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Was the end date of Soviet-Japanese Border War the direct reason of starting Soviet invasion on Poland in 1939

Was the end date of Soviet-Japanese Border War the direct reason of starting Soviet invasion on Poland in 1939


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The end date of the Soviet-Japanese Border War oddly coincides with the beginning date of the Soviet invasion on Poland in 1939. Was the end date of the Soviet-Japanese Border War the direct reason of starting the Soviet invasion on Poland on 17th of September 1939?

(In other words if the Japanese army had stood longer, then the Soviet invasion on Poland would have been delayed and might have had an influence on how the Invasion on Poland moved.)


The question has it backwards: It was the planned invasion of Poland that caused the peace agreement to happen, not visa versa.

This war was never officially declared, and it took place on the border of Mongolia and Manchukuo (a Japanese puppet state) because of the disagreement about the location of the border. Militarily, the Soviets (and Mongolians) prevailed. But they had to agree on cease fire because their planned invasion to Poland was more important than the Mongolian - Manchukuo border dispute. The ceasefire was signed 2 days before the attack on Poland.

The Molotov Ribbentrop pact, which made the invasion of Poland possible and feasible was signed on Aug 23, 1939, while the decisive Soviet offence in Mongolia began on August 20. So the Soviets understood that they were winning in Mongolia at the time the decision to invade Poland was made. This Soviet-German pact was a sudden opportunity for the Soviets, and it happened in the middle of a less important conflict in Mongolia. So they did everything to end this minor conflict.

In April 13, 1941 a Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact was signed (it left the question of Mongolian-Manchukuo border open).

The agreement on the border was only signed in May 1942, and Soviets essentially yielded to the Japanese demands (despite their military victory). The reason is of course that Soviets had much more important things to care about in 1942.

I conclude that the causal relation between the attack on Poland and Soviet-Japanese ceasefire was just the opposite to your suggestion. The Soviets had to sign a ceasefire, because they were in position to do this (they prevalied militarily), and because the invasion of Poland had much higher priority.

(The dates of the treaties are based on Russian Wikipedia).

Remark: The Soviets were fighting the Kuantung army in this war. The Kuantung Army was formally a part of the Japanese Imperial forces, however it was not completely controlled by the central government. According to the (English) Wikipedia, the whole creation of the Manchukuo state was an initiative of the Kwantung army, not of the Japanese government. Eventually the Japanese government approved it.


REASONS THE ALLIES WON

The old axiom &ldquoGod is always on the side with the biggest battalions&rdquo has an appealing simplicity to it. But history is full of examples where the largest army did not prevail: the American Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, and the Korean War, to name a few.

Any event contains an interplay of infinite variables, as exemplified by the Second World War. Perhaps the best that can be done, when investigating why one side succeeded and the other failed, is to discern what the major differences were and determine which of those differences played a significant role in the progression of the conflict.

The following are ten key distinctions between the Allies and the Axis. Some were centuries old. Others were recent developments. By themselves, none could have swayed the war to its particular conclusion. In concert, however, these facets greatly affected the chances of the warring parties.

1. OBJECTIVES

Succinctly stated, the Axis had to conquer more than thirty countries while the Allies had to defeat three. Moreover, the Axis did not have a definitive endpoint to its military ambitions, whereas the Allies did.

Japan&rsquos &ldquoGreater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,&rdquo a weak attempt to define imperialism as &ldquounity under one monarch,&rdquo targeted Manchuria and China. But the sphere soon expanded to include Indochina, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. Early success fostered dreams of incorporating Australia, India, and parts of North and South America. For Italy, il Duce dabbled with imperialism by fits and starts and momentarily believed he could conquer most of southern Europe. Part of Hitler&rsquos early success came from convincing his country and most of Europe that his goals were limited. But as demonstrated by invasions of Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, and the Soviet Union, Hitler&rsquos aims continually grew.

In contrast, starting in 1943, the Allies adopted the war aim of UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, vowing to cease fighting immediately after the governments of Germany, Italy, and Japan capitulated absolutely.

There had been much public criticism (which continues to the present) of the Allies&rsquo goal, arguing that unconditional surrender forced the Axis to fight to the death rather than negotiate, thereby elongating and intensifying the war unnecessarily. Though there is no way of knowing what any alternative plan may have produced, the Allies&rsquo aim was probably a productive move. First, allowing negotiations would have implied concessions. Negotiating certainly failed in the prewar era. In addition, there was little historical evidence that negotiations necessarily shortened any war or created much postwar stability, the Versailles debacle being only one example.

On the point of forcing the Axis to fight to the finish, both the Japanese and Germans were making public declarations of &ldquoannihilating the enemy&rdquo well before 1943. Events such as the Rape of Nanking and SS death squads on the eastern front suggested the Axis fought viciously, no matter what position the Allies took.

As for the Allies, unconditional surrender reduced the chance of any one government opting for a separate peace. It also gave soldiers and the home front a clear reason for their sacrifices and granted the Allied war effort a focus other approaches would not.

Franklin Roosevelt summed up the Allied objectives when he announced the capture of Rome: &ldquoOne down. Two to go.&rdquo

2. INDUSTRIAL CAPACITY

In a heavily mechanized war between industrialized countries, the Axis had the early edge. Against the rising power of Germany and the yet underdeveloped Italy, Great Britain probably could have stayed even in manufacturing. But with the freakish bond between Hitler and Stalin in the NAZI-SOVIET PACT, the British were clearly outmatched. Their detached partner, China, although home to four hundred million people, by 1939 had lost most of its factories and foundries, holding onto less heavy industry than Belgium.

Everything changed in 1941. Germany&rsquos assault on the Soviet Union and Japan&rsquos attack on the United States swung the pendulum in favor of the Allies, uniting the globe&rsquos top three industrial powers against the Axis. In 1942 Britain produced nearly eight times the number of tanks as the Japanese, and the Soviets made ten thousand more aircraft than Nazi Germany. The United States alone manufactured more war materials than the entire Axis combined. In fact, the United States surpassed the Axis close to the time HERMANN GÖRING claimed Americans &ldquocould only produce cars and refrigerators.&rdquo 131

The Allies also practiced greater economy of effort compared to the Third Reich. As the Soviets concentrated on producing two basic kinds of tanks of relatively simple design, the Germans experimented with dozens of tank versions, making hundreds of prototypes and tinkering with thousands of modifications for each one. While Americans had the versatile jeep, Germans made one hundred dissimilar models of motorcycles. By the end of the war, Americans could produce fifteen B-17s in fewer man-hours than the Germans took to construct a single Tiger tank. 132

U.S. production easily outpaced the whole of the Axis, demonstrated here by the efficient assembly line manufacture of B-17 bombers.

