The Cold War

803 Words4 Pages
The Cold War was one of the most important political confrontations of the twentieth century, with the potential to wreak enormous damage to the world and its inhabitants. It began during the last stages of World War II when the alliances were crumbling and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War was the 20th century's version of great power rivalry (except they were superpowers with the ability to annihilate each other with nuclear weapons at a moments notice.)

From the moment the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917 conflict with the Capitalist West was inevitable. The varied theories of its cause are subject to debate by historians across the globe, although certain key reasons have been, to some extent, agreed upon.

Great power rivalry of the past, such as that of Britain and Germany prior to World War 1, was based on competition for resources and territory. The US and USSR vigorously recruited ideological supporters throughout the world, whether they were individuals, governments or rebel movements and they supported them with resources such as financial or military aid.

According to some historians the war began as an ideological battle with little to do with territory and resources. The ideologies of Communism against Capitalism fuelled the mutual mistrust between the United States and the Soviet Union, who were both bitterly opposed to the way in which the other country was run. Marxism or Communism was the philosophy of a classless society, with no need for money, a government, or any opposing political parties. The communist party was the only party. These values were the opposite of the Capitalist or Democratic viewpoint, and the United States were challenged by the Communist ide...

... middle of paper ...

...ies in World War II. The technology of an Arms Race was lifted from World War II, when the main concern was making ships bigger, better and faster to ships becoming almost old technology, and missiles and jets being improved and made more precise, to threaten the opposition. The Arms Race to ensure the national security fast became a means to sooth the paranoia that the other side could attack at any moment with superior arms.

It can be argued that no one factor was responsible for causing the Cold War, nor that one nation alone held responsibility. Ideological differences, the paranoia that fueled the Arms Race, Soviet aggression and the American reaction, as well as the mutual distrust and misunderstanding of one another's intentions and the poor communication to allow these mistakes to spiral out of control all contributed to the reasons behind the Cold War.

More about The Cold War

Open Document