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Michael Tampellini1/16/12

How and why did the Cold War end? Be sure to include in your analysis the historical developments from the 1960s to the 1990s.

The Cold War began in the late 1940’s following the aftermath of World War Two. The two new world powers, Soviet Union and the United States, fought for governmental influence around the globe. This quiet war would last for over 30 years affecting the way in which we live today.

In 1961 the Kennedy administration sought out to defeat communist threat in third world countries. The CIA and Eisenhower devised a plan to do so by training a group of Cuban exiles. On April 17, 1961, 2,000 of the armed exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba expecting American air support and then a spontaneous uprising by the Cuban people (The Unfinished Nation pg. 771). Neither the air support nor uprising took place, as the Cuban government crushed the exiles. This led to severe tensions with Cuba and the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of this event Kennedy tried to meet with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to lower tensions between the two but it did not help. Khrushchev also did not like the mass fleeing of Germans that moved from East to West Germany. In order to stop this, he sent plans to the German government to built the Berlin Wall. This move only received criticism as tension only increased even more. The rising tensions then culminated into the most dangerous and dramatic crisis of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis (The Unfinished Nation pg. 772). When aerial and reconnaissance photos gave evidence that the Soviets were placing construction sites for nuclear weapons in Cuba it was taken as an act of aggression by the Soviets toward the U.S. Almost two weeks later after days of preparation, Khrushchev sent President Kennedy a message that the Soviet Union would remove the missile bases in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba (The Unfinished Nation pg. 773). The crisis then ended finally...
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