Cold War Review Sheet

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  1. United Nations
    An international organization intended to protect the 50 countries involved against aggression.
  2. Iron Curtain
    Churchill’s phrase that came to represent Europe’s division into mostly democratic Western Europe and Communist Eastern Europe.
  3. Containment
    A policy used by The United States, under President Truman, directed at blocking Soviet influence and stopping the expansion of communism. Containment policies included forming alliances and helping weak countries resist Soviet advances.
  4. Truman Doctrine
    Truman’s support for countries that rejected communism. It was a U.S. policy of giving economic and military aid to free nations threatened by internal or external opponents.
  5. Marshall Plan
    The assistance program of the U.S. giving economic aid to needy European countries. The plan would provide food, machinery, and other materials to rebuild Western Europe.
  6. Cold War
    A struggle over political differences carried on by means short of military action or war. The superpowers used spying, propaganda, diplomacy, and secret operations in their dealings with each other. Much of the world allied with one side or the other. Until the Soviet Union finally broke up, the Cold War dictated not only U.S. and Soviet foreign policy, but influenced world alliances as well.
  7. NATO
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A defensive military alliance formed among the U.S., Canada and ten western European nations. An attack on any NATO member would be met with armed force by all member nations.
  8. Warsaw Pact
    Included the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The Soviet Union saw NATO as a threat, resulting in the formation of its own alliance, which was the Warsaw Pact.
  9. Brinkmanship
    The willingness to go to the brink, or edge, or war. Brinkmanship required a reliable source of nuclear weapons and airplanes to deliver them.
  10. Yalta Conference
    WWII was not yet over when the leaders of the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union met at the Soviet Black Sea resort of Yalta. There, they agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation controlled by the Allied military forces. Germany would also have to pay the Soviet Union to compensate for its loss of life and property.
  11. Potsdam Conference
    Truman, Stalin and Churchill met at Potsdam. There, Truman pressed Stalin to permit free elections in Eastern Europe. The Soviet leader refused. In a speech in early 1946, Stalin declared that communism and capitalism could not exist in the same world.
  12. SALT I
    A five-year agreement signed between Nixon and Brezhnev, limiting to 1972 levels the number of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched missiles each country could have.
  13. SALT II
    Signed by Carter and Brezhnev. But, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan later that year, the U.S. Congress refused to ratify SALT II.
  14. Détente
    A policy of lessening Cold War tensions.
  15. Ethnic cleansing
    Intended to rid Bosnia of its Muslim population. A policy of murder and other acts of brutality by which Serbs hoped to eliminate Bosnia’s Muslim population after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
  16. Reunification
    The merging of the two Germanys – uniting East and West.
  17. Shock therapy
    An abrupt shift to free market economics. Yeltsin introduced this idea to Russia. He lowered trade barriers, removed price controls, and ended subsidies to state-owned industrials. Initially, the plan produced more shock than therapy. Fueled economic problems.
  18. Solidarity
    Government recognition of a union. Occurred under union leader Lech Walesa.
  19. Politburo
    The ruling committee of the Communist Party in Russia. Crushed all political disagreement.
  20. Glasnost
    Openness. Introduced under Gorbachev. Glasnost brought remarkable changes. The government allowed churches to open. It released dissidents from prison and allowed the publication of books by previously banned authors. Reporters investigated problems and criticized officials.
  21. Perestroika
    Economic restructuring, introduced under Gorbachev. Local managers gained great authority over their farms and factories, and people were allowed to open small private businesses. Gorbachev’s goal was not to throw out communism, but to make the economic system more efficient and productive.
  22. CIS
    The Commonwealth of Independent States. A loose federation of former Soviet territories. Only the Baltic republics and Georgia declined to join. The formation of the CIS meant the death of the Soviet Union.
  23. Democratization
    The process of creating a government elected by the people. This occurred in the Soviet Union after Gorbachev took over ruling.
  24. Nikita Khrushchev
    After Stalin died, he became the dominant Soviet leader. He called for destalinization, or purging the country of Stalin’s memory.
