*** war and social upheaval: The Cold War country trends Europe

The Cold War: Country Trends--Europe

Commuist East Germany
Figure 1.-- The Cold War was in reality the first truly global struggle. It involved every country in the world, even the country's that remained neutral. World War II had been fought around the world in many remote countries. But often the local population were passive observers. The Cold War involved the local populations in very real ways. Even so the heart of the Cold War struggle beginning with the Berlin Air Lift and ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall was the future of Germany. Here a young East German carries the DDR flag on the regime's annual anniversary celebration.

The Cold War in its essence was a struggle between the Soviet Union and America, primarily over the future of Europe. Stalin had attempted to divide Europe with Hitler. With after World War II with German power eliminated, Stalin had an opportunity never available to even the most ambitious Tsar to dominate Europe. His first move was to deny democratic choice to the people of Eastern Europe who had been occupied by the Red army. This enabled Stalin to establish a compliant Eastern European empire. Stalin also attempted to subvert Western Europe by desguising Soviet expansionism by uplifting Communist ideology. Large numbers of people in Western Europe believed in or were influenced by Marxist thought. Unfortunarely for the Soviets, their conduct in Eastern Europe combined with the economic engine of market capitalism, convinced the people of Western Europe to reject Communism. America's European allies played critical roles in the Cold War, but without America, Western Europe could not have resisted the Red Army and Soviet domination after World War II. Germany with its powerful economy was the key Europe. And Soviet befavior in Germany essentially immunized the Germans from Communism. The Americans showed with the Berlin Air Lift that they would stand with the West Germans and other West European states to resist Communism. The subsequent West German Economic Miracle convinced the vast majority of East Germans came to see their government and Communism as an oppressive regime condeming them to failure. Soviet fear of Germany made it immpossible for the East Germans to question Communism. The Berlin Wall was part of this focus on Germany. It becamne, however. a symbol of Communist failure and oppression. Popular rejection of Communism did occur elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain. And because of its geographic location, Poland became the epicenter for the Cold War. For without a compliant Communist Poland, a Communist East German regime even with Soviet support was untenable. Unfortunately for the Soviets, Poland proved the most difficult Eastern European satellite country to control. Developments in other European countries are important, but the Cold war was largely fought over Germany. It began and ended in Berlin. And Poland played a critical role in undercutting the East German regime and with it Soviet dominastion of Eastern Europe.


The Germans, after the Italian surreder to the Allies in World War II, occupied Albania (1943). The resistance to the Italian and German occupation during World War II came primarily from Communist Partisan forces led by Enver Hoxha. Reverses in the East and West forced the Germams to withdraw from the Balkans (1944). Hoxa and the Partisans were the only organized military force in Albania. Thus Hoxa in the wake of the German withdrawl became head of an Albanian government. The Communisrs declared a people's republic (1946). The Communists confiscated private land holdings and nationalized the country's limited industries. Hoxha proved to be a paranoid renegade in Stalin's post-War Eastern European empire. Hoxha made Albania into one the most reclusive and repressive countries in the world. Albania before the War had been a relatively poor area of Europe. Under Hoxha it became even poorer. Marshal Tito and the much stronger Yugoslav Army was in a position to control Albania. When Yugoslavia left the Soviet bloc in 1948, Albania broke its ties with that country and became first an ally of the Soviet Union. This essentially protected him from a possible Yugoslav invasion. Hoxha joined the Soviet-controlled Warsaw Pact when it was formed (1955). Albania under Hoxa was throughly Stalinist. The most renowned modern Albanian author is Ismail Kadare. He was once asked if he could be described an Albanian Solzhenitsyn. Kadare replied, "dissidence was a position no one could occupy, even for a few days, without facing the firing squad. On the other hand, my books themselves constitute a very obvious form of resistance." Hoxha subsequently broke with the Soviets a Chinese ally when the two Communist superpowers split (1961). China's primary advantage in Hoxa's eyes was thst it was far away. Ties with China were severed in 1978. Hoxa proved to be the longest serving (ruleig is perhaps more accurate t his death in 1985 Hoxha was the longest-serving head of a Communist country. Albania was a poor country before World War II. Hoxa's Communist economic policies made it even poorer. He turned Albania into a hermit kingdom. Under Hoxa and Communism the economy became a disaster. Even commecial relations with neigboring countries with discouraged. Vast amounts of money were spent on pointless military projects preparing for an invasion that never came. Concrete pill boxes still litter the countryside. He maintained a policy of isolation until he died (1985). His principal achievement was leavibng the country desperately poor--the porest in Europe. His successor was Ramiz Alia who slowly began to moderate Albania's isolation and reengage with Europe. Alia established diplomatic relations with many countries. Albania began to particvipate in Balkan affairs. By this time, however, Communism in Eastern Europe had begun to lose power. The process accelerated after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). After decades of disaterous Communist rule, Albania was an ecomonic basket case. Once Communist police state border controls were lifted, thousands of Albanians fled accross the Adriatic to Italy seeking jobs (August 1991). The Italians returned most of them to Albania. Sali Berisha, a heart surgeon, was elected Albania's first non-Communist president since World War II (April 1992). In perhaps the last chapter of the Cold war, Serbia conducted ethnic cleansing military operations in Kosovo (a Serbian province) driving Kosovars (ethnic Albanians) out of Kosovo into Albania (1999). More than a million Kosovars were displaced. After American-led NATO actions, the Serbs withdrew from Kosovo and the Kosovars were able to return to their homes.


NAZI Gernmany annexed Austria in the Anchsluss just before World War II (1938). The action was wildly popular both in Austria and Germany. Thus during World War II, Austria was a part of Germany and Austrians served in the German Army. In the final months of the War, the Red Army entered Austria from the east (Hungary) and seized Vienna which is close to the eastern border with Czechoslovakia and Hungary (1945). The Americans entered Austria from the south (Italy) and the north (Bavaria). The Allies treated Austria as an Axis nation, separating it from Germany and dividing it into occupation zones. Vienna in the Soviet zone was like Berlin divided into occuption zones. The three occupation zones of the Western Allies (America, Britain, and France), as in Germany were eventually combined. Austria did not rever as fast as Germany after the war. A major problem wa socialist policies implemnted in the soviet Zone. And Austrian leaders in the Western zones did not embrace capitalism as vigorously as the leaders in West Germany. After Stalin's death in the brief thaw in East-West relations and before the Hungarian Revolution, the Soviets agreed to withdraw from Austria. The State Treaty established Austria as a neutral nation along the lines of Switzerland (1955). The new Austrian Government moved to normalize relations with neighboring countries. Austria like Switzerland did not participate in European unification. Austria was the only neutral country along the Cold War Iron Curtain, although Yugoslavia to the south was ambiguous. Vienna became the location of Cold War diplomatic intrigue. Austria emerged on the diplomatic stage when it tried to play a co-leading role in the group of neutral and non-allied countries (1970s). This movement gradually became a plantform for antt-Western propaganda andcneaningless left-wing posturing. Austrian policy thus evedntually gravitated toward a more meaningfulnengagement with Europe (1980s). Austria after World War I suffered economically because it was cut off from the traditional markets of the vast Hapsburg eastern lands. After World War II, Austria adjusted to being a small country, developing a vibrant hy economy with high social standards and high value industries. The sjkall market problem was solved by joining the European Union. This had been prevented by the 1955 State Treaty. After the end of the Cold War, Austria began to negotiate entry in the EU (1989) and becane a full member (1995).


Belarus was a Soviet Reoublic during the Cold war. Most of what is now Belarus was eastern Poland during World War II, an area that Stalin coveted in part because it like most of Poland had been part if the Tsarist Empire. Belarus was located at the center of what one author called the World war II 'Bloodlands'. Hitler and Stalin set out to alter the ethnic composition of Belarus. As Hitler's ally following the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact, Stalin invaded Poland (1939). He seized what was then eastern-Poland, much of wat is now Belarus. The Soviets began deporting ethnic Poles east where many perished. The Germans who subsequently invaded and ruthlessy murdered the area's substantial Jewish population (1941). Belarus became the center of anti-German partisan operations during the war. Large areas of the country-side were laid waist and depopulatd. Stalin after driving out the Germans began deporting Poles again, but this time west to Soviet controlled Poland. It was part of Stalin;s overall policy of Rusification. He also set to work on the Belarus economy. Belarus was a largely rural area. Most Belarusans were peasant farmers. Before the War, 80 percent of the population lived in rural areas and worked on farms. [Vakar, p. 17.] Stalin initiated a rapid process of urbanization and industrialization. As before the War in othr Soviet areas, the Government neglected rural areas, some of which actually became wastelands. This actually was a process begun during the German occupation as part of anti-partisan operations. Factories appeared in the cities. The cities appeared to prosper, however, they were poorly run and unprofitable. They could only operate in a planned economywhen managers provided raw material without any concern as to costs and inficeny. This became all too apparent after the Cold War when the soviet Union collapsed (1991). Meanwhile people in the countyside lived in abject povery.


Belgium had counted on neutrality to protect itself from war. And twice this led to brutal German occupations and if the Germans had won the War national dismemberment. Based on these experiences, most Belgians wre no longer prone to gamble gtheir coubntry's future on the elusive lure of neutrality. Belgium was liberated by American, British, and Canadian forces (1944). The United States promoted the idea of European unity as part of the Marshall Plan after the War. The Western European countries participated. Stalin would not permit his Eastern European Empire to do so. The Belgian industrial plant emerged largely undamaged. The heaviest fighting in World war II occurred in the lightly populated Ardennes (1944). Thus Belgium recovered from the War quicker than many other countries. Belgium was a strong supporter of European integration as was likely by a highly industrialized small nation. European unity began with Coal and Steel Community proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman as a step in preventing further war between France and Germany (1950). It was enacted by the Treaty of Rome signed by the core Continental countries (1951). Belgium particioated in BENELUX (1958). Belgium supported the process that would leadd to the European Economic Comminity and eventually the European Union. As Stalin tightened his grip on Eastern Europe and increasingly threatened Western Europe, once neutral Belgium became founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Communists flexed their musle on the monarchy and the retirn of Leopold III, but wee unable to affct the overwealming desire to join in a collective security system backed by the United states. Belgium participated in the Unitd States effort to dave South Korea from a North Korean invasion (1950). Belgium granted indeprndence to the Conngo without any real preparation (1960). This created conditions that led to instability througghout central Africa during the Cold War. As with the rest of Western Europe, critism of the United States increased as a result of the Vietnam War. Belgian trade unions always had strong Communist influence and many Belgians began to see the United States in a less favorable light. Majority support for NATO, however, continued. Belgian politics at the same time became dominated by the country's ethnic divide between Waloons and Flemish. This ethnic issue toppeked several governments and eclipsed Cold War issues.


Hitler had forced Bulgarian to join the Axis, but the Bulgarians adamently refused to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Red Army reached Bulgaroa (1944), the Bulgarians withdrew from the Axis and declared war on Germanyh on the Allied side. A new coalition goverrnment was formed in Sofia--the Fatherland Front which included the Communists. Initially the Communists, Bulgarian Workers' Party (BWP), took only a minority role in the government. Characteristically the BWP insisted on the Ministry of Interior, meaning that they controlled the police. The BWP had been excluded from power, thus they did not share in the blame attached to the old political parties for brining Bulgaria into the War. Thus membership in the Bulgarian Workers' Party (BWP) expanded substantially. The BWP moved to establish control over important state institutions (the army, the media, and civil service). The BWP also expanded its influence in local Fatherland Front inits. The Allied Control Commission in Bulgaria was controlled by the Soviets and associated the BWP. People who resisted the BWP were arrested. The U.S. and Britain, through the ACC, attempted to stop the BWP from turning Bulgaria from a multiparty democracy into a Soviet-style dictatorship (People's republic). The Red Army, NKVD, and BWP controlled Interior Ministry effectively controlled Bulgaria. The Allies did have the peace negotiations a a slender influence. The Soviets were, however, in xcontrol of the political process. Bulgaria was presented a peace treaty which was signed February 10, 1947. After this the Allies no longer had any influence in Bulgaria. The BWP proceeded to proclaime the People's Republic. The BWP was led by Georgi Dimitrov. (A leading Agrarian Party leader had the same name. A referendum was held on the monarchy (September 1946). The result was the abolition of the monarchy. A new constitution wasafopted (December 1947). It declared Bulgaria to be a People's Republic. The Fatherland Front presented a unified list of candidates (1946) They received 3.0 million votes. The opposition garnered 1.2 million vote. The Bugarian People's Republic proved to be a slavish Soviet satellite during the Cold War. Unlike the other satellite countries in the Soviet Empire, the NKVD/KGB had no problem managing their Bulgarian puppet regime.


Cyprus became indeoendent during te dcolonization process (1960). Problems almost immediately developed beteen the Greek and Turkish erhnic communities. There were also Cold War complicatiions. The Cold War was raging at the time Cyprus becane indeopendent. , although the Berlin Wall acted to defuse the most volitale hot point (1961). The wotld, however, was in a flux with decolonization. There were other problem spots, including the China, Congo, Cuba, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and other countries. Cyprus had some strategic importance in the eastern Mediterranean. which is why the British occupied the island in the first place. Cyprus was an important istening base for America and Britain. The two Cold War allies could monitor Soviet nuclear-missile testing in central Asia. The British even after Cypriot independence maintained an air-force garrison on the Akrotiri base that had nuclear weapons.


The Soviets enginered a coup in Czechoslovakia (February 1948). Czechoslovakia was the last Eastern European country occupied by the Soviets that had any semblance of a democratic government. Stalin was not interested in bridge building. He wanted a reliable, compliant Czechoslovakia like the other satellite states of Eastern Europe. The Communists armed their supporters and staged street demonstragtions. They were supported by th police because the Ministry of the Interior was in the hands of the Communists. The army might have supoorted the Government if President Benes had decided to resist, but he believed that Soviet troops would intervene. Czecholslovakia at the time was almost entire surounded by Soviet satellites or Soviet occupied eastern Germanya nd Austria. He therefore yielded to the Communists and the country soon had a Stalinist Government. The Soviet takeover of Czecheslovakia in 1948 had many unintended consequences for Stalin. After the 20th Party Congress (1956), the capricious nature of Stalinist terror was regularized, but Czechoslovakia and the other Soviet Eastern Europeans satellites contunued to be governed as a police state, strictly controlling people's lives. Fear gradually diminished and social and artistic freedoms increased in Czechoslovakia during the 1960s. This led to increasing discussion of political freedom. The Prague Spring (Pražské jaro) refers to a brief period of political reform and liberalization began in Czechoslovakia (1968). Czech Communistl leader Alexander Dubcek who came to power January 5, 1968 initiated a series of liberal reforms. Dubchek replaced hard-line leader Antonin Novotny as First Secretary of the Czech Communist Party. In the end, the Soviet settled the debate--with Red Army tanks. The Prague Spring ended with and the invasion of 650,000 Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops (August 20, 1968). The period following the Prague Spring and Soviet invasion is known as the period of "normalization". The Soviets reinstalled the hard liners in power. They acted as apologists for the Soviet invasion. Any opposition to the reintroduction of Communist orthodoxy was quashed. The political, social, and economic life of the country stagnated. The first inkling of opposition to the Communist orthodoxy was Charter 77. More than 250 human rights activists signed the Charter 77 manifesto (January 1, 1977). They criticized the Communist government for failing to implement human rights provisions in several different commitments, including the United Nations \Charter an the Czechoslvakian constitution. Charter 77 was unsucessful in changing the nture of the Czech Communist government, but gradually police state tactics were softened, allowing a degree of discent and discussion as long as it was not to public. Gorbechov's reforms in the Sviet Union had repercussions in the Soviet Eastern European satellites. Communist leaders attempted to maintain Communist orthodoxy through police state actions. The Communist regimes were, however, clearly crumbling when Gorbechov signalled that the Red Army would not be used to keep the regimes in power. This essentially undercut the regimes because they had little domestic support. The Czech communist police violently broke up a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration and brutally beat many student participants (November 17, 1989). Charter 77 and other groups united to create the Civic Forum. The popular support afforded the Civic Forum was such that the Czechoslavkian Communist Party, with virtually no popular support, essentially collapsed. Husak and party chief Milos Jakes resigned (December 1989). Havel was elected President (December 29). The transition was a starteling transformation and occured along with similar changes in East Germany. The lack of violence resulted in it being named the Velvet Revolution.


