Cold War

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The Cold War is the term used to describe the intense rivalry between the United States and its allies and the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics and its allies. The Soviet Union and its allies were refereed to as the Eastern Bloc and the United States and its allies were referred to as the Western Bloc. The Cold War period lasted from the mid-1940's until the late 1980's. During this period international politics were shaped by this intense rivalry between this two great blocs of power and the political ideologies they represented. The United States and its allies represented democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union and its allies represented communism. The Cold War was truly a global conflict more so than either of the century's two world wars. (1) The cold war was also the first total war between economic and social systems, an industrial test to destruction. Even though the Cold War Began just after World War II, some of its roots reach back as far as the nineteenth century. Its neighbors have long feared Russia; the giant among the countries in Europe, even when they were allied Russia against a common enemy. This fear Cropped up immediately after Russia, Britain, and other European nations defeated the French Emperor Napoleon in 1812. (2) In 1853 Britain, France and several other European nations went to war with Russia from keeping Russia from expanding into the Middle East. Britain, in fact, took a great deal of its energy during the nineteenth century trying to limit Russian power. (3) By the early twentieth century the United States was also concerned with Russia's power. Although the United States tried to keep out of European disputes, American leaders were concerned about Russia becoming to powerful. They worried that if any nation became powerful enough to dominate the European continent, it would be a threat to the well being of the United States. (4) In the midst of World War I a new element was added to the European and American fear of Russia. In November of 1917 a radical Marxist called the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia overthrowing a democratic government. The United States strongly opposed the Bolshevik regime. The United States was angry that the Bolsheviks pulled Russia out of the War against Germany (WW I), and that it intended to spread its revolution to other countries. (5) During World War II Soviet leader Joseph Stalin reached an agreement with Hitler in which the two countries promised not to attack each other during the war. The Nazi-Soviet pack allowed Hitler to invade Poland and then fight France and Britain without having to worry about the powerful Soviet army. (6) A surprise attack by the Germans on the Soviet Union on June 1941 ended the Nazi-Soviet pact. This drove the Soviet Union to join the allies, but they found no love in the hearts of the United States and Britain. It was only Germany's might and murder policies that held the Grand Alliance together. (7) As the tide turned in favor of the Allies in the eastern theater, the side where the Soviet Union was fighting on, the soviets army was pushing into several Eastern European countries which were formerly allied or controlled by Germany. As the soviets controlled occupied these countries, they were able to control them. The same fear that had arisen in 1812 arose again: Would Russia become so powerful that it, instead of Germany, would threaten to dominate Europe. (8) To avoid this nightmare Britain and the United States invited the Soviet Union to a conference to discuss how to establish a durable peace. The "Big Three" met at Yalta, a resort on the Black Sea shore in the southern part of the Soviet Union. At the final diner at Yalta, hosted by Stalin on February 8, in a toast to Churchill and Stalin, President Roosevelt said he felt "the atmosphere between them was that of a family." (9) Harry Hopkins, one of Roosevelt's closest advisors and his special envoy to other heads of the state said; "we really believed in...
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