Cold War

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____ NATO and__ Warsaw Pact in the Cold War

The Cold War is the name given to the conflict between the Western powers under the leadership of the United States of America and the so-called Eastern Bloc under the leadership of the Soviet Union , which they fought from 1947 to 1989 with almost all means. There was never a direct military conflict between the superpowers USA, the Soviet Union and their respective military blocs, but there were proxy wars such as the Korean War , Vietnam War and the war in Afghanistan . The Cold War emerged as a systemic confrontation between capitalism and communism and determined foreign and security policy worldwide in the second half of the 20th century. For decades political, economic, technical and military efforts were made on both sides to curb or reduce the influence of the other camp worldwide. The term East-West conflict is also used as a synonym for this era of the 20th century , in which the different phases of the constantly changing relationships between the blocks are better taken into account.

The conflict assumed an extremely threatening character three times, so that the possibility of a “hot” war between the superpowers was approaching: in the Berlin blockade in 1948/49, in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and in the dispute over medium-range missiles from 1979 to 1982/83. Between these phases there were periods with less conflict intensity or relaxation.

Wherever they feared the transition of a state to the opposing camp, the USA and its allies interfered with covert operations by their secret services through the organization or protection of military coups , such as Operation Ajax in Iran , the US intervention in Chile , Guatemala or in other countries in South and Central America. The Soviet Union used its armed forces to suppress a popular uprising in the GDR (June 17, 1953) and to occupy Hungary (1956) and the CSSR (1968) in order to eliminate the ruling governments in these two countries. With reference to the Monroe Doctrine practiced by the USA since the 19th century , the Brezhnev Doctrine , developed in 1968, was intended to justify such action by the Soviet Union within the “ socialist camp ” for the future as well.

The competition between the two systems was also evident in the spread of ideological propaganda by the superpowers and their allies, in their arms race , in economic development and in developments in the fields of culture, sport, science and technology, such as the elaborate space programs on both sides.

The duration of the Cold War is generally considered to be the post-war period from 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In his memoirs, Mikhail Gorbachev describes the summit meeting in December 1989 with US President George Bush, who replaced Ronald Reagan, in Malta as “the beginning of the end of the Cold War ".

Concept history

The term Cold War dates back to 1945. The English author George Orwell used it in the essay You and the Atomic Bomb on October 19, 1945, in the general sense of a confrontation between superpowers under the threat of nuclear war. In Observer "After the Moscow conference load-December, Russia began to make a 'cold war' on Britain and the British Empire: from 10 March 1946 Orwell wrote.

In addition, reference is made to the American financier and longtime political advisor Bernard Baruch , who used the term in 1947 in a speech written for him by the journalist Herbert Swope. Baruch and Swope were members of the US delegation to the “Commission for the Study of International Control of Atomic Energy” of the UN . The term was finally popularized by the journalist Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) through the book The Cold War . When asked about the origin of the term, Lippmann referred to the French expression la guerre froide from the 1930s. In the years that followed, “Cold War” became a political catchphrase , not just for the nuclear confrontation between the superpowers. The confrontation between two states or alliances of states is also called this if it is characterized by combat measures below the threshold of open military action against one another. These combat measures include military alliances , arms races , diplomatic and political pressure through to threats of war, economic pressure through embargoes , military intervention in regional conflicts outside of their own territories, ideological infiltration, promotion of coups and coups in the other “camp”, international propaganda for Disadvantage of the counterparty and to your own advantage.


Not all European countries belonged to one of the two military alliances.
Economically, however, they were mostly linked to one side.


The Cold War was the height of a world conflict that began in 1917 with the Russian October Revolution under Lenin's leadership, brought about the Russian Civil War , in which Western forces participated on the counter-revolutionary side, and which ended in the 1920s and 1930s through the export of revolution by the Communists International had continued. The anti-Hitler coalition since 1941 temporarily covered the conflict. In the post-war period, the different goals and interests of the superpowers emerged in the reorganization of the world and led to the division of Europe into two hostile power blocs with associated military alliances: NATO and the Warsaw Pact states . Its expansion largely corresponded to the military presence of the US troops and the Red Army in 1945. In Southeast Asia , the USA created a similar alliance with SEATO (founded September 8, 1954, dissolved in 1977), which the Soviet Union saw as a provocation.

The starting point of the Cold War is the proclamation of the so-called Truman Doctrine by US President Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947. The background to this was the Iran crisis : In 1945 and 1946 the Soviet Union tried the provinces inhabited by Kurds and Azeris Split off Iran in order to establish pro-Soviet states there. Josef Stalin also planned to install a communist government in Tehran . In the spring of 1946, Truman threatened Stalin with serious consequences, including the use of nuclear weapons , if he did not withdraw his troops from Iran. For Truman, there was no question that the Soviet Union's control of Iranian oil would shift the balance of power in the world and massively damage the emerging Western economy.

Bipolar world

The alliance systems stood up against each other and for decades shaped a bipolar world with incompatible ideologies and political concepts that defined themselves against each other. From the western perspective, freedom and democracy stood against totalitarian dictatorship and the market economy against planned economy . From the Eastern perspective, the all-round development of the socialist personality led by the state party in the transition to communism stood against the so-called wolf law of systematic exploitation in imperialist capitalism .

arms race

The superpowers avoided open warfare against each other with the use of weapons, but since the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki they have engaged in an unprecedented, including nuclear, arms race . The mutual threat of nuclear war under the term “ deterrence ” conjured up for the first time the possible self-extinction of humanity (“ overkill ”). The conflict of interest threatened to escalate militarily several times : in the Berlin blockade in 1948, during the Korean War in 1950, when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, and especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, as well as in 1983 during the NATO maneuver Able Archer .

Dialogue and relocation to third countries

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the USA and the USSR regulated the conflict through crisis dialogue and bilateral arms control , but continued the arms race and the struggle for zones of influence unabated, also militarily. The USA was directly involved in the Vietnam War and the Soviet Union in its intervention in Afghanistan with its own troops, while the rival supported the other side with money, weapons, logistics and information. In addition, both superpowers supported numerous civil wars and armed conflicts in Africa , Central and South America , optionally rebel groups against governments they did not like or vice versa.

The United States regards the countries of Central America since the 18th century as their backyard (backyard) ; the Cuban Revolution in 1959 they perceived as a threat (which was confirmed in the Cuban missile crisis in autumn 1962).

The division of Germany as a core element of the political division of Europe

The Cold War was particularly evident in the division of Germany and Europe along the “ Iron Curtain ”, similarly to the division of Korea along the 38th parallel that still exists today . The two German states, founded in 1949, had a particularly precarious relationship to one another until the peaceful revolution in the German Democratic Republic . The Federal Republic of Germany recognized the GDR up to the new Ostpolitik under Chancellor Willy Brandt not as a state and also maintained after the basic treaty in 1972 officially no message, but a Permanent Representation . In contrast, the GDR referred to the Federal Republic as " FRG " and East Berlin as the capital of the GDR , although this violated the four-power status of all of Berlin .

