HS 107 Readings


1. Causes:

a. Bi-polar confrontation following World War II:

(1) US and Soviet Union are both continental-size powers.

(2) US and Soviet interests clash directly after the war.

(3) All lesser powers greatly weakened by the war.

b. Very different political systems:

(1) US government is decentralized and liberal.

(2) Russian government is centralized and authoritarian.

c. Very different foreign relations:

(1) US is protected by an ocean.

(2) Russia invaded twice in the twentieth century by Germany

d. Opposite ideologies:

(1) US is foremost capitalist power.

(2) Soviets are the major power claiming to be Marxist.

2. Confrontation in Europe:

a. Perceptions of a military threat:

(1) US has a monopoly on atomic weapons, continues nuclear testing, and targets Russian cities.

(2) Soviets maintain largest army in the world, occupying Eastern Europe.

b. Once the war was over, each distrusted the other and further agreements were very difficult. (1945-1946)

(1) Yalta agreement (Feb. 1945) divided Germany into occupied zones, intended to be temporary, but became permanent.

(2) Sharp disagreements over selection of postwar government in Poland

(3) Failure of 1946 foreign minister's conference. U.S. Secretary of State, Byrnes had a major influence with President Truman and had a great distrust of the Soviet Union. Secretary of War, Stimson, wanted more open-minded approach to Soviets, but failed to gain support. Following his retirement, he was replaced with Forrestal, who had a great fear of Communism, and was influenced by George Kennan's "X" telegram and the proposed containment policy. (see below)

c. Unilateral actions (1946-1949) increased tension:

(1) an "iron curtain" established from Stettin to Trieste.

(2) Soviets initially refused to withdraw their military from Iran until pressured through diplomatic action in the UN Security Council.

(3) CIA involved in Italian elections to assure the defeat of the Italian Communist Party.

(4) Soviets pressure Turkey; demand access for warship through the Straits.

(5) British, facing serious economic problems, withdrew from Greece, where government they supported faced a Greek Communist guerilla movement aided by Yugoslavia.

(6) US announced Truman Doctrine to contain Communism all over the world. US commenced aid to Greece and Turkey.

(7) US commenced Marshal Plan aid to war-torn Europe in 1948. Soviets were unwilling to open their society to what they considered intrusive information sharing. They refused to cooperate. Introduction of new, stronger currency in West Germany produced imbalance with East German currency.

a) W. European economy began to recover, while E. European economy stagnated.

b) Foundations built for prosperity in the Atlantic economy.

c) "Brain drain" through Berlin threatened E. European economy. Soviets tried but failed to re-open Berlin treaty arrangements which divided the city into occupied sectors.

d) Soviets blockaded Berlin. US and West countered with a successful airlift to W. Berlin.

e) Soviets arranged a coup d'etat in Cechoslovakia, brought that state into the Soviet bloc.

(8) Yugoslavia successfully maintained its independence from the Soviet Union despite attempted coup d'etat.

d. Internal debate over US foreign policy:

(1) Wartime "X" telegram from George Kennan proposed containment of Soviets after the war. Threat described as economic and poliitcal in nature.

(2) National Security Council defined the threat as military threat by the "Communist bloc"; called for military buildup.

(3) Growing fear of an alleged Communist conspiracy in US led to McCarthy "witchhunt".

e. U.S. created military alliance (NATO) in 1948 with most European nations not under Soviet control. Soviets reacted by forming the Warsaw Pact.

f.. In 1949, Soviets conducted their first atomic test explosion. President Truman decided to go ahead with H-bomb development.

3. Confrontation in Asia (1945-1949)

a. Chinese Communists defeated the Kuomintang in a civil war. Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan.

b. U.S. sent fleet to prevent invasion of Taiwan by mainland Chinese.

c. China negotiated 10-year treaty of alliance and aid with Soviets.

d. U.S. occupied Japan and southern Korea at end of World War II.

e. Soviets occupied northern Korea. Korea was divided at 38 degrees North.

f. After withdrawal of Japanese, a Vietnamese Communist movement, the Viet Minh, proclaimed the independence of Vietnam.

g. France attempted to restore colonial rule over IndoChina. War with Viet Minh broke out in November, 1946. U.S. was not involved.

