The origins of the Cold War
During 1939-45 the alliance of the three superpowers (USA, Britain and SU) was due to necessity. Once Germany had been defeated, differences began to emerge between Stalin and the Soviet Union. This is, largely, where the capitalist vs communism shebang comes into place.
The cold war is a conflict in which actual fighting takes place by ever means short of war itself. The only time the war seemed to get hot was during Korea in 1950-53 ad Vietnam (60s)
Its main features, and what made it so prominent throughout the world, was:
- Arms Race
- Space Race
- Loans and Aid
Superpower rivalry was not new. The differences go back to the 1918-21 revolution where America defended Russia against the Bolshevik uprising. Differences intensified after 1933 when Hitler became leader of Germany.
Stalin, who became leader of the Soviet Union in 1928, was very suspicious of an attack from the west and encouraged Hitler to invade.
Task 1a) What message is the cartoonist trying to put across in Source B?
Source B shows three fat, greedy and typically selfish old men in suits looking down at a pile of bodies. These three men, each wearing a different hat with the flag of France, America and Great Britain on them have totally no remorse and are simply smoking cigarettes. The source tells us that such people were the cause for this atrocity (as they are on a stage looking down over the event). The Russian writing would make it apparent that, even though I can not read Russian, they have taken over the ‘russian stage’ and attempted to gain power by the killing of many.
What went wrong in conferences:
Why did the conferences intensify in 1945?
Allied armies were closing in on Berlin, Germany was close to defeat. The three Allied leaders met at Yalta in early 1945 to consider what to do with Germany.
This was last meeting of the ‘big three’ Roosevelt, Churchill lost the next election. Churchill felt isolated from most of this conference.
Changed between Yalta and Potsdam
In the five months between the conferences, a number of changes took place:
- Soviet troops liberated countries in eastern Europe but did not remove military presence.
- Stalin had set up a communist government in Poland and ignored the wishes of the Poles and Yalta conference. He insisted that control of eastern Europe was a defensive measure against possible future attacks.
- The Red army was the biggest in the world.
- In April 1945, Roosevelt died. His Vice-President, Harry Truman, replaced him. Truman was totally different from Roosevelt and distrusted Stalin.
- July 1945 Americans successfully tested an atomic bomb. Stalin was furious he had not heard about his before the conference.
- Halfway through conference, Churchill was defeated in the British General Election and replaced by Attlee.
- Memory of the suffering 1918-39
- During the interwar years most earstern European countries had been hostile to the Soviet Union, Poland had signed a non-aggression pact with France and during the Second World War Hungary and Romania fought on the side of Germany, against the Soviet Union
- Percentages deal
- Towards the end of the war, Stalin and Churchill had reached an understanding known as the ‘percentages deal’. Stalin believed that Churchill was accepting the influence of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe.
- Strategic importance of Poland
- The Soviet Union’s security was depending on a friendly Polish government. Stalin wanted a communist government in what would remain of Poland.
- The Soviet Union had been invaded from the west by Germany on two occasions. Stalin wanted to create a zone of ‘friendly’ or ‘buffer states’ to protect against future invasions.
- The USA, Britain and France believed that Stalin’s motives were political – the expansion of the Soviet empire and communism throughout Europe.
Soviet Government 1945-1947
- Coalition governments were set up with the communists shared power and political parties
- Backed by Stalin, communists took over the civil service, media, security and defense
- Opposition leaders were arrested or forced to flee
- Elections were held but fixed
This is a preview of the whole essay
June 1945 a coalition government of several parties was set up. January 1947 elections were rigged to ensure total communist control. The leader of the opposition fled to London.
As with Poland, coalition parties were set up and, after demonstrations by the public, the army intervened and disarmed the Romanian army and forced the king to appoint a government by the communists under Peru. The next year, the monarchy was abolished.
What were the effects of the Soviet expansion?