Despite the integration of the two German states into opposing political, military and economic systems, there was a stable link between the Federal Republic and the GDR for over 40 years during the Cold War: intra-German trade (idH). In spite of the ideological contrasts, intra-German trade made possible “a large number of contacts, cooperations, etc. in a divided Germany”. As a result, intra-German trade had a positive effect on the political climate between the two German states. "In contrast to this, in divided Korea , where both states did not develop anything comparable with domestic German trade, the dividing border remained basically insurmountable during the comparison period."

Role of the secret services

Secret service actions such as espionage , covert operations , targeted disinformation and propaganda , sabotage , hostage-taking and even murders of unpopular people characterized the Cold War between the superpowers and their allies. Today we know that the GDR supported terrorist and separatist groups in Western Europe (such as the Ralf Forster group ) logistically and financially.

Proxy Wars in the Third World

In addition, found often in less developed countries so-called proxy wars or "secret wars" instead: So who supported Reagan -Regierung in the 1980s, against the will of the US Congress illegally the war of the Contra rebels against the leftist government of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua . In the Angolan Civil War , groups supported by the USA, Cuba and the Soviet Union faced each other. The CIA also promoted Afghan warlords through friendly services . In the 1970s and 1980s in particular, the United States supported numerous right-wing military dictatorships in South America - some of which it had helped to power through the overthrow of left-wing governments - and helped them to violently suppress the left-wing opposition in so-called dirty wars . The US military also trained death squads in Latin America and other countries and trained them, among other things, in physically undetectable torture methods ( see e.g. School of the Americas ). An example of the effects of this policy is El Salvador , where the US-backed military dictatorship murdered around 40,000 opposition activists in the early 1980s , around 0.8% of the population.

Impact and End

US ICBM (1958)

The arms race drove technological development in civil areas such as space and rocket technology . The development of B and C weapons also created new research fields in biology and chemistry . The Cold War paved the way for today's electronics , computer technology and present-day aircraft construction.

Only with the creeping collapse of the economy in the Eastern bloc and the change of leadership in the Kremlin in 1985 did serious opportunities for military disarmament and political rapprochement of the blocs open up. Mikhail Gorbachev's renunciation of the Brezhnev doctrine made the increasing self-determination of the peoples of Central Eastern Europe possible . This then led to the collapse of the Iron Curtain and, as a result, the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and, in 1991, the Soviet Union . That ended the Cold War.

Prehistory 1917 to 1940

In 1917 the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, seized power in large parts of European Russia during the October Revolution. A number of powers, including the USA, tried unsuccessfully with intervention troops to prevent the emergence of a regime that preached the world communist revolution . For this reason, the so-called red fear spread in the USA .

It wasn't until 1933 that the USA recognized the Soviet Union . From 1934 the geopolitically isolated Soviet Union tried to move closer to the European democracies, but this was unsuccessful because of the negative attitude of France and Great Britain .

In order to protect itself against a threat from the German Reich and to be able to implement its own plans to conquer Poland , the Baltic States and Finland , the Soviet leadership concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany, known as the Hitler-Stalin Pact, immediately before the start of the Second World War . During the time when the Soviet Union was Hitler’s ally, it occupied the three Baltic states, pressed Romania off the territories ceded after the First World War and tried to conquer Finland. However, the winter war only enabled the annexation of some of Finland's border areas.

Anti-Hitler coalition and bloc formation

After Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, she switched to the anti-Hitler coalition and fought together with the Western allies against Germany and its allies in Europe; two weeks before the end of the war, she also declared war on Japan . The relationship between Josef Stalin and the then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was relatively relaxed, as Roosevelt had hopes of cooperation after the war. The Soviet Union was supplied with war material ( lend lease agreement ) and strategically supported in the air war .

Yalta Conference 4th – 11th February 1945

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the first cracks in the anti-Hitler coalition became apparent: in view of the emerging Soviet domination in Eastern Europe, Roosevelt rejected concrete agreements with the Soviet Union for the post-war period. Thereupon Stalin changed his course and went more and more to enforce Soviet security interests in the areas he controlled without consulting the Western Allies.

Potsdam Conference July 17 - August 2, 1945

Breaking up of the anti-Hitler coalition

After Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, the anti-Hitler coalition broke up. Under his successor Truman, the goal of the Western powers was to prevent communist expansion in Europe after the victory over the German Empire. When he learned of the successful Trinity test of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 at the Potsdam Conference , he gave the order for the use of the new weapon of mass destruction . The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th were intended to hasten Japan's unconditional surrender . In the opinion of the US historian David Horowitz , the drops were also a targeted demonstration of power to the Soviet Union for the post-war period and were intended to forestall its further advance in East Asia .

Atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945

The fact that massive espionage activities by the Soviet Union in Great Britain, the USA and Canada became known through documents from the cryptographer Igor Gouzenko , who defected on September 5, 1945 , also resulted in a significantly more distant attitude in the West. Since the London Conference , the United States relied politically against the Soviet Union on its economic superiority and on its nuclear weapons monopoly, which existed until August 1949.

US President Harry S. Truman , successor to Roosevelt

Germany's post-war order was controversial in Potsdam. The Potsdam Agreement contained general agreements on the future joint administration of the victorious powers and formulated principles such as demilitarization, denazification and democratization; However, these were interpreted differently depending on the political interests.

Iran crisis

Mutual mistrust grew when the Iran crisis in 1946 and with regard to the political development of Turkey added further sources of conflict. In 1945 and 1946 Stalin attempted to split off the provinces of Iran inhabited by Kurds and Azeris in order to establish pro-Soviet states there. On December 12, 1945, the Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan was proclaimed with Prime Minister Jafar Pishevari at the head of the government. The Pischevaris party, theفرقه دموکرات/ The 'Democratic Party', which was founded on the direct orders of Stalin, began to set up its own state administration. Internal and external security should be ensured by armed militias . On January 22nd, 1946 the Mahabad Republic was founded . Stalin's goal was to bring the oil reserves in northern Iran under Soviet control. Stalin's refusal to set up under the Soviet Anglo invasion in August 1941 in northern Iran invaded Soviet troops after the war withdraw again, led to the first confrontation between the US and the USSR in the newly established Security Council of the United Nations . According to documents from the Iranian military secret service, Stalin planned to set up a communist government in Tehran that would consent to the permanent occupation of Iran by Soviet troops and turn Iran into a pro-Soviet satellite state . Only when President Truman threatened serious consequences, including the use of nuclear weapons, did Stalin give in.

The formation of the Eastern Bloc

As early as 1944, Stalin set up communist governments in the Baltic States, sometimes violently . In Italy and France there were strong communist groups after the Second World War, but they could not rely on the Red Army. Communist regimes came to power in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. In Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Stalin worked towards communist coups that succeeded in 1948. He also tried to include Greece and Turkey in the Soviet sphere of influence. Communist partisans fought in the Greek Civil War against the returned Greek government-in-exile, which was supported by British troops. In relation to Turkey, Stalin made territorial claims to Ardahan and Kars in the Armenian border area, which had belonged to Russia until 1918. The aim of Soviet policy was to create an upstream security sphere in Central Eastern and Eastern Europe, which the US administration responded to with an anti-communist containment policy .