Denmark was invaded and occupied by NAZI Germany with virtually no resitance during World War II (1940). The Danes came through the War and NAZI occupation without major the massive destruction or mortalities experienced by other coutries. The reason was that the Danes did not resist and were ethic Nordics, genetic material woo the Germans hoped to incrporate in the Greater Reich. This was in sharp contrast to the nearby Baltics ad Poland. The Anglo American northern frce sut the Red Army off from the Jutland Peninsula. As a result, the Danes were able to restablish their parlimentary democracy and unlike Eastern Europe, the Soviets were unable to install a people's republic. Denmark was as able to accept received U.S. Marshall Pan aid for post-War reconstruction and development. Stalin ordered the Eastern-Europen satellites not to accept Marshll Plan aid. Denmark signed the Treaty leadng to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1949). This was a military alliance based on collective defence. This was a departure in Danish policy. Denmark like te etherlands remained neutral in World War I and tried to do the same in World War II. While th German occupation was relatiely 'benign', but terible enough to convince the Danes that neutrality was no protection from totalitarianism. Most Danes saw the military threat from the Soviet Union. Imprtant circles in Denmark including academia and left-wing parties were against joining NATO and wanted to retain the country's neutrality and the full horror of Soviet rulewas not yet fully understood. Denmark had only limited military capabilities to add to NATO, but its strategic loation made it an important part of NATO.


The Soviet seized and annexed independent Estnoia at the onset of World war II (1940). Estonia and the other Baltic Republics had been part of the Tsarist Empire. The resulting NKVD rule of terror brought arrests, shootings, and mass deportations. Stlin also prmoted the emigration of ethnic Russians to promote the acceptance of Soviet rule. Soviet rule resulting in the subsequent NAZI invaders being receved as liberators (1941). The Red Army drove the Germans from the country (1944). Estonia thus spent the Cold war as a part of the Soviet Union. Small Estonia could had no way of esisting the immense power of the Soviet Union. The Stalinist terror of 1940-41 had, however, succeeded in convincing most Estonians that they wanted no part of Communism or Russian/Soviet control. In addition, their georaphic positin at the outer edge of the Soviet Union and linguistic similaritie with the Finns provided them a windw to the West unlike any where else in te Soviet Empire. Estonia was thus a kind of Western Trojan Horse. And the relatively recent Soviet control meant that Communism was never as well established as the Soviet Russian heartland. It is this no accident that overt resistance o Soviet control first appeared in Estonia. For the Estonians it came just in time. The Estonins were about to become a minority in their on country.


Stalin after signing the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler first invaded Poland (September 1939). His next target was Finland (November 1939). The Finns contrary to Stalin's expectations fought and proved a tough adversary. In the end the Soviets annexed Finnish borderlands, but the Finns remaiined independent. They joined the NAZIs in the invasion of the Soviet Union, butvrestricted theor participation to recovering Finnish territory. They eventually withfrew from the alliance with the NAZIs and had to turn more territory over to the Soviets. The Finns managed to maintain their independence and persued neutral policies during the Cold war. The Soviets accept this--a process which became known as Finlandization. The Finns were allowed to control their domestic policies as long as they accepted a degree of Soviet influence in their foreign policy. The Finns thus did not paricipate in the Marshal Plan or join NATO (1948-49). They benefited, however, because of NATO blockading furher Soviet control in Europe. This left space for both Austrian, Finnish and Swedish neutrality. Of the three, the Soviets exercized more contol over Finland. Finland did not at first pThis meant that for nearly two decades, the Finns did not participate in the American-led post-War European economic recovery. Finland declined to participate in the American Marshal Plan, fearing Soviet reaction. This was part of what became known as 'Finlandization', but the Finns manged to retain their democracy. The Soviet Union offered an alternative to the Marshall plan--the Molotov Plan. The Soviets claimed to offer subsidies and trade preferences. It eventually evolved into the COMECON. In actuality the Soviet economic relationship developed into subsidies to the Soviets. The Finns had to export to the Soviets what might have earned them valuble hard currency in the West. In return they got low-quality, high cost Soviet manufactured goods. The result was that the Swedish and Finnish economies that had become cloesly linked developed very differently. Sweden like the rest of Western Europe boomed. Finns endured low wages and high unemploymnt (1950s-60s). The kinds of control the Soviets maintained in Fnland are similar to what Russia today is seeking to acheve in Ukraine, although they tolerated Finnish democracy. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union was Finland able to join the European Union (1995).


The Cold War at its heart was a struggle for the soul of Germany. Here Stalin had undercut Soviet Cold War prosopects by the Red Army orgy of rape at the end of the War and reparations imposed in its eastern occupation zone and culminated by a brazen effort to seize West Berlin leading to the Allied Airlift. There were, however, two countries which might have voted in the Communists--France and Italy. This would have undercut American efforts to defend Western Europe. France was saved from going Communist by General DeGualle and the Free French Movement. The Cold War is often seen as a bi-polar struggle between East and West. The reality was much more complicated. France had been humbled by the Germans in World War II. After the War, France attempted resurrect its colonial empire. This led to two failed colonial wars (Vietnam and Algeria). In search of an indendent defense capability, France under General De Gaulle built an atomic bomb--the Force de Frappe. France also pulled out the NATO combined command. French leaders as a cornerstone of its foreign policy sought to develop a new relationship with Germany and out of that effort the European Union has grown helping to fashion a new Europe. The collapse of the Soviet threat has resulted in major shifts in the European-American relationship.


The Red Army victory in thecCivil War allowed the Bolshevicks to supress the Georgian nationalist movement. Some 50,000 people were executed (1921–24). With Stalin's rise to power, Soviet supression was even more severe, despite the fact that Stalin himself was Georgian. Stalin used the NKVD to purge some 150,000 people. He brought fellow Georgian to Moscow to purge NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov, who oversaw the Great Purge. Tge oil of the Caucauses was one of Hitler's primary objectives when he ordered the World War II Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union (1941). German armies reached the Caycauses, but were stopped short of Georgia when Hitler with drew firces from army group A to reinforce the ultimately failed drive in Stalingrad. Some 0.7 million fought in the War and about half died. Geirgia contributed oil, textiles, and munitions. Some Georgians sufering from Stalinist suppression joined the Germans in an effort to end Soviet rule abd fought in the Georgian Legion. The brutality of Soviet rule was widely resented throughout the Caucauses, especially by the Muslim population. And there was considrable colaboratiin with the advancing German Army. Stalin during the War acused people of the northern Caucauses (Chechen, Ingush, Karachay and the Balkarian) with colaboration and deported them en masse to Central Asia and Siberia. Stalin as further punishment abolished their respective autonomous republics. The Georgian SSR was temprarily granted some of their territory (1944-57). Nationalist expression was prohibited. NKVD/KGB brutally supressed all such activity. Stalin's policies appeared to have successfully supressed nationalist thought. And there were demonstratioins in Tbilisi when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced his policy de-Stalinization--a rare demobstration of opposition. Some 100 students were killed (March 9, 1956). Khrushchev's decentralization policy was used by Georgian Communist Party officials to build alocal power base. This allowed for some natiojalist sentiment. At the same time, a small-scale private economy began to develop along side the large official state-owned economy. The official growth rate of the Georgian economy was among the lowest in the Union, but this was because only the state-owned concerns were considered. Economic wealth indicators such as savings levels, rates of car and house ownership were the highest in the Union. Georgia became one of the most economically successful Soviet republics. Corruption was also high, in [art because of all the private economic activity. And educational achievement was also high.