Soviet domination scared Britain and USA, they were convinced that democratically elected governments, which would have also remained friendly to the Soviet Union, could have been set up in each country – this led to the main issue of relationships:
- Stalin believed that he could only ensure the support of the countries of eastern Europe by setting up Soviet-controlled communist governments
- US President Truman saw this as a blatant attempt by Stalin to spread communism throughout Europe.
In 1947 Truman began a US policy of containment:
- The USA believed that the Soviet Union was trying to spread communism
- The USA had the atom bomb and wanted to use this, together with their superior economic strength
- Events in Greece
At Yalta it was agreed that Britain would have influence in Greece. Sine 1944 there had been civil war and Britain was helping the royalist government . Britain had 40,000 troops stationed in the country to help the royalists but the communists kept opposing. By 1947 Britain told the USA they could no longer afford to support Turkish and Greek government. The ‘Truman Doctrine’was made as a promise that they would continue to support these countries and that the world was becoming divided into two camps: Capitalist and Communist.
Consequences of the Truman Doctrine?
- Greek government was able to defeat the communists
- Rivalry between USA and Soviet Union increased. Truman had publically stated that the world was divided into two – free and un-free.
- USA was committed to the policy of containment
- USA decided on the Marshall Plan. Although it was generous, it was mainly because of self-interest.
The marhsall plan backed up his policy of containment with economic aid to Europe. Truman did not want to commit the US military to defence of western Europe and, therefore, provided them with their own resources to defend themselves. The programme of aid was offered to all war-torn European countries to help them re-equip their factories and revive agriculture and trade.
By 1953 the USA had provided $17 billion to help them rebuild their economies and raise their standard of living. US machinery helped European factories to recover from the effects of the Second World War.
Berlin Crisis 1948-49
Stalin blockaded all routes by land and rail into West Berlin.
The Soviet Union ensured that the minority communist group took control of the eastern zone. It was to stop West creating a better economy on their part of berlin and speeding up the recovery. Berlin was in the heart of soviet-controlled areas. There was a Berlin Airlift that started June 28 1948.
Truman wanted Berlin to be a symbol of freedom behind the Iron Curtain.
June 24 1948 Blockade June 28 1948 airlift starts as ‘operation Plainfare’.
90 second interval takeoffs meant that by September 4600 tons of supplies were flying per day. B-29 Jets, capable of carrying atom bombs, were also sent to Britain as a warning to the Soviet Union that they were within bombing range.
Soviet union tried to persuade people to move from West East but 3% took up this offer.
In April nearly 13,000 tons of supplies were sent in 24 hours.
There were still great shortages but 275,000 flights sent over the period with a 4000 tone average
May 1949 Stalin called off the blockade that had failed to cut off West Berlin. Evening dress was put on and dancing in the street happened that night.
Results of the crisis
- Greatly increased East-West rivalry
- It confirmed the divisions of Germany and Berlin
- It led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
- ‘West Berlin’ created as all Western Allies formed trizonia.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – April 1949
Berlin had confirmed Truman’s commitment to containment in Europe and highlighted the threat to Western Europe. Western European states combined were absolutely no match for the Soviet Union.
Stalin saw NATO as an ‘aggressive alliance’ and, within six years, set up the Warsaw Pact which was eight nations and their military headed by the Soviet Union.
1945: Americas Atom Bomb 1949: Soviet Union Atom Bomb
1953 American H-Bomb Later 1953 Soviet Union H-Bomb
Hungary after WWII
Soviet Union invaded Hungary (a nazi allie) and occupied it since. A new provisional government was ordered to pay $300 Mill to Soviet Union in reparations.
Rakosi used terror and brutality to keep control (2000 purges and 200,000 political prisoners) as well as use of secret police. The Hungarian economy was controlled through comecon
Rakos’s proposition of a five-year plan to transform the Hungarian economy failed to bring progress. Devoted to heavy industry and steel production but with poor tools to produce steel or have any real heavy industry market.
The leader of the Soviet Union, Malenkov, disliked Rakosi and replaced him with Imre Nagy. This shows the control the soviet union had over Hungary. This proved to be a poor idea as Nagy was far more liberal.