Truman Doctrine

With the Truman Doctrine of 1947, in which the US President announced that he would “support all free peoples who oppose submission by armed minorities or outside pressure”, the United States clearly went on an anti-communist and anti-Soviet course. The reason for this was the situation in Iran, Greece and Turkey, which were not to receive communist regimes . The long telegram of the American diplomat George F. Kennan , who on the basis of his observations in Moscow, rejected any political arrangement with the Soviet Union, had given the impetus for the foreign policy turning demonstrative in the Truman Doctrine .

The Marshall Plan offered all European states, including the Soviet Union, support in rebuilding. The negotiations on this in Paris broke off the latter, however, because the USA provided political and economic framework conditions that were unacceptable for the Soviet Union with its centrally organized economy. The Eastern European states under Soviet rule had to forego American economic aid and were closely tied to the Soviet Union economically.

In its foreign policy, the USA favored the Western European reconstruction and unification process on the basis of private-sector and parliamentary structures. In foreign trade policy , they aimed at open markets and the enforcement of the US dollar as the reserve currency .

On June 20, 1948, the Western Allies carried out a currency reform in their zones of occupation in Germany and in the western sectors of Berlin without consulting the Soviet Union . The Soviet Union viewed this as a breach of the Potsdam Conference resolutions, according to which Germany was to be preserved as a political and economic unit, and responded on June 24, 1948 with the Berlin Blockade , a total economic and trade blockade of Berlin's western sectors. These were to be cut off from the supply of food and fuel in order to force them to come under Soviet control or other political concessions. The West prevented that with the Berlin Airlift . This first climax of the Cold War heightened Western fears of Soviet expansion in Europe.

Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany

In April 1949 the three western zones were united to form the Federal Republic of Germany and the western military alliance NATO was founded. The USSR caught up with the foundation of the German Democratic Republic, which had already been prepared. This sealed the division of Germany and Europe and cemented the bipolar world order . The division also consolidated itself economically with the OEEC, which was founded in 1948 to coordinate the Marshall Plan aid, and with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the west, which existed from 1952, and with the formation of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (COMECON) in East. The most important western-oriented states practiced the COCOM embargo on high technology and armaments against the Eastern bloc states from 1950 .

US rollback strategy against communism

Mao at Stalin's birthday party, December 1949

The Soviet Union also detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949. In China , the communists came to power under Mao Zedong . In the course of this, the USA stepped up its containment policy. They did not recognize the new Chinese government, denied the People's Republic of China membership in the United Nations and supported Japan's development into an anti-communist antithesis. Their binding for the NATO military strategy was based until 1954 on the threat of "massive retaliation" ( massive retaliation ) "in places and means of their own choice" for each unspecified communist expansion attempt. The US was now openly pursuing a roll back policy . H. a pushing back of state communism in Eurasia.

Korean War, Berlin Wall, Congo and Cuba Crisis

First proxy war in Korea

In June 1950, the Cold War in Northeast Asia escalated into the Korean War - a proxy war primarily between the United States, which supported South Korea , and the PRC, which supported North Korea . According to estimates, this war claimed four to five million victims . This was preceded in 1949 by the withdrawal of Soviet troops from North Korea and US troops from South Korea. Both victorious powers of World War II had divided the country along the 38th parallel after the surrender of Japan . Since both the North Korean and the South Korean dictators, Kim Il-sung and Syngman Rhee , sought a violent unification of Korea under their leadership if necessary, there were repeated border violations on both sides in the period that followed. Finally, North Korean troops crossed the border in June 1950 and within a few weeks occupied most of South Korea. The USA then intervened with its own associations, as a result of which the North Koreans were pushed back until November so that only the intervention of unofficial Chinese troops again saved North Korea from US occupation. Soviet pilots with World War II experience on the Chinese side flew attacks against American F-86 "Saber" jets in MiG-15 jet fighters with North Korean emblems .

Because the Soviet Union to the Security Council temporarily the United Nations boycotted , this approved a military intervention in the Korean War. After further loss-making fights without any notable successes by both warring parties, a ceasefire agreement that is still valid today was concluded around three years after the conflict began ( see also North Korea Crisis 2013 ), in which the 38th parallel was anchored as the border between North and South Korea.

Before and during the war, numerous genocide-like massacres of civilians (proven or alleged supporters of communists) were carried out in South Korea . The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Korea attempted to come to terms with the massacres between 2005 and 2010 . Their reports identified serious crimes and human rights violations.

McCarthy era: massive anti-communism in the US

In the United States, anti-communism increased enormously in the early 1950s . The committee for un-American activities , founded in 1938 , has now become the most important control point. Senator Joseph McCarthy chaired the committee to investigate "Anti-American Activities." He systematically tried to track down, interrogate, intimidate and remove from their offices not only communists but also liberal intellectuals as supposed spies and opponents of the system ("McCarthyism"). In 1954 he was finally reprimanded and replaced for his disproportionate behavior.

With the " Stalin Notes " in 1952, the Soviet dictator tried to stop the impending (including military) integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into the West . He offered to unite Germany if it did not belong to a military alliance. At first he did not mention free elections . German politics suspected a disruptive maneuver. In fact, no plans were later found in Soviet archives for the eventuality that the West had accepted the offer. There were only different views as to whether the offer should be ignored (the majority with Adenauer ) or whether one should accept the offer and thereby expose Stalin (the minority, including Kurt Schumacher from the SPD).

In 1955 an offer from the Soviet Union for the final neutralization of Austria was accepted. In contrast to the German case, Austria had an all-Austrian government as early as 1945, and the importance of the Soviet occupation zone in Austria was not comparable to that in Germany.

Rearmament of West Germany and death of Stalin

The West German rearmament of the Federal Republic began with the Blank Office in 1952 , after the Federal Border Police (BGS) had already been founded the previous year . Even when it was founded, the GDR had military units at its head office for training .

When Stalin died on March 5, 1953, there were opportunities to “de-Stalinize” the Soviet Union. In view of the nuclear stalemate and massive domestic political problems, his successor, Khrushchev , embarked on a détente and initiated the policy of “peaceful coexistence ”. The short phase ended with the uprising in the GDR on June 17, 1953 , which demonstrated that the GDR government did not enjoy the trust of its citizens, that free elections had disempowered them and endangered the statehood of the GDR.

Strategy of massive atomic retaliation

In 1954, the Soviet Union drew level with the United States on hydrogen bombs and new aircraft with intercontinental range. This established the so-called balance of terror . From then on, maintaining it determined the relations of the superpowers and also drove the arms race forward. The USA began to set up nuclear-capable artillery and short-range missiles in Western Europe on the soil of the Federal Republic . They adhered to the deterrent doctrine of “massive retaliation” and their monopoly on making decisions on atomic escalation in the “case of defense”.

One consequence of the Paris Treaties of 1955 was open rearmament in the Federal Republic. The establishment of the Bundeswehr as a conventional army integrated into the NATO structure was followed in the same year by the establishment of the Warsaw Pact by the Soviet Union and its satellite states and in 1956 the establishment of the GDR's National People's Army (NVA) from the existing Barracked People's Police (KVP) . In the years that followed , Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss sought in vain to arm the Bundeswehr with nuclear weapons in order to achieve full military equality in the West.

