The History of the Cold War

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The History of the Cold War

The Cold War is the term used to describe the intense rivalry between the United States and its allies and the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics and its allies. The Soviet Union and its allies were refereed to as the Eastern Bloc and the United States and its allies were referred to as the Western Bloc. The Cold War period lasted from the mid-1940’s until the late 1980’s. During this period international politics were shaped by this intense rivalry between this two great blocs of power and the political ideologies they represented. The United States and its allies represented democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union and its allies represented communism. The Cold War was truly a global conflict more so than either of the century’s two world wars. (1) The cold war was also the first total war between economic and social systems, an industrial test to destruction. Even though the Cold War Began just after World War II, some of its roots reach back as far as the nineteenth century. Its neighbors have long feared Russia; the giant among the countries in Europe, even when they were allied Russia against a common enemy. This fear Cropped up immediately after Russia, Britain, and other European nations defeated the French Emperor Napoleon in 1812. (2) In 1853 Britain, France and several other European nations went to war with Russia from keeping Russia from expanding into the Middle East. Britain, in fact, took a great deal of its energy during the nineteenth century trying to limit Russian power. (3) By the early twentieth century the United States was also concerned with Russia’s power. Although the United States tried to keep out of European disputes, American leaders were concerned about Russia becoming to powerful. They worried that if any nation became powerful enough to dominate the European continent, it would be a threat to the well being of the United States. (4) In the midst of World War I a new element was added to the European and American fear of Russia. In November of 1917 a radical Marxist called the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia overthrowing a democratic government. The United States strongly opposed the Bolshevik regime. The United States was angry that the Bolsheviks pulled Russia out of the War against Germany (WW I), and that it intended to spread its revolution to other countries. (5) During World Wa...

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... came quickly. After signing the charter, president George Busch for a happy, but tired world when he said, without fanfare: “We have closed a chapter in history, the Cold War is Over.” (33) On level the Cold War had some clear winners. The Struggle was settled on American terms. The Soviet Union disintegrated thirteen months after the Cold War was officially over. In place of the former Communist giant were fifteen independent states, all of which rejected communism.


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