The Cold War

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The Cold War

Hawks and Doves

The terms ‘hawks and doves' were quick labels attached to politicians in order to categorize their views on war and foreign policies, as to make them understandable and accessible for the public. However, these labels were not always accurate and in some cases could be quite misleading; it would have been more accurate not to label individuals as either Hawks or Doves, but instead, what they stood for.


A term used to describe those with a relatively aggressive or confrontational foreign policy. ‘Hawks' usually supported arms expenditure, use or threat of military force against allies of their rivals to obtain power and forgiven policy goals. They advocated the prevention of economical growth or stability of their rivals in order to maintain power. Conservative Republican American President, Ronald Reagan, could be considered a prime example of a ‘Hawk' for his aggressive anti-Soviet policies, and belief that détente equaled weakness. He initially had no real intentions of limiting US arms during Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and massively expanded the navy. However, later in his career Regan became far less aggressive during START with Mikhail Gorbachev, and also as a result of the exposure of the Iran-Contra scandal, and hence became more of a ‘Dove' through negotiations.


Those who stood for a more peaceful means of reconciliation were known as Doves. Doves campaigned to limit arms expenditure and construct a peaceful, symbiotic existence. Rather than attempting to suppress their rivals or use intimidation to gain control, they supported equal competition trade markets and negotiations in order to avoid crises. Some members of the Kennedy administration could be co...

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The Cold war was powered by many factors, but it can be made clear how hugely both military-industrial manufacturers and the secret services impacted the events and final outcome; actions made by the CIA and KGB became historical turning points, just as the rapid improvements and discoveries made in the field of technology has revolutionised the world today.


This website proved to be the most useful in base information for my research.

This website was particularly useful for specific information on the actions of the CIA

Flashpoints: National and International Studies

Vicki Greer & Robert Darlington, Published by Heinemann, 2003

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