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The Cold War And The Ideological Battle

1325 words - 6 pages

The Cold War was the clash of cultures between the United States and the Soviet Union that coloured many major geopolitical events in the latter half of the twentieth century. This included decolonization and neocolonialism, especially in African states. Kwame Nkrumah noted that neocolonialism is when an imperialist power claims to give independence, but still influences the new state to meet its own goals. Both the U.S. and the USSR were neocolonialist powers, and a prime example of their desires to mold other states was the Congo Crisis, which acted to make decolonization unappealing to states outside Africa. Congo achieved independence on June 30, 1960 under Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasavubu, but was wracked by civil war as soldiers protested the remaining Europeans in the army and other positions. Both outside states played a role in the conflict. The Cold War and the ideological battle between the US and USSR played a large role in facilitated the Congo Crisis, which hindered other African states’ move to decolonization.
African leaders knew that isolating Africa from international politics would harm security and economic stability, but opening their states to aid from the US and the USSR allowed for foreign ideological influence. The West planned to stop the spread of foreign communism with “containment” policies, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as military force, while the USSR responded with the Warsaw Treaty Organization in 1955. These military organizations were examples of the actions the West and East took to make themselves appear intimidating to other states, but neither resulted in major military action. Instead, they acted as support and communication systems for the West and East as they tried to spread their ideological influence. In Africa, the continent was divided between both forces. The USSR supported anti-colonialism, while the US focused on either preventing independence or swaying new states towards capitalism, like their ally in South Africa. Many Western states viewed the nationalist movement as a Communist plot, such as France’s attitudes to the independence of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, while other African states, like Egypt allied with the Soviets. The Congo, the center of Africa, would act as a perfect battleground for the two forces to clash.
The United States, as a Western, imperialist power, was against decolonization, and created or supported institutes that harmed African societies seeking independence. Some neocolonialist devices it and Europe used to hold back colonies, including the Congo, were the powerful Western economies, foreign aid requiring interest loans, fictional and journalistic media, and ideological warfare. By using these devices instead of direct colonization, the US could present itself as an ally instead of a master. The West used their influence to ensure the new government of the Congo was assigned by Belgium and sponsored by the US so that Congolese resources...

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