An example of an animated map

Europe is divided in two after the Second World War

This map is part of a series of 9 animated maps showing the history of The Cold War and Confrontation between East and West 1947-1991.

At the end of the war, the Red Army was deployed throughout Central Europe. Having established a position of strength, Stalin was able to carry out his plans for expansion by helping communist parties to take power in Eastern and Central Europe.  Yugoslavia was the first in 1945, followed by Bulgaria and Albania in 1946, Poland and Romania in 1947, Czechoslovakia in 1948, Hungary and the German Democratic Republic in 1949.

However, in Greece, the communists rebelled against the monarchy and sparked a civil war, which was won by the royalist factions.

To counter the threat from the USSR, the American President Harry Truman decided to create a bulwark against communism and, in June 1947, offered financial aid to accelerate economic reconstruction and political stability in Europe. The Marshall Plan was accepted by 16 countries, but the USSR forced its satellite countries to refuse.

Hopes for a democratic and peaceful world were quickly dashed.  With Europe caught in a stranglehold during the Cold War, antagonism soon emerged between the two blocs led by the USSR and the United States