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    5 Key Cold War Events

    The Cold War shook the foundation of the world, as it was the first time that large-scale nuclear warfare became a truly realistic threat. Spanning approximately 45 years between 1947 and 1991, wherein no direct battles were fought, the Cold War was a period of intense geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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    5 Key Cold War Events

    by Norwich University Online July 3rd, 2017

    The Cold War shook the foundation of the world, as it was the first time that large-scale nuclear warfare became a truly realistic threat. Spanning approximately 45 years between 1947 and 1991, wherein no direct battles were fought, the Cold War was a period of intense geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. By deeply delving into the most critical events of the dispute, historians can develop a better understanding of the Cold War’s extensive conflict.

    Containment of Russia

    At the end of World War II, the majority of American leadership was in agreement that the most viable approach against the political and militaristic expansion of the Soviet Union was to implement a containment strategy that would help keep the Soviet expansion in check and protect Western democratic values. American diplomat, George Kennan, described this strategy as “a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with the United States, there can be no permanent modus vivendi [agreement between parties that disagree]”; concluding that America had only one option to proceed, “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” In 1947, President Harry Truman made the containment of the Soviet Union a top priority, laying the groundwork for the Cold War by introducing domestic policies that centered on undermining communism in the United States. Such action helped set the tone for the next four decades of United States foreign policy.

    Arms Race Between the United States & Russia

    Under the umbrella goal of containing Soviet Russia’s military capacity, the United States began manufacturing armaments at an excessive rate, rationalizing the production of these arms as necessary to ward off potential conflict. American officials recommended that the United States develop and deploy atomic weapons in an effort to keep Soviet doctrines and policies from expanding unchecked throughout Europe and the world, and to highlight to the Soviets that there would be dire consequences if they continued their expansionist policies. The U.S.’s containment efforts—which focused on a blend of increased arms production, ramped up militarism and displays of force throughout the world, the continued promise of mutually assured destruction by nuclear weapons, and the containment of Soviet-supported, communist political movements outside the Soviet Union—led to the American defense budget quadrupling.

    Not only were small arms, aircraft, ships, and land-based military vehicles being produced en masse, the containment and arms race-related policies employed by the U.S. also jumpstarted a nuclear arms race, as the Soviet Union and the U.S. tried to outdo one another by creating more powerful and increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons. The arms race culminated in an effort to develop nuclear weapons similar to the atom bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought a violent end to World War II. The Soviet Union recognized the immense military value of having atomic weapons and went on to develop their own atomic bombs in 1949. To maintain their perceived superiority and suppress Soviet attempts at becoming a global leader, the United States began production of an even more devastating weapon: the hydrogen bomb.

    Development of the Hydrogen Bomb

    The development of the hydrogen bomb is a widely discussed topic, as there were many conflicting spheres of influence involved with its production within the political, social, and scientific communities. Some scientists, like Edward Teller, were proponents of the production of a super-bomb, while others were extremely opposed to the idea. While anti-communist tensions were at a moderate baseline in the early years of the Cold War, the period of time encompassing the race to develop a functional hydrogen bomb set the precedent for the rising tensions of the Cold War as it escalated throughout the 20th century.

    The first successful detonation of an American-made hydrogen device occurred on November 1, 1952, in the Pacific region on the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This test involved the deployment of 10.4-megaton apparatus nicknamed Mike, and the resulting explosion was a visible example of just how justified the rising level of public fear and anxiety towards hydrogen weapons had been. The blast decimated nearby islands, leaving behind a crater more than a mile wide and creating a virulent mushroom cloud that was an approximate 100 miles wide and 25 miles high. Following this test, the Soviet Union then rushed to develop hydrogen bomb technology. With the implementation of the hydrogen bomb, the Cold War was in full swing, as the American and Soviet governments—along with their respective citizens—became entirely fixated on the growing threat of thermonuclear conflict.

    Space exploration

    The Cold War also resulted in a technological competition between the Soviets and the U.S. as the two nations vied against one another to achieve space supremacy. On October 4, 1957, this space-race began when a Soviet satellite named Sputnik was launched into orbit using an intercontinental ballistic missile. The launch of Sputnik represented the ever-growing power of the Soviet Union and highlighted that the U.S. was starting to fall behind in the technology-driven space race. Additionally, Sputnik showcased the power of Soviet missiles, which had effectively demonstrated the capability of delivering nuclear payloads into orbit, and possibly onto American soil.

    Source : online.norwich.edu

    Major Cold War Events

    On occasion actions by both sides of the Cold War divide resulted in confrontations that brought the ideological adversaries to the brink of war.

