Kruschev realised the issues involved here and he tried to put pressure on Kennedy to improve the situation
Said the situation had to be resolved in a year – tries to bully Kennedy to accepting his demands – a separate peace with East Germany – again allowing the Soviets to control the situation more
June 1961 meeting Vienna – Kruschev/JFK – K intimidates JFK, says war will occur if they don’t compromise over West Berlin, JFK stands his ground, JFK says that West Berlin is Western Europe. June 10 ultimatum if US will not agree to Soviet demands.
US position in all of this – attempt to maintain the status quo – they wanted continued division of Berlin, good for spying, propaganda importance – people keep flooding across the border
But worries of war – Macmillan afraid of war – De gaulle believes K bluffing
- US seeks to maintain West Berlin as it is – did not want the Soviets to gain the upper hand – tense situation
- Crisis – US begins to rearm, Soviets do to, Soviets increase defence budget by 33%
- Shelepin argues and plans for mass covert actions against the States – plans to provoke mass uprisings, provoked by the KGB against Western governments – this would scare the US into compromising
- IN August 1961 however Kennedy argued for the building of a wall – and this finally occurs on August 13 1961, classic symbol of the cold war.
- Status quo maintained – East and West gain nothing – but different spheres of influence accepted
Let’s look at one final crisis between 1953-63 which had an affect on Soviet-US relations. The Cuban Missile crisis of 1962. The crisis surrounded Kruschev’s decision to install nuclear missiles in Communist Cuba in April 1962 – people have said this was the one time that the world stood on the brink of nuclear war – In fact after this crisis you could say the US-Soviet relationship became one of peaceful coexistence – due to the worries over nuclear war
So why did Kruschev put the nuclear missiles on Cuba?
First of all Kruschev as had been seen in 1958 and 1961 in Berlin enjoyed taking risks – and he felt this was a good opportunity to put pressure on the Americans
Secondly Kruschev was irritated by US attempts to remove the Communist leader of Fidel Castro from Cuba. This was seen by the failure of a CIA supported invasion of Cuba in April 1961 – which has been called the Bay of Pigs invasion. Kruschev wanted the US to step off. Cuba was a crucial country for the Soviets as it had fallen to Communism – important propaganda coup, close to the States
Thirdly K was worried about the Soviets falling behind in the technological war – by putting nuclear weapons on Cuba he aimed to cover up for that fact by a show of Soviet might
Fourthly Kruschev was experiencing considerable domestic criticism for his failures in Berlin – he felt a show of strength would allow him to remain in power. Wanted to reform and needed something which would give him more support