After the end o the 2nd World War United States was in a position to dominate the world. It knew that Russia was in a poor state to challenge the might of United States. Politicians such as Truman were responsible for setting up the Cold War in motion while Stalin’s refusal to submit to United States set a chain of events that saw the world coming near total annihilation. The development of Cold War until its end with the break-up of Soviet Union is a part of history.
It is a pity that coming out of the World War, the two blocks squandered their resources on establishing their supremacy and mutually assured destruction instead of strengthening the institutions they built to promote peace and rule of international law. Truman doctrine [Larr, 2007] was instrumental in seeing all international developments a part of the struggle between expanding Russian influence and United States attempt to preempting and countering Communist influence. The third world countries paid a heavy price for United States perception of preventing spread of communism.
United States, a vocal supporter of freedom and democracy chose to work with military regimes, dictators, kings, Emirs and Shahs and helped these dictators prolong their autocratic rule. The desire of a change in government according to Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Plan was presented as communist subversion and the present crisis in Middle East, War-on-Terrorism can safely be described as the residues of the Cold War. The other key events of the Cold War included the Marshall Plan in which United States spent $13 billion to prevent communist elements from taking over power in Greece and also to bring Turkey under US sphere of influence.
Soviet Containment Policy which as a compromise of the Cold War, where United States decided not to attempt to change government already under USSR block but preventing other countries from becoming communist. Other high lights of the Cold War include [Larr, 2007]: 1948 – 1949 – Berlin Blockade, and NATO Ratified.
1949 – China turned communist, Soviet Union tested first atom bomb 1950 – 1953 Korean War 1953 – Stalin died, Khrushchev in power 1954 – Dien Bien Phu (loss of North Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh) 1961 – Bay of Pigs, Berlin wall 1962 – Cuban missile crisis 1964 – Khrushchev resigned, Brezhnev took power 1968 – Prague spring, Czechoslovakia disturbances 1954 – 1975 Vietnam War 1989 End of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and Break up of Soviet Union. Discussion and Conclusions It is clear that the roots of conflict between Russia and United States lied in the system the two countries were following. The Soviet Communism and US capitalism are two entirely different system of government which can be seen as threatening each other’s existence.
Capitalism system can not tolerate the communist style of government where resources are centrally controlled. Communism from the very beginning had to fight capitalists to establish their style of government. The conflict between Russia and United States started even before the World War. Germany being the common enemy brought the two countries together to fight the war together. The end of the war brought back the conflict between the two systems. United States being in a better position after the 2nd World War tried to contain the Russian and that started the Cold War.
The weaknesses of controlled economies and communism soon became apparent and the Cold War ended with the dissolution of USSR. United States can therefore be held responsible for the Cold War. It is incorrect to hold individual leaders responsible for the Cold War, but President Truman certainly helped intensify the Cold War.
1. Gaddis, J. L. , Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States: an interpretive history, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990 2. Kreis, S. 2007, The Origins of the Cold War, [Online] retrieved from Internet on 4 April