After human being War II, the unified States and also its allies, and the Soviet Union and its satellite states began a decades-long battle for supremacy known together the Cold War. Soldiers of the Soviet Union and the United says did no do battle directly throughout the Cold War. Yet the 2 superpowers continually antagonized each other through politics maneuvering, armed forces coalitions, espionage, propaganda, eight buildups, financial aid, and proxy wars in between other nations.

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From Allies to Adversaries

The Soviet Union and the United says had fought as allies versus Nazi Germany during civilization War II. However the alliance began to crumble as soon as the war in Europe ended in may 1945. Tensions were obvious in July throughout the Potsdam Conference, where the victorious Allies negotiated the share occupation of Germany.

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

As the Soviets tightened your grip on east Europe, the United says embarked on a policy of containment to protect against the spread out of Soviet and also communist influence in western European countries such together France, Italy, and also Greece.

During the 1940s, the United says reversed its classic reluctance come become associated in european affairs. The Truman theory (1947) pledged assist to governments threatened by communist subversion. The Marshall setup (1947) detailed billions of dollars in financial assistance to get rid of the political instability that might open the way for communist takeovers that democratically chosen governments.

France, England, and also the United says administered sectors the the city the Berlin, deep inside communist eastern Germany. Once the Soviets cut off every road and also rail traffic to the city in 1948, the United states and good 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 company (NATO), the first mutual security and military alliance in American history. The establishment of NATO additionally spurred the Soviet Union to develop 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 dividing line in between East and West remained basically frozen during the next decades. However conflict spread to Asia, Africa, and also Latin America. The struggle to overthrow colonial regimes frequently ended up being entangled in Cold battle tensions, and also the superpowers competed to influence anti-colonial movements.

In 1949, the communists triumphed in the Chinese polite war, and also the world"s most populous nation joined the Soviet Union as a Cold war adversary. In 1950, north Korea attacked South Korea, and the joined Nations and the United claims sent troops and also military aid. Communist China intervened to support North Korea, and bloody campaigns stretched on for 3 years till a truce to be signed in 1953.

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

The United says supported a military government in southern Vietnam and also worked come prevent complimentary elections that can have unified the nation under the control of communist phibìc Vietnam. In an answer to the threat, the south east Asia Treaty organization (SEATO) was created in 1955 to protect against communist expansion, and also President Eisenhower sent some 700 army personnel and also military and economic help to the government of south Vietnam. The effort was foundering when John F. Kennedy took office.

Closer come home, the Cuban resistance motion led by Fidel Castro deposed the pro-American army dictatorship that Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Castro"s Cuba quickly ended up being militarily and also economically dependent on the Soviet Union. The united States" main rival in the Cold battle had created a foothold just ninety miles off the coastline of Florida.

Kennedy and also the Cold War

Cold war rhetoric conquered the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator man F. Kennedy and also Vice chairman Richard M. Nixon both pledged to strengthen American army forces and also promised a hard stance against the Soviet Union and also international communism. Kennedy warned of the Soviet"s growing arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles and also pledged to revitalize American nuclear forces. He also criticized the Eisenhower management for permit the establishment of a pro-Soviet government in Cuba.

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

The just of Pigs

Before his inauguration, JFK was briefed top top a arrangement drafted during the Eisenhower administration to train Cuban exiles for an invasion of their homeland. The plan anticipated that assistance from the Cuban people and also perhaps even aspects of the Cuban military would cause the fall of Castro and the facility of a non-communist federal government friendly come the unified States.

Kennedy authorized the operation and also some 1,400 exiles landed at Cuba"s bay of Pigs on April 17. The whole force was either eliminated or captured, and also Kennedy took full responsibility because that 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 key points the conversation in between President Kennedy and Khrushchev in ~ their very first lunch meeting.) Kennedy was surprised through Khrushchev"s combative tone throughout the summit. In ~ one point, Khrushchev threatened to cut off Allied access come Berlin. The Soviet leader pointed out the Lenin tranquility Medals he was wearing, and Kennedy answered, "I hope you keep them." just two month later, Khrushchev notified the building of the Berlin wall surface to stop the overwhelming of east Germans right into West Germany.

As a an outcome of this threatening developments, Kennedy ordered comprehensive increases in American intercontinental ballistic missile forces. The also included five new army divisions and also increased the nation"s air power and also military reserves. The Soviets on the other hand resumed nuclear testing and President Kennedy responded by reluctantly reactivating American exam in beforehand 1962.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

In the summer the 1962, Khrushchev reached a secret agreement v the Cuban government to supply nuclear missiles capable of protecting the island versus another US-sponsored invasion. In mid-October, American spy plane photographed the missile website under construction. Kennedy responded by place a naval blockade, i m sorry he referred to as a "quarantine," around Cuba. He also demanded the removed of the missiles and the devastation of the sites. Recognizing that the crisis could easily escalate right into nuclear war, Khrushchev lastly agreed to eliminate the missiles in return because that an American pledge not to reinvade Cuba. However the finish of Cuban Missile dilemm did little to ease the stress of the Cold War. The Soviet leader made decision to commit whatever resources were forced for upgrading the Soviet atom strike force. His decision caused a major escalation that the nuclear eight race.

In June 1963, chairman Kennedy speak at the American University start in Washington, DC. The urged american to critically reexamine Cold battle stereotypes and also myths and called because that a strategy of peace that would certainly make the civilization safe because that diversity. In the final months that the Kennedy presidency Cold war tensions seemed to soften together the limited Nuclear Test half Treaty was negotiated and signed. In addition, Washington and Moscow established a direct line of communication known as the "Hotline" to help reduce the possibility of war by miscalculation.


In might 1961, JFK had actually authorized sending 500 Special forces troops and also military advisers to assist the government of southern Vietnam. They joined 700 Americans already sent by the Eisenhower administration. In February 1962, the chairman sent an additional 12,000 armed forces advisers to assistance the south Vietnamese army. By at an early stage November 1963, the number of US army advisers had actually reached 16,000.

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Even together the military commitment in Vietnam grew, JFK said an interviewer, "In the final analysis, that is their war. They space the persons who have to win it or lose it. We can aid them, we can provide them equipment, we deserve to send our males out there as advisers, yet they need to win it—the human being of Vietnam versus the Communists. . . . Yet I don"t agree with those that say we must withdraw. That would certainly be a good mistake. . . . do this initiative to safeguard Europe. Currently Europe is fairly secure. We likewise have to participate—we might not favor it—in the defense of Asia." In the final weeks of his life, JFK wrestled v the have to decide the future the the United says commitment in Vietnam—and very likely had actually not made a last decision prior to his death.