The relations between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922–1991) succeeded the previous relations from 1776 to 1917 and predate today's relations that began in 1992. Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established late (1933) due to mutual hostility. During World War II, the two countries were briefly allies. At the end of the war, the first signs of post-war mistrust and hostility began to appear between the two countries, escalating into the Cold War; a period of tense hostile relations, with periods of détente.
|Soviet Embassy, Washington, D.C.||United States Embassy, Moscow|
|Common name||Soviet Union||United States|
|Official name||Union of Soviet Socialist Republics||United States of America|
|Coat of arms|
|Area||22,402,200 km² (8,649,538 sq mi)||9,526,468 km² (3,794,101 sq mi)|
|Population||290,938,469 (1990)||248,709,873 (1990)|
|Population density||6.4/sq km (16.6/sq mi)||34/sq km (85.5/sq mi)|
|Largest metropolitan areas||Moscow||New York City|
|Government||Federal Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist state||Federal presidential two-party constitutional republic|
|Political parties||Communist Party of the Soviet Union||Democratic Party|
|Most common language||Russian||English|
|Currency||Soviet ruble||US dollar|
|GDP (nominal)||$2.659 trillion (~$9,896 per capita)||$5.79 trillion (~$24,000 per capita)|
|Intelligence agencies||Committee for State Security (KGB)||Central Intelligence Agency|
|Military expenditures||$290 billion (1990)||$409.7 billion (1990)|
|Army size||Soviet Army
|Navy size||Soviet Navy (1990)
||US Navy (1990)
|Air force size||Soviet Air Force (1990)
||US Air Force (1990)
|Nuclear warheads (total)||37,000 (1990)||10,904 (1990)|
|Economic alliance||Comecon||European Economic Community|
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
|Military alliance||Warsaw Pact||NATO|
|Countries allied during the Cold War||Warsaw Pact:
Soviet Republics seat in the United Nations:
Baltic States as Soviet Republics:
Other Soviet Socialist Republics:
Leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States from 1917 to 1991.
In 1921, after the Bolsheviks took over Russia, won a Civil War, killed the royal family, repudiated the tsarist debt, and called for a world revolution by the working class, it became a pariah nation.
U.S. hostility towards the Bolsheviks was not only due to countering the emergence of an anti-capitalist revolution. The Americans, as a result of the fear of Japanese expansion into Russian held territory and their support for the Allied-aligned Czech legion, sent a small number of troops to Northern Russia and Siberia. After Lenin came to power in the October Revolution, he withdrew Russia from World War I, allowing the Germans to reallocate troops to face the Allied forces on the Western Front.
U.S. attempts at hindering the Bolsheviks consisted less of direct military intervention than various forms of aid directed to anti-Bolshevik groups, especially the White Army. Aid was given mostly supplies and food. President Woodrow Wilson had various issues to deal with and did not want to intervene in Russia with total commitment due to Russian public opinion and the belief that many Russians were not part of the growing Red Army and in the hopes the revolution would eventually fade towards more democratic realizations. An aggressive invasion would have allied Russians together and depicted the U.S. as an invading conquering nation. Following World War I, Germany was seen as the puppeteer in the Bolshevik cause with indirect control of the Bolsheviks through German agents.
"The fact is that while Germany in a way has been using the Bolshevik element either directly through bribes of some of its leaders or as a result of the principles of government they espouse and practice, Germany is appealing to the conservative elements of Russia as their only hope against the Bolsheviks".
By 1922, the Soviet Union was working its way back into European favor. The United States refused formal recognition, but did open trade relations and there was active transfer of technology. The Ford Motor Company took the lead in building a truck industry and introducing tractors together with American architects like Albert Kahn who became consultants for all industrial construction in the Soviet Union in 1930.
By 1933, old fears of Communist threats had faded, and the American business community, as well as newspaper editors, were calling for diplomatic recognition. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was eager for large-scale trade with the Soviet Union, and hope for some repayment on the old tsarist debts. He negotiated with the Soviets, and they promised there would be no espionage so Roosevelt used presidential authority to normalize relations in November 1933. There were few complaints about the move. However, there was no progress on the debt issue, and little additional trade. Historians Justus D. Doenecke and Mark A. Stoler note that, "Both nations were soon disillusioned by the accord." Many American businessmen expected a bonus in terms of large-scale trade, but it never materialized.
