Q8: What were the sources of the emerging Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and what key events in Germany brought the two sides to the brink of confrontation?
Despite having been allies during World War II, shortly afterwards in the late 1940s the United States and the Soviet Union found themselves in a new type of war. A war against one another. The period was known as The “Cold War”, which was a rivalry between the two powers. This era gave birth to many new policies and technological advancements, having truly shaped the world into what is today.
After the World War II when President Roosevelt (U.S.), Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Britain), and Premier Josef Stalin (Soviet Union) had met to discuss the future of Europe, in particular, the future of Germany. Stalin had wished to punish Germany for causing WWII, taking its land, money and forcing labor on them. Germany had previously invaded Poland in two separate invasions in ...view middle of the document...
As the U.S. had demonstrated its nuclear capabilities earlier in WWII (1945), the USSR was not too far behind. The USSR had become nuclear-capable with the development of their very own hydrogen bomb in 1947. As Stalin expanded the USSR, the U.S. and 11 other nations established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. This was basically a promise to “have each other’s backs” in any international conflicts that should arise. It was similarly modelled after the League of Nations, but backed with the reassurance of the United States’ nuclear capabilities. Years later in 1955, Western Germany had joined NATO, which resulted in creation of the Warsaw Pact, which similar to the west.
This was a remarkable period towards the technological advancement of our world. With the motivation of the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and USSR came along a period of espionage, which definitely contributed to technological advancement.
With events arising such as homegrown atomic-spies (Julius Rosenberg), Senator Joseph McCarthy formed the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which sought after finding and spies, communists and communist sympathizers within the U.S. McCarthyism was the predecessor of today’s USPATRIOT Act, which resulted in the broadening of government’s scope of power and control over the nation, as seen in the result of previous wars.
In the duration of the forty plus years the Cold War lasted until finally ending in 1989, marked by the removal of the Berlin Wall, both super powers competed continuously. A major contribution of this era, and probably an important catalyst of it, was the development of the space programs. The USSR had started with its Sputnik satellite, which was successful. Following soon afterward the U.S. had spent money into its own program which is known today as NASA.
It’s difficult to fathom what our world would be like today if the Cold War era had not occurred, just as it would be very difficult to imagine what it would be like if nuclear weapons were used during its course.
"The Cold War." The Cold War. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
"Sept. 1, 1939 | Nazi Germany Invades Poland, Starting World War II." The Learning Network Sept 1 1939 Nazi Germany Invades Poland Starting World War II Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.