Of all the manufactured goods produced in the world in 1945, half were made in the United States.

3. COORDINATION BETWEEN COUNTRIES

Born out of propaganda from both the Allied and Axis camps, the image of a unified German-Italian-Japanese war machine contained marginal basis in fact. Aside from mutual hostility toward international Communism and the British Empire, the three main Axis states shared little during the course of the war.

In the summer of 1939, while Japan fought the Soviet Union in a series of increasingly bloody battles along the Manchuria-Mongolia border, Hitler&rsquos foreign office secured the NAZI-SOVIET PACT. In 1941, weeks before Hitler planned to invade Russia, Japan agreed to a five-year Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact. Japan never signed the &ldquoPact of Steel&rdquo agreement of mutual assistance penned in May 1939 between Germany and Italy.

It is also fair to say that the Allies had their own divisive issues. There were personality clashes, particularly between British commander Bernard Montgomery and almost everyone else. There were strategy disagreements, such as where and when to invade Western Europe. Yet the Allies generally coordinated their efforts through numerous military and political conferences, plus several major summit meetings including THERAN, YALTA, and Potsdam. Churchill himself traveled to four separate continents to confer with other heads of state. In contrast, Germany and Japan never conducted a single high-level exchange during the course of the war.

Indicating how little they communicated with each other on major issues, Imperial Japan viewed Hitler&rsquos invasion of the Soviet Union the same way Hitler viewed Japan&rsquos attack on Pearl Harbor&mdashwith complete and utter surprise.

4. ACCESS TO RAW MATERIALS

Within their peacetime borders the Axis possessed limited amounts of the materials needed to wage war. Italy led the world in the supply of mercury, used in detonating explosives. Germany was number one in the production of potash, which made fertilizer. Otherwise, resources were scarce. 133

Among Axis leaders, this dearth in raw materials compounded a sense of vulnerability and added to the incentive for regional conquest. At the time, Malaya held almost half of the world&rsquos rubber supply and a quarter of its tin. Most titanium ore came from India or Norway. China and Burma owned the largest known deposits of tungsten, a vital alloy component of armor. France possessed considerable bauxite for aluminum production.

Most of the earth&rsquos coal, copper, lead, nickel, sulfur, and zinc were deep within Allied territories. In one resource the Allies were completely dominant, creating an expression among the Japanese: &ldquoA drop of petrol is a drop of blood.&rdquo 134

In 1940 the United States accounted for two of every three gallons of gasoline made in the world. Of the Axis, only Romania possessed a large number of wells, and the Germans had no efficient way to transport or process the oil the Romanians produced. 135

When Japan&rsquos oil reserves began to run dry in 1943, the military greatly reduced pilots&rsquo training, making them easy targets against well-practiced Americans. By 1944 the Imperial Navy found itself disengaging or avoiding fights altogether for lack of fuel. For the Wehrmacht, worn-down tanks began to drink oil five times faster than before. In February 1945, the Luftwaffe had only enough aviation fuel to keep fighting at full capacity for two more weeks. 136

By the end of the war, when the United States produced millions of barrels a day, Germany procured only a few thousand a week, most of it &ldquosynthetic oil&rdquo slowly and expensively extracted from coal. Japan began converting cars, buses, and ambulances to run on charcoal, and its military experimented with a fuel made of alcohol and turpentine. 137

Petroleum haunted Axis leaders right to the end. The bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were hung upside down at a Milan gas station. Hitler wanted to be cremated after his suicide, but there was not enough fuel available to complete the job.

5. TECHNOLOGY

Initially behind on a number of engineering fronts, the Allies eventually attained superiority in aeronautics, radar, sonar, ballistics, medicine, nutrition, and radio communication. Among their innovations were the proximity fuse, demagnetized ship hulls, synthesized quinine, a predecessor to the computer, and thermonuclear weaponry. The Allies simply had more money, more engineers, and safer work facilities than the Axis.

In contrast, only Germany made significant strides in technology, some of which were revolutionary. Yet advancements were largely negated because the Third Reich failed to emulate the Allies in teaming scientists with soldiers.

Traditionally, the German scientific community depended more on individual genius than teamwork to achieve its breakthroughs. Similarly, the German military tended to be conservative and closely guarded against intrusion. Barriers to cooperation remained through most of the war, resulting in slow response times to serious problems and impressive but impractical innovations.

Examples of this are endless. The Luftwaffe lacked a quality bombsight. Rather than coordinate with engineers to make a better aiming device, the air force demanded stronger wing construction so aircraft could withstand the strain of dive-bombing. Technicians designed the sleek and fast Messerschmitt 262 jet with low-slung engines that sucked up dirt and debris on takeoff. It proved to be a bit of a problem since most combat airfields were unpaved. V-rockets, though impressive to watch, were too inaccurate for any tactical application. In the entire war, there was only one documented case of a direct conference between a German field commander and a team of scientists. 138

Meanwhile, the Allies perfected &ldquoOperational Research,&rdquo in which engineers studied military equipment in the field to measure performance and seek areas of improvement. Both the British and American leadership had scientific advisers. The Allied apex of achievement was undoubtedly the Manhattan Project, in which tens of thousands of individuals, working in tightly controlled environments at more than a dozen locations, went from abstract subatomic theory to a working device in three years. (Whether that was a good thing is open for debate.)

During the Battle of Britain, RAF Spitfires were able to boost engine performance 25 percent through the use of an American invention: 100-octane gasoline.

6. POPULATION

Before the industrial revolution, population equaled power. Afterward, industrialized countries gained a considerable edge in business, diplomacy, and military engagements. Yet in a war of attrition, numbers still counted.

For every person in an Axis uniform, there were nearly three Allies. For every civilian in an Axis state, the Allies had five. The Soviet Union alone had more people than Germany, Italy, and Japan combined.

