nations believed in democracy, individual freedom, and a free market economic system based on private ownership of property. In contrast, the Soviet Union and its allies believed in a totalitarian government (dictatorship) ruled by the communist party and a communist (socialist) ` or command economic system. Socialism is an economic system in which the government owns and controls the means of production. Cold War Soon after World War II, the United States adopted the anti-communist policy of containment. Containment was the postWorld War II American foreign policy that sought to check the expansion of the Soviet Union and communism through diplomatic, economic, and military means. In short, under the containment policy the United States tried to contain or restrict communism to those countries of the world where it already existed. Truman Doctrine After the Soviet Union had spread communism to the nations of Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, President Harry S. Truman announced the Truman Doctrine. The Truman Doctrine was President Truman’s promise that the United States would defend free peoples from subversion (overthrow of the government) or outside pressure. Thereby, the Truman Doctrine set precedent that the “containment of communism” would serve as the basic principle of American foreign policy throughout the Cold War. Under containment, the United States would not try to roll back communism, but rather keep communism from spreading and to resist communist aggression (attacks) into other countries. Marshall Plan The Truman administration followed the announcement of the Truman Doctrine with the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was a massive American financial aid program announced in 1947 to help European nations recover economically from World War II. Yet, its purpose was not only to rebuild European economies, but also to prevent the spread of communism. To place military force behind the containment policy the United States and its allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, commonly known as NATO. NATO acted as a defensive military alliance between the United States and Western European countries to prevent a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. Since the creation of NATO in 1949, it has served as an alliance of the United States, a group of European nations, and Canada to provide mutual aid in the event of armed attack. Asia Communism spread to Asia in 1949 when Chinese communist forces under Mao Zedong overthrew the anti-communist government of Chiang Kaishek. Mao forced Chaing to flee China for the island of Formosa, where Chiang set up the government of Taiwan. The communist takeover of China increased American fears of communist domination of most of the world. In addition, before 1949 ended, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. Spies The fear of communism and the threat of nuclear war affected American life throughout the Cold War. The trials of both Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs caused many Americans to fear that communist spies held important positions in the federal government. Hiss was accused of passing secret documents to the Soviets during the late 1930s. Although Hiss claimed his innocence he was convicted of perjury (lying under oath), and many Americans believed he was guilty of treason. In 1950 the United States learned that a spy ring had sent atomic secrets to the Soviets, which had allowed them to develop an atomic bomb so quickly. This information led to the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who had worked on the United States’ atomic project. In 1951, after a long and widely publicized trial, a jury found the Rosenbergs guilty of espionage (spying). The United States government executed the Rosenbergs in 1953. McCarthyism American fears of communism in the early fifties advanced the political career of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Senator McCarthy played on American fears of communism by recklessly accusing many American governmental officials and citizens of being communists. He based these charges on flimsy (very weak) evidence or no evidence at all. In 1954 the Army-McCarthy hearings were televised. These Senate hearings investigated alleged communist influence in the United States army. McCarthyism When the army’s attorney stood up to McCarthy at these hearings, McCarthy showed himself to be a liar and bully rather than a heroic defender of American democracy. The Senate then censured Senator McCarthy (condemned his behavior), and he quickly lost his influence. Nevertheless, McCarthy’s rapid rise to power led to the coining of the term McCarthyism, or the making of false accusations based on rumor or guilt by association and unfairly accusing others of disloyalty and subversion (threatening to overthrow the government). Korea A major test for the containment policy came in 1950 when communist North Koreans invaded non-communist South Korea. American military forces led a counterattack that drove deep into North Korea itself. Communist Chinese forces then came into the war on the side of North Korea, and the war threatened to widen. In 1952 former World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidential election, after he had promised to go to Korea. In 1953 the Korean War ended in stalemate with South Korea free of communist occupation. Because the United States had prevented South Korea from falling under communist control, the nation’s confidence in the containment policy increased. Korea As part of containment, President Eisenhower adopted a policy of “massive retaliation” to deter (prevent, discourage) any nuclear attack by the Soviets. Massive retaliation was the Eisenhower administration’s threat of swift, allout military action against a nation committing aggression (attack). Later presidents backed away from this policy, although the United States refused to promise it would not make a first strike nuclear attack. Cuba At the end of the 1950s and in the early 1960s, the Cold War focused on Cuba. In 1959 Fidel Castro led a communist revolution that took over Cuba. Many Cubans fled to Florida to escape communist rule. Cuba President Eisenhower encouraged the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to develop a secret plan to overthrow Castro. The CIA is a federal agency that coordinates the spy activities of the United States government. The CIA decided to train and equip a group of anti-communist Cuban exiles, who were living in the United States. With United States assistance this force would land at the Bay of Pigs on the Cuban coast and lead the Cuban people in an uprising against Castro. Bay of Pigs When President John F. Kennedy entered office in 1961, he approved the CIA’s plans to go ahead with the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Bay of Pigs invasion proved a complete disaster. The expected popular uprising against Castro never happened. Within two days, Castro’s army had captured