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Monday, May 3, 2010

Cold War and its Conflict in Detail

Monday, May 3, 2010 - 0 Comments

The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas and had a number of distinguishing characteristics. The Cold War dominated international relations between major global powers such as the US, Britain, France, the USSR and China. It was characterised by a number of flash-points around the globe which threatened to turn the Cold War hot. A few examples of these potentially explosive situations are the crises in Germany in general and Berlin in particular, the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), and the wars in Korea (1950 – 1953), Vietnam War (1964 – 1975), and Afghanistan (1979 – 1989). There were also, however, periods when tension was reduced as both sides sought d├ętente. Although many “hot” wars were fought over the period in question, the superpowers never fought one another directly. They did, however, support opposite sides in various conflicts, thus opposing each other indirectly. The main deterrent to a direct military confrontation (and, consequently, a Third World War) was the severe threat posed by the respective nuclear arsenals of the two sides. They were very large and offered the very real possibility of mutual assured destruction. It was an ideological struggle between Western, democratic, capitalist states and the Eastern bloc of communist, autocratic nations. Both sides attempted to win other countries (particularly in Asiaand Africa) over in support of their respective ideologies. Being a multi-faceted conflict, the Cold War also comprised propaganda, psychology, rival military coalitions, espionage; military, industrial and technological developments (including the space race); costly defense spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; financial, military and food aid to Third-World nations; confrontations within the UNO; and numerous proxy wars.

There never was a direct military engagement between the US and the Soviet Union, but there was a half-century of military build-up, and political battles for support around the world, including significant involvement of allied and satellite nations. Although the US and the Soviet Union had been allied against

Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis

According to Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United States-sponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

After obtaining Castro’s approval, the Soviet Union worked and quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. On October 16, President Jon Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction in Cuba. After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration, during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba, President Kennedy, in a televised address on October 22, announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there.

During the crisis, the two sides exchanged many letters and other communications, both formal and “back channel.” Khrushchev sent letters to Kennedy on October 23 and 24 indicating the deterrent nature of the missiles in Cuba and the peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union. On October 26, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a long rambling letter seemingly proposing that the missile installations would be dismantled and personnel removed in exchange for United States assurances that it or its proxies would not invade Cuba. On October 27, another letter to Kennedy arrived from Khrushchev, suggesting that missile installations in Cuba would be dismantled if the United States dismantled its missile installations in Turkey. The American administration decided to ignore this second letter and to accept the offer outlined in the letter of October 26. Khrushchev then accepted on October 28 that he would dismantle the installations and return them to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers also be removed from Cuba, and to specify the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba.

Cold War During the Second World War and its Impacts after World War II

Cold War:

The Western democracies and the Soviet Union discussed the progress of World War II and the nature of the post war settlement at conferences in Tehran (1943), yalta (February 1945), and Potsdam (July-August 1945). After the war, disputes between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, particularly over the Soviet takeover of East European states, led Winston Churchill to warn in 1946 that an “iron curtain” was descending through the middle of Europe. For this part, Joseph Stalin deepened the estrangement between the United States and the Soviet Union when he assorted in 1946 what World War II was an unavoidable and inevitable consequence of “capitalist imperialism” and implied that such a war might reoccur. The Cold War was a period of East-West competition, tension, and conflict short of full-scale war, characterized by mutual perceptions of hostile intention between military-political alliances or blocs. There were real wars, sometimes called “proxy wars” because they were fought by Soviet allies rather than the USSR itself – along with competition for influence in the Third World War, and a major superpower arms race. After Stanlin’s death, East-West relations went through phases of alternating relaxation and confrontation, including a comparative phase during the 1960s and another, teamed dtente, during the 1970s. A final phase during the late 1980s and early 1990s was hailed by President Mikhail Gorbachev, and especially by the president of the new post-Communist Russian republic, Boris Yeltsin, as well as by President George Bush, as beginning a partnership between the two states that could address many global problems: Soviet Perspectives.

Cold War

After World War II, Joseph Stalin saw the world as divided into two camps: regimes on the one hand, and the Communist and progressive world on the other. In 1947, President Harry ___ also spoke of two diametrically opposed systems. One free, and the other bent on subjugating other nations. After Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev stated in 1956 that imperialism and capitalism could ___ without war because the Communist system had become stronger. The Geneva Summit of 1955 among Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and the Camp David Summit of 1959 between Eisenhower and Khrushchev raised hopes of a more cooperative spirit between East and West. In 1963 the United States and the Soviet Union signed some confidence-building agreements, and in 1967 president Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. Interspersed with such moves toward cooperation, however, were hostile acts that threatened broader conflict, ____ the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 and the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968. The long rule of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) is now referred to in Russia as the “period of stagnation.” But the Soviet stance toward the United States became less overtly hostile in the early 1970s. Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in summit meetings and the signing of strategic arms limitation agreements. Brezhev proclaimed in 1973 that peaceful coexistence was the normal, permanent, and irreversible state of relations between imperialist and Communist countries, although he warned that conflict might continue in the Third World. In the late 1970s, ____ internal repression and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a renewal of Cold War hostility. Soviet views of the United States changed once again after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in early 1985. Arms control negotiations were renewed, and President Regan undertook a new series of summit meetings with Gorbachev that led to arms reductions and facilitated a growing sympathy even among Communist leaders for more cooperation and the rejection of class-based, conflict-oriented view of the world.

With President Yeltsin’s recognition of independence for the other republics of the former USSR and his launching of a full-scale economic reform program designed to create a market economy, Russia was pledged at last to overcoming both the imperial and the ideological legacies of the Soviet Union.

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