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POL208Y1 (500)

The Cold War

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Political Science
John Haines

International Relations: Week 8 J November 2 , 2010 The Cold War World in 1945: - Characterized by the US as the most powerful nation on the planet o Atomic bomb has demonstrated this - Domestically, the first priority of President Truman is to go back to normalcy o The troops must go home, congress must regain its role in policy making, shift war economy to peace economy - Soviet Union has suffered massive losses, much higher than US o At the same time, huge gains, Moscow influence over Eastern Europe unmatched and undisputed o Moscow has new sense of insecurity after atomic bombs - The UK is bankrupt, may have won the world, but economic situation is catastrophic o Keynes sent to Washington to ask for US money o Influence of UK in Middle East, India, empire, doomed to disappear o By 1947, India became independent, the old colonial European empire started to disappear Dutch left Indonesia, French started to see old colonial possession of Indochina contested, Nigeria massive protests against French rule N Futile attempts by France to keep old colonial possessions - By 1945 clear that there are two major players: US and Soviet Union - }Z} }oJ oo^o}L2 _ o Relatively stable, absence of direct confrontation, but more of an illusion of stability o For politicians stability was rarely felt, in many instances the Cold War had direct use of force: Korea, Vietnam, Prague, Warsaw, Kabul... o Stability minimal characteristic - Military contest but also contest about ideology o Peace between Moscow and Washington impossible because represented different ideological systems o War was extremely unlikely because of nuclear weapons among other factors - Peace impossible, war unlikely Rise of the Cold War - In 1945, when defeat of Germany became a near certainty, Roosevelt met Stalin and they agreed on a shared control of a divided Germany o Point of shared control was Berlin, Eastern part of Germany, decided to share control of that city, Soviet zone of control and West zone of control o Sphere of influence agreement, Soviet control of large part of Eastern Europe was agreed upon by Roosevelt o Basic scheme of peace by Roosevelt after WWII was about giving special powers to four countries around the world who would be entitled to keep the peace There must be some special powers that will negotiate and discuss among themselves to keep the world at peace UN security council came into being because of this Problem was to have an efficient system of discussion among these powers must have a minimal understanding and agreement between them, with the Cold War, this scheme became obsolete, people using veto powers N By 1945 still hope that Moscow and Washington could find agreement to keep the peace worldwide - 1945 to 1950, period of uncertainty, tension, dream of Roosevelt failing, tension between Moscow and the West started to rise o Control of Moscow over Eastern Europe was roughly acknowledged o Churchill and Stalin divided sphere of influence in Europe Poland was understood to be a buffer zone, but ultimately had the choice of choosing its side Stalin thought otherwise, control of Soviet Union on countries the Red Army occupied, rapidly became complete and total Where the Red Army was, Stalin intended to impose a specific political system that would answer to every wish of Moscow, the idea of a democratic Poland started to disappear rapidly N First tension started to appear over the control of Poland - Then Moscow began to push its influence on Greece and Turkey o UK bankrupt, London unable to contain Soviet influence in these countries o London decided to call Washington requesting help, American power to contain the willingness of the Soviet Union Washington agreed because of responsibility for security After Greece and Turkey, which were never a part of the Soviet sphere of influence, Soviet Union tried to take partial control of Iran, to gain control of oil N Washington and Truman, sick of babying the Soviets N Hope of agreement with Moscow started to disappear, perception that Moscow could be if not an ally at least a partner, started to disappear completely N Shifted from allies to rivals (1946-1947), to enemies in 1948 - Blockade of Berlin in 1947, Moscow was never happy with the way Berlin was managed by the West, in an attempt to kick out the West from Berlin, they decided to blockade the city o US answer was to organize airlift to Berlin in order to ensure it would remain a free city o Tension between Washington and Moscow began to increase significantly - 1946-1947, US not so much concerned about Red Army, but about the weaknesses of Western Europe itself
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