Without any doubt, after the Second World War society was transferred into the new geopolitical era in which the bi-polarity played a significant role. The bipolarization of the world is characterized by the thermonuclear opposition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This bifurcation of the world has led to the Cold War in which the USA and the USSR were the two world superpowers. In 1943 – 1945 the Soviet Union and the Western civilizations discussed the consequences of the World War II, and the question about the postwar settlement arose. The dispute between two superpowers about the control of the world significantly influenced the beginning of the Cold War.
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The scientists distinguish the main reasons of the Cold War: ideological, economic, poor collaboration between the two superpowers, such as USA and the Soviet Union, the acquisition of the nuclear weapons by the USA, extension of the Soviet Union’s impact in the Eastern Europe, and signing of Marshall Plan and Truman doctrine. First of all, the ideological confrontation between the supporters from communism and democrats has considerably influenced the beginning of the Cold War. The USA society had a right to vote, and to choose the political leaders. To counterbalance it, in the USSR, people did not have a right to vote, and form political parties. Second, in the USA the capitalism was an economic system in which private ownership along with free trade played a pivotal role. According to the capitalistic system, private business and international market collaboration were identified as effective tools of the formation of the stable economic growth. On the contrary, a communist economy was controlled by the government. Moreover, in the USRR the international relations were forbidden and considered as a serious threat to the country. The supporters of the communism thought that collaboration with the Western democracies could lead to the end of the totalitarian regime. Third, the acquisition of the nuclear weapons by the USA became one of the main causes of the Cold War while the American atomic power significantly impaired the relations between the USA and the USSR. The main conflict of the military confrontations was seen when the USA did not inform the USSR about the possible bombing of Japan. Fourth, it is worth to mention the extension of the Soviet Union’s impact in the Eastern Europe that considerably influenced the beginning of the Cold War. At the Yalta Conference (1945), the USSR occupied and established the communist regime in the eastern part of Germany, Poland, Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Curzon line. Moreover, Stalin formed the communist government in Eastern Europe by making satellite states, known as Iron curtain. “Iron curtain” is a geopolitical term that is applied in order to show the division of the world: countries that belong to the NATO, and the Warsaw Pact. The primary aim of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (the NATO) was the organization of democratic allies in order to contradict the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact is total opposition to the NATO since the government fully supported totalitarian ideology, communism and the Soviet Union. Finally, signing of Marshall Plan and Truman doctrine influenced the rise of the Cold War. According to Marshall Plan, the USA sent an aid to Europe in order to rebuild the territories after World War II. As a result, the Western part of Germany was fully rebuilt. However, the Soviet Union strongly objected to take American help, while they considered this aid as an evident opposition against communism. The consequences were deplorable, since the Eastern part of Germany was not restored (Foner, 2009).
Undoubtedly, it is vital to point out the leaders of the Cold War, such as John F. Kennedy (the 35th President of the USA), Joseph Stalin (the leader of the USSR and the communist regime), Mikhail Gorbachev (the head of the USSR at the end of the Cold War), and Harry S. Truman (President of the USA, who decided to drop the bomb on Hiroshima).
It is necessary to mention the four periods of the Cold War. The first one is dated from 1945 – 1955. On the geopolitical map, this stage is characterized by the division of the world into the bipolar zones, such as the NATO and the countries of the Warsaw Pact. The second stage is chronologically marked from the 50s – 60s years. The major events at this period were: the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961), the Cuban Missle Crisis (1962), the Vietnam War (1964 - 1973). In 1961, the East German communist party was under threat of economic and social dissolution while around 2.7 million young people immigrated to West Berlin. The GDR workers built the Berlin Wall in order to inculcate the communist ideology on East Germany. The major conflict between the East and West Germany was on 25 October 1961. The problem was that GDR did not allow the Western Allies to enter East Berlin. The two opposite sights confronted each other at the Friedrichstrasse border. Owing to successful collaboration between American President John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, the head of the communist government, the two nuclear powers managed to withdraw the beginning of the war. The Cuban Missle Crisis occurred in 1962 when the Soviet Union decided to produce MRBM (Medium Range Balistic Missle) and IRBM (Intermediate Range Balistic Missles). Moreover, the USSR sent 42 MRBM and 24 IRBM to Cuba, under the escort of 22000 soldiers. The aggravation of the relationship between the West and East coalitions began when American President Kennedy put Cuba under quarantine. The Vietnam War (1964 - 1973) began after the announcement of President Johnson Lyndon on taking any measures in order to prevent aggression and struggle against North Vietnam. The air strikes began in 1965. The East Vietnam used firepower against North Vietnam and had a support from the USA, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippine, South Korea. North Vietnam used hand-laid bombs and ambushes against the adversary. The peak of the war was dated in 1965. The consequences for the USA were deplorable since American troops had a lot of casualties and the USA was in debt, because of the permanent aid to East Vietnam. The Vietnam War ended on April 39, 1975 after the surrender of South Vietnam (Sibley, 1998).
The third stage of the Cold War was marked by the lessening of international tension in the 70s – 80s. The fourth stage is dated from the 80s – beginning of the 90s. This period is characterized by the reorganization of the world, deideologization of society, the military division of the world, and the end of the Cold War.
The impact of the Cold War on American society can be considered as dubious. On the one hand, this war was terrible and “hasty” oppression of the bipolarized countries while it led to 58193 deaths of American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Moreover, this war caused the division of Germany, the spreading of the totalitarian regime and communism to European countries. Additionally, the Cold War led to serious debt and economic decline of the USA. On the other hand, this war helped to solve cultural conflict in the USA, such as racism. Nevertheless, blacks were freed from slavery; they were still the second class citizens. This war helped to improve the rights of blacks, their vote registration, and fair employment commission. Consequently, the Civil Right Act was signed in 1964 and manned the racial discrimination. Furthermore, the Cold War significantly influenced the growth of American power on the geopolitical map since the USA helped the Western countries and formed with them NATO, as the result of friendly cooperation (McClarnand & Goodson, 1999).
All in all, the Cold War considerably changed the geopolitical map since the USSR was collapsed, and its members achieved independence. European countries and the USA built successful international relations. Moreover, American economic system became the most stable in the world. Unfortunately, peace was achieved by tremendous casualties of the civilians.
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