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Cold War - Research Paper Example

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Beginning in 1947 and lasting until 1991, the Cold War can be defined as the sustained state of military, as well as political, tensions that existed between western hemisphere countries and their NATO allies and the Eastern hemisphere that was dominated by countries in the Warsaw Pact dominated by the USSR1…
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Cold War
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Download file to see previous pages Beginning in 1947 and lasting until 1991, the Cold War can be defined as the sustained state of military, as well as political, tensions that existed between western hemisphere countries and their NATO allies and the Eastern hemisphere that was dominated by countries in the Warsaw Pact dominated by the USSR1. Following the success of the wartime alliance formed temporarily against Hitler’s Nazi Germany, the only two superpowers in global affairs were the United States and the Soviet Union. However, these two countries had profound differences in their political and economic ideologies, and this led to the beginning of the Cold War. The Second World War had a profound effect on global politics, with the early efforts of leaders in the US and the USSR attempting to shape the international system that was emerging after the war. In my opinion, the beginning of the Cold War can be traced from encouragement made by the Europeans, especially the British. Their encouragement of the United States to make their policy tougher towards the USSR was vital in the beginning. From my reading of the article, The Origins of Post War America, I believe that former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reinforced this policy during his iron curtain speech2. As Americans, we decided to pursue this policy because it would advance our interests, which resulted in the French, British, and other Western European countries joining us in the sphere of influence. Free elections in these European countries worked towards ratifying the support of Western Europe governments for us. However, the CIA, through its support for anti-communist intellectual organizations and labor unions, did manipulate the outcomes somewhat. From being egged on by the Europeans, we as a country took over the resistance to the communist Eastern Bloc to head it and influence the European powers3. For those European countries that immediately were not up to standard such as Turkey, Greece, and Spain, we used economic leverage. As a country, we projected an image of minimal constraint, economic robustness, and civility that highly contrasted with that of imperial USSR, and so began the Cold War in earnest. Following the devastation that was meted on Europe and large parts of the Soviet Union by the war, our country’s promise of democracy reverberated across the world. The United States emerged from the war as the only major country that had escaped massive damage. While we faced a period of reconversion, our European allies faced a period of reconstruction4. The war had completely overturned the old order and two countries arose from the rubble, the US and USSR. Together, we were eager to seize the opportunity to extend our influence, and we clashed over policies of occupation in Korea, Austria, Japan, Italy, and Germany. This led to a new bi-polar structure, which ensured that the decisions we made determined the manner in which other countries made their decisions. However, the bi-polar nature of the world was more of an asymmetry than a balance, as we held predominant power that enabled us to build up even more5. Our economy was also much stronger than all the rest and our power as a country arose because all other nations were weakened. The atomic bomb, which effectively ended the Second World War, ensured that the nuclear race continued to destabilize the world during the Cold War as we and the USSR looked for, ways to deal with it as atomic development programs spurred on. The bomb throughout the Cold War period was uncontrolled, copied, and envied, making it a major obstacle to getting peace in the postwar international system6. The issue of how to control to use, spread and development of the atom bomb dogged the entire period. Our government was worried that our monopoly would end with an increase of nuclear proliferation. These fears were further intensified with the successful trial of an atom bomb by the USSR in 1949. The weapon turned to be a way for various countries to pry concessions or deter ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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