  25. Leonid Brezhnev
    Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev after he was removed from his power. Brezhnev quickly adopted repressive domestic policies. Brezhnev clamped down on those who dared to protest his strict policies.
  26. John F. Kennedy
    The President during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which made the superpowers’ use of nuclear weapons a real possibility.
  27. Lyndon Johnson
    Assumed the presidency after the assassination of Kennedy. He was committed to stopping the spread of communism, so he escalated U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.
  28. Richard Nixon
    Replaced brinkmanship with détente. His move toward détente grew out of a philosophy known as realpolitik. Signed the SALT I treaty.
  29. Ronald Reagan
    A fiercely anti-Communist U.S. president. He continued to move away from détente. He increased defense spending, putting both economic and military pressure on the Soviets. He also announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a program to protect against enemy missiles. It was not put into effect but remained a symbol of U.S. anti-Communist sentiment.
  30. Alexander Dubcek
    Czech Communist leader who loosened controls on censorship to offer his country socialism with “a human face.” This period of reform, when Czechoslovakia’s capital bloomed with new ideas, became known as Prague Spring. However, it did not survive the summer. Armed forces from the Warsaw Pac nations invaded Czechoslovakia. Brezhnev justified this invasion by claiming the Soviet Union had the right to prevent its satellites from rejecting communism, a policy known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.
  31. Mikhail Gorbachev
    Gorbachev was considered a young leader, at age 54, the youngest Soviet leader since Stalin. Gorbachev realized that economic and social reforms could not occur without a free flow of ideas and information. He announced a policy known as glasnost, or openness. Gorbachev introduced the idea of perestroika, or economic restructuring. He made changes to revive the Soviet economy. Gorbachev’s goal was not to throw out communism, but to make the economic system more efficient and productive. He unveiled a third new policy, democratization. He also ended the arms race that was previously in effect.
  32. Boris Yeltsin
    After Gorbachev lost his popularity, people looked to Boris Yeltsin for leadership. Yeltsin became the president of the Russian Federation. Legislators who opposed Yeltsin’s policies shut themselves inside the parliament building. Yeltsin ordered troops to bombard the building, forcing hundreds of rebel legislators to surrender. Many were killed. Opponents accused Yeltsin of acting like a dictator. War broke out between Chechnya, wanting independence, and Russia. Yeltsin resigned and named Vladimir Putin as acting president.
  33. Lech Walesa
    The Union leader of the Gdansk shipyard. When millions of Poles supported the action, the government gave in to the union’s demands, allowing solidarity, and the union leader became a national hero.
  34. Ceausescu
    Romania’s ruthless Communist dictator who maintained a firm grip on power. Romanians were aware of the reforms in other countries and began a protest movement of their own. In December, Ceausescu ordered the army to fire on demonstrators in the city of Timisoara. The army killed and wounded hundreds of people. The massacre in Timisoara ignited a popular uprising against Ceausescu. Within days, the army joined the people. Ceausescu and his wife were captured and then tried and executed.
  35. Purpose of Berlin Airlift
    Berlin was located within the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, but it had been divided into four zones. The Soviet Union cut off highway, water, and rail traffic into Berlin’s western zones. The city faced starvation. Stalin gambled that the Allies would surrender West Berlin or give up their idea of reunifying Germany. But American and British officials flew flood and supplies into West Berlin for nearly 11 months. In May 1949, the Soviet Union admitted defeat and lifted the blockade.
  36. Purpose of NATO
    NATO was a defensive military alliance formed among the U.S., Canada and ten western European nations. It promised that an attack on any NATO member would be met with armed force by all member nations.
  37. Decisions made at Yalta and Potsdam
    At Yalta, the leaders of the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation controlled by the Allied military forces. Germany would also have to pay the Soviet Union to compensate for its loss of life and property. Here, Stalin agreed to join the war against Japan. He also promised that Eastern Europeans would have free elections. However, Stalin showed great reluctance to allow free elections in Eastern European nations. To Roosevelt’s successor, Truman, this was a clear violation of those countries’ rights. Truman, Stalin, and Churchill met at Potsdam, Germany. Truman pressed Stalin to permit free elections in Eastern Europe. The Soviet leader refused. In a speech in early 1946, Stalin declared that communism and capitalism could not exist in the same world.
