Cold War in Asia

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The Second World War had a radical effect on the political landscape in Asia. The crumbling of the Japanese Empire meant that many countries were left without any formal governing body. This power vacuum left the door open for the two main victors of World War Two-the United States and the Soviet Union- to expand and implement their influence in the region. The US wanted to prevent the further spread of Communism whilst the USSR wanted to establish strategic Communist allies in the region. Both sides eventually picked sides in the region and supported opposing forces. These opposing alignments became more clear when power struggles in Asia occurred. Events such as the Chinese Civil War and then the Korean War polarised the two superpowers and would serve as a precursor for future Cold War conflicts. Hence it will be argued that the power vacuum which occurred in Asia in the wake of WWII was a necessary precondition, but not the sole cause, of the Cold War in Asia. The desire of both the United States and USSR for primary influence in the region and the effects of the Chinese Civil War and Korean War must also be explored in order to fully explain the origins of the Cold War in Asia. It is important to note that the United States and the Soviet Union had interests in Asia dating back to before the Second World War. The US held important strategic territories in Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines whilst the USSR had connections with the Communists in China. These commitments were strengthened throughout the war with Japan in Asia. In the aftermath of the conflict the US wanted to be the sole occupier of Japan, and Stalin wanted to increase the USSR’s stakes in Korea and Manchuria. In the context of the war the two superpowers were able to cooperate and agree on many decisions. Joint decisions were made such as the agreement that the Soviet Union would enter the
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