Presentation on theme: "Explaining and Understanding the Cold War. Start of Cold War Reemergence of Communist threat Soviet Union now stronger than ever Disputes over how to."— Presentation transcript:
Start of Cold War Reemergence of Communist threat Soviet Union now stronger than ever Disputes over how to reestablish rule in Germany and Eastern Europe Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland become communist Later Czechoslovakia and East Germany as well
Start of Cold War continued Communist rule in North Korea Communist threats to take Turkey, Greece Marshall Plan provides for reconstruction to reduce temptation of communism Germany and Berlin left divided between victors of WWII (democracy vs. communist)
Theoretical Strategies Containment – form of Balance of Power – Global Alliances NATO (1955), SEATO, etc. – Proxy Wars in LA, Africa, and Asia Deterrence – Strategic nuclear threats – Nuclear Arms Race and brinksmanship –Berlin Crisis 1961 –Cuban Missile Crisis height of tension 1962
Dawn of Nuclear Age American nuclear hegemony short-lived –Soviets detonate first nuke in 1949 –By end of 1950s nuclear war would likely be holocaust or Armageddon. –Massive Retaliation Strategy replaced by Mutual Assured Destruction, which becomes default strategy of each side.
Trinity Explosion at White Sands New Mexico 1945
Two chief approaches to constructing a nuclear weapon Gun Assembly – U-235 (Figure by Federation of American Scientists)
Attacks on Japan – Gun Assembly (“Little Boy,” 8900lbs) Dropped on Hiroshima 60kg highly enriched unranium
Implosion Device PU-239 (Figure by Federation of American Scientists)
Fat Man A-Bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, 1945
Implosion Device (“Fat Man,” 10,300lbs) Dropped on Nagasaki
In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose. J. Robert Oppenheimer
The Cold War grew hotter and hotter in the 15 years leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Threat of WWIII resulted in reduced direct tensions for rest of Cold War. Détente of early 70’s and second Reagan administration saw improved relations, especially during the latter. Arms control and reductions began in 1960s and continued in various ways into 1990s.
Causes of the Cold War: 3 views Traditionalist -- Evil Soviets caused it and were bent on world domination. –Communist expansion in Eastern Europe and Asia seemed to support this view. Revisionist -- USA caused it by over-reacting to reasonable USSR security measures. USA and USSR misperceived each other’s intentions, but US reaction more provocative. –USA and other states had tried to undermine Soviets during Russian Revolution. Capitalist states wished to stomp out atheistic communists. NATO and other alliances used to “Contain” USSR.
Causes continued Post-revisionists -- These folks see the Cold War as close to inevitable considering power vacuum left after WWII and the ideological threat posed to each superpower. Cold War was return to a balance of power system that was now more a balance of terror system because of nuclear threat. –Both ideology and system structure play a role.
Why didn’t the Cold War turn hot? Neo-Realists say bipolar world made balancing and alliance more successful. Little chance of defection or shifting alliances. Others claim fear of nuclear war was more sobering than threat of past wars. Ideological fear and hatred more than enough cause to fight war if it wouldn’t meant end of humanity.
Explanations for End of Cold War Republican Revisionists – Reagan beat them in arms race. Over-expansion of USSR? (domestic) Economic collapse (domestic) Power of ideas (or lack of) – Crumbling of ideology in USSR (constructivist) Gorbachev threw in towel – individual level Neither Realism or Liberalism did a good job predicting end of Cold War.