    World History

    Major Cold War Events

    In part, the Cold War was a battle of ideas, which was contested in the media, on the floor of the United Nations, through all manner of propaganda, and in millions of interactions among Americans and their allies, the Soviet Union, “Red” China, and their allies, and the rest of the world. But the Cold War was not just about talk. It was also about action, and on a number of occasions the actions of the players on both sides of the Cold War divide resulted in confrontations and crises that brought the ideological adversaries to the brink of war.

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    Hot Wars

    Sometimes the Cold War enemies did engage in “shooting wars,” though almost always through surrogates. Only in the Korean War did the United States and its allies, operating under the banner of the United Nations, directly engage in a “hot” war with either of the communist giants. In this case North Korea was supplied and advised by the Soviet Union, and the forces of the People’s Republic of China joined the fight. In the Vietnam War, the United States, aided by South Korea and Australia, among others, took up the cause of the South Vietnamese in the name of the Domino Theory against communist North Vietnam, which was supported by China and especially the Soviet Union. In Afghanistan the roles were reversed, as the United States provided military aid that was covert in name only to mujahideen who fought against the country’s communist government and the Soviet troops who had invaded in support of it.

    Greek Civil War (1944-45, 1946-49)

    The Greek Civil War, a two-stage contest in which Greek communists tried unsuccessfully to take control of their country, began before the end of World War II, abated, and resumed in 1946, when a full-scale guerrilla war was initiated by the communists. The U.S. took over the defense of Greece from the British, justifying its action with Truman Doctrine.

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    Chinese Civil War (1945-49)

    The Chinese Civil War pitted the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek against the Communists under Mao Zedong in a struggle to control China. When the U.S. withdrew Its substantial military support from the Nationalists, Chiang saw his dominance of the Communists wither, and he was forced to cede mainland China to Mao and flee with his people to Taiwan.

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    Korean War

    Divided in two following World War II, Korea took centre stage of the Cold War when Soviet client state North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950. The UN, led by the U.S., sided with South Korea; the People’s Republic of China aided North Korea. After more than a million combat casualties, the fighting ended in July 1953 with Korea still split in two.

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    Korean War Timeline

    Learn about the crucial events in the Korean War.

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    Vietnam War

    Applying the Domino Theory to communist North Vietnam’s effort to reunite the two Vietnams that had emerged from the Indochina Wars, the U.S. provided military aid to South Vietnam beginning in 1954 and troops beginning in 1961. The U.S. presence eventually swelled to hundreds of thousands of troops in the protracted conflict that became widely unpopular in the U.S.

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    Cuban Revolution

    On January 1, 1959, a triumphant Fidel Castro, entered Havana, having led a successful revolution to overthrow the dictatorial rule of Fulgencio Batista. Contrary to his image as a populist and democrat, Castro became the new dictator, nationalized previously U.S.-owned property, declared that he was and always had been a Marxist, and invited Soviet aid.

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    Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

    In late 1979 Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, intervening in support of the Afghan communist government against the U.S.-supported mujahideen, anti-communist Muslim guerrillas. The Soviets remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989. The Afghan War (1978–92) became a Vietnam-like quagmire for what by the late 1980s was a disintegrating Soviet Union.

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    Video: Kennedy Sends U.S. Troops To Vietnam

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    Learn how Pres. John F. Kennedy escalated the U.S. role in the Vietnam War.

    Other Major Cold War Events

    The Cold War era was replete with iconic images and moments (Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on a desk at the United Nations, bearded Fidel Castro in military fatigues, East Germans scurrying under, over, or through the Berlin Wall to freedom in West Berlin) and landmark events. Here are some of the best-known and most historically consequential events of the period.

    Other Major Cold War Events The Cold War era was replete with iconic images and moments (Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on a desk at the United Nations, bearded Fidel Castro in military fatigues, East Germans scurrying under, over, or through the Berlin Wall to freedom in West Berlin) and landmark events. Here are some of the best-known and most historically consequential events of the period. Berlin Blockade

    In March 1948 the U.S., the U.K., and France announced their intention to unite their occupation zones of Germany. The Soviet Union responded by blockading rail, road, and water links between Berlin and the West, leading the U.S and the U.K. to supply the city with food and other vital supplies via an airlift, which kept West Berlin going until the blockade was lifted in May 1949.

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    Suez Crisis

    In July 1956 Egyptian Pres. Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which was owned by a French- and British-run company. Seeking to regain control of the canal and to depose Nasser, France and the U.K. joined Israel in a military operation. Israel invaded; the U.K. and France intervened to enforce a UN-ordered cease-fire, but widespread opposition to their actions frustrated their goals.

