History GCSE Timeline


The Fourteen Points

January 1918

Made by President Wilson, USA
League of Nations to be set up
independence for Belgium
Poland to become independent state with access to the sea
ban on secret treaties
reduction in arms

German government left in hands of Friedrich Ebert

November 1918

Kaiser abdicated and govt. left in hands on Ebert, Chancellor


November 1918

Germany signed it and ended WW1

Hitler joined German Workers' Party


founded by Anton Drexler

Spartacist/Communist activists seize power in Berlin and Baltic Ports

January 1919

led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg

Paris Peace Conference

January 18 1919

Delegates from 32 countries met in Paris to make peace after WW1.
Germany not invited.
Big 3:

George Clemenceau, France
Wanted revenge for extreme damage done to France
Under pressure from French to punish GER
Wanted to prevent future threats of German invasion- wanted to cripple GER's economy

Woodrow Wilson,USA
Wanted to avoid making GER angry and causing another war
Wanted self-determination for all countries
Wanted international co-operation
US casualties low compared to GB and FR
US had only been in war since 1917
Believed GER was responsible for war

David Lloyd George, Great Britain
British bitter towards GER- wanted harsh treaty
Had promised he'd make GER pay
Feared harsh treaty would lead to another war
Wanted GB and GER to trade again
Often in middle ground
Thought Wilson too reliant on 14 points

Ebert elected as first President of the new Weimar Republic

11 February 1919

forced into signing ToV- became known as 'November Criminals'
opponents of republic, especially army, blamed govt. for signing armistice leading to ToV
-believed GER army could've won war if armistice not signed
GER couldn't afford to pay reparations
-country had been run down by war + lost important areas of land that could make money (e.g. coalfields of Saar)

The Constitution of Weimar Germany
in theory, Weimar Constitution gave almost perfect democratic system
'lower house'/ Reichstag elected by Proportional Representation, vote by secret ballot + universal suffrage (everyone could vote)
elections to be held at least every 4 years
'upper house'/ Reichstrat made up of representatives from each of GER states + could delay new laws
President also head of state + was elected every 7 years
President appointed Chancellor (usually leader of largest party in Reichstag) to form govt.
Chancellor's role similar to Prime Minister in GB

Consequences of Weimar Instability
in practice, new govt., + its problems led to major instability
in 1919, republic had many enemies
proportional rep. encouraged lots of small parties
was difficult for one party to get a majority so lots of coalitions
-led to weak govts.
President had too much power- exploited by Hitler
-Pres. could abandon democracy and rule by decree in an emergency
generals in charge of army same as men who fought for Kaiser
-many opposed to republic + wanted return of Kaiser
judges in new GER served under Kaiser
-had little sympathy for those against republic
Communists in GER (known as Spartacists) wanted revolution similar to Russia 1917
within weeks, all revolts crushed by regular troops + ex-soldiers (Freikorps) + Communist leaders assassinated

Independent Socialist State set up in Bavaria

April 6 1919 - May 3 1919

leader: Kurt Eisner

Treaty of Versailles

June 28 1919

Made at Paris Peace Conference
Presented to GER May 1919
GER forced to sign June 28th 1919
Consisted of 440 Articles
5 main points:

War Guilt Clause Article 231
had to agree that it was responsible for starting WW1

German Armed Forces
limited to 100,000 men
conscription banned (soldiers volunteers)
not allowed armoured vehicles, submarines or military aircraft
only 6 battleships and 30 smaller ships
Rhineland (between FR and GER) demilitarised

GER had to pay compensation to FR, GB and BLG for damage caused by war
£6600 million set by reparations commission 1921

Loss of Territories
GER territories rearranged
GER colonies (mainly in Africa) given to FR and GB under control of LoN

joining together of Austria and GER forbidden by ToV

The League of Nations
LoN set up as international 'police force'
GER wouldn't be invited to join LoN until proved peace-loving

League of Nations set up

January 10 1920

Originally: 42 members, 1930: 60 members
USA refused to join
defeated nations weren't allowed to join
USSR not allowed to join because of Communist government

preventing aggression by any nation
encouraging co-operation between nations
working towards international disarmament
improving the living + working conditions of all peoples

Kapp Putsch

March 1920

GER nationalists thought democracy weak
for many nationalists, new WR symbol of GER's defeat in war
-furious w/ govt. for signing ToV
-wanted stronger govt. who'd make GER great again

March 1920, Wolfgang Kapp (extreme nationalist) + group of Freikorps units seized power in Berlin
bacame known as Kapp Putsch
Kapp not supported by workers in factories
workers organised strike in Berlin in support of govt.
within hours, industrial production in Berlin came to a halt
after 4 days, Kapp + his supporters gave up and fled Berlin
Ebert + Weimar govt. returned to power

