Capitalism Versus Communism: The United States Versus the Soviet Union in the Cold War Years

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  853 Words
Date:  2022-02-18


The cold war period was the time of geopolitical tension that was between the Soviet Union and the United States with no direct battling during this time (Mitter, 2018). The Cold War was waged on the issues of politics, economy and other propaganda fronts and there was the limitation of the weapons. The US and Russia were the main participants of the cold war together with the allies. The goal of the United States during the cold war was to ensure isolation of the Soviet Union from the spread of communism and so encourage democracy as well as promote open markets for the goods in the US so that there would be no occurrence of another depression.

Capitalism Versus Communism

These were the two forms of government that had been adopted by the nations participating in the cold war. The United States advocated for capitalism while Russia advocated for communism. The start of Communism in Russia was attributed to the harsh inequalities during the 9th century (Mitter, 2018). It was from Karl Marx that communism developed and became popular. As an ideology, communism in the Soviet Union was supposed to guarantee the workers and end to the hardships and the beginning of equality. Communism was supported by the entire Eastern Bloc which included the states in Central and Eastern Europe inclusive of the Soviet Union.

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The US, on the other side, advocated for capitalism because they believed that it was the system that was democratic because communism was totalitarian (Beschloss, & Talbott, 2016). Unlike communism with the focus being that the wealth and property were owned by the state, capitalism described that property was privately owned and the focus was on individual progress in life.

The ideology of capitalism was that people needed freedom while that of communism was that people needed each other. Communism had the notion that there needed to be central control of the economy while that of capitalism was that the government should have little interference in the economy (Beschloss, & Talbott, 2016). It was as a result of the conflicting goals of the two parties that led to the cold war. The US did not want to have communism spreading because they were fighting to have free and open markets with its neighbours.

Economic Systems

The economic system of the Soviet Union during the cold war was based on the system of state ownership. Their adoption of the communist ideology meant that wealth was owned by the state in terms of areas of production (Mitter, 2018). There was collective farming, industrial manufacturing and the administrative planning was also centralized. However, it was unfortunate that the cold war contributed to making economic life harder. It was as a result of the cold war that the Soviet Union spent quite a great deal on the military as it did not want to fall behind the struggle for power.

US prosperity was based on having an economy with open markets. Advocating for freedom using the ideology of capitalism meant that people would be free to trade in different areas according to their preferences because of the international economy with open markets. The US needed to open markets for international trade and they were also trying to avoid any other economic catastrophe as dense as that of the depression.

Foreign Policies

The foreign policy that was adopted by the United States was that of containment. It was a policy that would ensure that communism was kept from spreading beyond the countries that were already under its influence (Beschloss, & Talbott, 2016). The policy was applied between the United States and the Soviet Union as they represented a world that was divided by the Cold War.

It was evident that the Soviet Union did not see the possibility of having a long-term peaceful co-existence with the world of Capitalism. It was hard for them to trust the capitalists and they did not want their influence as well. This foreign policy was to make sure that the United States saw to it that communism did not spread as it was their goal to promote capitalism.

Ultimate Outcome

The major impact of the Cold War was the development in various areas in unfair ways. The war came to an end when the last war of the Soviet occupation came to an end in Afghanistan. There was a series of peaceful revolutions which swept the Soviet Bloc states (Mitter, 2018). The United States defeated the Soviet Union and won the cold war leading to the union dissolving to fifteen different states. There was a reduction in the use of nuclear weapons in the two regions which was a success for the world. There was global containment of communism from spreading which was elevated to ensure a greater and powerful status and other achievements. The impact of the cold war today is that it has shaped the lives of people in having open and free markets and stopping communism from gaining power.


Beschloss, M., & Talbott, S. (2016). At the highest levels: The inside story of the end of the Cold War. Open Road Media.

Mitter, R. (2018). The Cold War: A World History.

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Capitalism Versus Communism: The United States Versus the Soviet Union in the Cold War Years. (2022, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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