Flashcards in Three Cold War crises: Berlin, Cuba and Czechoslovakia (1957-69) Deck (33)
Describe the causes and features of East Germany's refugee crisis.
- West Berlin was under ally control, making it easy for refugees in East Berlin to escape to West Berlin and then travel to the West.
- Between 1949 and 1961, over 2.7 million refugees had escaped to West Germany.
- It was a propaganda disaster for Khrushchev
What was Khrushchev ultimatum?
- November 1958
- Khrushchev declares the whole of Berlin officially belonged to East Germany.
- US troops would have six months to withdraw
- Khrushchev wanted to prevent East Germans from fleeing and to humiliate the USA.
What was President Eisenhower's response to Khrushchev's ultimatum?
- He didn't want to comply.
- But, he didn't want a war with the USSR either.
- As a result, he decides to hold an international meeting to discuss Berlin's future.
How was the future of Berlin negotiated between the USSR and USA? Describe the four meetings.
1. The Geneva Summit in May 1959, representatives agree to hold face-to-face talks between Khrushchev and Eisenhower.
2. In September 1959, Khrushchev and Eisenhower meet at Camp David. They could not agree, but decided to hold another meeting - Khrushchev withdrew the ultimatum.
3. May 1960. Before this meeting, USSR shot down an American supply plane. Khrushchev walked out of meeting when Eisenhower refused to apologise for sending the spy plane.
4. Vienna Conference. JFK elected in 1961, but Khrushchev wants to exploit his inexperience. As a result, he reissues his six-month ultimatum.
What was Kennedy's response when Khrushchev re-issued his ultimatum?
- Kennedy refuses to remove American troops from Berlin.
- America begins preparing for war:
- Extra $3.2bn in defence spending.
- Extra $207bn spent on fallout shelters.
Why did the USSR decide to build the Berlin Wall?
The ultimatum had failed, as Kennedy had called the bluff of the USSR. Khrushchev was not willing to go to nuclear war over Berlin, fearing that the USSR would lose.
The Berlin Wall was another answer to the East German refugee crisis. The idea was that the wall would make it impossible for East Germans to escape via East Berlin.
Describe the impacts of the Berlin Wall.
- It ended the refugee crisis by stopping East Germans from escaping to the West.
- It allowed Khrushchev to to avoid war with America while still appearing strong.
- The wall became a powerful symbol for the division of Europe.
What concerns did the US have about the USSR's nuclear weapons during the arms race?
They were concerned about the rate at which the USSR was building its nuclear weapons - they were also concerned about the size and destructiveness of those weapons. The USSR had built the Tsar Bomba, the most destructive nuclear weapon ever made.
What concerns did the USSR have about the USA's nuclear weapons?
The USSR was concerned that the USA had nuclear weapons stationed very close to its own territory; much closer than the USSR had to the USA. The USA had bases in the UK, Italy and Turkey - these could easily be fired at key Russian locations such as Moscow.
What advantage did the USA have on the USSR in terms of dropping the actual bombs?
The USA had specially equipped B52 bombers that could drop bombs accurately on the Soviet Union.
Describe causes of the Cuban Revolution.
- Much of Cuba's land and resources was owned by the United States. US companies ran 90% of the phone and electricity supply, and 40% of all sugar production.
- Its government was pro-American, lots of Cubans didn't like that.
- The USA owned and supplied all of Cuba's oil refineries.
Describe key events during and soon after the Cuban Revolution.
- Cuban Revolution, 1959, overthrows the pro-American government.
- Fidel Castro appointed president.
- Cuba nationalises American industries, sugar plantations and oil refineries.
- USA banned the import of Cuban sugar.
- Cuba becomes increasingly reliant on the USSR for support.
Describe how the CIA convinced Kennedy to launch a covert invasion of Cuba.
1. CIA had tried but failed to assassinate Fidel Castro many times.
2. CIA convinces new president, Kennedy, to launch a covert invasion of Cuba in order to remove Castro and replace him with a pro-American.