Hitler becomes leader of German Workers' Party


changed its name to Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis)
organised his own private army called Sturm Abteilung (SA), or Stormtroopers, who were used to protect Nazi meetings + attack opponents' meetings, esp. Communists
drew up 25-point programme, including promise of reversing terms of ToV, destroying Communism + making GER great again
-also included attack on Jews, blaming them for GER's defeat in WWI
attracted support from extreme nationalists +,by 1922, Nazi party had 3000 members


1922 - November 1923

problem of making reparation repayments: encouraged GER to print more money
printing more money caused prices to rise out of control
hyperinflation set in, GER mark became virtually worthless
as prices rose, people's savings became worthless (hit middle classes particularly hard)
in 1923, prices in shops increased almost every hour
at times, workers paid twice a day so they could buy food before prices rose again
people on fixed incomes (e.g. pensioners) suffered badly
prices rose faster than wages so many people starved

French Occupation of Ruhr

January 1923 - 1925

according to terms of ToV, GER had to pay for damage caused by war
payments known as reparations
Reparations Commission announced GER would be required to pay £6600 million in gold in annual installments
in 1922, GER govt. announced it wouldn't be able to pay + asked for more time
-GB govt. agreed to this but FR govt. insisted GER must pay
January 1923, FR+BLG govts. sent troops into Ruhr, centre of GER industry- results disastrous for GER
-GER workers use passive resistance against invaders
-GER economy ground to a halt

Gustav Stresemann forms new government

September 1923

height of economic crisis

Stresemann stops printing of worthless paper money

November 1923

created new currency called Rentenmark
called off passive resistance in Ruhr
GER economy began to recover slowly, though FR troops didn't withdraw from Ruhr until 1925

The Munich Putsch

November 1923

H + Nazis tried to seize control of Bavaria (area w/ large Nazi following)
plan was to capture Munich + march on Berlin
H was convinced people would join him in overthrowing failed WR

on 8th November, H forced members pf Baravrian govt. to join him, at gunpoint
-leader, Gustav Von Kahr, was reluctant to do so + alerted army + police
next day, Bavarian police opened fire on Nazi Stormtroopers in Munich + 16 Nazis killed
H + Ludendorff (former WWI general whowas now Nazi supporter) arrested + charged w/ high treason

was clear H's views had some support in GER:
H received minimum sentence
many Nazi supporters also received light sentences
served his sentence in comfortable Landsberg Fortress + spent his time writing his memoirs
memoirs later published as Mein Kampf (my struggle) in which H outlined his view of GER history + his views of GER's rightful place in world

Munich Putsch became important piece of Nazi propaganda when gaining power

Stresemann becomes Foreign Secretary


tried to stabilise GER's financial position
one of few Weimar politicians strong enough to appeal to GER people
died October 1929, on eve of Wall Street Crash

Dawes Plan


in return for GER starting to pay reparations again, USA agreed to lend GER 800 million marks
could be used to build new factories to produce jobs + goods + raise people's standards of living

Hindenburg elected President of Germany


had been one of GER's war leaders under Kaiser + disliked new Republic

Locarno Treaties


GER signed w/ FR, GB+IT
guaranteed GER's frontiers w/ FR+BLG

Stresemann brings Germany into the League of Nations


GER recognised as great power + given permanent seat on Council w/ GB+FR

German industrial production improved on pre-WWI levels


by 1930, GER one of leading exporters of manufactured goods
in nearly every town, new factories + public facilities built
nearly 3 million homes built
however, unemployment rising quite quickly in late 1920s- sign of future problems

Kellogg-Briand Pact


GER signs along w/ 64 other nations
was agreed they'd keep their armies for self-defence but 'the solution of all disputes should be sought by peaceful means'

Young Plan


reduced reparations by over 67%

Wall Street Crash


many US banks forced to recall their loans, GER companies unable to pay
GER businesses began to close, milions lost their jobs, by 1932, no. of unemployed reached 6 million
many became homeless as they couldn't afford their rent or mortgage
more+more people felt let down by Weimar govt. and turned to more extremist parties

in years 1929-33, effects of Depression got worse + there was rapid growth in support for more extremist parties
Communists appealed to poor working class, held rallies, marches + meetings
-Communist Red Fighting League broke up meetings of political opponents as Nazis did
Nazis tried to appeal to both workers + businessmen who's lost money + investments in economic collapse
-spread idea effectively Joseph Goebbels, head of propaganda
-H's private army, SA (the Brownshirts), caused trouble + violence at meetings run by political opponents, Nazis then blamed Communists for causing violence
-H's speeches concentrated on what was judged to be most popular message, usually meant criticising shameful ToV + politicians who signed it, rich Jews, + Communists who weren't interested in GER nationality

The Manchurian Crisis

1931 - 1933

1st major challenge for LoN
Wall Street Crash- Protectionist policies in USA lead to loss of trade
JP looked for other ways to expand
1931, JP used attack of CH troops on JP railway to invade CH territory of Manchuria- rich in natural resources + raw materials + provided market for Japanese goods
Invasion success + Manchuria renamed Manchukuo

