CIE A-Levels Globalisation of the Cold War (Factsheet)

Written by Aaron

The Globalisation of the Cold War is the second topic in the CIE A-Level syllabus for Theme 1. The key question we have to answer is:

How and why did the Cold War spread outside Europe after 1950?

For most people, this is their least favourite topic because there’s just so much going on everywhere.

Before we start making complex arguments on this topic, yet’s load up on our ammunition. In this CIE History guide, we’ll go over how the war globalised.

Quick Tips to Survive This Topic

1. Breadth > Depth

You don’t need to know the nitty-gritty details of the SEATO agreement. You just need to know it happened. Same goes for most bits of subject knowledge in this chapter. Some events require extra detail — I’ll point out these details if necessary.

2. Memorise

Memorising won’t guarantee a good mark for this type of question, but it’s a prerequisite to get a good mark. Stock up on your facts, understand them roughly, then you’re ready for complex arguments.

Globalisation Factsheet

I’ll do this by region. I’ll list down all the facts you need to know for that region. Then I’ll explain what you need to know for that event.

Caribbean + Latin America

1954 – Guatemala – CIA funds coup
1959 – Cuba  Becomes communist – major event
1961 – Bay of Pigs – CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba
1961 – Alliance for Progress – US sends $22.3b aid to Latin America
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis – major event
1964 – Brazillian Coup – coup was supported by USA
1965 – Dominican Republic – USA invades them
1971 – Bolivian Coup – dictator Hugo Banzer supported by USA
1973 – Chilean Coup – Salvador Allende overthrown by Pinochet w. USA help

Key Takeaway 1:

1954 – Guatemala – CIA funds coup
1964 – Brazillian Coup – coup was supported by USA
1971 – Bolivian Coup – dictator Hugo Banzer supported by USA
1973 – Chilean Coup – Salvador Allende overthrown by Pinochet w. USA help

These all point to USA involvement specifically thru use of financial backing/giving intelligence to anti-communist regimes seeking to overthrow communist governments. This is a policy of rollback.

Key Takeaway 2:

1961 – Bay of Pigs – CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba
1965 – Dominican Republic – USA invades them

1965 Dominican Republic where the USA invaded them is an example of aggressive rollback. The USA didn’t just provide aid to local anti-communist — they invaded. 1961 Bay of Pigs is a similar case: The CIA didn’t just opportunistically take advantage of existing anti-communist rebels, but spearheaded the efforts to overthrow the Cuban regime with a local paramilitary group.

Key Takeaway 3:

1961 – Alliance for Progress – US sends $22.3b aid to Latin America

1961 Alliance for Progress is a different kind of USA involvement. It involved $22.3 billion of aid to Latin America between 1962 and 1967. This could be construed as an example of dollar imperialism or use of aid to gain influence abroad.

Key Takeaway 4:

1959 – Cuba becomes communist
1962 –  Cuban Missile Crisis

1959 Cuba becomes Communist show that sometimes, 3rd party states are a cause of ‘globalisation of the Cold War’. Cuba enacted a trade deal with Russia and nationalised all US industries. The USA stopped trading with Cuba

Similarly, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis shows that the USSR played some role in globalising the war in this region — not just the USA.

Overall Takeaway:

Mostly USA involvement in this region thru policy of rollback. Some USA influence via dollar imperialism. Some USSR involvement but only in Cuba.

Middle East

1953 – Iranian Coup – supported by USA
1955 – Baghdad Pact – Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, UK form pact
1956 – Suez Crisis – major event
1957 – Eisenhower Doctrine – US promises to help Middle East resist communism
1958 – Soviets fund Aswan Dam – USSR gives aid to Egypt
1958 – Iraq withdraws from Baghdad Pact – grows closer to USSR
1973 – Yom Kippur War – USA aids Israel, USSR aids Egypt

Key Takeaway 1:

1953 – Iranian Coup – supported by USA

Another example of rollback policy from the USA. This Iranian Coup was called Operation Ajax. The USA overthrew Iranian PM to bolster (monarch) Mohammad Reza Shah’s power. Iran had nationalised its oil industry previously (communist-leaning policy)

Key Takeaway 2:

1957 – Eisenhower Doctrine – US promises to help Middle East resist communism

Shows a policy of containment. USA promises to assist any Middle Eastern country that is resisting communism.

