Hist 103 Lecture – 15 Jan th 01/15/2014
The Truman Doctrine (1947) and “Containment”
International repercussions and implications
A global zerosum game
Client states and proxy wars
A moral crusade and its contradictions
Domestic repercussions: the cold war at home
Berlin fell entirely within the Soviet occupation zone. And therefore it ws agreed that Berlin itself would
be jointly occupied by Britian France and US on one side and by the SU on the other side.
That decision was reached at Yalta.
On the 23 of May 1939, the western powers oversaw the creation of a nation in the occupied zone
which was to be known as the federal republic of Germany or West Germany.
This new country was given it’s own currency and a new capital at Bonn.
Stalin countered with two steps.
Firstly, about six months later, the Soviets oversaw the creation of a new state in their occupation zone
which they called the German democratic republic which came to be known as East Germany.
In the spring of 1948, Stalin imposed an economic blockade on Berlin which was within the entire Soviet
The western govts. Responded to this blockade by organizing an airlift of food, supplies and people to
west Berlin. The Berlin airlift lasted for almost a year and by the time it was lifted, the mutual animosity
and suspicion b/w the two sides has crystallized and by 1949 just as Mao’s forces where gaining power.
The Sovietization of Eastern Europe
When the Soviet red army entered Poland in 1984, Stalin installed a prosoviet thingamabob called the
The Western governments could have gone to war with Poland but they were unwilling to do that.
Wanted to allow the Polish exiles a voice in some form of Polish govt.
Stalin agreed but he had a plan up his sleeve and the SU strategy would become the model for the
sovietization of all of eastern Europe.
Officially, the process was known as “the strengthening of people’s democracy” The argument was that
in the west there was democracy for the few but in the East, there was democracy for many.
Unofficially, it was all about turning eastern Europe to miniature replicas of the SU and it was proceeded
by what was called sometimes as the salami tactics. When the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe in 1985, they had military control but in most countries
communist parties were very weak and formed a very small minority.
In Romania, the communist part had 1000 members.
In Hungary, the communist party had 10,000 members in 1945 but this did not deter Stalin.
The Soviet strategy was to set up coalition governments in which communists would share power with
ethnic nationalist parties and other noncommunist political parties but the communist would hold the
key to all of the govt. protfolios.
In hungary and czechoslovakia, the govt. was to hold elections and in each case the communists
emerged as minority. 17% of the vote in the Hungarian election in nov 1945. In Czech elections, they
However, Stalin did not think this was a problem.