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616 Chapter 31



From

Finland,

1940–1956



FINLAND

NORWAY



EA ST

G ER MA N Y



Helsinki



SWEDEN



Stockholm



Leningrad



ESTONIA



Baltic

Sea



British sector



to USSR,

1940



B ER LIN



LATVIA

Copenhagen



U. S. Zone



Bremen



Soviet

Zone



Amsterdam

British

Zone



BELGIUM



O



de



1949



CZECH

U. S.



Kaliningrad

(Königsberg)



Warsaw



POLAND



WHITE

RUSSIA



OSLOV



Zone British

Zone

From Italy, 1945



Trieste



Milan

Po R .



Allied occupation of Germany

and Austria 1945–1955



From Poland,

1940–1947

From Czechoslovakia,

1940–1947



AKIA



Territory lost by Germany



Rome



UKRAINE



HUNGARY



"Iron Curtain" after 1955



BESSARABIA



1949



D



Territory gained by Soviet Union



From Romania,

1940–1947



Budapest



a nub

e



ROMANIA



Belgrade



Bucharest

R.



1945 Year communist control of

government was gained



CRIMEA



1947



YUGOSLAVIA

ITALY

Corsica

(Fr.)



National boundaries in 1949



SOVIET

UNION



Brest



1947



R.



Soviet

Zone Vienna



AUSTRIA



Bern



Potsdam



Prague



WEST

Zone

GERMANY U. S.

Zone

LUXEMBOURG Munich

SWITZERLAND



r



BER LIN



to USSR,

1940



Incorporated into

Poland, 1945



EAST

GERMANY



Brussels French



LITHUANIA



Stettin



Berlin



Soviet

sector



U.S. sector



to USSR,

1940



Incorporated into

USSR, 1945



Gdansk

(Danzig)



NETHERLANDS



EA ST



WEST



Oslo



DENMARK



EA ST

G ER M A N Y



French

sector



1945



Black Sea



BULGARIA

Sofia



Tirane



1946



Istanbul



ALBANIA

1944



Sardinia

(Italy)



TU R K EY

GREECE



Mediterranean Sea



0



Athens



0



300



600

300



900 Kilometers

600 Miles



MAP 31.1

— The European Territorial Settlement after World War II —



Q



Postwar Europe

No peace conference was held at the end of World

War II, no treaty drawn up with the Axis powers. The

map of postwar Europe was the consequence of Allied

wartime conferences at Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam and

the political realities of the military situation in 1945

(see map 31.1). Germany was reduced in size and

partitioned into four zones of military occupation. East

Prussia, the isolated exclave of prewar Germany that

had been cut off by the Polish Corridor, was taken from

Germany and divided by Poland and the USSR; the

Soviet annexation converted the Prussian city of

Königsberg into the Soviet city of Kaliningrad and the



Polish annexation included the former free city of

Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk. The eastern

frontier of Germany was moved westward, to a line

defined by the Oder and Neisse Rivers, giving Poland

thousands of square miles of Prussia (roughly historic

Silesia and Pomerania) and converting the German

cities of Stettin and Breslau into the Polish cities of

Szczecin and Wroclaw. In the west, France reacquired

Alsace and Lorraine; in the north, Denmark recovered

Schleswig. The initial division of Germany was into

three zones of military occupation, under the British,

American, and Russian armies. In the west, Britain and

the United States shared their zones with France

(which Stalin had refused to do), creating a four-power



Europe in the Age of The Cold War, 1945–75 617



Illustration 31.1

— Reconstruction of a Devastated Europe. For the second

time in thirty years, Europeans faced the task of rebuilding warravaged cities, industries, and infrastructure in the late 1940s.



A photograph like this one could have been taken in dozens of

European cities from Rotterdam to Leningrad. It shows the center of Nuremburg, Germany at the time of the war crimes trial.



occupation. The city of Berlin, although located deep

in the Soviet zone of occupation, was likewise divided

into sectors administered by the great powers.

The territorial changes were less dramatic in the remainder of Europe. Austria was again detached from

Germany; like Germany, it was divided into zones of

occupation. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania were all restored to their approximate frontiers of 1919. The most important changes in

eastern Europe involved the march of the Soviet Union

westward. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and

Lithuania (annexed in 1939) remained part of the

USSR, as did slices of eastern Poland (much of White

Russia, or Belarus), Czechoslovakia (much of Ruthenia),

and Romania (the province of Bessarabia). This reversed the perspective of the Peace of Paris: The 1919

treaties had created a “cordon sanitaire” of small east

European states as a barrier to the spread of Bolshevism,

but eastern Europe now stood as a buffer zone protecting an expanded Soviet Union from western militarism

and anticommunism.

