Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe and China
Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet leader
after Stalin died in 1953. Krushchev began a
destalinization. This meant getting rid
of Stalin's memory. Krushchev also believed that
the Soviet Union should have
peaceful competition with the capitalist nations.
In Eastern Europe, many people still resented
Soviet rule. Eastern Europeans took part in protest
movements against Soviet control. In 1956, protesters and the army overthrew the Communist
government of Hungary. Khrushchev sent Soviet
tanks to put the Communists back in power. In
1964, Leonid Brezhnev replaced Krushchev.
When Czechoslovakians began to reform their
Communist government in 1968, Brezhnev sent in
tanks to stop them.
The Soviets did not have the same control over
their larger neighbor, China. Although the Soviet
Union and China enjoyed friendly relations at first,
they gradually grew apart. The split became so
wide that the Soviet Union and China sometimes fought along their border. The two nations now
have a peaceful relationship.
How did the Soviets keep control over Eastern Europe?
From Brinkmanship to Détente; The Collapse of Détente
Tensions between the Soviets and the United
States had been very high during the presidency of
John F. Kennedy. They remained high during the
presidency of Lyndon Johnson. The war in
Vietnam helped keep relations tense.
In the early 1970s, the United States began to
follow a policy called détente under President
Richard M. Nixon. Détente was a policy of lowering tensions between the superpowers. Nixon made
visits to both Communist China and the Soviet
Union. In 1972, he and Brezhnev held meetings
called the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT).
They signed a treaty to limit the number of nuclear
missiles each country could have.
The United States retreated from détente when
the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. In
1981, Ronald Reagan, a fierce anti-Communist,
became president. He proposed a costly anti-missile defense system to protect America against
Soviet missiles. It was never put into effect. But it
remained a symbol of U.S. anti-Communist feelings.
The Soviets grew angry over American support
for the rebels fighting against the Communists in
Nicaragua. Tensions between the United States
and the Soviet Union increased until 1985 when a
new leader came to power in the Soviet Union.
Describe the changing tensions between the United States and the Soviet.