The Truman Doctrine would guide the United States for decades. It made clear that Americans would resist Soviet expansion in Europe or elsewhere in the world. Truman soon sent military and economic aid and advisers to Greece and Turkey so that they could withstand the communist threat.

Marshall Plan Aids Europe

Postwar hunger and poverty made Western European lands fertile ground for communist ideas. To strengthen democratic governments, the United States offered a massive aid package called the Marshall Plan. Under it, the United States funneled food and economic assistance to Europe to help countries rebuild. Billions of dollars in American aid helped war-shattered Europe recover rapidly and reduced communist influence there.

President Truman also offered aid to the Soviet Union and its satellites, or dependent states, in Eastern Europe. However, Stalin declined and forbade Eastern European countries to accept American aid. Instead, he promised help from the Soviet Union in its place.

A Divided Germany

Defeated Germany became another focus of the growing tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviets took reparations for their massive war losses by dismantling and moving factories and other resources from its occupation zone to help rebuild the Soviet Union. Above all, the Soviets feared the danger of a restored Germany.

Photo of a pile of rubble near a destroyed building, where a line of people are gathered holding belongings while an airplane flies overhead.

An airplane brings food and other supplies to Berlin as part of the Berlin Airlift.

Cite Evidence

Based on this image, how much progress has been made in the rebuilding of Berlin? Provide evidence.

The Western powers also took some reparations, but they wanted to create a stable, democratic Germany. Therefore, they united their zones of occupation and encouraged Germans to rebuild industries with Marshall Plan aid. The Soviets were furious at this move and strengthened their hold on Eastern Germany.

Germany became a divided nation. In West Germany, the Western democracies let the people write a constitution and regain self-government. In East Germany, the Soviets installed a socialist dictatorship tied to Moscow.

The Berlin Airlift

Stalin's resentment at Western moves to rebuild Germany triggered a crisis over Berlin. Even though it lay deep within the Soviet zone, the former German capital was occupied by all four victorious Allies. In June 1948, Stalin tried to force the Western Allies out of Berlin by sealing off every railroad and highway into the Western sectors of the city. The Western powers responded to the blockade by mounting a round-the-clock airlift. For more than a year, cargo planes supplied West Berliners with food and fuel. Their success forced the Soviets to end the blockade. Although the West had won a victory in the Cold War, the crisis deepened the hostility between the two camps.

New Alliances

Tensions continued to grow. In 1949, the United States, Canada, and ten other countries formed a new military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Members pledged to help one another if any one of them were attacked.

In 1955, the Soviet Union responded by forming its own military alliance, the Warsaw Pact. It included the Soviet Union and seven satellites in Eastern Europe. Unlike NATO, however, the Warsaw Pact was often invoked by the Soviets to keep its satellites in order.

The Propaganda War

Both sides participated in a propaganda war. The United States spoke of defending capitalism and democracy against communism and totalitarianism. The Soviet Union claimed the moral high ground in the struggle against Western imperialism. Yet, linked to those stands, both sides sought world power.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments