Conflict and Cooperation in the International System since 1945

Global Events

Chinese Civil War

1927 - 1950

Civil war between Communists and Nationalists. Communists won, led by Mao. Significant portions of China were also being occupied by Japan as this time, and communists did a better job at fighting them off.

Ho Chi Minh: "All men are created equal..."


Leader of Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Significantly, he upheld democratic and nationalist beliefs of the US.
Many in Asia hope that empires will fall apart after the end of WW2 in 1945 and US would be the leader of them.

Indian Independence (from Britain)

July 18, 1947

Mao declares the People's Republic of China

October, 1949

Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia gain independence from France

1953 - 1954

Individual independence victories from the French. French lose French-Indochina empire.

CIA Overthrows Iranian PM Mosaddegh

August 19, 1953

PM Mosaddegh is arrested and imprisoned for 3 years. Later put on house arrest in his home where he ultimately dies.
The Shah returns from hiding in Roma on August 22, 1953

Suez Crisis

October 29, 1956 - November 4, 1956

- demonstrated to US that Britain would not be a diplomatic aid in managing the Middle East

Cuban Revolution


Non-Aligned Movement


Many countries around the world, including Cuba, decided to not take sides in the Cold War.

Arab-Israeli War (Yom Kippur War)

October 6, 1973 - October 25, 1973

Egypt and Syria launch a coordinated attack on Israel.

International Context:

- Nixon thinks Israel is the only free and democratic state in the region, and US only ally in the Levant
- Sadat recently comes to power after death of Nasser
- Sadat thinks Egypt has two main threats: Cold war context and Israeli strength (including its backing by the US)
- He wants to reduce Israel's strength

  • Egypt had lost a lot of territory to Israel in the war of 1967

Soviets invades Afghanistan (Soviet-Afghan War)

December 24, 1979 - February 15, 1989

Afghan communist coup took over the centrist governnment in 1978. Majority of Afhgnas were anticommunist, especially the religious Muslim populations. They attempted resist the communists. The resistance formed into the "Mujahideen," which became heavily militarily supported by the US in the 80s.

Contra Wars (Nicaragua, and other parts of Central Am.)

1981 - 1989

European Events

Iron Curtain Speech

March 5, 1946

US began to realize that Soviet Union was no longer an ally, but a new super power to fear.
Soviet Union desired expansionism

NATO Formation

April 4, 1949

Soviets Detonate Atomic Bomb in Siberia

August 29, 1949

Stalin Dies, thoughts that Cold War might be over


Hungarian Revolution, crushed by Soviet tanks


CLEAR to Western Europe that Cold War is not over and there is a need for NATO

NATO: No modernization of Nuclear


NATO: WILL modernize nuclear


Gorbachev becomes new Soviet Leader


Soviet leaders keep dying, Andropov dies, and the Chernenko dies, so Gorbachev takes power. He is very young and dynamic. Large goals. But inherits HUGE problems!

NATO: NO Modernization of Nuclear


American Events


1945 - 1953


1953 - 1961


1961 - 1963


1963 - 1969


1969 - 1974


1974 - 1977


1977 - 1981


1981 - 1989

Bush Sr.

1989 - 1993


1993 - 2001

Bush Jr.

2001 - 2009


2008 - 2016

Soviet Leaders


1945 - 1953


1953 - 1955

He is during the period that it seems like cold war might be over (until Hungarian Revolution)


1955 - 1964


1964 - 1982


1982 - 1984


1984 - 1985


1985 - 1991

Historical Context

Additional notes on what is going on around the world at particular points in time

70% of World Population Still under Colonization after WW2


US thinks it won't have to manage Middle East on its own


lecture 15, 16 on Middle East. Preludes 1967 disaster where it is clear that no help can be expected from British

Soviets Scale Back on International Commitments/Conflicts


It is costing them too much money
Doesn't want to help Poland when labour strikes start in 1980s
Doesn't want to support other states of the eastern bloc