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How did the Cold War develop? 1943–56

The Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam Conferences

The attitudes of Stalin and Truman and the ideological differences between the superpowers.

The establishment and control of the Soviet satellite states

Cominform and Comecon.

The growing involvement of the USA in Europe

The Truman Doctrine

The Marshall Plan


The Berlin Blockade/Airlift

The formation of NATO.

Military developments and the beginnings of the arms race.

The impact of Soviet rule on Hungary


De-Stalinisation and optimism

The Hungarian Revolution: Nagy and his demands, Soviet reaction and uprising, the death of Nagy, the re-establishment of Soviet control and international

The Cold War, 1956 - 1969.

The Berlin Crisis

The refugee problem
Khrushchev's challenge to the USA
Summit Conference and Eisenhower
Challenge to Kennedy
Construction of the Berlin Wall and its impact
Kennedy's visit to Berlin, 1963.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

How did the USA react to the Cuban Revolution?
Why did Khrushchev put missiles into Cuba?
Why did Kennedy react as he did?
Who won the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Berlin: Summit Conference and Eisenhower

On May 17th 1960 the leaders of the Soviet Union, USA, Great Britain and France met in Paris to discuss the situation in Berlin. The Soviet Union wanted Berlin to be designated as a 'Free City' with minimal military presence from other powers, and also wanted to conclude a Peace Treaty with East Germany. The Western Powers were determined not to allow West Berlin fall under Soviet Influence and had repeatedly pointed to the agreements made in the war time summits. This summit was an opportunity to try and agree some kind of compromise.

However, the summit barely got going. On May 1st the USSR announced that it had shot down an American U2 Spy Plane. The Americans denied the claim, only to have to back track and admit that a plane had flown over Soviet Territory when Khruschev ordered photographic evidence to be released. Upon his arrival at Paris for the summit talks, Khruschev demanded a public apology for the incident from the US President, Eisenhower, and also demanded assurances that the US would never violate Soviet Air Space again. Eisenhower refused to apologise and rejected the demands for assurances.

With this the talks appeared to be doomed. Berlin couldn;t be discussed until the U2 incident had been dealt with. The French President attempted to bring the leaders back to the table for further discussion. Khruschev returned to a press conference and repeated that he wanted to discuss a peaceful settlement in Berlin but that he would only do so after the US apologised for the spy plane. Eisenhower, again, refused.


Source: Eisenhower speaking at the laying of the cornerstone of the CIA headquarters in 1959

"I HAVE MADE SOME NOTES FROM which I want to talk to you about this U-2 incident. . . .

"The first point is this: the need for intelligence-gathering activities.

"No one wants another Pearl Harbor. This means that we must have knowledge of military forces and preparations around the world, especially those capable of massive surprise attacks.

Source: Eisenhower at the Paris Summit, May 1960

We pointed out that these activities had no aggressive intent but rather were to assure the safety of the United States and the free world against surprise attack by a power which boasts of its ability to devastate the United States and other countries by missiles armed with atomic warheads. As is well known, not only the United States but most other countries are constantly the targets of elaborate and persistent espionage of the Soviet Union.







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