The Cold War Essay

996 words - 4 pages

The Cold War began after World War Two. It was the major force in world politics for most of the second half of the twentieth century. The main enemies were the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold war got its name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other directly. In such a "hot war," nuclear weapons might destroy everything. So, instead, they fought each other indirectly. They supported conflicts in different parts of the world. They also used words as weapons. They threatened and denounced each other. They tried to make each other look foolish.The United States and the Soviet Union were the only two superpowers following the Second World War. The fact that, by the 1950s, each possessed nuclear weapons and the means of delivering such weapons on their enemies, added a dangerous aspect to the Cold War. The Cold War world was separated into three groups. The United States led West Germany. This group included countries with democratic political systems. The Soviet Union led East Germany. This group included countries with communist political systems. The non-aligned group included countries that did not want to be tied to either the West or the East. The Soviets believed that they had an agreement with the western democracies that made Eastern Europe a Soviet sphere of influence.The Soviet Union wanted to have dominant influence in that region. The Western democracies, led by the United States, were determined to stop the spread of communism and Soviet power. While not being able to stop the Soviets in Eastern Europe, the U.S. and Britain were determined to prevent communist regimes from achieving power in Western Europe. During the Second World War, communists parties throughout Western Europe, had gained popularity because of their resistance to Nazi Germany Troops. There was a good possibility the communist parties would be elected in both France and Italy.Harry Truman was the first American president to fight the Cold War. He used several policies. One was the Truman Doctrine. This was a plan to give money and military aid to countries threatened by communism. The Truman Doctrine effectively stopped communists from taking control of Greece and Turkey. Another policy was the Marshall Plan, which provided financial and economic assistance to the nations of Western Europe. This strengthened the economies and governments of countries in western Europe, and as the economies of Western Europe improved, the popularity of communist parties declined. The Truman Doctrine came from the idea of containment. This idea was first proposed by George Kennan. It means limiting communism to the areas already under Soviet Control. American officials believed in domino theory, which means that if the nation fell to communism then all of the surrounding nations would fall in too, like a row of dominoes.A major event in the Cold War was the Berlin airlift. In June 1948 the Soviets blocked all ways into...

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