During 1945 and early in 1946, the Soviet Union cut off nearly all contacts between the West and the occupied territories of Eastern Europe. In March 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned that "an iron curtain has descended across the Continent" of Europe. He made popular the phrase Iron Curtain to refer to Soviet barriers against the West (Kennedy 1034). Behind these barriers, the U.S.S.R. steadily expanded its power. In 1946, the U.S.S.R. organized Communist governments in Bulgaria and Romania. In 1947, Communists took control of Hungary and Poland. Communists seized full power in Czechoslovakia early in 1948. These countries became Soviet satellite nations controlled by the U.S.S.R. Albania already had turned to Communism. Yugoslavia also joined the Communist bloc. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia had helped drive out the Germans near the end of the war. Communists led by Josip Broz Tito then took over the government (Cold War). East and West opposed each other in the United Nations. In 1946, the U.S.S.R. rejected a U.S. proposal for an international agency to control nuclear energy production and research. The Soviet Union believed the United States had a lead in nuclear weapons and would have a monopoly if controls were approved. The Soviet Union pictured itself as a defender of peace and accused the United States of planning a third world war.
During the late 1940's and the 1950's, the Cold War became increasingly tense. Each side accused the other of wanting to rule the world (Walker 388). Each side believed its political and economic systems were better than the other's. Each strengthened its armed forces. Both sides viewed the Cold War as a dispute between right and wron...
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... rule came to an end in a number of Eastern European countries, including Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia (Kennedy 1034). In addition, East Germany began to allow its people to pass freely to West Berlin through the Berlin Wall, and the East Germans soon began to tear the wall down. Germany was reunified in 1990, when East Germany united with West Germany (Walker 388). In 1991, the Soviet Communist Party lost control of the Soviet government. Later that year, the Soviet Union was dissolved, and the republics that made up the nation became independent states. Russia was by far the largest of these states. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President George Bush formally declared that their countries did not regard each other as potential enemies (Walker). These events marked the end of the Cold War and of communist threat as we know it.
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