European History November 29 - European History Cold War...

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European History November 29, 2011 Cold War What is the Cold War? “A state of extreme tension between the super powers stopping short of all-out war but characterized by mutual hostility and involvement in covert war and war by proxy as a means of upholding the interest of one against the other” (Dockrill) Geopolitical bipolar system in which Soviets and US sought to contain each other’s influence around the world through a battery of alliances and peripheral wars Unrestricted technological and military competition – Principle of Nuclear deterrence Conference of Yalta and Potsdam Declaration of Liberated Europe: to establish conditions of internal peace; to rebuild national economies; to create democratic institutions of their own choice” and to uphold free elections Dismemberment of Germany Reparations of war United Nations replaced the failed League of Nations Conference of Potsdam (July 1945) Ratification of Yalta’s agreements Demilitarization, denazification and dismantlement of the German industrial- military apparatus Disagreements Disagreement over the future of Central and Eastern Europe Disagreement over the Poland borders (Oder Neisse Line) Disagreement over war reparations and the future of Germany o The Soviets wanted to extract punitive reparations to keep Germany down o US wished to promote German recovery as a platform for European economic recovery This dispute prevented any permanent settlement and no general treaty of peace Causes of the Cold War Extension of Soviet influence over Eastern Europe USSR imposed Communist regimes in Central and Eastern European Nations (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia) The weakness of Western Europe and the fear of communist contagion compelled the US to increase its political, economic and military involvement in Western Europe Overwhelming sense of mutual distrust between US and USSR determined by profound political and ideological differences
The Long Telegram On February 22, 1946, George Kennan wrote a foundational document (the basis of Truman administration’s foreign policy) “The USSR still lives in antagonistic ‘capitalist encirclement’ with which in the long run there can be no permanent peaceful coexistence” The Soviet Union is committed to the expansion of Communism America’s only choice is the “Long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies” “Countering Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world through the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of

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