This supremacy in numbers provided two profound advantages: the Allies could replace military losses faster than the Axis, and the Allies could commit larger numbers to logistics and manufacturing. Wherever there were shortages, the Allies were generally more willing to employ women, such as in heavy industry and agriculture, than were the more gender-traditionalist Axis states.

One statistic in particular illustrated which side was more capable of enduring a battle of attrition. Overall, the Allies lost twice the number of combatants as the Axis and still achieved victory.

&ldquoProvidence is always on the side of the last reserve.&rdquo&mdashNapoleon Bonaparte

7. INTELLIGENCE

Knowledge is power, and through spy networks, reconnaissance, and resistance movements, the Allies knew more and gave away less than the Axis.

The largest disparity came by way of code. The United States made considerable strides in decoding Japanese diplomatic and naval messages. The British, with considerable help from Polish and French operatives, were able to decipher large portions of German communications, especially those of the Luftwaffe.

Both the Japanese and Germans believed their systems were unbreakable, and considering the complexity of the setups, their assumptions were not unreasonable. Both the main Japanese enciphering machine (based on phone switches) and the German &ldquoEnigma&rdquo machine (based on electromagnetic rotors) produced nonrepeating letter patterns that had possible combinations numbering in the trillions. Even when letters were correctly deciphered, the words they formed were in code, and their meanings varied between agencies. German enciphering was also based on alterable key systems, which changed monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily. 139

Yet the Americans were able to fabricate a Japanese enciphering machine without ever having seen one, and the British procured several captured or copied Enigma machines. With the work of military personnel, translators, etymologists, mathematicians, statisticians, chess champions, and others, the Americans and British were able to uncover numerous vital pieces of information. The greatest breakthroughs provided Luftwaffe combat strength in occupied France, the time and place of Japan&rsquos attack on Midway, disposition of U-boat wolf-pack patrols in the North Atlantic, and the flight itinerary of Japanese navy commander in chief Adm. Yamamoto Isoroku, whose plane was subsequently ambushed and Yamamoto killed. 140

For security reasons, the Allied governments waited until the 1970s to reveal that they had broken Axis codes. The news shocked many former Axis cryptologists.

8. GEOGRAPHY

Although their war performances differed greatly, the Soviet Union and China shared a weapon that helped them stave off defeat: land. Attacked from one direction, both states were able to relinquish territory and not be overtaken, both were able to transfer large numbers of people and machinery to hinterlands, and both were subsequently able to endure long strings of losses without being totally overrun. Such luxuries were not available to less sizable countries such as Belgium and Singapore.

Japan and Great Britain possessed the advantage of being sizable island states shielded by wide bands of water and functioning as giant and unsinkable aircraft carriers. As it turned out, neither one would be invaded during the war. But their natural barrier also made both countries dependent on shipping for material survival. In this regard, Britain eventually secured the assistance of the United States, while Japan stood completely isolated from its nearest advocate, separated by oceans and land masses in either direction.

Well-suited for the defensive, Italy had limited offensive potential, with its navy bottled in the Mediterranean by the Suez Canal and Gibraltar and its army simultaneously shielded and dangerously separated by its mountainous terrain. Of all the major powers, Germany was probably the most vulnerable, situated between its declared adversaries. Aside from the Alps to the south, it also possessed almost no natural barriers.

No country benefited more from geography than the United States. Bordered by two vast oceans and resting between two cooperative neighbors, the nation was effectively in its own world. Safe from attack by land or air and far too large to be taken by amphibious assault, the United States may have been at war, but vast distances allowed its factories and government to function in relative peace.

The forty-eight United States were not entirely free from hostile fire. In February 1942, a Japanese submarine shelled an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California. Late in the war, thousands of Japanese &ldquoballoon bombs&rdquo floated to North America, with several hundred reaching land and killing a dozen people.

9. &ldquoTHE DECISIVE BATTLE&rdquo

Wars are rarely decided by a single event. Most involve extenuated, inglorious bouts of tedium and attrition, punctuated on occasion by sharp spikes of armed engagement. Though World War II followed this pattern to the letter, both Hitler and several members of the Japanese high command developed a counterintuitive faith in a last &ldquodecisive battle.&rdquo

History may have contributed to this reasoning. Later in the war, Hitler habitually brought up how Prussia&rsquos Frederick the Great pulled out an unlikely eleventh-hour victory in the Seven Years&rsquo War against Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden. In Japan a favorite &ldquolesson&rdquo from the past was the pivotal naval battle of Tsushima in the RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR. More recent memories conjured up thoughts of instant glory, namely Hitler&rsquos dizzying successes in 1939 and 1940 and Japan&rsquos sweep into the Pacific in December 1941. 141

Nostalgia turned into military strategy late in the war. In 1944, Japan launched extremely large ground offensives in China and India, an air assault off Saipan, and naval offensives in LEYTE GULF. In each case, the commanding officers expressed the desire to win the war in a single blow. Hitler&rsquos last great offensive, known as the BATTLE OF THE BULGE to Americans, was a vain attempt to relive his greatest and most decisive victory. 142

In all cases, though inflicting heavy casualties, the Axis lost a disproportionate number of troops. For Hitler&rsquos attack, the losses were nearly two to one. For the Japanese, the deficits averaged out to six to one. The battles were decisive to a certain extent: the massive casualties facilitated defeat, which would have likely come much later had a more defensive posture been taken.

The Japanese Mitsubishi Zero was an excellent fighter plane, but it was purposely built without armor. The rationale was that protecting the pilot made him act less aggressively.

10. THE &ldquoARMY-NAVY GAME&rdquo

Interservice rivalries are as old as military history. Branches often fight each other as much as the enemy for prestige, assets, and autonomy. While the major Allied powers were able to temper internal discord through leadership and communication, the Axis states were not.

Case in point: aircraft. HERMANN GÖRING and Benito Mussolini believed their air forces should have a monopoly on combat planes, which was a fundamental reason why neither navy developed a working aircraft carrier and why Italian and German armies often lacked timely air cover. In contrast, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines each had its own combat aircraft, which could be used as needed in any given situation.

Axis intelligence processing remained strictly segregated among the armed services, creating what can be best described as schizophrenic paranoia. The German army, for example, often spent more time spying on the Luftwaffe than on the Allies.

