Allied nations’ cooperation during the war quickly broke down. The peace that had prevailed between the USSR, the USA, and the British Empire around the conclusion of World War II started to deteriorate, and all the previous concerns surfaced once more. “The first phase of what came to be known as the “Cold War” began in the decade after 1945, despite there being no direct conflict between the Soviet Union and the west at the time.”
When Nazi Germany capitulated in May 1945, just as World War II was coming to an end, the tight military alliance between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union and Japan began to disintegrate. The nations of eastern Europe that the Red Army had liberated by 1948 were governed by left-wing Soviet forces. Both the Americans and the British feared that the Soviet Union would continue to dominate eastern Europe and that communist parties influenced by it would come to power in western European democracies. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was devoted to spreading communism throughout the world and was eager to maintain control over eastern Europe in order to safeguard against any future resurrection of the German threat.Whatever one group proposed or carried out, the other saw as having hostile undertones.
Cold war, Military Alliance, Left wing, Right wing, Red Army, Capitalism, Communism
According to ARTHUR SCHLESINGER, the initial cold war was a potentially fatal rivalry between two adamantly antagonistic blocs, one led by the Soviet Union and the other by the United States, that developed in the wake of the second World War.
The Article by National WW2 Museum says that the Soviet Union was the United States’ unusual ally, although tensions between the two countries lingered throughout World War II. The inaugural non-aggression pact signed in 1939 by Adolf Hitler and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin was remembered by Western Allied leaders. The Soviet Union and the United States, however, formed an alliance as a result of Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union and Japan’s Pearl Harbour assault. Competition between the two countries grew as International War II changed both the USSR and the US as it became a strong world force. After the Axis powers were defeated, the Cold War began as a result of tensions between the US and the USSR over ideologies and politics. The following rush for greater military might gave rise to a period of espionage, conflicts over the spread of communism, and a build up of nuclear weapons that threatened to wipe out the whole human species.
The phrase “Cold War” had American roots. Bernard Baruch made the initial observation on 16 April 1947 and coined the phrase. The “Cold War” refers to a situation in which frenzy is produced rather than a real conflict being waged. Between 1945 and 1991, there was a time of political tension between the US and the USSR known as “the cold war.”
WHAT CAUSED THE COLD WAR?
After the Second World War, the World witnessed the two power blocs. They tried to dominate over the countries in their own way. But the origin of the Cold War may be traced back in 1918. When civil war broke out in the USSR, then America, England, France and Japan sent troops to Russia in support of the counterrevolutionaries because these powers wanted to nip Bolshevik’s in the bud. Ultimately the communists won but the Russian leaders were convinced that the capitalist powers wanted to destroy communism. Thus the back ground of the future cold war was created in 1918.
- “DIFFERENCES OF PRINCIPLE”
Differences in principles between the Communist state and the Capitalist state were the main contributor to the war. Karl Marx was the inspiration for the Marxist theory of government and social organisation. He thought that everyone in a nation should possess and share in the prosperity of that nation. Everything in this place is governed by the government.
Contrarily, the capitalist system is predicated on the private ownership of a nation’s wealth. o\
f that nation. Everything in this place is governed by the government.
- “STALIN’S FORIGN POLICIES CONTRIBUTED TO THE TENSIONS””
Stalin has aimed to take the advantage of the military situation to strengthen Russian influence in Europe. As the Nazis armies collapsed, he tried to occupy as much German territory as he could, and to acquire as much land as he could get away with from countries such as Finland, Poland, Romania. West believed that he was committed to spreading communism over as much of the globe as possible”.
- US AND BRITISH GOVERNMENT WAS HOSTILE TO THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT”
Roosevelt was inclined to trust Stalin, and during the war, the USA transferred various types of military supplies to Russia through the Lend Lease system. However, once Roosevelt passed away, Harry S. Truman became more suspicious of communists and became more confrontational with them. According to some historians, Truman’s primary goal in detonating the bomb was to demonstrate to Stalin what may occur with Russia. Stalin continued to believe that the US and UK wanted to topple communism. In contrast to the USSR, the west has the atomic bomb.
“HOW DID COLD WAR DEVELOP BETWEEN 1945 AND 1953?””
- “THE YALTA CONFERENCE (FEBRUARY 1945)”
The three Allied leaders, Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill, were present at this meeting, which was convened in Russia so that they could arrange what would happen after the war.
- The defunct League of Nations should be replaced with a brand-new institution named the United Nations.
Germany was going to be split up into zones.
- Eastern European states would be able to hold free elections.
- Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan in exchange for Russia receiving the entirety of Sakhalin Island and a portion of Manchuria.
When the Russian Armies marched across Poland, there were worrying indicators of problems over what would happen to Poland. Roosevelt and Churchill, on the other hand, were not pleased with Stalin’s demand that Poland be handed all of Germany’s territory east of the Oder and Neisse rivers.
- “THE POSTDAM CONFERENCE (JULY 1945)”
Here the three leaders were, Stalin, Truman and Clement Atlee. The war with Germany was over but no agreement was made about her long term future.
