Monday, June 17, 2013

THE COLD WAR

The Cold War is amongst the most phenomenal occurrences in that rocked the world in the 20th century and transformed the relationships between many nations in Europe and Asia. The Cold War emerged after the 1945 World War 2. Despite the fact that the United States of America and the Soviet union had engaged in a collaborative effort to get rid of Germany and its allies and emerge victorious in WW2, this strategic alliance was to undergo transformations shortly after the nations’ victory in WW2. In order to gain the support of the American population in engaging in WW2 to defeat the Axis, Gaddis (2000) states that from 1942-1945 American leaders and politician constantly painted a good picture of the Soviet Union in the US. The American citizens were told that despite Soviet Union having a different financial system it was not a threat to America. American was to receive a rude shock after the war when the Soviet Union deliberately contravened the post war pacts that had been signed in Potsdam and Yalta. Rather than abide by the rules of democracy, immediately after the World War 2 the Soviet Union scattered the Germany military in Eastern Europe and established a number of communist puppet states (Leffler, 1992). The then American President perceived this as a repeat of Hitler’s activities in the 1930’s and he was not about to sit and watch idly and Soviet Union violated their agreement with America: The Cold War had begun. The Cold war is commonly described as a war between America and the Soviet Union which was not fought directly but rather by each side launching attacks on proxies affiliated to the enemy. This war was an ideological, financial, military and political confrontation which erupted immediately after the WW2 and lasted up to the year 1989. There are a number of reasons believed to have caused uncooperative behavior of USSR which led to the Cold War. Ever since the year 1917- during the Bolshevik Revolution- the political leaders in Soviet Union had made it very plain that there was no way capitalism and communism would ever co-exist. As a matter of fact, Gaddis (2000) claims that during the War the Soviet Union leader Stalin, had always been suspicious of America; this suspicions increased in 1939 when it became clear that it was the USSR that was suffering greatly from the War and American President Franklin Roosevelt was doing little to offer financial assistance. Moreover, America did not provide the Russians with military assistance despite Roosevelt’s promise in 1942. According to Leffler (1992) by the 6th of June the year 1944 President Roosevelt had broken his promises to the Soviet Union thrice. Moreover, while the US envisioned a democratic Europe after the WW2 the Soviet Union desired the establishment of spheres of influence which would enhance the stability of their nation. As indicated by Miller et al (2013) the final blow to the relationship between the US and USSR was the advent of the Atomic Age. The destructive power of atomic bombs was revealed when President Truman used the weapon on Japan. On the 6th of August the year 1945, the American military under the leadership of Truman, bombed Hiroshoma and Nagaski regions in Japan and instantly killed an estimated 130,000 people in both regions. To make matters worse, the American presidents- Roosevelt and Truman- were both unwilling to share information regarding the weapons with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Gaddis (2000) claims that by the 29th of August the year 1949 the Russians had been able to make use of information provided by spies and detonated their own replica of the American atomic bomb. The end of the America’s monopoly of atomic weapons made both the US and USSR more vocal and deliberate in using confrontational language with each other. In order to avoid the occupation of Greece and Turkey by USSR and the spread of communism, American president came up with the Truman Doctrine on 12th March 1947 and offered the two nations financial assistance. The America nation was pledging its active engagement in the Greek civil War. When America came up with the Marshall Plan, Joseph Stalin rejected it and came up with his own Molotov plan in 1947. On the 23rd of July 1948 when the UUSR blockaded all reserves headed for Berlin in the Russian region the US reacted with conducting air lifts. The nature of USSR and its activities prompted the US, Canada and ten other nations in west Europe to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) so as to safeguard its members from any attacks by the Soviets. Both America and the USSR continued their engagement in the creation of nuclear weapons (Miller et al, 2013). USSR reacted by formulating the Warsaw Pact. Many a times the Cold war had been depicted as a competition between communism and democracy. Nevertheless, the important thing is that the Cold War never erupted into a major war since the Cold War era would end with the demise of radical leaders in USSR and the emergence of a more moderate group of leaders such as Gorbachev. References Miller, D. L., Brinkley, D. and Scharff, V., (2013), A Biography of America: The Fifties, Program 23 Gaddis, J. L., (2000), The United States and the Origins of the Cold War. rev. ed. New York: Columbia University Press Leffler, M. P., (1992), A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press