Undoubtedly, the biggest internal rivalry existed in Japan. One of the major incentives for the Imperial Navy to strike into the Pacific was to stem the growing power of the Japanese army, which siphoned much of the military budget with its expanding war in China. The branches also conducted their own work on INTELLIGENCE, radar development, and jet propulsion yet refused to share their findings with each other. The divisive practice wasted money, resources, and time, all of which the empire could not afford to lose. 143

One American military rivalry that continued uninterrupted was the annual Army-Navy football game. Navy won in 1942 and 1943 Army triumphed in 1944. The official program for the 1941 game, played nine days before Pearl Harbor, contained a photo of the doomed USS Arizona.


Was the end date of Soviet-Japanese Border War the direct reason of starting Soviet invasion on Poland in 1939 - History

For the Russians, May 9, 1945 is the day marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, and it is celebrated every year, including this one, with a giant military parade through Red Square in Moscow. For the former Soviet and now the post-communist Russian government, it is hailed as the day that “Soviet power” under the leadership of Joseph Stalin defeated Nazi Germany and saved Europe from the permanent clutches of Adolph Hitler and Nazi tyranny.

What is forgotten is that it was Stalin and the Soviet Union that were Hitler and Nazi Germany’s ally in starting this horrific war that took the lives of well over 50 million people, and set the stage, after the defeat of Hitler, for the nearly half-century enslavement of the eastern half of Europe under communist tyranny.

It is the fairy tale of Russian innocence and victimhood in starting and fighting the Second World War that is still used by the post-Soviet government of Vladimir Putin to justify a nostalgia for the “good old days” of Soviet power, and for the Russian president to say that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the “greatest geo-political tragedy of the twentieth century.”

Among the lies and distortions of Soviet history that Vladimir Putin’s government continues to perpetuate is a downplaying of the human cost of trying to “build socialism” during the nearly 75-year reign of communist rule in the Soviet Union, from 1917 to 1991. It is estimated that as many as 64 million innocent men, women and children were killed in the Soviet Union in the name of building the socialist workers’ paradise.” (See my article: Socialism: An Ideology of Death and Destruction.)

The Soviet Fairy Tale About the Start of World War II

So it seems worthwhile at the time of another “victory” parade in Moscow’s Red Square to set the record straight about the start of the Second World War in Europe. First, there is the propaganda story that the Soviet government and now Putin’s government has been indoctrinating their own people with and many others around the world about Soviet foreign policy before the start of the war in Europe in September 1939. The “party line” story runs something like the following:

In the 1930s Great Britain and France had failed to show decisiveness in standing up to the growing threat from Hitler’s Germany. Stalin, in the Soviet Union, had a clearer understanding of this threat and showed greater resolve to resist fascism’s increasing power. He ended the Soviet Union’s aggressive propaganda against the West, and attempted to form a “popular front” with other anti-fascist nations and groups in Europe on the basis of “collective security.”

Britain’s and France’s appeasement policies, which allowed Hitler to occupy Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and early 1939, made Stalin realize that to save the Soviet Union from having to possibly face Nazi aggression alone without support from the Western powers, he had to “buy time” to build up Soviet military defenses.

Thus, he chose to enter into a nonaggression pact with Hitler in August of 1939. He agreed in a secret protocol of that pact to divide up Poland with Nazi Germany in the event of war breaking out, so as to widen the buffer zone separating Nazi military power from the Soviet heartland. Stalin’s fears were proven right when Hitler broke the pact in June of 1941 and invaded the USSR.

It may have been unsavory and unfortunate for the Poles, who had their nation carved up by the two totalitarian giants in September 1939 or for the Finns, who were invaded by the Red Army and lost border territory to the Soviet Union in the winter of 1939-1940 or for the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were annexed by Stalin in June 1940 or for the residents of the Romanian provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina, which were also occupied by Stalin’s forces in June 1940. But these lands provided “breathing space” for the Soviet Union to peacefully prepare for the inevitable war and do its part, after it was invaded, to destroy the Nazi threat to humanity.

Stalin’s Plan for Bringing About World War II

This interpretation has been increasingly challenged over the last three decades. Ernst Topitsch’s Stalin’s War (1987), Viktor Suvorov’s Icebreaker (1990), Heinz Magenheimer’s Hitler’s War (1998), and Albert Weeks’ Stalin’s Other War (2002), for example, all argue that Stalin’s purpose was not to protect the Soviet Union from an early attack. Instead, Stalin’s strategy was to intentionally create the conditions for a war to more easily break out between Nazi Germany and the Western powers. Such a war would weaken the “capitalist nations” and produce the conditions for communist revolution throughout Europe at the point of Soviet bayonets and tanks.

These authors also have argued that Stalin was planning an aggressive war against Nazi Germany, with the only problem being that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union before Stalin could break the nonaggression pact and invade Germany. Magenheimer even reproduced maps from the Soviet archives showing the planned directions of attack into the German heartland by Soviet military units. The differences of opinion among these writers have been about the date for Stalin’s aggressive war on Germany. Was it to have been in the summer of 1941 or the spring of 1942?

World Wars as a Way to Weaken Capitalist Nations

Vladimir Lenin, the Marxist revolutionary who successfully led the Russian Revolution in November 1917, believed that World War I served as the catalyst for weakening the “capitalist nations.” Out of their war with each other came the opportunity for socialist revolution and the overthrow of the property owning “exploiters.” The proof of this, according to Lenin, was shown by the success of his communist movement coming to power in Russia in 1917, and maintaining their control over one-sixth of the landmass of the world after a three-year civil war between 1918 and 1921.

Stalin accepted Lenin’s view and believed that another equally exhausting new world war among those capitalist nations would enable the socialist revolution to be extended all the way across the European continent. In a secret speech in Moscow before Communist Party members in January 1925, Stalin said that the Soviet Union would not be able to stay out of a future war but when action was taken by the USSR it should be at the end of the conflict to tip the scales toward an outcome favorable for world revolution.

In Stalin’s own words, “But if war breaks out we shall not be able to sit with folded arms. We shall have to take action, but we shall be the last to do so. And we shall do so in order to throw the decisive weight in the scales, the weight that can turn the scales.”