The territorial changes of 1945 led to a period of

great migration, especially of the German population



now scattered in many states. More than eight million

Germans left Poland and the Baltic states for Germany;

they were joined by nearly three million Germans driven out of Czechoslovakia (chiefly the Sudeten Germans), by more than a million Germans fleeing the

Soviet zone of occupied Germany, and by nearly another million Germans from Hungary, Yugoslavia, and

Romania. Approximately thirteen million Germans were

uprooted in the period 1945–47. Similarly, some 3.5

million Poles moved into the territory newly acquired

from Germany and 1.5 million Poles fled the territory

acquired by the USSR. Hundreds of thousands of Italians (leaving the Istrian Peninsula, which was now Yugoslavian), Turks (driven from Bulgaria), and Ukrainians

(leaving Poland for Ukraine) shared this experience.



The Austerity of the 1940s and

the Economic Recovery

Much of Europe lay in ruins in 1945. Great cities from

London and Antwerp to Dresden and Leningrad were

devastated (see illustration 31.1). Ninety-five percent of



618 Chapter 31

3 TABLE 31.1 3

Food Production in Postwar Europe

Millions of metric tons of

Country



Wheat



Sugar beets



Milk



France

1938

1945



9.8

4.2



8.0

4.5



13.8

7.9



Italy

1938

1945



8.2

4.2



3.3

0.4



n.a.

n.a.



Poland

1938

1945



2.2

0.8



3.2

3.5



10.3

2.8



Russia

1938

1945



40.8

13.4



16.7

5.5



29.0

26.4



Source: B. R. Mitchell, European Historical Statistics, 1750–1970 (London: Macmillan, 1975), passim.

n.a. Not available.



Berlin was in rubble, and forty percent of all German

housing was damaged or destroyed. Much of the surviving productive capacity of Germany was dismantled

and shipped to Russia. European transportation had

collapsed amidst bombed out ports, rails, roads, and

bridges. In Holland, 60 percent of the transportation

network was destroyed, industrial output amounted to

only 25 percent of the 1939 level, and thousands of

acres of farmland lay flooded. As millions of war

refugees spread across the continent, tuberculosis and

malnutrition stalked displaced persons everywhere.

The primary characteristic of postwar Europe was

the austere existence of the survivors. The European

production of bread grains in 1945 stood at 50 percent

of the prewar level. Food was rationed in most of Europe; bread was rationed in Britain although it had not

been rationed during the war. The wheat crop in

France for 1945 totaled 4.2 million tons, compared

with 9.8 million tons in the last year of peace (1938)

(see table 31.1). The United Nations estimated that

100 million people were receiving fifteen hundred calories or fewer per day. Governments tried to control

prices, but scarcity caused inflation. Between 1945 and

1949, prices tripled in Belgium and quintupled in

France. Hungary suffered perhaps the worst inflation in

world history, and the national currency was printed in

100 trillion pengo notes. Blackmarkets selling food,



fuel, and clothing flourished. Simultaneously, military

demobilization created widespread unemployment.

The recovery of Europe in the late 1940s and

early 1950s relied upon planned economies and foreign aid. Jean Monnet, a distinguished French economist and civil servant, became the father of European

mixed economics that relied upon state planning, such

as his Monnet Plan of 1947. UN agencies such as the

World Bank and the United Nations’ International

Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) channeled assistance to Europe, but the United States played the

greatest role. In June 1947 Secretary of State George

C. Marshall proposed a program of American aid to

Europe. Between 1948 and 1952 the Marshall Plan

sent $13 billion to Europe, with Britain ($3.2 billion),

France ($2.7 billion), and Germany and Italy ($1.4 billion each) receiving the most. The USSR rejected aid.

During 1948 West European industrial production

reached 80 percent of its 1938 level in most countries

(60 percent in Holland and West Germany). European

economies showed signs of recovery but shortages,

unemployment, and austerity continued in the early

1950s. By 1957, however, Prime Minister Harold

MacMillan of Britain could say that “most of our people have never had it so good.”



Q



Eastern Europe and the Origins

of the Cold War, 1945–49

The Red Army occupied vast regions of central and

eastern Europe in 1945. Russia had survived its third invasion from the west in modern times, outlasting Hitler

just as it had survived Napoleon and the kaiser. The Soviet war effort had taken two or three times as many

lives (as many as twenty million to twenty-five million

people in the largest estimates) as British, French, German, and American deaths combined. Stalin, who ruled

the USSR until his death in 1953, concluded that he

must exploit the vacuum in Europe to guarantee Russian

security.

