The cold war era class 12 notes

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12 Class Political Science Chapter 1 The Cold War Era Notes

ClassClass 12
SubjectPolitical Science
ChapterChapter 1
Chapter NameThe Cold War Era
CategoryPolitical Science

Class 12th Political Science Chapter 1 The Cold War Era Notes here we will be learn about Emergence of two power blocs / Bipolarity Non – Aligned Movement ( NAM ) etc.

Cold war : –

🔹 Cold War is a situation in which rivalries , confrontations and struggle continue to stay between nations but that do not lead to any kind of a war. Soviet Union and America emerged as two superpowers after the end of Second World War. 

🔹 Both the nations were competitive enough in possession of nuclear weapons and power. Both the nations were poised with confrontations and competition but none of them initiated any direct war. The situation of confrontation and struggle came to be known as ‘ Cold War ‘.

Beginning of Cold War : –

🔹 With the end of World War II , the Cold War began. The Cold War lasted from 1945-1991.

End of Cold War : –

🔹 The Cuban Missile Crisis was the end of the Cold War. But the main reason for this is considered to be the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 for a number of reasons marked the end of the Cold War as one of the two superpowers had now weakened.

‘ Arena of Cold War ‘ : –

🔹 ‘ Arena of Cold War ‘ refers to the areas where crises and war occurred or threatened to occur between the alliance systems but did not cross certain limits.

🔹 The two superpowers were poised for direct confrontations in Korea ( 1950-53 ) , Berlin ( 1958- 62 ) , the Congo ( the early 1960s ) , and in several other places but world was saved from atomic war. The role played by non – aligned countries was appreciable in this context.

Nature of Cold War : –

🔹 The Cold War was a war of ideologies ; the USA followed the ideology of liberal democoracy and capitalism while the USSR backed the ideology of socialism and communism.

🔹 The two superpowers never clashed directely in battle.

🔹 The Cold War was as intense form of rivalry but it did not lead to an actual war of bloodshed and face to face ‘ armed war. There was no large scale fighting directly between the two Superpowers. Although , they each supported major regional conflicts in Asia and Europe. 

🔹 Each superpower wanted to extend its area of influence and achieve world domination.

Causes of Cold War : –

  • Strained relationship between the United States and Soviet Union.
  • Difference in ideology , different political systems.
  • Deep seated feelings of mistrust between USSR and USA.
  • Soviet Union refused to live up to its war time promises of elections in Eastern Europe. ( Stalin breaking his promise to allow free elections at the Yalta conference – 1945 ) .
  • Similarly , the USA and the Allies did not give in to the demand of the Soviet Union to start a second front during World War II.
  • The United States made efforts to resist Soviet expansions through the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan.
  • At the end of World War II , both the superpowers wanted their system of Government and belief to spread in the world.

Two ideologies were involved in a conflict during the Cold War era : –

🔹 Capitalism and communism were the two ideologies in conflict during the Cold War. United States followed the policy of capitalism and Soviet Union followed communism and wanted to increase their influence throughout the world and thereby came in conflict.

Communism : –

🔹 Common ownership of the means of production , based upon Marxist school of thought , conflict between two classes namely : capitalist class and the working class , planned development , total control of land and means of production by the state.

Capitalism : –

🔹 Private ownership of the means of production , free market based upon supply and demand , economic activities controlled and owned by private individuals for profit , private property.

Factors responsible Second World War considered to be the beginning of Cold War : –

  • Emergence of USSR as the most powerful country. 
  • Use of Atom Bombs by USA against Japan. 
  • Ideological rivalry between the two super powers.
  • The two superpowers were keen on expanding their spheres.
  • Use of Nuclear power raised many questions and comments like why did USA drop bombs ? 
  • Bombing the two cities of Japan.

Second World War : –

  • First world war – 1914 to 1918 
  • second World War – 1939 to 1945

🔹 The Second World War came to an end with the defeat of the Axis Powers which were led by Germany , Italy and Japan. The Allied forces led by the USA . Soviet Union , Britain and France defeated them. 

