Cold War Early Developments

Andrew Burke
Slide Set by Andrew Burke, updated more than 1 year ago
Andrew Burke
Created by Andrew Burke over 3 years ago


Our next resource in the series on the Cold War takes a look at the early developments. Within 4 years of the end of World War 2, tensions had escalated quickly. Learn more as we examine the Truman Doctrine, The Marshall Plan, The Berlin Blockade and the establishment of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    US Response to USSR 1947-48
    Caption: : Above US President Harry Truman
    Truman was reluctant to get involved in European affairs as it was not popular in the US. However, he would not stand back and watch Stalin act in whatever manner he wanted.  In March 1947, Truman made an announcement outlining the Truman Doctrine  In this the US would provide money, equipment and advice to any country threatened by communism  This began the policy of containment (trying to stop the spread of communism)  Truman believed communism had gained a foothold in areas of poverty and hardship post war. He sent army general George Marshall to assess the situation.  Marshall concluded an aid programme of $17 billion was needed to rebuild Europe US Congress approved the plan in April 1948 USA wanted to create a market for US goods to avoid depression in the wake of World War Two 

Slide 2

    Berlin Blockade 1948-1949
    Stalin felt the policy of Marshall Aid was attemped to make European states dependent on US money. Therefore, he forbade eastern European states from applying for Marshall Aid.  By 1948, the USA and USSR were stocking weapons and each leader took the opportunity to denounce the policies and plans of the other. A propaganda war developed and the threat of war rose, but no shots were fired. However, the problem of Berlin 1948-49 caused great anxiety.  After the war Germany was divided into four zones US outlined the Morgenthau Plan to remove all German industry and transform it into an agricultural country 1946 - Britain, France and USA combine their zones, which became known as West Germany in 1949
    Caption: : Berlin was located in the zone (red) that was occupied by the Soviets

Slide 3

    Berlin Blockade and Airlift
    Stalin blocks Berlin:  This was an attempt to show Western leaders that Stalin was serious  Berlin was divided into four zones, but the city was deep in Soviet territory Berlin was linked to western areas by roadways, railways and canal  June 1948 - Stalin blocked these supply lines to prevent Western powers from reaching their zones in Berlin Stalin expected the US to withdraw from Berlin, giving them full control over the city 
    Berlin Airlift:  Truman saw Berlin as a test of US patience Truman ordered that aircraft should lift supplies into Berlin Planes took off from Western territories for Berlin  Many feared that the Soviet forces would shoot them down upon arrival, but no attack was made For ten months, West Berlin received all the supplies it needed Stalin lifted the blockade in May 1949, then with US aid, West Germany began to recover Berlin became a powerful symbol of Cold War rivalry between the US and USSR

Slide 4

    Military Alliances
    North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO):  NATO was formed in April 1949 The members of NATO were required to 'keep up their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack'  Attacking one member would be considered an attack against them all  Warsaw Pact:  Stalin was critical of NATO, but did not take action until West Germany joined in 1955 In response, the USSR and the main communist states in Eastern Europe formed an alliance known as the Warsaw Pact Its members promised to defend each other in the event one was attacked 
    Caption: : NATO symbol

Slide 5

    Cold War Developments
    In August 1949, the US received shocking news that the USSR had successfully tested an atomic bomb. In reaction, the US began to stockpile nuclear weapons. While in October 1949, the Chinese communist Mao Zedong triumphed over the Chinese nationalists and established a communist state.  The Cold War developed along a number of lines: Propaganda and distrust  Neither side would ever trust the other or claim one acted responsibly or morally, seen by negative propaganda  Each side would bombard their own population with propaganda of the greatness of their cause and the evil nature of the enemy  Alliances Form alliances to protect their own security, while claiming opponents alliances were aggressive and a threat  Help any other state that was opposed to the other side Nuclear peace and 'proxy' wars  USSR developed their own atomic bomb in 1949, with such a large scale threat  nuclear weapons ensured peace and prevented war between the superpowers Both sides engaged in 'proxy wars' - supporting their allies in local conflicts without directly engaging with one another 
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