CH in middle of civil war + unable to defend Manchuria
CH appealed to LoN for support
LoN sent out commission to investigate, by which time invasion+occupation complete
LoN accepted findings of report + condemned JP + asked JP to withdraw from province
JP left LoN + remained in control of Manchuria

marked 'beginning of end' for LoN
GB + FR unwilling to support LoN in taking action against JP
LoN failed to prevent aggression- encouraged later aggression from IT + GER

Presidential Election


WR struggled to deal w/ Depression
coalition govts. normal in Weimar GER as result of proportional representation
Pres., highly respected war hero General von Hindenburg, tried to create govts. to solve country's economic crisis, however, result was series of weak govts. that didn't command much loyalty from GER people as a whole
Bruning Chancellor between 1930+1932 elections, tried to deal w/ crisis by raising taxes, cutting salaries of govt. employees + cutting level of unemployment benefit
-became v. unpopular
-many GERs believed democratic constitution was failing them
-thought they needed that would act firmly

in first year after Wall Street Crash, it was Communists + Socialists who benefited most from economic chaos
-seen in Reichstag election in 1930
by 1932, Nazi message had reached large audience, w/ Nazis being largest party in the Reichstag after July elections

in 1932, there was a presidential election (held every 7 years)
H stood against elderly Pres. Hindenburg
though H lost by 13 million votes to 19 million, used opportunity to put across Nazi message of blaming country's problems on enemies of GER (Jews, Communists + foreign capitalists) + promising to build stronger GER
gained status in eyes of many GER citizens as a serious politician who'd rescue GER from weak govt. from which it was suffering

The Disarmament Conference

February 1932 - 1934

GER had been in LoN for 6 years
most people accepted ToV too harsh
big qu: whether everyone should disarm to GER's level or allow GER to rearm
GER walked out of conference July 1932 when other powers refused to disarm to GER's level
returned to conference May 1933 + promised not to rearm in 5 years if all other countries destroyed their arms
other countries refused + Hitler withdrew from conference October 1933 + LoN soon after

Elections of 1932

July 1932

general election campaign was v. violent
Nazis + Communists fought each other in street battles + nearly 100 people killed
Nazis became largest party in Reichstag + H demanded to be made Chancellor
Hindenburg suspicious of H + refused
-appointed Franz von Papen, conservative politician w/ no party base
to achieve his aims, von Papen needed to increase his support in the Reichstag so called another election in November 1932
-Nazis lost seats but were still largest party
-Von Papen didn't get support he needed

Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany

January 1933

Immediately begins to rearm in secret

Catholic Church signs a concordat with Hitler


both sides agree not to interfere with each other
Nazis, in effect, tool over Protestant churches in GER under what was called the Reich Church, many protestants accepted this b/c they were Nazi supporters, even though many Christian elements of worship not allowed

Boycott of Jewish businesses


Jewish businesses, doctors, dentists etc marked with star of David and word 'Jude'

Hitler becomes Chancellor

30 January 1933

was becoming increasingly clear that Hindenburg couldn't continue to work w/ a Chancellor w/ no support in Reichstag
Von Papen simply couldn't pass any measures
Hindenburg + Von Papen decided to make H Chancellor
believed they'd be bale to control him once he was in power
H became chancellor, Von Papen Vice Chancellor

Reichstag Fire

7 February 1933

during election campaign, Reichstag was burned to the ground
Communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was arrested for the crime
H + Nazis were able to exploit the fire for their own purposes
Nazis were quick to blame Communist Party
H persuaded President Hindenburg to pass emergency law restricting personal liberty
Reichstag fire was particularly important moment in Nazis' rise to power

Enabling Act

March 1933

H still didn't have enough support in Reichstag to have complete control of GER
an enabling act would give him right to pass laws for next 4 years w/o having to obtain support of members in Reichstag
however, to pass an enabling act, H needed to obtain the votes of 2/3 of Reichstag members, but had support of only just over half
H ordered his SA to continue intimidating the opposition
the 81 Communist members of the Reichstag were expelled
in atmosphere heavy w/ violence + threats, Enabling Act was passed by 441 votes to 94
H given power to rule for 4 years w/o consulting Reichstag

Election of March 1933

6 March 1933

Nazis largest political party in Reichstag in March 1933
H bitterly disappointed as Nazis didn't have overall majority
-only had 44% of votes + H needed to pass laws legally
however, he gained support of Nationalists who wanted to see GER become great country again
also got support from Centre Party by promising to protect Catholic Church in GER
in addition, by using President's emergency law, Communists weren't allowed to take their seats in Reichstag
to be totally secure of Nazi majority, when Reichstag members assembled, heavily armed SA men made their presence known

Hitler eliminates trade unions

2 May 1933

using powers of enabling act, H outlawed all other parties, destroying GER democracy July 1933
Nazis broke into trade union offices all over country + arrested thousands of trade union officials
unions banned + all workers joined GER labour Front