Stalin Deal with Hitler to Ignite a World War

Again, according to the “official” interpretation of Soviet foreign policy in the middle of the 1930s, Stalin made an appeal for “collective security” among the European nations against Nazi Germany. But the evidence really suggests that in the typical Marxist paranoia of “class” conspiracy and conflict, the trick, in Stalin’s mind, was to prevent all the capitalist countries from ganging up on the homeland of socialism in Soviet Russia.

The former Soviet archives have produced a previously secret speech that Stalin delivered on August 19, 1939, four days before the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact was signed in Moscow on August 23. Stalin explained that peace prevented the spread of communism war, on the other hand, provided the destruction and destabilization that was the entrée to revolution:

Comrades! It is in the interest of the USSR, the Land of the Toilers, that war breaks out between the [German] Reich and the capitalist Anglo-French bloc. Everything must be done so that the war lasts as long as possible in order that both sides become exhausted. Namely for this reason we must agree to the pact proposed by Germany, and use it so that once this war is declared, it will last for a maximum amount of time.

In Stalin’s mind, if the Nazis were defeated “the Sovietization of Germany follows inevitably and a Communist government will be established.” And if the war had weakened the Western allies enough, “This will likewise ensure the Sovietization of France.”

If the Nazis were to win at the end of a long war they would be exhausted and have to rule over a large area, which would pre-occupy them from attacking the Soviet Union and “these peoples who fell under the ‘protection’ of a victorious Germany would become our allies. We would have a large arena in which to develop the world revolution.” But regardless of the eventual victor, the Communist Parties in all these countries needed to keep up their propaganda and subversion so the groundwork would have been prepared for that revolution when the time came.

Stalin Frees Hitler to Fight Britain and France

Thus, in Stalin’s mind, Hitler’s drive for a Europe dominated by Nazi Germany was in fact a tool for him to use for advancing the global cause of communism. By freeing Hitler of the fear of a two-front war, Nazi Germany would invade Poland, the British and French might then declare war on Germany, and a prolonged war in central and western Europe would drain the capitalist nations, while leaving the Soviet Union neutral in the world conflict. This would enable Stalin to continue to build up Soviet military power, enter the war at a time of his own choosing, and bring communism to Europe through use of the Red Army.

This is why, after Hitler ordered the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, a little more than two weeks later, on September 17, 1939, Stalin ordered the Soviet occupation of the eastern half of Poland, bringing about the end of Poland on the map of Europe before September of that year had come to a close.

Hitler could now turn his military fury on to the Western Allies, Great Britain and France, and bring about that war-caused exhaustion of the “capitalist enemies” that would set the stage at some point for a Soviet victory over the European continent.

But the swift defeat and German occupation of France in June 1940 changed the configuration of forces and the likely length of the war. Hitler attempted to draw Stalin actively into the Axis alliance against the British Empire in November 1940 when that failed because Stalin’s price for participation seemed too high, Hitler ordered the plans to be set in motion for the invasion of the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941.

Stalin’s Plan for an Aggressive War Against Germany

From documents that became available from partially opened formerly secret Soviet archives during the 1990s, it is evident that Stalin now shifted to a more aggressive military strategy against Nazi Germany. A huge military buildup of Soviet forces along the border with Germany (in what had been Poland) was set in motion. But the controversy has been about whether this buildup was for defensive or offensive purposes.

The documents show that no plan or preparations were organized for the construction of defense positions. The deployment and order of battle were virtually all consistent with an offensive strategy, not the repulse of an anticipated attack. The configuration of these forces explains why the Germans faced no serious defense positions when they invaded the Soviet Union, and why they were able to initially capture so many Soviet soldiers and advance so rapidly into Soviet territory—in the first six months of the German invasion, seven million Red Army soldiers were either captured or killed, and 500,000 square miles of Soviet territory were occupied.

Furthermore, there has come to light the text of a Soviet General Staff document from May 15, 1941, that explicitly presents the plan to “Preempt the enemy by deploying against and attacking the German Army at the very moment when he has reached the deployment stage but is still not able to organize its forces into a front or coordinate all his forces.”

Was this just a standard strategy plan prepared by the Soviet military, or was this reflective of Stalin’s intentions? Ten days earlier, on May 5, Stalin spoke at a reception for recent graduates of Red Army officer schools, and declared that the time for mere defense was now over, and that the Soviet military had been reconstructed and was ready for battle. “Now is the time to go from defense to offense.”

Stalin’s Mistakes Still Led to a Communist Eastern Europe

It is fairly clear that Stalin, having helped to start the Second World War through his pact with Hitler, was readying to attack Germany and begin the process of Sovietizing the European continent. Hitler, guided by his own aggressive ambitions, merely beat him to the punch by striking first. But even out of the actual turn of events, Stalin succeeded in imposing communism on half of Europe for half a century.

Stalin, however, was not pleased with even this successful outcome. At the Potsdam Conference in July of 1945 after the defeat of Germany, President Harry Truman went up to Stalin and congratulated him on the Soviet Army’s conquest of Berlin in the closing weeks of the war. Stalin, however, glumly replied that the Russian Army under Czar Alexander I had reached Paris in the war against Napoleon.

Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, instigation of and participation in a virtual civil war in eastern Ukraine, and his recent military adventure in Syria all suggest that he, too, has imperial dreams to restore Russia to the “glory” and super-power status that Stalin had left to the Soviet Union that Putin had served so loyally as a member of the KGB before the demise of the communist regime in 1991.


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With his eastern flank secured, the pact unleashed Hitler to steamroll first Poland, then Norway, and then finally France, Belgium and everything in between. Similarly, the Soviet Union also exploited the new peace agreement to unleash hell on their neighbours: After seizing Eastern Poland and the Baltic States, the Red Army attacked Japanese forces in Mongolia and staged an all-out unprovoked invasion of Finland.

A colorized 1939 image of Finnish soldiers using a slingshot to lob grenades at Soviet soldiers in what became known as the Winter War. The conflict also saw the birth of the term Molotov cocktail. Finnish soldiers applied the moniker to makeshift firebombs in order to mock the Soviet foreign minister. Photo by Cassowary Colorizations - flickr.com/cassowaryprods


Nazi&ndashSoviet rapprochement

On 3 May 1939, the Soviet Secretary General Joseph Stalin replaced the Jewish Maxim Litvinov with Molotov as Foreign Minister, thereby opening for negotiations with Nazi Germany. Litvinov had been associated with the previous policy of creating an anti-fascist coalition, and was considered pro-Western by the standards of the Kremlin. Molotov let it be known that he would welcome a peaceful settlement of issues with Germany.