The Cold War was to be won or lost in Germany. Although newspapers headlines followed dramatic events as they occurred around the world, it was in Germany that the outcome of the Cold War was determined. The country was even with deminished borders the powerhouse of Europe. The Red Army and Stalin's ruthlessness early owned settled the matter in the minds of most Germans. The question became moreone of whether America had the determination to support the Germans in the face of the Soviet threat. The Western Allied in 1949 began to allow the Federal Republic of German to administer the Western occupation zones and formally ended ocupation in 1955. The larger and more important economy allowed the FRG to dominate the East German Democratic Republic (DDR). The FRG worked to prevent other countries recognizing the DDR which was effctive through the 1960s. It also meant that the West Germans lost opportunities to pursue potentially beneficial commercial opportunities in Eastrn Europe and the Soviet Union. [Gray] This did not change until Arab countries began recognizing the DDR in the 1970s. By that time, Willy Brandt in the 1960s began his Ostpolitik, to build realtions with Eastern Europe and the United States.


Greece became an early battleground of the Cold War. The struggle for Greece began even before the Germans had wihdrawn. The British after the German withdrawl landed and orevented the partisans from seizing power. Eventually the partisans effort to use their military strength to seize power would lead to the Civil War (1944-49). The deteriorating situation in Greece was one of several contentious issues that were raised at the Potsdam Conference (1945). President Truman was less willing to accomodate Marshall Stalin than President Roosevelt had been. Truman was in fact disturbed by the Stalin's refusal to cooperate, especially in Poland. Difference on the future of Germany surfaced. Stalin was determined to impose heavy reparations on Germany. Stalin for his part accused the British of supporting a reactionary monarchy in Greece and a Fascist regime in Trieste. Greece was devestated by the War. The economy was near collsapse when the Allies arrived and having to fight a war against Soviet-backed guerrillas was beyond its capacity. Britain supported non-Communist forces in Greece against the Soviet-directed Communist guerillas. The combined impact of the cost of World War II and Atlee's Labour Government's socialist policies undermined the British Economy. The British had to retain war-time rationing long after the War ended. The Atlee Government announced it could not continue financial and military aid to the enatteled Greek government (February 24, 1947). At the same time, the communist guerillas were receiving military assistance from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Seeing it importasnt to prevent Greece from falling behind the developing Iron Curtain, President Trumsan decided to act and proclaimed the what has come to be known as the Truman Doctrine (March 12, 1947). He proclaimed thsat "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure." The Soviet Union beginning with its policy in Poland had begun fighting the Cold War before the end of World War II (1944). This was the first mahor American action in the Cold War. It was in essence a declaration of war upon Soviet efforts to subvert democratic governments in Europe. The President backed up the tough language in his speech with massive military and economic assistance to both Greece and Turkey, another country under Soviet pressure.


Control of Hungary after World War II became a contest between two competng versions of Communism. Imre Nagy spent years as a refugee in the Soviet Union. As Minister of Agriculture after the War he introduced a popular land reform program. Hungary had been dominted by large landed estates. Nagy was elected Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament (1947). He gradualy emerged as a leading spokesman for those with a liberal vision of Communism. Prime Minister Mátyás Rákosi dominated Hungary and imposed an increasingly authoritarian regime. Rákosi was one of the brutal dictators that Stalin had imposed on the people of Eastern Europe. Rákosi faithfully carried out orders from Moscow. He conducted a dreadgul purge in Hungary beginning in 1950 and lasting until Stalin died in 1953. In a country of only about 10 million, 1.3 million were targetted , about half of which were arrested. Here I have seen varying estimates. There were 2,350 were exeuted. [Sebestyen] Rákosi was Jewish, even so he joined in Stalin's anti-Semetic campaign. Rákosi brutal rule was questioned from withn the Party and Rákosi purged the Party membership, expelling 200,000 for disloyalty or lack of sufficent loyalty. The death of Stalin and then Khruschev's De-Stalinization profram brought calls for reform in Hungary. A peaceful student protect was fired on by the security police, sparking the Hungarian Revolution.


Iceland maintained very close relations with the Unites States during the Cold War. Iceland accepted a United States offer to take responsibility for the country's defence (1951). This was the first American bilateral defense pact. The United Ststes established a military base at Keflavik which remained there until 2006. Iceland was of some significance in the Cold War because the Soviet Union initiated a major naval building program. The core of the Soviet Navy was its submarine force and potential for seveing North Atlantic trade routes. This led to a little known struggle of the Cold War that went on unseen beneath the surface of the Atlantic. The U.S. Navy responded with an important Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) program. Iceland as in World war II was essentially a floating aircraft carrier satride the North Atlantic trade routes. It also set astride the routes that Soviet submarines had to use to enter the Atantic and return to home ports. Thus the American presence in Iceland afforded the ability to monitor Soviet naval movements in the North Atlantic. The defense relation was controversial in Iceland. Some Icelanders saw the need for defense assistance and associated economic benefits. Other resented the foreign military presence. [Johannesson] The Soviets were mindful of the importasnce of Iceland. The issue of fishing limits ecploded (1952). Iceland restricted Britishing fishing in coastal waters. The British reponded with a ban on fish imports from Iceland--a major blow to a country dependent on fish exports. The Soviets interested in prying the Icelanders away from its allies, offered to trade oil for fish. The Soviets overnight became one of the largest buyers of Icelandic fish.


Ireland during the Cold War as in World War II pursued a policy of neutrality. This was largely a function of its bitter struggle for indeoendence from Britain. Irelandrefused to join the NATo alliance. The reason given was the continued British control of Northern Ireland. It was a basically a real nutrality, not like the veiled pro-Soviet neutrality of the Non-Alligned Group. Ireland wanted to negotiate a separate alliance with the United Syates largely so they could qualify for Marshal Plan aid. America was not interested. There was some limited security cooperation with America. The Irish Government began some secret transmission of information to the CIA (1955). This secret liason was established by Liam Cosgrave via a Mr Cram and the Irish embassy in London. It only became known decades later. , and was not revealed until December 2007. ["Ex Trinity student ..."] Taoiseach (Primeminister) Seán Lemass during the Cunban Missle Crisis authorised searches of aircraft that stopped over at Shannon en route between Warsaw Pact countries and Cuba (1962). The purpose was to interdict 'warlike material'. Irish Defence Forces contingents have seen active service as part of United Nations peacekeeping activities. The first mission was the Congo Crisis (early-60s). They also articipated in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the Lebanon (UNIFIL).


