Cold War is a regulated conflict that surfaced after World War II among the Soviet Union and the United States and all the partners that supported each of these rivals. It emerged as a result of economic, political, and propaganda due to limited weapon recourses, and it persisted for years. It also ensued in international occurrences and anti-communist doubts, which almost led the two superpowers to a nuclear war and catastrophe. The alliance that had united the US and the Soviet Union in their bid to defeat the Axis powers such as Japan, Germany, and Italy started falling apart after the World War II as they realized that they had visions for Europe's future and the world at large which were incompatible. On the one hand, the Soviet Union had a vision of retaining possession of Eastern Europe and establishing governments that were both Communist and pro-Soviet to expand the Soviet influence while protecting itself from future invasions. The United States, on the other hand, had a vision of expanding its influence and protecting democratic governments all over the world. Countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America supported the democracy that the United States advocated for, and they allied.
Probable aspects that caused the Cold War to include the Soviet Union refusing to be among the United Nations for a long time, the Soviet Union was having a fear of the nuclear weapons that were owned by the United States, and the aim of the United States' of spreading communism across the world (Michael 1-52).
When World War II ended, Europe witnessed a rise in the number of internal struggles that aimed at controlling various countries which were occupied by Nazi Germany in the period of post-World War II. In the year 1947, Great Britain, which had the role of disarming all troops in Greece when World War II came to an ending, was unable to provide financial support to the Greek government, which was in a civil war with Greek rebels (Michael 1-52). President Truman was not ready to allow a communist government to rule the country; hence it requested the Congress to provide the Greece government with adequate funds to fight the rebels. Truman also asked for help in sensitizing the government of Turkey to fight Communism forces there. The Truman Doctrine that was announced by the United States offered support to Turkey and Greece in the form of assistance in finances, troops, and weaponry that helped in training militaries and governments against communism (Michael 1-52). As it progressed, the program expanded and included all states that tried to withstand communist takeovers leading to the United States' Cold War policies.
Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US avoided confrontations of their militaries, especially in Europe. When they did get involved in such confrontations, it was to keep their allies from defecting or in unique circumstances to overthrow those that had already defected (Michael 1-52). The American economy, under the leadership of President Truman, was significantly growing while that of Europe was disastrous due to World War II. Truman's inspiration was political, economic, and humanitarian, with a plan to work together to enforce unity and political popularity.
The Cold War reached its peak in the years between 1958-1962, where the Soviet Union started making ballistic missiles and secretly installing missiles in Cuba, which they could easily use in launching nuclear attacks on the United States (Michael 1-52). Both the US and the Soviet Union were not prepared to employ any nuclear weapons against the other for fear of the other retaliating. In the year 1963, the two superpowers signed a treaty that banned the testing of nuclear weapons (Michael 1-52). The ban created Cold War tensions in the 1980s as both rivals competed for more influence on the Third World.
The Truman Doctrine set out to provide economic aid to various foreign countries that were facing different types of crises and problems. It also fought communism and prevented any further spreading of the vice-like it did in countries such as China (Locke and Wright 1-18). The United States also sort to establish military bases all over the world. Faced with a war that was completely different from the other ways, Truman laid a background for peace policies that would give the country strength over its rivals. The Truman Doctrine led to the Domino Theory that was related in some way to spreading the communist rule during the Cold War.
Communist governments increased in different nations all over the world, making American policymakers extend their containment strategies during the Eisenhower administration. This extension led to the domino theory, and its main aim was to contain how much communism spread to countries that were neighbors to the communist nations (Chun 80). The theory attempted to help nations that were most likely to succumb to the infectious and dangerous ideologies of communism. The commitment that was placed in containing the Soviet expansion created a need for a strong military defense and offense.
The end of World War II left the European industrialized nations, and Asia devastated and their economies exhausted due to the many years of battle, bombardment, and invasion. With former great powers such as Great Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Germany, and France being defeated by the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the US rose to become two superpowers (Chun 80).
