The Cold War began in the aftermath of World War II. The United States and the Soviet Union had different philosophies and conflicting ambitions and fears. The West saw the pro-Soviet regimes in Eastern Europe as the result of Soviet aggression; the Soviets said they were a defensive buffer. The Truman Doctrine promised to aid nations threatened by communism, and the Marshall Plan, which provided $13 billion to rebuild Europe, was rejected by the Soviets. Germany and Berlin were divided into zones. When the Americans, British, and French unified their zones, the Soviets blocked access to Berlin, leading to a year-long Berlin Air Lift. A western German Federal Republic and an eastern German Democratic Republic were established.

In 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created as a defensive alliance against Soviet aggression, one of a series of military alliances. The Soviet bloc countered with the Warsaw Pact. North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, and the West claimed it was instigated by the Soviets. The People’s Republic of China joined the North Koreans in the conflict, cementing its ties with the Soviet Union. In French-Indo China (Vietnam), a civil war broke out against French rule. Anti-colonial motives played a major role, but the West also saw communist aggression at its roots. The Cold War spread to space, with the Soviet space satellite, Sputnik I. The Berlin Wall was built in 1961, a striking symbols of the Cold War. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis almost led to nuclear holocaust until the Soviets backed down. In Vietnam the United States feared a communist victory would result in the fall of all of Asia, like a row of dominoes. The communists achieved victory in 1975, but the dominos did not fall. Tension between the Soviet Union and Communist China improved Chinese and American relations, and detente occurred between the Soviets and America.

By the end of the 1960s, most of Africa had achieved independence. In the Middle East, Israel was founded in 1948 amidst war with the Arab states; the 1967 Six-Day War brought the Palestinian West Bank under Israeli control. The Philippines became independent, and British India, with its Hindu majority and Muslim minority, was partitioned into Pakistan and India, but at the cost of a million dead. In China Mao Zedong’s Communists forced Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists to Taiwan. Mao’s Great Leap Forward failed in its attempt to surpass the West industrially, and in 1966 his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution sought to eliminate all vestiges of the past, often through violence. Soviet emphasis on heavy industry left little for consumers, and when their satellite states pursued independent paths, the Soviets cracked down.

The Western European economy boomed. Charles de Gaulle’s Fifth Republic saw France leave NATO and develop an atomic bomb. The Federal Republic of Germany experienced an “economic miracle,” as did Italy, in spite of its many coalition governments. Britain’s Labour Party created a welfare state, but unrealistic union demands and a lack of business investment slowed the economy. European integration began with the creation in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community and the establishment in 1957 of the European Atomic Energy Community and the European Economic Community (EEC), or Common Market. The New Deal continued to guide the United States domestic policy and the economy boomed, but Cold War fears led to a “Red Scare.” The 1960s was a time of upheaval, with the civil rights movement, race riots, and the Vietnam antiwar movement. Canadian events often mirrored those in the United States.

A new society, with its own challenges, resulted from economic growth and new technologies. White-collar workers increased, and buying on the installment plan fueled a consumer society. The welfare state provided pensions and health care. Birth control, notably “the pill,” led to smaller families, and more women joined the work force. A significant feminist or women’s liberation movement emerged. In the arts, Andy Warhol’s Pop Art achieved notoriety as did Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot exemplified the Theater of the Absurd. The impact of two world wars and the breakdown of traditional values led to the philosophy of existentialism, exemplified by Jean Paul-Sartre and Albert Camus, which reflected the meaningless of modern society: the world is absurd, there is no God, and man stands alone. Conversely, the same events and concerns led to a revival of religion. The decades also experienced an explosion of popular culture in movies and music, much but not all of it American in origin.

