Was the USA/USSR Cold War of 1947-1991highly probable? Why or why not? Explain carefully.

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Based on events after World War II, it is fair to say that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was highly probable. Right at the end of World War II and immediately after, the Soviet Union violated some of the agreements they made with the United States and with Great Britain. The King of Romania felt pressured to have a communist government. The new Polish government looked very much like the communist one in Poland at the end of World War II.

It was clear the Soviet Union wanted to spread communism. They tried to bring it to European countries such as Greece and Turkey. They tried to force the Allies out of West Berlin by instituting the Berlin Blockade. The goal of the communists was to spread their system around the world. Our goal was to keep communism from spreading. This was bound to lead to indirect conflict and confrontation. When China became communist in 1949, and when North Korea invaded South Korea to make it communist in 1950, our beliefs about their intentions were more than confirmed.

As time passed, confrontation and competition spread to nuclear weapons and space. We were surprised when the Soviet Union developed an atomic weapon as fast as it did. We then entered a competition where each side increased its nuclear arsenal significantly. Both countries also wanted to beat each other in the space race. When the Soviets launched the first satellite into space before we did, there was panic in our country. We were the first to land a person on the moon.

More threats occurred as confrontations developed over missiles in Cuba with the Cuban Missile Crisis. There were confrontations in the Middle East and Latin America. Since we didn’t want communism to spread, and the goal of communism was to spread it as much as possible, it was natural for an event like the Cold War to exist. Not until one side could no longer afford the costs associated with the military buildup, the stockpiling of weapons, and the constant placement of troops in various locations would the Cold War come to an end. That happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the system of communism collapsed in most places across the world.