This paper is on the topic of origins of the Cold War between The United States and The UUSR. The first section of this paper will discuss the origins of the Cold War. The second section of this paper will discuss who started the Cold War and the important events, individuals and ideas that shaped the development of the Cold War. The third section of this paper will discuss the influence of parties to share American policy towards the conflict. The final section of this paper will discuss if the cold war was fought at home or abroad.
The alliance between the Soviet Union and the United States had brought victory during World War II, as the wartime cooperation was meant as the glossing over several serious issues and differences in opinion between these two nations. At the start of the 1930s, Josef Stalin attempted to reach an understanding with the Western allies, but it was only because Stalin saw Nazi Germany as the bigger greater threat. Indeed, after understanding that Western allies were not interested to work with him, he ended up reaching an agreement with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1939. That agreement, was quickly forgotten after the German army invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 (EDSITEment, n.d.).
This wartime coalition between the Soviet Union and the United States started to unravel before the culmination of the World War II. After the war, the Red Army started to occupy most of the Eastern Europe. With the evident weakness of Western Europe lasting from the War raised and spread the communism spectre even further and quicker. Although, the Marshall Plan somewhat helped to restore the Western Europe, several events in the late 1940s maintained the tension (The NMAM, n.d.).
Events, Individuals and Ideas
During the World War II, Churchill and Roosevelt pursued a policy, which ensured a nuclear arms race after the war. Still, Josef Stalin got information about the Manhattan Project and ordered for a preparation for a Soviet bomb by 1943. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s destruction and the consequent surrender of Japan, the United States had developed a disarmament plan for turning over of all fissionable materials, bombs and plants to a proposed international regulatory agency (The History Guide, n.d.).
On 25th July 1945, around two months after Germany’s surrender, the Big Three --Joseph Stalin, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill -- met at POTSDAM for discussing Germany’s fate. The main issue at Potsdam, similar to 1918 and 1919 in Versailles, was the reparations. The Soviet Union, as expected, planned to rebuild the nearly destroyed Russian economy with the use of the German industry. The United States dreaded that they might end up paying the cost of rebuilding Germany that would help the rebuilding of the Soviet Union (The History Guide, n.d.).
The Truman Doctrine of 1947 announced a financial aid to Turkey and Greece in the context of fronting a war against communism. The aid of $400 million was approved in the Senate and House by a margin of 3:1. In several ways, the Truman Doctrine was the formal declaration of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States, as it solidified the position of the United States regarding containment (The History Guide, n.d.).
Finally, the subject of Soviet containment was played out during 1949 with the creation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). With the understanding that Stalin was now hell-bent for world domination, NATO was created as he was now perceived as an aggressor in a similar mould as Hitler. Western Europe also wanted assurance from the United States that in case of any aggression, they would be protected, while they were in the process of their economic recovery (The History Guide, n.d.).
Role of Democrats
In the initial decade of the Cold War the United States were led by Democrat Presidents who had spent millions on their measures during the Cold War. In 1948, the Presidential campaign in The United States started to heat up and the Democratic Party started to hammer a platform, which contained stirring defense of the foreign policies of FDR and Harry Truman. The manner of this platform indicated that the foreign policy, especially the Cold War policies of the nation, was significant for the 1948 campaign. Throughout 1948, Democrat President Truman was placed on the defensive by his Republican critics who claimed that former President FDR was too "soft" in handling the Soviet Union at the time of World War II. The Republicans also heavily criticized the Cold War policies of Truman, calling them too costly and ineffective (History.com, n.d.).
Role of Republicans
At the culmination of the Cold War during the late 1980s, the Republican Party was at the helm of the United States with President Ronal Reagan. In the late 1980s, the end of the Cold War was one of the great convulsions that shook our world. The Cold War ended with cooperation between the Western alliance and the Russian leader Gorbachev. President Reagan never thought the end of the Cold War as the end of zero sum game between the U.S. and the Soviets—irrespective of many other members of his administration. Rather, Reagan believed that the end of the Cold War was the victory of democracy over totalitarianism, and the U.S. policy sought after achieving their goals without causing any undue harm to the peaceful Soviet Union. Gorbachev's reforms that were encouraged by the West, with the culmination of the Cold War, eradicated the lid from the rumbling pot called the Soviet Union (Wilson Center, n.d.).
Where: Home or Abroad
The war between the erstwhile USSR and the United States was called "cold" as both of them never fought directly against each other in any military confrontation. Both these superpowers, over the years threatened each other with participation in "proxy wars", supporting the allied nations in the "hot" wars and with nuclear annihilation. These proxies and hot wars were fought between other nations, with each side receiving support from either one of the superpowers. Examples of such proxy wars include the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Soviet Afghanistan War and the Yom Kippur War. For more than four decades, the Soviet-American conflict dangled over the global affairs and shaped the world with the never-ending race for nuclear arms, massive military buildups, fierce technological competition and intensive espionage, as both sides tried gaining the upper hand for their preparation for the possible thermonuclear "hot war" that was feared by all humans.
The Cold War started after the end of World War II in 1945. Although, the Soviet Union used to be an important member in the Allied forces, there was always a great distrust between and the Allies and the Soviet Union. The Allies used to be at unease with Joseph Stalin and his fierce leadership for the spread of Communism. The resulting Cold War was hostile rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States, which lasted from the late 1940s till the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The Cold War never became a reality on field battle. It was the war of military tension, economic competition and political struggles.
EDSITEment (n.d.). The Origins of the Cold War, 1945–1949. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from http://edsitement.neh.gov/curriculum-unit/origins-cold-war-1945-1949
The National Museum of American History (n.d.). Cold War Timeline: Origins of the Cold War. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from http://americanhistory.si.edu/subs/history/timeline/origins/
The History Guide (n.d.). The Origins of the Cold War. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lecture14.html
History.com (n.d.). Democratic Party platform defends Roosevelt-Truman foreign policies. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/democratic-party-platform-defends-roosevelt-truman-foreign-policies
Wilson Center (n.d.). Reagan and Gorbachev : How the Cold War Ended. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/reagan-and-gorbachev-how-the-cold-war-ended