Hitler takes Germany out of LoN

October 14 1933

Non-Aggression Pact with Poland

January 1934

GER signed non-aggression pact w/ POL
hoping to weaken alliance between FR+POL
hoped to reduce POL fears of GER aggression
wanted to show he had no quarrel w/ POL, only USSR

The Night of the Long Knives

30 June 1934

once he gained power, H's priority was to rid himself of possible rivals
Ersnt Rohm, leader of SA, had played major role in helping H achieve powere but:
-GER army saw SA as rival- army wouldn't support H unless SA disbanded
-some members of SA looked to H to follow socialist programme of reform- H opposed to this since he knew he could lose support of welathy industrialists
-Rohm was threat to H's dominance of Nazi Party
H made deal w/ generals of GER army: promised to support him as commander in chief of armed forces if SA was disbanded + he started programme of rearmament
30 June 1934, SS assassination squads murdered H's potential SA rivals, including Rohm (SS set up 1925 as elite section of SA)
estimated that up to 400 people killed on Night of the Long Knives

Death of Hindenburg/ Hitler becomes Fuhrer

2 August 1934

President Hindenburg died
Hitler combined posts of Chancellor + President + also became Commander-in-Chief of armed forces
from this point onwards, soldiers swore allegiance to Hitler, who officially became known as der Fuhrer (the leader)

GER Rearmament Military Rally


massive military rally celebrating GER armed forces
re-introduced conscription same year + announced peacetime army of 550,000
new air ministry to train pilots + build 1,000 aircraft
breaking terms of ToV
guessed correctly he would get away w/ rearmament, esp. afte collapse of disarmament conference
reps. from FR, IT + GB met in town called Stresa
-agreed to work together to preserve peace in EUR
-became known as Stresa Front against German aggeression
-collapsed due to Abyssinian crisis + Anglo-German Naval Treaty

Nuremberg Laws


Jews could no longer be GER citizens
marriages between Jews + Aryans forbidden
Jews had to wear yellow star on their clothing

The Abyssinian Crisis

1935 - 1936

In 1935, Italian troops invaded African country of Abyssinia

Mussolini had ruled IT since 1922 + wanted to increase IT's prestige as world power by increasing its territories in AF
Abyssinia one of few countries in AF not under EUR control
ITs wanted revenge for humiliating defeat by Abyssinians at Battle of Adowa, 1896

emperor of Abyssinia appealed to LoN for assistance
LoN condemned IT aggression + imposed economic sanctions
sanctions didn't include oil + IT continued to trade w/ non-LoN members (mostly USA)
GB+FR didn't want to offend Mussolini + drive him closer to GER
GB foreign secretary worked out Hoare-Laval Pact w/ FR, offering Mussolini most of Abyssinia
plan withdrawn when leaked to public

end on LoN as peacekeeping organisation- could no longer be taken seriously
showed LoN members not willing to use force to stop aggression
Hoare-Laval Pact showed GB+FR were undermining LoN

Labour Service Corps set up


compulsory for all men aged 18-25 to serve in corps for 6 months
unemployed men used to build govt. funded roads, motorways, houses,hospitals + schools
from 1935, all men aged 18-25 compelled to do military service for 2 years
rearmament provided thousands of jobs in arms factories + greatly boosted heavy industry
H determined to make GER self sufficient, known as policy of autarky
in 1934 Schacht made Economic Minister
-tried to make GER less dependent on imported raw materials + encouraged growth of GER industry
Schacht later replaced by Goering, who brought in 4-year-plan for economy
-set much higher targets for rearmament + tried to move GER closer to autarky

Plebiscite for the Return of the Saar

January 1935

Over 90% voted in favour
Hitler declared this was one of the first of the injustices of ToV to be reversed

Anglo-German Naval Treaty


Hitler knew GB had sympathy w/ GER on rearmament
GB believed ToV too tight on arms
GB signed naval agreement w/ GER allowing GERs to build own navy up to 35% size of GB's + have same no. of submarines
GB accepting Hitler's breach of ToV

Olympic Games in Berlin


used by Nazis to suggest superiority of Aryan race

Women could no longer be judges


The Remilitarisation of the Rhineland

March 1936

began moving troops back into Rhineland
calculated risk:
-clear breach of ToV
-GER troops in no position to stand up to FR troops if it reacted

The Sudeten Crisis

1938 - 22 September 1938

part of Czechoslovakia consisted of GER-speaking peoples in area known as Sudetenland
Hitler ordered Henlein (leader of Sudeten Germans) to stir up trouble in Sudetenland
GER newspapers produced allegations of crimes apparently committed by Czechs against Sudeten GERs
Hitler threatened war if solution not found
GB PM, Chamberlain, believed peaceful solution could be found
-tried to persuade Czech President, Benes to accept self-govt. for Sudetenland
-reluctantly agreed
Hitler produced new demands in which he claimed Sudetenland should be part of GER Reich
22 September, at meeting at Godesberg, Benes refused to accept GER demands
-war seemed likely
Chamberlain appealed to Hitler for more time to find solution

