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At the conclusion of the WWII Germany was divided into 4 zones of occupation controlled by Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Berlin, the capital of Germany, was located in the Soviet controlled section of Germany. Lack of agreement and compromise with the Soviet Union concerning the unity of Germany led to the beginning of the Cold War. The term Cold War was first used by an American Financier Bernard Baruch in a congressional debate in 1947.
A cold war can be defined as a condition of tension and conflict short of an actual war as was the case with America and the Soviet Union. In June 1948 the three allies, France, Great Britain, and the United States, established the German Federal Republic in West Germany, which they controlled. The Soviet Union however opposed any government run by any western powers and took many measures to prevent this new government from staying in power. On June 24, 1948 the soviets began a blockade of all land traffic to the western zone of Berlin, hoping to starve it of supplies and perhaps breaking down. But the US, France, and Great Britain, would not back down to the Soviets and so they began to airlift all supplies to West Germany. After about a year on May 12, 1949 the soviets realized their defeat and ended the blockade.
The United States realized that the soviets expansionist aims threatened not only Europe but developing nations of the world as well. So in 1949 President Truman approved the Point Four Program which put aside nearly $ 400 million for technical development in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Truman had the idea that if these developing countries would modernize and strengthen their economies the growth of communism would be discouraged. In 1949 the United States joined with 11 other western nations in an alliance to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which provided collective security in Europe and any other part of the world but the main goal was to contain communism.
Shortly after the Soviet Union and seven other European nations joined to form an opposing alliance under the Warsaw Pact. Now practically the entire world was involved. Truman struck fear into people s hearts when in September of 1949 he announced that the soviets had successfully exploded an atomic bomb. Meanwhile back in the United States fear of the Soviet Union and communism were rapidly growing. The United States was very fearful of a communist take over especially after a great nation of like China came under a communism regime. This fear of communism led some Americans to take actions that would violate the civil rights of others.
The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for example was black listing many writers, actors, and directors of movies that they came to be un-American. Then the Smith Act of 1940 made it illegal for anyone to advocate the overthrowing any government in the United States or to affiliate with any group s that called for such actions. Obviously this violated peoples rights such as freedom of speech. In 1947 president Truman added to the anti-Communist feelings when he ordered a loyalty review board to conduct security checks of thousands of government employees and a few years later in 1950 Wisconsin s senator Joseph McCarthy accused regular people and government officials alike of being corrupted by communism. Many of the accused where even convicted with out any evidence what so ever and many more resigned from their positions because of fear of being convicted of crimes that they haven t committed. It seems like the whole idea behind democracy was being ignored.
Under a normal democracy a person can not be convicted of a crime if there is no evidence linking it to him, but this was happening all over America out of fear and ignorance of both the government and its citizens. All these accusations and anti-Communist acts being passes made people believe that there were more communists in America than there actually were. People just got caught up in this communist chaos which led them to fear more than necessary. These fears led to McCarran Walter Immigration act of 1952 which restricted the immigration of persons from communist countries, failing to consider that these people might just be trying to escape the communist regime By the late 1050 s and early 1960 relations between the super powers were beginning to improve. The unites states, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union held summit meetings in 1955 and in 1959 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev visited camp David in the united states to discuss good will between the two nations. However later events would lead to an even greater hostility and tensions between the United Sates and the Soviet Union and relations would worsen once again.
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