October 1956 – Kruschev sent troops and tanks to Budapest to restore peace. 25th October tanks open fired killing twelve.
Gero resigned and a few days later Nagy took over as prime minister (following Kadar’s few days in charge)
Nagy agreed tanks would be withdrawn and discussed with Soviet Union policy. They were supported by the USA.
- Released political prisoners
- Published reforms
- Decided to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact
Kruschev saw this as a sign of embarrassment for the Soviet Union (and Chairman Mao encouraged them to stand tight) and, as a result, sent 200,000 troops and 6000 tanks into Hungary on November 4th 1956.
Kadar (who took over as leader) promised that if Nagy was to come out of hiding he would have a safe passage out of Hungary. This, however, was a lie and he was shot in 1958.
Results of the uprising
- 7000 soviet troops died and 20,000 hungarians.
- 200,000 Hungarians fled during the uprising
- The west saw Khruschev’s peace message as a sham
Berlin Crisis – 1961
West Berlin was in an era of capitalist prosperity. Between ’49 and ’61 4 million East Berliners fled to the West.
Berlin was a gap in the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union was keen to block this. Allies claimed that the West was used for espionage. East Germans fled because they were:
- Dissatisfied with the poor economy and political conditions
- Disagreed with collectivisation of agriculture
- Consumer goods could be bought in West Berlin.
1958 Khruschev decided the occupying powers should leave Berlin and make it neutral. Eisenhower did not want to risk a war over Berlin.
1959 Nuclear War summit with Khruschev and Eisenhower but nine days before the next conference the Soviet Union had announced it shot down an American U-2 spy plane.
Eisenhower was prepared to stop the flights but not to apologise.
By January 1961 20,000 were leaving East for west per month. Skilled craftsmen and well trained educators included. This only improved the western economy. Khrushchev called another conference to fix the solution but kennedy failed to note he had re-asserted the Truman doctrine in his unauguration speech.
Vienna summit June 1961 Khrushchev demanded Western forces leave Birlin in return for a treaty that would end all occupation rights.
August 13 1961 Khrushchev closed the border and placed barbed wire along 50km of land. Concrete walls were built the same day and eventually the ‘iron curtain’ metaphor became reality.
Results of the crisis were that families were split and the Soviet Union had broken the agreement in 1949 about the running of Berlin. Economic crisis in East Germany slowly evaporated. Although Khrushchev failed to remove Western forces the crisis ended and tension in Europe eased.
Khrushchev saw this as a major success as the flow of refugees stopped and economic crisis eased in East Berlin. The wall was ‘guarding the gates of socialist paradise.’ The western forces were not removed by the crisis ended and tensions eased.
The wall became a symbol of division and a sign that Berlin was reigned by foreign nations. When Kennedy visited Berlin in 1963 he made several speeches – In Berlin he accidently said “I am a donut” instead of “I am a Berliner” in German. He did make clear the wall was ‘most obvious demonstration of communism’s failures”.
Took places over a few days in 1962 brought the superpowers to brink of nuclear war.
USA had supported Cuba since 1959 with Batista until a revolution brought Fidel Castro to power.
Castro rejected all US productions and, in return, Cuban sugar was banned. The soviet Union seized opportunity and saw this as a way to spread communism into the Caribbean as well. Khruschev, the leader of the Soviet Union, was keen to challenge the USA but could not reunite Berlin.
Bay Of Pigs
USA Broke off diplomatic relations in January 1961. Before the end of Eisenhower’s presidency he sanctioned a scheme under which Cuban Exiles living in the USA would be trained in preparation for an invasion of Cuba.
Kennedy, in 1961, accepted this Scheme.
The exiles from 1959 (when Castro took control) planned to execute the plan. They were fully equipped exiles who would land in Cuba and remove Castro. America believed Castro was unpopular.
Trained in America (florida) and Guatemala the whole operation was underfunded and only had $45million to run.
La Brigada had 1,500 people.