The Soviets had promised not to engage in spying inside the United States, but did so anyhow. Roosevelt named William Bullitt as ambassador from 1933 to 1936. Bullitt arrived in Moscow with high hopes for Soviet–American relations, his view of the Soviet leadership soured on closer inspection. By the end of his tenure, Bullitt was openly hostile to the Soviet government. He remained an outspoken anti-communist for the rest of his life.
Before the Germans decided to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941, relations remained strained, as the Soviet invasion of Finland, Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Soviet invasion of the Baltic states and Joint German and Soviet invasion of Poland stirred, which resulted in Soviet Union's expulsion from the League of Nations. Come the invasion of 1941, the Soviet Union entered a Mutual Assistance Treaty with Great Britain, and received aid from the American Lend-Lease program, relieving American-Soviet tensions, and bringing together former enemies in the fight against Nazi Germany and the Axis powers.
Though operational cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union was notably less than that between other allied powers, the United States nevertheless provided the Soviet Union with huge quantities of weapons, ships, aircraft, rolling stock, strategic materials, and food through the Lend-Lease program. The Americans and the Soviets were as much for war with Germany as for the expansion of an ideological sphere of influence. During the war, Truman stated that it did not matter to him if a German or a Russian soldier died so long as either side is losing.
The American Russian Cultural Association (Russian: Американо–русская культурная ассоциация) was organized in the USA in 1942 to encourage cultural ties between the Soviet Union and the United States, with Nicholas Roerich as honorary president. The group's first annual report was issued the following year. The group does not appear to have lasted much past Nicholas Roerich's death in 1947.
In total, the U.S. deliveries through Lend-Lease amounted to $11 billion in materials: over 400,000 jeeps and trucks; 12,000 armored vehicles (including 7,000 tanks, about 1,386 of which were M3 Lees and 4,102 M4 Shermans); 11,400 aircraft (4,719 of which were Bell P-39 Airacobras) and 1.75 million tons of food.
Roughly 17.5 million tons of military equipment, vehicles, industrial supplies, and food were shipped from the Western Hemisphere to the USSR, 94% coming from the US. For comparison, a total of 22 million tons landed in Europe to supply American forces from January 1942 to May 1945. It has been estimated that American deliveries to the USSR through the Persian Corridor alone were sufficient, by US Army standards, to maintain sixty combat divisions in the line.
The United States delivered to the Soviet Union from October 1, 1941 to May 31, 1945 the following: 427,284 trucks, 13,303 combat vehicles, 35,170 motorcycles, 2,328 ordnance service vehicles, 2,670,371 tons of petroleum products (gasoline and oil) or 57.8 percent of the High-octane aviation fuel, 4,478,116 tons of foodstuffs (canned meats, sugar, flour, salt, etc.), 1,911 steam locomotives, 66 Diesel locomotives, 9,920 flat cars, 1,000 dump cars, 120 tank cars, and 35 heavy machinery cars. Provided ordnance goods (ammunition, artillery shells, mines, assorted explosives) amounted to 53 percent of total domestic production. One item typical of many was a tire plant that was lifted bodily from the Ford Company's River Rouge Plant and transferred to the USSR. The 1947 money value of the supplies and services amounted to about eleven billion dollars.
Memorandum for the President's Special Assistant Harry Hopkins, Washington, D.C., 10 August 1943:
In War II Russia occupies a dominant position and is the decisive factor looking toward the defeat of the Axis in Europe. While in Sicily the forces of Great Britain and the United States are being opposed by 2 German divisions, the Russian front is receiving attention of approximately 200 German divisions. Whenever the Allies open a second front on the Continent, it will be decidedly a secondary front to that of Russia; theirs will continue to be the main effort. Without Russia in the war, the Axis cannot be defeated in Europe, and the position of the United Nations becomes precarious. Similarly, Russia’s post-war position in Europe will be a dominant one. With Germany crushed, there is no power in Europe to oppose her tremendous military forces.
|Soviet Union-United States (including spheres of influence) relations|
The end of World War II saw the resurgence of previous divisions between the two nations. The expansion of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe following Germany's defeat worried the liberal democracies of the West, particularly the United States, which had established virtual economic and political primacy in Western Europe. The two nations promoted two opposing economic and political ideologies and the two nations competed for international influence along these lines. This protracted a geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle—lasting from the announcement of the Truman Doctrine on March 12, 1947 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991—is known as the Cold War, a period of nearly 45 years.
