Despite the devastations and misery caused by the events of the Second World War, both the U.S and the Soviet Union continued pulling from both ends. Historians persist in contradicting each other regarding what it became of the relationship between America and the Soviet Union. While others construe such an engagement as an improved one, others hold the view that it continued deteriorating further with Moscow further interfering with the affairs of Washington, D.C both at home and abroad. However, as to whether the relationship between U.S and the Soviet Union improved or deteriorated after WWII remains a political discourse only explainable through historical interrogation of issues. It is from this proposition that this paper endeavors to explain and discuss the relationship between America and the Soviet Union after WWII.
The power struggle continued putting America and the Soviet Union against each other regarding global political and economic influence. The post-Second World War saw the two countries on the verge of strategizing on capturing global power and supremacy which evidently showcased and translated into a cold war between Moscow and Washington D.C. However, they avoided direct military confrontation and instead resorting to rhetoric salvos with each side accusing the other of interference. The further strained relations between the two largest world superpowers threatened the outbreak of the third world war forcing them to engage in the production and use of nuclear as war weapons (Bueno 14). Historians and political commentators construe and attribute the perceived ‘improved’ relationship between America and the Soviet Union during 1945 to the uprising of the NAZI. The threat by the NAZI to attack Soviet gave America an opportunity to engage Russia in a military intervention to weaken the outright dictatorship that was taking shape with Hitler’s administration in Germany (Shoemaker 17).
While the U.S got determined to continue its global influence, Soviet Union capitalized on the running away world peace to continue to distract America. However, the U.S under the regime of Roosevelt crafted the cooperation titled “Grand Alliance” with the Soviet towards fostering world peace. In what would later translate into the formation of United Nations, the grand alliance got construed as the U.S pet project by the Soviet (Shoemaker 11). During the formation of the grand coalition, a global cooperation ensued with America fronting changes to the use of nuclear war weapons citing its devastation in Nagasaki. The U.S also proposed an economic and political embargo on countries that would betray the aspirations of the grand alliance. However, Soviet conceived such a proposal as the U.S tactics of undermining its powers further fueling the already existing political and economic enmity between them. Soviet resorted into attacking America from other foreign nations with Cuba on the limelight. Political experts attribute frosty relations between Cuba and U.S to the Soviet missile attacks on U.S from Cuba (Bueno 14).
After the period of 1945, the world embarked on economic development that got threatened by the extended period of the Second World Wars. America proposed capitalistic economy in which wealth distributed into the hands of few people to inspire hard work and innovation among people globally. However, Soviet with its allies in most parts of Asia and Cuba advanced communism which espoused public ownership of wealth, a theory that U.S protested. The U.S rallied various European nations to destroy the communist ideology that Russia got keen to popularize (Bueno 14). The Vietnam War that got mostly construed as lost battle by the U.S informed the communist spread by the Russians in the North of Vietnam. Despite non-direct involvement in the war by Russian troops unlike U.S, Russia continued supplying the North Vietnamese fighters with weapons and fighter jets. The indirect assistance and intervention by Russia in the Vietnam War negatively affected American soldiers. Similarly, Russia resorted into orchestrated propaganda to demoralize Americans at home to protest against their troops’ involvement in Vietnam War (Shoemaker 27).
The death of Stalin, the then Soviet president, got construed as the end of the longstanding supremacy battle between America and Russia as the coming of Eisenhower sparked positive feelings in the U.S administration towards Soviet. However, in what would later emerge as an instance of irony saw the Soviet reject Eisenhower’s proposal regarding military inspection of both the U.S and Soviet military by air. The Geneva Treaty proposed by Eisenhower aimed at strengthening the bad relations between the two world superpower countries (Bueno 14). The relationship between Soviet under Eisenhower and America further worsened as American plane got shot by the Soviet soldiers as Eisenhower would later admit and defend such an action by his military. In a charged meeting at the UN headquarters, Eisenhower accused America of spying Soviet soldiers an admission that angered Khrushchev to the extent of banging the table with his shoes. Khrushchev appeared determined to end the political power struggle and disagreement between Russia and America as he agreed to remove the Soviet’s military arsenal and missiles in Cuban artillery. However, the demands advanced by Khrushchev angered Washington D.C sparkling both diplomatic and military disagreement between it and Moscow. Khrushchev demanded that America disengages from further interference in Cuba which sounded to the U.S as the new colonization of Cuba by Russia despite the devastations Soviet’s missiles unleashed from Cuba (Shoemaker 21).
