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The cold war is the name of the tensed period between the two greatest powers in the world

ld between the end of the Second World War and the end the 1980s. Those two powers were the USA and its allies against USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and its allies. It caused the division of the World with those two axes, and during half the 20th century, many wars occurred in the Third World countries: USSR and the USA did not want to fight because it would be a nuclear war and they feared the consequences of such a war. As John Lewis Gaddis stated in his work- The Cold War, the United States had been born out of struggle against tyranny, and had embraced a sociopolitical ideology that constrained power and held individual liberty as its highest virtue, whilst the Soviet Union had been founded to unite the working classes under a highly centralized government to overthrow the exploitative capitalists. Both the U.S. and USSR believed that their ideologies were supreme and would spread to all corners of the Earth in due time. There were 4 main stages of the Cold War: a)1946-1963- containment period b)1953-1962-peaceful coexistence c)1962-1978-dtente d)1962-1978-the second cold war

a)The first offensive act of the Cold War was initiated by Stalin. During the Yalta Conference (February 1945), he agreed that the countries under the soviet influence could have free elections at the end of the war. However, he took advantage of his important military forces and converted them by force to communist government. The USA felt threatened: if the USSR could convert the East Europe countries to communism, they could do the same in the West. The USA needed the West Europe to be safe, because it was their main source of trade. The USSR had been much weakened during the war, so it looked to reinforce itself by using the power of its neighbours. Its how the iron curtain appeared trough the Europe. A series of crises immediately following WWII initiated the Cold War: Stalin demanded favorable adjustments to Turkeys border with the USSR, control of the Turkish straits, control over some ex-Italian Mediterranean colonial ports, and refused to pull its troops out of northern Iran where they had jointly occupied the country with the British. The West refused all of Stalins demands and took the Iran issue to the UN Security Council. American naval forces were also deployed offshore of Iran. Stalin backed down, and it was clear that he had reached the limits of what his demands alone could accomplish. Moscow Foreign Service officer George Kennan authored a seminal letter in 1946 that found aggression and expansion to be characteristic of the Soviets, and called for an American response of containment. In 1947 Truman used those warnings as the basis of the Truman Doctrine. In June 1947, George Marshall offered Europe a financial help. It was called the

Marshall Plan or European Recovery Program. It was offered even to the soviet nations, but it has two conditions: the American help would be handled by common European institutions and Washington would have some control over it, but the Soviets could not accept these conditions. The Berlin Blockade (June 24, 1948 to May 11, 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade in 1948 to try and strangle West Berlin and maybe force the Western powers out. But the West was able to ship in supplies by air, and this operation gained the admiration and trust of the Germans. In 1949 in China the Popular Republic was proclaimed and Mao Zedong obtained the power. The peninsula was divided after World War Two into a Russian-backed north (The Peoples Democratic Republic) and the American-backed south (the Republic of Korea). Each claimed the right to the other half in an effort to unify both. The division was the result of the occupation of Korea by the communists after the end of the war with the country eventually being divided at the 38th parallel. In June 1950, the North Koreans launched a surprise attack against the south with Stalin's support and the capital Seoul fell in just three days. The United Nations Security Council (which was being boycotted by Russia at this time) asked for UN states to send troupes to the region under a UN flag. By the end of August 1950 only Pusan in the southeast corner of South Korea had not fallen to the North. In September, MacArthur took the huge risk of launching an amphibious landing at Inchon 200 miles behind enemy lines and from here he launched an attack against the North Koreans at Pusan. This provoked the Chinese to launch a massive attack against the UN forces and South Korea. Between January 1951 and June 1951 a stalemate took place though the UN forces managed to stabilise themselves near the 38th Parallel. The war became one of static warfare as both sides entrenched their positions. Peace talks started at Panmunjom and lasted for 2 years. Two occurrences helped to move the peace talks - the death of Stalin in 1953 and the replacement of Truman with Eisenhower as US president. An armistice was signed in 1953. b)Stalin died on Mars 5, 1953. His successor was Nikita Khrushchev. He condemned Stalin crimes and started the de-Stalinization. This way he allowed a pacific coexistence since 1956: the two blocs fought only by their ideas. The death of Stalin in 1953 did not weaken the grip Moscow had on the people of Eastern Europe and Hungary, by challenging the rule of Moscow, paid such a price in 1956. On October 31st, 1956,Imre Nagy broadcast that Hungary would withdraw itself from the Warsaw Pact. On November, Soviet tanks went into Budapest to restore order. Hundreds of tanks went into Budapest and probably 30,000 people were killed. Nagy was tried and executed and buried in an unmarked grave. By November 14th, order had been restored. Kadar was put in charge.Soviet rule was re-established. The Second Berlin Crisis (1961)

