Autonomy and Political Responsibility after the Cold War
After World War II, Europe emerged as a continent torn between two very different political ideologies, Communism and Democracy. As the two major superpowers, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States, struggled to defend their respective governmental policies, the European Continent was caught in an intrinsic struggle to preserve the autonomy which had taken so long to achieve. During the Cold War, Eastern European nations struggled to achieve autonomy with the help of the West's dedication to break the Soviet sphere of influence. After the disintegration of the USSR, the struggle for autonomy among nations shifted from an intense, inward, nationalistic struggle to break away from a superpower to a commitment of international unity and cooperation as nations began to take moral and political responsibility for their actions.
The alliance formed between the US and USSR during the second world war was not strong enough to overcome the decades of uneasiness which existed between the two ideologically polar opposite countries. With their German enemy defeated, the two emerging nuclear superpowers no longer had any common ground on which to base a political, economical, or any other type of relationship. Tensions ran high as the USSR sought to expand Soviet influence throughout Europe while the US and other Western European nations made their opposition to such actions well known. The Eastern countries already under Soviet rule yearned for their independence, while the Western countries were willing to go to great lengths to limit Soviet expansion. "Containment of 'world revolution' became the watchword of American foreign policy throughout the 1950s a...
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... and a special exhibit on the Internal Workings of the Soviet System. This site provides an accurate representation of the Soviet System during the Cold War as seen by the actual Soviet documents. Also, this site gives detailed information of pivitol moments during the Cold War era, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Berlin Wall gives a brief over-view of the Berlin Wall, its history and its fall. Provides many useful links to several other sites which offer a more in depth exploration of the circumstances surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is a vital link for gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the role of the seperation of East and West Germany and the Berlin Wall itself during the Cold War era.
Crockatt, Richard. The fifty years war : the United States and the Soviet Union in world politics, 1941-1991. London; New York; Routledge, 1995.