Popular uprising in Hungary

In 1956 there was a popular uprising in Hungary . Several hundred thousand demonstrators, with radio occupations and a general strike, called for democratic elections and a break from the Soviet Union and proclaimed Imre Nagy Prime Minister. When the latter announced its withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact organization, Soviet troops put down the uprising and killed around 20,000 Hungarians. Help from the West, which Radio Free Europe had given hope, did not materialize. The Western powers were simultaneously concerned with the Suez Crisis , which led to the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt's new leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, France, Great Britain and Israel militarily attacking Egypt on October 29, 1956.

In April 1957, an interview with Adenauer made the plans to station nuclear weapons on the soil of the Federal Republic public. The “ Göttingen Manifesto ” by 18 physicists (April 12th) initiated the first broad extra-parliamentary opposition in the Federal Republic: the Fight against Atomic Death movement , which was mainly supported by the SPD, churches and trade unions . She called for the abandonment of nuclear weapons and, in some cases, the withdrawal from NATO.

Troop strength of the NATO member states including contingents from the USA and Canada and the Warsaw Pact states in Europe 1959
The Berlin Wall on Bethaniendamm, 1986

Disarmament plans and Sputnik shock

On October 2, 1957, the Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki surprisingly proposed to the UN General Assembly that the military alliances renounce nuclear weapons and demilitarize all of Central Europe ( Rapacki Plan ). In doing so, he took up proposals from British Prime Minister Anthony Eden ( Eden Plan ) from 1954, which had provided a demilitarized zone on both sides of the Iron Curtain in order to gain experience in the control of disarmament measures. The Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov had developed this idea further. But his proposals demanded the abandonment of nuclear armament by NATO, which at the time was far inferior in the conventional field, while the West demanded the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. When NATO decided to arm itself with nuclear weapons in December 1957 - after the Sputnik shock - the Rapacki plan had failed and the nuclear arms race between the blocs could no longer be stopped. However, the Bundeswehr did not receive its own nuclear weapons.

A meeting in Paris between US President Eisenhower and Khrushchev, planned as a “peace summit” in 1960, failed. Shortly before, a US spy plane had been shot down over the Soviet Union, with the pilot Francis Gary Powers surviving and being captured. The US admitted to observing the Soviet Union in violation of its airspace since 1956. Khrushchev demanded that the president admit that these were "aggressive acts", which Eisenhower refused. In the same year, the USA decided to take the first economic measures against Cuba , as the revolutionary government under Fidel Castro that had ruled there since the beginning of 1959 had taken a socialist course. This was followed by a series of unsuccessful covert operations to overthrow the Castro regime. In addition, the conflict over the leadership role in world communism began between the Soviet Union and the PR China .

construction of the Berlin wall

Since 1958, the Soviet Union had built up massive pressure on Germany policy with the Khrushchev ultimatum , which demanded the withdrawal of the Western powers from their Berlin sectors in order to make Berlin a demilitarized “Free City”. The main reason for this was the increasing number of refugees who left the GDR across the open sector border to West Berlin . After the Western powers let the ultimatum pass without consequences, US President John F. Kennedy formulated "three essentials" in relation to the location of the city, which showed the Soviet side the possibilities and limits of their freedom of action: permanent right to stay and free access for the Western Allies in and to Berlin and West Berliners' right to political self-determination. The Western powers therefore initially did not intervene when the GDR leadership under Walter Ulbricht began barricading the border on August 13, 1961, which culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall . (Ulbricht had expressly denied this intention at a press conference in June 1961. ) This was intended to stop the migration of skilled workers to the West, around 2.6 million people since 1949. State propaganda claimed that the wall was an anti-fascist protective wall . At Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Soviet tanks and US tanks faced each other for a short time. In total, several hundred people had died trying to escape on the inner-German border by 1989 because of the order to shoot . There were seldom incidents involving the use of weapons between the Federal Border Guard and the GDR border troops .

Congo crisis

Areas of power during the 1961 Congo crisis

Between 1960 and 1965, Africa also became a Cold War battleground for the global public during the Congo crisis . On June 30, 1960, the resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo , a country the size of Western Europe, gained independence from Belgium . Joseph Kasavubu became president, the prominent Pan-Africanist and leader of the Congolese independence movement Patrice Lumumba became the young country's first prime minister. Lumumba was unable to hold the young state together, however, because the economy collapsed due to a lack of skilled workers, the army mutinied, the old colonial power Belgium was invaded in autumn 1960 and secessionist efforts in the Katanga province tore the country apart. In particular, the continuous interventions of Belgium, the USA, but also the Soviet Union led to an escalation and between 1961 and 1963 to an international proxy war between the two superpowers and the old colonial power Belgium. Lumumba was eventually deposed and arrested by the military. Although he was able to escape custody briefly, he was arrested again a short time later, handed over to his opponent Moïse Tschombé and then murdered on January 17, 1961. A personal involvement of the CIA and the Belgian secret service was confirmed in 2000. During the crisis, the then Secretary General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld was killed on September 18, 1961 in an unexplained plane crash. In 1964, Lumumba's supporters under Christophe Gbenye started the Simba rebellion . Despite logistical support from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China and a small Cuban expeditionary force under Che Guevara, this rebellion was put down by the pro-Western central government with direct military support from the United States Air Force and the Belgian Para-Commando Brigade .

Cuban Missile Crisis

Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba in 1962
Cuban Missile Crisis 1962: Range of the Soviet missile types installed before the crisis. The SS-5 was 2200 nautical miles within a few minutes reach almost any point in the US (about 4000 km).

1962 were superpowers and the world in the Cuban missile crisis at the edge of a new world war . After the USA Jupiter - and Thor - medium-range missiles in Turkey were stationed, the Soviet Union stationed themselves nuclear missiles on Cuba . These would have extremely shortened the warning times for an attack on the USA. Thereupon President Kennedy imposed a sea ​​blockade on Soviet ships calling at Cuba. The situation escalated to the point when the Soviet ships holding course in Cuba turned. Through secret diplomatic contacts, the president's brother, Robert F. Kennedy , succeeded in persuading Khrushchev to abandon the missile deployment. The concession that US missiles would be withdrawn from Turkey, which was initially withheld from the public, helped. At the end of August 1963, a “ hot line ” was set up between the heads of state of the two superpowers, the so-called “red telephone”, in order to avoid future clashes as a result of misperceptions and errors.

Efforts to relax and assertion of power

On August 5, 1963, the United States, the USSR, and the United Kingdom signed a first important agreement, the Nuclear Test Ban Agreement, which banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the air, space and underwater. This was intended to contain the increasing radioactive contamination of the atmosphere and the seas. At the same time, however, another nuclear arms race in space was prevented. Unlike underground tests, such attempts were easy to detect. Most states, including the Federal Republic of Germany, signed the treaty, only the nuclear powers France and China refused.