The summit conferences at Moscow, Yalta, and

Potsdam gave the Soviet Union a strong position in

Eastern Europe. Churchill had recognized Romania and

Bulgaria as falling in the Soviet “sphere of influence,”

and the USSR had been conceded the occupation of

the eastern one-third of Germany. In Yugoslavia, managed elections of 1945 (in which all opposition parties

abstained) gave 90 percent of the vote and the presidency to the hero of the resistance (and prewar secre-



Europe in the Age of The Cold War, 1945–75 619

tary general of the Communist Party), Marshal Tito,

who held that office until his death in 1980. Multiparty

democracies were announced in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, and Communist parties formed a

strong minority in each state. These democracies bore

the burdens of postwar austerity during 1945–47, and

each was so fragile that the Communist Party—backed

by the Red Army—could seize control of the government. Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary all fell to

such Stalinist coups in 1947–49.

A dramatic example of the Communist takeover in

Eastern Europe occurred in Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Edouard Benesˇ, the prewar president of Czechoslovakia

and head of the government in exile during the war, returned to Prague to lead a provisional government and

he was reelected president of the republic. Free parliamentary elections in 1946 gave Czech Communists

38 percent of the vote and 114 seats; their four strongest

rivals (Catholic, democratic, and socialist parties) won

178 seats. This produced a coalition government with a

Communist prime minister, Klement Gottwald, plus

Communist management of key ministries such as the

Ministry of the Interior. The Gottwald government attempted to nationalize several Czech industries, just

as socialists were doing in Britain and France; Gottwald

followed Soviet orders and refused to accept Western

aid, such as the Marshall Plan, for the rebuilding of

Czechoslovakia. These policies led to bitter disputes

with more conservative coalition partners, conflict that

Gottwald resolved in early 1948 by staging a coup

d’état, naming a Communist government, and blocking

elections. This coup included the mysterious death of

Czechoslovakia’s most prominent statesman, Foreign

Minister Jan Masaryk, whose fall from a high window

was labeled a suicide by the government; many other

non-Communists were purged from high office. Managed elections then named Gottwald president, from

which position he solidified a Communist dictatorship.

A new Czech Constitution of 1948 proclaimed a People’s Democratic Republic on Soviet lines.

Similar coups created Communist states in Hungary and Poland, where Communist-led provisional

governments and the presence of the Red Army facilitated the takeover. In Hungary, free elections and a secret ballot in September 1945 gave the Communist

Party only 22 percent of the vote (the third highest

share) and 70 seats in parliament, far behind a Smallholders Party (an anticommunist party) which garnered

57 percent of the vote and 245 seats. Charges of a conspiracy and “plotting against the occupying forces”

were brought against leaders of the new republic, who



were rapidly purged. This led to new elections in 1947

and a reported 95.6 percent vote for a Communist

coalition. A Soviet-inspired constitution of 1949 proclaimed Hungary a People’s Republic.

The Communist position in Poland was strong in

1945 because many non-Communist leaders had been

killed in the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Two competing

governments-in-exile claimed to represent Poland, one

that spent the war in Moscow, another in London.

When the Red Army liberated Poland, Stalin installed

the pro-Soviet government in the Polish town of

Lublin, and it formed the basis of the postwar compromise government. The Communist-led provisional government did not hold elections until 1947, when its

coalition received 80.1 percent of the vote and Western

protests arose that the elections had not been fair. In a

pattern similar to the events in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the government nationalized land and industries, fought with the Catholic Church, punished

collaborators (more than one million people were disenfranchised), adopted a new constitution, and purged

the party. Although other parties continued to exist,

the Communist government won a reported 99.8 percent of the vote in the elections of 1952.

The creation of Communist dictatorships allied to

the Soviet Union provoked a strong reaction in the

West. Winston Churchill, a lifelong anti-Communist,

sounded the alarm against Soviet expansionism in a

speech delivered at a small college in Missouri in

March 1946. Churchill said that “an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” and the term Iron Curtain

became the Western world’s cold war symbol for the

border between the democratic West and the Communist East (see document 31.1).

The West first confronted Communist expansionism in the Balkans. Greece had been a scene of intense

partisan fighting throughout the war. The Greek resistance was predominantly composed of Communists

(similar to the situation in Yugoslavia and, to a slightly

lesser degree, France), whereas the government of

Greece was a monarchy. The conflict between the resistance and the government produced sporadic fighting in 1944–45 and degenerated into a Greek Civil War

(1946–49), widely seen as an attempted coup d’état by

Greek Communists. This civil war focused western attention on the Balkans (including the vulnerability of

Turkey and the strait linking the Black Sea and the

Mediterranean). The geopolitical importance of this region plus growing western anxieties about Communist

expansionism led President Truman to announce aid to

Greece and Turkey in 1947. This policy became the



620 Chapter 31



[ DOCUMENT 31.1 [

Churchill: An “Iron Curtain”

in Europe, 1946

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately

lightened, lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody

knows what Soviet Russia and its communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their

expansive and proselytizing tendencies.

