Tensions of Post-World War II leading to the Cold War After World War II, there was an emergence of two superpowers that had once been allies, but ended up enemies due to very differing ideologies. A clash between the Soviet Union and the United States led to a period of conflict and tension known as the Cold War. This ideological clash between communism and capitalism heated up after the settlement of World War II, when each superpower set out to achieve its own goals as victors of the war. This led to the beginning of a long-lasting conflict that split Europe into two spheres of influence. Much of the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States was linked to the end of World War II and the negotiations for settlement that followed.
However, you shouldn't make the assumption that devotion to ideology was all that was behind Cold War animosity; countries tend to be more complaint trading partners with countries that share their political systems and both Stalin and the Cold War Era presidents in the US knew this. The tension eventually built, but no one wanted to go to actual war again after the colossal massacre of WWII, hence the term Cold War. 2. Describe and explain the ideological differences between the United Stated and the Soviet Union. In 1917, Russia became a communist country with an agenda of converting the world to communism.
By 1947 Europe was still dragging itself out of the Second World War and the two superpowers were already having severe disagreements concerning the next step for the continent. With both sides accusing the other of aggressive tactics it is small wonder as to what eventually became the norm in Europe. The Soviet Union had indeed used aggression in its own conquest of Eastern Europe especially Poland because of Stalin’s basic paranoia of the West. The Americans however, did not always play by the rules they set out either, which were outlined by the death of Franklin Roosevelt and his successor Harry Truman’s hard-line tactics towards the Soviet state. The Soviet Union emerged from the war with 27,000,000 million civilian and military causalities something which Stalin was keen to use as a bargaining tool in the talk at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.
After the Second World War, the nations that were still standing strong were the United States of America and The Soviet Union. The domination of these two countries in the second half of the 20th century is known as the time of the Cold War, the diplomatic, geopolitical, and ideological clash of interests, also known as the rivalry between the capitalist democracy ( The United States of America) and the Marxist-Leninist communism ( The Soviet Union), which resulted in several proxy wars, but not with an actual war between these two superpowers ( Palmer 2014: 887).The distrust towards the U.S.S.R government was enormous and as a result to this, the State Department of the United States formulated the containment policy which would prevent the
Later that year in Potsdam, many open disagreements took place because Germany had lost the war so Russia had promised to fulfil, Churchill had lost the 1945 election and Roosevelt died so Truman, who replaced him was angered by the large scale reparations imposed on Germany and the setting up of a communist government in Poland. He did not trust Russia, so kept him in the dark about him having the atomic bomb in 1945 before he dropped it on Japan to get them to surrender. By America using the atomic bomb, Stalin knew that it was possible for it to be used against them. Russia was therefore tricked by America preventing the Red Army from going to Japan. This threatened Russia and warned them that America was wary of them and could act on it.
How far was the nuclear arms race a threat to world peace 1949-1963? The period of 1949 to 1963 saw increasing developments in nuclear technology by the Soviet Union and the Americans. The word ‘race’ meant that both superpowers aimed to match each other and gain the upper hand in terms of nuclear missile technology. Nuclear arms were seen as a form of scare tactic against the opposition as they both felt threatened by each other’s ideological capabilities. It was also used as a defence mechanism in case of future attack.
To what extent did the nuclear arms race make the world a more dangerous place in the years 1949-63? The arms race arguably made the world a more dangerous place, the word ‘dangerous’ could be defined as an unsafe threat to the world and human population. This was demonstrated through the tests of ‘brinkmanship' in the Cuban missile crisis. The increased spending, in order to impress the ‘third world', leading to new delivery systems, such as the ICBM's in 1957, the destructive power of the new H-bomb and Lithium bomb. However, the arms race acted as a strong deterrent through promise of 'Mutually Assured Destruction' and also creating a limited war due to the capacity of the nuclear weapons.
Kennedy asked how many American causality’s there would be if one of the Soviet Union’s missiles would go off in the United States. The response to his question was around 500,000 (found in the interview). JFK realized the damage that a nuclear war could cause. He believed that if America went to war with the Soviet Union and won, it would be a pointless victory due to all the causality’s. JFK did what he could to ease the tension between the two nations.
When Gorbachev entered power he was faced with several problems. The first problem that he faced was that the Soviet economy was stagnating and desperately needed technological and financial assistance from the West. Since 1975, the USSR's industrial and production rate had been dropping and was far behind the West in developing the new technologies.. The collapse of detente in the late 1970s between the USA and USSR had led to a new and expensive arms race. Over the course of Gorbachev's position as leader, the economic problems in the Soviet Union grew worse.