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Brief History Of The Cold War

1132 words - 5 pages

The Cold War is the term used to describe the tense relationship between post World War II East and West. The United States and Western Europe stood on the principle of opposing the communism that dominated Russia and Eastern Europe. Russia was overtaking smaller eastern European countries with force and did not want the United States to resist this movement into Europe. The two superpowers quickly abandoned the appearance of being allies, with Western Europe aligning with the United States and Eastern Europe aligning with Russia.On March 12, 1947, the United States Congress adopted the Truman Doctrine. This stiffened the anti-Communist stance in America. The Truman Doctrine set forth a United States policy to assist any regime resisting communism. Only a few months later, in June of 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall announced a plan to help in the reconstruction of Europe. The plan asked all European nations, Eastern and Western Europe, to reveal their reconstruction needs to the United States. The United States would then attempt to provide aid to those countries that responded. The Soviets predictably refused the offer of aid and kept Eastern Europe closed. This was what the United States expected and it also gave the appearance that the Soviets were responsible for increasing tensions in the Cold War. These two plans together offered economic and military support to those countries threatened by Communism and also weakened the already crumbling relationship between the United States and Russia.The anti-Communist sentiment also applied to the Communist parties in Western Europe. This led Western Europe to be led by centrist or conservative parties in the 1950s. Italy, Germany, Britain, and France all elected centrist or conservative leaders in the 1950s.With two superpowers in the world, European countries now had to make a decision as to their defense. The countries could unite to form an alliance in order to increase their collective strength, or the countries could align with one of the superpowers and depend on that power for their defense. The result was the formation of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) on April 4, 1949. The NATO treaty allowed for a strong United States military presence in Europe for the first time. An attack upon one of the participating countries was to be considered an attack upon all to the countries.The Soviet Union during the late 1940s and early 1950s put much of its manufacturing effort into the development of a daunting military. Secrecy and uneasiness ruled the Soviet landscape and police control and the threat of war haunted the nervous citizens. Stalin ruled with an iron fist and would not hesitate to crush those that opposed him. Stalin's death in March of 1953 prompted a struggle for control of the Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev eventually came to power in 1958 and held the office of premier. Khrushchev was very vocal of his opposition to the west. He wanted control of Berlin and tried...

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