As the Cold War froze throughout the late 1940’s, the U.S. was providing aide to Western Europe but only out of false support for Senator Joseph McCarthy. He was creating lists of people who didn’t support America and could be accused of being communist. With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), these people were mostly jailed and/or lost their jobs. McCarthy even accused President Truman of being a communist.
The Soviet Union blockaded the Western sectors of Germany and formed the Warsaw Pact, which made a unified military organization within the Soviet-bloc countries. From 1948 to 1949, the Berlin airlift provided food, clothing and medical supplies. The U.S. along with other European allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty of Organization (NATO), which was a unified military command to resist the Soviet presence in Europe. Joseph Stalin eventually lifted the blockade and officially left Germany divided into two countries (East and West Germany).
There were many key people throughout the Cold War. Dean Acheson was important in developing U.S. foreign policy through the height of the Cold War from 1948 to 1953. He helped maintain the Western Alliance between Great Britain and France and was advisor to four presidents. John Dulles was Secretary of State to Dwight Eisenhower and a part of U.S. foreign policy. Kim Philby was a British intelligence officer and considered the most successful Soviet Union double agent.
Since America was rumored to have dominated the Atomic bomb, the Soviets exploded their first bomb in 1949. The Soviets supported the communist governments of China and North Korea, which ultimately led to the Korean War which lasted until 1953. The United Nations Security Council demanded that Communists stop fighting and withdraw to 38th parallel. North Korea ignored this demand. President Truman sent air and naval forces to South Korea and the United Nations (UN) also asked other members to send aide. Forty-one countries sent military equipment, food and supplies and sixteen countries sent in troops. The U.S. provided approximately ninety percent of everything including the first jet-powered aircraft (F-86 Sabre). During the war, the first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was created. This offered wounded troops an increased survival rate of ninety seven percent. The Korean War was also one of the bloodiest in history where roughly one million South Koreans were killed and several million were left homeless.
Intense stages of the Cold War were also ignited by the “superpower” countries, which were the U.S. and the Soviet Union, as they secretly began developing nuclear weapons. In 1962, the Soviets began installing missiles in Cuba, which were intended to be launched on U.S. cities. This led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962, where John F. Kennedy (JFK) was forced to place a Naval “quarantine” around Cuba after pictures were found to contain missile launch sites that could potentially hit the U.S. A committee was formed under the supervision of Robert Kennedy in order to determine the best course of action.
Because the UN prohibited blockades, JFK was forced to call it a “quarantine” so he could control what came into Cuba as well as what came out. After demands by JFK to remove the missiles and their sites, Khrushchev counter-offered by saying he would remove and destroy them only if JFK would publically announce that the U.S. would never invade Cuba. JFK was forced to comply with Khrushchev’s demands after a U2 spy plane had been shot down over Cuba.
At the same time, JFK started sending military advisors over to Vietnam. He was afraid South Vietnam would fall to the North under what is known as the “Domino Theory”. The theory states that if one country falls to communism, the surrounding countries will also fall. By the end of 1962, almost 12,000 advisors and 300 helicopter pilots were told to avoid military combat because the U.S. was unsure how North Vietnam would react to their military presence. Just two years later, a group of American Navy ships lied and said they were attacked by a group of North Viet Cong in the Gulf of Tonkin incident. By the end of 1966, the amount of troops had increased to 400,000 under Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), which were then involved in Operation Rolling Thunder. Its mission was to demoralize the population of North Vietnam and to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail but both these were unsuccessful. During this operation, 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped and 900 U.S. aircraft were lost costing the U.S. approximately $900 million.
Because of the struggle between the Soviet and U.S., the blocs gave way to more complicated relationships in which the world was no longer split into two opposing sides. This lead to a major split between the Soviet Union and China, in turn shattering the unity of the communist bloc. Other small countries in Western Europe as well as Japan accomplished economic growth during the 1950’s through 1960’s allowing them to state their independence and show endurance to the superpower countries.
Combinations of the Cold War events were a result of the U.S. overcoming their fears of the spread of communism. The U.S. has been able to contradict the meaning of communism and form allies throughout the world in order to become a huge presence in NATO and the UN. For example, the U.S. has provided foreign aide to many countries in times of need. We have been gained from this as our allies have helped us in our times of need. Because the U.S. has fought for our freedom, we have assisted other countries around the world in obtaining the same goals. Therefore, we feel a responsibility to support them in developing a democratic country where peace, liberty and justice prosper.