Anschluss with Austria

1938 - 12 March 1938

bullied Austrian Chancellor into accepting Nazi, Seyss-Inquart, as Austrian Minister of Interior
Schuschnigg ordered plebiscite to be held to find out if Austrian people wanted union w/ GER
Hitler feard 'no' vote so moved GER troops into Austrian border + threatened to invade if Schuschnigg didn't resign in favour of Seyss-Inquart
Seyss-Inquart became Chancellor of Austria + invited GER troops into country
March 12th 1938, GER army entered Vienna- Anschluss was complete
Nazis organised their own rigged vote about union w/GER- 99% voted in favour
Austria immediately became province of new German Reich (empire)
clear breach of ToV
GB+FR complained about breach but took no action
-feeling in GB that ToV too harsh

The Munich Agreement

29 September 1938

Chamberlain made final effort for peace
met w/ Daladier (FR leader), Hitler + Mussolini at Munich in final bid to resolve Sudeten crisis
Czech reps. not invited to meeting
Czechs forced to hand over Sudetenland to GER + commission set up to decide which territory Czechs would lose
Chamberlain + Hitler had further meeting in Munich in which both agreed GB+GER wouldn't go to war
Hitler promised he didn't want the rest of Czechoslovakia
Chamberlain returned to GB a hero, apparently saving EUR from war
Czech govt. humiliated
vital area of Sudetenland lost + Hungary + POL also occupied other parts of Czech territory in October and November 1938
GB+FR had given in to Hitler again
GB+FR increased pace of their rearmament programmes

Kristallnacht/ 'The Night Of Broken Glass'

9 NOvember 1938 - 10 November 1938

in early November 1938, Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan, shot GER diplomat in Paris
H ordered immediate attack on Jews + their property in GER
between 9-10 November, thousands of Jewish businesses were attacked and 200 synagogues burned down
called Kristallnacht, 'The Night Of Broken Glass'


March 1939 - April 1939

under ToV, GER territory given to POL to give them access to Baltic Sea ('Polish Corridor') + GER city of Danzig had been put under control of LoN
following success in Czechoslovakia, March 1939, Hitler demanded return of Danzig+Polish Corridor
FR+GB govts., humiliated by Munich + following events, acted decisively
April: gave guarantees of support against GER aggression to POL, GRK + Romanian govts.
increased production of arms and equipment

The Collapse of Czechoslovakia

March 1939

Hitler invaded and occupied what was left of Czechoslovakia
Bohemia+Moravia became GER protectorates (controlled by GER)
Slovakia remained independent in theory but was dominated by GER
Ruthenia handed over to Hungary

Pact of Steel

May 1939

spring 1939, events seemed to be favouring dictators
March: Hitler forced Lithuanians to hand over Baltic town of Memel + portion of land along their South-West border
April: General Franco's nationalist forces (supported by GER+IT) took power in Spain
May: Mussolini followed Hitler's example in Czechoslovakia by invading Albania
May: Hitler + Mussolini signed Pact of Steel
-promised to act together in future events
-EUR now divided firmly into 2 camps
-both GB+GER began to look at USSR as possible source of support

The Nazi-Soviet Pact

August 23 1939

GER foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, + Soviet Foreign Minister, Molotov, signed Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
Soviets + GERs agreed not to fight each other in event of war in EUR
Hitler gave Stalin freedom to occupy part of Romania + Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia + Lithuania
news of Nazi-Soviet Pact stunned world b/c Hitler + Stalin represented 2 totally opposing political systems
despite different political beliefs, Hitler + Stalin had much to offer each other:
for Hitler, pact removed threat of war on 2 fronts + chance to deal w/ POL despite threats from GB+FR
Stalin had been suspicious of GB+FR approaches- before rise of Hitler, neither had shown friendship towards USSR, Hitler had more to offer Soviets (e.g territory in eastern EUR)

Outbreak of WWII

September 1 1939

Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact gave Hitler confidence to deal w/ POL without having to worry about possible Soviet attack
GB+FR guarantees of support for POL in April 1939 too late to convince him they were really ready to go to war
policy of appeasement had given him impression that GB+FR govts. would agree to almost anything in order to prevent war w/ GER
even if war declared, POL too far away from GB+FR to provide practical support, if war came, Hitler decided it would be over v. quickly + he would have achieved another of his objectives
1 September 1939, GER troops invaded POL
GB+FR declared war soon after
15 September, USSR also invaded POL + took the territory agreed in Nazi-Soviet Pact
within 6 weeks, POL had been defeated + disappeared from map of EUR

Germany: Hitler made impossible demands on POL + eventually invaded 1 September 1939
USSR: Stalin made deal w/ Hitler that cleared way for GER invasion
Poland: signed an alliance w/ GB+FR encouraging it to resist GER demands
Britain and France: policy of appeasement made Hitler believe they wouldn't resist his invasion of POL, their guarantees to POL encouraged POL to refuse Hitler's demands

