The Cold War: A War That Never Turned Warm
After the first and second world war people around the world were left in poverty hunger and tragedy, millions left dead and an unbelievable amount of destruction occurred. After the second world war many nations were devastated, and a lot of their property had been destroyed and people killed. The time of reconstruction came, but so did a war of ideologies. The two major powers emerged, the Soviet Union and the United States of America, the conflict between capitalism against communism continued growing more and more, this later became to be known as the Cold War.
The Cold war was a complicated situation, and it rarely entailed the use of weapons or armed battles, and the collapse of the Soviet Union became the ultimate consequence. While the fall of the Soviet Union ended as a result, the Cold war was not to defeat the Soviet Union but to eradicate the expand of communism. For us to have a better understanding of how the Cold War ended with he collapse of the Soviet Union, it is crucial that we understand the historical causes and consequences. George Orwell, a British writer initially used the term “Cold war” in 1945 in order to express the beliefs, social structure and worldview of the S.U and the U.S. After the Second world war, this term was used by American historians as a way to describe Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin’s policies. The Soviet Union waged the cold war against the west, as the west was defending themselves. In 1946 Winston Churchill declared that a curtain would be descending, and which main goal was to separate the East and the West. Many believe that this was what started the Cold War itself. The conflict started, however, the war did not involve any direct attacks or fighting, but rather by spying and causing fear. The United States was unsure about the intentions of the Soviet Unions and were rather afraid that their ultimate goal was to convert every country communist.
When we talk about the Cold War it is not only important to talk about the outcome but examine the factors that contributed to the rise of this conflict. The main factor was the opposing ideologies. During WW II, USSR, Britain, the U.S and many others put their differences aside to defeat the Axis power, however, after the conflict ended in 1945 the Soviet Union tried to introduce communism into the nations and the territories they obtained as a result of the war, and not only this but also tried to strengthen their parties in the western nations like Italy, France and Greece. The Soviets envisioned the authoritarian government, a one party ruled economy, to any nation. This ideology not only perceived capitalism as a threat but the goal was to eradicate it before it expands. The U.S and many of the other Western European nations regarded communism as a negative system and they saw the ideology as a way to take away the freedom and democracy out of the nations.
The struggle between the two ideologies significantly aided to the development of the wat. The East-West ideologies reached the manifestation in Germany, While Josef Stalin initially hoped to take Germany under the communist ideology; The French, British and the Americans were opposed to this, and wanted Germany to the democratic and to share the capitalist mindset. The conflict over the system in Germany became such a powerful fight that the nation was divided in two, East and West. This division was in the form of a wall, and is not worldwide known as the Berlin Wall, which lasted until 1990`s thus recognizing and marking the end of the war.
Another crucial factor that abetted the Cold war was the atomic weapons, but everything changed in 1945. In this period of time the United States was the only country to possess atomic weapons. The British and Americans developed these weapons while excluding the Soviets, but this did not matter, as the Soviet Union was well aware of this program called the Manhattan Project through the use of spies. The Soviets questioned the motives of the Western countries and concluded on the thought that they would at some point use them against them to take over the areas the already occupied.
Between well planned strategic imperatives and power vacuums, the Soviets and the Americans sharply divided their power through Eastern Europe. As the Soviets were expanding their pro-Soviet governments were as well, and even reaching regions like Asia. In the sight of this, the U.S attempted to take control over Japan, and at the same time the Soviets were already supporting North Korea and China.
The rivalry not only stopped there but was even more fueled by economic problems that World War II came with, such as devastations, food shortages, and broken economy. While the countries were vulnerable after the war, this seemed like the perfect time to strike with indoctrination by the both superpowers, the U.S offered economic aid post-war to help with the reconstruction, using their wealth to convince them into capitalism.
If it wasn’t spying, divisions, money or the difference in ideology, another fueling aid to this war was the propaganda. The Soviet Union used their propaganda to portrait capitalism as a greedy, depraved and bent society, all in order to strengthen their own ideology and manipulate their public into believing the one-party government was the best option. Nonetheless, the U.S opted for a different type of communism propaganda, known as Red Scare which was based on caricatures, which fed the people fear and doubt over the one-party ruling.
All of these factors played an important role in the Cold war, not only by fueling situations but most importantly to give both parts more and more power, to extend their ideologies. The rivalry between these two caused one of the most important events on history, what we call now the Space race. As both East and West conflicts grew so did they technology. In November 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, and the year following the U.S launched their first Satellite, and so on the Soviets sent a manned satellite in 1961, and US did the same as well.
While sending satellites to space wasn’t enough, the also engaged to proxy wars, helping the worlds development. For example, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. The cold war was not about the people, but about supremacy, marking territory and to have the ultimate win. In 1991 the Soviet Union finally collapse, disintegrating itself into 15 countries that were part of it before, the collapse was acclaimed as freedom, not only to the suppression of the people but to the end of such a tyrant power over them. After 45 years, the rivalry, the competition and the game of power had ended, and this collapse politically wise not only meant freedom for its people, but a new entire lead for politics, economy and alliances.
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