Effects of the Cold War

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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The Cold War was a time of hostility that went on between the Soviet Union and the US from 1945 to 1990. This rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union lasted decades and created a result in anti communist accusations and international problems that led up to the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear disaster. During World War II, the Soviet Union and United States fought together as allies against the axis powers. However, the two nations have always had a bumpy relationship.

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America has always had a suspicious feeling about the Soviet communism and the leader, Joseph Stallin. The soviets turned their backs on Americans for decades long and had refusal to treat the USSR as a legitimate part of the international society and community as well as their pushed back entry into World War II. After the war ended, the grievance from the Russians rose causing an overwhelming and disastrous feeling of revenge for the death of millions of Russians. The USSR became to resent American leaders and officials. By the time World War II ended, most American officials agreed that they had a good and best defense against the society called containment . This strategy provided the rationale for an uncountable arms buildup in the United States. The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as two superpowers with prestige economic and political differences. The communist party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy and many more organizations throughout the second world, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites. The Cold War was a geopolitical tension between two powerful nations which caused a lot of many more set backs and catastrophes in the process.

Discuss the policy of containment and the Domino Theory as it applied to the United States foreign policy during the Cold War.

The policy of containment was a strategy used by the United States against the soviets preventing expansion of the soviets. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves and strategies by the Soviet Union to expand communist influences in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Africa, and Vietnam. The concept was first outlined in George Kennan’s Long telegram . The policy of containment was adopted by president Harry Truman as part of his Truman Doctrine in 1947, which redefined America’s foreign policy as one that supports the free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures.

Containment remained central to American foreign policy throughout the Cold War, which saw rising tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1955, the United States entered a proxy war with the soviets, by sending troops into Vietnam to support the South Vietnamese against the north communist Vietnamese. A similar incident took place during the 150s in Korea, which was divided into two states. When North and South Korea were in e United States backed the south, while the soviets backed the north. The domino theory is another policy used in the Cold war. The domino theory was a Cold War policy that suggested a communist government in a single nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighboring, each falling like a perfectly symmetric row of dominos. In Southeast Asia, the American government used the domino theory to justify its involvement with Vietnam. American failure to prevent a communist victory in Vietnam didn’t have a big impact than it had been assumed proponents of the domino theory. The domino theory was the belief that communism would expand and spread from one country to the next until it took over the other world. America’s full acceptance to the domino theory was influenced by events in europe in the 1930s. Almost most Cold War politicians had lived through the pre-war period, when Central European regions had called to Hitler.

The domino theory was first proposed by Harry s. Truman by sending military aid to Greece and Turkey in the 1940s. Overall, this theory proposed that a communist takeover over the country would quickly lead other counties to fall into communism. Cold War foreign policy was folded in the domino theory, which sooner ended up leading to other policies like containment, Marshall plan and the wars in Vietnam and Korea. During the Cold War, this theory dominated American foreign relations. The domino theory led to one conclusion which was ultimately clear: putting limits to the spread of communism was essential to pr venting it from being used within other countries. The policy Containment was created so communism was set where it already originated and existed and prevented it from spreading else where. Containment and the domino theory still live into today’s military ideas, especially containment. Containment today is used more frequently rather than the domino theory was associated mostly with the Cold War specifically. Containment is used throughout our war and invasion with Afghanistan. Containment and the domino theory were a success for a country and so much of it is used today to better us as one.

Discuss the influence of the Vietnam War on the Cold War.

The Vietnam War was a traumatic and historical moment for the United States which hugely impacted our Cold War. The Vietnam war carried from the 1960s to the early 1970s. It was a long, costly conflict which caused the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and their ally, America. This war was intensified by the ongoing Cold War. Communist forces ended the Vietnam war by taking over south Vietnam and uniting as the socialist republic of Vietnam the following Vietnam, has been under French colonial rule since the 19th century. The Vietnam war was so important that it somehow had influences on the Cold War. America entered the Vietnam war because of the domino theory. Some way this war influenced the Cold War was by how the United States went into war with Vietnam. The Vietnam war was drastically different for the United States, as it was a proxy theater for the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Vietnam was a whole new kind of war with the United States. The Vietnam war affected the Cold war because the Soviets were allies with the Vietnamese so in result of that, it was their job to protect them. The soviets were playing the role of protection on Vietnam and they were not happy that other countries and states were going against them. The Soviets were supplying Vietnam with ammo weapons, food, and support. This affected the Cold War because it caused the states to get mad that the Soviets were supporting their enemy. Another influential thing that occurred was America’s defeat by Vietnam. This caused Russia to be confident on their attach on America. It also caused the US to feel foolish because USSR didn’t even have to send a single troop to defeat the US. This kind of defeat made everyone feel for certain Russia was winning this war.

