|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||World War 2 Politics History Cold War|
The Cold War was a result of the Soviet Union and the United States as military confrontations of the 20th century that had threatened to ravage Europe in the Second World War ended. The war lasted for half a century, and it made the world have many fears, mostly the fear of extinction as both powers fought to introduce their ruling methods to various countries across the globe. The Soviet Union wanted countries to introduce communist types of governments while the United States advocated for democratic types of governments in the countries. Although the two superpowers were allies in the Second World War and they worked together to ensure that they defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan, they separated after World War II was over and developed a new rivalry that marked the superiority of various countries 50 years after the Cold War began.
Soon after the Second World War was over, the two countries noticed that they did not have the same visions for Europe's future, and they slowly started falling apart. On the other hand, the U.S. had a desire to expand the influence it had on various countries by ensuring that it spread and protected democracy and democratic governments. On the other hand, the Soviet Union wanted to retain its possession of Eastern Europe as well as establish governments which were both pro-Soviet and Communists. It also fought to expand the Soviet Influence so that it could protect itself from any future invasions.
Countries took sides in their support of communism and democracy, and they formed allies with the two main actors in the Cold War. Unlike World War II, where confrontations took place using weapons and military power, weapons such as propaganda, nation alliances, political assassinations and surveillance were used to fight the war.
The United States was responsible for accelerating the Cold War as it chose to use aggressive means and approaches to security in Europe. It sought to soothe the tensions that were quickly rising as World War II came to an end through the use of victory treaties and directly dealing with the union. The U.S. engaged in collective security approaches in Europe, which led to tension escalations that eventually led to the war after the Cold War.
The Second World War made the U.S. adopt different policies that rejected former isolation ideas as a way to maintain global peace. It made no considerations of the way that neighboring countries would react, and although it did not intend for the Cold War to occur, its actions provoked the Soviet Union. The latter felt threatened by the way the U.S. used so much aggressiveness to provide political, economic and military help to the countries in Europe.
The cold war lasted for 45 years, and although there were no visible military fights, millions of people died in that war. The United States and all countries that were its allies faced a lot of resistance in its struggles to keep communist states from expanding their style of ruling to Africa, Europe and Asia. The U.S. never retreated into its former stance as long as the Soviet Union was becoming a threat to the spread of democracy amongst various countries worldwide.
The democracies in the west adopted a hostile state to the thought of communist states, and the U.S., in particular, refused to be a part of the Soviet Union. The World War II created short-term causes in various ways. When the SSSR got involved in the war where Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed at the end of the Second World War, the U.S. did not require their help anymore. However, Stalin, the then-Russian president, emerged to collect on the promises of the West, which created an environment of mistrust that increased tensions as the Cold War's outbreak became more eminent.
The tensions between the two superpowers began from the time they were allies in the Second World War. Americans were not happy about Soviet communism, and they were not happy that the Soviet Union collaborated with Joseph Stalin, who was Russia's leader and a tyrannical ruler. The Soviets resented the fact that the Americans refused to adopt the Union of SSSR as a part of their international community.
The Soviet Union also blamed the U.S. for the deaths of millions of Russians because it delayed the time it entered World War II. It worked with the United States but did not trust the Americans and immediately after the end of the War in 1945, the mistrust and issues that happened during the war grew into enmity. Although many people argue that the United States was the major cause of the Cold War, many historians believe that the war was inevitable.
When World War II ended, most officials of the United States agreed to use containment to defend itself against the Soviet Union. George Kenan used the Long Telegram to show the only choice that the United States had in ensuring that it supported free people that resisted subjugation from outside pressures such as communism. The containment also provided rationales for a buildup of arms in the U.S.
