Events Influencing The Cold War

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During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies. After the war the two countries emerged as the two most powerful countries in the world. Although the world war ended, it was not a clean ending. Iron-willed Stalin wanted a postwar settlement that would guarantee the Soviet Union's security and future. He wanted parts of Poland and Finland and the Baltic states. With Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union would have a buffer against future aggression from the West, colonies for rebuilding the economy, and new territory to the Communist world map. Roosevelt, on the other hand, opposed colonialism and the spread of Communism. For the next couple decades until 1991, the US and USSR would be locked in an arms race known as the Cold War.

After World War II the Big Three decided at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, how the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe would be settled. They decided that Berlin, like the rest of Germany, would be divided into West and East Berlin. West Berlin thrived under Allied control and eventually in 1948, Stalin want the allies out of West Berlin. The US refused to comply and Stalin, in return, threatened West Berlin with starvation into submission. Around the clock airlift was required to keep West Berlin alive.

In March 1946 Truman announced that the Russian has erected the Iron Curtain. Persuaded by George Kennan's letter arguing that America should block Russian aggression around the world with economic power and force, the Policy of Containment was created. That same year Truman was informed by his top generals and intelligence that the Russians would not be able to build their own bomb until 1966. However, Klaus Fuchs, a high level German scientist, stole nuclear secr...

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...firmed the evidence of missile launchers with nuclear weapons installed. If missiles were launched from Cuba, we would only have 90 seconds to respond. President Kennedy responded to the installation of these nuclear missiles in Cuba with a naval blockade that called for American vessels to attack all Cuban enemies. A nuclear war was close at hand. On October 25th US stops a Soviet Oil Tanker from entering Cuba, giving events a new turn. Eventually, an agreement was reached between the US and Russia. The Hotline was established that allowed the White House direct communication to the Kremlin. The Cuban Missile Crisis showed that neither superpower at the time was ready to use nuclear weapons. This is mainly due to fear of the opposing party's retaliation. The aftermath of the crisis led to the first efforts at improving international relations and nuclear disarmament.
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