The twentieth century witnesses two of the world worst of all wars. The first and second world wars left millions of people around the globe dead and an unprecedented destruction of property. In the period that ensued following the end of the Second World War, many nations were devastated. A lot of their property had been destroyed and people killed. It was a time of reconstruction. However, in the interim years of the Second World War, a new form of war quite unusual ensued. A war of ideologies arose between two major powers that had emerged after the Second World War - the Soviet Union and the U.S. This war came to be known as the Cold War. The cold war was a complex phenomenon because it rarely entailed armed battles. One ultimate consequence of the Cold War was the collapse of the Soviet Union. While that may have been the end result, this paper argues that the major goal of the Cold War was not defeat the Soviet Union.
In order to understand better how the collapse of the Soviet Union came about, it is important to place this war in its historical context by examine its causes and consequences. In so doing, it will emerge that the major participants of the Cold War, the US and the USSR fought in an ideological battle of supremacy. Each of the nations wanted to dominate and thus, each fought to influence other like-minded states to support it in its course (Reim 53). It was just unfortunate that the strategies of the Communist USSR did not work out, and the U.S. and its capitalist ideology triumphed in the end. This saw the disintegration of the fifteen states that formed the USSR.
The term Cold War initially used by the British writer George Orwell in 1945 in an attempt to express the worldview, beliefs and social structure of both the Soviet Union and the US, and the undeclared state of war that would come to exist between them after the end of the second world war. Historians first took up the term cold war in the late 1940s in an attempt to explain how the wartime alliance between the US, Britain and Soviet Union had collapsed (Leffler and Odd 3). In the first decade following the end of the Second World War, the term was mainly used by American historians as a synonym for what they saw as Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s confrontational policies from the later stages of World War II. The Soviet Union waged cold war against the west, while the west was seen as defending itself and the values it believed in (Leffler and Odd 3).
Winston Churchill’s speech in March 1946 in which he declared that a curtain had descended across the world separating the East from the West is believed to have sparked the start of the cold war. The war ensued did not involve direct fighting, but was mainly born out of fear, misunderstanding, and suspicion rather than hostility (Conklin 8). The West, particularly the US, held that the elections which had allowed communist governments to come to power were not fair. On the other hand, the Soviets held that such...