After World War II the United States supported the recovery of the Western European by Marshall Plan, while the USSR set up COMECON with Eastern allies. In 1949 NATO was forged as a main Truman Doctrine strategy, and in 1955 the Warsaw Pact was formed by the Soviet bloc. Such a division of powers resulted in the so-called “Iron Curtain”¯, the fell of which afterwards symbolized the end of Cold War.
It is obvious that the states became frightful and aggressive enemies because both of them possessed nuclear weapon, and it was a really powerful tool in their hands. Korean War and Hungarian Revolution in 1950s; Nikita Khrushchev’s uncompromised foreign policy and nationalist movements in some of the allied countries in 1960s; Space Race of 1957”“1975 defined serious setbacks of the USSR authority in the eyes of global community. In 1973 the country seriously suffered because of the oil crisis, while by 1975 the authority of the USA was also damaged by Vietnam War in which “most of the world saw as a humiliating defeat of the world’s most powerful superpower at the hands of one of the world’s poorest nations”¯ (Brinkley 841). This was also a period when economic ties of the two enemies were temporally strengthened and increased trade was agreed. The hostility was replaced by dĆ©tente, but not for long. The conflict was reawakened in the early 1980s. The Afghan War turned out to be one of the most murderous and senseless reveal of the global conflict. Only in 1988 the Soviet troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. “At about the same time, Gorbachev ended the Soviet Union’s long and frustrating military involvement in Afghanistan, removing one of the principal irritants in the relationship between Washington and Moscow,”¯ Brinkley (920) explains.
However, if at first their forces seemed to be almost equal, destiny of the Soviet Union now seems to be doomed, and their gradual failures led them to eventual defeat. In 1980s the nation was already suffering from economic stagnation, and the state was actually decaying from the inside, but the United States exploited the situation and intensified all kinds of pressures on the Union, including diplomatic, marketing, military, media and economic pressures. By Brinkley (919), “Mikhail Gorbachev returned to power, but it soon became evident that the legitimacy of both the Communist Party and the central Soviet government had been fatally injured.”¯
Mostly peaceful revolutions in the allied Eastern Europe together with the collapsed Soviet Union after all left the United States the only superpower in the world and the Cold War was lost by the Soviet Union. In 1987 the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed, which forced the USSR to refuse nuclear weapon in several steps. “The INF treaty eliminated all nuclear-armed, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles) and their infrastructure,”¯ Brinkley (840) informs. In 1989 there was Malta Summit, during which George H. W. Bush together with the Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev declared the end of the Cold War.
In this way, it seems to be clear that the two superpowers were equally responsible for the worldwide rivalry, and according to that, both of them made their contributions to make the war over. Tension between the two counties was predictable, and the winner could be predicted as well. There were too many reasons for antagonism, but the chances were not equal from the very beginning. “It is this: We win and they lose,”¯ Ronald Reagan stated in 1977 (Brinkley 849), and he could barely be mistaken. The Soviet Union was too self-contained and closed, and its foreign policies did not lead to success with other states, even with those considered “allied”¯. In the meantime, the United States, with variable success, knew what rods to push to strengthen their positions, and the country leaders finally gained this sole leadership, although challenged again at the moment. Maybe some day history will show who is who.