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Updated February 6, 2021

Main Defining Features of the Cold War

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Main Defining Features of the Cold War essay
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After the WW II, the United States and the Soviet union competed for political domination, until eventually the “Soviet military forces occupied all of eastern Europe and the Balkans, while the U.S and other allied forces secured the western part of the continent’ (Duiker). The U.S had a vision of creating a democratic government that is responsive and admired by the population which lead them to the signing of the Yalta agreement. The Soviet Union did not have the same vision as the U.S regarding the Yalta instead the Soviets began forming a new Polish government, but “Stalin refused to accept the new Polish government” (Duiker) and instead installed communist power.

Shortly after Roosevelt and Stalin agreed to compromise about the communist power Roosevelt passed away from Cerebral hemorrhage, and Stalin did away with their post war agreement and went on to do as he pleases. By the year 1946 the iron curtain was formed, the term represented the way Europe was viewed after World War 11. “The iron curtains was used to describe the countries that was connected or influenced by the Soviet union, such as Germany, Czechoslovakia, Pollan and Bulgari, Romania and Hungary” (Duiker).

The Soviet Union expanded and took over Europe and even gained precedence over U.S decolonization. The US and the Soviet Union had a confrontation in 1962, which came close to a nuclear war when the U.S planted nuclear weapons in allied parts of Europe to intimidate the enemy. When the Cuban missile crisis in Russia took place during the conflict in in 1962 because the US discovered bases of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuban territory like theirs, which might have been the reason the U.S backed away from starting war. Though the Soviet was weak when compared to the U.S, but there was fear that Stalin would capitalize on the many opportunities of the postwar because the “Soviet policy was known to be inherently aggressive and would be triggered whenever the opportunity offered” (Duiker).

The soviet blocked sectors of Berlin to starve out the allies in Berlin so they could gain supremacy. The blockage led to airlift to flew in “13,000 tons of food supplies daily into Berlin to feed the city. The Soviets wanted to avoid a war, so they did not interfere and lifted the blockade in May 1949” (Duiker). During the time of the new cold war the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Warsaw pact was formed to “build alliance between Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Britain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and Iceland signed a treaty with the United States and Canada to provide alliance if any of them were to be attacked A few years after West Ger- many, Greece, and Turkey also joined the alliance” (Duiker)

After the war ended U.S offered $13 billion to Europe recovery program, known as the “Marshall Plan to assist with “the economic recovery of war- torn Europe” (Duiker) with a aim of rebuilding the war devastated region and rid the trade barriers, to modernize the industry in order to make Europe wholesome again. How did Cold War politics impact the Vietnam War? In 1941 Ho Chi Minh (Communist Activist) secretly returned to Vietnam after being in exile for 30 year. He organized a nationalist organization known as the Viet Minh that joined forces with U.S military intelligence agency office (OSS) and assisted with rescuing downed Americans pilots. A treaty by the Geneva conference split Vietnam into two, placing Ho Chi Minh in control of the North and Boa in charge of the south, “After abortive negotiations between Ho’s government and the French over a proposed “free state” of Vietnam under French tutelage” (Duiker).

Not long after the Vietnam war began in 1954 between the north and the south Vietnam, the US provided the weapons and troops to the south in with a aim of putting a stop to communism, however the war intensified between the Soviet Union and lasted longer than expected and it became costly for the U.S to the point where Americans became divided eventually causing president Richard Nixon to order the U.S to back out of the war gradually in 1973 (Duiker). The war eventually came to an end when the “south Vietnamese government surrendered. A year later, and the country was unified under Communist rule” (Duiker).

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