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The Cold War

"Year of Shocks"

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In spite of the progress with the Marchall plan, NATO , and the Berlin Crisis resolution, 1949 turned out to be a "Year of Shocks" for the Free World. China was involved in a civil war that had been going on since the 1920's, and though it stopped in order to fight the Japanese in WWII, it resumed not very long after. The U.S. supported the Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shekby aiding them with $2 bilion, however it was not enough. The Communists of Mao Zedong had the support of the peasents and were undermining the government and leadership of Chiang. Ninteen Forty-Nine brought about the control of the China mainland to the Communists and Nationalists set up a government in Taiwan. The U.S. continued to acknowledge the Nationalists as the real "China," however, until the 1970's when Mao was once again considered part of China.

That same year, America lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons, whose exsistence was heightened in during the cold war. The Soviet Union first detonated its atomic bomb in 1949 and forced Truman to evaluate the U.S.'s defense policy. Truman called for the building of conventional military forces, because now that the Soviets had "the bomb" America's nuclear threat was less impressive. He also advanced the arms race even further by calling for the development of an even more powerful weapon. The hydrogen bomb was finally developed in  1952  and had an explosive power that was hundreds of times greater than the drop on Hiroshima. However, within a year the USSR let it be known that they too had a hydrogen bomb.