I have a strong admiration and regard for the

valiant Russian people and for my war-time comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and

good-will in Britain—and I doubt not here also—

toward the peoples of all the Russias. . . . We understand the Russian need to be secure on her

western frontiers by the removal of all possibility

of German aggression. We welcome Russia to her

rightful place among the leading nations of the

world. . . .

It is my duty, however . . . to place before you

certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the

Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the

Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of

the ancient states of central and eastern Europe.

Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia, all these famous cities

and the populations around them lie in what I

might call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in

one form or another, not only to Soviet influence

but to a very high and in some cases increasing

measure of control from Moscow.

Police governments are pervading from

Moscow. . . . The communist parties, which were

very small in all these eastern states of Europe,

have been raised to preeminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to

obtain totalitarian control.

Churchill, Winston. Speech at Fulton, Missouri, March 5,

1946. Current History, April 1946, pp. 358–361.



Truman Doctrine: The United States would “support

free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by

armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The Truman

Doctrine of aid to threatened countries blended with

the Marshall Plan for aid in economic recovery; human-



itarian assistance and military assistance were intertwined instruments of the cold war. American aid contributed significantly to the victory of the Greek

monarchy over Communist guerrilla forces in 1949.

The most dramatic American intervention in the

early days of the cold war came in the Berlin Airlift of

1948. To protest the increasing merger of the British

and American zones of West Germany (dubbed “Bizonia” in 1946), the Soviet Union began to interfere with

western access to Berlin and in July 1948 sealed off the

city by closing all land access through the Soviet zone

of East Germany. The United States considered opening the route to Berlin by force but instead chose “Operation Vittles”—daily flights of assistance to sustain a

city of two million. The Berlin Airlift delivered more

than eight thousand tons of food and supplies daily,

with British and American flights landing every five

minutes around the clock until the Soviet Union lifted

its blockade in the spring of 1949.



NATO and the Warsaw Pact: Containment

and Confrontation

The Truman Doctrine and the policy of the “containment” of Communism within the countries where it had

been established soon prompted military alliances.

Britain, France (where the government was doubly nervous because French Communists won more than

25 percent of the votes, making it the largest party in

Parliament), and the Benelux states had signed a defensive treaty in March 1948. The blockade of Berlin and

the Czech coup of 1948 led to the expansion of this alliance in 1949 into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Italy, Portugal, Norway, Denmark,

Iceland, Canada, and the United States joined the original Allies in a twelve-member alliance that stationed

American forces throughout Europe. Greece and

Turkey were added to NATO in 1949. When a reunited

West Germany joined the alliance in 1955, the Soviet

Union countered by forming the Warsaw Pact, an alliance linking the USSR, East Germany, Poland,

Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. Members of the Warsaw Pact pledged to respond to aggression against any member; although

such preparations never led to war between NATO and

Warsaw Pact nations, this proviso was used by the

USSR to send troops into member states where the

Communist government was being challenged.

Throughout the cold war, NATO and the Warsaw Pact

kept large armed forces facing each other, with thousands of American and Soviet troops stationed in allied



Europe in the Age of The Cold War, 1945–75 621

Arctic Ocean



SWEDEN



FINLAND



NORWAY



Sea



0



North

Sea



NETH. FED.

GER.

Rh REP.

DEM.

BELG.

REP.

OF

R

GER.



0



ic

a lt



POLAND



R.



AUSTRIA HUNGARY



SWITZ.



FRANCE



Y



ITALY



OS



Dan

ube

LA



VI



R.



A



Black Sea



ia



BULGARIA



Corsica



n



R.



ROMANIA



sp



PORTUGAL



UG



Ca



Ebr

o



600 Miles



U.S.S.R.



.



Atlantic

Ocean



900 Kilometers



300



i ne



GREAT

BRITAIN



B



600



Vo lga



IRELAND



DENMARK



300



SPAIN

B a lea



ric



Is



Sardinia

TU RK EY



GREECE



Tigri



Sicily



ea



n



s



M e d i t e r ran



Sea



ds



ALBANIA



lan



Euph

ra

t



R.



R.



Cyprus



es



Crete



Sea

Soviet/Warsaw Pact



United States/NATO

Missile bases: NATO



Missile bases: Warsaw Pact



NATO member



Troops: U.S.



Troops: Soviet



NATO ally



Nuclear bombers: U.S.



Nuclear bombers: Soviet



NATO member to 1969



Naval port: U.S.



Naval port: Soviet



Warsaw Pact member



Fleet: U.S.



Fleet: Soviet



Unrest/revolt in

Eastern Europe



Nuclear missile submarine: U.S.