During the last two weeks of August 1939, Soviet-Japanese Border War reached its peak.

At Hitler's suggestion, the German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop visited Moscow on 19 August 1939. A 7 year German-Soviet trade agreement (establishing economic ties between the two states) was signed for a German credit to Soviet Union of 200 million marks, in exchange for raw materials - petrol, grain, cotton, phosphates, and timber.

Molotov proposed an additional protocol on August 19, "covering the points in which the High Contracting Parties are interested in the field of foreign policy". This was a direct reflection of Stalin's speech on Aug 19, 1939 (disputed), where he asserted that a great war between the western powers was necessary for the spread of World Revolution.

On August 24, a 10-year non-aggression pact was signed, with, in addition, agreement for: consultation arbitration if either party disagreed neutrality if either went to war against a third power no membership of a group "which is directly or indirectly aimed at the other".

There was a secret protocol to the pact, revealed only on Germany's defeat in 1945, according to which the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet spheres of influence. In the North, Finland, Estonia and Latvia were apportioned to the Soviet sphere. Poland was to be partitioned in the event of its "political rearrangement"&mdashthe areas east of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San going to the Soviet Union while the Germans would occupy the west. Lithuania, adjacent to East-Prussia, would be in the German sphere of influence. In the South, the Soviet Union's interest and German lack of interest in Bessarabia, a part of Romania, were acknowledged. The German diplomat Hans von Herwarth informed his U.S. colleague Charles Bohlen on the secret protocol on August 24, but the information stopped at the desk of President Roosevelt.

The existence of a secret appendix was first speculated in Baltic intelligence organizations only few days after the signing of the pact, and speculations grew stronger when Soviet negotiators referred to its content during negotiations of military bases. The German original was presumably destroyed in the bombings, but its microfilmed copy was included in the archive of German Foreign Office documents Karl von Loesch, civil servant in Foreign Office, gave to British Lt. Col. R.C. Thomson in May 1945. The Soviet Union denied the existence of the secret protocols until 1988, when politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev admitted the existence of the protocols, although the document itself was declassified only after the Soviet collapse in 1992.

Stalin, who had feared that the West was encouraging Hitler to fight the East, must have been aware that the secret clause was likely to unleash war, because it freed Hitler from the prospect of a war against the USSR at the same time as against Poland, France and Britain.

The Pact started to deteriorate in April 1940, when Germany invaded Denmark and Norway and in June 1940, when Soviet Union annexed Bukovina from Romania. Both nations were clearly overstepping their defined spheres of influence (as defined by the Pact). However, in 1947, Stalin said that he would have continued to work with Germany had Hitler been willing certainly Stalin had more to gain from co-operation with Germany (e.g. Poland) than from co-operation with Britain. According to historian E. H. Carr, Stalin was convinced that no German would be so stupid as to incur hostilities on two fronts, considering it axiomatic that if Germany was at war with the West, it would have to be friendly with Sovet Union.

Soviet representatives and propaganda went to great lengths to minimize the importance of the fact that they had opposed and fought against the Nazis in various ways for the past 10 years. However, they never went as far as to take a pro-German stance officially, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was worded as a non-aggression treaty, not a pact of alliance. Still, it is said that upon signing the pact, Molotov tried to reassure the Germans of his good intentions by commenting to journalists that "fascism is a matter of taste".

The extent to which the Soviet Union's earlier territorial acquisitions may have contributed to preventing its fall (and thus a Nazi victory in the war) remains a factor in evaluating the Pact. Soviet sources pointed out that the German advance eventually stopped just a few kilometers away from Moscow, so the role of the extra territory might have been crucial in such a close call. Others say that Poland and the Baltic countries played the important role of a barrier of buffer states between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a precondition not only for Germany's invasion of Western Europe, but also for the Third Reich's invasion of the Soviet Union.


The Birth of Popeye

The artist named E.C. Segar who originally conceptualized Popeye the Sailor presented the character for the first time when it first appeared in a comic strip called the "Thimble Theater". It was in 1919 when readers first laid eyes on the popular tough guy. With his one eye and huge muscles, he became an instant hit.

According to the artist, Popeye was 34 years of age and hailed from Santa Monica, California. Ten years later, due to the popularity, the comic strip, which had a few characters, began to focus on Popeye a lot more, which is why that by 1929, the comic strip became known as "Thimble Theatre Starring Popeye".


War's aftermath

Shortly after the Potsdam meeting, a rapid sequence of major events unfolded in Japan. Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, which called for Japan's unconditional surrender from the war. The Japanese government rebuffed that request. With military officials believing that a war against Japan could result in the loss of five hundred thousand lives, the United States decided to force a quick surrender by dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities—Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. Approximately 150,000 people were killed outright. On August 8, the Soviets had declared war on Japan and invaded Japanese-held Manchuria several days later. On August 14, Japan surrendered formal surrender documents were signed on the USS Missouri on September 2. With both Germany and Japan defeated, the Grand Alliance no longer had any reason to stay together.

Great war losses left Britain and the Soviet Union considerably weakened. Britain was heavily in debt and no longer had the resources to be a world leader. Britain still had substantial military forces and colonies around the world, but its superpower status would soon fade. Similarly the Soviet Union was economically crippled near the war's end. Over twenty million Soviets had died, and the country's agricultural and industrial economies were in ruin Stalin's immediate goal following the war was to avoid further military conflict. In contrast to Britain and the Soviet Union, the United States emerged from the war as a world power in a league of its own. Its gross national product, or total market value of the country's goods and services, had increased from $90 billion in 1939 to $211 billion in 1945. The U.S. population had also increased during the war, from 131 million to 140 million. The United States was the world's economic leader and major source of financial credit. Its military was vast, and it was the only country with atomic weapons.

A meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, held in London in September 1945 to determine terms of peace treaties and other end-of-the-war matters, ended in disarray. The United States and the Soviet Union strongly disagreed over draft treaties concerning Romania and Bulgaria and the Soviet role in postwar Japan. Some diplomats left the meeting feeling that the two nations were clearly on an unavoidable collision course. Many of them had begun to understand that the United States and other Western nations held basic economic and political values that were loathsome to the Soviets. Likewise, Western governments were inherently opposed to Soviet values.