End of Second World War : –

🔹 The United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 causing Japan to surrender. The cold war began immediately after the end of the Second World War ( 1945 ).

Criticised of America : –

🔹 Arguments given by the critics on the decision of America to drop bombs : America’s objective in this step was to stop Soviet Union from taking military and political benefit from Asia and other places. America wanted Soviet Union to realise that America is the leading country in terms of possessions of nuclear weapons.

Supported of America : –

🔹 Arguments given by the supporters on the action of America to drop bombs : It was important to drop atomic bombs in order to end the war as soon as possible and to save America and its supporting countries from further destruction and loss of life and property.

Changing in Global politics after the Second World War : –

🔹 After the Second World War , two new power rose on the global stage. With the defeat of Germany and Japan , the devastation of Europe and in many other parts of the world , the United States and USSR became the greatest powers in the world with the ability to influence events anywhere on earth. The two superpowers were keen on expanding their sphere of influence in different parts of the world. The world was visibly divided between the two alliance systems.

Marshal Plan : –

🔹 Marshal plan was named after US foreign Minister. Under this plan , European countries were helped by America and consequently , their economic conditions came at the same level as it was before war in a very less period of time. This helped in improvement of economic conditions of western European countries.

Cuba’s missile crisis : –

🔹 Cuba was a small island nation off the Coast of USA and was an ally of the Soviet Union in 1962. Nikita Khrushchev , the leader of Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. The installation or these weapons put the US leader under pressure. The US president J.F. Kennedy was reluctant for war.

🔹 He was determined to get Khrushchev to remove the missiles and nuclear weapons from Cuba. Kennedy ordered American warships to intercept any Soviet ship heading to Cuba as a way of warning to USSR of seriousness. A clash seemed imminent in what came to be known as Cuban Missile Crisis However , both the super powers decided to avoid war. Thus the world was saved from Third World War.

Key leaders during the Cuban Missile Crisis : –

  • 1 ) Cuba – Fidel Castro
  • 2 ) Soviet Union – Nikita Khuschev
  • 3 ) America – john f kennedy

The Emergence of Two Power Blocs : –

🔹 After end of Second World War two new powers emerged as US and USSR. The alliance systems led by the two superpowers , threatened to divide the entire world into two camps. This division happened first in Europe. Most countries of Western Europe sided with the US and those of Eastern Europe joined the Soviet camp. That is why these were also called the Western and the Eastern alliances.

USA led Military Alliances : –

  • the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO ) 
  • the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization ( SEATO ) 
  • the Central Treaty Organization ( CENTO )

What is NATO ?

🔹 The bipolarity system gave birth to military alliance. In April 1949 , under the leadership of America , alliance was formalised into an organisation , the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ( NATO )

🔹 It was an association of twelve states which declared that armed attack on any one of them in Europe or North America would be regarded as an attack on all of them.

🔹 Each of these states would be obliged to help the others. Belgium , Canada , Denmark , France , Iceland , Italy , Luxemburg , Netherland or Holland , Norway , Portugal , Britain and America were involved in this. Later on , Greece , West Germany and Turkistan were also included in this treaty.

( SEATO ) and  ( CENTO ) : –

🔹 In East and South – East Asia and in West Asia ( Middle East ) , the United States built an alliance system called the South – East Asian Treaty Organisation ( SEATO ) and the Central Treaty Organisation ( CENTO ).

Warsaw Pact : –

🔹 The eastern alliance ‘ also formed an organisation named ‘ Warsaw Pact ‘ which was led by the Soviet Union. It was created in 1955. Its principal function was to counter NATO’s forces in Europe

Reason why The superpowers had military alliance with smaller states : –

  • The super powers needed military alliances with smaller countries to gain access to vital resources such as oil and minerals. 
  • To gain access to territory from where the super powers could launch their weapons and troops against their rivals. 
  • They wanted to enhance their spheres of influence and power blocs.
  • Smaller countries used to pay for the soldiers that were a part of military alliance. Due to this , economic pressure on the superpowers decreased.