4. Korean War (1950-1953)

a. Governments in northern Korea (a Soviet client), and in southern Korea (a U.S. client), both tried to re-unite Korea under their leadership. Agitation by both sides against each other led to war.

b. North Koreans were well-supplied militarily by the Soviets. The U.S. had not built up the South Korean army. Northerners invaded the south in June 1950.

c. U.S. intervened militarily and sought UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea.

d. Soviets were boycotting Security Council over the issue of admitting the mainland Chinese government as the representative of China in the UN. Soviets were not present to exercise a veto. U.S. effort in Korea gained UN support.

e. U.S. went to war without a Congressional Declaration of War as required by the U.S. Constitution. President Truman called it a police action.

f. U.S. turned the tide of war, advanced into North Korea and approached the Chinese border.

g. China intervened. U.S. thrown back to vicinity of 38th parallel, where the fighting continued.

h. A war of attrition, with U.S firepower pitted against Chinese manpower, was ended by a cease fire in 1953.

5. Consequences of the Korean War:

a. A permanent peace settlement was not achieve. U.S. military and South Korean army have manned a fortified cease fire line to this date (2015).

b. Korea was devastated by war. Millions of lives were lost. Unification of Korea was postponed indefinitely.

c. A global arms race and military buildup by the U.S. bloc and the Soviet bloc was greatly stimulated.

d. U.S. changed its policy towards Vietnam, beginning to give aid to the French.

6. Vietnam War (1946-1954)

a. Viet Minh waged guerilla war to gain independence from France.

b. Beginning in 1950, France received aid from the U.S., and Viet Minh received aid from China.

c. France was ready to negotiate a withdrawal after their defeat at Dien Bien Phu, a besieged outpost in the interior of northern Vietnam.

d. Geneva Treaty (1954) was signed by China, Soviet Union, France and Viet Minh, but not by the U.S., which protested its terms.

e. Treaty provided for temporary division of Vietnam at 17 degrees North. French and allies to go south, Viet Minh to govern the north. In 1956, nationwide elections were supposed to re-unite Vietnam, and the French were to withdraw completely.

7. Vietnam War (1954-1963)

a. U.S. supported Ngo Dinh Diem as ruler in the south.

b. Diem refused to allow elections in the south in 1956. Ho Chi Minh, Viet Minh's leader, was expected to win.

c. U.S. military aid to Diem enable him to consolidate his rule in the south. Diem's regime was corrupt, favoring his family and his generals.

d. A Vietnamese independence movement, the National Liberation Front, had popular support in the south and fought to gain independence.

e. U.S. supported Diem until 1961, until his repression of Buddhists revealed his repressive rule.

f. Diem government was overthrown by the generals in the southern Vietnamese army in November, 1963

8. Vietnam War (1964-1968)

a. In spite of growing U.S. involvement, the NLF was on the verge of overthrowing the southern Vietnamese government by 1965.

b. In November, 1964, U.S. reported its warships in Tonkin gulf were attacked by north Vietnamese gunboats. The incident was used by the Johnson administration to get Congressional support for expansion of U.S. role in the war.

c. U.S. sent ground forces and took over a fighting role in 1965, began bombing North Vietnam, while attempting to open negotiations.

d. Stalemate in a deadly guerilla war, provoked a protest movement in the U.S. by Americans oppose to U.S. involvement in the war.

e. Tet offensive (January, 1968), though defeated by U.S. forces, showed the depth of support of the NLF. Further expansion of the U.S. role became politically unacceptable at home.

9. Vietnam War (1968-1975)

a. War was unpopular in U.S. President Johnson announced he would not run for re-election in 1968. Republican candidate, Nixon, pledged to get out of the war.

b. After an election campaign marred by anti-war protests, civil rights demonstrations, and violent police reaction at the Democratic Party's presidential convention in Chicago, Nixon was elected.

c. President Nixon intensified U.S. bombing and expanded the war to Cambodia without authorization from Congress.

d. Protests continued in the U.S. while the war intensified. Nixon, began withdrawing U.S. ground troops while giving increased military aid to the south Vietnamese army, and continuing the bombing of North Vietnam. He also pursued a negotiated settlement.

e. Under the terms of an agreement with the Viet Minh, the U. S. completed its withdrawal from the south in 1973. In 1975, renewed fighting led to a quick collapse of the U.S. supported army in the south, and the reunification of Vietnam by the Viet Minh.

10. Consequences of Vietnamese War:

a. Devastation of Vietnam with loss of millions of lives.

b. Loss of trust by U.S. citizens in their own government, sharpening of domestic political differences, re-allocation of resources to war at expense of domestic programs, onset of inflationary cycle.

c. Reluctance of U.S. government and military to become involved overseas, disillusionment and uncertainty in foreign policy.

d. Devastation of neighboring Cambodia and Laos by U.S. bombing.

e. Rise to power in Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, a murderous regime, which killed more than a million of its own people.

