Cold War Essay, Research Paper
The Cold War was a war of words, not violence, that began in 1946. This was signified by competition, tension, and conflict between the Soviet Union, and the United States. In 1946, Sir Winston Churchill gave an address at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo, about foreign affairs of the time. In it he uttered the following quote: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent (of Europe).” These words, in some respects, were the beginning of the Cold War.
The term “Cold War” was first used by American Bernard Baruch in a congressional debate in 1947, and described the war as increasing tensions between the Soviet Union and the US.
Churchill’s words referred to the fact that the Soviet Union, from 1945 to 1948, strengthened its hold over the counties Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany. The Cold War, however, was marked by several other effects of policies of the U.S, and Soviet Union. The main causes were their possession of nuclear (atomic) weapons, the attempt to establish spheres of influence, alliances with other Nations such as Nato and the Warsaw Pact, which backed several nations in times of conflict, the Berlin Blockade, as well as the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Blockade was a blockade set up by Soviet soldiers. This was from June, 1948 until May, 1949. All communication by rail, road, and waterway was cut off from the Western sectors of the city. An airlift by Great Britain
and the United States frustrated the blockade and saved the city. The Berlin Wall was a wall created to divide East and West Germany during this time. All of those events increased the ever-growing tensions between the U.S, and The Soviet Union, with Germany caught in the middle. This did not by any means help Germany’s already weak and destitute nation.
The American response to the perceived Soviet threat of world domination has varied since 1946. In the beginning, United States policy was one of “containment,” which was first stated by diplomat George F. Kennan, in an article during 1947. This police of containment was in reference to containing Communism, which was becoming a huge scare in the United States. Since The Soviet Union seemed so powerful, Americans assumed that Communism under the extremely paranoid Soviet Leader,Josef Stalin, would spread to the U.S, as well.
Under U.S President John F. Kennedy, American policy began to shift to problems with arms control and nuclear threats. Military financial spending increased by the U.S during the Reagan administration. This became a Soviet disadvantage during this time. Now, with the Soviet economy in distress, it was no longer possible to keep up with American defense expenditures.
Throughout the Cold War, there were many problems with spies, and the sharing of military secrets due to the nuclear arms race. One of the most famous names in this area is Alger Hiss. Alger Hiss was a U.S lawyer, who was born in Baltimore, MD. Hiss was a Soviet spy for the United States. He was accused of perjury for passing Department of State secrets to Communist couriers. Yet another famous case was the Rosenberg case. Julius Rosenberg, and his wife Ethel, were found guilty of sharing nuclear secrets with the Soviet Union. The origin of much of this evidence was Mrs. Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass. The Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953, despite the fact that many argued that the penalty for such a crime was much too severe. The Rosenberg case was a breeding ground for such controversy over spies and the death penalty.
Often it was said that a fair trial couldn’t have been achieved at such a time amidst the other problems of the Cold War, or that the information that they passed was not of enough value to warrant such a penalty.
The Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, implemented a total reversal of these Cold War policies, beginning in 1985. With the co-operation of U.S President Reagan, arms reduction agreements were signed, and both sides soon decided upon troop withdrawals. The Soviets also soon stopped their ten-year war in Afghanistan. The new Soviet democratization spread into the rest of Eastern Europe, surprisingly. By the end of 1989, Communism had nearly ended, or was seriously deteriorating, in what was formerly known as the Eastern Bloc Nations. On November 9, 1989, East German authorities allowed the demolition of the Berlin Wall. This, in turn, signified the end of the Cold War. Under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Warsaw Pact, much like the Cold War, became nonexistent during this time. The Cold War was officially put to an end in 1991.