About This Chapter
The Cold War in Western & Eastern Europe - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
Spanning from 1945-1991, the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was a period marked by economic, political and military tensions. The videos in this chapter introduce various Cold War figures, such as Harry Truman, George Kennan and Joseph Stalin, as well as events, including the Potsdam Conference and creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
- Identify factors that encouraged decolonization in the decades after World War II.
- Differentiate among various interpretations (for example, traditionalist vs. post-revisionist) of responsibility for the Cold War.
- Explain how the Soviet Union's strategy for recovery differed from that of Western Europe.
- Discuss U.S. and NATO efforts to quell the spread of communism.
|The Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference: U.S. Diplomacy and International Politics During World War II||Learn about U.S. diplomacy and multi-national conferences that took place behind the scenes of World War II.|
|Emergence of Political, Social and Economic Stability||Explore political settlement and Western society immediately after WWII.|
|Two Super Powers: The United States and the Soviet Union||Get an overview of how Europe diverged on two separate paths of reconstruction and economic integration after 1945 while under the tutelage of the U.S. and Soviet Union.|
|Decolonization and the Cold War||Learn how colonies were no longer directly controlled after World War II and how, as newly independent countries, they had to contend with Cold War pressures to be in one superpower camp or the other.|
|The Cold War: Definition, Causes & Early Events||Explore events leading up to and following the Cold War.|
|Traditionalists, Revisionism and Post-Revisionists||Learn about different interpretations surrounding who was responsible for the Cold War.|
|Post-war Europe: The Berlin Airlift & the Marshall Plan||Discuss the Marshall Plan and distribution of aid under this plan. Also, learn how the Berlin Airlift led the Soviets to lift their Berlin blockade.|
|Post-war Soviet Union & Eastern Europe: The Descent of the Iron Curtain||Learn about developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following WWII, including the descent of the Iron Curtain.|
|Recovery Strategies in Soviet Union and Eastern Europe||Learn why Western Europe's economy recovered so rapidly, and find out what contributed to a gradual process of European economic integration.|
|The Welfare State||Learn about the welfare state and how it transformed the lives of ordinary Europeans.|
|Increasing European Cooperation Post-war||Explore cooperative efforts among European countries, including the Treaty of Rome, Common Market, European Single Act and Maastricht Treaty.|
|Tensions Increase Outside of Europe Between the U.S. and the Soviets||Explore the tenuous relationship between the U.S. and Soviet Union.|
|The Soviets Dominate Eastern Europe||Explore the post-World War II settlement of Eastern Europe and the subsequent Soviet domination of governments in Eastern Europe. Also, learn about the creation of the Warsaw Pact.|
|Communists Take Power in Czechoslovakia||Learn how, under pressure from the Czechoslovakian Communist Party, President Eduard Benes allowed a communist-dominated government to be organized.|
|Post-war Germany (East and West Germany)||Learn how the Cold War further polarized East and West Germany.|
|The Berlin Wall: Building and Tearing it Down||Explore the history of the Berlin Wall, from its construction in the early 1960s to its demolition in 1989.|
|Containment and NATO||Learn about efforts to prevent Communism from spreading abroad.|
|Nuclear Arms Race||Explore how the atomic bomb and thermonuclear weapons contributed greatly to the shape of Cold War politics.|
|The Korean War||Discuss events leading up to and following the Korean War.|
1. The Yalta Conference and The Potsdam Conference: US Diplomacy & International Politics During World War II
Throughout the course of WWII, leaders of many Allied nations met many times to discuss strategy. Then, near the end of the war, two historic conferences shaped the post-war world.
2. Emergence of Political, Social, and Economic Stability
In this lesson, we explore the factors that led to the emergence of peace in Europe and the nature of the tenuous political, economic and social stability that developed after WWII.
3. Two Super Powers: The United States and the Soviet Union
In this lesson we will look at the role the United States and the Soviet Union played in post-1945 Europe. We will focus specifically on the influence of each super power and see how each state impacted developments in Europe.
4. The Cold War: Definition, Causes & Early Events
The period of distrust between the Soviet Union and United States was known as the Cold War. Learn about the origins of the era, essential events and the shaping of the national security state.
5. Meta-Disciplines: Traditionalists, Revisionism, and Post-Revisionists
In this lesson, we explore the concepts of meta-disciplines and historiography, discovering the three main schools of thought often identified in the study of history itself.
6. Post-War Europe: the Berlin Airlift & the Marshall Plan
In this lesson, we will learn about the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift. We will examine the conditions in postwar Europe that resulted in these events, and we will understand why they are important.
7. Post-War Soviet Union & Eastern Europe: The Descent of the Iron Curtain
In this lesson, we will learn about some of the dynamic events that followed World War II in Eastern Europe. We will explore the descent of the Iron Curtain, and learn about the formation of the Eastern Bloc states.
8. Recovery Strategies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
In this lesson, we will learn about the Soviet Union's strategy for recovery following World War II. We will learn what efforts the Soviet Union took to restore its economic footing, and we will see how the Soviet strategy differed from that of the Western democracies.
9. Nikita Khrushchev: Life, Achievements & Policies
In this lesson, we explore the life and career of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. The country's leader after the death of Joseph Stalin, Khrushchev implemented several domestic reforms while also standing toe-to-toe with the West.
10. How the Welfare State Transformed European Life
In this lesson, we will learn about the modern welfare state. We will look at the history of European welfare states and highlight their key components.
11. Post-Cold War European Cooperation: Institutions & Treaties
In this lesson, we explore the increasing cooperation between European states during the Cold War years and beyond, from a six-nation agreement concerning coal and steel to a far-reaching agreement binding most of Europe.
12. Tension Between the US and the Soviets: Wars, Confrontations & the Cold War
In this lesson, we explore the causes and factors that led to increased tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, and to the incidents that almost led to all out war.
13. Soviet Domination of Eastern Europe
In this lesson, we explore the post-World War II settlement of Eastern Europe, and the subsequent Soviet domination of governments in Eastern Europe, as well as the creation of the Warsaw Pact.
14. Communists Take Power in Czechoslovakia
In this lesson, we will explore the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948. We will also explore what events led to this seizure of power, and we will place this event in the broader context of the Cold War.
15. Post-war Germany: Politics, Developments & Partitioning
In this lesson, we explore Germany after the end of World War II, from its partitioning due to its part on the front line of the Cold War to its eventual reunification in 1990.
16. Building and Tearing Down the Berlin Wall: History and Timeline
In this lesson, we explore the history of the Berlin Wall, from its beginnings as a makeshift barrier between East and West Berlin, to its final demise as communism fell across Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.
17. The Theory of Containment & the Birth of NATO
In this lesson, we explore the foreign policy of the U.S. and Western Europe directly after WWII. We will look at its theory of containment regarding communism, and the birth of NATO.
18. The Effects of the Nuclear Arms Race on Cold War Politics
In this lesson, we will examine the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union that took place throughout the post-war era. We will learn why this arms race took place, and we will highlight key developments associated with it.
19. The Korean War: Causes, Effects and The United Nations
In this lesson, we will examine the Korean War. We will explore the events leading up to the war, some of its most important battles, and also highlight the key themes associated with it.
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Other chapters within the History 109: Western Europe Since 1945 course
- Review of World War II
- The End of the Cold War
- National Developments in the Postwar Period
- The History of the European Union
- The Institutions of The European Union (EU)
- European Government, Political Processes, and Institutions
- European Political Parties
- European Issues and Policies
- Government of the United Kingdom
- Government of France
- Government of Spain
- Government of Germany
- Government of Italy