II. The cold war
Cold War: A latent conflict (not fully manifested), marked by a bipolar rivalry and confrontation without leading to a general war.the Cold War is less a period of tension than an ideological and political confrontation between two superpowers: the American camp, led by the United States, on the one hand, and the USSR on the other.
Boundaries: generally, from 1945 (end of the 2nd World War) to 1989 (fall of the Berlin Wall) or 1991 (break-up of the USSR)
A. The world is divided between two blocs
→ Nuclear weapons as a dividing factor
—the USA has nuclear weapons, and soon the USSR
—the states of the world want to protect themselves from it, and consequently join one of the two camps.
—They also conclude many alliance treaties, designated by the term pactomania
→ The USSR forms a bloc in the East, in reaction to the Western countries form a bloc in the West
—Joseph Stalin rallies all the people’s democracies (communist dictatorial regimes around the USSR) to his cause (Prague Coup in 1948)
—The People’s Democracies and the USSR excludes all opposing political parties
—Joseph Stalin organized a blockade around West Berlin: all accesses were forbidden. The USA retaliated by setting up an air bridge.
→ The Korean War definitively confirmed the Cold War
-In June 1950, North Korea, supported by Joseph Stalin and Mao, attacked South Korea
—The United States sent an expeditionary force to South Korea, with the approval of the UN
—General MacArthur wanted to use atomic weapons in Manchuria, but was disavowed by Truman, who feared a generalization of the conflict
—The front stabilized at the 38th parallel. The armistice was signed in July 1953
→ Focus on the Berlin blockade.
1. The situation in Germany and Berlin in 1949
The victors divide Germany:
In East Germany: USSR
In West Germany: Americans in the South, Great Britain in the North, French (a little later) control the South-West
Berlin was divided into two sectors, East and West, by four powers:
- East Berlin: USSR
- West Berlin: the three other powers (the USA, the UK, France)
2. Launch of the Berlin blockade
The three West German powers wanted to have the same currency, the Deutsche Mark.
Joseph Stalin wanted to integrate Berlin completely into East Germany. To achieve this, the USSR, applying the Zhdanov Doctrine, prohibited all road, rail and canal transport between West Berlin and West Germany in 1948, on June 24.
→ 20 contemporary history worksheets (1945–2017)