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AS and A Level: International History, 1945-1991

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  1. What was the most significant cause of the Arms Race?

    There was a long series of events adding to the already high tensions between the USA and USSR. A point of extreme tension during the Cold War, took place in 1948. The Soviet Berlin Blockade, the first major crisis of the war, dramatically increased tension between the rivals as it highlighted failure to answer the ?German question? in the 1945 conferences. This tension grew in 1949 as China fell to communism. In the eyes of the West, this was evidence to support their ?domino theory? and began to fear a growth in the communist sphere of influence. This tension was furthered in 1949 when the soviets developed the first atomic bomb.

    • Word count: 804
  2. How is the development of the Cold War best explained in the period 1945-50?

    The emergence and initial development of the cold war can be explained by the ending of Second World War. At the end of the Second World War, the alliance between the East and the West which had been so successful against the Nazis, began to break down after the defeat of the common enemy. Fears and suspicions surfaced, creating the climate of mistrust between the United States and the Soviet Union. This then led to the formation of a cold war between the period 1945- 1950, which was largely based on the fear and suspicion.

    • Word count: 1825
  3. How significant was the presence of foreign powers as an influence on the nature and growth of Arab nationalism in the years 1900-2001

    The 1917 Balfour Declaration recognized the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine severely undermining the Sykes-Picot agreement[1] that had aimed to hand over control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan, and Baghdad to the British. Walter Zander argues that this declaration was simply out of British ??strategic interest??[2] Increased Jewish immigration in to Palestine added greater strain to tensions between them and the Arab states. Problems continued in 1936 when Arabs launched a spontaneous rebellion against British rule and the increasing Zionist presence in Palestine[3].

    • Word count: 2004
  4. How far do you agree with the view that the origins of the Cold War in 1945-46 owed much to ideological differences and little to the personalities of the leaders and conflicting national interests?

    Ideological differences were seen to cause tension as Communism and Capitalism and one of these differences was the economic policies of each ideology. A capitalist society such as that in the USA, was seen as ?divided? by communists, as their economy was based on private ownership and their was an emphasis on the individual whereas the communists in the USSR had a society based on nationalisation which enables the fair distribution of goods as well as state ownership of companies.

    • Word count: 960
  5. The conclusion of the missile crisis was absolute proof that the USAs strategy of containment had failed. How valid is this assessment?

    This is exemplified by the creation of a ?hot-line? in 1963, connecting the Kremlin and the White house, which was important symbolically as it represented the two superpowers intentions of a cordial communication although the frequency of the hotline usage is dubious. The creating of the hot line ultimately highlighted the beginning of the end of the containment policy, as both superpowers were more willing to work through peaceful means to allow for a peaceful coexistence of ideologically opposing nations.

    • Word count: 823
  6. Maos consolidation of power between 1949 and 1953 was entirely dependent upon terror and repression. Explain why you agree or disagree.

    The PLA rapidly became the largest army in the world, with approximately five million men under its command and 41% of the total state budget being spent on it. Not only were its troops well trained in warfare but they also had a role in the countryside, which was to pass on the Communist ideology that they had been indoctrinated to their fellow Chinese citizens. Essentially the PLA were held up as role models for others to emulate. They also were put to work on public works projects, such as the building new developments and rebuilding roads or railways that had been damaged in the wars.

    • Word count: 977
  7. In the context of the period 1905-2005, how far do you agree that Khrushchev was the most successful leader of Russia?

    As A.J.P. Taylor writes: ?Stalin alone made every great decision...?[2] Russia?s stagnation was confound, to the political momentum in which Stalin was the sole instigator. The concept of Stalinisation was one in which all elements of Russian diplomatic and civil expression where entranced in absolute totalitarian control by one man. Transgression in any direction was indentured, by that individuals own perception of development ? be it even if it was or wasn?t justifiable or applicable; as-long as they deemed it just. As Khrushchev stated at the 20th party conference: ?Stalin acted not through persuasion... and cooperation with people, but by...

    • Word count: 4874
  8. How far do you agree with the view that the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-8 owed more to Soviet expansionism than to USAs economic interests?

    Furthermore it can be argued that it was the misunderstanding and confusion, caused by fear and suspicion, between the two nations which owed more to the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-8. Soviet Expansionism played a huge role in the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-8. Evidence to support this view is found in source 7 which claims that although in 1945 the West had accepted the Soviet?s influence in Eastern Europe; the West became suspicious of the USSR?s intentions, fearing that the Soviets wished to ?expand into Western Europe itself?.