In order to resolve differences, Truman sent Secretary of State Byrnes to Moscow, the Soviet capital. Byrnes was able to reach substantial compromises with the Soviets, including recognition of general spheres of influence for both nations the Soviets were given control over Romania and Bulgaria. U.S. and Soviet diplomats agreed to meet in May 1946 in Paris to develop a series of peace treaties for other European nations. They also created the UN Atomic Energy Commission. Byrnes faced intense criticism when he returned to the United States some Americans felt he was too soft in his negotiations with the communists. Because of this perception, his influence over foreign policy would substantially decline.


Germany Allies with China Instead of Japan?

Germany for a while had a much larger relationship with China than Japan after 1911. They tried to help the Kuomintang, and the Nazis at first didn't mind as they were fighting communists. But eventually they switched to Japan since they had a larger military and a desire to take British, French (and American) colonies along with disputes with the USSR. But what if China for whatever reason remains Germany's favorite, signs the non-comintern pact, and eventually joins the Axis Powers in exchange for German support against Japanese invasion. Hitler, being either cooperative, stupid, or however you want to put it, declares war against Japan. After all, think of the Chinese industry and potential economic market and the prospect of a too powerful Japan. As for the CCP, with early German support sticking, perhaps the CCP could have been scattered entirely or reduced even further from being a threat since the Kuomintang army could have been upgraded and given several tanks and planes. Germany could even send some forces there and less forces into Spain.

What I ask is.
1. With Japan also fighting limited amounts of German troops (no navy as Germany's navy wouldn't really do anything) as well as the Chinese military with now upgraded gear, when WW2 breaks out in Europe, when Germany takes over Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France and the Battle of Britain is done, would Japan officially side with Britain and join the allies?
2. Would Japan in this condition still bomb Pearl Harbor and jump American forces, or would the Japanese alliance against the Nazis with the British prevent any sanctions in the first place that would result in such an attack.

Rodger

EmperorTigerstar

Mephistopheles

I can see a weird Soviet-Japanese alliance if Hitler still invades the Soviet Union.

Strike South would have to be abandoned too though. The Soviets would not want to draw in the West against them in some three-way war.

Sam-Nary

With regard to question 1, that would depend on how Britain reacts to any Japanese overture. Some have argued that if Britain had maintained its earlier alliance with Japan that they could have mitigated the worst of Japanese acts of aggression and kept Japanese attacks rather limited. though I don't agree with it, and I'd also say that it'd be a moot point if Japan decided to ally again with the UK in 1940. By that time, the Japanese government was being lead by militarist extremists who weren't about to back down from what they wanted.

By 1940 post Battle of Britain, while Britain might be willing to accept help from the Japanese against Germany, it would be doubtful that there would be any possibility of the British mitigating Japanese aggression in China and the alliance would be a rather tense one, much like the alliance in history between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union during the war.

With regard to question 2, while Japan might consider helping the UK, it'd be more likely that the alliance would be manipulated entirely to Japan's advantage. Which would mean the conquest of China would continued, but now, to fully cut the Chinese off, they'd only need to seize French Indochina as Britain would be urged to shut down the supply routes to Germany's ally in Burma and India.

This would probably still irritate the US which was not responding well things like the Paney Incident and the Rape of Nanking. Had Japan not committed these atrocities or could truly prove that they were fighting to establish a China under Chinese rule, it might have been possible that the Americans would have looked the other way, as FDR was also an opponent of Hitler and US public opinion by the end of 1940 was also turning against Germany. but since the restoration of the British/Japanese Alliance would come after these atrocities had been committed, Japan is not likely to have friends in Washington.

Pearl Harbor would likely still occur and Britain would then be faced with the same problem it faced after WWI involving the dropping of their first alliance with Japan. an irate US. The British would have to then likely drop their support for Japan as they were getting most of their supplies from the US.


History Mark-scheme Cold War

The question does not require that the leaders have different ideologies. Possible choices could be: Eisenhower and Kennedy for the USA Khrushchev for the USSR Castro in Cuba Nasser in Egypt Mao in China etc. Accept any leaders of the candidate's choice providing that they are relevant for the time period and the Cold War.

Arguments/suspicion over issues raised and discussed at Yalta, and especially by the time of

Potsdam, should be well known. Coverage of the German Question, Poland, Greece and Turkey, the "liberation"/"occupation" of Eastern Europe, Containment policies (Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan) and Soviet moves (Cominform and Comecon), NATO, and the spread of conflict to Korea (given the 1953 date), are all relevant.The respective "fears" of both need to be addressed - what was the perception of both sides in relation to such events? Were leaders simply reacting to perceived aggression (military, economic) of the other - or were both sides deliberately pursuing aggressive and expansionist policies in their own interests?

The "to what extent" invitation allows for the identification of other factors which initiated a breakdown - e.g. ideology, deliberate pursuit of aims by one side or the other in an attempt to spread their respective values system.

[0 to 7 marks] for unfocused generalizations.

[8 to 10 marks] for narratives of the origins of the Cold War with implicit assessment.

[11 to 13 marks] for more explicit identification of fears and assessment.

[14 to 16 marks] for structured and focused responses with a sound historical knowledge base and awareness of other factors.

There is much to choose from. Do not necessarily expect all, but the emphasis should be on

judging the effectiveness of the policy after it was adopted. Did it halt expansion - how, where, why? Examples where it proved less successful - how, where, why? Specific details/examples are needed for substantiation.

[0 to 7 marks] for poorly substantiated or inadequate responses.

[8 to 10 marks] for narrative/descriptive accounts with implicit assessment of effectiveness.

[11 to 13 marks] for adequate detail and explicit focus. Not all implications considered or sufficiently developed.

[14 to 16 marks] for informed, well-focused and explicit assessment of the effectiveness ofthe policy.

For Korea, accept answers which use either the start of the Korean War in 1950, or the "liberation" from Japan in 1945 as a starting date.

For Vietnam - accept starting date from either 1946, or from 1960-61.

Middle East - could include the Arab-Israeli dispute characterized by a series of wars since 1948 and/or Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan. Reasons could include: ideology strategy mutual fear of perceived rival expansion prestige proxy/surrogate conflict economic resources etc.

