Cold War Essay, Research Paper
Cold War Propaganda
The Cold War never presented any real threat on America. It was nothing more than the propaganda of two battling super powers. The two super powers involved in the Cold War were The United States of America and The Soviet Union. The two countries were constantly battling over who is the most powerful on the planet. The supposed threats were mere techniques of propaganda used to scare the other countries public into believing they were more powerful. Over and over again the U.S would flex it?s muscles and then The Soviet Union would flex it?s muscles until eventually one country couldn?t. The Cold War lasted a very long time and it was fought through battles such as the Korean War and Vietnam. Each battle split the country and the U.S would take a side and The Soviet Union would take a side and they would use the country as a battle ground. This was the only actual fighting that occurred.
The Cuban missile crisis was an important event that took place during the cold war. In the Cuban missile crisis, America was fearing that The Soviet Union had certain missile instalations in Cuba . The U.S found out about these missile installments from satellite imagery that showed the missiles being transported to Cuba and show the missile sites inside Cuba. “With Castro’s approval, the Soviet Union began building secret missile bases in Cuba. On October 16, President Kennedy was shown photographs of the missile installations in Cuba.” (Rawnsley, 7) On the surface one would get scared by something like this and that is exactly what The Soviet Union wanted to happen. The whole Cold war was propaganda so by scaring the U.S into thinking they had missiles in Cuba gave them the edge on the war. If The Soviet Union wanted to bomb the U.S they could have easily snuck the missiles in and hidden them. They knew about the satellites and purposely exposed the missiles. “A naval blockade was imposedosed on Cuba to stop the construction of the sites. On October 26, Krushchev sent a letter to Kennedy suggesting that the sites would be dismantled if the United States gave its reassurance that it would not invade Cuba.” (Whitton, 22) America?s true leaders knew that this was never truly a threat to the U.S but to humor the citizens they did something about it. If the U.S did nothing the citizens would get scared, even more so.
The Soviets had a good strategy in using Cuba against the United States and there idea to get the missiles found worked out perfectly for them. The missiles never posed a threat to us, but just gave the Soviets an opportunity to flex there muscles at the United States.
Another big instance of Cold War propaganda was in the Afghanistan situation. The Afghanistan?s had a communistic government which was supported by the Soviets. There was a group opposing the communist government called the Mujaheaden. The Mujaheadens were a rebel group who operated out of the mountains in Afghanistan. They wanted to abolish the communist government. The Mujaheadens were very hard to hit by the Soviets army because they were very mobile and were stationed in the mountains. The United States supported the Mujaheaden rebel group because it was against communism and The Soviet Union.
In the Afghan war the U.S and The Soviet Union were fighting each other but it wasn?t truly there war and they weren?t involved in a head on confrontation. The U.S was only involved in this war to fight communism. The U.S needed to fight in this war because if they didn?t then The Soviet Union would gain a significant lead in the cold war. Because this war was fought in Afghan and neither the U.S nor The Soviet Union had any real reason to be fighting , it was all propaganda. They both wanted to become the super power of the world and they both wanted there respective government system to prevail.
The Cold war extended into space when in the Kennedy administration the U.S and The Soviet Union took there battle of the super powers to the sky. The Soviet Union started off by putting there Sputnik into space. Shortly after a man named Yury Gargaran was the first to orbit Earth on April 12, 1961. Kennedy promised that with his new Apollo program we would land a man on the moon “before the decade is out.”
The Vietnam war was another instance of Cold War Propaganda. During the time of the Vietnam war, the cold war was going on. The Vietnam war was between the north and the south. The north was supported by The Soviet Union. The Soviet Union gave weapons and supplies to the North Vietnamese. Since The Soviet Union took the side of the North, the United States took the side of the South. The South was given supplies and weapons and the U.S soldiers also fought. “Communist victory in 1975 had profound ramifications for the United States; it was not only a setback to the containment of communism in Asia but a shock to American self-confidence.” (Bernhard, 16)
The United States citizens disagreed with going to war in Vietnam because we really had no business in the war. The reason we went into the war was because we were battling The Soviet Union for the spot of the world super power and by letting the communism spread they would be losing there power. If the citizens had been more involved in the war then maybe the United States wouldn?t have suffered such a loss. Again we see that the Soviets are prevailing over the United States.
