The Cold War HIS/135 Assignment The Cold War Before World War II Britain, France and the United States allied with Russia to combine forces against Germany. The war had a devastating effect on the land and people outside the western hemisphere. After the war the United States and Soviet Union emerged as the world’s superpowers replacing Germany, France and England (Davidson, 2005). The United States power was supported by a growing economy, large military and the atomic bomb. In contrast the war took a toll on the Soviet Union, their lands were in ruin but they still had a formidable military (Davidson, 2005).
Along with fears of the past came the difference of politics as the Soviet Union, also known as the USSR was a communist country and the United States was a capitalist society. These two nations became very dominant over each other and chose to start a nuclear arms race that would make both countries continue to fight in a form of competition. Unlike other countries, America made a decision to remain allies with the Soviet Union. This decision is one that haunted them for the next 46 years. David Halberstam, in “The Fifties” speaks strongly about the drastic changes that our society dealt with as a result of these hard times, and the ways in which the average individual worked with struggles in society.
By 1986 the Soviet economy suffered from both hidden inflation and pervasive supply shortages which were aggravated by an increasingly open black market that undermined the official economy. In addition, the USSR spent a lot on the military, they lost over 15,000 soldiers in the war against Afghanistan which had cost them $8 billion per annum. They also overspent in the Reagan years, the defence spending increased by $32.6 billion as they tried to compete with the USA STAR WARS programme but could not compete. Also, the USSR spent $40 billion propping up Communist Governments throughout the world. The USSR was left behind by the new wave of industrialisation as it was based on information technology, they were left desperate for Western technology.
Mao criticised Khrushchev for his policies such as de-Stalinisation and his secret speech. He was also very critical of the policy of Peaceful Coexistence as he believed it was a way of being friendly with the United States (the enemy) and also Mao saw it abandoning millions of comrades struggling to free themselves of capitalist and imperialist oppression. This, therefore, made the USSR an ‘enemy’. How could two countries work together if they had such differing beliefs about how to run their countries? This problem had a big contribution to the split as they couldn’t agree on anything, and if they did, it was because their national interests were at risk.
If the Soviet Union were to gain more power than the U.S., that power would allow the Soviet Union to take over. The last reason for U.S. involvement is nationalism, which was also left over from WWI and WWII. Nationalism is having pride in one’s own nation. The U.S. wanted Vietnam to be able to have the chance of having nationalism, but something stood in the way. Communism had divided the countries of Vietnam, causing them to never be able to have Vietnam pride.
The roots can be found in the stagnation of the Soviet system in the late 1970s and early 1980s and perhaps most importantly in the ascension of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who opened the floodgates of change.Yet the ending might not have happened but for outside pressures, and this is where Reagan's legacy lies.The United States, in the years before and during the Reagan presidency, underwent a revolution in high technology that the Soviets could not match. The Soviet system was under pressure from Reagan's defense buildup and deployment of medium-range missiles in Europe, the CIA-backed mujaheddin fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan and Reagan's proposed missile defense system, the Strategic Defence Initiative. Reagan also challenged Soviet regional power in several conflicts from Nicaragua to Angola and lent support to the Polish dissident movement. These final battles of the Cold War shaped Reagan's foreign policy, including his determination to support rebels fighting Nicaragua's ruling Sandinistas, a Marxist group, in the 1980s. In Reagan's second term, it was disclosed that he had bypassed congressional restrictions on aiding the rebels, known as the contras, in part by diverting $3.8 million from the secret sale of 2,000 antitank missiles
America, Great Britain and the USSR have been working together as members of the Grand Alliance as an attempt to defeat Nazi Germany. Although they were working together, their relationships weren’t always friendly and there was many disagreements which is part of the reason the Grand Alliance broke down. America and Great Britain were Capitalists countries where as the USSR was a Communist country so there was disputes between all of the superpowers. The USA is to blame for the breakdown of the Grand Alliance for many reasons. After Roosevelt died Truman became the American president.
Communism in the Cold War "The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want, they spread and grow in the evil soil of the poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive." as said by Harry S. Truman on march 12, 1947 in The Truman Doctrine. While Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all had the same same Cold War intention of ending communism, their ways of achieving their goal were different.The Cold War was an angry dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union about whether we should spread or contain communism (Ayres 817).
Both sides wished to spread their ideologies around the world. Military tensions were heightened through proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam and tense military standoffs like in Berlin. Economic rivalry was ever-present and each of these superpowers competed to have the biggest economy in the world. This state of Cold War-which at many times threatened to engulf the world in war-lasted until 1989, when the Soviet Union finally collapsed. To this day there is still much disagreement as to who is responsible for the Cold War.
The rivalry between Britain and Russia led to the British imperialism of Afghanistan, which not only caused many short-term effects such as internal challenges and wars, but also begun the eternal hatred of foreign occupation in Afghanistan. Imperialism is defined as, “the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies” (Dictionary.com). Technically speaking, the events in Afghanistan fit this definition. However, in most cases, imperialism is due to a desire to obtain raw materials. This was not relevant to Afghanistan because Afghanistan did not contain any desirable goods.