Special Sub-Topic: Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, or Gorbachev?
|Who was in charge of the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis?|
Khrushchev. In 1963, Khrushchev sent missiles to Cuba, which was under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. In response to this news, John F. Kennedy, the president of the U.S. at the time, took action to prevent this from taking place. Khrushchev at first refused to order the ships carrying the missiles to turn back, and JFK set up a blockade around Cuba to stop Soviet ships. In the end, the Soviets turned around and agreements were made regarding both American and Soviet missiles.
|Which leader oversaw the Great Purges?|
Stalin. During the late interwar years, Stalin got rid of many civilian party members, "Old Bolsheviks", and Soviet Army officers. Sergei Kirov, the popular party chief of Leningrad, was assassinated in 1934 - probably on orders from Stalin. This assassination was then used as the excuse for the purges that followed. Included in those purged was Nikolai Bukharin, who was once Stalin's right-hand man. Stalin did this mostly because he wanted to ensure the docility, and he was deeply suspicious of many of many long standing Party members.
|The Berlin Blockade happened during which leader's reign?|
Stalin. In 1948, Germany was split up into West Germany (under the control of Britain, France and the U.S.) and East Germany (under Soviet control). Located within the territory of East Germany, Berlin itself was also split in the same way. During the second half of 1948 and the first half of 1949, the Soviets decided to block surface traffic between West Berlin and West Germany. But the Western powers counteracted this and airlifted supplies into West Berlin. The incident ended with the Soviets giving in and ending their blockade.
|Who was around for the construction of the Berlin Wall?|
Khrushchev. The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 during the Khrushchev Era. It was constructed between the Western-influenced West Berlin and the Soviet-influenced East Berlin, due to the massive movement of people from East Germany into West Berlin (and from there to West Germany). In fact, some people called this a "brain drain" because of the huge number of intellectuals that fled to the West prior to its construction.
|Who headed the Soviet Union when the Berlin Wall was demolished?|
Gorbachev. During a speech made at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev when he famously declared, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Two years later, the wall was demolished.
However, it was ordinary East Germans who forced the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
|When the Marshall Plan was established, which leader was offered its benefits but declined?|
Stalin. The Marshall Plan was established in 1947 by the U.S. Secretary of State, George C. Marshall. It proposed an economic aid package for all of Europe, including the Soviet Union. However, Stalin rejected the plan and demanded that all of their satellite countries do the same thing.
|Under which Soviet leader was the satellite Sputnik 1 launched?|
Khrushchev. In 1957, Khrushchev made a huge landmark in the Space Race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by launching the first-ever artificial satellite into the planet's orbit. Just a year later, the Americans established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA.
|Under whose leadership was the Prague Spring put down?|
Brezhnev. In 1968, a Czech attempt at liberalization under Alexander Dubcek encountered Soviet opposition. The Soviet Union under Brezhnev and other Warsaw Pact nations invaded and removed the Dubcek government. Following the invasion, Brezhnev announced the Brezhnev Doctrine, which claimed that the Soviets reserved the right to intervene any Warsaw Pact country's affairs if an anti-communist movement or even government sprang up.
|Whose actions ended the Cold War's "détente" period?|
Brezhnev. The détente was a period of peace during the Cold War following the Cuban Missile Crisis. It ended during the Brezhnev Era around 1979 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. This led to U.S. President Jimmy Carter's issuance of the Carter Doctrine, which assured that the Americans would protect the Persian Gulf at all costs.
|Who was in office when the 1989 revolutions of Eastern Europe took place?|
Gorbachev. The 1989 revolutions of Eastern Europe, though they go by several other names, included the 'Fall of the Berlin Wall', the collapse of communism in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Poland, the country in which it all started.
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