- The OTHER atomic bomb, dropped on the Japanese port of
Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, three days after the bomb 'Little Boy' had
been dropped on Hiroshima.
- Igor Kurchatov: the Soviet scientist who developed
Russia's atomic bomb in 1949.
- Mutually Assured Destruction
- The thing that led to the particular nature of the Cold
War as a war without direct fighting - both sides had so many nuclear
weapons that each together ('mutually') were sure ('assured') to be
destroyed in a nuclear war.
- The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Soviet (=
elected assemblies), Socialist (= communist), republics (= a state
without a king). The proper name for 'the Russians'; in
fact, Russia was just one republic within the USSR.
- A system of economics - including personal ownership of
the means of production, the right to make personal profits from
business, free trade and the employment of labour as a factor of
production (ie, those whom the Communists called 'wage slaves').
The western world was 'capitalist'.
- Initially, a system of economics - including state
ownership of the means of production ('nationalisation), the duty to
contribute to the economy as you can, but to take only what you need,
and the 'controlled economy' (by the state, eg in '5-Year Plans').
Communism was also a way of looking at history (seeing it as a class war
between the rich and the poor) and, increasingly, a system of politics (eg
elections were 'free', but only communists were allowed to stand for
election/ close control of what people thought by means of propaganda
and secret police). The USSR and eastern Europe was
- A ring of countries (East Germany,
Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) around Russia's
borders to protect Russia from direct invasion from Germany.
- Protocol of Proceedings
- The official name for the document which
recorded the agreements made between the Big Three - America (Roosevelt
and Truman), Russia (Stalin) and Britain (Churchill and Attlee) - at
Yalta (Feb 1945) and Potsdam (July 1945).
- At Yalta, confirmed by Potsdam, Germany
was divided into four 'zones of occupation', administered by France,
America, Britain and Russia. Berlin, also, was divided into
four zones - this caused superpower confrontations in 1948-9 (the Berlin
Blockade) and in 1961 (Berlin Wall).
- Government of National Unity
- During the Second World War, Poland
developed TWO governments - the non-communist government (led by
Stanislaw Mikolajczyk of the Polish Peasant Party),which had been set up in London and helped the allies, and a
communist one (led by Wladyslaw Gomulka) created by Stalin and which sat
in Moscow. At Yalta, there was tension between Russia and
the western powers about which government should take over control of
Poland after the war. In the event, it was agreed that there
should be a 'Government of National Unity' containing both communists
and non-communists. During the interval before Potsdam,
Stalin engineered the triumph of Communism in Poland by accusing the
non-Communists of treason and arresting them, so that the Communists
took over - this led to direct confrontation between the Big Three at
- Declaration of Liberated Europe
- A joint declaration made by the Big Three at Yalta,
promising to help the freed peoples
of Europe to set up democratic and self-governing countries by helping
them to (a) maintain law and order; (b) carry out emergency relief
measures; (c) set up governments; and (d) hold elections
- By Potsdam, Roosevelt had died and was replaced by Truman
who adopted a much more aggressive stance towards Stalin, declaring:
'The Russians only understand one language - ‘how many armies have you
got?’ I'm tired of babying the Soviets.'
- A major cause of conflict between the Big Three at
Potsdam. America and Britain wanted to rebuild Germany's
economy and prosperity. Russia wanted to weaken Germany and
rebuild their own industry ruined by the Nazi invasion. In
the end, Russia was allowed to take
reparations from the Soviet Zone, and also 10% of the industrial
equipment of the western zones as reparations. America and Britain
could take reparations from their zones if they wished.
- During the war, Stalin had trained eastern European
communists who had fled to Russia in how to take over once the war was
over. At first they joined in democratic, coalition
governments. They tried to gain positions as minister,
especially in key ministries such as the police and the army.
Then they accused non-Communists of treason, and co-operated with
Communists in the country to get the non-Communists dismissed or
arrested. They used the secret police to eliminate
opposition. When they had thus taken over the government,
they organised a 'fixed' election which returned a communist government.
'Salami tactics' was not an official name for this policy: it was the
way the Hungarian Communist Rakosi described how he took power in
Hungary - a bit at a time.
