Cold War. Why did it happen, who was involved, what was the outcome?
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The Cold War happened from about 1945 to about 1990. It was not really a war. It was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to see who would dominate the world. They each thought that their system of government and economics was best and should dominate the world.
The result of the Cold War was that the Soviet Union fell apart in the early 1990s. People usually say it was because their system could not keep people happy because it did not give them rights or material wealth.
The Cold War began after World War II. It was between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was called the Cold War because both nations were afraid to fight one another directly, so they they did it indirectly. They used words as weapons by denouncing the other and trying to make the other seem foolish.
The United States and the Soviet Union were the only two superpowers after the second World War. They both had nuclear weapon capabilities and this made everyone very fearful.
Historians disagree as to when the Cold War ended. Some will say that it ended during the 60's and 70's when the US and Soviet Union had better relations. Others will say it ended when the Berlin Wall was torn down (1989) and others say it ended when the Soviet Union collapsed (1991).
Cold War refers to the intense rivalry that developed after World War II (1939-1945) between groups of Communist led by Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), and non-Communist nations led by USA. It is called cold war because though it involved intense power struggle, as exists in war, but no physical fighting took place. The cold war happened because of the attempts of the USSR to forcibly extend communist rule to other countries. This was opposed by the USA and its allies on grounds of ideological opposition to communism as well as fear of dominance of the world by USSR.
The cold war tension started immediately after end of World War II with USSR acting against some of the agreements reached between the allied countries regarding treatment of Germany and other countries in Eastern Europe freed from German control. At the Yalta conference held in 1945. the USA, UK and the USSR leaders had agreed to hold democratic elections in the liberated countries. However, Stalin refused to honour these commitment after the end of war. He cut off nearly all contacts between the West and the territories it controlled in Eastern Europe, and began to take action to install communist Governments there. As a result, by 1948, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Albania, and Yugoslavia all had Communist governments. In response USA decided to actively oppose spread of communism. USA adopted a policy in March 1947 to help any free nation resist Communist attack.
In 1949 the Countries on side of USA formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Oppose USSR. Similarly in1949, the USSR set up the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) to unite the Communist-ruled states.
The two warring groups also had differences over question of developing and stocking nuclear weapons. They engaged in kind of a race to develop nuclear and other military capabilities. There was similar race in the field of space exploration also. All this further increased the mutual distrust and fear between the two warring groups.
The victory of communists in China in 1949 further added to the fear of communism among USA and its allies. Though there were no direct wars between USA and USSR, there were wars in different countries supported by the opposing groups of the cold war. This includes wars in countries Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
However, by about 1970's the futility of the the Cold war was becoming clearer to both the sides. Also there were some disunity within each group. A a result some initiatives for reducing the cold war tension were taken. As a result the agreement over status of Berlin was reached in 1972 and Germany joined the United Nations in 1973. A Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreement was reached between the USA and the USSR was reached in 1972. China and the USA established diplomatic relations in 1979. We can say the cold war finally came to an end in 1991 with the Soviet Communist party loosing control of the Soviet government and the USSR breaking up into a number of independent, non-Communist states.
"The Cold War" is the term used to describe the relationship between the two super powers U.S.A. and U.S.S.R after World War II came to an end in 1945. The 'cold' emphasizes the fact that war never actually broke out between the two countries but that both these countries were always hostile to one another.
The U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. had always been enemies, it was just that they came together to defeat a common enemy Nazi Germany led by Hitler. So, it was no surprise that their mutual hostility continued after Hitler was defeated.
The Cold War dominated international affairs from 1945 till the 90s when the U.S.S.R. broke up into nation states and most importantly when the Berlin Wall was broken down and Communist East Germany was united with West Germany on October 3, 1990.
The most worrying factor of the Cold War was the stockpiling of nuclear weapons which could destroy the entire world many times over. Both the U.S.A. and Russia are still struggling with this herculean problem of nuclear disarmament and nuclear waste.
The ending of World War II and the defeat of the Axis powers created an uneasy presence of two superpower nations. The Soviet Union was one them. Armed with its strength of Communism and the power of the state as superseding all else, it was poised against America, a democratic nation that professed the value of free market and individual rights. Both nations had only allied with one another to defeat the common threat of Hitler. Once this had been done, the reality was that there was a great deal of mistrust between both nations and this unease lay at the root of the Cold War. Both of them sought to explore the world as a battle between "Western Democracy" as opposed to Soviet control and influence. Communism vs. Democracy became the subtext of the Cold War and while there was not a shot fired between both nations, wherever the battle was present, Cold War undertones were present.
This is simply a struggle between empires, the only two empires still remaining after World War II. It just so happened that these two empires had completely different and competing systems of government and economy. One sought world domination, while the other sought to contain it.
The outcome was that one of those countries, the Soviet Union, went broke and the empire collapsed, leading to a revolution there and throughout Eastern Europe. While not exactly a US "victory", it did end without Soviet domination, so a victory of sorts.
in reflection all of your answeres really.... was america not to blame? many of their actions were seen as prevokative to the soviet union: the tuman doctrine was a direct attack towards communism, marshal aid was not so direct, but the message was there-avoid poverty becuase this is where communism thrives the most-, the americans failing to mention the test of the atomic bomb to Stalin during the Potsdam conference... you get the idea. Similarly is the west to blame? NATO, the iron curtain speech, the 'help' in Greece, they were all pretty prevokative. I'm not saying the USSR wasnt to blame, but i dont think they were entirely to blame.
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