Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

History

The USA and the wider world

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

How and why was the USA involved in the Cold War?

The origins of the Cold War

During the Second World War, the USA and the Soviet Union fought side by side against Hitler and the Nazis, but they were not allies for long. These were the two most powerful countries in the world, but they were completely different to each other. The Soviet Union was a Communist country whilst the USA was a Capitalist country.

Because both countries had the atomic bomb it was impossible for them to go to war against each other. Instead, they engaged in a Cold War between 1945 and 1989 – a war without actual fighting between American and Russian soldiers. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, said that an iron curtain had fallen across Eastern Europe which was controlled by the Soviet Union and the USA.

Truman Doctrine (ideas)

Containment – the USA’s policy to stop Communism from spreading. This was the opposite of the policy of isolationism. President Truman offered help to any country that was under military threat, either from within or outside the country, in the hope that this would stop Communism from spreading.

Marshall Aid

The Secretary of State, George C Marshall, offered $13 billion in aid to the countries that were trying to reconstruct after the war. Through this, it was possible to implement Truman's containment policy. America believed that the countries of Europe would be more likely to come under the influence of Communism if the people were poor. Stalin accused the USA of trying to dominate the countries of Eastern Europe and so he refused to allow Soviet countries to accept aid.

Consider:

Imagine that you are Stalin. Why have you prohibited Soviet countries from accepting financial aid from the USA?

The Domino Theory

America's concern was that once one country had fallen to Communism, nearby countries would follow suit and before long Communism would reach America.

The Domino Theory

The Domino Theory

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

Back to The development of the USA, 1929-2000 index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.