- Matyas Rakosi
was a Hungarian army officer in the First World War who became a
communist in 1918. When the Red Army liberated Hungary in 1945, Rakosi returned and
became general secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party.
In elections held in November 1945, the Hungarian Communist Party won
only 20% of the votes, but the communist took all the important posts
and Rakosi became the leading figure in Hungary.
The Hungarian Communist Party became the largest party in the elections
in 1947 and Rakosi became Prime Minister of a coalition government. The communists gradually
gained control of the government, particularly using the AVH (eg
Laszlo Rajk, the non-Communist foreign secretary,
was arrested and executed when he criticised
Stalin. 2,000 people were executed and over 100,000 imprisoned).
- Klement Gottwald became general secretary of the
Czechoslovak Communist Party in 1930. He went into exile in
Moscow during the war. Returning to Czechoslovakia in 1945,
he became Vice Premier in the coalition government of 1945, then Premier
after the elections in the following year. Gottwald
used this position to complete the communist seizure of power in 1948 (eg
by sensational `deviationist´ trials in which several of his opponents
were executed). In 1948 he became president.
- The Allamvedelmi Osztaly (AVO - the 'State
Security Section') was set up in Hungary in 1945 with Gábor Péter (a Jewish tailor and former NKVD agent) as
its Director. It was used by the communists to take power,
systematically arresting, torturing and killing opponents of the
Communists. It became the Allamvedelmi Hatosag (AVH -
the 'State Security Authority') in 1948.
- The German Democratic Republic, formed in October 1949
out of the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany, in response to the
creation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG: 'West Germany') by
America, Britain and France out of their zones of occupation (the former
- Government control of all activities within a country,
overtly political or otherwise, as in fascist or communist
dictatorships. It carries overtones of tyranny and
- Literally, 'wanting an empire'. The Communist
argument of the Soviet government was that the western powers were still
as much empire-builders as they had been in the 19th century - only now
they used economic, not warfare
- George Kennan: an Embassy official who had lived in
Moscow since 1933, but who hated Communism. In 1946 the
American State Department asked the American Embassy in Moscow for an
analysis of Soviet policy in eastern Europe. Kennan's 8,000-word reply
- 'the Long Telegram' - said that the Russians were determined to
destroy the American way of life, that they had to be stopped, and that
the best way to do so was by educating the public against Communism, and
by making people wealthy, happy and free.
- Iron Curtain
- A phrase invented by Winston Churchill for his speech in
Fulton in America on 5 March 1946, to describe the barrier between the
democratic countries of the west, and the Soviet-dominated communist
countries of eastern Europe.
- Truman Doctrine
- Harry S Truman, President of the United States 1945-53.
He was aggressively anti-Communist. In February 1947, when
the British army pulled out of Greece, he sent American soldiers there
and persuaded Congress (12 March 1947) that it was America's duty to
interfere to 'help free peoples to work out their own destiny in their
own way'. This was entirely opposite to America's policy of
isolationism before the war - it was, in fact, a decision to fight the
'cold war'. Its key aim was 'containment' - the desire, not
to push back or attack Communism, but to stop it advancing any further.
key aim of the 'Truman Doctrine' - the desire, not to push back or
attack Communism, but to stop it advancing any further.
- Frank Kofsky:
historian who in 1993 suggested
that Truman whipped up the Cold War to secure funding from Congress
which would stop the US airforce and aircraft industry plunging into
- Marshall Aid
June 1947, the American general George Marshall went to Europe. He
said every country in Europe was so poor that it was in danger of
turning Communist! Europe was ‘a breeding ground of hate’.
He said that America should give $17 billion of aid to get Europe’s
economy going and stop Communism.
Soviet Union hated Marshall aid. Stalin forbade Communist
countries to ask for money. Instead, in October 1947, he set up
Cominform - the Communist Information Bureau - a meeting of the nine
communist parties (Soviet, Czechoslovak, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian,
Bulgarian, Yugoslav, French, and Italian) with their headquarters in
Belgrade. It allowed Stalin control of the Communists in
Europe, and helped to convince western countries that the Communists had
a Soviet-controlled plan to take over the world.
