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Western civilization after 1800. The Cold War - Research Paper Example

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The Cold War refers to a period of history between 1945 to the early 1990s (Gaddis, 1997) that is exemplified by a continuing state of political conflict and military tension, as well as a few proxy wars between the Communist and the Western world…
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Download file to see previous pages The Cold War refers to a period of history between 1945 to the early 1990s (Gaddis, 1997) that is exemplified by a continuing state of political conflict and military tension, as well as a few proxy wars between the Communist and the Western world The ‘cold’ part of the name is a reference to the fact that there was no actual war between the two primary forces, the Soviet Union and the United States, although in some ways it is a misnomer because, as previously mentioned, there were proxy wars involved. There were several key events in the Cold War that can be used to illustrate the nature of the tension involved and how the military powers used their power and animosity to form this state of military tension. Firstly, it is necessary to discuss the reasoning behind the Cold War. The world at the time was attempting to recover from the events of the Second World War (Russet, 1994) as well as trying to establish new regimes or experiment with the old ones (Gaddis, 1997). The principal difference between the two major powers was the way of life – the Soviet Union was primarily communist and supported communist regimes like that of Cuba, and the United States was primarily a capitalist state. This ideological difference was compounded by a geographical disagreement – the Soviet Union had many states which were ceded to them by the fall of Nazi Germany (Mearsheimer, 1990) and the United States and the Allied Forces disagreed about how these borders should be drawn. The United States funded a lot of the European recovery, and the Soviet Union refused to let any of the member states participate in the program, leading to some areas of poverty within the USSR and an animosity towards communism in the US. The first main event of the Cold War can be said to be the Berlin Blockade. Notably, Germany would become a particularly important company in the events of the Cold War, perhaps because of its direct involvement in World War Two and the fact that the country was now split in two (Gaddis, 1997). Berlin was occupied by both Soviet and Allied forces after the end of World War Two, and the USSR began a blockade of the railroads and any other access to the Allied parts of the city under the assumption that this would cause the Allied Forces to cede defeat and allow Soviet access and control of the city. The response to this by the Allied Forces was to use the British Royal Air Force to send supplies into the city (this became known as the Berlin Airlift) and ultimately, the plans of the USSR to control Berlin were foiled (Walker, 1995). The next event in Cold War history can be considered the Korean War (Walker, 1995). Korea at this time was not split into two countries – North and South – as it is today. These two nations began a war in the year 1950 which carried on until 1954. North Korea was supported by the People’s Republic of China, a communist state, and was thus ultimately supported by the USSR who provided some military aid for the conflict. South Korea was supported by the United Nations and the United States. This was the first example of a proxy war occurring in Cold War history (Gaddis, 1997). The ultimate conclusion of the war is still evident in the splitting of the Korean peninsula that we can see to this day, and although there is no direct warfare, we can still see that the sides taken are still relatively easily split into communist and capitalist nations (Russet, 1994). The Vietnam War is a subject very close to the hearts of many Americans, and was another proxy war within the Cold War era. Contrary to what the name suggests, the Vietnam War took place in Cambodia and Laos as well as Vietnam (Walker, 1995). Again, this was a war of North and South, with the North being communist again and sponsored by the USSR, and the South being anti-communist and involving the heavy use of a lot of United States military troops. The US government wanted to have a large involvement in this war to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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