Troop strength of the NATO member states including contingents from the USA and Canada and the Warsaw Pact states in Europe 1973

After the Korean War , the United States had developed a strategy of massive retaliation , which involved the use of its full nuclear force in the event of an attack by the Soviet Union. In Europe there was concern that the US could (independently) reduce its nuclear shield. To allay these fears, in 1963 the USA presented the plan of a Multilateral Force , a NATO nuclear force at sea in which European states without their own nuclear weapons were to participate. Although this plan was dropped, the possibility of a West German disposition of nuclear weapons in the Eastern Bloc sparked considerable fears and corresponding counter-propaganda. The non-proliferation of nuclear weapons was now an international issue discussed at an 18-power United Nations disarmament conference in Geneva in 1964. Within the Eastern Bloc, the Soviet Union had a monopoly on nuclear weapons; Since 1964, the PR China has also had nuclear weapons.

From 1963 a hesitant policy of détente prevailed between the warring blocs, which on the Soviet side operated under the slogan “ peaceful coexistence ”, while on the western side - and especially with regard to the division of Germany - the overcoming of the status quo on the basis of “ change by approach ”( Egon Bahr ) was propagated. The attractiveness of the Western model of society was assumed to be ultimately decisive.

Troop parade on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the GDR with a formation of anti-aircraft missiles of the type SA-2 Guideline , 1979

According to a study published in 2016 by American researchers led by Delores Knippe, the world probably only narrowly passed a nuclear catastrophe on May 23, 1967, at the height of the Cold War. On that day, all early warning radar stations of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) in Canada, Greenland and England failed . Those in charge of the US Army assumed a Soviet attack and let nuclear-armed bombers roll onto the runways. Fortunately, astrophysicists from the American Air Weather Service (AWS) were able to convince the military that the radar systems had been disrupted by one of the most violent solar storms of the twentieth century, caused by large sunspots, before the atomic bombs were launched . The launch of the bomber was canceled. The Air Weather Service, which was responsible for observing space weather, was put into operation only a few years earlier. It will probably never be possible to determine with certainty whether the superpowers would really have had a nuclear armed conflict. According to the logic of deterrence, a large number of US bombers soaring could have been interpreted as an aggressive act by the Soviet Union. Once in the air, communication with the pilots would probably have been interrupted because of the solar storm, making it impossible to recall the bombers afterwards. The spiral of extermination could not have been stopped.

In 1968 reform-oriented members within the Communist Party of the ČSSR under Alexander Dubček tried to implement measures to democratize Czechoslovakia (abolition of censorship, freedom of information and expression, economic reforms). This so-called Prague Spring was short-lived. The Soviet leadership assessed the effects of the reforms as counterrevolutionary , allowed Warsaw Pact troops to march into Czechoslovakia from the evening of August 20, 1968, and forced the political leadership to follow the line given by Moscow. Anti-Soviet demonstrations were bloodily suppressed. The West condemned the actions of the Soviet Union, but, as in the 1956 Hungarian People's Uprising, did not take any practical steps. The Soviet head of state and party, Leonid Brezhnev, justified the intervention retrospectively by saying that the sovereignty of the “ socialist brother states ” did not include a departure from the foundations of socialism; otherwise external intervention is justified. This doctrine continued until Gorbachev's 1985 turnaround (“ Sinatra Doctrine ”).

In 1969 bilateral talks began between the Soviet Union and the USA on the control and limitation of nuclear weapons. These resulted in the signing of the SALT contracts and the ABM contract . At the same time, the social-liberal coalition under Federal Chancellor Brandt ( Brandt I cabinet ) initiated détente in Central Eastern Europe with its Ostpolitik . It aimed at human relief in divided Germany and especially for Berlin, sought an understanding with the eastern neighbors as well as with the dominant Soviet Union and guaranteed in the Eastern treaties the inviolability of the borders that arose after the Second World War. Another step towards detente was the first Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1973 , which led to the Helsinki Final Act in 1975 .

In February 1972 Richard Nixon (US President from 1969 to 1974) made a state visit to the People's Republic of China to demonstrate his willingness to relax, also to the other communist leading powers, and to improve the conditions for an end to the Vietnam War that was tolerable from the point of view of the US administration . Since the Tongking resolution of the US Congress in 1964, the US had officially waged war alongside its South Vietnamese allies against the North Vietnamese- backed Communist Viet Cong after the former colonial power France withdrew after military defeats . Despite intensive bombing and the acceptance of significant losses of soldiers and high costs, the USA did not succeed in defeating the Viet Cong. On January 27, 1973, the United States and North Vietnam signed an armistice ( Paris Agreement ); the US withdrew its remaining troops from South Vietnam.

Last phase of the arms race

Soviet mobile medium-range missile SS-20 "Saber"
Ronald Reagan 1982
Frequent military exercises in the Federal Republic were supposed to ensure the defense capability of NATO, recording of the maneuver REFORGER 1985 in Hessen
Soviet naval bases and anchor rights 1984
Nuclear weapons stocks (number of warheads) in the USA and the USSR between 1945 and 2014

After the Warsaw Pact had already massively strengthened its own armaments in the late 1970s (SS-18 ICBM , large fleet building programs and new SSBNs as well as new strategic bombers), two events that took place almost simultaneously in 1979 marked the end of the détente policy of the 1970s and an intensification of the cold war. The NATO double decision , which was supposed to neutralize the excess weight of Soviet medium-range missiles, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan , which also affected the strategic interests of the USA in the oil reserves in the Near and Middle East.

The US under President Jimmy Carter reacted to this with a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow , which most western countries joined. In addition, the USA subsequently supplied the Afghan mujahideen (religious fighters) fighting against the Soviet occupation with weapons and supported them with trainers via the Pakistani secret service Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Ronald Reagan, as Carter's successor in office, increased the previously reduced arms spending to a new record level and also introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) (also known as the Star Wars program) to defend against strategic missiles. This was to eliminate the ability of the Soviet Union to make a strategic second strike . One of the aims of this project was expressly to gain an unassailable lead in the arms race in order to destabilize the Eastern Bloc economically and politically. According to Western estimates, the latter could no longer afford military spending.

In the autumn of 1982 the Geneva disarmament negotiations between the USA and the Soviet Union over the dismantling of medium-range missiles failed. One reason for this was that the definition of balance could not be agreed upon. The Soviet Union also included France's anti-submarine missiles as targeting itself in their calculations, while the US excluded them.

The stationing of a new generation of missiles on West German soil was thus foreseeable. In the opinion of opponents of this retrofitting, the Pershing II and cruise missiles did not serve to close a “missile gap” (Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt ) as a counterweight to the SS-20 , but to implement a US strategy aimed at “victory in nuclear war” Reagan's senior military adviser Colin S. Gray publicly introduced in 1980.

In 1983 the Bundestag approved the deployment of the NATO missiles with the new Christian-liberal majority under Chancellor Helmut Kohl . In contrast, the West German peace movement , which had been growing since 1979, now increasingly included concepts of non-violent resistance. According to surveys, a good two thirds of the West German population were still against the list. Many prominent politicians, intellectuals and some Bundeswehr generals also took part in the blockades at missile sites. At the same time, demonstrations against the armament of the Warsaw Pact, which were not tolerated by the state, took place in the GDR.

In the new round of a forced technological arms race, which also opened up in 1978 with the development of the neutron bomb , which also included stealth aircraft and increasingly complex IT systems, the Soviet Union was no longer able to keep up, especially since it was able to use its military and economic powers with the previous armaments programs and intervention had already overstretched in Afghanistan.

