Cold War Outbreak
In 1940’s, American community experienced change due to expansion of Soviet Union threat or communistic ideals that caused the state take a stand that led to Cold War. Despite the war not involving direct fight with other nations, it affected domestic policy and American society. It had negative impact on America leading to livelihood threat, enlarged nuclear threat and affected domestic policies. The cold war effects on domestic policies were expressed in three forms namely, politically, economically and socially. Socially, indoctrination of American persons resulted to social reforms regression. Economically, huge growth urged by industries linked to war received aid through heavy regime expansion. This led to economics new deal feeling the greatest cold war consequence. This study focused on US policies despite the nation’s intention of avoiding cold war occurrence. America was far aggressive in provision of military, political and economic aid to nations of Europe and viewed by Soviet Union security as direct threat. Due to response of justification by Soviet Union, cold war emerged.
Causes of the cold War
Cold war causes were formed on four main underlying disparities. First of all, the ideologies that were employed by Soviet Union and United States of America (USA). The United States had capitalism democracy as governance form whereby freedom was valued (Harper P6). The USSR embraced communism kind of governance that was governed by dictatorship in which state needs were emphasized than individual human rights. The USA feared communism ideology thus state had to counter their movement. The ideologies were not only conflicting but also for expansionist and militant (Harper 12). They all considered that any alternative ideology pose a threat towards their own mode of life. In that the only means for the world is a peaceful place was through their specific ideology to control the world. The aggression and fear were as a result of different ideologies between Russia and America, the country’s foreign policies invaded and affected by their beliefs.
The second was differences in aims between Russia and America. The USA and British needed to guard democracy and assist Germany recover. This was due to fear that most part of Eastern Europe could fall under Soviet Union control (Immerman and Goedde 16). On the other hand Stalin aim was to acquire reparations in Germany and create a barrier of friendly nations to defend Soviet Union from being attacked again.
In addition there was resentment on History between USA and USSR that promoted cold war. The USA and British recalled on what Stalin signed with Germany regarding Nazi Soviet in 1939. The USSR could remember when USA and British tried to wipe out Russian Revolution in 1918 (Lightbody p18). These resentments created differences between America and Russia. They also offered weapons in war of propaganda where both sides strive against one another.
Lastly, apart from the aims, ideologies and resentments in history, there were succession of events that dwindled down alliance and converted friends of war into foes. The point of trusted disappeared in all parties (Immerman and Goedde P23). This is because each side viewed each event on a different note and thought they were right while other side was moving in wrong direction. Hence each action they partake increased hatred amongst them.
America’s Cold War policies
In the rise of influence and supremacy on the world stage for American capitalism and USSR communism, during cold war USA perceived communism as a threat to freedom of their mode of life. This fear exaggerated into obsession that resulted in civil liberties compromising. During cold war era, USA foreign policy in regard to Soviet Union was characterized with an essence need to guard its allies and itself against possible threat of expanding communist ideology (Lightbody p25). The American was totally willing to provide support to any state just in the name of being against communist. The USA leaders constantly committed themselves on supporting and helping likeminded capitalist states against communist states.
The USA policy on foreign states during Vietnam era may be explored through investigating a number of phases whereby different approaches have been used in dealing with any threat communists states pose that is USSR and China (Olesen p203). In each of the phase there was an indication of containing communism in their present boundaries. Each phase had to capture policy leaders doctrine more so the first three president.
In 1947 there emerged development of Containment principle considering American foreign policy in the early period of cold war prior to American and Australian engagement in Vietnam (Olesen p196). The USA policy was to support individual who resisted being subjugated with armed minorities to uphold peace of the world. This was in aim to prevent communist expansion mostly in Asian states where it posed a great threat.
The USA policies for economic aid in European states commonly known as Marshall Plan were created intentionally to separate West and East Europe to warring nations (Immerman and Goedde p45). This was an antagonistic move to counter communist expansion resulting in increased tensions which led to Cold War. It was the main aggressive action taken by USA against USSR communism in Eastern part of Europe.
America applied policies ending Second World War by antagonizing communism globally that resulted to retaliation of cold war outbreak; the applied policies had minimal effect than collective security. The historians’ argument that the cold war was unavoidable result of an irreconcilable conflict of interest between the Soviet Union and the United States seems invalid after analyzing the intentions and conferences behind actions. US policy decisions like second front opening, victory treaties and atomic policies had minor function on tensions of cold war in comparison to policies of collective security.
The America’s policy of later second front opening for preservation of US livelihood had a lesser depressing impact on relations of US- Soviet but not a key contributor to cold war. Russians had requested support from US to ease pressure on their nation brought by German. This led Russia to be frustrated as US intentionally delayed strike claiming that their reason was valid. The American Army was not prepared for attack thus; it would have affected their Second World War attack if they attempted previous attack.
In addition, America had policies intentionally not provocative to cold warfare, but gave geopolitical climate tense resulting to misinterpretation, which led to disaster. Even though aggressive policies of collective security provoked USSR in responding back, Second World War discussions accepted cordial discussions performance and reduction of tensions.
Cold war had vital influence on all spheres of American community. Cultural aggressiveness between Soviet Union and USA had negative and positive consequences. The fear among these two nations resulted in political confrontations that almost caused world war. Disparity in economic ideologies led opposing claims on what freedom refers to and economic struggle resulted into substantial military spending in both USA and Russia. In the essence of its broad power, cold war influenced most of event in the mid-20th century to an extent that all USA domestic and foreign policies decisions were altered. These policies have degenerated to military instead of attaining its earlier mission of political objectives. The USA interventions in the whole world have led to deaths of more people than its goal of political influence in the world for instance in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Harper, John L. The Cold War. Oxford UP, 2011.
Immerman, Richard H, and Petra Goedde. The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War. Cambridge UP, 2013.
Lightbody, Bradley. The Cold War. Routledge, 2013.
Olesen, Thorsten. “Under the national paradigm: Cold War studies and Cold War politics in post-Cold War Norden.” Cold War History, vol. 8, no. 2, 2014, pp. 189-211.