The Vietnam war was the first war shown on live television. America became furious and humiliated with the soviets for helping this war get air time because it was showing the world how they were being defeated. This caused American troops to not put 100% effort into their doing in combat. Vietnam was overall one of the most catastrophic wars with the US. The Cold War initially changed how the Vietnam war was fought. In January 1973, the United States and north Vietnam concluded a peace agreement p which ended the feud between the two nations. The war between south and north Vietnam still went forward however until 1975 where forces captured Saigon. More than two decades of war and conflict had inflicted a sad rate on Vietnam’s population. After years of at war, around two million Vietnamese were killed, three million were injured, and twelve million were refugees. This destroyed the countries economy and life style but reconstruction was proceeding slowly behind. In the US, the effects of the Vietnam war lingered after the troops returned back home. The nation spent a $120 billion on this war which caused a widespread inflation, which lead to the oil crisis in 1973 and the high rise of fuel prices. Overall, Vietnam took a huge toll on America. It caused the US the death of family, money, dignity and strength but America fought.

Why was the Cold War such a driving factor behind the space race?

As World War II ended, a new conflict rose. The Cold War began between Th soviets and the US but more happened than we realize. Beginning of the late 1950s, space became a dramatic completion arena between these two nations. Each side wanted prove their experienced and high end technology, its military firepower and to an extent its political economic system. The tensions of who had the best ammunition weapons, nuclear weapons, fueled arm races and etc. continued throughout the space race. Space exploration served as a dramatic arena for the Cold War. October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik, which is Russian for traveler. This was the worlds first artificial satellite and first man made object to ever be placed on the earths orbit. Sputnik’s launch surprised the Americans and didn’t make them happy at all. In America, space was seen as the next big thing or frontier. In 1958, America launched its own satellite, Explorer I, created by the US army under the instruction of rocket scientist Wernher van Braun. The same year, president Dwight Eisenhower signed an order to the public creating the national aeronautics and space administration (NASA), which is designed for America to explore space.

Eisenhower created two national security oriented space programs that would operate simultaneously with NASA. First, a spearheaded by the Air Force made itself dedicated to exposing the military potential of space. Second, which was led by the CIA, the Air Force and a new organization called National Reconnaissance Office was code named Corona. It would use orbiting satellites to gather some facts on the Soviet Union and some of their allies along side with them. In 1959, the Soviet Union took a step forward. The Soviet space program launched Luna 2, the first space probe to hit the moon. In April 1961, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit earth. He traveled in a capsule like space craft Vostok 1. For America to send man into space, NASA created a smaller, cone shaped capsule for lighter than Vostok. They tested this spacecraft with chimpanzees and had s final test launch before the soviets could be ahead with the Gargarins launch. On May 5, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American space without an orbit. Later that may, President John F. Kennedy made the bold statement about how America was going to land a man on the moon before the decade ends. In February 1962, John Glenn was the first man of America to orbit the earth. By the end of the year, project Apollo was in place. By America being able to land on the mood, the United States won the space race. The soviets failed four lunar launching crafts between 1969 and 1972. The American publics attention was taken over by the space race and the many advances in the Soviet and United States space programs updated with the national media. With this turn, the Soviets were seen as the ultimate villains and America holds the trophy.

What were the causes of the American economic boom in the 1950’s? How did prosperity affect the nation socially, politically, and economically?

During Eisenhower’s era, Americans achieved a level of greatness they have never recognized before. The United States was thriving while other countries were struggling to rebuild their economy after destruction of World War II. Eisenhower would be the one to thank for this economic boom. He found the right amount of low taxes, even budgets, and public spending that allowed the country to cruise through. The economy grow 63% during the 1950s. The median American families had grown 30% more by purchasing more strength and power. Inflation was low because Eisenhower’s efforts to balance federal budgets persistently. Except for the heavy recession in 1954 and in 1958, unemployment stayed low at 4.5% in the middle of the decade. Many things together were factors to the 50s boom. The GI Bill, where military veterans were given college education and high end employment opportunities. This gave them a chance to learn many things for them to carry on their lives. Also, cheap oil helped the oil industries running. The advanced in science and technology was growing and becoming extremely productive. Eisenhower helped created a balanced economy simply. Instead of turning a blind eye on the big public projects, he invested federal money in the interstate highway system instead. This is one of the largest spending issues in the countries history. The largest and main economic goal Eisenhower accomplished was the pursuing of both of his terms in office was to get a balanced budget in the government.

