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Cold War Causes and Effects

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Published: Wed, 05 Jul 2017

The timing of the Cold War was crucial and one of the most diverse in the recent world history. Not only was it a war of diversity, but a war of great length that lasted about fifty years. What made this time so significant was that the whole world was involved in this war in some way. The world was split into two opposite teams and one minor mistake could have easily resulted in another world war. The Cold War is different from most wars for the simple reason of it was a war that was never actually fought.

The Cold War started because Europe lost power at the end of World War II. This left the Soviet Union and the United States competing for economic and military rule. Both countries believed their policies were the best and ultimately wanted all others to follow. “George Kennan coined the term containment to describe the appropriate American response to dealing with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Ojserkis, 2003: 53).” Containment was a way for the United States to stall the spread of communism and they used this as their main strategy. The United States used both economic and military tactics to ensure their security and influence policies against communism. The Cold War had relatively calm periods but also had periods of high tension. Despite many conflicts, there was never any military force directly between the Socialist and Capitalist. U.S. President Harry S. Truman developed the Truman Doctrine on March 12, 1947. The policy stated that the U.S. would support Turkey and Greece to prevent their fall to communism. “Several circumstances produced this unexpected presidential success in foreign affairs: the appointment of a new Secretary of State; Truman’s own leadership-often erratic, but tough in responding to the large issues of foreign policy and national security; and an economic crisis in Europe (Hammond, 1969: 19).”

The Marshall Plan was a program developed by the United States to help aid European Countries after World War II. George C. Marshall was the man with the plan and his efforts for world peace would later be honored by the Nobel Peace Prize. The Marshall plan was also offered to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but they did not accept it. The United Nations had the role of stopping wars between different countries. The Marshall Plan helped better the lives of many people. “As soon as Congress had authorized the Marshall Plan expenditures for the first year, the Administration, with the cooperation of the Republic leadership in the House and Senate foreign relations committees, began to lay the legislative groundwork for the North Atlantic Treaty (Hammond, 1969: 26).” The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, was created as a result of the Cold War and was designed as a defense mechanism against communism. “Doubtless the Warsaw Pact, multilateral military alliance with a combined command structure, was largely what it appeared to be-a mirror image of NATO (Hammond, 1969: 57).” Russia formed the Warsaw Pact as a comeback to the establishment of NATO. Our membership in NATO today is still necessary for peace among the nations.

After World War II, the Soviet Union strengthened its military power enough that it felt able to challenge the United States in Europe. One major crisis of the Cold War involved the Soviet Union blocking grounds to Berlin in attempt to allow Communist to start supplying fuel and food. The Soviet Union wanted control over the city of Berlin and they thought by cutting off all ground supplies they could do so. Little did they know, the United Kingdom and United States would respond with the Berlin Airlift to reach the people of West Berlin with the supplies they needed. Flights were continued daily for about a year and then the block finally ended. How the United States and their allies overcame the block and helped the people of Berlin would determine their destinies for many years to come. “Although the Berlin blockade undoubtedly increased Cold War tensions and helped foster the environment in which the American arms build-up would later develop, it did not, in itself, lead to any large and long-term strengthening of the U.S. military (Ojserkis, 2003: 23).” The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. As a result of the collapse of the Communist, the Cold War ended. This is what finally gave the United States major military powers.

A war without a fight is difficult to explain. That is what makes the Cold War so unique. This was an expensive war; both sides took hard hits financially and it lasted over four decades. The Cold War probably could not have been avoided since there were too many differences between the United States and Russia. With so many controversies between the leaders it is hard to believe that anything could have been done to have made them see eye to eye.


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