The Soviet Union detonated its first nuclear weapon in 1949, ending the United States' monopoly on nuclear weapons. The United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a conventional and nuclear arms race that persisted until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Andrei Gromyko was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, and is the longest-serving foreign minister in the world.
After Germany's defeat, the United States sought to help its Western European allies economically with the Marshall Plan. The United States extended the Marshall Plan to the Soviet Union, but under such terms, the Americans knew the Soviets would never accept, namely the acceptance of free elections, not characteristic of Stalinist communism. With its growing influence on Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union sought to counter this with the Comecon in 1949, which essentially did the same thing, though was more an economic cooperation agreement instead of a clear plan to rebuild. The United States and its Western European allies sought to strengthen their bonds and spite the Soviet Union. They accomplished this most notably through the formation of NATO which was basically a military agreement. The Soviet Union countered with the Warsaw Pact, which had similar results with the Eastern Bloc.
Détente began in 1969, as a core element of the foreign policy of president Richard Nixon and his top advisor Henry Kissinger. They wanted to end the containment policy and gain friendlier relations with the USSR and China. Those two were rivals and Nixon expected they would go along with Washington as to not give the other rival an advantage. One of Nixon's terms is that both nations had to stop helping North Vietnam in the Vietnam War, which they did. Nixon and Kissinger promoted greater dialogue with the Soviet government, including regular summit meetings and negotiations over arms control and other bilateral agreements. Brezhnev met with Nixon at summits in Moscow in 1972, in Washington in 1973, and, again in Moscow in 1974. They became personal friends. Détente was known in Russian as разрядка (razryadka, loosely meaning "relaxation of tension").
The period was characterized by the signing of treaties such as SALT I and the Helsinki Accords. Another treaty, START II, was discussed but never ratified by the United States. There is still ongoing debate amongst historians as to how successful the détente period was in achieving peace.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the two superpowers agreed to install a direct hotline between Washington D.C. and Moscow (the so-called red telephone), enabling leaders of both countries to quickly interact with each other in a time of urgency, and reduce the chances that future crises could escalate into an all-out war. The U.S./USSR détente was presented as an applied extension of that thinking. The SALT II pact of the late 1970s continued the work of the SALT I talks, ensuring further reduction in arms by the Soviets and by the U.S. The Helsinki Accords, in which the Soviets promised to grant free elections in Europe, has been called a major concession to ensure peace by the Soviets.
Détente ended after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which led to the United States boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980, based in large part on an anti-détente campaign, marked the close of détente and a return to Cold War tensions. In his first press conference, President Reagan said "Détente's been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its aims." Following this, relations turned increasingly sour with the unrest in Poland, end of the SALT II negotiations, and the NATO exercise in 1983 that brought the superpowers almost on the brink of nuclear war.
The period of détente ended when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The United States, Pakistan, and their allies supported the rebels. To punish Moscow, The U.S. pulled out of the Moscow Olympics. President Jimmy Carter imposed an embargo on shipping American wheat. This hurt American farmers more than it did the Soviet economy, and President Ronald Reagan resumed sales in 1981. Other nations sold their own grain to the USSR, and the Soviets had ample reserve stocks and a good harvest of their own.
Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente which had begun in 1979 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan feared that the Soviet Union had gained a military advantage over the United States, and the Reagan administration hoped to that heightened military spending would grant the U.S. military superiority and weaken the Soviet economy. Reagan ordered a massive buildup of the United States Armed Forces, directing funding to the B-1 Lancer bomber, the B-2 Spirit bomber, cruise missiles, the MX missile, and the 600-ship Navy. In response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, Reagan oversaw NATO's deployment of the Pershing missile in West Germany. The president also strongly denounced the Soviet Union and Communism in moral terms, describing the Soviet Union an "evil empire."
