Essay on Cold War 1950s-1980s

1. Discuss when, why and how the Cold War began. Then cite at least one factor that perpetuated the Cold War in each decade from the 1950s-1980s and discuss how the item you selected affected America at home as well. Last, discuss when and why the Cold War ended.


The Cold War was a global geopolitical, military, economic, and informational confrontation between the Soviet Union and its allies on the one side and the U.S. and its allies on the other which lasted from 1946 to 1991. The formal beginning of the Cold War is often considered the March 5, 1946, when Winston Churchill delivered his famous speech in Fulton in which he introduced the idea of creating a military alliance with the Anglo-Saxon countries to fight against world communism. In fact, tensions between the allies had begun earlier but by March 1946 it increased because the USSR refused to withdraw occupation troops from Iran (Schweikart and Allen 634-37).

In general, the establishment of Soviet control over Eastern Europe after World War II along with the potential for communist regimes in Greece, Italy, and even France made the ruling circles of Great Britain and the United States regard the Soviet Union as a threat. In turn, Soviet analysts argued that the foreign policy of U.S. imperialism aimed at inciting confrontation was linked to the interests of monopoly circles of the U.S. and was designed to preserve and strengthen the capitalist system. Thus, one of the main components of the war was the ideology: the deep contradiction between the capitalist and the socialist model that helped the leaders of the military-political blocs constantly consolidate the allies “in the face of an external enemy.” On the other hand, fueled by the constant arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the Cold War provoked a strong scientific and technological development of the world up to space exploration, and subsequently gave the U.S. the ability to take the top positions in the field of aviation, weapons, space and information technology.

The end of the Cold War is associated with Mikhail Gorbachev’s coming to power in the USSR in 1985, when the Soviet foreign policy experiences a radical turn to the so-called “new political thinking” which proclaimed the “socialist pluralism” and the “priority of human values over class ones.” The change of government in all the USSR satellite countries led to the elimination of the Soviet bloc, and along with it the actual end of the Cold War. November 21, 1990 in Paris, the so-called Charter for a New Europe was signed proclaiming the actual end of the half-century confrontation between the two systems, and the beginning of a new era of “democracy, peace and unity” (Schweikart and Allen 738).

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