11. Nuclear Arms Race (1950-1961):

a. First test of thermo-nuclear device by U.S. in 1952, followed by first Soviet test of H-bomb one year later. Explosive yields now 50 times that of Hiroshima bomb.

b. Continued testing of H-bomb by both U.S. and Soviets begins to raise global radiation levels and pose a serious health risk.

c. Anti-nuclear protests began in England and spread to the U.S.

d. Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, demonstrating their capability to develop ICBM,s.

e. U.S. far ahead with bomber delivery system, accelerated missile development in reation to Sputnik.

f. England successfully tested its first nuclear weapon.

g. U.S. U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union, heightened tensions, and prevented a once-promising negotiating effort.

12. Nuclear Arms Race (1961-1971)

a. Increased military build-up by Kennedy administration in both conventional and nuclear weapons systems

b. U.S. far ahead of Soviets in ICBM development. Project begun for 1000 underground launch platforms for land-based ICBM,s, and 656 nuclear-tipped missiles to be launched underwater by submarines; each missile capable of destroying a city. Soviets far behind.

c. Installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1961 provokes major crisis. U.S. demanded dismantling of missiles in October, 1962, threatening full-scale nuclear attack. Soviets backed down, withdrew missiles in return for U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.

d. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, coined the phrase "mutual assured destruction", believed the only answer to the threat of nuclear war was negotiation.

e. In 1963, U.S. and Soviets signed treaty banning atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons.

f. In 1964, France successfully tested its first nuclear weapon.

g. In 1967, talks to control nuclear arms race took place in Glasboro, New Jersey

h. In 1967, China had its first successful nuclear test.

i. In 1969, the nuclear non-proliferation agreement was signed by the U.S. and the Soviets, who urged other governments to sign.

13. Nuclear Arms Race (1970-1979)

a. SALT talks began in 1972 while nuclear race continued. U.S. developed MIRV, had fewer submarines but they were more reliable and were nuclear-powered unlike most Soviet subs. U.S. far ahead with bomber force.

b Missile-launcher limits were set in SALT talks, but the limits were above already existing numbers and set no limits on MIRV. With MIRV installed on 16 missiles aboard a submarine, 160 cities could potentially be destroyed by one submarine.

c. In 1972, the ABM missile treaty was signed, limiting the sixe and type of anti-ballistic capabilities. Both sides recognized the futility of defending against a massive nuclear attack.

d. During Carter Administration, there were delays in SALT talks. New generation bombers and moble land.based launchers were costly and controversial. In U.S. there were exaggerated fears of falling behind the Soviets, encouraged by the rhetoric of the Committee for the Present Danger.

e. SALT II set new limits, which included MIRV, but cruise missiles were introduced by the U.S. and the arms race was not halted. The new MX ICBM was very controversial and threatened further escalation of the arms race.

14. Nuclear Arms Race (1980-1989)

a. Reagan Administration accelerated U.S. arms build-up in both nuclear and convention weapons.

b. U.S. encouraged installation of a new generation of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, the Pershing II IRBM and a land-based cruise missile.

c. U.S. buildup provoked fears in the Soviet Union, and large anti-nuclear protests among people in weatern Europe and the U.S..

d .Gorbachev became Soviet Premier in 1985 and launched determined effort at peace talks, coupled with Soviet concessions. The Reagan administration position was un-coordinated as Reagan proposed to replace the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction with an anti-ballistic missile shield even though the technology for such a system was not available.

e. START talks began in 1987. These led to the first agreement to substantially reduce nuclear arms. Reagan needed an arms agreement to counteract declining popularity caused by the popular fear of nuclear war, and by the Iran-Contra scandal.

f. Gorbachev relaxed the police state in the USSR, and eased the grip of Soviet armies in eastern Europe, improving the atmosphere for the arms talks.

15. Cold War in Latin America: Guatemala

a. A socialist government, elected in Guatemala, began land reforms which threatened the dominant role of U.S.-based corporations

b. In 1954, the CIA carried out a coup d'etat and turned the government over to a Guatemalan Army officer.

c. A military dictatorship, which received military aid and training from the U.S., terrorized the Indian population for forty years, killing more than 100,000 people.

