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Cold War: 1945-1953 - Origins And Early Crises

In GCSE History students will look at the Cold War, which lasted from the end of World War II until the fall of the Soviet Union. One aspect they will cover will be the origins of the Cold War and some of the early crises in it.

The origins of the Cold War can be traced back as early as the Second World War. After 1945 relations between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies began to deteriorate seriously, and crises inevitably followed. Disagreements had occurred before, but now a state of armed tension existed between the two sides that was to last for nearly 45 years.

Learn more about the origins of the Cold War, and some of its early crises, in this quiz.

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  1. Which of the following states was not a founder member of NATO?
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aimed to deter Soviet threats after 1948. It consisted of the main states around the North Sea and the North Atlantic, and some Mediterranean ones
  2. Which Central European country experienced a coup in 1948, in which the Communists seized power and became part of the Soviet sphere of interest?
    Most Central and Eastern European states had become Communist by 1948, but - from the Russian point of view - there remained a significant gap in what came to be called the "Iron Curtain"
  3. In 1950 the United Nations Security Council resolved to assist a UN member faced with an attack by a Communist state on its northern border. Which state was the victim?
    The majority of the UN Security Council felt that threats of aggression must be nipped in the bud. They remembered the aggression committed by Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s, and the failure of the League of Nations to resist this
  4. In 1949 the situation changed again in favour of Communism when China emerged as a Communist power, following the defeat of the Kuomintang in the Civil War. Who now became China's leader?
    A civil war had raged in China between Communists and Nationalists since the 1920s. The two sides coalesced to some extent, from 1931 onwards, to confront the Japanese invader, but war resumed in earnest after the defeat of the Japanese in 1945
  5. In which East European city did serious riots occur in 1953, following the news of Stalin's death? There was clearly an expectation that Stalin's passing would be followed by liberalisation of the tight dictatorships that prevailed in Communist states.
    NATO members hoped for a "thaw" in relations with the USSR and its "satellites". Many citizens in Communist states hoped for a relaxation of the harsh regimes under which they lived
  6. The Allies determined that German war criminals would be put on trial. Where did these trials take place in 1946?
    The allies felt strongly that Germany had waged an aggressive war, and that serious crimes against humanity (like the Holocaust) had been committed, which should be tried formally by the four main allies
  7. Which post war American president gave his name in the 1940s to the doctrine that stated that the USA would come to the aid of "free peoples" menaced by Communist aggression?
    After Britain had made clear that it could no longer alone resist the advance of Communism in states like Greece and Turkey, the USA replied with a proactive doctrine committing the United States to defend "free peoples" wherever they might be challenged
  8. How did the Western Allies defeat the Soviet blockade of West Berlin between 1947 and 1948?
    The Western allies felt that they had to respond to this blatant Soviet challenge. However, they were anxious to do nothing that could provoke a third world war
  9. Which American presidential candidate promised in 1952 to travel to Korea to break the deadlock in the war there?
    The Korean War had reached a kind of stalemate by the time of the 1952 US presidential election. The main problem was the intervention of Communist China following General Douglas MacArthur's proposal to advance into Chinese territory
  10. Which international conference after the end of World War II was held in Germany to define the settlement between the defeated power and the victorious allies?
    The Allies met regularly as the war progressed to decide on aims and priorities. But in 1945 they had to re-order much of Europe

Author: Edward Towne

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