The time in the Cold War era between 1945-1991 was a turbulent direction for both the newly amassed superpowers of the United States and Soviet Union. The cold war is referenced as a continuous time of military and political tension between powers of the United States with NATO and other allies and the Soviet Union with the Warsaw Pact and other allies. The Arm’s race in the Cold War, had profoundly negative effects on the opposing superpowers. These effects created a deteriorating relationship between the USA and the USSR, the Cuban Missile Crisis and contributed to the financial downfall of the Soviet Union in it’s final days. The United States and Russia have a much more acceptable relationship in the current day, but in the Cold War era, the hostilities rose to a near breaking point level. Hypothetically, if hostilities were not prevented in time, the world could have been permanently silenced through a potential Nuclear holocaust.
The United States and the Soviet Union relationship during the Arm’s Race period in the Cold War era was one of unpredictable possibility; brimming with hostility and tension. The two nations promoted opposing political and economic ideology and the two nations competed for international control. This aroused a geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle, lasting from 1947 to the period leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991. With Capitalism versus Communism as a constant factor; ever present between the two factions, relationships between governments and citizens of two began to disassemble. Stocking of Weapons of Mass Destruction, also kept the intimidation factor present along with unrivaled competition between both countries. With these factors present, the Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine of military strategy and national security policy was put into effect. M.A.D consisted of full-scale use of weapons of mass destruction by two rivaling sides. Which, would effectively result in destruction of both the attacker and the defender, becoming a war that has no victory but only total destruction. With this as an ever present danger, both sides remained hostile but did not commit to weapon fire. Obviously knowing the dire consequences that would result. The compilation of Nuclear Armament was only one tool used between the two nations in this “Silent War”. Propaganda by both countries and assimilation of other nations by the U.S and Soviets was a factor as well. Propaganda posters consisted of anti-communist art on the US side while anti-capitalism was present on the Soviet’s side. With propaganda influencing citizens of both countries, any “Necessary actions” needed to be taken by either country, would have most likely been uncontested by civilians. Due to the rising hostilities and danger. Present danger not only due to Nuclear armaments, but from “shadow wars” as well. An example would be the communist occupation of Vietnam. War historians often say that the viet cong who fought aggressively against the United states, were only the tools of communist Russia to indirectly fight the united states. With immense numbers of casualties present for both vietnam and united states, relations between them soured. This war helped fuel the Russian machine to create more weapons and fuel communist encroachment upon other countries. This war was not only of contested territory, but a source of wealth for russia. With Viet-cong needing weapon and russia supplying them, wealth was made. The united states had discovered this and it became essentially a war against communism. The United States and Russia often had times of détente; which gave the “race” brief periods of break for negotiations and other settlements. The presence of periods eventually allowed the competing superpowers to come to a settlement and end superpower cold war/arms race, allowing the world to finally relax from pure tension.
The Cuban missile crisis was the most severe Cold War confrontation between the United States and the USSR and that took place in October, 1962. The U.S. discovered that the Soviets were in the process of positioning nuclear missiles in Communist Cuba. The United States then tried to interrupt and stop the process by placing naval blockade to stop Soviet ships carrying missiles to Cuba. On October 22, U.S. military alert was set at Defcon 3 and Fidel Castro began to mobilizes all of his military forces. On October 24, Soviet ships entered the quarantine line placed by the US and received orders from Moscow to hold their positions while being backed up by Soviet reinforcements. President John F Kennedy concluded that if he attempted to invade within ten days, the missile bases in Cuba would likely fire a portion of the missiles at US targets. With the missiles armed with nuclear warheads, the result would have disastrous. On October 25, American military units were forced to enter Defcon 2- the highest of all time in U.S. history. On October 26, Khrushchev received a cable message from Fidel Castro demanding a nuclear strike against the US in the event Cuba was actually invaded. The intensified moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis was during the evening of Saturday, 27 October 1962, when the negotiations of the crisis, had disappeared . Soviet ships didn’t try to break the U.S naval blockade of Cuba, but, Soviet missile bases stayed on the island and were becoming operational and ready to fire. President Kennedy was pressured to order an air strike or invasion was increasing rapidly, especially after the American U-2 reconnaissance plane was taken down over in cuba that same Saturday afternoon and its pilot was unfortunately killed. Any hope of a resolution to the crisis that could be achieved between Washington and Moscow had begun to disappear. A letter from Soviet leader Khrushchev arrived on that Saturday morning demanding that the United States needed to agree to remove its Jupiter ballistic missiles from Turkey in for the Soviets removal of missiles from Cuba. Khrushchev`s letter was felt to U.S. officials as an ominous event of the Soviet decision from the older letter from Khrushchev, didn’t mention the U.S missiles in Turkey but instead