Italy was a founding member of the Axis. America and Britain occupied Italy, but the oocupation took on a different character than the occupation of Germany. Italy joined the Allies in the war against Germany. Most Italians looked on the Americans as lineratots which was not the case in Germany. After the War, America and Britain sought to stop the spread of Communism and Soviet expansion. The Soviets even before the end of the War began seizing control of the countries they occupied. The Allies were unable to do much in the countries occupied by the Red army. Italy was a different matter. The Communist Party in Italy as in other countries in Western Europe had gained considerable stature by their role in the Resistance. This meant that the Party might gain power in democratic elections. King Victor Emmanuel III formally abdicated (May 1946). His son became King Umberto II, but the the country decided by referndum for a republic (June 1946). De Gasperi formed Italy's first post-War government (May 1946). He excluded the Communists and their allies such as the the Socialists, from his government. The Vatican and the conservative south supported him as did the United States. The Cold War began to influence Italian politics soon after the War. visited the United States (January 1947). He received commitments for $150 million in aid. The next parlimentary elections were scheduled for 1948. This would prove to be the best chance for the Communists to seize power. They had the prestige from the Resistance, economic conditions were still poor, and the attoricities of Soviet Communism werec still not widely known. U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall made it clkear that aid would be cancelled if the Communists and Socialists won the election. The first election campaign of the new Republic was heated. The United States provided covert support in the way of financing for the Christian Democrats and their Liberal, Social Democratic, and Republican allies. The Christian Democrats ran an anti-Communist campaign. They helped organize civic committees throughout the country to get the anti-Communist vote to the poll. An estimate 92 percent of Italian voters turned out (April 1948). The Christian Democrats with Church backing won more than 48 percent of the vote and more than half the seats in Parliament. The Communist-Socialist alliance won 31 percent of the vote. They polled majorities only in the “Red Belt” (the central regions of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Umbria). The former Resistance fighters had hoped to win the election and establish a left-wing government. It is unclear if they would have moved to establish a police state as in Easter Europe. The relations with Moscow are unclear. After the elections, Communist Party leader Togliatti, was shot by a ight-wing fanati on the steps of Parliament (July 1948). Togliatti managed to survive, but the assassination attempt set off strikes and demonstrations all over the country. Communist activists in the north (especially Genoa and Tuscany) went beyond strikes abd protests seemed to launching a revolution. They comandered the street car ines and took over key communication centers. Togliatti and Communist Party leaders tried to calm the situation. Gradually the violence subsided. The Christian Democrats accused the Communists of attempting to overthrow a democratic government. This charge dogges the Communist Party for years. Many Communists involved in the Ressistance had retauned their weapons after the War. Many had an idealized image of revolution. The Communist bleadership pursued a theme of an “Italian road to socialism”. They insisted that they rejected violent insurrection and promoted progressive reforms. The labor movement in Italy fractured along the same lines as the political parties. There were three different labor federations. The “red” (Communist and Socialist) federation was the Italian General Confederation of Labor. The “white” (Catholic and Christian Democratic) federation was the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions. There was also a moderate Italian Labour Union. The United States led the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949). Italy was a charter member of NATO. As in the rest of Western Europe, a central factor in the Cold War would be the post-War economic success of Italy with a capitalist economy.


Stalin seized Latvia and the other Baltic republic as part of his military alliance with history. This began soon after the NAZIS and Soviets invaded Poland, launching World war II (1939). The Soviets annexed LKatvi (1940) During the brutal Soviet occupation (1940-41), The NKVD arrested, killed, and deported thousands of Latvians. The deportees included whole families, msny of whom perished in Central Asia and Siberia. As a result, the Germans when they invaded were often treated as liberators (1941). After terrible Whermacht losses in the East, the Red Army reached Latvia (1944) and after heavy fighting reimposed Soviet rule. Large numbers of Latvians fought on both sides in the War and losses were heavy. For a time anti-Soviets groups attempted to resist the Red army and NKVD with guerilla operations. Stalin renewed the assault on ethnic Latvians begun before the German invasion. Some 120,000 Latvians were imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag or deported to Central Asia and Siberia. Some escape arrest and joined the 'Forest Brothers'. Another 130,000 fled to the West. The NKVD ordered by Stalin began a carefully planned Russification effort througout the Baltics (January 29, 1949). One part of this effort was the massive Beachcomber operation, deporting 43,000 independent farmers (kulaks) and Latvian nationalists to Siberia (March 25, 1949). Another part of the Russification effort was limiting the use of Latvian and other Baltic languages. The Soviets forced Soviet-style collectivization and economic planning on the Latvians. Because Latvia and the other Baltics had developed infrastructure and educated specialists, Soviet authorities decoded that some of the Soviet Union's most advanced manufacturing factories were to be based in Latvia--despite the potebtially vulnerable western location. Food and oil processing plants were also built in Latvia. Despite collectivization, Latvia and the other Baltics had more efficent agricultural economies because collectivation was so recentky introduced. The process of Ressification continued with Rissian encourafed to emigrate. This resulted in a shift in the ethnic ballance, considerbly reducing the proportin of ethnic Latvians in the country, although Ltvians were still a majority. Any expression of Latvian nationalism was severly restricted ny the NKVD/KGB. This did not change until Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began political and economic reforms in Soviet Union called glasnost and Perestroika. This significantly expanded the limits of free speech and political duscourse. Gorbachev's thinking as that open discussion would geberate moderate reforms in the Soviet systems. Instead some of the most important voices were from previously supressed nationalists, not only in Latvia, but thriughout the Soviet Union. Latvian nationlists held large demonstrations were held in Riga at the Freedom Monument- symbol of independence (summer 1987). Gorbechev refused to allow the KGB to prevent or break up the demobstration. A national movement coalescing in the Popular Front of Latvia (summer 1988). Soviet authorities began to change long-standing policies. Soviet officials allowed the Latvian SSR, along with the other Baltic Republics, greater autonomy. The pre-Soviet national flag of Latvia was once more tolerated and actually replaced the Soviet Latvian flag as the couuntry's official flag (1990). Pro-independence Latvian Popular Front candidates won a two-thirds majority in the Supreme Council in fully democratic elections (March 1990).


The Red Army seized control of Lithuania (1940). The new Soviet installed puppet government obediently set about applying the Stalin's orders. Cointrol was in the hands of the NKVD. and the NKVD pursued a terrifying regime od arrests and deportations. Part of the Soviet plan was to organize the emogration of ethnic Russians into the country. Many of those arrested were shot, others disappeared into the Gulag. As a result, many Lithuanians saw the NAZIs as liberators when they invaded (June 1941). The German crossed the border as past of Operation Barbarossa (June 1941) and began a region of terror of their own. As part of Generalplan Ost, ethic Lithuninns were slated for death, but immediate killing progranms focused in Jews. The Red Army reimposed Soviet ruke (1944). Stalin promoted Russian emmigration to Lithuania to change the ethnic ballance. The Soviet seizure of Lithuania and the other Baltic states was never recognized by the United States and other Western European countries. The Red Army began to retake Poland and Lithuania with Operation Bagearion (July 1944). After reoccupying the Baltic states, the Soviets implemented a program of sovietization, which involved extensive industrialisation. The Soviets carried out massive deportations of ethnic Lituanians to stamp out all resistance to collectivisation or support of partisans. [81] Baltic partisans, such as the Forest Brothers, continued to resist Soviet rule through armed struggle for several years, but were finally hunted down an executed. The Soviets had previously carried out mass deportations (1940–41), but the secon wave of deportations (1944–55) were even larger greater. Some 245,000 Lithuanians were deported, about the number deported from the three Baltic republic. The conditions of the deportations were harsh. Some 20,000 Lithuanians including 5,000 children perished. [International Commission] Considerably more ethnic Lithuanians died after World War II than during it. [Snyder, p. 80-83.] The effort the change the economic compositiion of the Baltic states cintinued even after the death of Stalin, but the forced deportations were disontinued soom after his death. Soviet authorities attempted, but failed to totally suppress Lithuania's national identity. Underground dissident groups were active in the post-Era after Stalin's death when the draconia NKVS operations were suspended. They began publishing periodicals and catholic literature.[Vasiliauskaitė] While the Soviets cointinued to destroy monuments an artifacts of the indeenbdence era, Lithuanians nationalists quitely wiorked to promote national culture, preserved historical memory, instigated patriotism with the idea of a future independence. Here a major break was the Helsiki Accirds (1970s). Dissidents established the Lithuanian Freedom League under Antanas Terleckas. The Helsinki Group demanded that Lithuania's occupation be recognised illegal and the NAZ-Soviet pact be condemned. [Lietuvos Helsinkio grupė] The KGB continued to supress nationalist movenment, but the Helsinki Accords provided a degree of international cover.