In December 1989, both the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union declared the Cold War over, and in 1991, the two were partners in the Gulf War against Iraq, a longtime Soviet ally. On 31 July 1991, the START I treaty cutting the number of deployed nuclear warheads of both countries was signed by Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President George Bush. However, many consider the Cold War to have truly ended in late 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
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The 1986 Goodwill Games was the inaugural edition of the international multi-sport event created by Ted Turner, which was held from 5 – 20 July 1986. The main stadium was the Central Lenin Stadium in Moscow, Soviet Union. The Games were a response to the Olympic boycotts of the period, which saw the United States refuse to attend the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and the Soviet Union refusing to attend the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Soviet athletes dominated the competition, winning 118 gold medals and 241 medals overall. The United States finished second place, with 42 golds and 142 medals in total.American espionage in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation
The United States has conducted espionage against the Soviet Union and its successor state, the Russian Federation.Baldwin 0-6-6-0 1000
The Baldwin 0-6-6-0 1000/1 DE is a cab unit diesel-electric locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1945. The 0-6-6-0 1000/1 DEs were powered by an eight-cylinder diesel engine rated at 1,000 horsepower (746 kW), and rode on a pair of three-axle trucks in a C-C wheel arrangement. 30 of these models were built for Soviet Railways, today Russian Railways, as Class Дб (transliterated as Class Db).Baruch Plan
The Baruch Plan was a proposal by the United States government, written largely by Bernard Baruch but based on the Acheson–Lilienthal Report, to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) during its first meeting in June 1946. The United States, Great Britain and Canada called for an international organization to regulate atomic energy and President Truman responded by asking Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson and David E. Lilienthal to draw up a plan. Baruch's version of the proposal was rejected by the Soviet Union, who feared the plan would preserve the American nuclear monopoly. Its collapse led to the beginning of the Cold War arms race.Eisenhower Doctrine
The Eisenhower Doctrine was a policy enunciated by Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 5, 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a Middle Eastern country could request American economic assistance or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression. Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces "to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism". The phrase "international communism" made the doctrine much broader than simply responding to Soviet military action. A danger that could be linked to communists of any nation could conceivably invoke the doctrine.Electronika 60
The Electronika 60 (Russian: Электроника 60) is a computer made in the Soviet Union by Electronika in Voronezh.
Alone the Electronika 60 is a rack-mounted computer with no built in display or storage devices. It was usually paired with a 15IE-00-013 terminal and I/O devices. The main logic unit is located on the M2 CPU board.
M2 CPU Technical Characteristics:
Word length: 16 bit
Address space: 32K-words (64KB)
RAM size: 4K-words (8KB)
Number of instructions: 81
Performance speed: 250,000 operations per second
Floating point capacity: 32 bit
Number of VLSI chips: 5
Board dimensions: 240 × 280mmThe original implementation of Tetris was written for the Electronika 60 by Alexey Pajitnov. As the Elektra 60 has no graphics capability, text was used to form the blocks.Embassy of Russia in Washington, D.C.
The Embassy of Russia in Washington, D.C. (Russian: Посольство России в США) is the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation to the United States. The chancery is located at 2650 Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C.Embassy of the United States, Moscow
The Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow is the diplomatic mission of the United States of America in the Russian Federation. The current embassy compound is in the Presnensky District of Moscow. Its New Office Building (NOB) address is: Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8. The NOB was opened on May 5, 2000. From 1934 to 1953 the embassy was located in the Mokhovaya House, 13 Mokhovaya Street, near the Kremlin. In 1953 the embassy moved into the Existing Office Building (EOB) on Novinskiy Boulevard, which still remains a part of the embassy compound.GIUK gap
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval choke point. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses. The term is typically used in relation to military topics.Goodwill Games
The Goodwill Games was an international sports competition created by Ted Turner in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s. In 1979, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused the United States and other Western countries to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, an act reciprocated when the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries (with the exception of Romania) boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Like the Olympics, the Goodwill Games were held every four years (with the exception of the final Games), and had a summer and winter component. The Summer Goodwill Games occurred five times, between 1986 and 2001, while the Winter Goodwill Games occurred only once, in 2000. They were cancelled by Time Warner, which had bought ownership of them in 1996, due to low television ratings after the 2001 games in Brisbane.Linkage (policy)
Linkage was a foreign policy that was pursued by the United States and championed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s détente, during the Cold War. The policy aimed to persuade the Soviet Union and Communist China to co-operate in restraining revolutions in the Third World in return for concessions in nuclear and economic fields. However, despite the lack of Soviet intervention, a large number of revolutions still occurred in Third World countries, thereby undermining the policy.
The premise behind linkage, as a policy, was to connect political and military issues, thereby establishing a relationship making progress in area "A" dependent on progress in area "B."
An important aspect of the policy was that deviations from respecting the rights and interests would go punished. The intent of the action was to bring home to the offending state the limitations of acceptable international behavior and demonstrate that attempts at expansion (and upsetting international stability) would go punished. Thus, conflict itself would contribute to stabilizing the international order.