Battle of Midway

May 1942

gave USA control of war in Pacific

First Atomic Bomb Used on Hiroshima

6 August 1944

at least 75,000 people died instantly
tens of thousands more died from radiation poisoning
second bomb dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later, with 60,000 casualties
use of atom bomb increased rivalry between superpowers:
-Stalin convinced USA used bombs as warning to USSR
-arms race emerged w/ USSR determined to develop its own atom bomb

Japan defeated and Vietnam returned to the USA


The Yalta Conference

February 1945

allied leaders (Churchill, Roosevelt + Stalin) got on well
points agreed:
GER would be divided into 4 zones run by USA, FR, GB + USSR
GER's capital city, Berlin, (in Soviet zone) would also be divided into 4 zones
countries of eastern EUR would be allowed to hold free elections to decide how they would be governed
USSR would join war against JP in return for territory in Manchuria + Sakhalin Island

The Potsdam Conference

July 1945 - August 1945

President Roosevelt died April 1945 so USA represented by new president, Harry Truman
during conference, Churchill replaced by Clement Atlee as GB PM
new leaders didn't get on as well w/ Stalin as Roosevelt + Churchill had
discussions from Yalta conference continued at Potsdam

agreement on some points:
-Nazi Party was to be banned + its leaders would be tried as war criminals
-Oder-Neisse (2 rivers) line was to form part of the border between POL + GER

disagreements over other issues, clear signs that Stalin didn't trust USA+GB + that they didn't trust him:

GB+USA denied Stalin a naval base in the Mediterranean
-saw no need for Stalin to have this base
-Stalin saw this as evidence that his allies mistrusted him

Stalin wanted more reparations from GER than GB+USA did
-USA+GB didn't want to cripple GER; they'd seen the results of harsh reparations after WWI
-Stalin was suspicious as to why his allies seemed to want to protect GER + help it recover

Stalin had set up Communist govt. in Lublin (capital of POL), GB preferred non-Communist POL govt. which had lived in exile in GB throughout WWII
-Truman and Attlee v. suspicious of Stalin's motives in setting up Communist govt.

Stalin told about atom bomb by Truman at start of conference + was furious about it being kept a secret

Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's independence

September 1945

opposed FR control
led to war between FR+supporters of Ho Chi Minh
US President, Harry Truman, gave $3 million to support FR due to US fears of spread of Communism

Churchill uses term 'Iron Curtain'


"From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, and iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of central and eastern Europe... and all are subject to a very high measure of control from Moscow."
symbolises separation of east and western Europe

Marshall Aid/ The Marshall Plan

1947 - 1951

George Marshall, US secretary of state visited EUR + came up with European recovery programme
Truman believed poverty to be breeding ground for Communism + important for USA to have trading partners in future

2 main aims:
stop spread of Communism (Truman didn't admit this at time)
help economies of EUR to recover (would eventually provide market for US exports)

between 12-13 billion dollars poured into EUR in years 1947-51, providing vital help for EUR's economic recovery
also caused tensions:
only 16 European countries accepted it- all Western European states
Stalin refused Marshall Aid for USSR and banned Eastern European countries from accepting
Stalin created his own organisations known as Cominform and Comecon

Truman Doctrine


USA committed itself to a policy of containment of Communism in Europe
events in Greece + Turkey convinced Truman that, unless he acted, Communism would continue to spread, he therefore explained his policy to the world which became known as Truman Doctrine:
"I believe it must be the policy of the USA to support all free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure"
USA would not return to Isolationism- would play leading role in world
aim was to contain/stop spread of Communism but not to push it back, became policy of containment



at end of WWII, Stalin demanded partial control of Dardanelles (strategic passage between Black Sea + Mediterranean) belonging to Turkey
as w/ Greece, GB assistance to Turkey ended in 1947 + US dispatched military aid, including aircraft carrier Franklin D Roosevelt to ensure Turkey would retain chief control of passage


1947 - 1949

Greece appeared to be next in line in spread of Communism
Greek resistance against GERs had been divided into 2 movements
-royalists (wanted return of king)
after war, royalists restored king w/ help of GB troops
came under attack from Communists + GB troops withdrew
Greece asked USA for help early 1947
Truman already v. worried about spread of Communism
under Truman Doctrine, USA provided Greece with arms, supplies + money
Communists defeated 1949 after civil war



Stalin set up alliance of Communist countries, probably as response to Marshall Plan
aim was to spread Communist ideas, but also helped Stalin tighten his hold on his Communist allies b/c restricted their contact w/ West
only one Communist leader, Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, wasn't prepared to accept Stalin's total leadership- he split with Moscow but remained Communist

