Two Essays: Overview of the Cold War and American Containment Strategy

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Please answer two essays from the selection that follows:

(ii) When did the Cold War begin? Who caused it?

In the aftermath of the Second World War there is no question that the United States was the strongest country on earth. America’s gross national product (GNP) had grown substantially, and by 1945, it had constituted about half the world’s goods and services. Domestically and economically, the United States blew the Soviet’s out of the water. The U.S. produced 65,000 cars, which was significantly lower than the American production of seven million. Agricultural production in 1945 in the Soviet Union was only half of what it was earlier that decade. Militarily, the United States also dominated and had an atomic bomb (as it was used in the Second World War) and produced a very high volume of aircrafts. Despite this, the Russian and American infantry were similar in the number of people they had in uniform. In the post-war era two states rose to the top and competed to expand their respective doctrines throughout the world.

Traditionalists have claimed that America’s doctrine, or motive, were to protect democracy and promote security throughout the world in the post-war era. Revisionist’s holds that America was on a rampage to export, import, and invest – all tenets of capitalism. America had a firm footing in the international system, and the Soviet’s became worried. They responded to the United States’ doctrine by competing and countering the doctrine that they were diametrically opposed to. The USSR became worlds opposed rather than worlds apart because it was not willing to participate in the liberal world-system, as the Soviet’s were unwilling to pivot away from totalitarianism or Stalinism. The Cold War begins in t...

... middle of paper ... signs of the cold war forming. The United States had far superior technological weapons and status in the immediate post-war period. When the Soviet’s showed initial signs of aggression with both the Iran and Dardanelles crises. Despite this potential alternative, it would have been difficult at the time to forecast the Soviet objectives and its ability to project power. Plus such a strategy is sure to have been deadly.

Containment was tactical and probably the best strategy given the circumstances. It was an opportunity for America to engage with the international community and eventually build alliances, which would prove to be beneficially both politically and economically. Containment was born out of necessity, but one might argue that the strategy was the most peaceful alternative. There were relatively no causalities as compared to the Second World War.
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