Nuclear missile submarine: Soviet



—



MAP 31.2

European Cold War Alliances to 1975 —



countries, with nuclear weapons (see map 31.2 and

chronology 31.1).

The cold war was much larger than a European

struggle. Dozens of global crises threatened to bring

the two sides to combat. The most dangerous of these

crises occurred in Asia. In 1949 Mao Zedong’s Chinese

Communists won the war for control of China that

they had begun in the 1930s. Mao took Beijing and

drove his nationalist opponents, led by Chiang KaiShek, off the mainland to the island of Formosa (now

called Taiwan). In early 1950 the U.S. Pacific Fleet pa-



trolled the waters around Taiwan to prevent a Communist invasion. A few weeks later Mao and Stalin agreed

upon a Sino-Soviet Alliance. And a few weeks after

that, the armies of Communist North Korea invaded

the south of that partitioned country and captured the

capital city of Seoul. The United Nations adopted a

resolution to send troops to Korea to block aggression—a resolution made possible because the Soviet

delegate was boycotting the UN Security Council

meeting and therefore not present to cast a veto. President Truman sent the U.S. army (commanded by the



622 Chapter 31



[ CHRONOLOGY 31.1 [

The Cold War in Europe, 1945–75

1946 Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech on the division

of Europe

1946 Civil war in Greece, Communist guerrillas against

monarchist government

1947 United States announces Truman Doctrine of aid

against Communist takeovers

1948 Communist coup seizes power in Czechoslovakia

1948 The Marshall Plan for American aid for European

recovery

1948 Soviet blockade of Berlin circumvented by Berlin

Airlift

1949 Creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization

(NATO) alliance linking United States, Canada,

and Western Europe

1949 Communists seize power in Hungary

1949 Three western zones of occupation united to

form Federal Republic of Germany

1951 USSR explodes its first atomic bomb

1953 Death of Stalin and rise of Khrushchev

1953 Uprising in East Germany suppressed

1955 West Germany joins NATO

1955 Soviet Union organizes Warsaw Pact of East European states

1956 Uprisings in Poland and East Germany

suppressed



hero of the Pacific theatre of World War II, General

Douglas MacArthur) to South Korea to join UN contingents from several countries, in the small portion of

the Korean peninsula around Pusan still held by the

South Koreans. After a UN counteroffensive, including

an amphibious landing at Inchon, the North Korean

army was driven back across the border (the thirtyeighth parallel) and MacArthur drove deep into North

Korea, reaching the border of Manchuria. Then, in November 1951, Mao responded with Chinese “volunteers” to help the North. The Korean War (1950–53),

which had begun with a near victory by North Korea

and led to great danger of another world war, resulted

in a stalemate and a ceasefire, perpetuating both the division of Korea and cold war anxieties.



1957 Soviet launching of Sputnik begins space race

1961 USSR achieves first manned space flight

1961 Berlin Crisis and construction of the Berlin Wall

to block emigration

1962 United States forces USSR to withdraw missiles

in Cuban Missile Crisis

1962 Solzhenitsyn reveals details of the Soviet gulag

1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty signed, beginning relaxation of cold war tensions

1966 France withdraws from NATO command

1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Signed

1968 USSR and Warsaw Pact nations suppress Czech

liberalization

1969 United States puts astronauts on moon

1970 Rioting in Poland over austerity program

1970 Heads of West Germany and East Germany hold

first official meeting

1972 President Nixon visits Moscow and signs Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Treaty

1973 West Germany and East Germany both join the

UN

1975 Helsinki accords on human rights mark age of

détente



The most frightening aspect of such cold war confrontations was the constant threat of nuclear war. The

United States remained the only state with the atomic

bomb for just four years (1945–49), until the Soviet

Union, with significant assistance from atomic spies,

detonated its first nuclear bomb. For the next quartercentury, the United States and the USSR engaged in a

nuclear arms race that constantly increased the destructive power of both sides. The United States exploded

the world’s first hydrogen bomb, many times more destructive than the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima

and Nagasaki, in 1952 but held this lead for only a few

months. The arms race then shifted to the technology

of delivering nuclear bombs. The United States tested

the first Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM)



Europe in the Age of The Cold War, 1945–75 623



Illustration 31.2

— The Space Age. The space age began in October 1957

when the USSR successfully launched the first artificial satellite

(Sputnik) into orbit around the Earth. In this photo, visitors to the

Brussels World’s Fair in 1958 flock to see Sputnik on exhibit.



capable of carrying bombs long distances, in 1953, and

both sides developed Intercontinental Ballistics Missiles

(ICBMs) that could reach each other’s cities.

