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Cold War: An Analysis of Root Causes and Overall Levels of Responsibility - Essay Example

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The purpose of this assignment has not been to ascribe blame to the causal factors in what transpired during the Cold War, it has been the intention of this author to categorize these actions from as nearly a non-biased standpoint as possible…
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Cold War: An Analysis of Root Causes and Overall Levels of Responsibility
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"Cold War: An Analysis of Root Causes and Overall Levels of Responsibility"

Download file to see previous pages Although many in the West have been conditioned to believe that many, if not all, determinant factors for what contributed to the Cold War can be blamed on the Soviet Union, a careful analysis of the facts and the history, as well as the personalities involved, shows quite a different story. However, rather than stating that the United States and its policies, military actions, intentions, and security concerns were the main reasons for the Cold War, this brief analysis will attempt to show that both actors contributed nearly equally to precipitate many of the escalations that occurred during the Cold War years. As a function of examining the theory of containment, the effects of the United State’s use of the atom bomb, and a nuanced and established policy of quid-pro-quo security maneuvers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, the reader can come to a more full and complete understanding of what causal factors helped to shape the conflict as well the level to which both actors contributed to the furtherance of hostilities.
With respect to the very start of the Cold War, the confrontation between East and West was almost nearly inevitable as a function of the fact that the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan served to differentiate the world into a bipolar power structure. This power structure was the first of its kind in the world. Whereas similar regional powers had dominated global affairs for distinct periods of time, this was the first situation in which the world was practically and literally divided by ideology and economic systems. As such, the distrust and level of suspicion between these two superpowers was heightened even prior the end of the Second World War. Furthermore, even if the two superpowers had shared an economic system and a general belief and understanding of a unique world view, such a conflict would still have been likely due to the unique power dynamic that hegemonies exhibit in their quest to prove their power absolutely within their respective spheres of influence. Due to the fact that spheres of influence for these two superpowers were amorphous and undefined, the conflict between the two was accentuated. Likewise, the addition of new territories as a result of the land acquisition that occurred as a function of the Second World War, served to further increase feelings of distress and worries within the United States. From the American perspective, the Soviet Union was rapidly increasing its territorial holdings with no regard for the self-determination of the people groups that it was absorbing. Similarly, from the Soviet Union’s perspective, the United States and its allies were now practically and literally surrounding the nation. This fact may seem odd to a Western perspective as it is understood that the Soviet Union was so vast and so incomprehensibly large that “surrounding” such an entity would be impossible. However, from the Soviet Union’s perspective, there were now hundreds of thousands of Allied troops in surrounding occupied European countries.3 Similarly, nations on the southern border of the Soviet Union were becoming host to a series of pro-Western regimes; Iran at that time was but one example of this. Additionally, although the United States decried the Soviet occupation of Poland, the United States had tens of thousands of troops stationed in Japan. This type of action only served to further increase the level of suspicion and hostility that existed at the time. Although perhaps unintentional in many ways, these types of actions only served to exacerbate fears within the military power structure of both nations that a confrontation was imminent. As such, the conflict itself proceeded into a new stage of development. As each and every stage of the Cold War can be understood as a function of a zero-sum game, the United States and its allies attempted at every turn to deprive the Soviet Union of any type of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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