After world War II, the joined States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and also its satellite states began a decades-long battle for dominance known together the Cold War. Soldiers that the Soviet Union and the United states did no do fight directly during the Cold War. However the two superpowers continually antagonized each other through political maneuvering, military coalitions, espionage, propaganda, eight buildups, financial aid, and also proxy wars in between other nations.

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From Allies to Adversaries

The Soviet Union and also the United claims had battled as allies against Nazi Germany during world War II. Yet the alliance began to crumble as soon as the battle in Europe finished in might 1945. Tensions were evident in July during the Potsdam Conference, whereby the victorious Allies negotiated the share occupation the Germany.

The Soviet Union was figured out to have actually a buffer zone between its borders and also Western Europe. It collection up pro-communist power in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, and also eventually in east Germany.

As the Soviets tightened their grip on east Europe, the United states embarked on a policy of containment to protect against the spread of Soviet and also communist influence in western European nations such as France, Italy, and also Greece.

During the 1940s, the United says reversed its traditional reluctance come become connected in europe affairs. The Truman doctrine (1947) pledged aid to federal governments threatened through communist subversion. The Marshall setup (1947) provided billions of dollars in financial assistance to eliminate the politics instability that might open the method for communist takeovers the democratically elected governments.

France, England, and also the United states administered sectors that the city that Berlin, deep inside communist eastern Germany. As soon as the Soviets reduced off all road and rail traffic to the city in 1948, the United claims and good Britain responded with a massive airlift that gave the besieged city because that 231 days till the blockade to be lifted. In 1949, the United says joined the north Atlantic Treaty company (NATO), the an initial mutual security and military alliance in American history. The establishment of NATO additionally spurred the Soviet Union to develop an alliance v the communist federal governments of eastern Europe the was formalized in 1955 by the Warsaw Pact.

The global Cold War


In Europe, the separating line between East and also West remained basically frozen during the next decades. But conflict spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The struggle to overthrow early american regimes frequently became entangled in Cold war tensions, and the superpowers completed to affect anti-colonial movements.

In 1949, the communists triumphed in the Chinese civil war, and also the world"s most populous nation joined the Soviet Union as a Cold battle adversary. In 1950, north Korea invaded South Korea, and also the joined Nations and also the United states sent troops and military aid. Communist China intervened to support North Korea, and bloody projects stretched on for three years till a truce was signed in 1953.

In 1954, the early american French regime fell in Vietnam.

The United claims supported a military federal government in south Vietnam and also worked to prevent totally free elections that can have unified the nation under the regulate of communist north Vietnam. In response to the threat, the southeast Asia Treaty organization (SEATO) was created in 1955 to avoid communist expansion, and also President Eisenhower sent out some 700 armed forces personnel and military and also economic assist to the government of south Vietnam. The initiative was foundering when John F. Kennedy took office.

Closer come home, the Cuban resistance activity led by Fidel Castro deposed the pro-American army dictatorship the Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Castro"s Cuba quickly became militarily and economically dependent on the Soviet Union. The united States" main rival in the Cold war had developed a foothold simply ninety miles off the coastline of Florida.

Kennedy and also the Cold War

Cold war rhetoric dominated the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator man F. Kennedy and Vice chairman Richard M. Nixon both pledged to combine American armed forces forces and promised a challenging stance versus the Soviet Union and international communism. Kennedy warned that the Soviet"s cultivation arsenal the intercontinental ballistic missiles and also pledged to revitalize American atom forces. He likewise criticized the Eisenhower administration for allow the facility of a pro-Soviet federal government in Cuba.

John F. Kennedy to be the an initial American president born in the 20th century. The Cold War and the nuclear arms race through the Soviet Union were an important international concerns throughout his politics career. His inaugural deal with stressed the contest between the totally free world and also the communist world, and he pledged that the American human being would "pay any kind of price, bear any kind of burden, meet any kind of hardship, support any kind of friend, oppose any type of foe to guarantee the survival and also success of liberty."

The just of Pigs

Before his inauguration, JFK to be briefed on a plan drafted during the Eisenhower management to train Cuban exiles because that an intrusion of your homeland. The setup anticipated that support from the Cuban people and also perhaps even aspects of the Cuban military would lead to the fall of Castro and the facility of a non-communist federal government friendly come the united States.

Kennedy authorized the operation and also some 1,400 exiles landed at Cuba"s just of Pigs on April 17. The entire force was either eliminated or captured, and also Kennedy took full responsibility for the fail of the operation.

The eight Race

In June 1961, Kennedy met with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, Austria. (See a memorandum below outlining the main points that conversation in between President Kennedy and Khrushchev in ~ their very first lunch meeting.) Kennedy to be surprised by Khrushchev"s combative tone during the summit. In ~ one point, Khrushchev endangered to cut off Allied access come Berlin. The Soviet leader stated the Lenin tranquility Medals he to be wearing, and Kennedy answered, "I expect you store them." simply two months later, Khrushchev notified the building and construction of the Berlin wall to protect against the flood of eastern Germans into West Germany.

As a an outcome of this threatening developments, Kennedy ordered comprehensive increases in American intercontinental ballistic missile forces. The also added five new army divisions and increased the nation"s waiting power and also military reserves. The Soviets on the other hand resumed atom testing and also President Kennedy comment by reluctantly reactivating American test in at an early stage 1962.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

In the summer of 1962, Khrushchev reached a an enig agreement v the Cuban federal government to it is provided nuclear missiles capable of protecting the island versus another US-sponsored invasion. In mid-October, American spy airplane photographed the missile website under construction. Kennedy responded by put a marine blockade, i m sorry he referred to as a "quarantine," approximately Cuba. He likewise demanded the removed of the missiles and also the devastation of the sites. Recognizing that the crisis might easily escalate into nuclear war, Khrushchev finally agreed to eliminate the missiles in return because that an American pledge not to reinvade Cuba. Yet the finish of Cuban Missile crisis did tiny to lull the emphasize of the Cold War. The Soviet leader decided to commit whatever resources were forced for upgrading the Soviet atom strike force. His decision caused a major escalation of the nuclear arms race.

In June 1963, chairman Kennedy speak at the American University beginning in Washington, DC. The urged americans to critically reexamine Cold battle stereotypes and also myths and also called for a strategy of peace that would make the human being safe because that diversity. In the final months of the Kennedy presidency Cold battle tensions appeared to soften together the minimal Nuclear Test half Treaty to be negotiated and signed. In addition, Washington and also Moscow developed a straight line of communication known as the "Hotline" to help reduce the possibility of battle by miscalculation.


In might 1961, JFK had authorized sending 500 Special pressures troops and also military advisers to assist the federal government of southern Vietnam. They join 700 Americans currently sent by the Eisenhower administration. In February 1962, the president sent second 12,000 armed forces advisers to assistance the southern Vietnamese army. By early on November 1963, the variety of US military advisers had actually reached 16,000.

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Even as the army commitment in Vietnam grew, JFK said an interviewer, "In the final analysis, it is your war. They space the persons who need to win that or shed it. Us can aid them, us can provide them equipment, we deserve to send our men out there as advisers, but they need to win it—the human being of Vietnam against the Communists. . . . However I don"t agree through those who say we have to withdraw. That would be a an excellent mistake. . . . make this initiative to safeguard Europe. Currently Europe is fairly secure. We likewise have come participate—we might not like it—in the defense the Asia." In the last weeks the his life, JFK wrestled with the must decide the future that the United states commitment in Vietnam—and really likely had not do a final decision prior to his death.