The cold war did not involve confrontations of military powers; rather, it was fought using other weapons such as political assassinations, surveillance, alliances with other nations, and propaganda. They developed a fight for supremacy on economic, social, military, and ideological matters. In 1946, George Kennan sent the "Long Telegram," which had a belief that the only effective way that the Soviet Union would be protected was through destroying all nations that acted as rivals and the influence they had on weaker nations (Locke and Wright 1-18). Kennan argued that the Soviet Union was not a revolutionary regime; instead, it was a totalitarian bureaucracy that could not easily accept any prospects of peaceful coexistence between it and the United States. The Domino theory made speculations that many countries that were surrounding a country that was under the influence of communism were most likely to follow the domino effect. The Domino theory led to the Marshall Plan that was ratified in 1948 by Congress.
The Marshall Plan
The American economy was growing at a rapid speed by the year 1946, and the economic situation in Europe had deteriorated at a rapid speed (Locke and Wright 1-18). The World War II had changed a large part of Western Europe into a place of battle, and slow progress was realized in the rebuilding of systems of public transportation, power stations and factories (Locke and Wright 1-18). Due to the starvation that was posing a huge threat to the countries, it was easier for communism to make a significant approach to France and Italy. The concerns made Truman and State George's secretary propose to the Congress the Recovery Program of Europe labeled as the Marshall Plan. The program began in 1948 and ended in 1951, and by the time of its termination, it had provided an economic aid of $13 billion to the European nations (Locke and Wright 1-18).
The motivation by Truman led to a plan that stipulated the working together of European nations so that they could receive aid so that it can easily enforce unity using enticement. It also sought to undercut the popularity of the political backgrounds of Communists from Italy and French and discouraging several moderates from combining forces and creating a coalition government (Locke and Wright 1-18). The Soviet Union did not want to accept any aid from the Marshall Plan, and it forbade the states that adopted communism from accepting the funds from the United States. Luckily enough, the states that accepted aid from the United States started experiencing economic recoveries.
The Soviets lacked any consensus with Germany, and this led the United States, France, and Great Britain to have a thought of joining forces and creating an independent state. In the year 1946, they made a move to join forces, but the Soviet Union was against the Western countries unifying and creating a democratic government (Locke and Wright 1-18). The Soviet Union also had fears that the nations united would create a Soviet sector. The Western allies introduced a new currency in Germany, and the Soviet Union placed orders to cut off all water and land routes to the Western countries in 1948. They had a mission to starve the Western parts of Berlin City so that it can submit to communism.
Policy of Containment
Eisenhower took over the Soviet Union shortly after Stalin's death in 1953, and he gave a speech for a chance of peace with the United States. He emphasized how the US and its allies had preferred a different road from that of the Soviet Union and its allies, which marked the start of the finish of the Cold War. He ordered a review of the United States' policy, and he quickly agreed to adopt Truman's policy of democracy and containment except in China (Locke and Wright 1-18). During the years that Eisenhower was a leader of the Soviet Union, the US created several alliances and treaties with the communist nations as a way of upholding the containment policy. He believed in freedom just like Truman did, and he pushed for natural law, equality, eternal truths, and individual rights, which would all create strong foundations of peace. Such believes of the new Soviet Union leader and coalitions with the US changed the course of the Cold War until its fall several years later.
Chun, L. (2017). The Representation of the Asian War Brides through a Cold War Lens. Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History, 7(2), 78-90. https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1026&context=aujh
Locke, Joseph L., and Ben Wright, eds. The American Yawp: A Massively Collaborative Open US History Textbook, Vol. 2: Since 1877. Stanford University Press, 2019. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-ushistory2os2xmaster/chapter/the-cold-war/
Michael, Scott. "The Cold War: Causes, Major Events, And How It Ended." Historyonthenet.Com, 2019, https://www.historyonthenet.com/cold-war-causes-major-events-ended
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