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Europe after 1945 Paper

i) Give 1 reason to explain why the Soviet Union wished to control Eastern Europe after 1945. (3)

The Soviet Union wanted to control Eastern Europe after 1945 because it wanted to set up buffer states (a state that sits in between two rival powers much like Poland was between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939) to protect herself from any enemies that threatened invasion.

ii) In what ways did the Allied powers deal with Germany at the Potsdam conference (1945)? (5)

At the Potsdam conference there were some vague agreements in relation as to how the allies dealt with Germany at the Potsdam conference in 1945. For example, it was agreed that more than 6million Germans in Eastern Europe should be resettled in Germany. For reparations, (in keeping with the idea of splitting Germany into four zones under control of Britain, France, Russia and USA, and Berlin also into 4) each of the Allies could take what they wanted from their zone of Germany. It was also decided that there should be de-nazification of Germany (eradicating any presence of Nazi rule) through holding trials where war criminals would be punished for their crimes during the war (Nuremberg trials.).

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iii) Describe the key features of the Marshall Plan (1947) (5)

A key feature of the Marshall Plan which was set up in 1947, was as a European Recovery programme where billions of dollars were given to European countries to recover from post war damage to their country. For example, France’s economy had been destroyed by Germany’s occupation, and Britain was exhausted by the war effort. By helping the economies of Europe to recover it also eventually provide a market for American exports, which was a major factor for American businesses (the European countries who wished to join had to agree on buying American goods and allowing American investment; America’s economy was therefore helped as well).

As well as setting up the Marshall Plan for money, Truman believed that poverty and hardship provided a breeding ground for communism so he wished to make Europe as prosperous as he could, preventing the spread of communism to the West. $12billion poured into Europe in the years 1947-51, providing vital help for the recovery of Europe. Therefore, another key feature of the Marshall Plan was containment of communism using a method of control (money) restricting Stalin’s communist “sphere of influence”. This marked the permanent end of the USA’s traditional isolationism and demonstrated its preparedness to play a leading role in international relations.

iv) Why was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) formed in 1949? (7)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949 for different reasons, but most importantly as a policy of containment, creating a ring around Russia of 12 Western European nations after the Berlin Airlift (1948-9) for purposes of mutual defence during the Cold War. It was a military alliance containing countries such as Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and even USA and Canada, where if a member of the alliance was attacked (especially by a communist country like Russia) the others would help and defend it.

Consequently, it was a military pact against Russia. Another reason as to why NATO was formed was because the western democracies feared the rise of another state like Nazi Germany. However, these western democracies and the USSR saw each other as the potential threat, certainly not itself. The creation of alliances for self-defence on one side could very easily look like an alliance preparing for attack to the other side. When the USSR developed its own atomic bomb in 1949, NATO seemed even more important to the defence of Western Europe, since at the time no western European country had atomic weapons.

In 1955, six years after the introduction of NATO, West Germany joined the alliance, and signalled the beginning of the Warsaw Pact developed by the USSR. This was its own alliance which contained the communist countries of Eastern Europe (not Yugoslavia). As a result, it divided Europe into two armed camps.

11b) Cold War and d�tente in the years 1961-90.

i) Choose two of either 1961: Berlin Wall, 1962:Cuban Missile Crisis,

1969-72:SALT 1 and describe how each contributed to the development of the Cold War. (10)

The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 contributed to the development of the Cold War as it increased tension between the superpowers for another 27 years until it was brought down in 1989. It was the most symbolic object of the Cold War. Throughout, it was at the heart of the conflict and continued to be a potential flashpoint for war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It was built to divide East Berlin from West Berlin, which was part of the Iron Curtain, the phrase that was coined by Winston Churchill much earlier on in 1946, to resemble the divide between East and Western Europe.

When the wall was in the early stages of being built, for several days Soviet and American tanks faced each other across divided Berlin streets, resembling the development of the Cold War as it is clear to see that there is increased tension here. After the wall was up, western nations were given a propaganda victory, since it appeared that communist states needed to build walls to prevent their citizens from leaving, this was a propaganda victory. For it was clear that the USA and NATO weren’t going to try to stop the building of the wall – there was little the Western powers could do to stop it. This banter also shows the Cold War developing as it is obvious to see that relations are deteriorating between the two superpowers.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most serious crisis between the superpowers as it nearly resulted to armed conflict. It was caused by worsening relations between the USA and Cuba, increasing mass tension through the threatening of invasion by President Kennedy and the possibility of Khrushchev’s boats carrying arms and equipment to Cuba. The results after the ending of the stalemate by Khrushchev resulted in arms reductions and improved communications (if not better relations) between the USA and the USSR. For example, the hotline was set up between the Whitehouse in Washington and the Kremlin in Moscow for direct communication, nuclear arms talks began, and in 1963, a Test Ban Treaty was signed between the two superpowers and Britain.

ii) Why did relations between the USA and the USSR change in the years 1979-90? (15)

Relations between the USA and the USSR changed in the years 1979-90 because firstly in 1979, there was a soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This damaged the improving relations as different points of view emerged; the Soviets insisted that they had been invited into Afghanistan to restore order, but Western nations protested that it was a straight forward invasion that could not be justified.

Despite world-wide protests, the invasion continued as the Soviets were concerned about Muslim revolution in neighbouring Iran which could have spread to countries in the Soviet Union, the Soviets wanted to maintain their influence in the area of unstable Afghanistan, and they also wanted to develop their interests in the area of the Middle East oil reserves for the Western powers and the ports of the Indian Ocean. The relations became worse because the USA didn’t agree to SALT2, the USA boycotted the Moscow Olympics, they also stopped grain shipments to the Soviet Union and increased aid to Afghan rebels. Relations between the USA and the USSR didn’t improve until Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union in 1985.

1980 – 85 saw the role of US president Ronald Reagan, who wasn’t worried about standing up to the USSR. He made relations even worse as he built up American defence forces and spending and ordered further research into the Star Wars programme and a satellite anti-missile system that could orbit the Earth. (defence spending accounted for more than 1/3 of the federal governments budget.) However, in Reagan’s second term, he built a constructive relationship with Gorbachev (1985-90) showing signs that relations were changing positively between the superpowers and lead to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties. He was aided by Gorbachev’s willingness to improve relations with the USA. Gorbachev realised that USSR couldn’t afford to have an arms race with America and accepted Reagan’s invitation to meet him in Geneva in November 1985. In 1987, after several meetings they signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty which removed all medium-range nuclear weapons from Europe.

They key figure in this period is Gorbachev as he knew that the USSR needed to be reformed so by doing so, he more or less ended the Cold War as well by improving relations and aided friendly talks.

Consequently, I can see that between 1979- 1985 relations were very poor with little communication due to incidents such as the invasion of Afghanistan. Yet, between 1985 and 1990, relations were the best they had been due to incidents such as the leadership of Gorbachev and the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.

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