Soviet Perspectives on the Cold War

Satisfactory Essays
Soviet Perspectives on the Cold War

After World War II, Joseph Stalin saw the world as divided into two

camps: imperialist and capitalist regimes on the one hand, and the

Communist and progressive world on the other. In 1947, President Harry

Truman also spoke of two diametrically opposed systems: one free, and

the other bent on subjugating other nations.

After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev stated in 1956 that

imperialism and capitalism could coexist without war because the

Communist system had become stronger. The Geneva Summit of 1955 among

Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and the Camp

David Summit of 1959 between Eisenhower and Khrushchev raised hopes of

a more cooperative spirit between East and West. In 1963 the United

States and the Soviet Union signed some confidence-building

agreements, and in 1967 President Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Prime

Minister Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. Interspersed with

such moves toward cooperation, however, were hostile acts that

threatened broader conflict, such as the Cuban missile crisis of

October 1962 and the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968.

The long rule of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) is now referred to in

Russia as the "period of stagnation." But the Soviet stance toward the

United States became less overtly hostile in the early 1970s.

Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted

in summit meetings and the signing of strategic arms limitation

agreements. Brezhnev proclaimed in 1973 that peaceful coexistence was

the normal, permanent, and irreversible state of relations between

imperialist and Communist countries, although he warned that conflict

might continue in the Third World. In the late 1970s, growing internal

repression and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a renewal of

Cold War hostility.

Soviet views of the United States changed once again after Mikhail

Gorbachev came to power in early 1985. Arms control negotiations were

renewed, and President Reagan undertook a new series of summit

meetings with Gorbachev that led to arms reductions and facilitated a

growing sympathy even among Communist leaders for more cooperation and
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