The Great Powers
The Great Powers are countries that share responsibilities to prevent one country from getting too big and gaining too much control over others.
- After WWII, Germany, Italy, & Japan were all destroyed, Great Britain & France were financially week, & China was in a Civil War. This meant that only the United States & the Soviet Union remained in the Great Power policy.
- The Soviet Union sought to expand & overthrow established countries with communism & the Soviet Union & the United States engaged in a zero-sum policy, which is when the Soviet Union gains a country, the US and Europe lose it, thus strengthening the Soviet Union & weakening Europe.
- After the Soviet Union seizes Poland, the United States realizes it is the only nation that can protect the rest of the economically declined & weakened Europe from the invasion of communism, so the US helps rebuild European powers to contain the Soviet Union.
The Iron Curtain
The Iron Curtain was a barrier between the Soviet Union and the rest of Europe from the end of WWII in 1945 until 1991.
- The Soviet Union contained itself entirely, creating a political, military, ideological, & physical barrier of the Soviet Union, dividing the Democratic Eastern Europe & Communist Western Europe.
- The countries the Soviet Union expanded to and included in the Iron Curtain are Poland, eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania.
- The United States was made aware of the severity of the divide in 1846 when Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, traveled to the US & gave a speech which he said "an iron curtain has descended upon Europe."
The Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine is an American policy to stop the spread of communist expansion in European nations.
- The United States, realizing the severity of the spread of communism in the unstable countries of Europe, began helping the weakest countries so they could rebuild themselves & resist communism.
- Greece was in a civil war & had the support of other countries, but the British withdrew their aid, thus making it susceptible to communism takeover & the United States didn't want Europe to lose Greece to communism so President Truman accepted responsibility and loaned Greece $400,000.
- Turkey controlled Bosporus & Dardanelles, which are narrow straights in European waters that contained American naval travel way. Because Turkey was weak & vulnerable to communism & the US didn't want the invasion of their naval travel-way, the US also loaned Turkey $400,000.
The Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was an American initiative in 1948 to aid and restore unstable European countries at the end of WWII to fight against communism.
- The US Congress approves $20 billion dollars in economic aid to France, Great Britain, & Germany who were on the brink of economic collapse.
- "The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous once more, and prevent the spread of communism" (Wikipedia).
- In receiving this money, the governments of the countries gave money to people to rebuild their homes & invest in railroads to create demand for production and industries to rebuild a healthy economy.
- Additionally, the Marshall Plan sought to combine the British, French, & American owned sections in the division of Germany (this happened to take away Germany's power & prevent a WWIII) and create their own country, Western Germany, to create a common currency to restore the economy.
The Berlin Crisis
The Berlin Crisis was a Soviet Union attempt in 1961 to overtake the capital of Germany, Berlin.
- Germany is divided into 4 regions and owned by different countries, & Berlin, located in eastern Germany, is divided among these countries as well. The Soviet Union region of Berlin is not under the Marshall Plan like the rest of Eastern Germany, so currency begins to fall.
- In 1948, the Soviet Union forces the western zones out of Berlin, owned by the United States, Great Britain, and France, by cutting off road and railroad access to Berlin, thus creating a blockade.
- The United States air lifts 8000 tons of supplies a day to Berlin so they can remain supported, and in 1949 Stalin lifts the blockade because it ultimately fails his purpose of getting western zones to retreat from Berlin.
NATO is a peace alliance treaty which establishes and cements collective security where alliances agree to defend each other during a crises.
- NATO is the first peacetime alliance formed by the United States. It means the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that establishes collective security, or protecting nations allies, which stemmed from the Versailles Treaty after WWII.
- The Soviet Union looked at the establishment of NATO as an act of aggression against their nation.
The Korean War
On June 24, 1950 North Korea invades South Korea.
- North Korea & South Korea are divided because at the end of WWII, the Soviets sent troops into Korea, which led America & Russia to decide to temporarily divide Korea between communists in the north & capitalists in the south which intentions of reunification.
- As tensions rise between the Soviet Union and the United States during The Cold War, Americans withdrawal their troops from South Korea & the Soviets withdrawal their troops from North Korea.
- The leader of North Korea seized the opportunity of having more troops than South Korea because of the Soviet forces and received Stalin's permission to attack.
- June 25th, the day after the war begins, President Truman orders Douglas MacArthur, the governor of Japan, to come to South Korea's defense. The United States already has 50-60,000 American troops in Japan from a peacekeeping mission after WWII.
- South Korean troops are at the city of Pusan awaiting American troops arrival to surround them & force them to surrender, however, they land at the port of Inchon, which takes South Korean troops by surprise because of the dangerous and massive tidal waves that happen there, & South Koreans attempt to move north, but the US forces were much more prepared and were able to clear out much of North Koreans from South Korea.
- US forces move north to revert North Korea from communism and help Europe regain North Korea. North Korea borders China and American troops spread out and scare the Chinese, so they send 200,000 troops into North Korea and divides American forces & pushes them back.
The 38th Parallel is the border between North Korea and South Korea.
- In 1953, the leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin dies and this is critical to the Korean War because he supplied military equipment to North Koreans and Chinese & the new leader didn't want to fuel the war anymore & wanted to focus on repairing the Soviet Union instead. He tells North Korea and China he will not help them anymore
- Instead of forming a peace treaty, on July 27th, 1953 North Korea & South Korea declare an armistice, or a cessation of hostilities, with a new border along the 38th parallel, right between North Korea and South Korea.