Key Takeaway 3:

1955 – Baghdad Pact – Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, UK form pact
1958 – Iraq withdraws from Baghdad Pact – grows closer to USSR

Baghdad Pact, or METO (Middle East Treaty Organisation), was modeled after NATO and was meant to contain USSR influence. USA was meant to join but didn’t. Shows the role of the UK, acting as the ‘Western Power’ in the region.

Key Takeaway 4:

1956 – Suez Crisis – major event
1973 – Yom Kippur War – USA aids Israel, USSR aids Egypt

1956 Suez Crisis is rare show of cooperation. Both USA and USSR together condemn invasion of Egypt by UK/France/Israel. On the other hand, 1973 Yom Kippur War shows confrontation via proxy war.

Key Takeaway 5:

1958 – Soviets fund Aswan Dam – USSR gives aid to Egypt

Shows Soviet involvement in region. Their own form of ‘dollar imperialism‘. USA/UK originally vie to provide funding, but Egypt takes from USSR in the end.

Overall Takeaway:

Region is hotly contested with both sides attempting to carve out their own blocs of influence. Greater use of diplomacy/persuasion rather than aggressive policies to gain influence here (little rollback compared to Latin America)

Asia (and Oceania-ish)

1950 – USSR funds Hukhabalap rebels in Philippines – rebels are communist
1951 – ANZUS Pact – USA/New Zealand/Australia sign collective security pact
1953 – Korean War – major event (link)
1954 – SEATO formed – a NATO for Asia
1960 – Pathet Lao Communist Revolution – took place in Laos
1955/1975 – Vietnam War – major event

Key Takeaway 1:

1953 – Korean War – major event (link)
1955/1975 – Vietnam War – major event

Both are cases of proxy wars between both the USA and USSR.

Key Takeaway 2:

1951 – ANZUS Pact – USA/New Zealand/Australia sign collective security pact
1954 – SEATO formed – a NATO for Asia

SEATO, or Manila Pact, membership included Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, US, UK, France, New Zealand, Australia. Note only three Asian countries are actually in this pact — most Asian nations take position of neutrality. Note that the form of US intervention here is through the creating of alliances and pacts.

Key Takeaway 3:

1950 – USSR funds Hukhabalap rebels in Philippines – rebels are communist
1960 – Pathet Lao Communist Revolution – took place in Laos

Funding of Hukhabalap rebels shows USSR influence, possible attempt at their form of rollback policy. Pathet Lao Communist Revolution has little formal influence from USSR, but shows why USA may fear a domino effect in Asia (i.e. spread of communism from one country to next. In this case, communism spread to Laos from Vietnam)

Overall Takeaway:

Another hotly contested region, this time mainly thru massive proxy wars. Most Asian countries not really involved in regional Cold War disputes — mainly focused on handful of key nations.

Africa

1960-1965 – Congo Crisis – explained below
1964-1974 – Mozambique Civil War – explained below

In the Congo Crisis, 100,000 were left dead. Patrick Lumumba, democratic leader of the Congo, requests help from the UN because a region of the Congo known as Katanga wants to separate off.  The UN rejects his request for help, so Lumumba turns to USSR for assistance instead.

In the Mozambique Civil War, the USSR provides aid and arms to FRELIMO, a party that fought for independence of Mozambique from Portugal.

Key Takeaway:

It’s interesting to note that Lumumba (and leaders of countries the USA/USSR intervened in general) could carry some blame for the globalisation of the Cold War. Nasser in Egypt played the USA/USSR against each other. Kim Il Sung in North Korea pressured Stalin for assistance. Lumumba — not the USSR – took the first move. In other words, other leaders shoulder blame for playing the USA/USSR.