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In what ways did relations between the USA and the USSR change between 1948 and 1962?

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Introduction

In what ways did relations between the USA and the USSR change between 1948 and 1962? In 1948 the relationship between the USA and the USSR worsened after the communist take over in Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Blockade began the disagreements between the USA and the USSR over how to deal with Germany and Berlin, brought the worsening relationship to a crisis. This was as three out of the four zones of Germany had joined together to create one Western zone and then they created a new currency for this grouped zone. Stalin reacted to this by imposing the Berlin Blockade. Stalin hoped that the cutting off of all road, rail and canal traffic into the Western sectors of Berlin, the Western zone would be unable to attack, but Stalin also hoped that this could enable a wider spread of communism. However, by mid 1949, he had failed in his attempt to force the West out of Berlin. Stalin was now forced into reopening the land routes out of Berlin, which meant that the West had won. In the same year, the West set up NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), which was a defensive alliance. This showed how poor the relationship between the USA and the USSR had become by 1949 because the West feared an attack from the Soviet Union. ...read more.

Middle

The USSR now accused the West of encouraging the rebellion in Hungary, which made the USSR more suspicious of the West. By 1961, before the Vienna meeting between President Kennedy and Khruschev, their relationship seemed to be at an all time high, but after the 'icy encounter' at the Vienna meeting, their relationship dramatically worsened to the lowest point it had been, at the building of the Berlin Wall. In June 1961, Khruschev tried to persuade the new American Presidint, Kennedy, to agree to withdraw from West Berlin, Kennedy refused. At this time, West Berlin contained the largest number of spying agencies ever assembled in one area and all 110 miles from the enemy's territory. The trigger for the building of the wall was that between 1949 and 1961, over 2 1/2 million people had escaped from East Germany to the West. By August a barbed-wire barrier appeared along the frontier between East and West Berlin, which was quickly replaced by a large concrete wall. This, ironically, created greater understanding, as it stopped the loss of skilled workers; it saved East Germany from economic ruin. This then lessened the likelihood of desperate measures by the USSR to uphold the GDR, which the West would have to resist. ...read more.

Conclusion

The American U2 planes detected these missile sites and the government decided on the blockade of Cuba, by not allowing Soviet ships with offensive weapons to reach the Cuban shores. After eight days, the threat of the world on the brink of destruction through a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR slowly came to an end. This Cuban missile crisis showed the Soviets that the USA would stand firm, if they felt that US security was threatened. It showed the USA that the USSR could compromise. Also, the realisation of how close the USA and the USSR had come to nuclear war, lead to the installation of a telephone 'hot-line', directly linking the Whitehouse in Washington to the Kremlin in Moscow. After this, relations between East and West improved. Neither side wanted nuclear war and the crisis encouraged both sides to talk about limiting the growth of Nuclear weapons. The Test Ban Treaty of 1963 was a result of one of these talks. In conclusion, the relations between the USA and the USSR changed dramatically, for better and for worse, over the course between 1948 and 1962. In 1948, their relationship began to deteriorate. However by the end of 1962 and 1963 the Cuban missile crisis frightened them into changing things to improve on their relationship so that the threat of total devastation through nuclear war could never occur again. Holley Willison UVY ...read more.

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