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World Civilization - Ideologies - Term Paper Example

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All war is a war of ideologies. However, the difference between a cold war and a hot war is that in a cold war, there is no combat involved. The term cold war has been used in the context of the tensions between America and the Soviet Union, in the years that followed the second world war, till the USSR disintegrated in 1991…
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World Civilization - Ideologies
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Download file to see previous pages Neither the USA nor the USSR ever actually fought a war, but they did fight proxy wars, each one supplying arms and ammunition to the side that believed in their ideology. The war between North and South Vietnam is a case in point. Although both the USA and the USSR stayed out of the war, South Vietnam which was anti communist had the backing of the Americans and was supplied with the materials needed to fight the North Vietnamese who were communists. The USSR in its turn, backed the North Vietnamese and supplied them with war material. One would have thought that if Russia and America fought side by side during the second world war, there would be a friendly relationship between them. However, a closer look reveals that it was only the common enemy - Hitler, who brought these two nations together and their underlying differences took a backseat till the end of the war. Once the war was over, as Winston Churchill famously remarked, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." (Churchill, 1946) No one person can be held responsible for the cold war. The clash of ideologies - USSR’s Communism and Socialism versus America’s Democracy and Capitalism; and the fact that each thought that her own ideology was best, and felt threatened by the opposing ideology, is the real cause of the cold war. One could argue, that the cold war came about due to Russia’s aggression in Eastern Europe. On the other hand, if the US had only had the good sense to see that Russia was just trying to create a buffer zone between the east and the west, possibly to prevent further invasion from Germany; perhaps the world might have been spared the tensions and problems created by over four decades of the cold war. Each side viewed the ideology of the other with suspicion and fear, and was lulled into a false belief that it alone held the key that would ensure the happiness and prosperity of mankind. It seems that both the USA and the USSR tried to push their own interests, and in so doing created misunderstandings, that at times brought them to the brink of nuclear war. In the beginning, the cold war was limited to taking sides in wars that were fought by other nations, that subscribed to opposing ideologies; but the real danger was posed when both the USA and the USSR began to amass weapons of mass destruction. Although the cold war was spread over a period of over four decades, it went through periods of high tension followed by phases of relative calm. The Bay of Pigs crisis in Cuba in 1962, when the two superpowers came to the brink of war, had the effect of sobering the two nations, who decided to set up a hotline between them to be able to speak directly in times of crisis. Soon after this both the USA and the USSR agreed to a Nuclear test ban Treaty. According to some historians, this was the beginning of the end of the cold war. In 1972, the USSR and the USA led by Brezhnev and Nixon, announced a policy of peaceful coexistence, strengthening economic ties and signing agreements for increased trade. By the time Reagan became president, the Soviet Union had once again become the “empire of evil”, till in the second term of his presidency, Reagan was lauded as the architect of ending the cold war. Jack Matlock Jr, who was the US ambassador to Moscow under Reagan, says, Reagan "wanted to reduce the threat of war, to convince the Soviet leaders that cooperation could serve the Soviet peoples better than confrontation and to encourage openness and democracy in the Soviet Union." (Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended) At the time the USSR too had got a leader whose ideas ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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