The Cold War
By: Robert Brock and Hunter Curry
Soviet army marches into Berlin; the German capital city falls. World War II ends. Soviet Union,United States, Great Britain, and France divide Berlin and Germany into four zones of occupation, a decision made during the Yalta conference.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech marks beginning of the Cold War.
U.S. President Harry Truman requests funds to support Greek and Turkish efforts to fight communism. It marks the beginning of the Truman doctrine.
The Berlin airlift supplies West Berlin with basic necessities after the Soviet Union blocks off the city in an effort to force the West to give it up.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed by the United States and many western European countries to defend Europe against Soviet aggression.
In many ways, the Cold War began even before the guns fell silent in Germany and in the Pacific in 1945. Suspicion and mistrust had defined U.S.-Soviet relations for decades and resurfaced as soon as the alliance against Adolf Hitler was no longer necessary. Competing ideologies and visions of the postwar world prevented U.S. president Harry S Truman and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin from working together.
Stalin intended to destroy Germany’s industrial capabilities in order to prevent the country from remilitarizing and wanted Germany to pay outrageous sums in war reparations. Moreover, he wanted to erect pro-Soviet governments throughout Eastern Europe to protect the USSR from any future invasions. Truman, however, wanted exactly the opposite. He believed that only industrialization and democracy in Germany and throughout the continent would ensure postwar stability. Unable to compromise or find common ground, the world’s two remaining superpowers inevitably clashed.