The Cold War - major events. Revision notes.

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  • THE COLD WAR 1950-1975

  • The superpowers regularly argued and criticized the actions of each other on UN assembly
  • They criticized each other through television, newspapers, art and films
  • Never came to war
  • Commonly sent troops to help other states to disrupt the aims and plans of their opponents
  • Anti-Communism in the USA
  • There was great dislike of communism in the USA
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy was one of the biggest opponents in USA and claimed that communist infiltrated American society -> he was the leader of this hunt

  • Case study : The Korean War

  • Communism was getting stronger around the world
  • In 1949, China as their mainstay in Far East became communist (They pumped 2 billion dollars to support Nationalist but it didn’t help)
  • They had a feeling communist countries act together to spread communism
  • Stalin used cominform to communist to get power in Malaya, Indonesia, Burma, Korea, Philippines
  • South Korea invaded in 1950 – time for action!!!


  • Korea had been ruled by Japan until 1945
  • After WW2, North became communist with one-single party ruled by Kim Il Sung and South remained non-communist and was ruled by Syngman Rhee
  • In 1950 their hostility spilled over into open warfare
  • By September 1950 North Korea overwhelmed whole South Korea except of small corner of south east.
  • President Truman immediately sends supplies to South Korea (warships, advisers) and also put an enormous pressure on UN security council to condemn the actions of NK and to withdraw their troops
  • USSR would normally use the right of VETO in UN council but when China became communist, USA blocked its entry to UN council since it regarded the nationalists as rightful government. -> USSR walked out from UN in protest -> didn’t use VETO -> USA was the most powerful in influencing decisions
  • UN decided use member forces to get NK out of SK


  • In September 1950 UN forces stormed ashore at Inchon, in the same time UN forces and SK troops advanced from Pusan - > NK forces were driven back beyond their original border
  • The Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung warned Americans that further pressing on would mean China joining the war, but UN didn’t stop (plan to invade NK)
  • US forces reached the Yalu river and border with China
  • MacArthur underestimated Chinese power -> In October 1950, 200000 Chinese troops called themselves Peoples volunteers joined NK. -> blistering attack -> they hated Americans -> they had modern tanks and planes from USSR -> UN forces pushed back to 38 parallel
  • Truman wanted to end the war (saving SK is enough) because attacking China would increase the risk of USSR joining the war but MacArthur wanted to continue invading China and also use Nuclear weapons
  • In March 1951 Mac Arthur ignored UN instructions and attacked China, President Truman removed him from his position

  • In June 1951 peace talks began but bitter fighting continued
  • In 1952 Truman was replaced with Eisenhower and who wanted to end the war
  • 1953 – Stalin death made NK  less confident
  • July 1953 – an armistice signed

Was containment the right policy?

  • No doubt – communism must be stopped but question is how to do it
  • Some favored violent tactics as Mac Arthur and they felt that : President was weak, the containment is not enough,
  • Dulles set up network of anti-communist alliance
  • In 1954 SEATO was formed (The South East Asia Treaty Organization)
  • In 1955 CENTO was formed  (The central Treaty organization)
  • USSR didn’t like it
  • In 1955 USSR signed a treaty with all east communist countries known as Warsaw Pact
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  • In 1953 Stalin died and new soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev talked about peaceful co-existence rather than fighting
  • In 1956 – Poland protest sparked off by rise in food – red army moved in to restore order and also put down the communist rising in Hungary at the cost of 30000 Hungarian
  • In 1961 – Berlin wall was built to stop people leaving from East Germany – Border guard shot anyone.


  • In 1945 Americans developed 1st atomic bomb -> didn’t share the secret with USSR
  • In August ...

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