Although the United States and The Soviet Union were fighting each other, it wasn?t truly there war. There was no head on confrontation between The Soviet Union and the U.S. so in a way this war was only propaganda to see who was more powerful. The Soviets flexed there muscles and again the United States was drawn in. It is sort of like when someone tries to start a fight with you and if you back off you look like a wimp, but if you step up to the plate you look like a big man. Well the U.S. didn?t want to be the wimp.
During the Korean War the U.S supported South Korea because of an invasion by North Korea. North Korea was supported by The Soviet Union and allied with China in this war. This was a big war because communism was spreading in Europe and Asia and the U.S wanted to stop it because if communist grew than the U.S would lose its power and then fall to The Soviet Union in the cold war.
In 1959 Cuban control went to Fidel Castro who was a communist. Fidel quickly took over the U.S. oil refineries in Cuba and as a result the U.S. stopped buying Cuban sugar, and with that Castro took over all the businuess in Cuba. This gave Kennedy the idea to invade the Bay of Pigs to try and overthrow Fidel. When we went in we failed to defeat the Cubans because we lacked the support from other Cuban citizens.
Although it looks like we only invaded Cuba because of Fidel it was really due to the Cold War. Kennedy wanted to show our power to The Soviet Union so they attacked Cuba which was part of the Socialist super Power.
Durin the Cold War in Germany things weren?t going so well. After world warII ended Germany was split up because it was so destroyed. The Soviet Union decided to take everything from Germany and so the U.S devised 2 plans for what they should do with there part. The marshall plan and the morgentau plan. The morgentau plan was proposed by a jewish congressman and he obviously believed that Germany should become an agriculturally based country. On the other hand the Marshall plan proposed that we build up the country in order to help us against the Soviet Union. The country was then divided into 2 parts, East and West Germany. The West side controlled by U.S ,France, and Britian , and the East controlled by Russia. Everyone wanted to be in West Germany because it was much better conditions and people had work and there was more freedom, so the Soviet Union made the iron curtain to prevent them from going. The country capital was Berlin and on the east side so West Germany was able to access it through the transit and then the people would just go to Berlin and escape that way.
The soviet Union caught on to this sneeking out and built the Berlin wall. Each side (east and west) had missle installations pointing at one another. If there was any immediate threat in the cold war it was for the Germans not for the Americans.
It is safe to say that Mikael Gorbatschow was the first Russian politician with serious intention to end the Cold War and open up the Soviet Union to the forces of world wide economy. “The breakup of the Soviet Union transformed the entire world political situation, leading to a complete reformulation of political, economic and military alliances all over the globe.” (Hixson, 55) He exspressed his ideology in the books Perestroika and Glasnost (which means new start and transparency). He was responsible for the reunion of East and West Germany. Although he was never really popular amongst Soviet citizens, western politicians appreciated his courage and bravery to pursue his almost radical ideas. He and his wife , Raissa, have been the first Russian leaders to be called First lady and President.
Understanding that the Cold war is eventually going to run the Soviet Union into bankruptcy Gorbatschow would rather negotiate and believe in his own visions of a new start with no corruption and make the Soviet Union a better place to live.
“communists kidnapped Gorbachev, and then, on August 19 of 1991, they announced on state television that Gorbachev was very ill and would no longer be able to govern.” (Hixson, 58) The attempt of the communist revolution when Gorbatschow was kept hostage in his vacation home on the krim was fortunately unsuccesful and didn?t stop the process of Perestroika in the Soviet Union. It is also safe to say that his actions actually avoided the total bankruptcy of his country. With his new course of Perestroika and Glasnost he found a creditor in the world bank for a lot of infrastructural improvements on the countryside. He also needed help with improvements in nuclear power stations which was obvious to say after seeing what happened with Tschernobil.
In conclusion the cold war never presented any real threat to the U.S. but it certainly destroyed half of germany and set up the rebuilding of the Soviet Union. The United States proved to be the true super power of the world and the Cold war ended and now there is peace.
Bernhard, Nancy. Cold War propaganda, 1947-1960. New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 1999
Hixson, Walter. Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War. New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1996
Rawnsley, Gary. Cold-War propaganda in the 1950?s. New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1999
Whitton, John. Propaganda and the Cold War. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1984