Material shortages, production problems, the difficulties of maintaining a satisfactory level of consumer goods whilst maintaining expenditure on military/defence budgets, ossification of the command economy and central planning systems could all be examined and commented upon.

"External pressures" could be seen as linked to economic pressures since they required the regimes' expenditure to the disadvantage of the population - leading to dissatisfaction, demonstrations or a need for restructuring which opened the gates to political reform. Other external pressures (the role for example of religious institutions) could be considered - e.g. in Poland or the GDR/DDR.

both countries were divided and each had one part under Soviet influence and the other under US influence

both were episodes of actual warfare in the Cold War

both widened the war (geographically)

both wars involved Communist and Western powers seeking to retain their influence

both involved US forces but not Soviet troops officially

both caused many casualties and raised tension.

the US forces fought under the UN banner in Korea, but as American forces in Vietnam

Vietnam was more of a Communist victory and US defeat, whereas Korea ended with an armistice

the Korean War marked an important stage in Chinese involvement in the Cold War

Most of the answer should be devoted to the second part of the question, which requires candidates to assess why Communism collapsed. Candidates can discuss economic weaknesses, the Communist bloc's financial debt to the West, political problems, the

impossibility of keeping the people in ignorance of Western standards, growth of opposition,

(especially in Poland and Czechoslovakia), policies of the Soviet leader Gorbachev,

(from 1985), of Glasnost and Perestroika.

[0 to 7 marks] for inaccurate or inadequate knowledge.

[8 to 10 marks] for narrative accounts with implicit "why".

[11 to 13 marks] for explicit attention to "when and why".

[14 to 16 marks] for structured, focused and analytical answers.

both countries were allies of the USSR, but had their differences

both had strong, ambitious leaders, Mao and Castro

both used aid to developing countries to further communism and their own role

both influenced the development of détente.

Mao had more differences with USSR than Castro did

Mao had ambitions to be accepted as leader of the Communist bloc

China was active in Korea and Vietnam

for Cuba the height of the Cold War was the Missile crisis

the Americas was Cuba's main sphere of interest, Asia was China's

Reasons for involvement could include: Khrushchev's personality as a risk-taker, looking for a personal triumph to establish his leadership the desire to break containment imposed by US the American rejection of Castro which created an opportunity for the USSR Castro actively seeking assistance to break the American economic grip Soviet desire to improve their image in the Third World, especially in light of Chinese criticism the opportunity to gain a foothold in the Western hemisphere from which to spread communism and undermine US influence in Latin America a possible method of putting pressure on the US over the issue of Berlin and a base from which to address the Soviet strategic disadvantage in terms of long-range missiles.

Results of involvement could include: Soviets negotiated economic agreements with Cuba Soviet troops were stationed in Cuba Soviet naval bases were established, Soviet missiles were installed, which brought on the missile crisis the fall of Khrushchev by 1964 Cuba became a major source of anti-US propaganda in Latin America as a model for Latin American nationalists Cuba was a base for the spreading of communism in Latin America (Che Guevara), however this proved largely unsuccessful Cuba provided troops to support Soviet incursions into Angola and Ethiopia Cuban economy became a major drain on Soviet finances and Soviet presence in Cuba undermined their relations with the US.

Policies which caused disagreement included: post-war settlement of Europe treatment of Germany reparations Poland.

Results could include: break up of war time alliance increase of mutual fear and suspicion onset of the Cold War division of Germany establishment of Soviet satellite states.

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was a permanent military alliance, established by treaty in 1949. Its purpose was to defend Europe against Soviet aggression. Its institutions included a council, international secretariat, headquarters, bases and committees.

The Warsaw Pact was a delayed Soviet response to NATO. It was formed in 1955 like NATO all members were obliged to come to the aid of any member which was attacked. Unlike NATO it was also used to keep its members under control.

Non-alignment in the early years of the Cold War refers to states which decided not to take sides in the major division in world politics between the USA and the USSR, and formed the Non-aligned Movement which tried to mediate between the superpowers, and thus make a contribution to world peace. It was particularly associated with India and Nehru. Attempts by Mediterranean, African and Asian countries in the 1960s to renew the movement failed to reduce continuing superpower hostility. However conferences of the Non-alignment Movement were still held in the 1980s.

Détente means a reduction of conflict and tension between states. The term is usually applied to improved relations between East and West in the Cold War, especially to arms limitation. In the 1970s détente led to several agreements between the USA and USSR, including SALT I (1972) and SALT II (1979), as well as the Helsinki Conference on economic and technological co-operation 1975. The 1980s saw a challenge to the process of détente until later in the decade.

Of course not all experienced all of the above. Actual details will depend on the two countries chosen.

The Marshall Plan originated from a speech by George Marshall at Harvard on 5 June 1947. It offered financial aid from the USA for a programme of European recovery. It was based on the fear that poverty would encourage the speed of communism in European countries. Its intention was to ensure economic recovery for both security and economic reasons. The results were suspicion from the USSR, and the recovery of Western Europe from the dislocation of the Second World War. Congress approve Marshall "aid" totalling $17 billion to be administered through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) between 1948 and 1952.

Containment was the policy adopted by the USA in 1947in response to Soviet policies of expansion at the end of, and after, the Second World War. It aimed to contain communism. For importance, candidates could refer to the impact of containment on US foreign policy both in Europe and elsewhere.

COMECON - the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance, was established in Moscow by Stalin in January 1949, to improve trade between the USSR and its satellite Eastern European states. It was a reaction to the Marshall Plan and the economic power of the west. It eventually consisted of 10 member states, was dominated by the USSR, but there were often disagreements. It was disbanded in 1991. Its importance would include the way it was used to extend political influence as well as to control the production and distribution of goods within the communist world etc.

Détente was a term used to indicate the lessening of tension between the two sides of the Cold War. The term is usually applied to the improved relations, beginning in November 1969 with the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). There were several agreements between the USA and USSR in the 1970s including SALT I (1972), SALT II (1979) and those made at the Helsinki Conference in 1975 on economic and technological cooperation. In the 1980s détente was interrupted by further arms build-up, but returned with the policies of Gorbachev, from 1989 into the 1990s. Its importance would include the change it signified in relations between Cold War rivals, enabling arms control agreements etc.


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