Arenas of the Cold War : –

🔹 The arenas of the Cold War refer to areas where crises and war occurred or threatened to occur between the alliance system but did not cross certain limits.

🔹 The two superpowers , US and USSR were poised for direct confrontations in Korea ( 1950-53 ) , Berlin ( 1958-62 ) , the Congo ( the early 1960s ) and in several other places.

Non – Alignment : –

🔹 Non – alignment is the policy of staying away from alliance and praising or criticizing the works done by alliance without any discrimination. The countries which adopted the principle of non – alignment are free to adopt their national or international policies. They are not under any pressure for adopting policy of any alliance.

Founders of non – aligned movement ( NAM ) and their countries are : –

Founding Member CountriesFounding leaders of NAM
Pt . Jawaharlal NehruIndia
Mr. Josip Broz TitoYugoslavia
Dr. SukranoIndonesia
Mr. Kwame NkrumoGhana
Col. Gamal Abdel NaseerEgypt

Core objectives of non – aligned movement : –

  • To follow free and independent foreign policies instead of following that of other countries. 
  • To ensure independence of colonies of United Nations and to give support to dependent people on the issue of full authorities , rights and self – decisiveness.
  • Support to maintain a distance from allied politics and treaties and to follow a free and independent foreign policy by maintaining a distance from both the blocs , America and USSR.
  • To reduce tension between international relations , to frame a new international economic system based on justice and independence and to ensure appropriate participation of developing countries.

Policies of non – aligned movement ( NAM ) : –

  • To contribute in establishment of world peace by acting as a mediator in international affairs.
  • To contribute in the development of newly de – colonised countries which were backward and least developed.
  • To gain economical , financial , technical and scientific assistance by maintaining a friendly relationship with developed countries by staying away from the arena of cold war. 
  • To improve global system by insisting on establishment of a new international economic development in developed countries of the world.
  • To improve economic condition as soon as possible by staying away from competition over arms & weapons.
  • To oppose the policy of imperialism and discrimination based on colour.

Main contribution of the Non – Aligned Movement to the newly independent countries : –

  • Provided a third option of not joining the Cold War politics.
  • Newly independent countries were able to take international decisions and stances that served their interests.
  • They were able to balance both the super powers.
  • They were able to preserve their sovereignty and independence.

First non – aligned summit : –

🔹 The first non – aligned summit was held at Yugoslavia’s capital Belgrade in 1961. This summit was attended by 25 member states and supervisors of three other states . It emphasized on the importance of non – alliance for world peace. An appeal was done to Soviet Union and America to stop nuclear tests.

🔹 Following elements were also determined of non – alliance : – 

  • Assertion of following independent foreign policy.
  • Opposition of imperialism and colonialism.
  • Being independent from any military camp.
  • No military treaty from Soviet Union or America.
  • Absence of any military troop from the land of that country.

18th Non – Aligned Summit : –

🔹 The 18th Summit of the Non – Aligned Movement was held on October 25-26 , 2019 in Baku , Azerbaijan.

🔹 NAM online summit was held in May 2020 to discuss the response to the Covid – 19 crisis hosted by the President of Azerbaijan . Terrorism , reforms in UNO , global warming , refugee crisis were also the points of discussion.

🔹 Presently , 120 countries are its member states , 20 observer countries and 10 international observer organisations.

Debate ragarding India’s stand of Non Alignment during the cold war era : –

🔹 India’s non – alignment was decribed as ‘ unprincipled ‘ because India often refused to take a firm stand on crucial international issues as it involved i taking sides.

🔹 It is suggested that India was ” inconsistent ” and involved in contradictory matters , e.g : – India signed a treaty of friendship in August 1971 with USSR for 20 years . Some observers considered that India had virtually joined the Soviet alliance system . the world ‘ Socialist ‘ was added in the preamble at the behest of the USSR . ( 42nd Amendment 1976 ) 

🔹 NAM has failed in recent times to prevent the US invasion of democratic countries like Iraq and Afghanistan , where civilians are also killed , as it became an arena of conflict for the superpowers

New International Economic Order ( NIEO ) : –

🔹 The challenge for the newly non – aligned / decolonised countries was to become more developed economically and to lift their people out of poverty.

