International Relations-PSC 201
THE COLD WAR AND ITS IMPACTS (CONTINUED)
Cold War in Europe
The October Revolution of 1917 had sowed the seeds of Communism in Europe. The Soviet Union's
ambitions were checked by the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany.
The Soviets agreed to join France, Britain and the US to check the power of the fascists during WWII. At
the end of WWII however, tensions grew between the former Allies over dividing the spoils of war. The
Soviets were reluctant to grant Poland independence and did not want to vacate their troops from eastern
Germany. Communism spread to Poland and led to East Germany.
The Cold War intensified in the next few years and the Soviets managed to install Communist regimes in
Bulgaria, Hungary and in Romania. Thereafter, Albania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia also came under
the influence of the Soviets and Finland's coalition government was also dominated by the Communists.
Europe was thus divided into two blocks: the Eastern block controlled by the Soviets and the Western
block backed by the US. The post-WWII outbreak of conflict in Greece between the government and the
Communist guerillas was a turning point in US foreign policy, when President Truman vowed to check the
Soviet influence and to actively protect its foreign interests abroad.
The Truman Doctrine was meant to fill the vacuum in power politics created by the weakening of Britain so
as to prevent the global domination of Communism.
The Truman Doctrine offered direct assistance to Greece and to Turkey to check Communist influence and
bypassed even the UN mechanism (a trend which was to reoccur in later years).
The Marshal Plan (named after the US Secretary of Defense) was an extension of the Truman Doctrine to
protect (western) Europe from economic collapse and communist domination.
Aid under the Marshal Plan was used to reconstruct war ravaged Europe and it became the basis for lending
for development to newly independent countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Expansion of the Cold War Arena
Communism also spread to China with the initial backing of Soviets. The disposed Chiang Kai Sek
government was exiled to Formosa, which is now Taiwan. The spread of Communism to China also lent
support to North Korea, where the US backed the South Koreans. Soviet support to the North Vietnamese
led to more serious US engagement in the conflict, due to the fear that Cambodia, Laos, Burma and
Thailand could also become Communist. Despite sending up to 600,000 troops to Vietnam by 1965, the
North Vietnamese won the battle with support of China and the Soviets.
In the M.E, the US provided active support to the Israelis but the Soviets were not able to influence the ME
conflict to its advantage. In Latin America, the Soviet influence in Cuban and Nicaragua made the US very
nervous and it supported brutal regimes like that of Pinochet in Chile to prevent its fall to communist
The Congo, Ghana and Gold Coast got military and financial aid from the Soviets, which also led the US to
take counter measures in Africa. In South Asia, besides Indian leaning towards the Soviet and the Pakistani
inclination towards the US, the invasion of Afghanistan became a major Cold War arena for a proxy war
between the Superpowers.
International Relations-PSC 201
Exiled: expelled, being thrown out of a country
Counter measures: measures taken in reaction to those of the opponent
Fascist: totalitarian, dictatorial (for e.g. Italy and Germany around the WWII period)
Bypass: to sideline or ignore
Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various
principals highlighted in this hand-out:
Chapter 6 in `"A Study of International Relations" by Dr. Sultan Khan
In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following web-pages for this lecture, which
provide useful and interesting information:
The Cold War
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