America is a vast continent with a number of events that mark its history. In seeking to understand this continent, there are those major events that an individual has to understand in depth. These include the war and other notable events worth noting. While America is synonymous with world class power, its history is characterized by both positive and negative events, which take landmark positions in its timeline. This situation being the case, and war is among the primary events, albeit negative, on which the history of America stands. This paper endeavors to explain and illustrate why and how to understand America is to understand war. Speaking of war, the most notable war in the context of America is a civil war. The American civil war occurred between the year 1861 and 1865. This war erupted, as a result of differences between the free and the slave states, over the power of the existing government to discourage slavery in regions that had not become states yet (Rosenheim 3). When Abraham Lincoln became the first republican president in 1860 and sought to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the south formed a new nation known as the confederate states of America (Rosenheim 4). The northern states, on the other hand, felt the confederacy would work against democracy and segment the United States into small unstable countries. It is significant to understand the civil war because it defined the connection between the union and the confederates. The triumph of the union saw the establishment of the United States of America – now a superpower.
Another war associated with the history of America is the Second World War. Arguably the world’s fiercest armed conflict, the Second World War saw changes on the international scene. Primarily, the Second World War saw the United States surpass the incumbent industrial powers – Germany, Japan and Italy. For many reasons, it is significant to understand the Second World War when studying about America. Foremost, America brought a new breath of strength to the allied powers, making them triumph over the central powers, also known as the axis. Secondly, over 16 million Americans served in the United States military during the war, with 390000 tragically losing their lives in the armed confrontation (Johnson and Parta 78). Thirdly, since the United States was the determinant of the war’s outcome, it became a superpower alongside the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Finally, it is significant to understand the Second World War because it ushered America into a position that led to the cold war – the ideological differences between the socialist east and the capitalist west.
The third war that is worth of note is the cold war. Understanding America requires one to understand the causes and effects of the cold war. In a nutshell, the cold war is described variously as the continuous suspicion and tension between the USSR and the United States (Johnson and Parta 112). The cold war came, as a result, of the fact that the world, which was multi-polar prior to the Second World War, was bipolar after the conflict, with competing goals rising in America and the Soviet Union. It is quite significant to understand the cold war because it was accelerated by the refusal by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to share their nuclear research with Stalin on the USSR – a fact that heightened the tension and suspicion, prompting the implementation of sanctions and paralyzed international relations, especially between eastern European powers and the west (Johnson and Parta 89). Primarily, the cold war was about Russia and the USA. It explains how important the war is in American history.
Johnson, A. R, and R E. Parta. Cold war broadcasting: impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: a Collection of Studies and Documents. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010. Print.
Rosenheim, Jeff. Photography and the American Civil War. , 2013. Print.