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Issues Related to the Cold War, Such as Deterrence, Mad, and Détente

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In 1985 the Cold War seemed like it was an established fact of life in Europe, with two armed camps still facing each other across the Iron Curtain

Yet within a remarkably short space of time, the political structure changed dramatically: the Cold War which had split Europe in two for the previous 40 years suddenly, in the space of a few short years, came to an end. The pressures of the Cold War in Europe partly brought about the unexpected change and the change itself brought an end to the Cold War. During the 1970's and early 1980's, the Soviet economy deteriorated under the cumulative effects of a centralized bureaucratic system, the burdens of an increasingly costly arms race, and a failed war in Afghanistan. This proved to be a vital factor in the ending of the Cold War however it is by no means the only one; indeed a variety of different factors ultimately caused the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and thus the end of the Cold War.

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Cold War, the open yet restricted rivalry that developed after World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. The Cold War was waged on political, economic, and propaganda fronts and had only limited recourse to weapons. The term was first used by the English writer George Orwell in an article published in 1945 to refer to what he predicted would be a nuclear stalemate between “two or three monstrous super-states, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be wiped out in a few seconds.” It was first used in the United States by the American financier and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch in a speech at the State House in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1947.

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1. Explain the objectives of the communists who seized power in Russia in 1917. What kind of society did they hope to create? What methods did they use to capture power and rebuild Russia?

2. Research and discuss the ‘First Red Scare’ in the United States. What ideas and factors fuelled this scare? How legitimate were these fears?

3. Describe the relationship between the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union during World War II. What was the basis of their alliance?

4. Discuss the outcomes of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences regarding the post-war world. What was agreed or promised?

5. “Joseph Stalin was the leader most responsible for initiating the Cold War.” To what extent is this statement true?

6. Explain why eastern European nations ended up with socialist governments after World War II. Refer to three specific nations in your answer.

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