Despite the many periods of political disagreements between Soviet and America, relations improved with the coming of Nixon and Brezhnev as the president of America and Russia respectively. The duo signed several pacts putting a ban on nuclear testing for several years with a restriction on the deployment of short and long distance nuclear weapons. The period of 1985 saw a further improvement of military and political relations between Russia and America. For instance, the coming of Gorbachev into power in Russia and Ronald in the U.S strengthened the two countries’ diplomacy (Shoemaker 11). Gorbachev also declined to intervene during the great unrest in many parts of Europe with Germany in the limelight. The U.S that felt secure enjoyed the unfolding of the unrest as it weakened the spread of communism which it disputed. Further, the dissolution of the Warsaw pact signaled a complete end of communism in several states in Europe with Germany witnessing the collapse of the Berlin wall (Schiessl 15).
The humanitarian aid by the U.S government to several nations in Asia that faced various problems caused by natural disasters also softened Soviets stance on U.S. Similarly, different leaders of the Soviet-focused on further strengthening their economy with sectors like Agriculture gave prominence that could only excel with favorable political and military environment. America used its wealth and economic fortune to rally most Asian nations into intervening on the challenges that China faced with its neighbors further complicating issues for Soviet. Khrushchev, therefore, concentrated on championing economic reforms to amass wealth that could get harnessed in military operations locally and abroad. The U.S cooperated with the Soviet in defending global discourse regarding economy and politics. For instance, the two countries agreed to form part of the Security Council members an organization entrusted with world peace. The recognition of the U.S as a global leader by the Soviet further smoothen the bad relations that persisted between the two previously. Soviet conceded and allowed America to spy activities of its military and further disengaged in military operations in Afghanistan (Schiessl 16).
Even though Russia never supports terrorism openly, their continued silence on the global rise in terror activities makes the U.S suspect it. America’s presence in the fight against terrorism and other violent criminal acts continue to receive support from various countries globally apart from Russia. The U.S accuses Russia of breaking protocol on the use and testing of nuclear with the ballistic test as one of the evidence of broken contract. Additionally, most war weapons used by terror groups get traced to Asian nations with Russia getting accused. It is some the above concerns that threaten the stability regarding the relations between U.S and Russia. However, all these strained relations between Soviet and America occurred after the second world wars (Shoemaker 14).
The principle of autonomous and sovereignty of nations according to the UN agreement prescribes that nations get independent in running their affairs. Russia cites the principle of non-interference aspiration of the UN treaty that got signed after the Second World War as immunity against external aggression by foreign nations like America. However, the U.S believes in the ideals and aspiration of world order thus get concerned and comment on global issues regarding peace and stability. Therefore, while the U.S comments on various topics regarding countries’ political unrest, civil wars, corruption and poor governance, Russia continue to practice the principle of non-interference policy and abhor their views on the same (Schiessl 26). Therefore, America disagrees with Russia based on the principle of free and sovereignty issues that have occurred after the Second World War. The U.S incursion into Afghanistan and Iraq get construed as America’s attempt of creating world order which continues to anger Russia. The strained relations between U.S and Soviet after the Second World War got depicted recently in the America’s just concluded elections where Putin’s government gets accused of interfering and manipulating the outcome for Trump (Shoemaker 11).
In summary, America and Soviet continued to pull from opposite directions after the Second World War, and their weak relationship persists to date. America and Soviet disagreed on the running affairs of the world with both the two world leaders competing and struggling for supremacy. Additionally, the two held different persuasions and ideologies regarding economic and political policies. For instance, while Soviet championed communism, America disagreed and protested over it but instead advanced capitalism. However, the disagreements between Soviet and America got fought in silence with both the divide engaging in rhetoric salvos accusing each other of interference. Despite attempts by various Soviet leaders to improve their relationship with the U.S, the principle of ideology by both the divide continued to draw them apart. Therefore, this paper has discussed American-Soviet relationship after World War II explaining their strained cooperation and specifying issues of disagreement.
Bueno, de M. B. Principles of International Politics. Los Angeles: Sage/CQ Press, 2014. Print.
Schiessl, Christoph. Alleged Nazi Collaborators in the United States After World War Ii. , 2016. Internet resource.
Shoemaker, Merle W. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States 2014. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014. Internet resource.
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