The American economy under Truman continued to grow like that of Europe and deteriorated farther from the effects it experienced in World War II. Truman planned to work together with all countries to ensure that they easily enforced political popularity and unity. The Cold War escalated between 1958 and 1962 when the Soviet Union began the development of ballistic missiles as well as the installation of Cuban missiles. They were capable of using these weapons to launch nuclear attacks to the U.S. However, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were not prepared for the use any atomic weapons to fight each other because they were afraid that there was going to be a devastating retaliation. The two countries signed a treaty that eradicated nuclear weapon testing, and this is the reason why no nuclear weapons were used from the beginning of the Cold War to its end.
Another major aspect that affected the Cold War was the Truman Doctrine which provided economic aid to foreign countries which faced various negative issues. The doctrine fought communism and helped to prevent the spread of the vice like it successfully did in China. Truman laid a platform that guided the U.S. against the Soviet Union.
The Atomic Age
The containment strategy was developed to ensure that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States used nuclear weapons against each other in the war. However, it also provided a reason why a buildup of arms began in the U.S. In 1950, and it recommended the use of military force in the containment of the expansion of communism in all countries that it seemed to be happening. American officials encouraged that atomic weapons are used, and they were similar to the weapons that had brought to an end the Second World War. This decision marked the beginning of the deadly arms race, and thereafter, the communists tested an atomic bomb they had made. President Truman also announced that the United States was to create a hydrogen bomb that was more destructive than what the Soviets had created.
The Cold War Extended to Space
The threat that loomed from the adoption of nuclear weapons affected American domestic lives a lot as people built bomb shelters. In 1957, the Cold War competition rose to another level as the SSSR launched the first artificial satellite. One year later, the United States launched its satellite. Scientist Wernher Von Braun directed the launch, and eventually, the Space Race began. President Eisenhower signed an order that created NASA whose sole purpose was to explore space. However, the Soviets were ahead of the United States as they launched the first man to space. In the long run, the United States won the Space Race after it sent the first man to the moon.
The Red Scare
In 1947, the Cold War took another twist as the House Un-American Activities Committee began various hearings that were designed to prove that the subversion of the communists in the U.S. was increasing. The HUAC forced many Hollywood employees to testify against each other after renouncing their political beliefs. Many people lost their jobs, and they were not able to go back to work for more than ten years. Workers from the State Department were accused of engaging in communist activities which made Joseph McCarthy, who was an anti-communist politician to expand the probe to include all people in the government. Most of the workers in the federal government were prosecuted as more of them were forced to testify against their colleagues.
The Cold War's Extension to Other Countries in the World
The Soviet threat expanded from the United States wherein 1950, the Cold War's military action reached Korea. The Soviet Union backed North Korea in its bid to invade South Korea and make it a communist country. The Americans intervened because they saw that step as a way for the Soviets to take their communist campaign to another level all over the world. Truman sent military from the U.S., and the war continued for years ending in 1953 after the United States army retreated from the war. South Korea was assimilated by North Korea, making the whole country to be under communist rule. In 1955, the U.S. made Germany a member of NATO. The Soviets later developed the Warsaw Pact which was a defense organization between various countries in the world that set up a unified military strength against the United States and NATO.
The Soviet Union disintegrated as various American presidents came into power and introduced their styles of leadership which were all effective in their way. President Ronald Reagan ignored President Nixon's efforts in the fight against communism and provided military and financial aid to all governments that did not support communism. The USSR faced harsh economic problems and political downfalls, and when Gorbachev entered office in 1985, he introduced openness and reforms to the economy and politics in Russia. The SSSR was defeated in 1991and the Cold War finally came to an end.
Editors, History.com. "Cold War History." History.com. A&E Television Networks, December 4, 2019. https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/cold-war-history.
Locke, Joseph L., and Ben Wright, eds. The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook, Vol. 2: Since 1877. Stanford University Press, 2019. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-ushistory2os2xmaster/chapter/the-cold-war/
Rank, Scott. "The Cold War: Causes, Major Events, and How It Ended." History. History, October 28, 2019. https://www.historyonthenet.com/cold-war-causes-major-events-ended.
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