    • Word count: 1001
  9. How far were Maos agricultural policies responsible for the scale of the great famine between 1958-62?

    There was also suppression from criticism by the Communist Party as Mao had told peasant that to talk of famine was treason against him and the communist party. Although Party members had doubts they dropped serious opposition with the hundred flower campaign fresh in the minds of many party officials. The Great Leap Forward of 1958-62 was a term used to describe Mao?s second five-year plan. Mao believed that in this second year plan he could revolutionize agriculture to build PRC a forward economy.

    • Word count: 1467
  10. Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

    This is linked also with the USA's globalisation, Truman's Doctrine verified the USSR among the American people which gave Marshall aid a solid purpose, to save these countries from communist oppression. The Soviets claimed, that Stalin's motives were purely defensive. Stalin wished to create a buffer zone of Communist states around him to protect Soviet Russia from the capitalist West. In this sense, his moves were not aggressive at all -- they were truly defensive moves to protect the Soviet system.

    • Word count: 839
  11. Did the Cold War prevent or promote conflict?

    On the other hand, the USA had significant reason to revere the USSR as Stalin previously allied with Germany in 1939, as well as Stalin?s unwillingness to join the United Nations. In relation to the question at hand, it is extremely important to consider the existing tensions on the peripheral of the Cold War. These, amongst many other factors, bought about a tenuous conflict over a great period of time. ?The reductionist perspective concerning the cold war that takes it to be a war between the Soviet Union and the USA or between Russia and the west has, perhaps, obscured the fact that the cold war was not a war between nations.

    • Word count: 1895
  12. Show how and why the different historiographies relating to the start of the Cold War have changed between 1945 and 1991

    The orthodox school felt Stalin?s contribution as a leader in the outbreak of the Cold War was extremely apparent due to his Marxist beliefs and therefore anti-capitalist, expansionist way of rule. Stalin?s ulterior motives could be perceived as evident at an early stage with his refusal to withdraw his troops from Germany. Furthermore, his expansionist ways were clearly displayed through his constant need to take hold of territory and establish communist governments within them for the sake of Russian ?safety?.

    • Word count: 1265
  13. Analyze the view that US military intervention in Vietnam was more a necessity than a tragic error.

    The American?s perceived military intervention in Vietnam as necessary due to the American policy of ?containment?. This fact that North Vietnam was deemed by the Americans as ?communist? due to their nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh qualified this policy to come into affect and Vietnam as an area to be contained from communist aggression, military intervention in Vietnam was deemed extremely important as an area to contain from communism because of its proximity to Japan, and the threat of communism spreading to the newly American-leaning Japan offered extreme danger for the Americans and the promotion of their capitalist system. The necessity for containment was exacerbated by the rise of communist China as a powerhouse for communism.

    • Word count: 1219
  14. How far did dtente introduce a new era of co-operation in US-Soviet relations during the 1970s?

    Both SALT Treaties brought about greater cooperation between the leaders over arms reduction targets. Johnson?s administration had given talks a low priority and as a result Kissinger and Nixon were effectively starting anew during SALT 1 negotiations. Following Brezhnev?s announcements of a ?programme for peace? the Americans hoped that SALT would persuade the Soviets to stop supporting North Vietnam. By this time the Russians were also notably more interested in arms limitation, having reached a reasonable nuclear parity with the US.

    • Word count: 1671
  15. Discuss why the Potsdam Conference Could Be Considered Less Successful Than Yalta?

    Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt as representative figureheads from each main allied nation concluded at Yalta that Germany and Berlin should be divided into four states, each Eastern European country could hold elections, the setup of the United Nations (UN) and the setup of a fair government in Poland. This however was only a basic agreement between nations, as the participants were contemplating the spoils of war, which they hadn?t quite yet acquired. Shortly after the end of the European part of World War Two, the main nations again held a conference at Potsdam, Berlin in July 1945 about what to do with Europe now that the Allies have beaten Germany and its allies.

    • Word count: 732
  16. To what extent was the Cold War a result of the mutual misinterpretation of the key players?

    Mutual misinterpretation between the US and the USSR was instrumental in causing the economic schism in Europe that characterized the Cold War. This was as misperceptions fed both players? view of the other party as unwilling to cooperate. This is evident in the termination of Lend-Lease by the Americans in 1945, which led to the misconceptions on the soviet side. With the end of the war in Europe, the Truman Administration felt that America need not give aid to the soviets in peacetime so as to cut down the burden on American taxpayers.