- The CIA were convinced that when the exiles landed the Cubas would rise up to remove Castro (they were convinced he was very popular). Castro was also aware of the incoming attack because some of the exiles had been heard discussing plans in Miami.
- La Brigada had its ships sunk and the 20,000 to 1,500 were no match
This marked the start of the Cuban Missiles Crisis
- US Involvement pushed the Soviet Union and Castro closer. The end of 1961 meant that Castro declared his allegiance to communism.
- By 1961 there were Soviet military advisors stationed in Cuba.
- Concerned by the Turkish and Greek missiles base, Cuba started (1962) receiving military supplies.
- By September technicians began to install Balistic Missiles
14 October 1962 a U2 Spy Plane flew over the missiles base and estimated that, by November, there would be Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles ready and they could hit almost all US cities.
Key Features of the Crisis
The time between the U2 spy plane and the dismantling of the base was 13 days. Twelve advisors (one being his brother) was set up.
There was a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent Soviet ships delivering military materials.
The blockade was 3300 kilometers around Cuba and USA already had Polaris submarines ready for action. Kennedy promised Khrushchev on Live TV that the Soviet convoy approaching Cuba would be stopped and military equipment would have to be returned to Soviet Union.
Results of the crisis
Kennedy seemed to gain popularity through the publicised war. The deal over Turkish missiles was not made public at the time. Many politicans thought Khruschev had been humiliated and seeked to remove him. Even Chairman Mao Zedong was unhappy he backed down.
The two superpowers had almost gone into a world-destroying war. To ensure that letters would not have to be sent again, a telephone hotline was set up between the whitehouse and the Kremlin.
- Further improvements came when the Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed in August 1963 that meant no nuclear weapons could be tested.
- In 1966 France withdrew from the military side of NATO
- Then the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed in 1968 to stop spread of weapons. The countries signing agreed not to test nuclear weapons.
- Strategic Arms Limitation Talks started in 1969 which became the first policy of detenté .
In 1964 Khruschev was sacked.
1968 Prague Spring
Detenté only officially started in 1969 because of the prague spring and the pressure that was caused by the Prague spring. Nvotny was the unpopular Soviet Leader in Czechoslovakia and had been part of the hard-line communist regime sunce 1957. Alexander Dubcek was a more up to date leader who believed in de-stalinisation and supported the originally standing Khruschev methods.
Czech ecnomy was in serious decline in the 1960s and this led to a standard of living fall. The soviet leader Nvotny forced Czech leaders to produce more raw materials such as steel for the Soviet Economy.
The Soviet Union stopped Czhech factories from producing consumer goods and the economy floored. In 1965 a failed attempt at reforms known as the New Economic Model were extremey unsuccessful.
In October 1967 reformers challenged Novotny’s leadership. Dubceck invited Brezhev to prague. He withheld support for the Czech leader.
January 5th 1968 Novotny was replaced as First Secretary of the Communist Party for Dubcek. Reforms soon came into place called ‘socialism with a human face.’
- By March the newspapers were printing uncensored discussions of political and social problems. Party leaders with ‘grilled’ live on television.
- A ten-year programme for political change which would bring about democratic elections, multi-party state and democratic socialism.
- Reduction in the power of the secret police to imprison without trial.
- Removal of travel restrictions and fresh contact with the West
- Creation of works councils representing workforces in factories and increase workers rights
By June 1968 there was a social democrats party set up and a popular book called ‘the two thousand words’ that told Czech people to push for further change.
The soviet Union needed Czechoslovakia in the Warsaw Pact to help keep the Eastern bloc stable.
- June 1968 – Soviet tanks remained in Czechoslovakia after Warsaw Pact military exercise
- Brezhnev met with leaders of the Warsaw Pact countries and shared his concerns over the events in prague.
- A few days later Brezhnev met with Dubcek. Agreements were made that they would stay in the Warsaw Pact and criminalise the Social Democratic Party. He insisted on his reforms
- 3rd August Brezhnev declared his faith in communism in the “Bratislava Declaration”
- The leader, Tito, who was distrusted by SU was welcomed warmly into Czechoslovakia. It seemed Dubcek was moving towards independence.