- As part of their policy of restoring German prosperity, in
January 1947, Britain and the USA joined their two zones of occupation
in Germany together. They called the new zone Bizonia (‘two zones’).
France joined in 1948 to create 'Trizonia'.
- the system of money used in a country. On 23
June 1948, Britain and America introduced a new currency into Bizonia
and west Berlin. Because it was backed by the wealthy
countries of the west, the new mark was much stronger than the old
Reichmark still being used in Russia's eastern zone.
Everybody - even in the Russian zone - rushed to get rid of the old
money and change it into the new. This threatened to cause
an economic crisis in the Russian zone, and this was the reason given by
Stalin for closing the borders and mounting the Berlin Blockade of
- The main airport of Berlin, into which the Americans and
British flew supplies during 318-day blockade of west Berlin, 24 June
1948 to 12 May 1949.
- The American bombers which carried the atomic bomb.
During the Berlin Blockade they were stationed in Britain, within flying
distance of east Germany and Russia - they were threatening nuclear war
if Stalin tried to escalate the crisis.
- Federal Republic of Germany - set up from Trizonia by
America, France and Britain in May 1949, prompting Stalin to set up the
German Democratic Republic from the Russian zone as a retaliation.
- In 1949, the western Allies set up NATO
(North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) as a defensive alliance against
Russia. NATO countries surrounded Russia. The original
members of NATO were
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United
States. Greece and Turkey joined in 1952,and West Germany in
1955 (prompting Stalin to set up
the Warsaw Pact). In 1960 a permanent multinational Allied
Mobile Force (AMF) was established with headquarters in Heidelberg,
Germany, to move immediately to any NATO country under threat of attack.
- Warsaw Pact
- The alliance of eight communist eastern European
countries (USSR, Albania, Bulgaria
Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland
Romania). It had plans for nuclear war.
- Arms Race
- The competition of the two superpowers to build a
superiority of weapons - not just more conventional weapons, but more
powerful nuclear weapons - ostensibly as a deterrent to the other side.
- 1945 USA got the atomic bomb/ 1949 Russia got the atomic
- 1952 USA got the hydrogen bomb/ 1953 Russia got the
- 1955 USA developed the Titan1 rocket/ 1957 Russia got
- In 1964, Dr Seymour Melman of Columbia University, and
industrial engineer, estimated that the USA had enough nuclear weapons
to kill every living thing on earth 1250 times, and Russia 145 times.
"Isn't 1,250 times overkill enough?" he wrote to The New York Times.
- 38th parallel
- The line of latitude which separated Communist North
Korea from capitalist South Korea.
- Kim Il Sung
- The Communist leader of North Korea who started the
Korean War by attacking South Korea in 1950.
- Syngman Rhee
- The leader of South Korea who provoked the Korean War by
boasting that he would attack North Korea.
- The theory that, if one country in the far east fell to
Communism, others in the region would follow, falling like a row of
- In April 1950, the American National
Security Council issued a report (NSC 68) recommending that America
abandon 'containment' and start 'rolling back' Communism; it led the US
government to take a harder line against North Korea in 1950.
- Mao Zedong
- The leader of Communist China who, with Stalin,
encouraged Kim Il Sung to attack South Korea. In 1950 he
wrote to Stalin saying that he would be happy to fight the Americans:
'If we are to fight, it should be now'.
- The North Korean People's Army in the
- The Republic of Korea's army (the ROKs)
- The place, north of Seoul (ie behind the NKPA
front line) where MacArthur's UN forces made an amphibious landing
in the Korean War, 15 September 1950.
This completely outflanked the NKPA and they retreated in chaos.
- A water-borne landing of land forces.
MacArthur's UN forces made an amphibious landing
at Inchon, 15 September 1950.
- People’s Volunteers
- The Chinese army, which entered the war on 25 November
1950. After initial successes, they were driven back with
- The UN commander in Korea. Aggressively
anti-Communist, he wanted to destroy the communists in Korea, wanted the
use the atomic bomb, and publicly criticised Truman when he was ordered
to halt hi advance at the 38th parallel - for which Truman dismissed
- Human wave
- The Chinese tactic of attacking using thousands of
soldiers in order to overcome defenders with superior weapons - one
American soldier described them as like a crowd at a football match.