The nuclear arms race shared much of its technology with a simultaneous space race between the USSR

and the United States. The space age—and an era of

Soviet superiority in space—began in 1957 when a

Russian rocket carried the first artificial satellite, Sputnik,

into orbit (see illustration 31.2). A month later, the Soviets launched a second satellite sending a dog into

space and safely retrieving it. When President Eisenhower rushed an American rocket to show the world

that the United States did not lag far behind, it exploded a few feet off the ground and became known as

the American “Dudnik.” The Soviet lead in the space

race continued into the 1960s when the USSR sent the

first person into outer space, the cosmonaut Yuri

Gagarin. The U.S. space program of the 1960s showed

that this “missile gap” was narrowing; launches of

American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts into space



soon became commonplace. President John F. Kennedy

committed the United States to win the space race by

putting the first people on the moon, and by 1969 the

United States succeeded in sending Apollo astronauts

to the moon.

While the space race glamorized one aspect of the

cold war arms race, the United States quietly took the

lead in another technology capable of raining atomic

bombs on the Soviet Union by building a fleet of nuclear submarines with atomic missiles aboard. By the

early 1970s technology had produced the MIRV, a

hydra-headed missile that could deliver separate bombs

(multiple independent reentry vehicles in the cold war

lexicon) to several cities from one missile. Both sides

stockpiled nuclear weapons and their delivery systems

long after they attained the capacity to obliterate civilization. Simultaneously, both sides developed the philosophy of using nuclear weapons. The United States,

for example, threatened the use of nuclear weapons to

force negotiations to end the Korean War and again in

1962 to force the USSR to withdraw its missiles from

Cuba. And both sides seriously discussed such strategies as “massive retaliation” with nuclear bombs instead

of fighting traditional ground wars. One of the keenest

metaphors of the cold war appeared on the cover of a

scientific journal: a clock showing that the human race

had reached one minute before midnight.

The nuclear arms race and the space race were

enormously expensive, which would ultimately have

much to do with the end of the cold war. An early sign

that this was an extremely expensive burden for the

USSR came in 1959, when Stalin’s successor, Nikita

Khrushchev, proposed the concept of “peaceful coexistence” (see document 31.2). Many in the West doubted

Khrushchev’s sincerity (he had recently made another

speech, taunting the West with the message, “We will

bury you!”), and few were yet willing to gamble on a relaxation of cold war preparedness. Many Europeans

would favor peaceful coexistence by the late 1960s,

when it came to be called a policy of relaxed tensions

(detente in the French vocabulary of diplomacy).

As the nuclear balance-of-power became a balanceof-terror, the cold war became a delicate stalemate. The

NATO allies restrained themselves from direct interventions in Communist countries, although discontent

with Communist rule provided opportunities. A workers’ revolt in East Berlin was put down by force in 1953,

beginning an era of uprisings behind the Iron Curtain.

A Hungarian rebellion in 1956 led to fighting in the

streets of Budapest and the creation of reformist government under Imre Nagy. Nagy pledged to withdraw



624 Chapter 31



[ DOCUMENT 31.2 [

Nikita Khrushchev: “Peaceful

Coexistence,” 1959

Nikita Khrushchev often used the annual party congress of

the Communist Party to make dramatic speeches. At the congress of 1956, he opened the age of destalinization in Russia

in a speech attacking “the crimes of the Stalin era.” In 1959,

at the Twentieth Party Congress, he declared that the basis of

foreign policy should be the “peaceful coexistence” of states

with differing social systems, inviting a détente in cold war

tensions. Western nations did not start to trust this concept for

another decade.

We all of us well know that tremendous changes

have taken place in the world. Gone, indeed, are

the days when it took weeks to cross the ocean

from one continent to the other or when a trip

from Europe to America, or from Asia to Africa,

seemed a very complicated undertaking. The

progress of modern technology has reduced our

planet to a rather small place; it has even become,

in this sense, quite congested. And if in our daily

life it is a matter of considerable importance to establish normal relations with our neighbors in a

densely inhabited settlement, this is so much more

necessary in the relations between states, in particular states belonging to different social systems.

. . . What then remains to be done? There may be

two ways out: either war—and war in the rocket

H-bomb age is fraught with the most dire consequences for all nations—or peaceful coexistence. . . .

The problem of peaceful coexistence between

states with different social systems has become

particularly pressing. . . . The Soviet people have

stated and declare again that they do not want war.

If the Soviet Union and the countries friendly to it

are not attacked, we shall never use any weapons

either against the United States or against any

other countries. . . . Precisely because we want to

rid mankind of war, we urge the Western powers

to peaceful and lofty competition.

Krushchev, Nikita. “On Peaceful Coexistence.” In Ludwig

Schaefer et al., eds., Problems in Western Civilization. New

York: Scribner’s, 1965.



