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The Cold War


The Cold War Debate and controversy – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Cold War

The Cold War
  • Debate and controversy

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The war of words?
  • Primarily ideological war between United States
    and Soviet Union
  • International perspective essential (vs.
    binational or national perspective)
  • Structures and processes vs. individuals?
  • Chronological investigation imperative

Key factors
  • A complete lack of trust between politicians on
    each side
  • Building up huge armed forces to threaten the
    other side (but not actually using them)
  • Using the media to criticise the actions of the
    other side
  • Co-operating with and supporting anyone who was
    an enemy of the other side

When did it start?
  • Subject for debate
  • Most historians say after WWII
  • BUT, some say 1919-1939 as relations between SU,
    USA and Britain already strained (we will work on
    this later - Origins of the Cold War)

Who caused the Cold War?
  • Structures and processes vs. personalities?
  • Churchill? The Iron Curtain speech
  • Stalin? The Yalta Conference
  • Truman? The Truman Doctrine

  • From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the
    Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the
    Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals
    of the ancient states of Central and Eastern
    Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest,
    Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia all these famous
    cities and the populations around them lie in
    what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are
    subject, in one form or another, not only to
    Soviet influence but to a very high and in some
    cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.
  • The Iron Curtain Speech 1946

  • The Yalta Conference 1945 democratic elections
  • 1945-1947 elections in most Eastern European
  • Communists coalition governments in Poland,
    Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia
  • 1947 Communists took control of the governments
    in Poland, Hungary and Romania
  • By 1948 all the states of Eastern Europe had
    Communist governments

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  • The Truman Doctrine Containment of Communism
  • The Marshall Plan Economic Aid offered to all
    European states only Western states received
  • Soviet view
  • Truman was an aggressor giving money and
    weapons to enemies of the USSR
  • The Marshall Plan an attempt to get all of Europe
    in debt to the USAThe Marshall Plan was partly an
    act of generosity, partly an act of self interest
    - America wanted Europe to recover so Americans
    would have partners to trade with.
  • American view
  • Truman Doctrine preventing spread of Communism

New evidence?
  • In general, the new evidence supports the
    overall thrust of the arguments that Soviet
    policy in 1947 was largely defensive and reactive
    evidence suggests that Stalin still hoped to
    pursue a variant of detente co-operation with
    the Western Powers The Marshall Plan, however,
    radically changed Stalin's calculus, and led him
    to shift away from this more moderate line The
    new archival documentation shows that in making
    this shift, the Soviet leadership was moved
    primarily by fear of its own vulnerability to
    American economic power.
  • Scott D. ParrishLecturer, Department of
    GovernmentUniversity of Texas at Austin

  • 6 powers
  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Soviet Union
  • Japan
  • United States of America

Aftermath of WWII - US
  • US uniquely powerful position
  • US economy almost doubled in size
  • 1945 US controlled ½ worlds manufacturing
    capacity, most of its food surpluses, large
    portion financial reserves
  • Lead in technologies
  • Possession domestic energy Latin America and
    Middle Eastern reserves
  • International prestige

Aftermath of WWII - SU
  • Bipolar world, but SU a distant 2nd
  • 20-27 million deaths from war
  • Extensive destruction crop land, farm animals,
    factories, mines, transport, housing
  • Soviet economy barely ¼ size US
  • Impressive military, but lagged behind US
  • However
  • Germany and Japan destroyed
  • Decline Britain in Middle East

Aftermath WWII other powers
  • Britain
  • 400,000 died, external debt, lost ¼ pre-war
  • 1952 atomic weapons, strong currency
  • France
  • 600,000 died, severely damaged by occupation
    (physical and psychological), rising unrest in
  • Germany
  • 7 million died, cities levelled, transportation
    disrupted, popl. displaced, prospect partition
  • Japan
  • Lay in ruins, shorn of colonial empire, occupied
    by US forces

Technology of war
  • Conventional weapons new destructiveness
  • Extended reach long-range bombers and aircraft
  • Systematic application of science to warfare
    (radar, jet engine, atomic bomb)
  • Debate existence of weapons
  • Dissuade use/aggression OR pre-emptive strikes?
  • Developing countries peasants impt. role

Balance of power
  • Balance of power changed
  • Ideological basis
  • WWII Grand Alliance of centre and left
    against the right
  • After WWII 2 camps Communism vs. Capitalism
  • Potential impact of internal struggles
    international significance

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Activity Origins of the Cold War?
  • http//

  • Cold War International History Project
  • National Archives Learning Curve
  • National Security Archive (GWU)
  • CNN Cold War Focus
  • BBC Cold War Focus