The Cold War Abroad 1945-1989


USII.18 Analyze the factors that contributed to the Cold War and describe the policy of containment as America’s response to Soviet expansionist policies.
  • the differences between the Soviet and American political and economic systems
  • Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe
  • the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and NATO
Vladimir Lenin-Founder of the Soviet Union on the left. Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong on the right.
  1. Communism definition- is a political and economic system in which the major productive resources in a society—such as mines, factories, and farms—are owned by the public or the state, and wealth is divided among citizens equally or according to individual need.
  2. Containment definition- policy was to restrict the spread of communism abroad by diplomatic, military and economic actions.


  • During World War II, the Soviet Union liberated many countries of eastern Europe from Nazi Germany. After the war, however, the Soviet Union continued to control the countries and forced its own communist economic system on them.
  • The United States did not want communism to spread to other countries in Europe. It also wanted the western European countries as allies, or friends.
  • The United States therefore gave money to those countries to rebuild after the war. This was called the Marshall Plan after George Marshall, the American who proposed the plan.
Nikita Khrushchev-Leader of the Soviet Union in 1960's
Political Cartoon

Events of the Cold War

  • Two major crises of the Cold War involved the German city of Berlin. At the end of World War II the city, as well as the country, was divided into four zones, with the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union each controlling one of the sectors. In 1948 the three Western powers announced that they would combine their zones.
  • The Soviet Union then cut off road and rail supply routes to the city, which was completely within the Soviet part of Germany. In response, the United States and Britain delivered supplies by airplane. This was the Berlin airlift. The Soviet Union lifted its blockade on May 12, 1949.
  • In the years that followed, many people in East Berlin moved to West Berlin to escape control by the Soviet Union. In 1961 the East German government tried to stop this movement by building a wall around West Berlin. The Berlin Wall became a symbol of the Cold War.
  • The Cold War soon extended beyond Europe. The Soviet Union gave support to other countries throughout the world that had communist governments. At the same time, the United States tried to prevent communism from spreading any further. Both the Korean War in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s were part of that struggle.

Formation of Nato

  • After World War II (1939–45) the Communist government of the Soviet Union set up other Communist governments in several countries of eastern Europe. The countries of western Europe feared that the Soviets would spread Communism even farther.
  • The United States and other western countries shared their concern. This tension between the Soviet Union and its western rivals became known as the Cold War.


  • To protect each other against the Soviets, 12 countries formed NATO in 1949. The original NATO members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. More countries joined later.
  • In 1955 the Soviet Union and its Communist allies formed an organization similar to NATO. It was called the Warsaw Pact.

Truman Doctrine

Truman Doctrine-Political Cartoon
  • Truman Doctrine, pronouncement by U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, declaring immediate economic and military aid to the governments of Soviet UnionGreece, threatened by Communist insurrection, and Turkey, under pressure from Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean area.
  • As the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to reach a balance of power during the Cold War that followed World War II, Great Britain announced that it could no longer afford to aid those Mediterranean countries, which the West feared were in danger of falling under Soviet influence.
  • The U.S. Congress responded to a message from Truman by promptly appropriating $400,000,000 for this purpose.
Hydrogen Bomb Test

Marshall Plan

  • Marshall Plan, formally European Recovery Program, (April 1948–December 1951), U.S.-sponsored program designed to rehabilitate (help) the economies of 17 western and southern European countries in order to create stable conditions in which democracy could survive.
  • The United States feared that the poverty, unemployment, and dislocation of the post-World War II period were reinforcing the appeal of communist parties to voters in western Europe. On June 5, 1947, in an address at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall advanced the idea of a European self-help program to be financed by the United States.
  • On the basis of a unified plan for western European economic reconstruction presented by a committee representing 16 countries, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the European Recovery Program, which was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on April 3, 1948.
  • The Marshall Plan was very successful. The western European countries involved experienced a rise in their gross national products of 15 to 25 percent during this period. The plan contributed greatly to the rapid renewal of the western European chemical, engineering, and steel industries.

Essential Questions

  1. Why was the United States fearful of Communism?
  2. What steps did the United States take to prevent the spread of Communism?
  3. What was some of the reasons the Soviets created the Warsaw Pact?

Soviet Aggression

  • The Soviet Union did not exit the World War II as the United States had. The United States had found themselves stronger after the conclusion of the war, whereas the Soviet Union was in complete disarray. The Soviets had seen Germany rise to power twice now and wreak havoc.
  • At the end of the war Stalin was not satisfied with what had happened to the German state and feared they would rise once again. In an effort to stop this before it happened Stalin became aggressive in Eastern Europe to create a buffer zone for his protection. The United States and NATO saw this not as a defensive ploy, but instead as hostility.
Created By
Pedro menino


Created with images by uoɹɐɐ - "man is the only animal" • falco - "russia golden ring historically" • WikiImages - "stamp shaking hands handshake" • Jorge Lascar - "CCCP (Soviet) poster, 1963" • manhhai - "Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev / Никита Сергеевич Хрущёв 1894-1971" • uoɹɐɐ - "man is the only animal" • cometstarmoon - "Atomic War Cover" • Andrew_979 - "IMG_2014_5_6W" • WikiImages - "nuclear weapons test nuclear weapon weapons test" • manhhai - "Two Worlds 1950 - Hai thế giới 1950"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.