The Thaw


A-Level English Lit Mind Map on The Thaw, created by edward.franks845 on 28/05/2015.
Mind Map by edward.franks845, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by edward.franks845 almost 9 years ago

Resource summary

The Thaw
  1. Introduction: Peaceful coexistence was the idea that both the Soviet states and the USA could peacefully 'coexist' with one another. Despite this, neither the USA nor the USSR were fully committed to peaceful coexistence. On the surface, signs of a commitment to peaceful coexistence during 'The Thaw' from 1953-56 appeared to show an improvement in US-Soviet relations, however behind this superficial policy designed to meet the short term domestic needs of both superpowers lay the fundamental dynamics of the cold war, the most significant factor of each superpowers lack of commitment being the need for maximum security which presented itself as the arms race, for example the Soviets testing their first Hydrogen bomb Joe 1 in 1953 a year after the USA.
    1. The Thaw proved to be a limited move in establishing peaceful coexistence, little trust had been built by 1955 and the fundamental dynamics of the cold war remained the same.
    2. Origins of The Thaw
      1. An intent to improve Short term Domestic needs
        1. Eisenhower's hard line 'brinkmanship' policy was a vote winner, Senator McCarthy had convinced Americans the communist threat was on their doorstep. This policy was strategic in that it would reduce the budget deficit inherited through NSC68 and the Korean War. Although this 'New Look' policy implied an escalation in tensions, there was actually a remarkable improvement in relations due to the political realities of the election campaign
          1. After the death of Stalin in 1953, the leadership contenders for the Soviet Union adopted a less confrontational approach in order to focus on the leadership struggle and allow resources to be directed away from defence spending and more towards living standards and revitalising the economy.
            1. Austrian Peace Treaty in 1955 achieved little practical results, instead proving a more abstract importance, it helped the USSR establish themselves as a superpower which could rival the might of the USA. The Geneva Summit of 1955 also achieved little practical results, the only agreement to come out of the summit concerned cultural exchanges between the USA and USSR of scientists and musicians.
              1. Soviet economic growth at 6.7% in the 1950s disguised deeper economic problems: growth was based disproportionately on heavy industry whilst the consumer economy was neglected; there was little technological innovation.
          2. Destalinisation
            1. Khrushchev's secret speech, 1956 at the 20th Party Congress. He attacked Stalin for falsifying history, for victimising innocent people and he denounced him for the purges.
              1. In Hungary destalinisation was to lead to calls for democratisation and a revolt against soviet control which was to result in brutal suppression by the Soviets.
            2. The Hungarian Uprising in 1956 shows the USSR's continued commitment to maintaining security through control of its buffer zones in E.E.
              1. When Hungary demanded freedom from the Warsaw Pact Khrushchev responded with 4000 tanks to suppress the uprising as well as the secret execution of its leader, Imre Nagy.
                1. The crisis showed that in practical terms the USA could do little to intervene in Eastern Europe. In effect the USA had accepted the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
              2. Sino-Soviet relations also shaped the Soviets decline for their commitment to Peaceful Coexistence. Mao Zedung of China criticised Khrushchev for his 'revisionist' approach to communism and his denunciation of Stalin in 1956 as well as his adoption of peaceful coexistence.
                1. From 1956 onwards Khrushchev's policy towards the West is increasingly shaped by his need to respond to Chinese criticisms of his policies. This can be seen in the Berlin Crisis of 1958 where Khrushchev raises the stakes against the West in an attempt to achieve total Soviet control over Berlin.
                2. The Arms Race
                  1. Escalation of the Arms race in the 1950s. Both the USA and USSR built increasingly destructive Hydrogen bombs, the USSR testing their first in 1953 and its first ICBM in 1957. The USSR also tested its rocket capability in 1957 when they launched the Sputnik, ending the space race and giving fears to a Soviet attack from space.
                    1. The Gaither Report in 1957 also wrongly convinced the USA that the USSR had greatly surpassed the US in nuclear capacity- however due to U2 spying Eisenhower knew they hadn't.
                      1. The use of U2 spy planes showed the USA's paranoia of maintaining maximum security and thus its lack of trust with the USSR- without this peaceful coexistence was unlikely. Such policies of 'massive retaliation' ensured that neiuther the US nor USSR were prepared to stop the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
                      2. Why did the Arms race escalate during this period? massive retaliation and responding to each other's weaponry advances
                      3. The Berlin Crisis 1958-1961
                        1. Khrushchev issues an ultimatum to the Western powers to end their occupation of West Berlin and agree to Berlin as a 'free city', threatening a second blockade.
                          1. Khrushchev withdraws the ultimatum after a state visit to the US.
                            1. 1961- Khrushchev meets the newly elected JFK and views him as naive and easily exploited. He again demands the withdrawal of Western forces from Berlin, JFK refuses.
                              1. August 1961- Berlin Wall is erected, stopping the flow of East Berliners into the West and ended the immediate crisis.
                          2. For West Germany, Berlin was a symbol of Western commitment to the security of Germany and the elusive goal of reunification. For East Germany, Berlin was the symbol of western influence and non-recognition.
                            1. 1949-1958 2.1 million East Germans fled to the West
                            2. Poland, June 1956
                              1. Liberalisation in Russia+ Khrushchevs destalinisation speech encouraged some groups in the satellite states to believe the USSR would now tolerate a relaxation in its hold on these countries. Riots broke out but the Government restored order without the need to use Soviet troops
                                1. The USSR did not intervene militarily in Poland because the Polish Communist's party's commitment to its alliance with the USSR was never in doubt.
                                  1. Polish experience was wrongly interpreted as signifying a fundamental change in the attitude of the USSR to the Eastern bloc.
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