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About Cold War

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War. A thing that can occur between pretty much anyone or anything down to the smallest of animals and insects. It can be erupted by possibly the simplest of actions put in to the world. War is a conflict between two sides and it is very common that violence is used during wars, but there are potential different meanings of war. The basis of war is conflict, but some past wars were fought for subjects such as independence. A war as politically hostile as the Cold War was more towards the goal of increasing power. The end of World War II created a sense of peace, “such as Soviet and U.S. soldiers clasping hands in camaraderie at the Elbe River, celebrating their victory over the Germans (875).” Although Germany had surrendered in Spring of 1945, the wartime alliance between the Soviet Union, the United States and also Great Britain was beginning to disintegrate. Two years after the alliance had been formed by a mutual danger the events that came to pass would lead up to a cold war between two principal rivals. In this battle, neither side would give up, yet there was never “a direct clash of arms was always avoided, hence the term cold war (875).” The Cold War turned into a tense encounter about rival politics and economic systems. The Cold War was “responsible for the formation of military and political alliances, the creation of client states, and an arms race of unprecedented scope (875).” The conflict first began due to the fact the two countries were being provoked by each other’s expanding powers, but the United States decided to stand up as the Soviet Union sought to expand their communist government system. Leaders in the Soviet Union such as Joseph Stalin only cared about the USSR’s safety. He did not trust the West as they had fought against the communists in the Civil War during 1918 and 1919. According to Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, from the American and British perspectives, Stalin’s intentions signaled the permanent Soviet domination of eastern Europe and the threat of Soviet-influenced communist parties coming to power in the democracies of western Europe (876). As the intensity began to increase, new documents were created to help contain the crisis that was approaching. Documents such as the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were two of the first to emerge during the Cold War. The Truman Doctrine led to a world truly divided between democratic and communist peoples, and to complement the doctrine the Marshall Plan was developed to help shore up the destroyed infrastructures of western Europe. The Marshall plan was created by the European Recovery Program with the purpose to rebuild European economies to prevent the advancement of communist during the 20th century. It provided over $13 billion to reconstruct western Europe. The Soviet Union was initially invited to participate in the Marshall Plan, but saw it as “capitalist imperialism and countered with a plan for its own satellite nations.” This is when COMECON, known as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, was established. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signaled the militarization of the cold war. The United States created NATO to have a defense against Soviet aggression. The intentions were to maintain peace after the war in Europe through collective security, which meant that an attack on one was an attack on all. In rebuttal to NATO admitting West Germany, allowing them to rearm, it caused the Soviets to form the Warsaw Pact as a countermeasure. The Soviets were pressuring the western powers to give up their jurisdiction over Berlin. Following the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich, “the forces of the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France occupied Germany and its capital of Berlin (877).” When the western powers chose to join their occupation zones in Germany, the Soviets retaliated by blockading all road, rail, and water links between Berlin and western Germany. One of the first serious test of the cold war occurred when the Americans and British responded with an airlift to sustain West Berlin’s people. This continued for eleven months to supply necessities of life. Outwitted by U.S. and British resolve in May 1949, the Soviet leader cancelled the blockade. Following the blockade, the Federal Republic of Germany had been formed after the U.S., French, and British combined. The same thing took place in Berlin, which was deep within the Soviet zone. The Soviet sector formed East Berlin and became the capital of the new East Germany, in which the remaining three sectors united to make West Berlin. The refugees from the East German state preferred life in capitalist West Germany. Around 3.5 billion left in the years between 1949 and 1961, which upset the East Germany’s communist leaders. The communists wanted to reinforce their barricade along the border of East and West Germany, so they created a wall that divided the city of Berlin. At first the wall was simply a layer of barbed wire that quickly was replaced with watchtowers, searchlights, and border guards that shot to kill. The Berlin Wall accomplished the purpose it was constructed for, but at the cost of shaming a regime that lacked legitimacy among their people. The Cold War was an event that came to be over the fight of countries attempting to increase their power. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were at peace at one point at the end of World War II, but as the alliance that was formed began to shatter, it led to a confrontation for global influence that became the Cold War. Both sides played their part in causing the cold war, but it was built of off left-over tension that manifested during the second World War. The Cold War did break and form alliances between other countries. The main thought throughout the years of war was to maintain the peace, and although neither side may have, it showed us furthermore how cruel some can be.

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