16. Cold War in Latin America: Cuba

a. In 1959, Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship, which had been supported by the U.S.

b. Castro nationalized the property of U.S. Corporations. U.S. commenced an economic boycott of Cuba.

c. Castro began receiving aid from the Soviets.

d. In 1961, Cuban emigres assisted by the CIA, attempted to invade Cuba. Expected uprising against Castro failed to occur. U.S. refused to intervene openly. The Bay of Pigs invasion was easily put down.

e. In October, 1962, the Cuban missile crisis threatened the world with nuclear destruction., Soviets withdrew their missiles from Cuba in spite of Castro's protests.

f. In 1989, the Soviets ceased to subsidize the Cuban economy. In the midst of great hardship and a continuing U.S. boycott, Castro began to open Cuba to private enterprise and encouraged trade with Europe and Canada.

17. Cold War in Latin America: Brazil

a. In 1964, the elected government of Joao Goulart was not "acceptable" to the Johnson Administration, which planned, and through the CIA, encouraged the overthrow of that government in a military coup d'etat. Read some of the details revealed in documents subsequently declassified.

17. Cold War in Latin America: Chile

a. A socialist government, led by Allende, was elected in 1971.

b. During the Nixon Administration, the U.S. used its influence with international banks to undermine the Chilean economy. The CIA encouraged and influenced a coup d'etat by the Chilean army led by General Pinochet.

c. The Pinochet dictatorship killed several hundred dissidents and ruled the nation for a decade. Economic recovery took place with the help of the U.S.

18. Cold War in Latin America: El Salvador

a A civil war broke out in the 1970,s between the military and right-wing terrorists on the one hand, and a communist-led guerilla insurgency with popular support.

b. In spite of the assassination of 4 American church women by soldiers, the U.S continued to train and support the army throughout the decade of the 1980,s.

c. The army was responsible for the massacre of countless unarmed civilians, including 6 Jesuit priests.

d. After tens of thousands of deaths, the civil war was brought to an end with the help of UN-supervised elections in the early 1990,s.

19. Cold War in Latin America: Nicaragua

a. In 1979, the Sandinista movement, which had struggled for many years to overcome the Somoza dictatorship, finally succeeded.

b. The Sandinista government was involved in supplying arms from Cuba to the gueriilla movement in El Salvador.

c. The U.S., during the Reagan Administration, used the CIA to mine the harbor at Managua, Nicaragua, as part of an effort to overthrow the government. The U.S. provided arms and training to former marines of the Somoza dictatiorship, creating a movement known as the Contras, which waged a guerilla war against the Sandinistas from safe refuge across the border in Honduras.

d. The Nicaraguan government brought charges in the World Court against the U.S. for military aggression against them. Reparations were demanded. The Wold Court ruled in favor of Nicaragua but the decision was unenforceable because the U.S. was too powerful.

e. The U.S. Congress passed the Bohlen amendment, which prohibited further funding of the Contras.

f. The Reagan Administration violated Congressional restrictions through a covert fund-raising project involving Iran. (the Iran-Contra Affair)

g. A U.S. economic boycott of Nicaragua damaged the Nicaraguan economy and encouraged the political opposition to the Sandinistas. An opposition political party led by the sister of the ruling Sandinista dictator, won an election, which brought an end to Sandinista rule. The U.S. stopped support of the Contras and ended the economic boycott.

20. The Cold War in the Third World: Indonesia

a. Indonesai gained its independence from Holland after World War II. The Indonesian premier, Sukarno, took a role of leadership among nations not aligned in the Cold War.

b. Because there was a communist party within the minority ethnic Chinese population, which supported Sukarno, the U.S. supported Sukarno,s overthrow by the army under General Suharto. The overthrow was accompanied by the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Chinese.

c. After Portugal withdrew from its colony of East Timor, Indonesia invaded the island. The Timorese rebelled but the Indonesian army supplied with U.S. weapons, crushed the rebellion. Suharto's alignment with the U.S. in the Cold War assured a continued flow of U.S. aid.

d. In 1998, economic collapse accompanied by riots brought down the government of Suharto. The new government negotiated with the Timorese dissidents in 1999. UN-supervised elections in East Timor confirmed the people's desire for independence from Indonesia, however, the army supported local militia who turned on the populace, killing and destroying their homes. The intervention of a UN peacekeeping force led by Australians finally enforced the election results and East Timor became independent at the end of the century.

