western powers provided supplies to West Berlin by air in the Berlin Airlift . Berlin continued to be a problem for the USSR. Until 1961, refugees from the Eastern Bloc came to West Berlin, seeking better living conditions in the West. Furthermore, West Berlin was a center for Western espionage. In 1961, the USSR, now led by Nikita Khrushchev , closed the border and constructed the Berlin Wall . Following the Second World War, Korea had also been divided. In the northern part of the country, the communist Kim il Sung controlled territory. South of the thirty-eighth parallel , the non-communist Syngman Rhee controlled the rest of the country. In 1950, Kim il Sung invaded the south with Russian and Chinese support, intending to create a communist Korea. According to the Truman Doctrine, communism needed to be contained. Furthermore, according to domino theory , if one country became communist, then more would, too, like a row of dominoes falling. Therefore, the United States, by way of the United Nations, became involved in the Korean War (1950 – 1953). UN troops dominated and led by the US came to the aid of the nearly defeated South Koreans, pushing back Kim il Sung’s troops. China supported Kim il Sung, and war on the peninsula continued until 1953, when US President Eisenhower threatened to use the nuclear bomb, ending the war in a stalemate. Later, in Cuba , the revolutionary Fidel Castro took over in 1959. Allied with the Soviet Union, he allowed missile bases to be constructed in Cuba, which threatened the United States. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the world came closer than ever to nuclear war when the USSR sent missiles to Cuba. Cuba-bound Soviet ships faced an American blockade and tension grew as the US considered invading Cuba. President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev were able to come to an agreement in which the USSR promised to dismantle its Cuban bases as long as the US ended the blockade and secretly dismantled its own missile bases in Turkey. Nuclear war was averted. Despite this success, the United States engaged in a lengthy violent conflict in Southeast Asia. Supporting anti-communist fighters in Vietnam in keeping with containment and Domino Theory, the United States pursued the Vietnam War for almost a decade. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorized the US president to manage the ongoing conflict without consulting Congress, so for a period of years troops continued to be deployed to the region, fueling the conflict. The US had become involved in the war after coming to the aid of Vietnam’s old colonial master, France. Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary Vietnamese leader, had actually originally approached the Americans for assistance in asserting Vietnamese independence. He led North Vietnamese forces, including the guerrilla fighters called Viet Cong , in a war for independence throughout the 1960s.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 358 pages?
- Spring '07
- Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas