Miscellaneous Cold War terms and events (and places) (International Relations 1945-2004)

07kgrace
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Contains miscellaneous terminology and events that occurred in the cold war era. Helpful for the International relations module.
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The IMF This was the International Monetary Fund. Established in 1944. Purpose: to be one of the central institutions managing post-war economic relations. It was to manage a system of exchange rates and to lend money to member states facing problems with their balance of payments. The American dollar exchange rate was the foundation of the IMF system and this emphasised the importance of the US economy in international affairs.
Council of Europe This was set up in 1949 as an association of European states committed to the principles of freedom, the rule of law and a safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Europe.
The Western European Union This was formed in 1948 as a defence pact among states of Western Europe. It still exists but its responsibilities are controlled by the EU and NATO.
Hungary 1956 Hungary had bee under Soviet-influenced Communist control since the end of the Second World War. In October 1956 mass disturbances quickly developed into a popular revolt. The leaders demanded that Hungary withdraw from the Warsaw Pact. The USSR used military force to restore ‘normality’. Thousands of Hungarians were killed and many more forced into exile. No aid was given during the revolution from any western power.
U2 Spy Planes The U2 was a jet-powered reconnaissance plane. This plane was an invaluable asset to the USA. It was used to photograph Soviet military and industrial activity. It carried three static cameras. Its first flight over Soviet territory took place in the summer of 1956.
Germany in 1961 Germany was divided into two sovereign states and had been since 1949. Germany was still subject to the Four Power control established at Potsdam in 1945. West Berlin, controlled by the Western Powers, was in Communist-controlled East Germany. Access to West Berlin was what made it a potential target for superpower confrontation and bargaining.
The Formosa Straits Crisis The 1958 Formosa Straits Crisis originated in mainland China’s bombardment of the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. There were some clashes between US and Chinese aircraft before a ceasefire on 6th October.
NSC Truman Doctrine convinced American strategic planners that a co-ordinated security system needed to be devised for the new Cold War environment. A single department responsible for running all the different military services was set up under the 1947 National Security Act. This also set up the National Security Council (NCS) which was to advise the president on all defence and security issues. This, and the creation of the CIA, showed how America was willing to move away from isolationism.
Ex-Comm This was formally established on 22nd October 1962. Along with the president (Kennedy) and vice-president (Lyndon Johnson). Other key players were Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary for Defence Robert McNamara and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The main role of the group was to consider options and the consequences of such choices.
The Quarantine A blockade of Cuba would have constituted an act of war so the USA referred to their action as a ‘quarantine’. Its purpose was to enable Kennedy to buy time and focus on a diplomatic solution to the growing crisis. It also forced the USSR to decide whether it would recognise the quarantine or not. Doing so would weaken Khrushchev’s position. Not doing so would force the USA to take action. This was a classic example of brinkmanship.
China since 1962 By 1962 it was clear that a split had occurred between China and the USSR. Khrushchev was reluctant to allow China to become a nuclear power and was concerned about Mao’s apparent determination to spread Communism across the world. This Sino-Soviet split offered an opportunity for the Americans to shift the dynamics of the Cold War by bringing in the Chinese. By the end of then 1960s China had become an established nuclear power despite Soviet opposition.
Charter 77 This was a human rights manifesto signed by more than 700 intellectuals and politicians in Czechoslovakia in 1977. It forced a crackdown by the Communist government which resulted in arrests and persecutions. It was supported by American President Jimmy Carter.
Israel Israel was formed in 1948 and was immediately faced with opposition from surrounding Arab states, notably Egypt. The failure of the Arabs to exterminate the Israelis led to the Egyptians coming to the conclusion that only international support could prevent Israel being a threat to Egyptian security. The 1973 war against Israel was a deliberate ploy to involve the USA and the USSR in a lasting peace process for the Middle East.
The Israeli occupation of the Sinai During the Six Day War Israel took control of the Sinai Peninsula, which was a significant in-road into Egyptian territory. It made Egypt vulnerable to any future Israeli attack.