- 15th-18th – Three day meeting of Soviet Politburo to decide what actions to take. Dubcek shouted at him to warn him not to overstep the line.
- 20th August – Soviet Invasion
Effects on the Warsaw Pact
Communist countries began to move away from Moscow. Romania refused to send troops to help in invade Czechoslovakia. Albania did the same, and left the warsaw pact in 1968. The Soviet Union did not react because they were preoccupied with Czech and issues there.
Relations worsened within the Soviet Union and between East and West. Britain and USA staged protests about the actions of the Soviet Union, however, it was not a serious threat to their relations and détente started after a slight break. The USA was also so occupied with the Vietnam war that they could not help Czechoslovakia. China and the SU increased in tensions however, because China criticised the use of force.
----------------------------- This marks the ending of the Cold War -----------------
The hotline between the Kremlin and Washington had improved relations and the Test Ban Treaty showed willingness to look at the issue of developing nuclear weapons.
Brezhnev put forward his new policy when he took over from Khrushchev that if a capitalist country threatened a communist country, force would be used to defend them. This was the 1968 Brezhnev doctrine.
However, the 1967 Six Day War was an indirect war, Arabs fighting with the help of the Soviet Union and Israel with the help of the USA. Each of the superpowers supplied arms to the sides and relations worsened but not nearly to the extent of the Cuban missiles crisis.
This was before 1968 and meant that relationships worsened with the Czech invasion aswell. In the ame year Nixon became president, hoping to improve trade and technology links with the offer of an arms reduction. Nixon, fighting in the same Vietnamese war on the other side to the Soviet Union used his policy of ‘linkage’ to offer a stand-down in return for better trade and an arms decrease.
1972 Nixon visited Moscow and said that he did not want Vietnam to be an issue in détente. Soviet Union agreed and, consequently, made the Helsinki Agreements.
------------------------------------------ Salt 1 ----------------------------------------
Talks in Helsinki and Vienna made, over the course of three years, the first SALT agreement in May 1972. There was no restrictions on development but it was a step in the right direction.
- Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) allowed at two sights containing 100 missiles.
- Five Year freeze on ICBM and SLBM bombers
- Strategic bombers not allowed
- Each side was allowed to use satellites to check the other side was not breaking the agreements
October 1973 Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war tested the relations of the Soviet Union and USA. Syria and Egypt, backed by the Soviet Union, made an attack on Israel that was surprise and, consequently, Israelis recovered, won and were sent replacement military equipment by the USA.
Brezhnev suggested a USA-Soviet Pact was in order to save the Egyptian Army from the Israelis, Nixon refused and was angry at Brezhnev. A peace-keeping UN force was suggested and, consequently, the Yom Kippur war ended in October of 1973 with a ceasefire.
17 July 1975, five astronauts were photographed in space shaking hands. This was good for the diplomacy.
Helsinki Agreements of July 1975
- West Germany accepted by Russians
- Closer economic, scientific and political cooperation was called for
- Human rights would be followed, such as freedom of though, speech, religious and lack of unfair arrest.
1974 saw the beginning of Salt II with the treaty signed in June 1979. After 1977 (when Carter took over) there was much talk and he attempted to link issues of arms limitation and human rights. Complaints at the Helsinki agreement about the Soviet Union included: Lack of free speech, lack of basic rights etc.
Carter asked, in 1978, for an increase in the defence budget but in 1979 there was Salt II
Salt II agreed:
- 2400 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles each
- 1320 MIRV systems each
- Ban on new construction of land-based ICBM launchers
- Limits on deployment of new types of strategic offensive arms
- Would last until 1985 (six years)
Tensions got worse, however, when NATO placed a long-range missile in Europe with concerns over the 2000 soldiers in Cuba. The Invasion of Afghan of Christmas 1979 ended détente.
Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan?
- People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan overthrew the government. Decrees forcing changes in marriage and land were misunderstood by virtually al Afghans.
