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17.3 The Cold War between 1947 and 1953

During this period, the Western Powers took action to provide defenses against the spread of Communism. On August 15, 1947, the Rio Treaty or Pact, also known as the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance for the maintenance of continental peace and security, was signed at Rio de Janeiro.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington on April 4, 1949 by the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Greece and Turkey became its members in February 1952 and West Germany joined it in 1955. In order to achieve the objectives of the Treaty, the parties were expected to maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack. The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) aimed at strengthening the morale of Western Europe, and at halting the Soviet expansion westwards. NATO proved to be effective, as the Communists could not make any territorial gains in Europe or in the Atlantic area, after April 1949.

A Treaty called the Anzus Pact was entered into between Australia, New Zealand and the US in 1951, in order to co-ordinate their efforts for the collective defense and preservation of peace in the Pacific area. The Treaty aimed at keeping the Soviet influence away from the Pacific.

On May 17, 1952, a Treaty was signed at Paris, to establish the European Defense Community, containing provisions for common political institutions, armed forces, budget and arms program. On September 8, 1951, the Japanese-American Security Treaty was concluded. The US agreed to maintain American forces in and about Japan, (at the request of Japan) in order to deter armed attack on the country.

The Berlin Blockade

After Germany surrendered in 1945, Berlin was divided into four zones each controlled by one of the four Allies: USA, Britain, France and Russia. The supposed reason for this division was to completely disband Hitlerís Nazi Party. Germany being in a miserable condition, the US, Britain and France went about re-constructing their territories as per capitalist norms. The USSR followed the communist pattern.

In April 1948, Russia closed all the roads through which the Americans, British and French were supplying food, coal and other goods to their special zones in an attempt to compel them to surrender the former German capital to the Russians. However the Western allies clung to Berlin. Supplies were brought to Berlin by airplanes for one and a half years. In September 1949, Russia accepted defeat and reopened the roads.

Exhibit 17.1
Essential articles being air-lifted to Berlin

Though the blockade was lifted, it had serious consequences. Germany was left divided into two in 1949. Later on, the USSR built a wall across Berlin to prevent any relations between East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) and West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany). This division of Germany continued for forty years and ended, when the wall was broken down (on 3rd October, 1990).

Exhibit 17.2
President Kennedy addressing the Berliners at a public rally in Berlin to boost their morale during the days of the blockade

Exhibit 17.3
The Berlin Wall comes down in 1990

The Korean War turned into a major confrontation between the two super powers. In June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. The UN Security Council called for a cease-fire and for the withdrawal of North Korean troops. The US President Truman sent American naval and air forces to give the South Koreans "cover and support." Though the Korean War had begun between North Korea and South Korea, it turned into a war between North Korea and the US. By the end of 1950, it became a war between the US and Communist China backed by the Soviet Union. The Chinese launched an offensive against the positions under the command of the United Nations.

An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. However, the Soviet and American troops continued to remain in both the Koreas. The cold war hostility continued.

China also became a cold war territory. The Soviet Union helped the Communists under Mao Tse-Tung against the Chinese government headed by Chiang Kai-Shek. The American government gave Chiang Kai-Shek military and financial aid. When the civil war was renewed at the beginning of 1947, the tide turned in favor of the Communists. Nearly all of North China fell to the Communists. In 1949, South China fell into the hands of the Communists, except for the island of Formosa. Chiang Kai-Shek left the mainland of China and retired to Formosa. Thus the Soviet Union won the cold war in China.

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17.0 - Introduction
17.1 - The Development of the Cold War
17.2 - The Cold War between 1945 and 1947
17.3 - The Cold War between 1947 and 1953
17.4 - The Cold War between 1953 and 1963
17.5 - The Cold War between 1963 and 1970
17.6 - The period of Detente(1970 - 1980)
17.7 - The Cold War after 1980
17.8 - The meaning of Disarmament
17.9 - Reduction of weapons Nuclear and Conventional
17.10 - Disarmament and the UN
17.11 - The Hazards of Nuclear War
17.12 - The Non-Military Dimension of Nuclear Energy
17.13 - Dates & Events

Chapter 18


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