  1. Explain the context in which the Cold War developed, spread, and ended in Europe.
    1. Total war and political instability in the first half of the 20th century gave way to a polarized state order during the Cold War and eventually to efforts at transnational union.
      1. As World War II ended, a Cold War between the liberal democratic West and the communist East began, lasting nearly half a century.
    2. The stresses of economic collapse and total war engendered internal conflicts within European states and created conflicting conceptions of the relationship between the individual and the state, as demonstrated in the ideological battle between and among democracy, communism, and fascism.
    3. During the 20th century, diverse intellectual and cultural movements questioned the existence of objective knowledge, the ability of reason to arrive at truth, and the role of religion in determining moral standards.
      1. The experience of war intensified a sense of anxiety that permeated many facets of thought and culture, giving way by the century’s end to a plurality of intellectual frameworks.
    4. Demographic changes, economic growth, total war, disruptions of traditional social patterns, and competing definitions of freedom and justice altered the experiences of everyday life.
      1. New voices gained prominence in political, intellectual, and social discourse.
  2. Explain how economic developments resulted in economic, political, and cultural change in the period after World War II.
    1. Marshall Plan funds from the United States financed an extensive reconstruction of industry and infrastructure and stimulated an extended period of growth in Western and Central Europe, often referred to as an “economic miracle,” which increased the economic and cultural importance of consumerism.
  3. Explain the causes, events, and effects of the Cold War in the period following World War II.
    1. Despite efforts to maintain international cooperation through the newly created United Nations, deep-seated tensions between the USSR and the West led to the division of Europe, which was referred to in the West as the Iron Curtain.
    2. The Cold War played out on a global stage and involved propaganda campaigns; covert actions; limited “hot wars” in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and an arms race, with the threat of a nuclear war.
  4. Explain the economic and political consequences of the Cold War for Europe.
    1. The United States exerted a strong military, political, and economic influence in Western Europe, leading to the creation of world monetary and trade systems and geopolitical alliances, including NATO.
    2. Countries east of the Iron Curtain came under the military, political, and economic domination of the Soviet Union within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) and the Warsaw Pact.
    3. Central and Eastern European nations within the Soviet bloc followed an economic model based on central planning, extensive social welfare, and specialized production among bloc members. This brought with it the restriction of individual rights and freedoms, suppression of dissent, and constraint of emigration for the various populations within the Soviet bloc.
    4. Eastern European nations were bound by their relationships with the Soviet Union, which oscillated between repression and limited reform, until the collapse of communist governments in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union.
      1. After 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policies failed to meet their economic goals within the Soviet Union; combined with reactions to existing limitations on individual rights, this prompted revolts in Eastern Europe, which ended with a reimposition of Soviet rule and repressive totalitarian regimes.
    5. The rise of new nationalisms in Central and Eastern Europe brought peaceful revolution in most countries but resulted in instability in some former Soviet republics.
  5. Explain the various ways in which colonial groups around the world sought independence from colonizers in the 20th and 21st centuries.
    1. The process of decolonization occurred over the course of the century with varying degrees of cooperation, interference, or resistance from European imperialist states.
      1. At the end of World War I, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s principle of national self-determination raised expectations in the non-European world for new policies and freedoms.
      2. Despite indigenous nationalist movements, independence for many African and Asian territories was delayed until the mid- and even late 20th century by the imperial powers’ reluctance to relinquish control, threats of interference from other nations, unstable economic and political systems, and Cold War strategic alignments.
  6. Explain how the formation and existence of the European Union influenced economic developments throughout the period following World War II to the present.
      European states began to set aside nationalist rivalries in favor of economic and political integration, forming a series of transnational unions that grew in size and scope over the second half of the 20th century.
      1. As the economic alliance known as the European Coal and Steel Community, envisioned as a means to spur postwar economic recovery, developed into the European Economic Community (EEC or Common Market) and the European Union (EU), Europe experienced increasing economic and political integration and efforts to establish a shared European identity.
  7. Explain how the European Union affected national and European identity throughout the period following World War II to the present.
    1. EU member nations continue to balance questions of national sovereignty with the responsibilities of membership in an economic and political union

Reading 1: Pages 867-872

Development of the Cold War:
     Who Started the Cold War?
          Disagreement Over Eastern Europe
          The Truman Doctrine
          The Marshall Plan
          The American Policy of Containment
          Contention Over Germany
          New Military Alliances

Reading 2: Pages 872-876

Development of the Cold War:
     Globalization of the Cold War
          The Korean War
          The First Vietnam War
          The Cuban Missile Crisis
          European States and the World

Reading 3: Pages 876-882

Europe and the World: Decolonization:
     Africa: The Struggle for Independence
     Conflict in the Middle East
          The Question of Palestine
          Nasser and Pan-Arabism
          The Arab-Israeli Dispute
     Asia: Nationalism and Communism
          China Under Communism
     Decolonization and Cold War Rivalries

Reading 4: Pages 882-885

Recovery and Renewal in Europe:
     The Soviet Union: From Stalin to Khrushchev
          Stalin's Policies
          Khrushchev's Rule
          Albania and Yugoslavia
          1956: Upheaval in Eastern Europe

Reading 5: Pages 885-891

Recovery and Renewal in Europe:
     The Revival of Democracy and the Economy
          France: The Domination of De Gaulle
          West Germany: A Reconceived Nation
          Great Britain: The Welfare State
          Italy: Weak Coalition Government
     Western Europe: The Move Toward Unity

Reading 6: Pages 891-899

Postwar Society and Culture in the Western World:
     The Structure of European Society
     Creation of the Welfare State
     Women in the Postwar Western World
     Postwar Art and Literature
     The Philosophical Dilemma: Existentialism
     The Attempt to Revive Religion
     The Explosion of Popular Culture
          The Americanization of the World