- 1979 power was seized by Amin but there was instability because of anti-Muslim policies. The Mujahideen, a jihadist guerrilla movement and faught against the government.
- Soviet Union backed the government against helped them with equipment and advisors. However, Afghan also wanted to improve links with the USA.
- Brezhnev was concerned about the growing power of radical islam and wanted to show the 30 million soviet Muslims there would be no change to the way SU was run.
- Christmas 1979 and Jan 1st 1980 more then 50,000 troops were deployed to restore the protection of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan.
- Many Afghan soldiers deserted to support the Mijahideen – there was 85,000 troops needed to keep peace and power in Afghanistan.
Effects of the invasion:
- Carter failed to solve the problem and USA accused him of being weak. The Carter Doctrine meant that he would take a stance on Soviet Invasion from now on and that the USA would use military force to protect the Persian Gulf region.
- Carter Doctrine promised US aid to countries bordering Afghanistan.
- Carter asked the Senate to delay passing the SALT II treaty and called off grain shipments to the SU. Companies were forbidden to sell high-tech goods to the Soviet Union aswell.
- Assistance would be given to the Mujahideen who fought against the soviets.
Détente was dead by the beginning of 1980, after the invasion of Afghanistan.
The USA saw that a Soviet occupied Afghanistan would threaten India and Pakistan, as part of the domino theory. Soviet control of Western oil supply was large and during the five years of the Soviet invasion, relations weakened.
Ronald Reagan was keen to challenge the USSR and re-establish the USA as a leading superpower.
Reagan increased spending on arms and saw fighting communism as the major emphasis of his policy.
Reagans defence policy:
1981-87 would cost more then a trillion dollars
- 100 MX missiles
- 100 B-1 supersonic bombers
- Stealth bomber that would be invisible to a radar
- Strengthening of military communications
- Development of the neutron bomb (killed people but did not damage property)
Relations worsened as a result
Reagan believed he could win a limited war (Nuclear Utilization Target Selection – NUTS). Tensions began to rise until they both accepted the MAD theory.
Reagan proposed a ‘zero option’ to cancel deployment of a new military misile in return for Soviet dismantling of forces. Brezhnev refused as this would mean America had a greater amount of missiles in Europe. 8th of June 1982 Reagan called Soviet Union an ‘evil empire’ and later that year, the new leader, Andropov, responded by calling Reagan insane.
Reagan Star Wars
Negotiations for arms talks continued despite the ‘evil empire’ speech and there was the beginning of START (Stragic arms reduction talks). Relations worsened after Brezhnev banned and imprisoned the head of police trade unions. Reagan walked out of the delegation talks for START in 1983 and announced SDI (strategic Defence initiative) or ‘star wars’.
***Star Wars was complete rubbish****.
It was a system where a laser could shoot down any missile from space, thus protecting America or anywhere in the world it needed to.
Andropov subsequently claimed that Reagan was ‘planning a nuclear war and inventing new ways to in hope of wining it’. Thee US Congress voted in vagour of funds for the development of this scheme.
Reagan hoped that with the soviet union spending more and more money competing with SDI, their economy would collapse.
Relationship change from 1980-1985
Brezhnev died in 1982 and Andropov died shortly after in 1984.
In 1983 grain was permitted by Reagan to be sold to the Soviet Union in, what turned out to be, the biggest trade agreement ever between two countries.
Chernenko, who succeeded Andropov as General Secretary was quick to announce the Soviet Boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics on the grounds that the USA were apparently ‘manipulating the games for political purposes and using anti Soviet Union propaganda.’ The Soviet Union was supported by its allies but, nevertheless, 140 nations took part including China.
This was a retaliation to the American Boycott of the Moscow games and setting up their own ‘friendship games’.
This showed a real change in progress and separated them into two sides, East and West even through the sporting frontier that was meant to unite the two and remove political differences.
In 1985 after the death of Chernenko, Gobachev was appointed that seemed to better relations substantially.