Hungary from the Warsaw Pact and to become neutral.

A few weeks later, the Red Army invaded Hungary. The

Soviet intervention led to the flight of 200,000 Hungarians to the west, 25,000 casualties in combat, and

2,000 executions (including Nagy) in reprisal. The

NATO powers still chose not to go to war over Hungary. Similarly, the Soviet Union did not intervene in

Western wars, such as the Anglo-French invasion of

Egypt in 1956 (an attempt to keep control of the Suez

Canal) known as the Suez War. When the United

States later fought a second Asian war based on the

policy of containing the spread of Communism, the

Vietnam War (1965–75), the USSR and China gave assistance to North Vietnam and to the Communist guerrilla armies of the Viet Cong, but they both refrained

from directly entering the war.



Q



The USSR under Stalin and

Khrushchev, 1945–64

No country suffered more severely from World War II

than the Soviet Union. In the western quarter of the

country, more than seventy thousand villages were classified as “destroyed.” In a war zone of 800,000 square

miles (Germany and Poland combined occupy only

210,000 square miles), 50 percent of all residences and

eighty thousand schools were lost. Twenty-five million

dead overshadows every other tragedy in a century of

megadeath, and it explains why Stalin demanded postwar security for the USSR.

Stalin began the reconstruction of the Soviet Union

by plundering defeated Germany. The Yalta and Potsdam agreements recognized a Soviet right to reparations

from Germany and permitted Stalin to collect them “in

kind.” This meant the confiscation and shipment to the

USSR of billions of dollars worth of surviving German

industry. Recovery was entrusted to the state planning

agency, Gosplan, which drafted a Five Year Plan for

1946–50. With severe enforcement, the Soviet Union

exceeded the production quotas set in this plan. Stalin

promised that Soviet output would triple prewar levels,

and by 1960 that standard had been met, although agricultural recovery was slower. Ironically, the speed of the

Russian recovery increased cold war tensions because it

underscored the enormous potential of the Soviet

Union. And when the USSR launched Sputnik into orbit,

no one could doubt Soviet technical potential.

Soviet security and recovery both rested upon

Stalin’s dictatorship. His brutality had not diminished

with age, and in 1948 he ordered another purge. The



Europe in the Age of The Cold War, 1945–75 625

new repression was conducted by his senior lieutenant,

Georgi Malenkov, and the head of his secret police,

Lavrenti Beria. It did not match the Great Terror of the

1930s, but it took a terrifying toll, especially on Soviet

cultural life, where writers and filmmakers were prominent victims. The purges then moved through the military, the bureaucracy, and the Communist Party.

Anti-Semitism was a common feature of the purges.

This culminated in the so-called Doctors’ Plot of 1952

when Stalin accused Jewish physicians in the Kremlin

of poisoning Soviet leaders.

When Stalin died of a cerebral hemorrhage in early

1953, Malenkov and Beria claimed power. Despite the

idealistic constitution of 1936, the USSR had no formal

system for the transfer of power. Senior leaders feared

that the rule of Malenkov or Beria meant continued terror. The army arrested and shot Beria on a charge of

“plotting to restore Capitalism”; his secret police was

reorganized as the KGB. Malenkov was dismissed from

office, but to show that Stalinism had ended, he was

merely sentenced to end his career as the manager of a

hydroelectric plant in provincial Kazakhstan.

After a period of “collective leadership,” Nikita

Khrushchev emerged as Stalin’s successor. Khrushchev,

the son of a Ukrainian miner, had joined the Communist Party as an illiterate worker in 1918. He rose rapidly

under Stalin’s regime and participated in some of its

crimes during the 1930s, but his dictatorship differed

from Stalinist bloodletting. At the Communist Party

Congress of 1956, Khrushchev announced a program of

change and openly attacked Stalin. He denounced “the

crimes of the Stalin era,” and, as symbols of destalinizaion, Khrushchev removed Stalin’s body from public

display and renamed Stalingrad as Volgograd. Three

years later, at another party congress, he made his famous call for relaxed economic controls and peaceful

coexistence with the West. Westerners were startled by

Khrushchev’s crude style. For many, the enduring image

of Nikita Khrushchev was a fat man in a rumpled suit,

banging his shoe on a podium and shouting. Soviet dissidents still faced harassment and the gulag under

Khrushchev, and when he fell in 1964, the Soviet Union

remained a dictatorship. However, Khrushchev had

taken the first steps toward the age of détente.



Q



Great Britain: Clement Attlee and the

Birth of the Welfare State

In contrast to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union,

postwar Western Europe experienced the recovery of



parliamentary democracy. Britain, France, the Benelux

countries, Italy, the Scandinavian states, and even the

reunited zones of western Germany were stable democracies by the 1950s. Spain and Portugal kept their prewar autocratic governments, but these fell after the

death of Franco (1975) and Salazar (1970). The postwar Western democracies were more than mere restorations, however, and several governments expanded the

European definition of democracy.