The Nixon-Kissinger approach did not link foreign and domestic areas.
Selective relaxation of tensions is an opposing policy to linkage. In that case, an issue of arms control could be addressed and tension diminished, with the status quo being maintained in other strategic areas.Operation Chrome Dome
Operation Chrome Dome was a United States Air Force Cold-War era mission from 1960 to 1968 in which B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft armed with thermonuclear weapons remained on continuous airborne alert, flying routes to points on the Soviet Union border.Operation Giant Lance
Operation Giant Lance was a secret military operation by the United States that simulated a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. On October 10, 1969, on the advice of National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, U.S. President Richard Nixon issued the order.
Preparations were made to send a squadron of 18 B-52s of the 92d Strategic Aerospace Wing loaded with nuclear weapons to fly toward the Soviet Union. It was hoped that this would convince the Soviets that Nixon was willing to resort to nuclear war in order to win the Vietnam War. The squadron took off on October 27 and flew towards the Soviet Union. Actions were designed to be detectable by the Soviets. Nixon cancelled the operation on October 30.The plan was part of Nixon's madman theory, a concept based on game theory, and its details remained unknown to the public until Freedom of Information Act requests in the 2000s revealed documents about the operation.Operation Keelhaul
Operation Keelhaul was a forced repatriation of former Soviet Armed Forces POWs of Germany to the Soviet Union, carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.Stimson Doctrine
The Stimson Doctrine is the policy of nonrecognition of states created as a result of aggression. The policy was implemented by the United States federal government, enunciated in a note of January 7, 1932, to the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China, of non-recognition of international territorial changes that were executed by force. The doctrine was an application of the principle of ex injuria jus non oritur. While some analysts have applied the doctrine in opposition to governments established by revolution, this usage is not widespread, and its invocation usually involves treaty violations.Tupolev Tu-70
The Tupolev Tu-70 (Russian: Туполев Ту-70; NATO reporting name: Cart) was a Soviet passenger variant of the Tu-4 bomber (which was reverse-engineered from the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress) and designed immediately after the end of World War II. It used a number of components from Boeing B-29s that had made emergency landings in the Soviet Union after bombing Japan. It had the first pressurized fuselage in the Soviet Union and first flew on 27 November 1946. The aircraft was successfully tested, recommended for serial production, but ultimately not produced because of more pressing military orders and because Aeroflot had no requirement for such an aircraft.Tupolev Tu-80
The Tupolev Tu-80 (Russian: Туполев Ту-80) was a Soviet prototype for a longer-ranged version of the Tupolev Tu-4 bomber, built after World War II. It was cancelled in 1949 in favor of the Tupolev Tu-85 program which offered even more range. The sole prototype was used in various test programs before finally being used as a target.White Coke
White Coke (Russian: Бесцветная кока-кола, tr. Bestsvetnaya koka-kola, literally "colorless Coca-Cola") is a nickname for a clear variant of Coca-Cola produced in the 1940s at the request of Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov.Yardymly (meteorite)
The Yardymly meteorite (also known as Aroos meteorite, Azerbaijani: Yardımlı meteoriti or Ərus meteoriti) is an iron meteorite that fell in Yardymli Rayon, Azerbaijan on November 24, 1959. The remains were discovered in the nearby village of Aroos. With five individual specimens, the total weight of the meteorite is estimated at 150.29 kilograms (331.3 lb). The meteorite is kept in the Institute of Geology of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. According to the director of Şamaxı Astrophysical Observatory Eyub Guliyev, the Yardymli meteorite may originate from the shower of Perseids.The eyewitnesses saw the bright bolide flying through clouds from southwest to northeast. The falling was accompanied by a bright, blinding flare brighter than solar illumination and a noise similar to rolling thunder. The illumination embraced the area of ca. 2,800 square kilometres (1,100 sq mi). The fall of individual pieces was accompanied by a whistling and drone, resembling that produced by a jet aircraft or missile. The examination of chemical and physical properties of the meteorite was led by Azeri researcher Mirali Qashqai. The meteorite features a sizeable Widmanstätten pattern and an anomalously low amount of tritium. Similar tritium anomalies were detected previously in other iron meteorites.At the request of American scientists, the Soviet Meteorite Committee sent the meteorite samples to California University, Cambridge Astrophysical Observatory and the Institute for Nuclear Researches of Chicago University, as well as to CERN. One of the samples was preserved in Fersman Mineralogical Museum.