- Much younger then Chernenko
- Prepared to adopt drastic policies to improve relations
- Had to improve relations for fear of the collapse of the Soviet Union
Détente had failed by 1985 and many people were convinced that a nuclear war was on the horizon. SDI increased weapons and saw this as a worsening of relations. Yet, by 1989 Bush and Gorbachev were able to announce that the Cold War was over.
Gorbachev decided to unilaterally call off the Cold War suddenly. His abandonment of the 1968 Brezhnev Doctrine was a sign of change. The Soviet Union had such drained funds. Consequentially there were steps taken to reform the Soviet party and end the cold war:
- Initiated reforms in the Communist party and Soviet System. Perestroika (restructuring) and Glastnoss (openness)
- Ended the arms race with the USA and signed various arms reduction agreements
- Stopped Soviet Inferference in Eastern Euorpe and satellite states as well as Czechoslovakia and other Warsaw Pact countries
Gorbachev was diplomatic, friendly and did things like ‘dropped into young couple’s apartment homes for tea’. People even said that they wished perestroika would develop faster.
Prisoners were released from jail, banned books were published and human rights prevailed.
Glasnost, however, meant that the more freedom people got, the more Gorbachev was criticised.
Uskorenie (acceleration of economic development) did bring about change and the free-economy was introduced.
A November 1985 summit in Geneva renewed Arms limitation talks. Reagan said he would not give up the commitment to the SDI system but that he was committed to making the world a ‘safer place’.
Eventually they both dropped their advisors and met privately. Noting was decided but this allowed:
- Speed-up of arms talks
- Work towards the abolition of chemical weapons
- More active issues on human rights to be addressed
A second meeting was arranged for October 1986
1986 started well but went downhill when they locked on the issue of the SDI system. Gorbachev said talks broke down over the SDI talks and the anti-balistic missiles treaty.
December 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) took place where it was agreed they would elimate nuclear and conventional ground-launched and cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5500 kilometers. The treaty had a deadline of two years (till 1991) to do so. 2500 weapons had to be destroyed, over 800 by the USA.
Both sides could inspect each others military instillations.
Reagan described the INF as an ‘impossible vision’ and Gorbachev stated it had ‘universal significance for mankind.’ Both leaders stressed it was only the first step in an agreement. The deadline for signing was 1988 in Moscow.
Signed in May 1988, and in a time of ‘Gorbymania’ it was evident that Reagan and Gorbachev played a role together for publicity. This was totally different to the cold and uncooperative leaders at the start of the war.
In the May 1989 summit in Moscow Gorbachev promised to reduce arms further and take soldiers out of Afghanistan. This showed real promise.
The CFE (Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty) signed by Nato and Warsaw Pact led to a reduction in tanks, missiles, aircrafts and non-nuclear missile technology.
When Saddam Hssein invaded Kuwait in 1990 the two superpowers were closely tied in acting against him.
Start talks 1990-1991
Bush and Gorbachev discussed, over a four day summit, that START talks and finally signed START I on July 31st 1991.
In seven years the two would have to reduce strategic nuclear forces to:
- 1600 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles
- 6000 warheads
- 4900 ballistic missiles
This was a 25-35% reduction on all warheads. They signed pens with metal made from scrap missiles.
Dismantling of the wall
East and West Germany had demonstrations and called for a change in government. Gorbachev visited East Germany in October 1989 and informed political leaders that the Soviet Union would not be involved in internal affairs.
9th November East Germany announced the opening of the border between them and West Germany. People began to dismantle the wall.
In the next few days over 1 million people travelled to and from East Germany to West to see relatives.
3rd October 1990 they were officially reunited.
The Warsaw Pact and NATO were dissolved.
Collapse of the Soviet Union
In 1990 many states declared themselves independent and, accepted by Moscow, which caused real fears for the protection and economic safety of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was hated and lost authority within the power.
December 1991 he resigned and the Soviet Union split into several states.
Gorbachev won the Nobel peace price in 1990 and his polices had evaded nuclear war. The INF treaty was still important and troops removed from Afghan, allowing human rights and glasnost ended the cold war.