21. The Cold War in the Third World: The Philippine Islands

a. The U.S. granted the Philipinos their independence in 1946.

b. A communist-led insurgency developed in the 1950,s. The U.S. gave military aid and training to the government.

c. A military dictatorship led by Marcos and supplied by the U.S. delayed the development of a democratic process for over a decade.

d. In 1986, a popular uprising led by Mrs. Aquino, the widow of the leading dissident, and assisted by the army, led by General Ramos, a West Point graduate, overthrew the Marcos dictatorship.

22. The Cold War in the Third World: Afghanistan

a. A communist leadership assisted by the Soviet Union, came to power in the late 1970,s.

b. An anti-communist guerilla movement carried out a long struggle against the Soviet supported government. They were assisted by the United States and Pakistan. The Soviets withdrew after Gorbachev came to power in the USSR.

c. After Soviet withdrawal, their client government was defeated by the insurgents. Rival Afghan factions continued the fight against each other, using weapons obtained during the Cold War.

d. By 1998, most of the country was brought under the rule of the Taliban, a ruthless Muslim fundamentalist movement known for its harsh repression of women.

23. The Cold War in Africa: Egypt

a. An independent Egypt, under the leadership of an Arab nationalist, Gamal Abdel Nasser, established control of the Suez Canal.

b. In 1956, England, France and Israel invaded Egypt, but were repudiated by the U. S. and compelled to withdraw.

c. The U.S. refused to give aid to Egypt to build the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. Egypt turned to the Soviet Union for sid, and built the dam during the late 1950,s.

d. The Soviets gave military aid during the 1960,s to Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian Liberation Movement in their struggle against Israel, which was supported by the U.S.

e.After Egypt was defeated by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Soviets re-supplied Egypt with weapons.

f. Under a new leader, Anwar Sadat, Egypt launched the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel. Early Egyptian victories were reversed as the U. S. re-supplied the Israelis.

g. As Israel was on the verge of seizing the Suez Canal, the Soviets threatened direct intervention on the side of Egypt. a nuclear alert was issued as the U.S. and the Soviets faced each other. Negotiations and the use of a UN peacekeeping force averted disaster. The war set the stage for the return of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt.

h. Following the crisis, Sadat threw out the Soviet and turned to the U.S. for aid.

i. The U.S. position of influence with both Israel and Egypt, enabled the U.S., during the Carter Administration, to broker an Egyptian-Israeli peace settlement.

24. The Cold War in Africa: the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Angola

a. The U.S. and the Soviets gave military aid to opposing sides in civil conflicts in all of the above-listed countries during the Cold War.

b. Arms sales increased the intensity of these struggles and added to the bloodshed.

c. After the Cold War was over, weapons supplied then were still being used in ongoing wars in each of those areas in the 1990s.

25. The End of the Cold War

a. In 1985, Gorbachev, part of a new generation of Soviet leaders, became the Soviet Premier.

b. Facing serious economic problems at home, and finding the centralized socialist economy incapable of meeting the needs of a modern industrial society, Gorbachev introduced wide-rangng reforms:

(1) Perestroika, the economic reforms, involved decentralizing the economy and allowing private enterprise.

(2) Glasnost, the political reforms, involved dismantling the police state, and sharply reducing military commitments beyond the Soviet Union.

c. Without the threat of the Soviet army, dictatorships in the Soviet client states in eastern Europe, both in the Balkans and the Baltic, collapsed under the pressure of popular uprisings. In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall was broken down by protestors.

d. Without the Soviet police backed by the army, independence movements in 15 different provinces of the Soviet Empire organized and gained their independence.

e. In Russia, the core of the old empire, elections brought Yeltsin to power as the President of Russia, while Gorbachev was forced into retirement as the Soviet Empire ceased to exist.

f. Largely through the efforts of Gorbachev, the hostile relations with the U.S. were brought to an end.

26. Legacies of the Cold War

a. Russia's centrally-directed econmy had been perpetuated for decades in order to meet the demands of the war. This left the economy in shambles, unable to reorganize to meet civilian needs.

b. In the U.S., a military-industrial complex had been created to wage the war. This had distorted the economy, and created powerful opposition to dismantling the weapons industry, which continued to produce weapons even though they were no longer needed.

c. An international arms trade, developed during the Cold War, continued to thrive, primarily driven by the profit motive, adding to bloodshed in conflicts around the world and encouraging military dictatorships.

d. The United States emerged as the single greatest military power and the principal arms supplier to the rest of the world.

e. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction were, though no longer on quick alert status, a potential threat to peace and stability.