3. They told him they could hide it by staging it as an internal revolt inside Cuba. They convinced him that many Cubans would join in with hidden American troops because they disliked Castro.
The Bay of Pigs incident: Why was Kennedy's invasion a total failure?
- Fidel Castro was made aware of the invasion.
- Most Cubans didn't want to fight Castro and install a pro-American again.
- The first disguised air strike missed most of its targets and the planes were photographed; highlighting American involvement.
- The Cuban Exile army, trained by America, was outnumbered and defeated by Castro after they tried to invade the Bay of Pigs.
Describe the main consequence of the Bay of Pigs incident.
- Castro feared another invasion.
- Castro asks Khrushchev to help defend Cuba.
- USSR offers to station Russian nuclear missiles on Cuban soil; they claimed it would deter the US from invading again.
- Russia would have nuclear weapons on America's doorstep, balancing the threat posed by American weapons in Turkey.
Why did the USA enforce a naval blockade around Cuba?
- American spy planes discovered that the USSR cargo ships were carrying secret nuclear warheads and long-range missiles.
- In response, a naval blockade was imposed around Cuba.
How did the USSR respond to the naval blockade?
Khrushchev stated that USSR ships would break through the blockade. Once the USSR ships got extremely close to the blockade, they started turning around and Khrushchev said that he is willing to use nuclear weapons.
How is the crisis resolved?
The USSR agrees to withdraw its weapons from Cuba if the USA guarantees that it won't invade Cuba and withdraws its own weapons from Turkey. A part of this agreement was that the withdrawal of US weapons from Turkey had to remain secret.
Who were the American 'Hawkes'?
People who wanted an aggressive military policy toward the USSR - these people often thought that nuclear war was inevitable.
Who were the American 'Doves'?
People who wanted a diplomatic solution to the USA's and USSR's disagreements.
What were the immediate consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
- In 1963, a direct 'hotline' was setup between the American President in Washington and Russian Premier in Moscow.
- In 1963, both sides sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty that banned the testing of nuclear weapons in space, in the sea or above ground. All tests had to be carried out underground.
What were the long-term consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
- The Soviet Union didn't want to pushed around by American again, so it put more efforts into catching up with the USA in terms of its nuclear capabilities.
- As the USSR's capabilities evened out with the USA, the international situation became more stable as the concept of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) become more dominant.
- France left NATO, fearing that it would be implicated in the event of a nuclear war. France ended its military alliance with America and began developing its own nuclear missiles.
Why was there Czechoslovakian opposition to Soviet control?
- Communism offered few benefits for the people.
- Czechoslovakia was being run by the secret police; all opposition groups were brutally crushed.
- Economy suffered; declining standard of living.
When and why was Dubceck made the leader of Czechoslovakian Communist Party?
- In January 1968, Dubcek becomes most powerful man in Czechoslovakia as he's made leader of Communist Party.
- He was made leader because the previous leader, Novotny, was highly unpopular.
Describe the beliefs of Alexander Dubcek.
- Committed communist, on friendly terms with Brezhnev.
- Wanted to create popular form of communism.
- 'Socialism with a human face.'
- Wanted more cultural freedom
- Wanted to get rid of oppressive elements of communist rule
- Hoped to revitalise all aspects of Czech life.
What reforms were introduced as part of the Prague Spring?
- Relaxation of press censorship
- Legalisation of non-communist political groups
- Government would tolerate political criticism
- Power given to regional governments
- Power given to Czech parliament
- 'Market socialism' meant the reintroduction of capitalist (market) elements into the economy
Who liked the Prague Spring?
Artists, younger people, students, some younger Communist Party members.
Artists could use the new freedoms to write and paint pieces that denounced the Soviet Union.
Who disliked the Prague Spring?
The USSR, older communist veterans, and Brezhnev
What was Brezhnev's dilemma?
- Dubcek was a personal friend of his.
- But, Dubcek's reforms could lead to the weakening of Soviet control over the Eastern bloc.
- Brezhnev tries to persuade him to end reforms, but Dubcek does not listen.