With the Red Army victory in the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks founded the Soviet Uniin (1922). An early Soviet action in the borderlands was to establish o establish the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast on the Soviet territiry east of the Dniester River in the Ukrainian SSR. Soon after they upgraded the new oblast to the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian ASSR/MASSR). The population at the time was only 30 percent ethnic Romanian. Moldolva became a pawn in the struggle between the NAZIs and Soviets. One provision of the secret protocol to the NAZI-Soviet (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Non-Agression Pact !939) dealt with the delimiting the NAZI and Soviet spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. The Germans expressed no interest in Romanian Bessarabia after the Soviet's expressed an interest. This thus consigned Bessarabia to the Soviet sphere. After the fall of France removed any threat of Allied response, the Soviet Government sdelivered an ultimatum to the Romanian ambassador in Moscow (June 26, 1940). The Soviet Government demanded Romania immediately cede not only Bessarabia, but also northern Bukovina. At the same time, the Soviets began mocing into thge then indepebdent Baltic states. Germany at the time was focused on occupying France anbd forcing the British to also surrender. They thus wanted a stable situation in the East. While Bessarabia and Bukovina were of no interest. Tge rest of Romania was. Here the only important oil fields available to the Germanswas located. Control of the Ploesti oil fields was vital to the German war effort. To avoid a conflict, the Germans urged Romania King Carol II to acced to the oviet demands. Immediately the Red Army crossed the Dniester and occupied Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and the Hertza region (June 28). The local population had almost no opportunity to flee. The Soviets established the The Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldovan SSR) (August 2, 1940). Basically they combined the Newly annexed Romanian territory with the already existing Moldavian MASSR. The NKVD almost immediately began deportations of individuls and groups they considered politically unreliable. As in the dporttions from Poland abd the Baltics, many of the depoertees perished. When the Germans launched Barbarossa (June 1941), the Romanians joined in an enacted a terrible revenge, mostly on Jews who had nothing to do on the Soviet annexation. The Red Army reached northern Moldavia and Transnistria (April 1944). The Soviets restablished their rule and entered the rest of Romania as well (August 1944). After the War, a severe drought and Government demands of absurdly excessive grain deliveries resulted in a massive famine in the southwestern areas of the Soviet Union (1946). Unlike other Soviet engineered famines, fairly detailed statistics exist. Some 216,000 people died of starvation and related causes. Another 350,000 cases of dystrophy were also reportd in just the Moldavian SSR. The Paris Peace Treaty signed set the Romanian-Soviet border to the one imposed by the Soviet Union in June 1940 (February 1947). As in the Ukraine and Baltics, anti-Communist armed resistance groups operated active in Moldova. The NKVD and subsequently later the MGB effectively suppressed the resistance to Soviet rule. Moldova thus during the Cold War was the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. As in other non-Russian ethnic Soviet areas, the NKVD suprssed a range of social and economic groups. NKVD actions included executiond, imprisonment and deported to Siberia and Central Asia. Those targeted included businessmen, anti-Communists, Christians, and individuals with ties to the Romanian government and social order. The Soviet Government also began a process of Russification, encouraging ethnic Russians and Ukranians to move into Moldova. a common Soviet tactic in areas inhabited by politicall less reliable non-Russians.


The Dutch dicarded the pre-War policy of neutrality as a result of the NAZI World War II occupation. Many Dutch believed before the War that war itself was the ultimate evil. The Belgian Wirld War I exoerience to the south was not enough to shake that attuitide. The NAZI occupation did irevocanly change Dutch attitudes. After the War that attutude was gone and the Dutch came to see that military defense was necessary in a world with agressor nations committed to political and and social programs in sharp contrast to liberal democratic traditions. The Netherlands was a charter member of the United Nations. It joined with Belgium and Luxembourg to form Benelux, a customs union that went into effect in 1948. The Dutch participated in the Cold War. The Dutch also joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) created to stop Soviert expansion.


Norway like Belgium, the Netherlands. and Denmark were small countries that expected their World War I-style neutrality to protect them when World War II broke out. The German invasions and occupation radically changed their attitides toward neutrality. This as the Cold war broke out, all four were thus interested in American military protection and joined NATO. Norway was the only NATO member other than Turkey that bordered on the Soviet Union. As a result, at the height of the Cold ar there were considerablke trebsions between Norway and the Soviet Union. The Norwegians had not entirely divested their neutral orientation. The Norwgians were geenerally unwilling to permit Amerucan military bases in Norway and gave assurances to the Soviet Government that sounded more like Finlandization neutrality than actual deterence (1949). The initial Norwegian policy was essentially to accept American NATO security guarantees withoutout paying a real role in collective security, butvgradually increased its commiment. The Norwegian Government conducted nuclear preparation drills. The Norwegian Government buit a sophiticated military defence facility at Herdla, on Askøy Island near Bergen. It is one of four clandestine bases built during the Cold War. Frosty relations with the Soviets continued throughout the Cold war. NATO was concerned about Norway's air defenses. The United Stated built an important radar and electronics intel facility at Vadsø in northern Norway close to the Soviet border. Norway managed to recruit a double agent in Czechoslovakia.


Poland because of its geographic location became the epicenter for the Cold War. For without a compliant Communist Poland, a Communist East German regime was untenable. Unfortunately for the Soviets, Poland proved the most difficult Eastern European satellite country to control--in sharp contrast to a slavishly compliant East Germany. It is interesting to specuale as to just why Poland proved so difficult for the Soviets to dominate. Poland was the only Eastern European satellite that had until the 18th century been a major European power. With the Polish partitions of the late-18th century, the Polish nation disappeared from the maps of Europe. Poland proved difficult fot the Tsarist regime to control. What did not disappear was the Polish Catholic Church which became the repository for Polish nationaism for three centuries. Poland was able to emerge from Russian control after World waR I, but was invaded and carved up by the NAZIs and their Soviet ally (1939). Stalin spoke derivisely of the Vatican, asking how many divisions the pope commanded. In fact, it was a Polish pope in the 1980s that would play a critical role in the unraveling of the Soviet empire that Stalin constructed in Eastern Europe.


Portugal had a Fascist like government dominated by António de Oliveira Salazar during World War II. He was stidently ant-Communist. His Esado Nuevo was closely asociated with the Catholic Church. The Salazar regime did little to modernize the country or aleviate the endemic poverty of the Portuguese people. He did unlike most of the rest of Europe predict that Britain would survive and assisted by ameica, defeat the Germans. He thus adopteda neutral status as well as the historic security treaty with Britain. Some historias believe that Portugal's neutrality was a factor in keeping Spain neutral. Salazar severly repressed the Communist Party before, during, and after the War. While Neutral, Salazar maintained relations with the Axis and sold them critical materials, most importantly tungsten. As the war began to go against Germany, Portugal leaned increasingly toward the allies. Salazar allowed the British to lease facilities on the strategically placed Azores. After the war, the Soviet Union targeted Portugal because of its anti-Communism and links with the NAZIs. This kept Portugal out of the United Nations (until 1955). The Unites States had built a new air base on the Azores (Terceira) (1945). It is currently known as Lajes Field. It became a joint American and Portuguese venture. Portugal became a founding member of NATO (1948). Lajes support United States and Portuguese military operations. During the Cold War, the United States Navy P-3 Orion anti-submarine squadrons patrolled the North Atlantic for Soviet submarines and surface spy vessels. UnlikeWorld war II, Portugal could not remain neutral in the Cold War, given the regime's strident anti-Communism and colonial empire. Both Portugal and its Empire were extridinarly backward economically. As de-Colonization pursued, Porugal's colonies became a target of international condemnation. Any indepedence movements develope in each colony (angola, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique) and were supported by the Soviets and Chines. Portugal's NATO allies offered no support. India seized Gao (1961). The United states attempted to convince Portugal to disengage, but salazar was instrangigent--clining to a vague essentially mystical commitment to Portugal's 'Africn vocation' and 'Lusitnian space'. [(van) Dijk, p. 709.] Salazar died (1970). The Portuguese Government continued to give priority to maintaing the Empire, rimarily located in Africa. This changed with the left-wing military coup (1974). The military, exhausted by the seemingly endless colonial wars staged a coup (1974). The coup was stagedby lower and middle-ranking officers the Movimento das orças Armadas (Armed Forces Mivement--MFA). This resulted in the Portuguese exit from Africa and civil wars between guerilla groups with Soviet/Cuban and Western sponsors. It also created a near crisis in NATO because of the MFa's left-wing bent.


