Was The Cold War Just a War Of Nerves?

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The Cosford Essay - Was the Cold War anything more than a war of nerves? Perhaps the event that most definitely marked the arrival of a new, ‘Cold’ war, was not the first detonation of a nuclear device in real warfare at Hiroshima, or the iconic speech that expressed Winston Churchill’s fear that an ‘Iron Curtain’ had descended across Europe. No, perhaps it was something as trivial as a decision, a decision as to who would control Poland. The Potsdam conference, July 25th 1945, was possibly the first chance to establish the differences between the two warring factions, a Communist state and a Capitalist democracy. It was clear from that point onwards that things were going to get difficult. Many people were therefore skeptical of the future, war seemed inevitable. But the new age of conflict did not emerge abruptly, but barely showed itself at all, and managed to slip into the guise of a global intelligence operation. While it may have been easy to see the whole era as a simple toying between each side, barely a war at all, it still remains clear that this was not a game, but simply a much cleverer alternative to all out warfare. A definite vein of competition between both factions ingrained itself into the very political structure of the powers involved, Soviet Russia and America. Both sides produced vast amounts of propaganda to ensure that their political system was viewed as the best, ranging from newspapers that proclaimed the strength of one side over another, to an entire secret police force using the threat of torture as a viable asset of Communist success. While in Russia the people who were subjected to control from the Communist state had little choice but to submit, the Capitalist regime had a much harder job of keeping a hold on the views of its populace favorable towards the system. There was therefore a huge amount of Cold war propaganda that
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