The Origins of the Cold War

What was the Cold War?

  • A hostile relationship which developed between the USA and the USSR (and their respective allies) after the breakdown of their alliance at the end of the Second World War.

  • The Cold War largely lasted from 1947 (after the end of WW2) to 1991 (the dissolution of the Soviet Union).

Key Events of the Cold War:

  • 1948– The USSR had established left-wing governments in Eastern European countries they had liberated from Nazi rule in the Second World War. Meanwhile, the US established their influence in Western Europe by providing aid under the Marshall Plan.

  • 1948-49– Berlin Blockade

  • 1949– Establishment of NATO by the USA and its European Allies (NATO aimed at resisting Soviet influence)

  • 1949– The US Domination in Nuclear Warfare ended has the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb.

  • 1949– Chinese Communists come to power and are allied with the Soviets

  • 1950-53– The Korean War (The Soviets supported North Korea, led by communist Kim Il Sung, while the USA supported South Korea, led by anti-communist Syngman Rhee)

  • 1953– Death of Joseph Stalin (somewhat reduced tensions)

  • 1955– Establishment of the Warsaw Pact (basically the Soviet's version of NATO, but aimed at increasing Soviet power)

  • 1955– West Germany is admitted into NATO

  • 1956– The Hungarian Revolution

  • 1961– The Berlin Wall

  • 1962– Cuban Missile Crisis (the USSR built a missile launch site in Cuba, which meant they could attack the USSR. War was everted when the USA and USSR negotiated a withdrawal of forces... including the missiles)

  • 1964-75– The Vietnam War

  • 1968– Events in Czechoslovakia

  • 1979– The Soviet–Afghan War

  • 1980– The Solidarity Movement in Poland

  • 1990– The Reunification of Germany

  • 1991– The Collapse of the Soviet Union