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History

The nature of the Cold War 1948-1961

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The period 1948-1961 certainly saw some major changes in the Cold War - the death of Stalin and a new Soviet leader; the growth of Communism in the Far East; the assertion of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe; the increased use of espionage between the USA and USSR; and the physical separation of east and west in Berlin.

Opinions

Historians have looked at the Cold War in many different ways over the years. Here are some statements about the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s from modern school textbooks:

A."Between 1949 and 1963, the Cold War developed with a series of major crises."

B."When Stalin died in 1953, there was a slight improvement in relations between East and West, although problems still existed."

C." Khrushchev's blustering vigour, his love of travel and of argument and his willingness to take risks left their mark on these years."

D."The wall not only divided Berlin. Over the following years, it became a symbol of division - the division of Germany, the division of Europe, the division of communist East and democratic West. The Communists presented the wall as being a protective shell. The West presented it as a prison wall."

E. "The Americans believed that it was their duty, and necessary to US security, to resist the expansion of communism wherever it occurred. During the 1960s, this led them to the brink of nuclear war."

F." It soon became clear to the capitalist states that, despite co-existence, Khrushchev was determined to show that communism could compete with, and beat, the West."

G."The Cold War was a mixture of a religious crusade in favour of one ideology or the other and the most ruthless power politics."

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