implied that Washington’s agreement not to invade Cuba at the time would have been sufficient to end the need for Soviet`s nuclear protection of Castro’s government. On October 28, the crisis finally ends with the U.S agreement to remove their Jupiter missiles from Turkey. During a speech aired on Moscow Radio, Khrushchev announced the process of dismantling the Soviet missiles in Cuba and insisted on his demands concerning the elimination of U.S. missiles from Turkey. During the Cuban missile crisis, both superpowers discovered that risking war in pursuit of political ideals and gain was intelligibly too dangerous. It was the final event during the Cold War that both sides would escalate hostilities to create a hazard of this level. Even after the Crisis, the USSR and U.S still imposed their competition in conflicts in other locations of the planet . Africa’s independent nations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received military interruption from the United States and the USSR. In this era, Cuba played a significant role alongside the USSR. The Chinese, who were now cautious of the USSR, participated against them on the side of the United States. The early 1980s was the concluding area of disputes between the United States and the USSR, resulting directly from the 1979 Soviets’ invasion of Afghanistan to establish and create a Communist regime. In 1983, president Ronald Reagan announced the creation of Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). SDI is was brought forward as a satellite defense system, which would destroy incoming missiles in space. During August of 1985, the Soviet Union announced a nuclear testing pausing. In December of 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces; the first arms accord signed by both Washington and Moscow that calls for the elimination the intermediate-range ballistic missiles. During July of 1991, the U.S. and the USSR signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Act finally ceasing anything related to a “Cold War” or an “Arm’s race”. The world was finally at peace from a possible Nuclear fallout.
The downfall of Soviet Union can be connected to the Arms race between the two superpowers of the U.S and the USSR. The results from the arms race left too much unused waste material, such as the stockpile of nuclear warheads and costed both superpowers a hefty sum. The Soviets continued to invest too much currency into their government to keep up with the U.S. The Soviets had to increase effort to reach where they were before the escalation and the results to this upsurge were not pleasant. The Soviet economy was becoming stagnant, while their military spending passed the threshold of acceptable. President Reagan’s Defense Initiative was a threat that needed to be countered, and the Soviets threw increased amounts of money at the military . The US had spent about 18% of its Gross Domestic Product at their military, while the Soviets were spending up to 35%. This resulted in Russia bankrupting itself. There was far too much “nepotism“ of government elites, and tampering with the accounts and ledgers to fulfil the plans. The Soviet economy was becoming stagnant, while their military spending passed the threshold of acceptable. To stop all stagnation occurring, Gorbachev introduced the ideals of Glasnost and Perestroika to patch the communist system, and make it work more suitable. All it really did was allow people to openly criticise their system and soon there was a calling for it to be replaced by citizens. The Communist ideology was not delivering the”paradise for workers” the government had promised, wages were stagnant, housing was poor, transport was difficult and from the lifestyle was extremely different from the West. Soviet children were becoming languor of being told that they watch certain films, that they couldn’t listen to music from the west, and listen to Western Radio station. Glasnost had allowed them to speak out against their regime and allowed them to listen music they chose. In the Republics, people were becoming tired of the Soviets. Citizens wanted to govern themselves, or have more choice within the Soviet idea, but the government would not falter. Glasnost created the opportunity where they could criticise and begin to organise themselves. Eventually the people in the Republics started protesting, requesting independence, and after the collapse of the union, it was achieved. The event that finally ceased the Soviet Union into the history was the failed coup of August 1991. Communist associates attempted to remove Gorbachev from office, and place in a more “stalinist style government“. In two months of the coup the Soviet Union was no longer existed. In all of this, was the fact that the state elite no longer believed in communism ideals, and began to see how capitalism gave the chance to gain wealth like their Western rivals earn. The elite abandoned any previous thoughts of communism from 1989 and below, setting up banks and businesses and taking ownership of the companies where they worked. The final revolution had ended the Soviet Union.
In conclusion, the Arm’s race in the Cold War era between the USSR and U.S in 1945-1991 was a poor situation for both superpowers. The Arm’s race in the Cold War, had negative results on the opposing superpowers. Due to the cold war being a continuous state of political and military tension between the United States with NATO and other allies; against powers like the Soviet Union with the Warsaw Pact and other allies.These effects created a deteriorating relationship between the USA and the USSR, the Cuban Missile Crisis and contributed to the financial downfall of the Soviet Union in it’s final days. The United States and Russia have a much more acceptable relationship in the current day, but in the Cold War era, the hostilities rose to a near breaking point level. The events that occured, created a time in history that can be referenced for many generations of how competing ideologies and too much “power competition“ between superpower countries can result in dire situations like the of October 25 of 1962 if not handled correctly.
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