The socio-political conditions in Central Eastern Europe were also in motion again. The agreements of the Helsinki Final Act aimed at safeguarding human rights contributed significantly to this and gave a boost to the civil rights movement within the Soviet sphere of influence. The strikes and interim successes of the independent trade union Solidarność under Lech Wałęsa in the People's Republic of Poland in 1980/81 had a radiating effect , which - in accordance with the Brezhnev doctrine - could only be contained with the imposition of martial law.

Exit and subsequent developments

Dissolution of the Eastern Bloc

Gorbachev's reforms and disarmament steps

Because of the increasing economic stagnation in the Eastern Bloc since the early 1980s, the political leadership of the Soviet Union also became increasingly aware of the need to change course. In 1985, the new General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , Mikhail Gorbachev , introduced a reform program that he called perestroika (turning point in the economy and administration) and glasnost (internal and external openness and transparency). In foreign policy, the change of course initially consisted in the fact that the gigantic budget deficit of the Soviet Union should be covered by mutual disarmament of the blocs. This initially stood in the way of the US government's SDI plans, which could have started a new round in the arms race.

In November 1985, US President Ronald Reagan and CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met in Geneva for a summit . Discussions focused on the American space project SDI, strategic armaments, Afghanistan and human rights. The two-day talks did not provide a solution to the main problems, but the Geneva summit marked a climatic change in east-west relations.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, 1987

In 1986, Gorbachev surprisingly presented a plan to abolish all nuclear weapons by the year 2000 in order to overcome the Western blockade. After the negotiators had some difficulties in the Geneva disarmament talks that had been going on since autumn 1985, a summit between Reagan and Gorbachev took place in Reykjavík in October 1986 . There, halving the amount of all nuclear weapons and abolishing all ballistic missiles within ten years was discussed. An immediate agreement failed because the USA stuck to the SDI program, which the Soviet Union considered violated the ABM Treaty on anti-missile missiles of 1972.

As early as 1987, however, Gorbachev no longer made an overall package including the United States' departure from the SDI program as a precondition for concrete disarmament steps. The INF Treaty finally came about , which provided for the scrapping of all medium-range missiles in Europe. In addition, the START I treaty initiated the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons. Furthermore, upper limits for anti-ballistic missiles and mix ratios of offensive and defensive weapons should be set. This was the most far-reaching breakthrough in disarmament that heralded the end of the Cold War.

Self-determined developments in the Central and Eastern European countries

Wałęsa during the strike at the Lenin Shipyard

After Gorbachev's express departure from the Brezhnev Doctrine, there were various independent developments in the European Eastern Bloc countries . Unauthorized strikes took place in Poland as early as April 1988. Talks between the banned Solidarność trade union and the communist government started in August ; in December, the opposition citizens' committee was founded, chaired by Lech Wałęsas . After the formation of new parties, on June 4, 1989, the citizens' committee won the parliamentary elections. The development in Hungary was similar.

One day after the fall of the Berlin Wall , long-time Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov resigned from all offices in Bulgaria . In the course of maintaining power, the ruling communist party underwent a political reorientation, which, in addition to the exclusion of the old power apparatus, also resulted in the re-establishment as a socialist party . The era of socialism also ended in Bulgaria with the first free parliamentary elections in 1990.

Military parade in Moscow's Red Square on September 18, 1990
A Soviet Su-27 Flanker and an American F-16 A Fighting Falcon in August 1990

In November 1989 mass protests and successful revolutions also followed in Czechoslovakia . The political upheaval in Prague was bloodless, with Václav Havel and Alexander Dubček , two well-known critics of the old system, became the new President and Speaker of Parliament.

At the same time, bloody clashes between civilians and soldiers from the army and the Securitate secret service broke out in several cities in Romania . After large parts of the military had shown solidarity with the demonstrators, the previous ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu fled Bucharest . In the following period, there were isolated skirmishes between soldiers and snipers, who presumably belonged to the Securitate, in the Romanian capital. Ceaușescu was arrested with his wife three days after his escape , brought before a military tribunal and then shot dead. After the dictator's death and the end of the fighting, which had cost the lives of almost 1,000 people, the previously ruling communist party dissolved. Ion Iliescu, a former party cadre who fell out with Ceaușescu in the mid-1980s, was appointed as the new president . Iliescu was confirmed in office in May 1990 by a superior victory of his National Rescue Front ( FSN) in the first free parliamentary elections. The elections were accompanied by new protests, the subsequent clashes between supporters and opponents Iliescu killed six. Disputes within the ruling FSN and its subsequent split also prevented a stable successor government in Romania in the period that followed.

Peaceful revolution in the GDR, fall of the wall and German reunification

Demonstration on October 16, 1989 in Leipzig with 120,000 people

In July 1989, the wave of refugees and emigrants in the GDR intensified, because from the spring of 1989 Hungary dismantled the border installations with Austria. When a border gate between Austria and Hungary was opened at the Pan-European Picnic on August 19, 1989, around 700 East Germans crossed the border from Hungary to Austria. It was the largest movement of refugees from East Germany since the Berlin Wall was built. The patrons of the picnic ( Otto von Habsburg and the Hungarian Minister of State Imre Pozsgay ) saw the planned picnic as an opportunity to test Gorbachev's reaction to the opening of the border at the Iron Curtain. In particular, it was checked whether Moscow would order the Soviet troops stationed in Hungary to intervene.

With the mass exodus at the Pan-European Picnic and the failure of the Soviet Union to intervene, the dams then broke. Now tens of thousands of East Germans set out for Hungary, which was no longer ready to keep its borders completely sealed. The leadership of the GDR in East Berlin did not dare to completely lock the borders of their own country. The Hungarian renunciation of border controls from September 11, 1989 then led to an uncontrolled mass exodus of GDR citizens.

After that, the Monday demonstrations starting in Leipzig took place in more and more GDR cities , in which a democratization of society was called for (“ We are the people ”). On the occasion of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the republic on October 7th in Berlin, which were also accompanied by demonstrations, the invited Mikhail Gorbachev advised the GDR leadership under Erich Honecker to take up his reform course again (hence the short formula: If you come too late, Life punishes them. ), which the SED leadership had emphatically rejected until then - despite the Soviet role model function that has always been propagated ( learning from the Soviet Union means learning to win! ). However, the now completely isolated GDR leadership shied away from a military operation against the large demonstrations. In contrast to the popular uprisings in the GDR in 1953, in Hungary in 1956 and in Prague in 1968, it was no longer possible to count on the deployment of Warsaw Pact forces against the demonstrators. So Honecker was first removed from the SED Politburo and finally - after the announcement of a fundamentally liberalized travel law for all GDR citizens - there was a spontaneous mass rush to the Berlin border crossings and the fall of the Berlin Wall .

At a meeting with Chancellor Kohl in Gorbachev's Caucasian homeland on July 15, 1990, he gave his consent that a united Germany could be a member of NATO. The condition was that NATO should refrain from expanding into the former GDR territory as long as Soviet troops were stationed there. Their deduction was regulated in a special contract. In return, the Federal Republic of Germany undertook to permanently limit the Bundeswehr to a maximum of 370,000 soldiers and to refrain from using NBC weapons in the future.

