International Relations Since 1945

Cold War

International Relations after 1945 revision – quick links

Podcast LinkContent Description

The Origins of the Cold War

The relationship between the USA and the USSR following the Second World War. Includes Stalin’s control of eastern Europe, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Aid, Berlin Blockade.

Hungary 1956 & Czechoslovakia 1968

The revolts in Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968. Details of the two uprisings are given in overview, and then the two events are assessed for similarities and differences.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Castro’s Cuba, the U2 photos and the missile bases, Kennedy’s choices, and the eventual resolution of the crisis.

American Involvement in Vietnam

The reasons for the USA’s involvement in Vietnam, the way the war was fought, and how and why America pulled out.

Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

Solidarity, Gorbachev, and the collapse of Soviet control over Eastern Europe.

The origins of the Cold War

This podcast aims to look at three key areas – why the alliance between the USA and the USSR broke down in 1945, how Stalin take control of eastern Europe in 1945 and America’s reaction to it, and the consequences of the Berlin Blockade.

The podcast opens with a short explanation of the deteriorating relationship between the USA and the USSR through the Second World War.  It goes on to present an overview of the two major Allied conferences – Yalta and Potsdam – and outlines the key agreements and disagreements that emerged from them.

Opening with an extract from Churchill’s famous Iron Curtain speech, the second part of this episode explores the way in which Stalin extended Soviet control over eastern Europe to establish a ‘buffer zone’ of communist states around the USSR.  It then goes on to detail the USA’s response in terms of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.  Examples are given of each.

The third section of the podcast focuses on the Berlin Blockade of 1948-9.  It begins with the background of the divided Germany after the Second World War.  An explanation is then given of how Berlin became further divided between the communist and non-communist zones leading to Stalin launching the Berlin Blockade.  The Allied ‘air lift’ is then described.

The episode finishes with some exam tips on how to answer a question about who was to blame for the Cold War in a balanced way.

          

Yalta Conference

Brief introduction to the Yalta Conference

Attended by the “Big Three” Allied leaders, the conference saw United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet to discuss the government of post-war Europe.

The origins of the Cold War: Yalta and Potsdam

This video presents an explanation of the start of the Cold War. The end of WW2 presented the Allies with the problem of what would happen to liberated Nazi territory. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill met at Yalta in 1945 to discuss these issues. At Potsdam later that year the leaders of the USA (which was now led by Truman), Britain (under Atlee) and the USSR met again.

Trinity nuclear test

Brief account of USA’s first ever nuclear test in the Manhattan Project

The 16th July 1945 marked the start of the atomic age when the USA detonated the first nuclear bomb under the codename ‘Trinity’.

Atomic Explosion

History of the Atomic Bomb 1945-49

A short film outlining the early history of the atomic bomb, from dropping ‘Little Boy’ on Hiroshima in 1945 to the creation of an atomic bomb by the USSR in 1949.

Bombing of Hiroshima

A short account of the bombing of Hiroshima

On the 6th August 1945, the USA dropped an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima from the B-29 aircraft Enola Gay.

Byrnes, Truman and Leahy

Truman and his advisors: different opinions of the atomic bomb

This short clip is taken from the BBC’s Curriculum Bites and offers a good overview of the different opinions about the use of the A-bomb in 1945.

Bombing of Hiroshima

Interpretations of why the USA dropped the atomic bomb on Japan

This video presents historical interpretations of why America chose to drop nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It also explains how it affected relations between the USA and the USSR.

Iron Curtain speech

Churchill and the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech

On the 5th March 1946, Winston Churchill described the post-war division of Europe as an “iron curtain” in his “Sinews of Peace” address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.