The Red Army occupied Romania (autumn 1944). There was relatively little support for Communism in Romania. but as the Soviets controlled the country and arrested individuals who critivised their presence, the Communists quickly seized control of the country. The pro-Communist government of Petru Groza seized control. took over power. The World War II dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu was tried and executed (June 1946). The Government forcef King Michael I to abdicate. Groza oversaw a rigidly Stalinist regime and any one expressing any opposition to the regime was arrested. Many were shot without trials. Romania became a compliant Soviet sattelite. The Government instituted Soviet-style policies: nationalisation and collectivisation. The state took over the operation of all industrial entreprises, mines, banks and transport facilities and operated them on the basis of a centrally planned economy. The state prepared 5-year plans as part of an industrial development program. The first Five Year Plan was announced (1951). Romania under Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej began to move away from slavishly following Soviet foreign policies (1960s). Nicolae Ceausescu who succeeded him maintained this independent foreign policy. The Romanian Communists, however, did not change domestic policies of state control and industrial development. Romania before World War II had been a largely agrarian country and exporter of natural resources. Communist policies favored the growth of heavy industry resulting in the rapid growth of cities. Ceausescu attempted to accelerate Romania's industrial development and a number of grandiose show-case projects. Major investments were made in industry, extensuvely funded by Western loans. The problem was that much of the industrial development was not well planned or administered. Despite the investment the Communist-era industrial concerbs were inefficent and uncompetitive. Often the cost of production exceeded what the output could be sold for if buyers could be found aT all. In addition virtually no importance was assigned to pollution from the new factories. The inefficency of Romanian industry made it impossible for Romania to pay off its accumulating national debt by exporting. Ceausescu's answer to Romania's growing economic problems was a program of national austerity (1980s). The standard of living for the Romanian people fell precipitously. Romania was forced to export what did sell--its agricultural production and coal and oil. But because of inattention, the agricultural sector had declined. There was thus less to export and a much larger urban production to feed. The result was domestic food and fuel shortages. The Securitate (the Communist secret police) vigorously supressed discent. Ceausescu ignored the growing problems and instead sponsored megalomaniac construction projects in an effort to give his regime an appearance of success. There was also an effort to create a leadership cult for Ceausescu. His writings were published in guge print runs. Despite the national austerity ptogram, Ceausescu, his family, and close supporters lived in luxury. Ceausescu ruled Romania with an iron fist for 25 years. One Romanian historian describes the period, "Ceausescu's regime slowly dragged the Romanians into an economic, social and moral deadlock. All these years were dominated by lies, corruption, terror, violation of human rights, and isolation from the Western world." After Gorbechev made it clear that the Soviet Union would not use force in Eastern Europe, Communist regimes began to collapse (1989). Ceausescu attempted to resist the process. A disturbance in a crowd Ceausescu was speaking to sparked a nation-wide uprising (December 1989). Ceausescu fate was sealed when the Romanian army joined the national uprising. Ceausescu fled Bucarest. He was soon arrested. The new provisional government tried and executed him and his wife (December 25, 1989).

Soviet Union

The Cold War did not need to have been fought. No nation had territorial claims on the Soviet Union. And after two horrific world wars, the Europeans were determined to build a future without further wars. But just as Hitler was determined to fight another War after Germany's defeat in World War I, Stalin amasing a vast empire in Eastern Europe was determined to wage a struggle with the West. Stalin had both territorial and ideological motives. He had previously split Europe with Hitler a part of the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact. He expected after Germany and the Allies fought a protracted war to be able to add Western Europe to his Eastern European empire. This proved to be an enormous mistake, but the Soviet Union was saved by the enormous sacrifice of the Russian people. After the war he first secured the Eastern Europen empire that he had hoped for as part of the arrangenent with Hitler. Then he plotted to occupy Western Europe as well. The NAZI-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was partof Stalin's masterplan to conquer Eastern and Western Europe. He believed that Hitler would invade France and the resulting battles between the Gernans and Allies (British and French) would so weaken these countries that the Red Army could occupy Western Europe as well as Eastern Europe that Hitler had coceded to Stalin in the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact. The collapse of the French Army, however, upset Stalin's plans and within a year Hitler without fear of a two-front war attacked the Soviet Union. Now with the end of World war II Stalin had a new opportunity to conquer Western Europe. German was defeated and no longer an obstacle. Red Army victories enabled Stalin to unleash the NKVD in Eastern and Central Europe and to create Peope's Republics, a uponim for Communist police states. Important European countries had strong Communist parties that he controlled. It is unclear just how important Communist ideology as opposed to Russian nationalism was to him. But this was another factor in the Cold War. Only fear of the United States ensconced in Western Germany prevented Stalin from opening a new military campaign. A crash program aided by spies in the West helped the Soviets develop nuclear weapons (1949). President Truman's courageous stand in Germany and especially Berlin convinced Stalin that Europe backed by America was too tough a target. So within months of the first Soviet atmomic bomb, Stalin launched an Asian adventure, equipping Kil Il-sung's North Korea with modern weapons and authorizing an invasion of South Korea. When this failed some authors believe that he was considering a new war in Europe now that he lso had nuclear weapons. The Dictors' Plot was part of his calculation in launching another war. Only his death oprevented a major action against Soviet Jews and another world war (1953). Subsequent Soviet leders held back from direct war with the West, meaning primarily the United States, although differences over Berlin and Cuba came very close to causing just such a war (1960s). Subsequent Soviet leaders were more cautious. Being firm believers in Communism they decided to win the Cold War with their 'superior' econimic system. The failire of that system came as a shock not only to the Soviet leadership, but also to leaders throughout the Third World like Fidel Castro who had adopted the Soviet model, convinced it was more effient than free market capitalism.


The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) is commonly seen as the dress rehersal for World War II. NAZI and Fascist assistance played a major role in Franco's victory. Franco at the onset of the War provided some assistance to the NAZIs, but althhough pressed by Hitler did not join the Axis orenter the War. Nor did he participae in the Holocaust. Thousands of Jews were able to escape the Holocaust through Spain. Franco did cooperate with the NAZI war effort and committed one Spanish diviision to the Eastern Front. Franco considered entering the War, but held back. This hesitation given the ideological orientation can be explained by Franco's pragmatism and his determination to act principally in Spanish interests. And when the War began to shift against the NAZIs, Franco reduced the level of militaru cooperation. After the War and before the Cold war lines were clearly drawn, it was unclear what the Allies would do about Spain and its quazi-Fasscist regime. In the end, Franco's Spain was shunned, but not treated like an defeated Axis country. Spain was strongly anti-Communist and thus a natural Cold warally for the West. Spain was, however, not allowed to join the United Nations abd NATO for some time. Gradually policies toward Spain softened. Spain was allowed to join both the United Nations and NATO. American air bases in Spain became part of the military barrier to Soviet aggression even before the country joined NATO. Spain's late entry into NATO was due to NATO member states objecting to a formal treaty relations with the tainted Franco regime, both because of the assoiciation with the NAZIs and its undemocratic character. After the death of Franco, leftist political parties blocked the Spanish Governments NATO membership application for some time. Ecoing a pattern all too common, left-wing parties while resisting Fascist totalitarianism seem all to willing to turn a blind eye toward Communist totalitarianism. Spain was eventually allowed to join NATO in the final decade of the Cold War (1982).