West Germany was always the more prosperous of the two newly created states. Stalin had forbidden eastern Europe access to Marshall Aid whereas the new West Germany did have access to it. Many East Germans simply left and went to West Germany to share in the growing prosperity of that state. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was built. The west called the Berlin Wall the "Wall of Shame" and it served to remind those who lived in Berlin that those in the Soviet controlled east lived far inferior lives to those who lived in western Berlin. The Cuban Missiles crisis is the event that shows the best how close the Cold War have approached a nuclear war. In 1959, the Fidel Castros followers overthrew the dictator Batista. The new regime began a politic that was increasingly disapproved by the USA. Washingtons counterrevolutionary efforts exemplified by the Bay of Pigs invasion, the attempts to assassinate Castro, and the economic embargo convinced the Soviets that the U.S.would stop at nothing to prevent Communism from spreading in the Caribbean. Khrushchev believed that he had to show a strong presence in that part of the world to combat American efforts and encourage more domestic uprisings. This could be accomplished by installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. This also had the practical effect of doubling the number of Soviet missiles capable of hitting America. The U.S. had installed similar nuclear missiles in Britain, Italy and Turkey during the late 1950s to target the Soviets. Meanwhile the USA heard that 24 soviet boats were sailing toward Cuba, bringing nuclear weapons and bombs. Kennedy decided to stop the access of the isle for the boats: it was a rational response to the threat, but he had to be firm if he wanted not the Soviet Union to take advantage on him. The two sides negotiated and Khrushchev finally ordered to withdraw the boats. The leaders argued and Khrushchev suggested withdrawing the nuclear missiles in Cuba if the USA promised not to overthrow the communist government in Cuba and to withdraw the US nuclear missile pointed on USSR in Turkey. Kennedy agreed. The end result of the crisis was seen as a huge success for Kennedy but contributed to the downfall of in Russia. Khrushchev was seen as humiliated by the other communist leaders. He was replaced by Brezhnev in 1964. The one positive thing to come out of the crisis was the creation of a hot-line between Moscow and Washington to allow for easier communication between the two nations leaders at a time of crisis. c)The Vietnam War occurred from 1959 to 1975. The war was fought between the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and its communist allies and the USsupported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). It concluded with the defeat and dissolution of South Vietnam. For the United States, the war ended in the withdrawal of American troupes and the failure of its foreign policy in Vietnam. The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II. It began on January 5, 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubek came to power, and continued until August 21, when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded the country to halt the reforms. In the 1980s, powerful individuals on both sides of the Iron Curtain shaped events like never before.

By 1980, the world had seemingly settled into a set order in which MAD enforced stability. Dtente might keep the world safe forever by fostering mutual respect for the other superpowers sphere of influence, banning direct warfare, and even permitting each side to verify the others military capabilities in the interests of trust. But dtente conceded large parts of the world to authoritarianism, poverty and suffering. Many people were unwilling to continue such an existence, and the Communists found it increasingly difficult to control them and their supporters. The centerpiece of dtente was the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I). Signed in 1972, it capped the number of ICBMs and SLBMs and forbade serious missile defense systems. The Communist Bloc met trouble in China.China feared more the USSR because they had boarders in common, so it decided to reconcile itself with the USA, even if this was a strong anti-Americanism feeling. The USA accepted because they wanted to weaken the USSR and isolate it the most. d)The NATO declared in 1979 that it would build in RFG, in the Netherlands in Belgium, in Italy and in Britain, several missiles that would be directed at the USSR. Thousands pacifist people demonstrated against that in vain. Since 1975 the USRR had pointed missiles at the Western Europe. The Western Europe was afraid that the USA would let it happen because the missile were not directed at them, so it asked the NATO to build other missiles in Europe directed at USSR. The NATO threatened Moscow to build this missile if they were not disabled but Moscow refused: it counted at the public opinion to stop the building of those missiles. But they built them anyway and the Soviet Union had to declare it would retire the missiles. It was a diplomatic failure for the USSR because it had to take his missiles away and the Western Europe and the USA developed closer relations. After 1975 communist guerilleros took power in new independent states from ancient Portuguese colonial empire (Angola, Zambia...) and began military action against South Africa with Cuban help. In Ethiopia, the Soviet Army and Cuban forces intervened against rebellious movements. In Christmas 1979, Russian paratroopers landed in Kabal, the capital of Afghanistan. The country was already in the grip of a civil war. The prime minister, Hazifullah Amin, tried to sweep aside Muslim tradition within the nation and he wanted a more western slant to Afghanistan. Thousands of Afghanistan Muslims joined the Mujahdeen - a guerilla force on a holy mission for Allah. They wanted the overthrow of the Amin government. On December 27th, 1979, Amin was shot by the Russians and he was replaced by Babrak Kamal. His position as head of the Afghan government depended entirely on the fact that he needed Russian military support to keep him in power. America put a ban on the export of grain to Russia, ended the SALT talks taking place then and boycotted the Olympic Games due to be held in Moscow in 1980. Mikhail Gorbachev took Russia out of the Afghanistan fiasco when he realised that Russia could not win the war and the cost of maintaining such a vast force in Afghanistan was crippling Russia's already weak economy. By the end of the 1980's, the Mujahdeen was at war with itself in Afghanistan with hard line Taliban fighters taking a stronger grip over the whole nation and imposing very strict

Muslim law on the Afghanistan population. Gorbachev took the power in USSR in 1985. He started perestroika and glasnost politics: transparency and restructuring policies. Under the policies of the glasnost and perestroika the implosion of the USSR happened between 1989 1991. The Cold War was a total international conflict. That means that it has needed an important mobilisation of the resources until the adversary disappeared completely. Its a complete victory for the USA: the Atlantic Organisation survived the war. The communist ideology lost almost all its power.