  38. Impact of U2 incident
    Eisenhower proposed that the U.S. and the Soviet Union be able to fly over each other’s territory to guard against surprise nuclear attacks. The Soviet Union said no, and in response, the U.S. CIA started secret high-altitude spy flights over Soviet territory in planes called U-2s. The Soviets shot down a U-2 plane, and its pilot was captured. This incident heightened Cold War tensions.
  39. Why the space race occurred
    The Soviets announced the development of a rocket that could travel great distances – an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. Two months later, the Soviets used an ICBM to push Sputnik, the first unmanned satellite, above the earth’s atmosphere. Americans felt they had fallen behind in science and technology, and the government poured money into science education. The next year, the U.S. launched its own satellite.
  40. De-Stalinization
    After Stalin died, Khrushchev became the dominant Soviet leader. In 1956, the shrewd, tough Khrushchev denounced Stalin for jailing and killing loyal Soviet citizens. His speech signaled the start of a policy called de-Stalinization or purging the country of Stalin’s memory. Workers destroyed monuments of the former dictator.
  41. Revolt in Czechoslovakia
    Khrushchev’s replacement, Brezhnev, quickly adopted repressive domestic policies. The party enforced laws to limit such basic human rights as freedom of speech and worship. Brezhnev made clear he would not tolerate dissent in Easter Europe either. The Czech Communist leader Dubcek loosed controls on censorship to offer his country socialism with “a human face.” This period of reform, when Czechoslovakia’s capital bloomed with new ideas, became known as Prague Spring. Armed forces from the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia. Brezhnev justified this invasion by claiming the Soviet Union had the right to prevent its satellites from rejecting communism, a policy known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.
  42. Policies of Nixon-Realpolitik
    The U.S. backed away from its policy of direct confrontation with the Soviet Union. Détente, a policy of lessening Cold War tensions, replaced brinkmanship under Nixon. President Nixon’s move toward détente grew out of a philosophy known as Realpolitik. This term comes from the German word meaning “realistic politics.” In practice, Realpolitik meant dealing with other nations in a practical and flexible manner.
  43. Collapse of Détente
    Under presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford, the U.S. improved relations with China and the Soviet Union. A fiercely anti-Communist U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, took office. He continued to move away from détente. He increased defense spending, putting both economic and military pressure on the Soviets. Tensions increased as U.S. activities pushed the United States and Soviet Union further from détente.
  44. How life changed in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev
    Gorbachev realized that economic and social reforms could not occur without a free flow of ideas and information. He announced a policy known as glasnost, or openness. Glasnost brought remarkable changes. The government allowed churches to open. It released dissidents from prison and allowed the publication of books by previously banned authors. Reporters investigated problems and criticized officials. Gorbachev also introduced the idea of perestroika, or economic restructuring. He made changes to revive the Soviet economy. Local managers gained authority over their farms and factories, and people were allowed to open small private businesses. He also unveiled a policy of democratization. The plan called for the election of a new legislative body. In the past, voters had merely approved candidates who were handpicked by the Communist Party. Now, voters could choose from a list of candidates for each office. Gorbachev also ended the arms race.
  45. August Coup in Soviet Union
    The hardliners, conservatives who opposed reform, demanded Gorbachev’s resignation as Soviet president. Protesters gathered at the Russian parliament building, where Yeltsin had his office. On August 20, the hardliners ordered troops to attack the parliament building, but they refused. Their refusal turned the tide. On August 21, the military withdrew its forces from Moscow.
