Week 11- Early Years of the Cold War
Week 11- Early Years of the Cold War HIST 370
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Austin McManus on Saturday November 14, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 370 at George Mason University taught by Zayna Bizri in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see War in American Society in History at George Mason University.
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Date Created: 11/14/15
HIST 370 Notes Week 11 Early Years of the Cold War 19451953 A What is the Cold War In some of the simplest terms the Cold War as many Americans remember it was a period of extreme geopolitical tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union that brought about a number of proxy wars ie Korea Vietnam Afghanistan a nuclearconventional arms race as well as a race to space following the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and a world political stage dominated and motivated by the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction MAD that forced both the East and the West to look for other solution while each of their nuclear arsenals loomed over each other as the devil on their shoulders B Yalta amp Potsdam FebruaryJuly 1945 The seeds of the Cold War were planted at the Yalta February 1945 and Potsdam July 1945 conferences in Europe between the heads of state of Britain the United States and the Soviet Union Franklin Roosevelt at Potsdam Harry Truman and Winston Churchill at part of Potsdam Clement Attlee were largely in agreement over how to deal with postwar Europe specifically with the division of former Nazi territory and how to punish or not punish Germany and for long to do so or not to do so Josef Stalin on the other hand was at odds with both FDRTruman and Churchill since he felt that Russia having suffered the most casualties of any nation involved in World War II and liberated most of Eastern Europe formerly controlled by the Nazis deserved severe punishment imposed on Germany and gratuitous territorial gains in Europe once the war ended The results of both conferences were plentiful including the formulating of the concept that became the United Nations UN in 1946 the postwar division of Europe specifically Germany and the establishment of the postwar power politics in Europe and worldwide that would inevitably pit the United States and the Soviet Union against one another moving forward C Division amp Rebuilding of Europe While much of Western Europe regained autonomy ie France Italy Belgium at the end of World War II the Soviet invasion of Eastern Europe from 1942 1945 resulted in Stalin managing to seize much of the region ie parts of Poland Rumania and Finland as well as Latvia Estonia and Lithuania and turn them into satellite states controlled by the Soviet government Germany and Berlin was also divided between East USSR and West US Britain and France which would act along with much of mainland Europe as the opening stage of the Cold War due to the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift economic recovery programs of the United States that sent billions of dollars over to multiple European national economies in an attempt to reinvigorate those economies and reassert Europe as a stabilizing economic force in the world The US s underlying motivations behind driving the economic recovery of Europe had to do with preventing Soviet in uence in Europe persuading the local populations of nations such as Greece Italy and France from turning to communism by showing the peoples of those nations the benefits of capitalism and convincing them that aligning with that ideology is more beneficial than aligning with the Soviet s ideology D The Korean War 19501953 The first realworld example of foreign military intervention by a UN joint coalition began in 1950 when troops led by the United States made their way into Korea to prevent the hostile communist regime in the north from conquering the democratic south While the first year of fighting was very much a teetertotter between north and south South Korean and UN forces managed to advance north towards Pyongyang multiple times while the southern capital of Seoul changed hands between the north and south four times over the course of three years much of the war remained a stalemate until an armistice was signed in 1953 While some historians argue that the war is one of many forgotten con icts in American history and society due to its chronological place in US military history having happened between World War II and the con ict in Vietnam the con ict in Korea was certainly a significant event at the time for it attempted to establish a precedent in Western geopolitics that asserted its authority and capability to intervene throughout the world to liberate the oppressed by stopping their oppressors Specifically speaking to the United States foreign policy at the time it was a success in terms of it was proof that the government and military were able to contain the spread of communism through military action a concept which would define much of the US s actions overseas for the decades to come