Superpower relations 10

RECAP – put the 12 boxes below into chronological order (this is quite tough, the answers are below)

Yalta Conference

The Berlin Crisis (Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airlift)

Novikov Telegram

The Grand Alliance was formed

NATO was set up

Potsdam Conference

Germany was permanently divided into East and West (the GDR and the FRG)

Marshall Plan

American dropped the atomic bomb on Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki)

Truman Doctine

Kennan’s Long Telegram

The start of Soviet expansionism

Answers (click to reveal) – you definitely don’t need to months, you don’t have to know the years but some of you will find it helpful
  1. The Grand Alliance was formed (1941)
  2. Yalta Conference (Feb 1945)
  3. Potsdam Conference (July-Aug 1945)
  4. America dropped the atomic bomb on Japan (Aug 1945)
  5. The start of Soviet expansionism (through 1945) – you could have put this as number 3, 4 or 5 and it would be correct, there isn’t a specific starting date
  6. Kennan’s Long Telegram (Feb 1946)
  7. Novikov Telegram (Sept 1946)
  8. Truman Doctrine (March 1947)
  9. Marshall Plan (put forward in 1947 with the first money given in 1948)
  10. Berlin Crisis (June 1948-May 1949)
  11. NATO set up (April 1949)
  12. Germany permanently divided into East and West (autumn 1949)

What happened in the Cold War in the 1950s?

Today we will be learning about three events/changes in to Cold War

  1. The arms race
  2. A change in leaders
  3. The Warsaw Pact

1. The arms race

The arms race was a competition between the USA and the USSR to create more and more powerful arms and weapons. It began in 1945 when the USA dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. For a short time America had a monopoly on nuclear weapons (this means they had complete control and were the only ones with it). By 1949 however, much to America’s surprise, the USSR tested their own atomic bomb.

Through the 1950s and 1960s the two sides designed and tested more and more weapons which were increasingly powerful including hydrogen and lithium bombs, and submarines capable of launching nuclear weapons. Before long the two sides had weapons that would destroy the globe if they were to be used.

Have a play around on this website to see the size and scale of different nuclear weapons (you might want to compare the damage of ‘little boy’, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, with the Tsar Bomba, the largest bomb ever tested):

M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction) – the arms race led to the strategy of M.A.D. In some ways the arms race made the world much more dangerous. This is because both sides could destroy the world if they were to use their weapons. HOWEVER, with both sides having such devastating weapons M.A.D was a strategy that acted as a deterrent (it discouraged people from using them).

Put simply, with both sides having such powerful weapons, it meant neither side wanted to use them. In this way you could argue the arms race actually made the world safer. (THINK – the only time in history that nuclear weapons have been used is on Japan in WWII, when only America had them)

Missile Gap – this was the belief that America, in the 1950s was behind the USSR in the arms race. It was later proven to be wrong but it scared the American people and politicians at the time.

Space race – the competition between the USA and the USSR in space. This took place in the late 1950s and 1960s. For much of the time the USSR were seen as ‘winning (they put the first satellite in space, they put the first man in space). However, in 1969 America famously put the first man on the moon

TASK 1: What does the cartoon above suggest?

TASK 2: In your own words, describe what was meant by the arms race and space race

2. A change in leaders

In 1953 there was a change in the Cold War – the leaders of both the USA and the USSR changed

President Truman was replaced by President Eisenhower who won the Presidential election [you say it I-zen-hower]
Stalin died. However, because he was so paranoid and had always been afraid someone would try and take his power it was unclear who the new ruler would be. After years of infighting Khrushchev [you say it Kroo-shev] became the leader of the USSR in 1956

TASK 3: Why might new leaders have led to the chance of improved relations between the USA and the USSR?

3. The creation of the Warsaw Pact

In 1955, after West Germany joined NATO, the Warsaw Pact was set up.
This was a military alliance of 8 communist countries in Eastern Europe. It was effectively controlled by the USSR. This led to even greater division between East and West, and an increase in tension as now there were two armed alliances (NATO in the West, and the Warsaw Pact in the East)

TASK 4: Try to give 2 consequences of each of these events:

  • Kennan’s Long Telegram
  • The arms race
  • The creation of the Warsaw Pact

Well done you have completed today’s lesson!

Want to know more? Watch any of the videos below on this time period. The war in Korea is something we don’t study but that you might find interesting.