Lyndon B. Johnson

.       Democratic President of the United States, 1963-1969

.       John F. Kennedy's Vice President, took office after assassination, then won full term of his own in 1964 elections

.       Escalated American involvement in Vietnam War

.       Enacted sweeping domestic reforms, but presidency ruined by disaster in Vietnam


John F. Kennedy

.       Democratic President of the United States, 1961-63

.       Won election on strong Cold War platform, promising to close nonexistent "missile gap" with Soviets

.       Ordered failed Bay of Pigs invasion against Castro's Cuba, then performed much better in leading U.S. through Cuban Missile Crisis

.       Oversaw early stages of Vietnam War, but his future policy on Vietnam was unclear at time of his assassination in 1963


Henry Kissinger

.       Powerful National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford

.       Shaped virtually all of Nixon's foreign policy decisions, including strategy of détente

.       Organized Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China, helped reduce Cold War tensions in 1970s


Robert S. McNamara

.       Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson

.       Prime architect of Vietnam War, heavily criticized by antiwar activists

.       Also helped guide Kennedy through Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

.       Eventually lost faith in his own Vietnam policy and either quit or was fired from Johnson Administration



Richard M. Nixon

.       Republican President of the United States, 1969-74


Cram Sheet

Cold War, Chapter 2

Resigned in disgrace in wake of Watergate scandal, 1974

.       Strong anticommunist throughout his career, but adopted more flexible approach as President

.       At Kissinger's urging, pursued détente with U.S.S.R. and opened diplomatic relations with China

Nikita Khrushchev

.       Soviet leader following Stalin's death, 1953

.       Initially more open to dialogue with West and within Soviet sphere

.       Denounced Stalin's crimes in secret speech to Soviet leadership, 1956

.       Adopted a harder line against West after 1960; led Soviet Union during Cuban Missile Crisis


Mao Zedong

.       Leader of Chinese Communists, defeated Nationalists in Civil War in 1949; ruled Red China until his death in 1976

.       Ordered Chinese troops to intervene against Americans in Korean War

.       Called atom bomb "paper tiger" or meaningless threat in early 1950s

.       Established friendly relations with Richard Nixon in 1970s


Alexander Dubcek

.       Reformist leader of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party during "Prague Spring"

.       Desired "socialism with a human face," a type of Communism that allowed greater individual freedom

.       Removed from power through Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968



1959 Castro's Revolution in Cuba

.       Leftist guerillas led by young Fidel Castro toppled autocratic, pro-American government in Cuba

.       Castro did not take power as a Communist, but as relations with U.S. soured, he soon established alliance with U.S.S.R.


1961 Bay of Pigs Disaster

.       President Kennedy authorized invasion of Cuba by anti-Castro exiles

.       Invasion ended in disastrous failure, undermining Kennedy at home and abroad

.       Made Soviet leader Khrushchev believe Kennedy was weak and inexperienced and could be bullied


1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

.       U.S. discovered Soviet installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba

.       Americans "quarantined" (blockaded) island, demanded withdrawal of missiles

.       After 13 days of intense negotiations, Soviet missiles were withdrawn in exchange for U.S. removal of missiles in Turkey and pledged never to invade Cuba again

.       American people, not informed of agreement, believed that Kennedy had won through hard line and not negotiation

.       Closest world ever came to nuclear annihilation


1964 Gulf of Tokin Incident

.       U.S. Navy ship allegedly attacked near North Vietnamese waters

.       It remains unclear whether there was any actual attack or whether it was a false alarm

.       Used as pretext to justify congressional resolution authorizing full-blown intervention of American ground troops in Vietnam


1968 Prague Spring

.       Dubcek proposed "socialism with a human face", encouraging greater freedoms for citizens

.       Ruthlessly crushed by Soviets

.       Soviets adopted Brezhnev Doctrine, dictating that no socialist state would be allowed to liberalize institutions or U.S.S.R. would intervene with force





1969 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty

(SALT) Negotiations Begin

.       Nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by U.S. and U.S.S.R. in 1972

.       Limited number of ballistic missiles held by either side at current levels

.       Marked formal beginning of détente


1972 Nixon Goes to China

.       Ends 23-year-old policy of American non-recognition of Red China

.       Establishment of relations with U.S. drove wedge further between U.S.S.R. and China, dividing Communist world into two camps




Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

.       Oil cartel, originally composed of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela

.       Attempted to coordinate oil production and pricing

.       Imposed oil boycott on U.S.  In wake of 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel

.       Demonstrated American reliance on foreign oil, potential problems dealing with Third World





.       Policy of relaxation of tensions between U.S. and U.S.S.R.

.       Pursued by Kissinger, détente began with SALT I treaty, peaked in 1975

.       Dominated "middle period" of Cold War, following tense early 1960s and preceding tense early 1980s


.       Practice of pushing conflict to brink of disaster in order to force opponent to relent

.       Practiced by Cold War leaders in Washington and Moscow in Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Airlift

Mutual Assured Destruction

.       Concept that the best deterrent against nuclear war was the guarantee that a nation that launched a first strike would be destroyed by enemy's nuclear retaliation; thus any launch was completely irrational

.       Concept developed by McNamara

.       Weakness was that policymaking during international crises wasn't always rational



Bay of Pigs, Cuba

.       Site of failed invasion by American-backed exiles hoping to topple Castro's regime in Cuba, 1961


Prague, Czechoslovakia

.       Czech capital was site of 1968 "Prague Spring," an effort to reform Communism to allow greater individual freedoms

.       Reform movement ended with crushing Soviet military invasion of city