Comecon This was otherwise known as the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance and was formed by the USSR in 1949. Its aim was to integrate the economies of Eastern Europe. Eventually membership extended to include Cuba and Vietnam. It acted as a planning agency for the USSR and its economic objectives were directed from Moscow. It was formally dissolved in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR
Stealth Technology Stealth aircraft have technology that enables them to avoid radar detection. The Stealth programme was, and remains, immensely costly. Stealth technology was developed initially in the 1980s and was used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Solidarity By 1980 there were major price rises in Poland. Workers at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk, led by Lech Walesa, went on strike. The shipyard was occupied as he called for solidarity among the workers, who demanded independent unions, something banned in Communist countries. To restore some order the Polish Communist government agreed to these demands. However in December 1981 the government declared a state of martial law and brought Solidarity under control although many of its supporters continued to organise secretly. Its existence acted as an inspiration to others across Eastern Europe who wanted reform.
The 1991 Coup d’Etat This was led by Communist hardliners who wanted to stop Gorbachev’s reform programme. Gorbachev was held under house arrest at his holiday home in the Crimea, but the coup collapsed within three days and the coup leaders tried to flee the country. All of them were arrested and one committed suicide
The Sinatra Doctrine The Soviet Foreign Ministry referred to the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine in terms of the start of a new doctrine – the Sinatra Doctrine. This was based on Frank Sinatra’s song ‘My Way’. It meant that Eastern European states would now be free to ‘do things their way’.
Ahmici A number of Bosnian Muslim civilians were massacred in the village of Ahmici in April 1993 by Croatian troops. This was a deliberate and calculated murder carried out by dragging people from their homes and attempting to shoot everyone, including women and children. Croatian snipers were deployed to ensure that nobody escaped – but 104 bodies were found by British troops. It has been described as one of the most gruesome examples of ethnic cleansing
Kosovo Kosovo is at the southern edge of the former Yugoslavia, on the border with Albania. About 90% of the population of Kosovo was made up of ethnic Albanians. Nationalist feelings were gaining strength and there was opposition to the Serb dominance of politics. The Serbs regarded Kosovo as having symbolic relevance to their own national identity. The problem also assumed religious significance as the Serbs were Christian and the Kosovo Albanians were Muslims.
The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 Both sides in this war claimed the other was responsible for starting the conflict. The real cause lay with the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. He feared that his power in Iraq was under threat through Iran’s encouragement of the Shia Muslim majority in Iraq to turn against him and his Sunni Muslim government. The war led to about one million casualties and had a deeply damaging impact on the economies of both states.
Internal Opposition to Saddam Hussein There were numerous groups who threatened Saddam Hussein’s control of Iraq. In the north of the country there was a strong nationalist movement among the Kurdish population, which wanted independence from Iraq. Hussein unleashed violence against the Kurds in order to crush the opposition. In the south there was opposition from the Shia Muslim community. Saddam controlled this group using less extreme methods.
Chechnya This region of the former USSR declared its independence in 1991. It was not until 1994 that Boris Yeltsin sent in Russian troops to restore control and return Chechnya into the Russian fold. A bloody war followed and by 1996 this had resulted in the defeat of the Russians. In 1997 the rebel leader Maskhadov was elected president and was formally recognised by Russia.
UN Resolutions These are typically passed by the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council. They are statements of action or intent to which some or all of the member states are committed.
The Khmer Rouge Established in the 1960s, the Khmer Rouge was the Communist movement in Cambodia. Its leader, Pol Pot, controlled the country between 1974 and 1978. Pot believed in returning society to its most basic level and part of his plan to do this was to murder intellectuals and academics. The Khmer Rouge was overthrown but continued to wage a guerrilla war until 1991, when it won a voice in the governing body of Cambodia.
Black Hawk Down On 3rd October 1993 an attempt was made by US forces to capture key leaders linked to the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. In the process of this action two army helicopters were brought down in Mogadishu, the heartland of Aidid’s territory. This led to a desperate rescue mission undertaken by US forces. What should have been a simple 45 minute rescue lasted 15 hours and left 18 Americans dead, plus about 1,000 Somali casualties.
Srebrenica Massacre This was an ethnic cleansing action carried out by Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic. The aim was to eliminate Bosnian Muslims and those in Srebrenica were seen as being representative of Muslims in general. The action was a purely ethnic one in that the victims were selected entirely because of their religious and cultural identity. They had no military role.
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