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Western Society and Eastern Europe in the Decades of the Cold War C32 EQs: How did the West and the USSR recover from WWII? Why was the relationship “frosty”?

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Presentation on theme: "Western Society and Eastern Europe in the Decades of the Cold War C32 EQs: How did the West and the USSR recover from WWII? Why was the relationship “frosty”?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Western Society and Eastern Europe in the Decades of the Cold War C32 EQs: How did the West and the USSR recover from WWII? Why was the relationship “frosty”? How did each change over the course of the Cold War?

2 Introduction WWII devastated Europe, as the US and USSR used the war as a springboard to become the world’s competing superpowers The Soviets extended the Communist ideology into neighboring nations while the US spent the decades following WWII propping Europe back up while trying to repel Communism’s spread Only the West showed complete and strong recovery after the war (USSR tried but would fail, obviously!)

3 The West Right After WWII Three elements provided new challenges for the West (and Europe) after WWII –1. Europe had to deal with dislocated populations and devastation of its infrastructure –2. The Communist challenge and the new Cold War represented a threat to capitalist order –3. Decolonization occurred, as European empires began to lose their possessions abroad

4 Decolonization: A Summary Hostilities grew in western European imperial possessions…independence/ rebellion movements sprung up In India, Gandhi and his supporters held civil disobedience protests meant to cripple economic production and demand independence…meanwhile, Muslims in India also sought independence from both Britain and Hindus (chaos ensued) In Southeast Asia, most nations were peacefully released from imperialism, however, French Indochina became embroiled in warfare In Africa, the European educated elites in several nations demanded independence…most efforts were peaceful (Ghana, the Congo, Egypt) while some proved disastrous (Algeria, Kenya) In South Africa, white supremacy maintained under apartheid In the Middle East, conflict was rooted first in the decision to allow Jews to have a homeland in Israel, and second, in the original tribal dissent amongst Arabs and third, in the differences in what type of Islam people followed (Sunni or Shiite)

5 The Cold War Begins The Cold War took shape in the years following WWII as Western leaders met with Joseph Stalin and the USSR to hash out plans for Europe The Soviet Army had occupied most of what Germany had conquered in Eastern Europe, and the West, too weakened to fight for its release, let them have the “eastern bloc” Western nations formed an alliance, NATO, to counter-balance the Soviet…they responded with one of their own, The Warsaw Pact Germany became the focal point of the Cold War in Europe, as it was divided into East and West, whereas other conflicts broke out in response to the spread of Communism in other areas of the world (Korea, Vietnam, Cuba)

6 Changes in the West Despite losing ground to the Soviets, Western Europe was able to rebuild in three main areas: Political affairs, economic development and cultural/social issues Politically, Western European nations reveled in defeating Fascism…liberal democracy became the desired political form, the power of the monarchy became largely symbolic…new constitutions were written in many countries…new factions emerged that blended Socialist ideas with democracy On the diplomatic front, European nations united…many formed a European Community, later the Common Market, now known as the European Union…the Union’s many goals generally deal with economic issues (dealing with currency, eliminating tariffs and promoting less restrictive trade)…there is NO POLITICAL UNITY inherent

7 Changes in the West Economic issues went hand in hand with political change…European nations developed a welfare state in response to Communism…nations tackled unemployment issues, provided insurances for citizens (health, etc.), welfare payments, and social security…some areas have seen success (France, Scandinavia) where as other areas struggle for varying reasons (Britain, Germany, Italy) Europe’s economy saw a post-war boom, same as the US, fueled by the competition with Communism…consumerism became the main mantra of society…the growth slowed by the 70s as crises emerged (Oil) Most economies in Europe today have to deal with the large influx of “guest workers” from former colonies (Britain, Germany, Italy)

8 Changes in the West Social issues remained…there were still divisions among classes…the middle class had the voice, the upper class had the $$$ and the power, the lower classes struggled as immigrants largely filled the void in many Western nations A Woman’s Revolution emerged, resulting from WWII…women had been out of the home, supporting the war in factories or offices…many did not return to the home…other issues included voting rights, education access, access to divorce and birth control (Feminist Movement) Culturally, pop culture was king…new forms of entertainment took off (rock and roll, television, film) and consumerism dominated life as many