🔹 These countries were categorised as the Least Developed Countries ( LDCs ). Thus , without economic development , the countries would remain dependent on the sustanined or richer countries.

🔹 NIEO is a set of proposals advocated by developing countries to end economic colonialism and dependency through a new Interdependent economy.

🔹 NIEO initiative faded in 1980 , mainly because of the stiff opposition from the developed countries who acted as a united group while the non – aligned countries struggled to maintain their unity in the face of this opposition.

India and the Cold War : –

🔹 As a leader of NAM the response of India to the ongoing Cold War , was two – fold.

🔹 Firstly , it took particular care in staying away from the two alliances. Secondly , it raised it voice against the newly decolonised countries becoming part of these alliances.

🔹 Non – alignment allowed India to take international decisions and stances that served its interests rather than the interests of the super – powers and their allies. 

🔹 India’s Non – alignment policy was criticised as being unprincipled and it is suggested that India was inconsistent and took contradictory postures.

Arms control : –

🔹 Starting in the 1960s , the two sides signed three significant agreements within a decade. These were the Limited Test Ban Treaty , Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty and the Anti – Ballistic Missile Treaty.

India refused to sign NPT : –

🔹 India has refused to sign NPT as it aims at non proliferation ( stopping spread of nuclear weapons ) selectively and is applicable only for the non – nuclear powers like India , Israel , South Sudan , Pakistan . It safeguards the monopoly of the existing five nuclear powers. 

🔹 India feels NPT is discriminatory. There is also no clause in it to further stop proliferation / increase of weapons by these five countries. They can acquire weapons but other countries cannot. India believes that there is a need for a total disarmament and safe destruction of nuclear weapons by all countries.

Arm control treaties : –

🔹 Various important treaties were signed between USSR and America to limit the spread of nuclear weapons after disintegration of Soviet Union from 1945 to 1991. Those treaties are as follows : – 

🔶 ( 1 ) Limited Test Ban Treaty ( LTBT ) : – This treaty banned nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere , in outer space and under water. It was signed by the US , UK and USSR in Moscow on 5 August , 1963. It entered into force on 10 October 1963.

🔶 ( 2 ) Nuclear Non – proliferation Treaty ( NPT ) : – This treaty was signed in Washington , London and Moscow on 1 July , 1968 at the same time and came into force on 5 March 1970. This treaty was extended indefinitely in 1995. It states that on 1 January , 1967 , America , USSR ( later Russia ) , Britain , France and China are five nuclear weapon states. As a result , it allowed only the nuclear weapon states to have nuclear weapons and stopped others from acquiring them. 

🔶 ( 3 ) Strategic Arms Limitation Talks I ( SALT – I ) : – The first round of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks began in November 1969 on a high level at America and USSR. After long conversation of two and half years , the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and the US President Richard Nixon signed the following in Moscow : 

  • ( i ) Treaty on the limitation of Anti – Ballistic Missile System ( ABM Treaty ) . 
  • ( ii ) Interim Agreement on the limitation of strategic offensive arms.

🔹 These two agreements or treaties were signed on 3 October , 1972.

🔶 ( 4 ) Strategic Arms Limitation Talks – II ( SALT – II ) : – After the above treaties came into force , second round was started immediately between the two superpowers. The Us President Jimmy Carter and the soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the treaty on the limitation of strategic offensive arms in Vienna on 18 June , 1979.

🔶 ( 5 ) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I ( Start – I ) : – This treaty was signed by the USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and the US President George ( Senior ). This treaty aims at the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.

🔶 ( 6 ) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II ( Start – II ) : – This treaty was signed by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the US President George Bush ( Senior ) on the reduction and limitation of strategic – offensive arms in Moscow on 3rd January , 1983.

Related Chapters

The Cold War Era ( Deleted )
The End of Bipolarity
US Hegemony in World Politics ( Deleted )
Contemporary Centres of Power
Contemporary South Asia
International Organisations
Security in the Contemporary World
Environment and Natural Resources

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