Causes and Effects of the Cold War
The Soviet-American combat, known as the "Cold War" hung heavy over global affairs for more
than forty long years; structuring the world with extensive military buildups, an unceasing nuclear
arms rivalry, intensive surveillance, and relentless technological emulations. Further elaborated
are the causes and repercussions of this menacing fracas drawn upon the world by the two
superpowers; the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
The Cold War dominated the second half of the 20th century, resulting in the collapse of
communism. The Cold War was a period of tension and hostility between the United States of
America and the Soviet Union from the mid-40s to the late 80s. It began with the end of the
Second World War. Free society would have termed it as World War III, but instead, used a
whimsical name pertaining to no direct military confrontation between the two nations, fearing
nuclear escalation assured mutual destruction. Nevertheless, both the nations indulged in indirect
conflicts and proxy wars by supporting allied nations in places like Korea and Vietnam. Cuban
missile crisis in 1962 was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear war; when an American U2
spy plane took photographs of Soviet intermediate ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear
payloads, sending a total of 42 medium range missiles and 24 intermediate range missiles to Cuba.
The US, then threatened to invade Cuba over the issue forcing the Soviets to remove the missiles
on America's assurance of not invading Cuba.
Role of the Soviet Union
Although the Soviet Union and China started off as allies in 1949, there emerged an estrangement
between them, which was cleverly exploited by the Americans. The US formed an alliance with
China in 1971 to contain the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, which
led to the United States and its allies boycotting the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow. In
retaliation, the Soviet Union and its allies boycotted the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles, USA.
The US financed and armed the Afghan guerrillas to fight against the Soviet troops. The Afghan
War was a major factor in bankrupting the Soviet Union.
In the '80s, President Ronald Reagan of the US dubbed the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" and
predicted that it would be consigned to the ash heap of history. He announced a major weapons
buildup and the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) also dubbed as "Star Wars". The Soviet Union
was too economically enfeebled to reply in kind. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of
the Soviet Union. He adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the Americans and many arms
reduction pacts were signed. In 1989, there was a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and in
1990, the Soviets agreed to the reunification of Germany. Movements against communist
governments in Eastern Europe followed this. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, marking the end
of the Cold War.
The Soviet Union wanted to spread its ideology of communism worldwide, which alarmed
the Americans who followed democracy.
The acquisition of atomic weapons by America caused fear in the Soviets.
Both countries feared an attack from each other adhering to mutual mass destruction.
The Soviet Union's action of taking control over Eastern Europe was a major factor for US
The US President had a personal dislike of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
America was annoyed by the Soviet Union's actions in the part of Germany it had
The Soviets feared that America would use Western Europe as a base to attack it.
Both the United States of America and the Soviet Union built up huge arsenals of atomic
weapons and ballistic missiles.
The military blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact...
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