Due to an electoral law passed by the People's Chamber of the GDR, the GDR's first free parliamentary elections took place in the spring. While the demonstrations had previously focused on the demands for democratic reforms within the GDR, in the run-up to the elections the call for unification with the Federal Republic (“ We are one people !”), Which ultimately resulted in a superior election victory for von der Federal German government- supported party alliance "Alliance for Germany" reflected.

After the monetary, economic and social union of July 1st, the German Unification Treaty was signed on August 31st . On October 3, 1990, German reunification took place through the accession of the GDR to the scope of the Basic Law . The new constitution provided for in Article 146 of the original version of the Basic Law was waived in spite of other views (including the draft constitution of the Round Table ) with reference to the validity of the Basic Law.

End of the “superpowers” ​​dualism

In the Paris Charter on November 21, 1990, the Cold War was formally resolved. The 34 CSCE states committed to democracy as a form of government and to respect for human rights. In mid-1991 the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (Comecon) were dissolved.

Collapse of the Soviet Union

In 1991, the turning away from Soviet centralism also reached the Soviet Union itself. Since Gorbachev had recognized the right of self-determination of the peoples in the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states now also demanded independence and the withdrawal of the Soviet army from their territories. Gorbachev tried to counter this with a constitutional amendment that granted more federalism and partial autonomy, but was intended to preserve the state unity of the Soviet Union. The August putsch , which was directed against Gorbachev's reform course and failed because of popular resistance, accelerated the end of the CPSU and that of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev resigned from his office as general secretary. Boris Yeltsin banned the CPSU for the territory of the Russian Union Republic. A few weeks later the Baltic republics declared themselves independent (→  Singing Revolution ), and many republics removed their Communist Party leaders. The Soviet Union was dissolved at the end of 1991. The CIS was formed from some of the newly founded states .

The rapid decline and ultimately collapse-like collapse of the Soviet Union came as a surprise to Western observers as well as to the American leadership, as the Soviet Union had until the end the status of a highly armed superpower that would hardly voluntarily give up its own interests and areas of influence. On the other hand, there were western analyzes that had forecast insolvency and the economic collapse of the Soviet Union.

USA initially "only superpower"

The end of the bipolar power structure left behind a new global political situation in which the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the United States initially achieved the status of the “only superpower”. Some of the Eastern European states that belonged to the Warsaw Pact and adopted a democratic , parliamentary and market economy system after 1989 are now members of NATO. The dissolution of the Soviet sphere of power also promoted globalization and, among other things, led to the overwhelming majority of current states around the world recognizing the principle of free trade .

Stephen F. Cohen , professor at New York University and Russia expert, argues that the United States revived the Cold War after a brief period of apparent relaxation. It was assumed that the old adversary would come closer to the USA politically and economically after 1991 than was actually the case. The eastward expansion of NATO and the unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty would have fueled new suspicions by the US in of 2002. Cohen sees a continuation of this wrong course in the “senseless demonization” of Putin as an “autocrat”.

Interpretations of the origins of the East-West conflict

Behavior of the Soviet Union as a trigger

The Cold War era is particularly controversial among US historians and political scientists. The “orthodox” view that emerged with the beginning of the Cold War saw the main responsibility for its course in an ideologically based urge to expand on the part of the Soviet Union, which the United States defended against. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union brought countries in Eastern Europe and China, the most populous country in the world, into its sphere of influence, which required the USA to contain it and defend freedom and democracy. Attention is also drawn to Stalin's determining role in Soviet behavior at the beginning of the Cold War. During this time, the catchphrase of national security was created, the catchphrase intended to bring the American people behind the anti-communist policies of their government.

“Capitalist expansion” of the USA as a trigger

The so-called “ revisionist ” school, represented by Gabriel Kolko, for example, has since the 1960s emphasized the US approach, determined by economic and hegemonic interests, as the driving force in the systemic conflict. The capitalist tendency to expand was the basis of American foreign policy, which aimed to open up new markets. The interference of the USA in the economic structure of European countries, which became visible in the Marshall Plan, for example, led to a confrontation with the Soviet Union, which must have seen its own security threatened.

Alternative approaches

Ultimately, both approaches assumed an aggressor faced by a responsive defender. The two schools had to struggle with the considerable shortcoming that they were largely based only on information from the USA and even this was often classified as secret. In contrast, “post-revisionism”, which has mainly been added since the 1990s, relies more on the analysis of the archives of both adversaries that have gradually become accessible after the end of the Cold War. This approach is generally considered to be more balanced, even if it also focuses on one of the two sides. The leading exponent of this school, for example, John Lewis Gaddis , takes a position that has already been described as “neo-orthodox”, in that he again emphasizes Stalin's personality as the real cause of the development of the Cold War and ascribes the reactive role to the USA.

See also


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  • Jürgen Dinkel: The movement of non-allied states. Genesis, Organization and Politics (1927–1992). De Gruyter, Oldenbourg, Berlin / Boston 2015, ISBN 978-3-11-040418-0 .
  • Franziska Flucke, Bärbel Kuhn and Ulrich Pfeil (eds.): The Cold War in a school book . Röhrig, St. Ingbert 2017, ISBN 978-3-86110-630-2 .
  • John Lewis Gaddis : The Cold War. A new story. Siedler, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-88680-864-5 .
  • Raymond L. Garthoff: Détente and Confrontation . American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan. Brookings Institution, Washington, DC 1994, ISBN 0-8157-3041-1 (English).
  • Michail Gorbatschow : Memories , Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1995. Paperback: btb, Goldmann-Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72037-0 .
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  • Lewkowicz, Nicolas. The German Question and the Origins of the Cold War . Scholar's Press, 2020. ISBN 978-6138925057
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  • Werner Link: The East-West Conflict: The Organization of International Relations in the 20th Century . 2nd, revised and expanded edition, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [u. a.] 1988, ISBN 3-17-009931-0 .
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  • Nadine Ritzer: The Cold War in Swiss Schools: An Analysis of Cultural History (=  History Didactics Today , Volume 6). hep, Bern 2015, ISBN 978-3-0355-0275-6 (Diss. Univ. Friborg 2015, 566 pages).
  • Karl-Heinz Schoenfeld; Ingeborg Siggelkow, Ulrike Martens (Ed.): The Cold War and the Berlin Wall in cartoons . Universitätsverlag der TU, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-7983-2358-2 (239 pages, numerous illustrations).
  • Georges-Henri Soutou: La guerre de Cinquante Ans. Le conflit Est-Ouest 1943–1990 . Fayard, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-213-60847-4 (French).
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  • Bernd Stöver: The Cold War . 4th revised edition. CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-48014-0 .
  • Bernd Stöver: The Cold War. History of a Radical Age 1947–1991. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-48014-0 .
  • Spencer C. Tucker (Ed.): The encyclopedia of the Cold War: a political, social, and military history. Five volumes. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CL 2008, ISBN 978-1-85109-701-2 (five volumes: Volume 1: A – D, Volume 2: E – L, Volume 3: M – R, Volume 4: S– Z, Volume 5: Documents).
  • Guido Thiemeyer : Totalitarianism and the Cold War (1920–1970). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-17-034426-6 .
  • Adam Bruno Ulam : The Rivals. America and Russia since World War II . Viking Press, New York 1971, ISBN 0-670-59959-X .
  • Wladimir K. Wolkow, Harald Neubert (ed.): Stalin wanted a different Europe. Moscow's Foreign Policy 1940 to 1968 and the Consequences . A documentation. Edition Ost, Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-360-01046-9 .
  • Odd Arne Westad: The Cold War: A World History , Basic Books, New York City 2017 (German edition The Cold War: A World History , translated by Helmut Dierlamm, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-608-98148 -3 .)