Like World War I, it led to slaughter - the Chinese admitted to losing
390,000 men dead, but UN sources put the figure at more like a million.
- Ike Eisenhower, President of America in 1953-1960.
Although he was a general, he was generally cautious, and often quoted
Churchill's dictum that 'Jaw-jaw is better than war, war'.
- Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet leader 1958-1964.
He believed that the arms race would destroy mankind, and urged
'peaceful co-existence' - although superpower tension actually
- Communist leader of Yugoslavia, 1945-1980. In
1953 he had broken free from Soviet control and followed a policy of
'positive neutralism'. In 1955, Khrushchev appeared to
accept this, saying that 'there `are many roads to Communism'.
This increased the general perception of Khrushchev as a more
reasonable/weaker Soviet leader.
- Khrushchev believed that the arms race would destroy
mankind, and urged 'peaceful co-existence' - he said: 'there were only
two ways - either peaceful co-existence or the most destructive war in
history. There is no third way'. Actually, however, by
this he meant something more like 'peaceful competition' - he built up
allies by offering economic aid, and waged an arms race, space race and
propaganda race against the USA. He once said that Communism
and capitalism would only agree ‘when shrimps learned to whistle’.
- In a speech in 1956, Khrushchev attacked
Stalin, saying that Stalin was a murderer and a tyrant. Khrushchev
began to ‘de-stalinise’ Russia. Political prisoners were set free and
Beria (Stalin’s Chief of Secret Police) was executed. This increased the general perception of
Khrushchev as a more reasonable/weaker Soviet leader and led to riots
and rebellions in the Stalinist states of eastern Europe.
- Economic aid
- Used by Russia to build up allies in countries such as
Afghanistan and Burma.
- At first, Russia was ahead in the space race. In 1957 Russia launched Sputnik,
the first satellite.
- At first, Russia was ahead in the space race. In 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the
first astronaut to orbit the earth.
- Joseph McCarthy, US Senator for Wisconsin who claimed
'the government is full of Communists' and began a 'red-hunting scare'.
Many writers and actors were accused of being Communists, after which
they never worked again.
- Red Nightmare
- An America film (1949) about a Communist take-over of
- Duck and Cover
- A children's film about what to do in a nuclear strike -
the cartoon figure of a tortoise advised them to 'duck and cover' (hide
behind something and cover themselves).
- May people were frightened of nuclear war and joined the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). In 1957, Neville
Shute wrote On the Beach, about a group of Australians waiting
for the nuclear cloud to reach and kill them.
- Wladyslaw Gomulka: Polish Communist.
When, in 1956, the Poles rioted against their Communist government (led
by the Stalinist hard-liner Boleslaw Bierut), Khrushchev had to send in
Russian troops to restore order. Khrushchev put Gomulka into
power in Poland, where he stayed loyal to the USSR, but 'destalinised
- Cardinal Joszef Mindszenty, leader of the Catholic Church
in Hungary. One of the reasons that the Hungarians hated the
Stalinist regime of Rakosi was that Communism attacked the Christian
religion (as 'the opium of the people') - but the Hungarians were devout
Catholics. One of the first things they did when they
rebelled in 1956 was to restore freedom of religion, and Mindszenty
joined the new government.
- Imre Nagy: became Prime Minister of Hungary after Rakosi
fell from power in the rebellion of 1956. At first
Khrushchev cooperated with him, and acceded to Nagy's request to take
the Russian troops out of Hungary. When Nagy announced he
was leaving the Warsaw Pact, however, Khrushchev sent in the Russian
army to restore control. He was captured by the KGB,
convicted of treason and shot.
- Janos Kadar: Hungarian Communist. Imprisoned
1950-1953 for being anti-Stalinist, he was allowed to join the party
again after Stalin died. At first, he cooperated with Nagy's
revolution, but when the Russians invaded to supported the destruction
of the revolution. Khrushchev made him Prime Minister, and
he remained in power until 1988. He is typical of the leader
that Khrushchev wanted - pro-Russian and Communist, but prepared to
destalinise the government.