    Source : www.britannica.com

    AB_Quizlet_Ch33_Restructuring the postwar Flashcards

    Start studying AB_Quizlet_Ch33_Restructuring the postwar. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.

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    United Nations

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    World organization formed to prevent war

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    iron curtain

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    Division between Eastern and Western Europe during the Cold War;Divide Communist countries.

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    Textbook solutions for this set

    Modern World History Patterns of Interaction

    1st Edition

    Dahia Ibo Shabaka, Larry S. Krieger, Linda Black, Phillip C. Naylor, Roger B. Beck

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    Ancient World History Patterns of Interaction

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    Dahia Ibo Shabaka, Larry S. Krieger, Linda Black, Phillip C. Naylor, Roger B. Beck

    1,465 explanations

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    Terms in this set (68)

    United Nations

    World organization formed to prevent war

    iron curtain

    Division between Eastern and Western Europe during the Cold War;Divide Communist countries.

    containment

    Policy aimed at preventing the spread of communism.

    Truman Doctrine

    Policy of giving aid to countries threatened by communism.

    Marshall Plan

    Plan to give aid to European countries to help them recover

    Cold War

    State of tension and mistrust between the United States and the Soviet Union

    NATO

    Military alliance including the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

    Warsaw Pact

    Military alliance between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

    brinkmanship

    Willingness on the part of the superpower to go to the edge of war.

    League of Nations

    an international organization formed in 1920 to promote cooperation and peace among nations.

    Opec

    An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the production and sale of petroleum.

    Analysis Political Cartoon

    In this image, I can analyze a hand holding a torch representing the light of democracy.

    The Berlin Airlift

    Stalin cut off land access to Berlin as a challenge to the West.US heads a massive 9-month airlift to bring food, clothes, etc. to the citizens of West Berlin. stalin backs down. Berlin is the capital of Germany.

    The Space Race

    A heated competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to develop the first real-world exploration of outer space.

    How did U.S. goals and Soviet goals

    differ after World War II?

    The difference in goals was the United States wanted to encourage democracy and the Soviet Union wanted to set up Communist governments.

    What countries were separated from

    the West by the iron curtain?

    The countries that were separated from the West by the iron curtain would be western and eastern Europe; Where the east was more communist and the west was more democratic.

    What was the Berlin airlift?

    Stalin cut off land access to Berlin as a challenge to the West.US heads a massive 9-month airlift to bring food, clothes, etc. to the citizens of West Berlin. stalin backs down. Berlin is the capital of Germany.

    What are three developments or events that increased tensions during the Cold War?

    Three developments or events that increased tensions during the Cold War was Alliance System, Militarism, and Brinkmanship.

    Mao Zedong

    Communist leader who defeated the Nationalists and led the People's

    Republic of China Jiang Jieshi

    Nationalist leader who set up a new government in Taiwan

    commune

    Large farm setup in China in which many families work the land and live

    together Red Guards

    Young Chinese students who carried out the Cultural Revolution

    Cultural Revolution

    Uprising in China between 1966 and 1976 that aimed to establish a

    society of peasants and workers in which all were equal.

    communist manifesto

    This is the 1848 book written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels which urges an uprising by workers to seize control of the factors of production from the upper and middle classes.

    What two groups fought the civil war,

    and who led them?

    Communist and Nationalist.

    Leader:Mao Zedong(Communist)

    Leader:Jiang Jieshi(Nationalist)

    How did the superpowers take sides

    with the two Chinas?

    The Soviet Union and the United States.

    What are three changes Mao made?

    -He Seized land and gave it to the peasants; he forced the peasants to join collective farms or communes.

    - The Great Leap Forward.

    - He tried to revive the revolution and formed groups called the Red Guards.

    38th parallel

    Line that separated North Korea and South Korea

    Douglas MacArthur

    Leader of United Nations forces during the Korean War

    Ho Chi Minh

    Vietnamese nationalist who drove the French out of Vietnam and who led

    North Vietnam domino theory

    Theory that nations were like a row of dominoes: if one fell to

    communism, the others would fall, too

    Vietcong

    Communist rebels in South Vietnam who were supported by North Vietnam.

    Ngo Dinh Diem

    Leader of the anti-Communist government of South Vietnam

    Vietnamization

    Nixon's plan for gradually withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam and

    replacing them with South Vietnamese troops

    Khmer Rouge

    Source : quizlet.com

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