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Origins Of The Cold War

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Origins Of The Cold War

Post  SamPan on Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:37 am

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COLD WAR? Revisionist historians tend to regard the outbreak of the Cold War as a result of American hostility or, at least , diplomatic incompetence, while the more traditional view lays the responsibility squarely at the feet of the Soviet Union. Assess the validity of each view. The Cold War,said to have lasted from the end of World War II to the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991, was one of the most significant political events of the 20th century. For nearly 40 years the world was under the constant threat of total devastation, caught between the nuclear arsenals of the United States, Great Britain, and France on one side and the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China on the other. Any crisis precipitated by the struggle between the forces of democracy and communism could trigger a nuclear exchange of such stupendous proportions and overwhelming horror and suffering that would render life on earth utterly impossible. In reality, this Cold War was a tense political period between the Democratic and Communist blocs, the East and the West, and most importantly, the United States and the Soviet Union. Although this period has now come to an end, many disputes have been raised concerning the initial conference at Yalta near the end of the Second World War, and the actual causes of the Cold War tensions involving Communist and American aggression. According to the conventional view, the Cold War was a conflict between two superpowers, caused by Soviet aggression, in which the US tried to contain the Soviet Union and protect the world from it. At the inception of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was on the verge of amassing a great deal of power, and it was this possibility that frightened the United States and brought about the Cold War. Any Soviet act of aggression was countered by the United States, further raising diplomatic tension. One such act of aggression came when the Soviets attempted to gain complete control of Berlin by forming a blockade against all of the other Allied forces. Despite the barrier, the United States airlifted tons of supplies to those who were in need of them in Berlin. This was the very beginning of antagonistic relations. Another form of aggression that angered the Americans was Stalin's refusal to hold free elections in Eastern Europe, while he covertly set up their governments to act as puppet satellites, forming a protective barrier around the U.S.S.R. The Soviets' reluctance to reunify Korea and the strong Communist atmosphere in North Korea also disgruntled Americans and hurt diplomatic relations. Overall, each step that the Soviet Union took to strengthen its power and the power of the Communist party was viewed as an act of aggression, and there are many historians who strongly believe that the Soviets were at fault in the instigation of the Cold War due to these immense acts of aggression. The period in the United States following World War II could more aptly be named American Hysteria rather than history according to the more revisionist historians. As the Soviet Union grew more and more powerful, every American grew more frightened of the Communist movement. No event greater exemplified this than McCarthy's Communist witch hunt of the 1950's. The Cold War tensions stemmed from the fear and paranoia that gripped American society. This was displayed by the establishment of the C.I.A. to research Communist activities in foreign nations, the commitment to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in order to help nations resist the influence of Communist forces, and the continuous arms, technology, and espionage race that dominated U.S.- Soviet politics. The C.I.A. was established out of fear, because the U.S. felt threatened by the Soviet influence in other smaller countries where the United States had vast interests. In order to keep small nations from being overwhelmed by Communism, the United States decided to protect themselves by giving those small nations monetary aid under the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. Finally, paranoia also fueled the vicious arms race that brought the advent of the H-bomb, and the escalation of the space program race. In addition, the fear that the United States was possessed by gave way to the U2 crisis as well as the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although some of the United States fears had some foundation, the Cold War can easily be seen to have grown extensively from the minds and imaginations of the American people rather than the actual events of Soviet aggression that took place. In crucial respects the Cold War was a kind of tacit arrangement between the Soviet Union and the United States under which the US conducted its wars against the Third World and controlled its allies in Europe, while the Soviet rulers kept an iron grip on their own internal empire and their satellites in Eastern Europe -- each side using the other to justify repression and violence in its own domains. Of course, both the US and USSR would have preferred that the other simply disappear. But since this would obviously have involved mutual annihilation, a system of global management called the Cold War was established. Examine the conflicting aims and policies of rival powers which caused the Cold War. The Cold War can be said to have been sparked by a plethora of events. A common cause of the war is said to be that of Soviet aggression. This played a large role in creating concerns that may have started the Cold War. Also, American paranoia has been to said to have been a catalyst to the Cold War. Although both of these reasons are viable causes of the war, one cannot be mentioned without the other, or receive the entire blame for the Cold War. At the inception of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was on the verge of amassing a great deal of power, and it was this possibility that frightened the United States and brought about the Cold War. Any Soviet act of aggression was countered by the United States, further raising diplomatic tension. One such act of aggression came when the Soviets attempted to gain complete control of Berlin by forming a blockade against all of the other Allied forces. Despite the barrier, the United States airlifted tons of supplies to those who were in need of them in Berlin. This was the very beginning of antagonistic relations. Another form of aggression that angered the Americans was Stalin's refusal to hold free elections in Eastern Europe, while he covertly set up their governments to act as puppet satellites, forming a protective barrier around the U.S.S.R. The Soviets' reluctance to reunify Korea and the strong Communist atmosphere in North Korea also disgruntled Americans and hurt diplomatic relations. Overall, each step that the Soviet Union took to strengthen its power and the power of the Communist party was viewed as an act of aggression, and there are many historians who strongly believe that the Soviets were at fault in the instigation of the Cold War due to these immense acts of aggression. The period in the United States following World War 2 could more aptly be named American Hysteria rather than history. As the Soviet Union grew more and more powerful, every American grew more frightened of the Communist movement. No event greater exemplified this than McCarthy's Communist witch hunt of the 1950's. The Cold War tensions stemmed from the fear and paranoia that gripped American society. This was displayed by the establishment of the C.I.A. to research Communist activities in foreign nations, the commitment to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in order to help nations resist the influence of Communist forces, and the continuous arms, technology, and espionage race that dominated U.S.- Soviet politics. The C.I.A. was established out of fear, because the U.S. felt threatened by the Soviet influence in other smaller countries where the United States had vast interests. In order to keep small nations from being overwhelmed by Communism, the United States decided to protect themselves by giving those small nations monetary aid under the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. Finally, paranoia also fueled the vicious arms race that brought the advent of the H-bomb, the development of ICBM's with nuclear capability, and the escalation of the space program race. In addition, the fear that the United States was possessed by gave way to the U2 crisis as well as the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although some of the United States fears had some foundation, the Cold War can easily be seen to have grown extensively from the minds and imaginations of the American people rather than the actual events of Soviet aggression that took place. The Cold War, which is said to have lasted from the end of World War II to the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991. Intrinsically, this Cold War was a tense political period between the Democratic and Communist blocs, the East and the West, and most importantly, the United States and the Soviet Union. Although this period has now come to an end, many disputes have been raised concerning the initial conference at Yalta near the end of the Second World War, and the actual causes of the Cold War tensions involving Communist and American aggression.

SamPan

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