After human being War II, the united States and its allies, and also the Soviet Union and also its satellite states began a decades-long battle for supremacy known as the Cold War. Soldiers the the Soviet Union and also the United says did no do fight directly throughout the Cold War. But the 2 superpowers continually antagonized each other through political maneuvering, armed forces coalitions, espionage, propaganda, arms buildups, economic aid, and proxy wars between other nations.

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From Allies to Adversaries

The Soviet Union and also the United says had combated as allies against Nazi Germany during world War II. But the alliance started to crumble as soon as the battle in Europe ended in may 1945. Stress were noticeable in July during the Potsdam Conference, wherein the victorious Allies negotiated the joint occupation of Germany.

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

As the Soviets tightened their grip on east Europe, the United says embarked on a policy of containment to prevent the spread of Soviet and also communist influence in west European countries such as France, Italy, and Greece.

During the 1940s, the United claims reversed its timeless reluctance to become involved in european affairs. The Truman theory (1947) pledged help to federal governments threatened by communist subversion. The Marshall arrangement (1947) listed billions the dollars in economic assistance to eliminate the political instability that might open the way for communist takeovers the democratically chosen governments.

France, England, and also the United states administered sectors of the city that Berlin, deep within communist eastern Germany. When the Soviets cut off every road and also rail traffic to the city in 1948, the United says and an excellent Britain responded v a substantial airlift that gave the besieged city for 231 days till the blockade to be lifted. In 1949, the United states joined the phibìc Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO), the very first mutual security and military alliance in American history. The facility of NATO also spurred the Soviet Union to produce an alliance through the communist governments of eastern Europe the was formalized in 1955 by the Warsaw Pact.

The an international Cold War


In Europe, the separating line between East and also West remained basically frozen throughout the next decades. Yet conflict spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The battle to overthrow colonial regimes frequently came to be entangled in Cold battle tensions, and also the superpowers contended to influence anti-colonial movements.

In 1949, the communists triumphed in the Chinese civil war, and the world"s many populous country joined the Soviet Union as a Cold war adversary. In 1950, north Korea got into South Korea, and the united Nations and also the United says sent troops and military aid. Communist China intervened to support North Korea, and also bloody projects stretched top top for 3 years till a truce was signed in 1953.

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

The United says supported a military federal government in southern Vietnam and worked to prevent cost-free elections that might have unified the nation under the regulate of communist phibìc Vietnam. In solution to the threat, the south-east Asia Treaty organization (SEATO) was developed in 1955 to avoid communist expansion, and President Eisenhower sent some 700 army personnel as well as military and economic aid to the federal government of south Vietnam. The effort was foundering once John F. Kennedy took office.

Closer come home, the Cuban resistance movement led through Fidel Castro deposed the pro-American military dictatorship that Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Castro"s Cuba quickly became militarily and also economically dependence on the Soviet Union. The unified States" main rival in the Cold war had created a foothold just ninety miles turn off the coast of Florida.

Kennedy and the Cold War

Cold battle rhetoric dominated the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator john F. Kennedy and Vice president Richard M. Nixon both pledged to combine American army forces and promised a tough stance versus the Soviet Union and also international communism. Kennedy warned of the Soviet"s cultivation arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles and also pledged to revitalize American nuclear forces. He also criticized the Eisenhower management for permit the facility of a pro-Soviet federal government in Cuba.

John F. Kennedy was the first American chairman born in the 20th century. The Cold War and also the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union were vital international worries throughout his politics career. His inaugural deal with stressed the contest in between the free world and the communist world, and also he pledged the the American civilization would "pay any kind of price, bear any type of burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any kind of foe to guarantee the survival and also success the liberty."

The only of Pigs

Before his inauguration, JFK to be briefed top top a plan drafted during the Eisenhower administration to train Cuban exiles for an intrusion of their homeland. The arrangement anticipated that support from the Cuban people and also perhaps even elements of the Cuban army would result in the overthrow of Castro and also the establishment of a non-communist government friendly come the unified States.

Kennedy approved the operation and some 1,400 exiles landed at Cuba"s just of Pigs on April 17. The whole force to be either eliminated or captured, and also Kennedy took complete responsibility for the failure of the operation.

The eight Race

In June 1961, Kennedy met v Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, Austria. (See a memorandum below outlining the main points the conversation in between President Kennedy and Khrushchev at their first lunch meeting.) Kennedy was surprised by Khrushchev"s combative tone during the summit. In ~ one point, Khrushchev endangered to reduced off Allied access to Berlin. The Soviet leader discussed the Lenin peace Medals he was wearing, and also Kennedy answered, "I expect you store them." simply two months later, Khrushchev ordered the construction of the Berlin wall to prevent the overwhelming of east Germans right into West Germany.

As a an outcome of this threatening developments, Kennedy ordered substantial increases in American intercontinental ballistic missile forces. The also included five new army divisions and increased the nation"s wait power and also military reserves. The Soviets at the same time resumed atom testing and also President Kennedy responded by reluctantly reactivating American test in early 1962.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

In the summer of 1962, Khrushchev got to a secret agreement through the Cuban government to it is provided nuclear missiles qualified of protecting the island versus another US-sponsored invasion. In mid-October, American spy airplane photographed the missile website under construction. Kennedy comment by put a navy blockade, i beg your pardon he described as a "quarantine," approximately Cuba. He likewise demanded the removal of the missiles and also the destruction of the sites. Recognizing that the crisis could easily escalate into nuclear war, Khrushchev finally agreed to remove the missiles in return for an American pledge no to reinvade Cuba. Yet the end of Cuban Missile dilemm did little to ease the stress of the Cold War. The Soviet leader decided to commit whatever resources were compelled for upgrading the Soviet atom strike force. His decision resulted in a significant escalation the the nuclear arms race.

In June 1963, president Kennedy spoke at the American University start in Washington, DC. The urged americans to critically reexamine Cold war stereotypes and myths and called for a strategy of peace that would make the world safe for diversity. In the last months that the Kennedy presidency Cold war tensions seemed to soften together the minimal Nuclear Test half Treaty to be negotiated and also signed. In addition, Washington and also Moscow created a straight line of interaction known as the "Hotline" to help reduce the opportunity of war by miscalculation.


In may 1961, JFK had authorized sending 500 Special forces troops and military advisers to help the federal government of southern Vietnam. They join 700 Americans already sent through the Eisenhower administration. In February 1962, the chairman sent an additional 12,000 armed forces advisers to assistance the southern Vietnamese army. By early on November 1963, the variety of US armed forces advisers had actually reached 16,000.

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Even as the armed forces commitment in Vietnam grew, JFK told an interviewer, "In the final analysis, the is your war. They room the persons who have to win the or lose it. Us can assist them, us can give them equipment, we have the right to send our men out there together advisers, but they have to win it—the world of Vietnam against the Communists. . . . Yet I don"t agree with those that say we should withdraw. That would certainly be a an excellent mistake. . . . made this initiative to defend Europe. Now Europe is rather secure. We also have come participate—we might not favor it—in the defense the Asia." In the final weeks that his life, JFK wrestled through the must decide the future the the United claims commitment in Vietnam—and very likely had not made a last decision prior to his death.