World War I And The Cold War Essay

World War I And The Cold War Essay

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Though it seemed dangerous and tumultuous, the Cold War was actually a time of great stability in which two great powers deterred global conflict through fear. Emerging out of World War 2, it was a unique period in history in which war was fought through other means besides combat. The US and Soviet Union never exchanged nuclear weapons and never engaged in any direct conflict; and in fact, superpowers have not fought each other since World War 2. But the Cold War did have many implications that still last today. I will examine how the Cold War started and ended, and I will argue that the end of the Cold War resulted in disarmament and limits on nuclear weapons, called into question the role of the United States, and made the US much more dependent on outside forces.
The years that define the Cold War are 1947 to 1991, but there is much debate on this, and many circumstances could have contributed to the start of the war. The end of World War 2 naturally created an environment in which the world’s two greatest superpowers were pitted against each other. Nobody wanted this or directly sought it out, but actions by certain individuals and groups added fuel to the fire. At the end of the war, Roosevelt was much more willing to making a wartime alliance with the Soviet Union, and could accept the fact that the Soviet Union could predominate in Europe for a period of time. However, he failed to establish a successful framework for postwar cooperation and upon his death was replaced by Truman, who distrusted Stalin and had different goals ideologically. From April to June of 1947, the Marshall Plan was developed, projecting American economic influence into both Eastern and Western Europe (CFR). This, coupled with the Truman Doctrine (s...


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...n important role in foreign policy decision-making.
Looking back at it now, it is easy to say that the Cold War was a period of stability. However, there were moments when there could have been a missile crisis. Even if there was not a large human cost (at least for the US and Soviet Union), other costs were involved as well. Differing economic philosophies resulted in opposing claims of what freedom meant, and economic competition led to massive military spending by both countries. Resources and money put into weapons were never used, but actually destroyed. The Cold War was an important influence on almost all aspects of American foreign policy decision-making. Because of its far reaching influence, the Cold War was the defining event of the second half of the 20th century and impacted, to varying extents, almost all American foreign and domestic policy decisions.

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