or killed most of the Americansupported invaders. Cuban Missile Crisis In 1962 an even more serious Cold War crisis occurred in Cuba, when President Kennedy learned the Soviet Union had placed nuclear missiles there. American spy-plane photographs showed these missile sites to President Kennedy. After six days of discussion with his advisers, President Kennedy appeared on television to tell the American public about the Soviet missiles. He announced that the United States was blockading Cuba. American naval vessels would stop all approaching ships and search them for weapons. Cuban Missile Crisis In addition, Kennedy ordered the Soviets to remove their missiles from Cuba or he would take further steps. For several days the world was on the brink (edge) of nuclear war. Eventually the Soviets “blinked,” as President Kennedy worked out a private agreement with Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union. The Soviets agreed to withdraw their missiles from Cuba, and in exchange the United States would remove its outdated missiles from Turkey. Cuban Missile Crisis Nevertheless, the Cuban Missile Crisis heightened the threat of nuclear war. In fact, the Soviet Union matched the United States in nuclear weaponry in the 1950s. For the remainder of the Cold War the threat of nuclear conflict that would destroy both countries was ever-present. During the 1950s and 1960s, American schools regularly held drills to train children regarding what to do in case of a nuclear attack. The federal government encouraged American citizens to build bomb shelters in their own basements. However, by the mid-sixties Vietnam replaced the threat of nuclear war as the chief concern of America’s containment policy. Cold War When President John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he pledged in his inaugural address that the United States would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” In the same address, Kennedy also said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Cold War During the Cold War era, millions of Americans served in the military, defending freedom in wars and conflicts that were not always popular. Many were killed or wounded. Their service was often at great personal and family sacrifice, yet American military personnel did their duty. The Virginia Department of Education’s Standards of Learning guide for social studies says, “A strong military was the key to America’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War.” It argues that “as a result of the service of the American military, the United States and American ideals of democracy and freedom ultimately prevailed in the Cold War struggle with Soviet communism.” Cold War The Cold War made foreign policy a major issue in every presidential election between 1948 and 1992. The heavy military expenditures throughout the Cold War benefited Virginia’s economy proportionately more than that of any other state. National defense spending especially helped the economy of Hampton Roads, home to several large naval and air bases, and Northern Virginia, home to the Pentagon and numerous private companies that contract with the military. Vietnam After World War II, Vietnamese nationalists in the French colony of Indochina fought for independence from France. The leader of this Vietnamese independence movement was a communist named Ho Chi Minh. Because of Ho Chi Minh’s communist beliefs, the United States supported France’s attempt to keep Indochina as a colony after the war. American involvement in Vietnam reflected the Cold War policy of containment of communism. Vietnam After Ho Chi Minh’s forces defeated the French army, France withdrew from Indochina and Vietnam was divided into communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam. Reunification elections, scheduled for the midfifties, were cancelled because the Eisenhower administration feared Ho Chi Minh would win and all of Vietnam would become communist. Vietnam Beginning in the 1950s and continuing into the early 1960s, the communist government of North Vietnam attempted to install through force a communist government in South Vietnam. The Vietcong were southern revolutionaries who formed the National Liberation Front and fought for the reunification of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh’s rule. To counter North Vietnam’s efforts in the south, the Eisenhower administration sent massive amounts of economic and military aid to the South Vietnamese government. Vietnam The American military buildup in Vietnam began under President John Kennedy. The Kennedy administration increased the number of American military personnel in South Vietnam from 1,500 to 16,000. President Kennedy, a World War II veteran, was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas, Texas. This event shook the nation’s confidence and began a period of internal strife (conflict within America) and divisiveness, especially spurred by divisions over U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy as president. In 1965 President Johnson greatly escalated (increased) the American military buildup in Vietnam from about 20,000 troops to almost 200,000 at year’s end. The scale of combat in Vietnam grew larger over the course of the 1960s and by 1968 there were 540,000 American soldiers in Vietnam. Vietnam Although American military forces repeatedly defeated the North Vietnamese forces in the field, they could not force an end to the war on favorable terms by fighting a limited war. The term “limited war” referred to the American government’s decision to avoid any military action, which might widen the war to include the Soviet Union or communist China on North Vietnam’s side. While the United States was following the policy of containment in South Vietnam, it also wanted to avoid either a nuclear conflict or a third world war. Vietnam By 1968 the American people became bitterly divided on the issue of American involvement in Vietnam. While many Americans supported the American military and the Johnson administration’s conduct of the war, many other Americans opposed the war. Active opposition to American involvement in Vietnam mounted (increased), especially on college campuses. After President Johnson declined to seek re-election, the Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon won the 1968 presidential election. President Nixon was elected on a pledge to bring the war to an honorable end. He instituted (started) a policy of “Vietnamization”. Vietnam “Vietnamization” was the Nixon administration’s policy of building up South Vietnamese forces while gradually withdrawing American troops. Under “Vietnamization” President Nixon withdrew American troops and replaced them with South Vietnamese forces, while simultaneously (at the same time) maintaining (continuing) American military aid to the South Vietnamese government. Ultimately (eventually), “Vietnamization” failed, when South Vietnamese troops proved unable to resist invasion by the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese Army. Watergate In addition, the Watergate scandal forced President Nixon to resign from office in 1974. The Watergate scandal was the public exposure of a burglary and its cover-up by the Nixon administration that eventually led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974. In 1975, while Gerald Ford was serving as president, both North and South Vietnam were merged under communist control. Vietnam Unlike veterans of World War II, who returned to a grateful and supportive nation, Vietnam veterans returned often to face indifference or outright hostility from some Americans who opposed the war. It was not until several years after the end of the war that the wounds of the war began to heal in America, and Vietnam veterans were recognized and honored for their service and sacrifices. Nixon and China While the Vietnam War was raging (going on) in Southeast Asia, the Nixon administration added a new wrinkle to the containment policy. By 1972 President Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recognized that instead of being strong allies the communist nations of China and the Soviet Union had become rivals for territory and diplomatic influence. In the 1970s Nixon tried to exploit (take advantage of) this split in the communist world. By negotiating with each side, Nixon and Kissinger hoped to play the two communist giants off against each other. In 1972 President Nixon began to establish formal diplomatic relations with communist China and met with Mao Zedong in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Nixon and the USSR Later that same year (1972) he traveled to Moscow to meet with Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union. Nixon and Brezhnev signed a treaty under which the two superpowers agreed to limit the production of nuclear weapons. This treaty grew out of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). The SALT talks were the Soviet-American discussions begun in 1969 to establish limits on the number of strategic nuclear weapons held by both sides. Although the SALT Treaty contained many loopholes, it was a crucial first step toward ending the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Collapse of the USSR Both internal and external pressures in the 1980s caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, became president of the United States in 1981. During his first term, President Reagan tried to assert (state strongly) American power in many places throughout the world. Reagan challenged the moral legitimacy of the Soviet Union by publicly calling the Soviet Union “an evil empire.” Under Reagan’s leadership, the United States launched a massive military buildup, and tension with the Soviet Union increased. President Reagan would not consider arms reductions until he was convinced that the United States was at least equal to the Soviet Union in military power. He also proceeded with plans to deploy (place) new nuclear missiles in Western Europe. Collapse of the USSR This renewal of the arms race forced the Soviet Union to increase its military budget in order to compete with the United States. The need to increase military spending was a serious problem for the Soviet leadership, because the state-controlled Soviet economy suffered from gross (extreme) inefficiency after nearly seventy years of communist rule. Mikhail Gorbachev, who became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, immediately adopted new policies in an attempt to revive the Soviet economy and reform the Soviet system. Gorbachev’s first effort was to introduce glasnost (Russian word for “openness”) to Soviet life. Gorbachev allowed open criticism of the Soviet government and even took some steps toward freedom of the press. Glasnost then was Gorbachev’s policy of encouraging freedom of expression in the Soviet Union. Collapse of the USSR In 1987 Gorbachev outlined his plans for perestroika, a restructuring of Soviet society. He called for less government control of the economy, the introduction of some private enterprise, and steps toward establishing democracy. While economic restructuring lay at the heart of perestroika, Gorbachev even said the Soviet people needed “to teach and to learn democracy.” Gorbachev’s new policies raised high expectations among millions of well-educated Russians for both immediate improvement in their standard of living and increased freedom in Soviet society. The fast-paced reforms, which occurred as the Soviet Union moved quickly toward a market economy, placed even greater internal pressure on the communist system. In addition, the Gorbachev government faced rising nationalism within the Soviet republics (equal to American states), which made up the Soviet Union. Collapse of the USSR External pressures on the Soviet government came from its eastern European communist satellites, which were also experiencing a rising feeling of nationalism. A satellite is a nation that is formally independent but dominated by another power. As the Cold War developed after World War II, most of the nations of Eastern Europe became satellites of the Soviet Union. These Russian satellites included Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. The Solidarity labor movement created great unrest in Poland during the 1980s. By the late eighties, East German citizens held mass protests to show their desire for new leadership. President Ronald Reagan added to the external pressures on the Soviet Union by traveling to the Berlin Wall and saying, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Collapse of the USSR The Berlin Wall, which divided communist East Berlin from democratic West Berlin, was the bestknown symbol of the Cold War. The East German government had built the Berlin Wall in 1961 as a means to keep its citizens from escaping to the West. But by late 1989 the communist government of East Germany was so unstable that East German citizens began to tear down whole sections of the Berlin Wall without interference by government officials. In late 1990 Germany was formally reunified under the democratic leadership of West Germany. Communist governments quickly fell from power in the Soviet Union’s other Eastern European satellites. Collapse of the USSR In 1991 the Soviet Union fell apart. The Soviet Union was made up of fifteen republics, which included an enormous variety of cultures, languages, and ethnic groups. As the Gorbachev government introduced democratic reforms, the republics began to push for additional change. The three Baltic republics – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – even declared their independence from the Soviet Union, and other republics soon followed their example. By year’s end, Gorbachev agreed to dismantle (take apart) the entire Communist system, including the 15-million member Communist Party, which once controlled nearly every aspect (part) of Soviet society. On Christmas Day 1991, Gorbachev resigned and declared the Soviet Union had ended. The Cold War was over!