9 Meanwhile in Eastern Europe… Similar goals abound…the Soviets used industrial power to build its army and its tech sector, in order to compete with the west The Soviets exerted their political influence over Eastern Europe…the military remained in place in most eastern European nations and puppet dictators were put in place…only Albania and Yugoslavia refused to be controlled indirectly by the USSR, and Greece and Turkey repelled Communism all together in the early 50s with the help of the US The Soviets used propaganda to gain the support of the people…attacks focused on what they considered corrupt capitalist elements (Catholic Church) As tensions increased in Germany, the Soviets built the Berlin Wall to serve as a physical barrier to prevent any further exodus from the East to the West

10 Eastern Europe…the Later Years Once Stalin was gone, the Soviet Union, though still controlling E. Europe in theory, loosened the reigns a bit (but not too loose) More liberal communist leaders emerged in Hungary and Poland…whereas changes in Poland were largely accepted (reduced collectivism w/more peasant ownership of land), the Soviets crushed the new leadership in Hungary as too liberal Political Communism remained, however, many E. European nations began to experiment culturally and economically, allowing contact with the west…experiments that got out of hand, were checked by the Soviet Army (Czechoslovakia, 1968 “Prague Spring”)…while others succeeded in slow removal of Soviet political control (Solidarity in Poland)

11 Soviet Policies Within the USSR, Stalin’s policies dominated post-war life…one thing Stalin used to maintain his power was fear, fear that the West was going to attack the USSR Travel was restricted, the media was censored, state controlled and isolated form the outside world (Pravda), individual rights were restricted and “purges” were rampant Stalin’s Politburo remained the main entity of control and Stalin purposefully chose a low number of new members of this bureaucracy, mainly from the newly educated youths of society (why?)

12 Soviet Culture The Soviets maintained a vigorous culture that reflected their ideology…social realism and national and industrial pride reigned supreme…May Day (Soviet Labor Day) parades were held Religious freedom was limited, the Orthodox Church was not banned, but tightly restricted…Jews were still persecuted while Muslim retained freedom for loyalty…Stalin preferred secularism/atheism Art and literature were censored and could only express social realism…except the ballet and classical music, they were allowed…anyone who wrote anything that spoke out against the USSR or Communism in any way shape or for was sent to Siberia or exiled

13 Soviet Economy One big issue the Soviet Union had economically was a lack of consumer goods (cars, TVs, clothes, etc.)…industry focused on building for the military/competing with the US…output was closely monitored and rewards/benefits were handed out to those who were good lil workers…effects on the environment were devastating Agricultural development was continually plagued by failures…little capital was focused on farming technology…collectivized agriculture was less attractive to people than working in a factory The societal impacts from both industrial and agricultural experiments were clear…cities became overcrowded…the birth rates dropped as having children is de- emphasized…women worked (no discrimination)

14 De-Stalinization Stalin died in 1953…Nikita Khrushchev took over…he began to loosen Stalin’s rigid policies…trials and purges vanished, critics were allowed to speak w/o fear of death (though largely ignored) Despite this loosening, very little changed politically or economically from Stalin…five year plans and collectivism were still the norm…extensions of agriculture in the steppe regions and Siberia even occurred…unfortunately, most of these plans were disastrous, leading to Khrushchev’s eventual ouster Socialist fervor and the Cold War grew, as Khrushchev told the West “we will bury you”…the Soviet space program lived up to that word, beating the US with satellites and people in space many years before the US…he was in power during the Cuban Missile crisis…other areas of competition included Olympic sports and chess Problems still abounded at the end of Khrushchev’s reign and into the reign of the next Soviet leaders (Brezhnev and Andropov)…western cultural ideas attracted many youths, alcoholism grew, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and angered the rest of the world and NO CONSUMERISM caused the economy to decline

15 This Week Monday: DBQ !!! (Already Done!) Wednesday: Comparative Analysis of the West and the USSR (class discussion) Thursday/Friday: UNIT EXAM (Chapters 23 thru 32)


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