East Germany was given to USSR and the West Germany was to USA, France and Britain. West Germany was more developed than the East Germany.
- “COMMUNISM ESTABLISHED IN EASTERN EUROPE””
In the months following the Potsdam, the Russian Systematically interfered in the countries of the Eastern Europe to set up Pro Communist governments. This happened in Poland, Hungary, Albania and Romania. In some cases, their opponents were imprisoned or murdered.
- “THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE AND MARSHALL PLAN”
The Truman doctrine was that the USA would support free peoples who were resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure. Greece immediately received massive amount of arms and other supplies, and by 1949 the communists were defeated.
The Marshall plan aim for US economic and aid of Europe was Economic recovery of Europe and to prevent the spread of Communism.
- THE BERLIN BLOCKADE
This brought the cold war to its first climax. At the end of the war, as agreed at Yalta and Potsdam conference Germany and Berlin each divided into four zones.
While the three western powers did their best to organize the economic and political recovery of their zones, Stalin, determined to make Germany pay for all the damages inflicted on Russia, treated his zone as a Satellite, draining its resources away to Russia.
Early in 1948, the three western zones decided to merge their zones to form a single economic unit. In June 1948 the west decides to introduced a new currency and ended price controls in their zone and in west Berlin.
- THE FORMATION OF NATO
The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took place in April, 1945. It was the military alliance among the western powers. The members were France, Britain, Germany, USA. NATO provide collective security to its members which means an attack on any one of them would be considered an attack on all collectively. It was actually formed to stop the spread of Communism.
- THE TWO GERMANIES
The west Germany led by Western powers were ahead and set up the German Federal Republic, known as West Germany. The Russians replied by naming their zone as German democratic Republic or East Germany. Germany remained divided till the collapse of USSR in 1991. There was a competition between eastern and western Germany as West Germany was way more developed than East Germany.
THAW IN THE COLD WAR
- DEATH OF STALIN
Stalin’s passing marked most likely the beginning of the thaw. The goal of the new Russian leaders like Malenkov, Bulganin, and Khrushchev was to strengthen relations with the United States. Russia and America both produced hydrogen bombs, and both sides were so evenly matched that nuclear war could not be prevented in the event of international tension, which is the most likely reason for the outbreak of the war in August 1953. Nikita Khrushchev condemned Stalin and emphasised the importance of “peaceful coexistence” with the west in his well-known address from February 1956 regarding Russia’s new strategy.“There are two ways—either peaceful co-existence or the most destructive war in history.”
There was no other option. This does not imply that Khrushchev has abandoned his vision of a communist society. He intended to do this by demonstrating to western governments the superiority of the Russian economic system. He also believed that generous economic aid would help him win over neutral states.
- MCCARTHY DISCREDITED
When McCarthy was exposed as a fraud in 1954, anti-communist sentiment in America began to decline. In reality, McCarthy had inflamed anti-communist sentiment in America. The American senate condemned him when he started claiming that prominent generals had ties to communists. It made it quite evident that America’s approach to Russia had altered. Eisenhower, a Republican, declared that the American people wished to be cordial with the Soviet people.
- THAW WAS ONLY PARTIAL
Germany was quickly admitted to NATO as a result of the 1955 Warsaw Pact between Russia and its satellite republics.
- Russia kept constructing nuclear weapons.
- The downing of the U-2 spy plane by Russia thousands of miles inside its territory and the subsequent justification of the action by the American president increased tension. Russia favoured the expulsion of western powers from Berlin, but America disagreed.
- The placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, fewer than a hundred miles from the American shore, was the most provocative and contributed to increased tension.
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS, 1962
A serious dispute between the Soviet Union and the United States of America occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Early in the 1960s, when Soviet tactical nuclear weapons were placed in Cuba, the conflicts between these countries were brought to light.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, commonly known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, was a 35-day standoff between the United States of America and the Soviet Union that escalated into a global emergency when Soviet missile deployments in Cuba coincided with American warhead deployments in Italy and Turkey.
The standoff is frequently seen as coming the closest to the Cold War ever devolving into a dangerous nuclear conflict.
A severe and hazardous Cold War conflict involving the US and the Soviet Union took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The two countries had never been so close to a nuclear conflict.
The circumstances were peculiar in a number of ways, including estimations and errors in judgement, as well as overt and covert exchanges and misunderstandings between the two parties. A tense period in US-Soviet relations peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis. It greatly aided in Nikita Khrushchev’s downfall and the Soviet Union’s goal of achieving nuclear parity with the United States.
The end of the Cold War and the lone surviving superpower status of the United States marked the beginning of the 1990s. However, regional crises and global issues forced the American foreign policy elite to revaluate its approach to international policy, shattering aspirations for a safer, more peaceful world.
The Cold War has occurred because there were a two superpowers and the main reason was that there was a conflict of ideologies. Each of them wanted to dominate over each other
Sachhidanand Banerjee, ISC History-12(12ed.2019)
Norman Lowe, Modern world History(5ed.)