The Berlin Blockade and Airlift

1948 - May 1949

first major crisis of Cold War

at end of WWII, allies divided GER + Berlin into 4 parts
GER's economy + govt. had been shattered by war + allies were faced w/ serious problem as to whether they should continue to occupy GER or try to rebuild it
GB+USA wanted GER to recover- couldn't afford to keep feeding its people + felt that punishing GER wouldn't help future peace
FR unsure about whether to get GER back on its feet or not
USSR didn't want to rebuild GER + Stalin was suspicious about why USA + GB did
1848, FR, US+GB zones merged to make one zone- 'Trizonia' (became known as West GER 1949)
w/ help of Marshall Aid, West GER began to recover + propser
different story in East GER:
poverty + hunger
many East GERs leaving because West GER so much more attractive
in Stalin's eyes, seemed allies were building up West GER to attack him
when they introduced new West GER currency, Deutsche Mark, was 'last straw'

Stalin tried to blockade Berlin
in a month, he closed all road + rail connections from Berlin to West GER, hoping he could for western Allies out of city
seemed real risk of war
US+GB could:
withdraw from Berlin- would be humiliating + might encourage Stalin to think he could invade West GER
lift supplies into West Berlin by air, had the planes but would be risky as they could be shot down
decided to lift supplies, airlift lasted until following spring of 1949 + reached peak 16-17 April - 1398 flights landed nearly 13,000 tonnes of supplies in 24 hours
during airlift west berliners were supplied with everything from food to building supplies
airlift was huge success

May 1949, USSR lifted blockade
victory for west, but relations w/ USSR hit rock bottom
co-operation in GER seemed unlikely
GER would remain divided
zones controlled by FR, GB + USA became Federal Republic of GER + Soviet zone became German Democratic Republic


May 1948

Czechoslovakia not fully part of Stalin's 'Eastern Bloc' of countries- Communists not fully in control
spring 1948, elections due + seemed likely Communists would do badly + opposition would do well
Communists organised marches + protests
non-Communists resigned + foreign minister Jan Masaryk killed, probably murdered
May 1948, elections took place but only Communists allowed to stand
Czechoslovakia now fully part of Communist Eastern Bloc

USSR successfully tested an atomic bomb




set up by Stalin to co-ordinate production + trade of the eastern EUR countries
favoured USSR more than any of its other members

NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) formed

April 4 1949

military alliance containing most states in western EUR + USA + Canada
main purpose: defend each of its members
if one member attacked, all others would help defend it
when USSR developed its own atomic bomb 1949, NATO seemed even more important
-no western EUR country had atomic weapons
USA now formally committed to defence of western EUR
Stalin saw NATO as direct threat to USSR
USA able to build air bases in western EUR w/ planes armed w/ nuclear weapons stationed ready for use against USSR

China becomes Communist

October 1949

USSR and CH sign 30 year treaty of friendship


The Korean War

June 1950 - 1953

NK forces pushed back SK forces into small area of south-east Korea around Pusan
president Truman asked UN to help + Security Council's permanent members agreed to do so
UN forces from many countries (mainly USA) drove Communists back almost as far as Yalu River or border w/ CH
this worried CH who didn't want US-supported non Communist neighbour so they joined war
UN forces driven back + UN commander, General MacArthur, called for use of atomic bomb
Pres. Truman sacked MacArthur
UN troops began to push back Communists again
by June 1951, fighting seemed to be settled around 38th parallel
1953, truce agreed at Panmunjom (on 38th parallel)

when CH became Communist 1949, USA was extremely worried
CH-USA relations strained for many years
Pres. Truman worried that domino effect would work in Asia as in EUR
US saw Korea as success for Containment
massive damage done to Korea itself
many observers thought USA had used UN for its own purposes

USA detonated its first hydrogen bomb


Stalin Dies and Khrushchev becomes new leader of USSR


seemed to be less aggressive leader than Stalin:
seemed to be encouraging of greater freedom within USSR
talked of 'peaceful co-existence'
1956, in closed sessions of 20th congress, criticised for having been a dictator
on visit to Warsaw 1956, indicated that POL people should be allowed more freedom

USSR tested its own hydrogen bomb


USSR seemed to be catching up to USA in arms race
balance tilted even more in direction of USSR when CH became Communist

US send in military advisers to help 'prepare' for 1956 elections


US support for VN:
$1.6 billion in aid between 1954-1960
backing Diem's refusal to hold elections in 1956 in case Communists won
Diem's corrupt govt. became v. unpopular
leading Socialists, Communists + trade unions arrested
Buddhists excluded from top govt. positions
in villages, traditionally elected councils replaced by Saigon officials
National Liberation Front (NLF) set up in opposition to Diem + controlled parts of countryside in SV
-given supplies + support from Ho Chi Minh + wanted to reunite VN + introduce economic + social reform

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu


agreed to a peace conference
at Geneva peace conference, they decided:
VN would be temporarily divided in 2 along 17th parallel
NV would be under Communist regime of Ho Chi Minh
SV would be controlled by Ngo Dinh Diem, anti-Communist Catholic politician
would be general election in 1956 for whole of VN to decide its future

Austrian State Treaty


Soviets agreed to sign Austrian State Treaty ending occupation of Austria that had continued since 1945
Austria had been divided into 4 zones at end of WWII + Soviets had taken many food supplies from in reparations from their zone
Austria now independent and 1937 frontiers restored

