The Cold War and Post War European History

Chapter 5 – The Coming of the Cold War :: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes upon it his own social system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise.”
  • “It’s quite clear— it’s got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control.”
  • “On September 15th the Bulgarian Peace Treaty officially came into force and four days later the USA offered to extend diplomatic recognition to the government in Sofia. Within 96 hours Petkov was executed, his sentence having been delayed until the official American announcement. With Petkov judicially murdered, the Bulgarian Communists need fear no further impediments.”
  • “For many months, based on logical analysis, I have felt and held that war was unlikely for at least ten years. Within the last few weeks I have felt a subtle change in Soviet attitude which I cannot define, but which now gives me a feeling it may come with dramatic suddenness.”
  • “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.”
  • “If you open that Pandora’s Box, you never know what Trojan ’orses will jump out”
  • “Here the ego is at half- pressure; most of us are not men and women but members of a vast, seedy, overworked, over- legislated neuter class, with our drab clothes, our ration books and murder stories, our envious, strict, old- world apathies— a care- worn people. And the symbol of this mood is London, now the largest, saddest and dirtiest of great cities, with its miles of unpainted, half- inhabited houses, its chopless chop- houses, its beerless pubs, its once vivid quarters losing all personality, its squares bereft of elegance . . . its crowds mooning around the stained green wicker of the cafeterias in their shabby raincoats, under a sky permanently dull and lowering like a metal dish- cover.”
  • ‘‘it is rarely possible for the English, in their parliamentary debates, to give utterance to a principle. They discuss only the utility or disutility of a thing, and produce facts, for and against.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the events the Eastern European nations experienced during the consolidation of Soviet power
  • How did the Soviet strategy succeed and fail in Western Europe and Greece regarding working with local Communists? and Socialists?
  • What were the main reasons the Soviets were unable to successfully work with local Communists and Socialists in Western Europe and Greece
  • Compare and Contrast: The relationship between Eastern European nations and Russia in Pre-War Europe and Post War Soviet Occupied Europe
  • In what ways did the Soviets use pre-war and wartime allies in post-war Soviet occupied Europe?
  • Why did the Soviets reject existing Communist / Socialist leadership and structures in Eastern Europe?
  • Who was Mátyás Rákosi and how was he representative of and dissimilar from other leaders in Soviet occupied Europe
  • Explain and Expand: “it is perhaps worth emphasizing that neither Stalin nor his local representatives were in any doubt as to their long- term goal. Coalitions were the route to power for Communist parties in a region where they were historically weak; they were only ever a means to this end.”
  • Explain and Expand: ” The Communists’ stated objective in 1945 and 1946 was to ‘complete’ the unfinished bourgeois revolutions of 1848”
  • Affirm or Refute: “The result was that Communist parties adopted instead a strategy of covert pressure, followed by open terror and repression. In the course of 1946 and into 1947 electoral opponents were maligned, threatened, beaten up, arrested, tried as ‘Fascists’ or ‘collaborators’ and imprisoned or even shot. ‘Popular’ militias helped create a climate of fear and insecurity which Communist spokesmen then blamed on their political critics.”
  • Explain and Expand: “overwhelmingly rural eastern Europe, its allegiance was traditionally Socialist, not Communist. Thus since the Socialists could not easily be beaten, the Communists chose instead to join them.”
  • Define: “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Stalinist”, “Leninist”, “Marxist”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Stalinist”, “Leninist”, “Marx”
  • In light of pre-war Nazi appeasement, React and Respond: “either in the innocent belief that everyone would benefit, or else in the hope of moderating Communist behavior.”
  • In light of the pre-war Nazi takeover of power, React and Respond: “with some help from violent assaults on their remaining opponents, intimidation at polling stations and blatantly abusive vote counts.”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Communism” and “Fascism”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Socialism” and “Fascism”
  • In what ways did post war Soviet occupation government define themselves in relation to Fascism? How did they use this to assume legitimacy?
  • In what ways were Finland and Yugoslavia exceptional in their post war relations with the Soviet Union?
  • React and Respond: “Communism had lost its revolutionary edge and become, deliberately, part of a broad anti- Fascist coalition.”
  • Describe the process that established West Germany and the reaction in the Soviet Union
  • Explain and Expand: “Accordingly, when the blockade failed, the Soviet leader changed tack.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Berlin crisis had three significant outcomes”
  • What was “The Brussels Pact”? What was the “1951 Paris Treaty”? How did these form the first stage of NATO and the EU?
  • Describe the process that established NATO
  • React and Respond: “Hence the famous bon mot of Lord Ismay, who took up his post as NATO’s first Secretary General in 1952: the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was ‘to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.’”
  • How did the option of German neutrality impact the formation of post war Europe?
  • In what ways did domestic politics in post- war Britain impact the formation of post-war Europe?
  • React and Respond: “It was queues for everything, you know, even if you didn’t know what you were queuing for . . . you joined it because you knew there was something at the end of it.”
  • Explain and Expand: “This is something which we know, in our bones, we cannot do.”
  • What were the priorities of France in post war Europe?
  • React and Respond: “The French duly did what the British might have done in other circumstances and made ‘Europe’ in their own image, eventually casting its institutions and policies in a mould familiar from French precedent. At the time it was the continental Europeans, not the British, who expressed regret at the course of events. Many prominent European leaders deeply wanted Britain to join them.”

The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning – Chapter 3: Trade and Manufacturing 

American History students should note the context of the Navigation Acts and European taxes as well as the “Guild System” that forced many Europeans to seek opportunity in America. 

Thought Questions

  • How did trade with the Americas change European demographics and jobs in the 18th century?
  • How did the Dutch create an international trading system in Northern Europe? 
  • How did changing transportation networks facilitate a European wide market? 
  • How did the Dutch financial industry help them achieve dominance in trade? 
  • What were the English Navigation Acts and why were they enacted? 
  • How did the southern Europeans begin to emerge as trading powers? 
  • What was the “Guild System” and how did it effect immigration from Europe?

The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning – Chapter 2: People

Thought Questions

  • What was the relationship between economic development and change and population in the 18th century?
  • What changes in the family and marriage occured in the 18th century? 
  • What was the Thirty Years War and how did it effect the European population?
  • How did military conflict change after the Thirty Years War? 
  • How are War, Famine and Disease related to each other? 
  • In what ways did medicine and health science advance in the 18th century and what factors contributed to these changes? 
  • How did gender, family and marriage effect life and change during the 18th century?

The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning – Chapter 1: Communication

Thought Questions

  • What were roads like in the 18th century and how did this effect communication and commerce?
  • What advantages did the “planned” Colonial American communities have in transportation and communication? 
  • What was a European turnpike and what social changes did they bring about?
  • What were the advantages and disadvantages of coastal sea travel? of inland waterways?
  • How did easy access to inland waterways economically assist the Netherlands? 
  • How did the spread of clocks and watches effect European society? 
  • How did waterway canals multiply the ability of animals to move people and cargo? 
  • What are the major rivers of the German states, France and Austria-Hungary? 
  • How did customs barriers and internal tariffs and tolls effect economic activity and development in the 18th century? 
  • How did the development of dependable postal services influence European development during the 18th century?