Web links

Commons : Cold War  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Cold War  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ When he took office in March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev informed the Prime Minister of the Eastern Bloc that he would not use them.
  2. Michail Gorbatschow: Memories , Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1995. Quoted from btb-Taschenbuch, Goldmann Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72037-0 , p. 692.
  3. George Orwell, The Observer , March 10, 1946.
  4. Bernd Stöver : The Cold War 1947–1991. History of a radical age , Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-61480-4 , p. 11.
  5. ^ Strobe Talbott : The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation , 2009, p. 441 (n.3); Walter Lippmann: The Cold War . Harper, 1947 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed September 2, 2008]).
  6. In the war-mongering diction of the National Socialists in 1941 it was said: “This democracy [meaning the USA] and this Marxist dictatorship [meaning the Soviet Union] can easily shake hands; But even without this, they get along with each other with a wink and pass the balls while their newspapers are still excited. "From: Peter Aldag, What are we reporting on today? Our opponents and their war. Reports from the "Zeitgeschehen" of Großdeutscher Rundfunk (quoted: preface by Wolfgang Fehrmann), Nordland-Verlag , Berlin, August 1941.
  7. a b Gerhard Schweizer : Iran . Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7632-4034-9 , pp. 383 .
  8. Gholam Reza Afkhami: The life and the times of the Shah . University of California Press, 2009, pp. 98 .
  9. ^ J. Bruce Amstutz: Afghanistan. The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation . National Defense University, Washington 1986, p. 27 et al .; Helmut Hubel: The end of the Cold War in the Orient. The USA, the Soviet Union and the conflicts in Afghanistan, the Gulf and the Middle East 1979–1991 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1994, ISBN 978-3-486-82924-2 , pp. 132-136; Bernhard Chiari: Kabul, 1979. Military Intervention and the Failure of Soviet Third World Policy in Afghanistan. In: Andreas Hilger (Ed.): The Soviet Union and the Third World. USSR, State Socialism and Anti-Colonialism in the Cold War 1945–1991 . Oldenbourg, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-70276-7 , pp. 259-280, here: pp. 263 f.
  10. ^ Peter Krewer: Business with the class enemy . Trier 2008, p. 296 f .
  11. Quoted from Peter Krewer, Business with the Class Enemy , p. 303 f.
  12. Quoted from Peter Krewer, Business with the Class Enemy , p. 304.
  13. ^ Benjamin Schwarz: Dirty Hands. The success of US policy in El Salvador - preventing a guerrilla victory - was based on 40,000 political murders. Book review on: William M. LeoGrande: Our own Backyard. The United States in Central America 1977–1992 , in: The Atlantic online , December 1998.
  14. ^ Kristen Blake: The US-Soviet confrontation in Iran, 1945–1962. University Press of America, 2009, p. 33.
  15. ^ Secret Soviet Instructions on Measures to Carry out Special Assignments throughout Southern Azerbaijan and the Northern Provinces of Iran in an attempt to set the basis for a separatist movement in Northern Iran
  16. Decree of the CC CPSU Politburo to Mir Bagirov CC Secretary of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan
  17. ^ Decree of the USSR State Defense Committee No. 9168 SS Regarding Geological Prospecting Work for Oil in Northern Iran
  18. ^ Hassan Arfa, Under five Shahs , London 1964, p. 352.
  19. Jamil Haslani: At the Dawn of the Cold War . Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham / New York / Toronto / Oxford 2006, ISBN 0-7425-4055-3 , pp. 408 .
  20. National Geographic documentation "Air Combat Over Korea", via ( online (without video) ( Memento from November 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive )).
  21. ^ N24 documentation History Channel: Mig 15 - Russia's Secret Weapon in the Cold War. via ( online ). (Video no longer available)
  22. ^ "Seoul probes civilian` massacres' by US " ( Memento from August 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) by Hanley, Charles J .; Jae-Soon Chang, on Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Republic of Korea, April 4, 2008, Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  23. ^ Change through rapprochement (PDF; 110 kB), Egon Bahr's speech on July 15, 1963 in the Evangelical Academy in Tutzing .
  24. DJ Knipp, AC Ramsay, ED Beard, AL Boright, WB Cade, IM Hewins, RH McFadden, WF Denig, LM Kilcommons, MA Shea, DF Smart: The May 1967 great storm and radio disruption event: Extreme space weather and extraordinary responses . In: Space Weather. 14, 2016, p. 614, doi : 10.1002 / 2016SW001423 .
  25. Jan Hattenbach: Dangerous space weather: When the sun almost triggered World War 3 In: Frankfurter Allgemeine from August 17, 2016
  26. Just past the nuclear war - how physicists saved the world in 1967 In: SRF from August 19, 2016
  27. Wolfgang Schreiber (Hrsg.): Das Kriegsgeschehen 2007. Data and tendencies of wars and armed conflicts , Working Group on War Cause Research (AKUF), VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2009, p. 119 in the Google book search.
  28. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in Newsweek on April 11, 1994: “It was left to Ronald Reagan to unite power with right, a superficial man with few good ideas but an unusually intuitive rapport with the American psyche, to create super armor and to deal the fatal blow to the Soviet Union. ”(Quoted from Jürgen Bruhn: The Cold War or: The Dead Armor of the Soviet Union . Gießen 1995, p. 218)
  29. ^ Annual review 1985: Summit in Geneva on
  30. Hans Werner Scheidl: The "Eastern Bloc" begins to crumble , in: Die Presse from May 2, 2014.
  31. ^ Manfred Görtemaker : History of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the foundation to the present . CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 725.
  32. Otmar Lahodynsky: Pan-European Picnic: The Dress Rehearsal for the Fall of the Wall , in: Profile from August 9, 2014.
  33. See Thomas Roser: GDR mass flight: A picnic turns the world off its hinges , in: Die Presse from August 16, 2018.
  34. Cf. “August 19, 1989 was a test by Gorbachev” in FAZ from August 19, 2009.
  35. See Michael Frank: Pan-European Picnic - With the Picnic Basket into Freedom , in: SZ of May 17, 2010.
  36. Cf. u. a. Manfred Görtemaker : History of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the foundation to the present . CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 725.
  37. Stephen F. Cohen: The New American Cold War , in: The Nation, July 10, 2006.
  38. Stephen F. Cohen: Stop the Pointless Demonization of Putin , in: The Nation, May 6, 2012.
  39. ^ Littérature napoléonienne - Book Recommendations 2017 , February 15, 2018
  40. Review by H. Hoff ( Memento from October 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  41. Review by I. Küpeli
  42. Review by Lawrence D. Freedman: Frostbitten
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 16, 2005 .