The government had a small deficit then registered a surplus. Eisenhower let the deficit grow in order to stimulate the economy. In 1960, he managed to return to a surplus. To achieve a balanced budget was a race within itself. Democrats wanted increases in some defense spending in order to face the soviet threats. Congressional representatives pushed for lower taxes. Eisenhower made sure the people knew that the defense budget didn’t need to be brought up as much as they thought it needed to. Even though he was a fan of low taxes, he stood his ground when the people threatened to put the government into debt. After Eisenhower’s presidency, people criticized him as a great general but a lousy politician. Later on people realized his politics skills were more advanced than people sought out to realize. Eisenhower was the first professional soldier to become president since general Ulysses grant. Well into the 1950s, people didn’t exactly know what party Eisenhower was in. As a military man, he stayed away from politics as much he could but he was put into the Republican Party by the country. Overall politically, the 50s made the federal government’s budgets lower easing the way the country was run into a smoother sail. Socially, the one word we could describe the society under Eisenhower was restless. California’s population grew 49% in the 50s. Many people were content with the way the country was moving but others were a little uncomfortable with how the country was changing so rapidly. Overall, Eisenhower grew our country socially, politically, and economically so smooth America was at ease.

Discuss the significance of NATO, the Marshall Plan, The Truman Doctrine, and the Warsaw Pact as contributing factors to the Cold War.

The northern Atlantic treaty organization was created in 1949 by the US, Canada, and other eastern countries to provide some kind of security from the Soviet Union. NATO provided support for the West’s military against the USSR and its allies for the next 40 years, with it also going through the era of the Cold War. The Soviet Union emerged from the war dominated states in cent al and Eastern Europe. During the Cold War, NATO’s primary focus was to unify and strengthen the western allies. In the 1950s NATO received a nuclear retaliation from the US. NATO later developed a flexible response strategy which United States took as to mean that a war in Europe did not go up to nuclear exchange. A conventional and nuclear delay between the two sides continued through the early 1960s, them some relief in the 1970s. The members of NATO were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Later Greece and Turkey became members along with western Germany and Spain. The Marshall plan, also known as the European recovery program, gave aid to Western Europe following the destruction of World War II. This plan provided over $15 billion to help finance rebuilding on the continent. The Truman Doctrine is a promise that the United States would do what was necessary economically and militarily to keep the spread of communism around the world. The Marshall plan proved enormously successful, helping to recreate European nations that accepted aid. The Warsaw Pact pact, so named because the treaty was signed in Warsaw, included the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Romania, Hungary, east Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium as members. This pact remained til 1991. This pact focused on the objective of creating a coordinated defense among its member nations in order to protect themselves from an enemy attack. Over all, this pacts and plans and doctrines helped protect our states and allies, strengthening our war strengths.

In conclusion, the Cold War was significant in many qualities. It impacted our country and many countries around us significantly. The end impact of this war created the US as the superpower in the world and wise. This war stomped down on communism but as we know, communism still lives on within this world. This unified America and the world just a little more. Because of this war, many different communist states transitioned to democracy or a capitalist based economy. Some good impacts were the radical inventions and exponential growth in America’s fields of science and technology. The space race and the United States victory and being able to advance the skills and finally get man on the moon. Within this time, America’s technology grew so much they were able to invent computers, satellites, robots, radars, aerospace technology etc. which America is advancing today. Also, the rise of aligned nations. America grew their mindsets in military turning their wrongs into wrongs and fixing what was turning us down. My opinion on this war is all over the place. What I was able to gather from all this information was the variety of conflicts that were really going on within this one huge war. I had no idea about the space race but it gave me an insight on how America grew such intense spacecraft and developed the country within itself. This Cold War made our country strong and I’m proud to be an American.

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Effects of the Cold War. (2019, Aug 07). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/effects-of-the-cold-war/