Postwar Britain led the evolution of European

democracy by founding the modern welfare state. The

British electorate rejected Winston Churchill’s conservative government in 1945 (much as the French had rejected Clemenceau after World War I or the Russians

would reject Gorbachev after the revolutions of 1989),

giving the Tories only 39.9 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. The new prime minister, Clement

Attlee, received an overwhelming majority in Parliament (393–213) with which to enact socialist plans for

a welfare state. Attlee had been born to an upper-class

family and sensitized to the needs of the poor through

social work in the East End of London. After World

War I he became a lecturer at the London School of

Economics, a nondogmatic socialist, and a leading

Labour M.P. His government planned a new British

democracy based on two broad policies: (1) the adoption of welfare legislation by which the state provided

all citizens with basic services “from the cradle to the

grave” and (2) the “nationalization of leading elements”

of the British economy, on the theory that state profits

would pay for welfare services. Attlee’s welfare program

derived from an idealistic wartime plan, the Beveridge

Report of 1942, which called for government insurance

to protect the nation. The Beveridge Report laid the

basis for the National Health Act (1946) and the National Insurance Act (1946), laws that promised “a national minimum standard of subsistence” to everyone.

In return for a regular payroll deduction, all citizens received sick leave benefits, retirement pensions, maternity benefits, unemployment compensation, widow’s

and orphan’s allowances, and medical care. One of the

first reforms of the welfare state was a program to provide British schoolchildren (many of whom had poor

nutrition from years of privation) with free milk at

school, and this image did much to popularize the welfare state (see illustration 31.3). Beveridge, Attlee, and

the minister for health and housing, Aneurin Bevan,

gave Western Europe the model for a democratic welfare state.

The Labour government also carried out the second half of its program, the nationalization of key in-



626 Chapter 31

Illustration 31.3

— The Welfare State. The British lived with food rationing until

1954. To improve the health of British children, the postwar

Labour government in 1946 included a provision for free milk for

schoolchildren in the welfare program it introduced. This photo

shows boys at a grammar school in Manchester taking their daily

milk break. Such programs were a dramatic success at improving

the children’s health, but they also became a visible symbol of the

welfare state. When Margaret Thatcher set out to dismantle the

welfare state, free milk was one of her first targets.



dustries. This had been a central objective of European

socialists since the late nineteenth century and a cornerstone of Labour programs since 1918. The idea had

gained respectability in the 1920s when a conservative

government had created the British Broadcasting Corporation as a state corporation. Nationalization gained

further appeal during the depression of the 1930s when

big business was widely blamed for the terrible unemployment. The Attlee government compensated the

owners of private firms that were nationalized into

“public corporations,” and the Tory Party made only

limited protests when Attlee nationalized the Bank of

England in 1945 and civil aviation in 1947 (creating the

parent corporation of British Air). Conservatives more

vigorously contested the nationalization of the coal

mines (1946) and the iron and steel industries (1950);

when Churchill returned to power in 1951, his government allowed most of Labour’s nationalizations to

stand, denationalizing only iron and steel and road

haulage. A broad conservative attack on the policies of

the Attlee years did not come until the Margaret

Thatcher era, beginning in 1979, when both denationalization and the dismantling of the welfare state defined her government.

Subsequent Labour governments under Harold

Wilson (1964–70 and 1974–76) expanded the new

sense of British democracy by legislating equal rights:

The Race Relations Act (1965) outlawed racial discrimi-



nation, and the Sexual Offenses Act (1967) legalized

homosexual acts by consenting adults. An Abortion Act

(1967), an Equal Pay Act (1970), and the Equal Opportunities Act (1975) legislated the three chief aims of the

women’s rights movement. These Labour reforms of the

Wilson era survived Thatcher’s conservatism better

than Attlee’s reforms.



Q



The French Fourth Republic: Jean

Monnet and the Planned Economy

The reestablishment of a French republic also involved

the rejection of a famous wartime leader. General de

Gaulle’s provisional government, which returned in the

aftermath of D-Day, prepared the constitution of a

Fourth Republic. De Gaulle feared a Communist coup

in France because many of the leaders of the wartime

Resistance had been Communists. To block the

Communists, De Gaulle chose dramatic steps: He

adopted the socialist program of nationalization that

Léon Blum had begun in the 1930s. The state now took

control of energy and the utilities (gas, oil, and coal);

most insurance companies and banking; and some

prominent industrial companies, such as Renault and

Air France. Twenty percent of the French economy had

been nationalized by the late 1940s—a program of



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