Community & Government
Diplomacy Primer: Cold War and NATO
Lesson time 27:15 min
The five decades following World War II provide some of the greatest examples of modern diplomacy. From the Cold War to the expansion of NATO, the secretaries take you through the history, achievements, and lessons from this critical period.
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Topics include: Expanding NATO * Respecting a Wounded Superpower * Evolving NATO * Lessons From Cold War Diplomacy
- We have no hostile or aggressive designs against the Soviet Union or any other country. The that exists is not between the Soviet Union and the United States. It is between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world. [MUSIC PLAYING] CONDOLEEZZA RICE (VOICEOVER): The five decades following World War II provide some of the greatest examples of modern diplomacy. - Ich bin ein Berliner. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] CONDOLEEZZA RICE (VOICEOVER): From the Cold War to the expansion of NATO, Madeleine and I will take you through the history, achievements, and lessons from this critical period. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] - I'm a child of the Cold War. I was alive during World War II. And when the war ended, the Soviet Union had been our ally. But what happened was, very quickly, they started showing their power over the countries next to them, making them satellites and then lowering the Iron Curtain and dividing Europe in half. And that was the signal that it really was a cold war. - As Madeline said, we were allied with the Soviet Union and with Joseph Stalin to defeat Germany. But it was an alliance of convenience. And, of course, it broke down immediately. What's hard to describe to my students today, many of whom were not even born when the Soviet Union collapsed, is the degree to which the Cold War was such a fixture of international politics for 45 years. I don't think any of us-- even when I arrived as the Soviet specialist at the White House in January of 1989, if you had said, oh, the Cold War is going to end on your watch, I would have thought, really? Are you kidding me? Because what seemed as if it was immovable-- this relationship between the Soviet Union representing communist ideology, an ideology that, in its purest form, believed that it ultimately had to defeat capitalism to survive, and the United States, the prime capitalist country, each with their own alliances, [MUSIC PLAYING] We were in competition with the Soviet Union on everything. We have a competition in sports. I will never forget, in 1980, the United States hockey team defeated the venerable Red Army hockey team. And they were called the Big Red Machine. Of course, there was the military competition, and overseen by, for the first time, nuclear weapons, which meant that if the United States and the Soviet Union went to war, the world would probably be destroyed. Well, here's a new idea in international politics. You really can't have a war. So we have a cold war. And how do we fight it out? We fight it out with proxies around the world. The Soviet Union has a proxy state in Cuba right off of our shore. We only agreed about one thing. We didn't want to annihilate one another. And so every few years-- or actually, every year after a while-- the leader of the Soviet Union, the president of the United States would meet in a summit, in usually Washington, DC or Moscow. They wou...
About the Instructor
Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice stood toe to toe with dictators, counseled presidents, and managed to find common ground on issues that still polarize us today. Sit down with two legendary secretaries of state as they reveal how to build bridges, hold boundaries, and apply history’s lessons to everyday challenges. The class presents an intimate portrait of the late Dr. Albright’s legacy for the next generation.
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Madeleine Albright & Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice teach you to settle differences in everyday life like a diplomat.Explore the Class