    • Word count: 1008
  17. To what extent did the reasons for and the nature of American and Soviet intervention in the Middle East between 1956 and 1982 differ?

    In 1947 The Soviet Union supported the Partition of British Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. One year later they were involved in supplying Israel with weapons via Czechoslovakia during the 1948 conflict in the region. When the U.S recognized Israel as a country officially in 1949 and pledged to support them, the USSR withdrew its public support, with Stalin worried that Jewish nationalism amongst Soviet-Jews would subvert the authority of the USSR. In 1953 the Soviet Union formally renounced all relations with Israel.

    • Word count: 1095
  18. Why did Deng Xiaoping survive the crisis of communism whilst Mikhail Gorbachev did not?

    Xiaoping became ruler of China among very difficult times, both economically and socially. The aftermath of Mao Tse-tung?s underwhelming contributions to policy was taking its toll on the people of China. Xiaoping was originally meant to be purged by the Gang of Four in 1976 during their attempted coup d?etat of the Chinese Government. One of the Gang of Four?s members was Mao Tse-tung?s last wife, Jiang Qing. However, when Hua Guofeng was appointed Communist Party chairman, he managed to turn the Red Army over to his side. The Gang of Four were subjected to a show trial and all given life sentences in prison.

    • Word count: 1689
  19. How Did the Nuremberg Trials Work and Who Was Tried and Why?

    Everyone who was remotely involved in these trials was affected by them. But what law was the International Military Tribunal enforcing? Ordinary courts and trials are based on the statuses of sovereign nations. However, the IMT was no ordinary court. It was established by the United States and three other major European Nations, and the laws by which the IMT was bound were not the laws of those or of any other nations. For its rules on crime the IMT looked primarily to the international ?laws of war,? violations were called ?war crimes? (Taylor 5).

    • Word count: 1694
  20. Was the role of external forces more a source for stability than instability in Middle East between 1945 and 2000

    Despite having a larger population, the Palestinians were given a smaller portion of land. Hence, Israel was formed under Ben Gurion in the lands assigned to them by the UN partition plan. However, this was made possible with support from Washington and Moscow. They encouraged the Jews to statehood by force of arms. Palestinian Arabs rejected and wanted to destroy Israel while non-Palestinians Arabs wanted to help Palestinians to get them back their land. France and Britain acted upon provocation by President Nasser and together with Israel, they secretly planned a joint attack on Egypt, hence the infamous collusion meeting (Oct 1956)

    • Word count: 823
  21. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most serious U.S.-Soviet confrontation of the Cold War

    In addition to this discovery there were a growing number of Soviet ships arriving in Cuba. The United States feared that these ships were carrying a new supply of weapons to Cuba. President John F. Kennedy, upset by these findings, complained to the Soviet Union about these developments and warned them that the United States would not allow offensive weapons in Cuba. (NSA, http://www.nsa.gov/publications/publi00033.cfm) With the SAM sites now actively installed, Cuban's possessed the ability to shoot down U-2 spy planes, putting Kennedy in a difficult position.

    • Word count: 1907
  22. Assess the importance of the Viet Cong in the Communist victory in the Second Indochina War

    What enhanced the success of such tactics was that when these maimed soldiers returned home, they took with them a demoralizing message of the atrocities occurring in Vietnam. The psychological victory of the TET offensive, January 1968, also highlighted the strategic importance of the Viet Cong. The battle, which lasted all of a few days, involved a major deployment of VC and other Communist forces against 36 major towns within South Vietnam. The offensive concluded with the VC symbolically siegeing the US embassy in Saigon in a deliberate ploy to both humiliate and expose the US?s inability to quell the spread of Communism.

    • Word count: 1492
  23. Free essay

    The Cold War did not become fully global until after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. How far do you agree?

    We discover that by 1948 the cold war had become global in areas of the Congo, Vietnam, Guatemala and in 1950 the Korean War, which involved the Americans, Soviets, PRC and other nations through involvement of the UN. In accordance to the statement however, we do observe significant globalization in aspects of the Cold War seen in Africa Middle East and America where major confrontations evolved to the point of near nuclear war. The Cold War after World War II when the US dropping the atomic bomb in Japan.

    • Word count: 1254

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