  46. End of the Soviet Union
    The coup attempt sparked anger against the Communist Party. Gorbachev resigned as general secretary of the Party. The Soviet parliament voted to stop all party activities. Having first seized power in 1917 in a coup that succeeded, the Communist Party now collapsed because of a coup that failed. The coup also played a decisive role in accelerating the breakup of the Soviet Union. Estonia and Latvia quickly declared their independence. Other republics soon followed. By early December, all 15 republics had declared independence. The republics agreed to form the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose federation of former Soviet territories. The formation of the CIS meant the death of the Soviet Union.
  47. Problems Yeltsin faces in Russia
    One of Yeltsin’s goals was to reform the Russian economy. He adopted shock therapy. Initially, the plan produced more shock than therapy. Prices soared. Many factories dependent on government money had to cut production or shut down entirely. This forced thousands of people out of work. Opponents accused Yeltsin of acting like a dictator when he ordered troops to bombard the parliament building filled with hundreds of rebel legislators. Yeltsin’s troubles included war in Chechnya, a largely Muslim area of southwestern Russia. Chechnya declared its independence, but Yeltsin denied the region’s right to secede. News of the death and destruction in Chechnya sparked anger throughout Russia. As the fighting raged, Yeltsin resigned and named Putin as acting president.
  48. Problems in Chechnya
    Chechnya was a large Muslim area in southwestern Russia. Chechnya declared its independence, but Yeltsin denied the region’s right to secede. The capital city was reduced to rubble by Russian forces. In 2002, Russia said that the war in Chechnya was nearing an end. In July 2002, the Kremlin said it would be pulling some of its 80,000 troops out of Chechnya, but Russia had made and broken such a promise before. Then, in October 2002, Chechen rebels seized a theater in Moscow, and more than 150 people died in the rescue attempt by Russia forces.
  49. Problems under Putin in Russia
    Russia’s economic problems continued. Experts estimated that there were between 30,000 and 50,000 homeless children on the streets of Moscow. Other indications of a society experiencing severe stress included high rates of domestic violence and unemployment, a steep population decline, and declines in the standard of living and the average life expectancy.
  50. Reunification of Germany
    Hungary allowed vacationing East German tourists to cross the border into Austria. From there they could travel to West Germany. Thousands of East Germans took this new escape route to the west. In response, the East German government closed its borders entirely. Huge demonstrations broke out in cities across East Germany. The protestors demanded the right to travel freely, and later added the demand for free elections. The Berlin Wall came down and many Germans began to speak of reunification. Germany was officially reunited on October 3, 1990.
  51. Breakup of Czechoslovakia
    In Czechoslovakia, reformers launched an economic program based on “shock therapy.” The program caused a sharp rise in unemployment. It especially hurt Slovakia, the republic occupying the eastern third of Czechoslovakia. Unable to agree on economic policy, the country’s two parts – Slovakia and the Czech Republic – drifted apart and Czechoslovakia split into two countries. The Czech Republic pushed to become a full member of the European Union by 2004. Slovakia experienced one of the highest economic growth rates in the region in 2002. It hoped to join both NATO and the EU in the near future.
  52. Overthrow in Romania
    Romania’s ruthless Communist dictator Ceausescu maintained a firm grip on power. His secret police enforced his orders brutally. Ceausescu ordered the army to fire on demonstrators in the city of Timisoara, killing and wounding hundreds of people. The massacre in Timisoara ignited a popular uprising against Ceausescu. Within days the army joined the people. Ceausescu and his wife attempted to flee; however, they were captured and then tried and executed.
  53. Breakup of Yugoslavia
    After Tito, who led Yugoslavia for 35 years, died, ethnic resentments boiled over. Serbian leader Milosevic asserted leadership over Yugoslavia. Two republics, Slovenia and Croatia, declared independence. The Serbian-led Yugoslav army invaded both republics. After months of bloody fighting, both republics freed themselves from Serbian rule. The next year, Bosnia-Herzegovina joined the two in declaring independence. Bosnia’s population included Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. While Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats backed independence, Bosnian Serbs strongly opposed it. Supported by Serbia, the Bosnian Serbs launched a war. During the war, Serbian military forces used violence and forced emigration against Bosnian Muslims living in Serb-held lands. Kosovo became independent after NATO began a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

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