The Warsaw Pact

May 1955

though he believed in peaceful co-existence,Khrushchev determined to strengthen eastern EUR in face of NATO
was especially annoyed by decision to integrate Federal Republic of Germany (West GER) into NATO 1955
after West GER joined NATO, Soviet response was to set up Warsaw Pact, Communist version of NATO
Soviets hadn't forgotten damage done to USSR in WWII

Diem assassinated by his army generals

November 1963

imprisoned + killed hundreds of Buddhists, who he claimed were helping Communists
some Buddhists burned themselves in protest
Diem's anti-Buddhist policy lost him support of USA
assassinated by his army generals November 1963

Gulf of Tonkin Incident


was claimed NV patrol boats had attacked US destroyer, the Maddox, in the Gulf of Tonkin
USA responded w/ bombing raid

Guerilla Tactics

1964 - 1968

ideal in jungle conditions
VC able to make booby traps, carry out ambushes + sabotage US bases then disappear into the jungle
as most of population supported VC, was almost impossible to detect them in the villages
VC built thousands of km of tunnels + complex underground shelters to avoid US air raids + reduce casualties
often US troops killed by booby traps
VC had much support in villages
-those who didn't support them terrorised into providing food + shelter
VC supplied by NV via Ho Chi Minh Trail
other Cummunist countries, e.g. USSR+CH gave at least 6,000 tonnes of supplies per day to NV to fight USA

Operation Rolling Thunder


VC receiving a lot of support from NV + various incidents provided excuses for USA to launch attacks there
1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident used as excuse by new President, Lyndon Johnson, to take action against NV
USA responded w/ a bombing raid
in 1965, more serious incident occurred
-VC attacked US base at Pleiku
-9 US killed + nearly 100 wounded
-USA responded w/ major bombing of NV, code-named Operation Rolling Thunder
operation designed to destroy roads, railways + VC bases in NV, + esp. Ho Chi Minh Trail- supply route from NV to SV for VC
saturation bombing didn't flush out or destroy VC, had little effect against guerilla tactics used by VC
by end of 1965, there were 180,000 US troops in SV, but VC hadn't been defeated

The Tet Offensive


VC launched surprise attack during the Tet (new year) festival
attacked 36 cities + even reached Saigon where, for a short period of time, they held the US embassy
were eventually forced to retreat w/ v. heavy losses
from now on, NV army that did most of the fighting, rather than VC
in many respects, this was military victory for USA but, in long term, was disastrous for attitudes of US, esp. witnessing their own embassy under attack, as well as thousands of civilian casualties + thousands of refugees
world opinion turning against US involvement in VN
was at this point that Pres. Johnson decided not to seek re-election

Protest movements in the USA

1968 - 1973

burning draft cards
-men who were to be conscripted into army received a draft card
-some refused to go
-some fled as far as Canada or beyond to escape police
-others burned their draft card in public
-by 1969, 34,000 draft-dodgers wanted by police
raiding draft board offices + burning records held there:
-draft cards sent out from these offices
-in Catonsville, Maryland, 2 Catholic priests imprisoned for being involved in these raids
Demonstrations and protest marches:
-in 1967, on placards in hugely supported marches, Pres. Johnson had been publicly criticised as a war criminal
-in 1968, he announced he was not standing for re-election as president
-in summer of that year, 10,000 demonstrators went to Chicago to Democratic Party Convention to protest against war
-anti war pressure maintained during presidential election until Nixon brought in, promising to bring war to an end
war veterans held marches:
-these men had been US soldiers who'd fought in VN, many of them badly injured
-over 300,000 took part in a war veterans march in 1971

The My Lai Massacre

March 1968

US forces under command of Lieutenant William Calley, entered village of My Lai, suspected of hiding VC troops
in a few hours, between 300-500 unarmed civilians, many of them women + children
incident only became known when one of soldiers gave account on US TV show in 1969
-led to an official investigation
when results of investigation published, US public was shocked
this, more than any other factor, turned US opinion against war

Paris Peace Conference

April 1973

agreement reached at PPC for ending war:
all US forces would leave VN
US prisoners of war were to be released by NV
govt. of SV continued to exist, but NV forces could stay in areas of SV that they controlled
elections to be held in future would determine whether VN became united or not

all US troops had left VN by April 1973
only US advisers remained
NV were in good position to complete conquest of SV

The Fall of Saigon


NV attacked South Vietnam via Cambodia + Laos as well as from NV
major cities in SV quickly fell to Communists
many SV troops retreated towards Saigon in SV
in April 1975, Saigon fell to Communists
remaining US officials were airlifted by helicopter from roof of US embassy to be taken to nearby warships
civilians had choice of either accepting Communists or fleeing from capital, may escaping by boat
nearly 4 million VN killed or wounded in war
57,000 US troops died + over 300,000 wounded, many w/ permanent injuries