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The world on the brink of a ‘hot war’

Bombardment of logistics warehouses in Wŏnsan, North Korea
Source: Bombardowanie magazynów logistycznych w Wonsan, Korea Północna, 1951, domena publiczna.

Link to the lesson

You will learn
  • what the ‘Red witch hunt’ was in the US;

  • when the Korean War broke out and how it proceeded;

  • what the Cuban Missile CrisisCuban Missile CrisisCuban Missile Crisis was, and why it is said that in 1962 the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

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Nagranie abstraktu

The post‑World War II division of the world into two blocs – the Western centered around the United States, and the Eastern of the Soviet Union – began a period called the Cold WarCold WarCold War. At that time, both blocks developed their military potentials and enlarged their arsenals (arms raceArms racearms race). Communist countries spread propagandaPropagandapropaganda everywhere, informing about their peaceful intentions and the threats from American imperialism. In the US, on the other hand, there was a widespread fear of an invasion by communists and a conviction of their influence on many areas of life. The whole society began to look for real as well as imaginary enemies and spies. The period of the so‑called ‘Red witch hunt’ began, whose victims were often innocent people.

The first area of clashes between the East and the West was the war in Korea in 1950–1953. One side was the army of communist North Korea supported by ‘Chinese volunteers’ (actually the regular Chinese army) as well as equipment and advisors from the USSR. The other was the army of South Korea supported by the UNUNUN forces or, in reality, by the American army under the command of Gen. MacArthur. Despite its brutal course and numerous offensivesOffensiveoffensives, the war did not provide any solutions, leaving the Korean Peninsula divided along the 38th parallel.

Another ‘hot’ conflict of the Cold War was the so‑called Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba, control over which was assumed by the communists in 1959, underwent radical reforms which led to breaking off relations with the United States and rapprochement with the USSR and China. American attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro, Cuba’s dictator, failed. He began to develop the country’s military potential by placing, in its territory, Soviet ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US. This led to the blockage of the island and the threat of a global conflict. The world stood on the brink of nuclear war. Eventually, the crisis was solved and the war was averted. As a result, Leonid Brezhnev replaced Nikita Khrushchev, who had been considered to be too ‘soft’.

Task 1
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Look at the timeline presenting the most important events of the cold war and organize your knowledge. Which of the events were the most important and why? 11.1947 Announcement of the ‘Hollywood blacklist’ American scriptwriter, director, and writer, Dalton Trumbo, at House Un-American Activities Committee hearings (1947), 8.1948 Establishment of the Republic of Korea Power was assumed by the government of the pro-American Syngman Rhee and, on July 20, 1948, Rhee was elected President of South Korea by the National Assembly, 9.1948 Establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea The state declares independence and claims the right to administer entire Korea. At its head is Kim Il Sung (Kim Ir Sen)., 25.6.1950 Beginning of the Korean War (attack by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the Republic of Korea) the war fought from 1950 to 1953 on the Korean Peninsula between the communist forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) supported by the army of the PRC, and the forces of the UN (mostly American) supporting the army of the Republic of Korea (South Korea).
Source: United States federal government, domena publiczna.
Task 2

Explain why the phenomenon of seeking communist influence in entertainment and public life was defined as „the hunt for the red witches”.

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"Black List" of Hollywood
Source: a. nn., domena publiczna.
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Exercise 1
Match the terms to the definitions. the common name for the tension that overtook the world after the end of World War II as well as the division of the world into spheres of influence and their rivalry Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis intentional actions supposed to lead to specific behaviors and views Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis an international organization, successor to the League of Nations Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis a violent attack on an opponent in order to breach their defenses and penetrate into their army or territory Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis a term for the system prevailing in the countries of the Eastern bloc dependent on the USSR, in which the real power of the people was to reign Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis a common term for the events of the post-war period, in which the United States and the USSR competed with each other in military development and expansion of arsenal Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis the political crisis between the US and USSR of 1962 caused by the deployment of ballistic missiles by the Russians in Cuba, which could threaten the American territory Możliwe odpowiedzi: 1. People’s democracy, 2. Offensive, 3. Propaganda, 4. Arms race, 5. Cold War, 6. UN, 7. Cuban Missile Crisis
Task 3

Explain why the takeover of the capital city by the enemy is an important element of fighting.

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Twice the capital of the South Korean state was in the hands of the armies of the North
Source: a. nn., domena publiczna.
Task 4

Recall who general Douglas MacArthur was.

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UN (American) forces were commanded by general Douglas MacArthur
Source: a. nn., domena publiczna.

Keywords

Cold War, propaganda, UN, arms race

Glossary

Cold War
Cold War
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Nagranie słówka: Cold War

Zimna wojna – potoczna nazwa napięcia jakie zapanowało na świecie po zakończeniu II wojny światowej (1947‑1991) oraz podziału świata na strefy wpływów i ich politycznej, militarnej i ideologicznej rywalizacji. Trwała do momentu rozpadu ZSRS w 1991 r.

Propaganda
Propaganda
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Nagranie słówka: Propaganda

Propaganda – celowe działania, które mają doprowadzić do określonych zachować i poglądów. Służy ona do upowszechnienia dogodnych informacji dla nadawcy. W języku potocznym synonim kłamstwa i manipulacji.

UN
UN
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Nagranie słówka: UN

ONZ – Organizacja Narodów Zjednoczonych – organizacja międzynarodowa, następczyni Ligii Narodów, powstała w październiku 1945 r. Jej głównymi celami są zapewnienie pokoju i bezpieczeństwa międzynarodowego, rozwój współpracy między narodami oraz promocja przestrzegania praw człowieka.

Offensive
Offensive
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Nagranie słówka: Offensive

Ofensywa – gwałtowne uderzenie w przeciwnika, mające na celu przełamanie jego obrony i wdarcie się w głąb jego wojska lub terenu.

People’s democracy
People’s democracy
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Nagranie słówka: People’s democracy

Demokracja ludowa – określenie ustroju panującego w krajach bloku wschodniego zależnego od ZSRS, w którym miała panować rzeczywista władza ludu.

Arms race
Arms race
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Nagranie słówka: Arms race

Wyścig zbrojeń – potoczne określnie dla wydarzeń okresu powojennego, w którym Stany Zjednoczone i ZSRS konkurowały ze sobą na polu rozwoju militarnego i powiększaniu arsenału zbrojnego.

Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
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Nagranie słówka: Cuban Missile Crisis

Kryzys kubański – kryzys polityczny między USA a ZSRS z 1962 r. spowodowany rozmieszczeniem przez Rosjan na Kubie pocisków balistycznych mogących zagrozić terytorium amerykańskiemu.

Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
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Nagranie słówka: Radio Free Europe

Radio Wolna Europa – rozgłośnia radiowa utworzona w 1949 r., z siedzibą w Monachium i finansowana przez Kongres Stanów Zjednoczonych. Jego misją było promowanie wartości demokratycznych oraz dostarczanie prawdziwych i rzetelnych informacji do krajów za żelazną kurtyną.