Sweden was neutral in both World War I and II, an unlike most other neutrals, manged to maintain their neutrality and were not invaded. The country like Switzerland was surrounded by NAZI occupied or allied countries and for a time expected a NAZI invasion as was the fate of neighboring Norway. Based on internet conversations with some Swedes, it is not fully understood that without the Allied victory, Sweden would have been annexed by NAZI Germant which wanted both the iron ore mines and tge prople they regarded as valuable genetic material. Had the soviets won the War unchecked by the western Allies, Sweden would have come another Soviet EasterN European satellite. While neutral, Sweden played an important role in the NAZI war effort. Most importantly, much of the iron ore feeding the NAZI war industries came from Swedish mines. The Swedes also allowed German military units involved in the campaign against the Soviet Union to pass thrugh Swedish territory. Unlike Switerland, the Swedes never tuurned Jews over to the Germans. After World War II, the Cold War developed and again Sweden pursued a neutral course. And as part of that policy, Sweden maintained a strong military including a modern air force. Of course Sweden by itself no matter how well armed could never have resisted a major Soviet attack, especially as the country never devloped nuclear weapons. And while publically neutral, Swedish military planning was premised on assistance from the West in case of Soviet attack. Essentially, Sweden like European NATO countries benefitted from the American secyrity umbrella. There was a nuclear weapons program, but eventually terminatd as the costs were so high. This was a major problem in the overall Swedish defense effort. And there were secret American military commitments. Thus while not joining NATO, Sweden's independence was possible only because of NATO and the American commitment to Western Europe. Swedish sources insist that they also sought to maintain their independence by building a strong, prosperous society at home. This of course was fine, but meaningless in case of a Soviet military invasion. And fear of the Soviets led to the secret military and itelligence cooperation with the West. Hunts for Soviet submarines in the Baltic were part of Swedish Cold War history as well as hiding areas for American submarines. The Cold War was not just about military secutity concerns. Economics were also an important matter which would rather than the militry decided the outcome of the Cold War. Sweden like other countries with market-based economies, substantially out performed the Soviets and their Eastern Ruropean sattlites and their Commnunist planned economies. Sweden was, however, a small country and did not have a sufficently large market that would have enabled its econmy to develop without access to the foreign markets. As Europe began to integrate, Sweden initually joined the British organized Outter-Seven to compete with the Inner-Six (Common Market). Eventually the Outer-Seven including Britain joined the Common Market countries which forged the European Union (EU). Sweden joined the EU (1995).



United Kingdom

Britain was not one of the two superpowers during the Cold War. Nonetheless, it was one of the important players. Britain at the onset of World War II was one of the world's great powers. The NAZI victories over the British and French radically changed the world power balance. The British almost sucumbed to the German Western Offensive (May 1940). The D-Day invasion (June 1944) was the last time Britain participated in world events on an equal footing with the United States. With the defeat of the Germans and Japanese, it was clear that it would be the two super-powers, the United States and the Soviet Union with their massive industrial and scientific capabilities that would determine the future direction of Europe and other countries. Britain's role in the Cold War should not be underestimated. It was former Prime Minister Winston Chutchill that had warned Britain about Hitler abd the NAZIs also sound the warning about Stalin and the Soviets. first articulated the developing struggle in a speech delivered at President Truman's invitaion at Fulton College in Independence, Missouri. Churchill's electoral defeat after VE Day meant that Britain's initial Cold war policy would be led by the Labour Party--a Socialist party. While it was Americxan power that shielded Western Europe from Soviet domination, the British contribution was important if not vital. From the beginning the cornerstone of NATO was Anglo-Military military cooperation. Here Primeminister Bevin played a critical role in the creation of NATO. One author maintains East-West tension, was often conditioned, and in its early stages accelerated, by Britain's continuing world-wide interests and influence. [Greenwood] Britain because of its Empire played an important role in decloninization which became part of the spread of the Cold War to the Third World. One unfortunate part of this process ws part of the Btitish legacy in countries like India was the disasteus socialist economic policies. Britain had built its economy on free market capitalism, but newly indepenent leadrs like Nehru too to heart the socilist poliies tht the Labour Party was implementing in Britain after the War. The leading political figures in post-War Britain's postwar history (Churchill, Bevin, Eden, Macmillan and Thatcher) played important roles in the Cold War. And just as Churchill plated a role in the opening phase of the Cold War, Primeminister Thtcher played a key role in the closing phase. The "... sudden and quite unexpected collapse of Communism in the autumn of 1989 was a triumphant vindication of all that Mrs. Thatcher had stood for and striven to bring about since 1975. Whether you call it Thatcherism or some other name , the fall of the Berlin Wall, the liberation of the Soviet Empire and the desintegration within two years of the Soviet Union itself represented the ultimate victory for her philosophy and her -- and Ronald Reagan's -- military strategy. The overiding context of all her politics for forty years had been the Cold War; and now suddenly the West had won it." [Campbell]


The Allies during World War II shifted support from the Royalist Chetniks to Tito's Soviet-backed Partisans. A great deal of weaponry and supplies were delivered to the Partisans. Yugoslavia was the only country liberated by the resistance movement during the War. Despite Westen aid , after the NAZI surrender (May 1945), Tito set up a Stalinist-style peope's republic in Yugoslavia. He took a hard-line attitude toward the West. He instituted a police state, thousands died in concentration camps, and democratic parties were suppressed. British and American planes were shot down along the border. While Tito set up a Stalinist police state, it was different than in the rest of Eastern Europe because he was not a puppet installed by Stalin. Gradually Tito became uneasy about Stalin's efforts to gain control in Yugoslavia as he had done in the rest of Eastern Europe. There were also economic problems. The Soviets as they were doing in the rest of the East Bloc were deivering low quality goods at very high pfrices. Yugoslav state-owned companies were unable to obtain needed equipment. Officials in other East Bloc countries did not dare complain about such matters. Stalin was increasingly concerned about Tito's independence. Stalin did not permit discesion in the Soviet Union or within the Eact Bloc satellite countries. Hr saw Tito's independence at setting a bad example. Red Army units were distpacted to the borer. For awhile it looked like a Soviet invasion would occur. Soviet propaganda charged that Tito wash "pursuing an unfriendly policy to the Soviet Union" abd called Tito a Trostkyite. This was virtually the worst thing you could say about someone in the Soviet Emipre. (Stalin had Trosty killed--an ice pick through the skull. This of course was not lost on Tito. Stalin cut off trade with Yugoslavia and incouraged dissent with the Yugoslav Communist Party. The Soviets had the Yugoslav Communist Party expelled from the Cominform. Tito turned to the West. He accepted U.S. Marshall Plan assistance (1950). Tito also founded the Non-Aligned Movement.


Campbell, John. The Iron Lady: (2012), 576p.

(van) Dijk, Rudd, William Glenn Gray, Svetlana Savranskaya, Jeremi Suri, and Qiang Zhai. Eds. Encyclopedia of the Cold war (Routledge. 2013).

Gray, William Glenn. Germany's Cold War: The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-69 (University of North Carolina), 251p.

Greenwood, Sean. Britain and the Cold War, 1945-91.

Hudson, G.F. The Hard and Bitter Peace: World Politics Since 1945 (Praeger: New York, 1967), 319p.

Johannesson, Gudni Th. "U.S.-Icelandic defense relations during and after the Cold War," Naval War College Review (Autumn 2004).

Sebestyen, Victor. Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (Pantheon, 2006), 340p.

Vakar, Nicholas P. Belorussia: The Making of a Nation (Harvard University Press. 1956).

"Ex Trinity student was CIA's Irish link, records show," Irish Times (December 28, 2007).

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