- 200,000 people fled from Hungary into Austria when the
revolution was crushed in 1956.
- Fidel Castro: Cuban Communist who overthrew the
American-supported right-wing regime of General Batista in 1959.
He introduced a centralised Communist government, including
nationalisation of Cuban industry in 1960, which led America to cut off
- Kitchen Display
- Khrushchev talked about peaceful co-existence and was
prepared to meet western leaders at Summit Meetings, but he was still
fiercely communist, and believed that Communism was so evidently better
than capitalism that eventually the rest of the world would come round
to his way of thinking. Once, when American Vice-President
Nixon visited Russia in 1959, he invited Khrushchev to see an exhibition
at the US Trade Fair. At the kitchen display, he had a very public
argument with Nixon about which was the better way of life, communism or
- Open skies
- Eisenhower wanted an 'open skies' policy, where both
sides would allow the other to send spy-planes over each other's
territory. Khrushchev refused to agree to this.
- US spy-planes. On
5 May 1960, Russia shot down an American U2 spy-plane. At first, the
Americans tried to claim that it was a weather-plane that had gone
off-course. However, the Russians put the pilot Gary Powers on trial
for spying, and the Americans admitted it was a spy-plane.
- Meetings of the USSR and US leaders. They
were designed to reduce tension, but often they actually caused tension.
At Paris (14 May 1960) Khrushchev
walked out when Eisenhower would not apologise for the U2 spy-plane
incident. At the Vienna
summit of June 1961, there was tension when Khrushchev demanded that the
Americans leave West Berlin and Kennedy refused - this led directly to
the Berlin Wall.
- In 1960, seeking a President who would be tougher on the
Soviets, the Americans elected John F Kennedy. Kennedy's
inaugural speech (when he took the oath to become President) was a
famous call for Americans to go to war: 'Let
every nation know that we shall pay any price, bear and burden, meet any
hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, for the survival and
success of freedom... Ask not what your country can do for
you: ask what you can do for your country.'
- Khrushchev claimed, with some truth, that the Americans
were using West Berlin for spying and sabotage.
- On 13 August 1961, Khrushchev closed the
border between east and west Berlin – and built the Berlin Wall.
There were only three crossing points into West Berlin - called (after
the phonetic alphabet, Alpha, Bravo and Charlie). Checkpoint
Charlie was the only crossing point in Berlin itself.
- The Berlin Wall
became the symbol of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain.
Kennedy used it as a propaganda opportunity. In 1963 he visited Berlin, giving a speech which was
could be heard by a crowd which had gathered out of sight on the east
side of the Wall, claiming that the Wall proved that Communism and
Capitalism could never co-exist, and stating proudly that 'Ich bin
- The ownership of industry by the state.
Castro's nationalisation of Cuban industry in 1960 provoked the
breakdown of relations with America.
- The America Central Intelligence Agency which arranged
the Bay of Pigs invasion if Cuba by ant-Castro exiles.
- Bay of Pigs
- In April 1961 the CIA encouraged, funded
and transported an attempt by anti-Castro Cuban exiles to invade Cuba.
It failed miserably, greatly embarrassing Kennedy. In September 1961,
therefore, Castro asked for – and Russia publicly promised – weapons to
defend Cuba against America.
- Inter-continental ballistic missiles - nuclear warheads
on rockets which could deliver a nuclear bomb to a target thousands of
miles away. When the USA discovered Khrushchev was building
missile sites on Cuba, it put all of the USA within range of a Russian
strike - that was why Kennedy HAD to stop the missile sites.
- A fitting reply to the aggressor
- When Kennedy announced that he was going to mount a
blockade to stop Russian weapons being delivered to the missile sites,
Khrushchev threatened that - if the USA carried
out what he called 'piracy' - he would make 'a
fitting reply to the aggressor', which Kennedy took as a threat of
- Good did come out of the Cuban
Missiles Crisis. Both sides had had a fright. They were
more careful in future. Khrushchev and Kennedy set up a telephone
‘hotline’ to talk directly in a crisis.
1963, they agreed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In this way, Cuba was the
start of the end of the Cold War.