• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far did peaceful coexistence ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA in the years 195361?

Extracts from this document...


How far did ?peaceful coexistence? ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA in the years 1953?61? Peaceful Coexistence was the term given to the new foreign policy adopted by the Soviet Union after Stalin?s death in 1953. Lavereti Beria, the first member of the Politburo to assume leadership after Stalin?s death did not give this name to his new approach immediately, but he still saw that negotiation and conciliation with the West was the best way for the Soviet Union to make progress without having to spend too much money on arms production. But it was Malenkov, who took over leadership after Beria, that introduced the term Peaceful Coexistence when he introduced his New Course which, like Beria, advocated for improved relations with the West as confrontation not longer seemed inevitable. And when Nikita Khrushchev outmanoeuvred Malenkov and assumed leadership, he made Peaceful Coexistence a fully fledged foreign policy approach to relations with the West. This new foreign policy helped ease tensions between the USSR and the West, but it cannot be seen as the only factor that helped produce what historians called the Thaw in superpower relations. Other factors include the change in leadership in America, namely the foreign policy adopted by Dwight Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles which was called the ?New Course?, and successively the ?Flexible Response? foreign policy advocated by President Kennedy when he became president in 1960. ...read more.


By 1958, West Berlin was an island of prosperity in the midst of the poverty stricken Soviet controlled East Germany. Those in East Berlin especially saw the stark contrast in living standards, and the luxury enjoyed in West Berlin quickly drew East Berliners to cross the border into West Berlin. This exodus of East Berliners comprised mostly of youths as well as intellectuals, whom the Soviets could not afford to lose. This exodus also served in humiliating the USSR, for it showed how their people could not stand to live under their rule and would leave by any means necessary. Khrushchev blamed this exodus on the West, and he gave them an ultimatum that if the Western Allies(Britain, France and the USA) did not leave Berlin, then he would take drastic measures against them. In order to appease Khrushchev, Eisenhower invited him to the USA, and after the visit Khrushchev dropped the ultimatum. This shows us the impact that face-to-face talks had on superpower relations, but it did not mean that the ultimatum would be forgotten. In 1960, after a U2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet air space, Khrushchev raised the ultimatum again. But after Kennedy?s ?Ich bin ein Berliner? speech which told not only Khrushchev but the Berliners also that the West would not leave the people, Khrushchev ordered the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. ...read more.


Moreover, another factor that helped ease the tensions between the superpowers was the potential of Mutually Assured Destruction, which made conflict very risky due to the devastating nature of the nuclear weapons being produced. The rise of MAD therefore made conciliation a better course of action, as it would lessen the risk of nuclear annihilation. In conclusion, the policy of ?Peaceful Coexistence? helped ease superpower relations to a certain extent, for it provided an impetus for greater conciliation between the superpowers and in place of conflict, this new policy also called for deterrents from conflict such as the Arms race, Space race and Sports race. However, there were instances that Soviet actions somewhat betrayed the aims of their policy and these actions led to the worsening of tensions, namely the Soviet reaction to the Hungarian Uprising and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. But it is clear that it was not only this new policy that led to the easing of tensions, for the role of Eisenhower, Dulles and Kennedy also led to greater conciliation and the establishing of a dialogue between the two sides helped improved superpower relations. And so I believe that it was the more conciliatory approach of the West towards the USSR in the period 1953-61 that helped improve superpower relations in this period that was known as the Thaw. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. To what extent was the development of the post-Stalinist thaw in superpower relations between ...

    Malenkov then seized the initiative with his "New Course". Malenkov believed that war between capitalism and communism was no longer inevitable and that resources could be redirected away from arms and heavy industry towards consumer goods and rising living standards.

  2. Evaluate the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower.

    Stephen E. Ambrose and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., are in general agreement on his handling of domestic affairs, but take opposite views of President Eisenhower's actions in regard to foreign affairs. Stephen E. Ambrose Praises President Eisenhower for ending the Korean War and for maintaining peace for the remainder of the decade.

  1. How far did peaceful coexistence ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and ...

    The fact that their was a Berlin Foreign Ministers? conference in January 1954 showed ease as the two countries could discuss matters and were communicating as was shown by the Geneva Conference of April 1954 where a settlement was reached that allowed the French to withdraw its forces from Indochina.

  2. Superpower Relations and the Thaw in the Cold War

    * The US not only considerably increased its conventional weaponry during the Korean War * But developed the thermonuclear b**b in 1952 and the hydrogen b**b in 1954 * The USSR developed its own hydrogen b**b less than a year later * The development of harnessing nuclear weaponry to missiles

  1. In the years 195360, President Eisenhowers cold war diplomacy was based on confrontation rather ...

    Additionally, the actions of the US during the nuclear arms, especially in the context of ?massive retaliation?, is indicative of Eisenhower?s aggressive diplomacy. In March 1954 the US had a H-b**b which could be delivered from an aircraft, in combination with the B-52 bomber, which came into

  2. In the years 1953-60, President Eisenhowers cold war diplomacy was based on confrontation rather ...

    Eisenhower threatened the Chinese with the nuclear weapons in 1953, which probably resulted in the sooner ending of the war. So, Eisenhower?s ?New Look? was only a continuation of Truman?s policy on communism and increased pressure through nuclear power was only in the means of peace and national security?

  1. How far do you agree that the developmemt of the Cold War between the ...

    The United States reacted to this threat to its international influence by containing Soviet ?pressure by uncompromising resistance?, which Kennan would have recommended ?even if Russia had not been communist? (Hobsbawn). The resulting Truman Doctrine therefore articulated the policy of ?containment? which saw the US takeover from the British in supporting Greece against Communist insurgency in 1947.

  2. In the years 1953-1960 was president Eisenhowers cold war diplomacy based on confrontation rather ...

    This shows how Eisenhower was prepated to confront the communists from the beginning of his rule. Instead of military rollback the U.S. began a program of long-term psychological warfare to delegitimize Communist and pro-Communist regimes and help insurgents. These attempts began as early as 1945 in Eastern Europe, including efforts

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work