Cold War

The Cold War waged on economic, political, as well as the propaganda fronts and included limited recourse to weapons. The term was first used by the famous English writer George Orwell who mentioned it in an article that he published in 1945. By this name writer referred to what he prognosticated would be a nuclear pause between two or three monstrous nations, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be annihilated in just a few seconds. The first who used the term was an American presidential adviser Bernard Baruch who mentioned it in a speech that he held at the State House in Columbia, in 1947.

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The Duration

The Cold War entered its zenith in 1948–53. During this period, the Soviets failed to blockade the Western-held sectors of West Berlin (1948–49). The U.S. and its European allies established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the unified military command, to counter the Soviet presence in Europe (1949). The Soviets exploded their first atomic warhead in 1949 and ended the American monopoly on the nuclear bomb. The same year the Chinese communists gained power in mainland China (1949), and the communist government of North Korea supported by Soviet invaded South Korea backed by the U.S. in 1950, setting off a Korean War that lasted for three years. Cold War Tension From 1953 to 1957, Cold War tensions eased somewhat, mainly owing to the death of the longtime Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953; although, the standoff remained. In 1955 a united military organization between the Soviet-bloc nations, the Warsaw Pact, was formed. The same year West Germany was admitted into NATO. Another intense stage of the Cold War happened in 1958–62. The Soviet Union and the United States started to work out intercontinental ballistic missiles. In 1962 the USSR began secretly installing missiles in Cuba that could potentially be used to operate nuclear attacks on U.S. cities. These actions initiated the Cuban missile crisis, a conflict that brought the two nations to the edge of war before an agreement reached the withdraw of the missiles. Cuban Crisis The Cuban missile crisis proved that neither of the countr

Military

USSR military The USSR had built up a military that used 25 percent of its gross national product at the expense of investment in civilian sectors and consumer goods. Soviet spending on the arms race as well as other Cold War engagements caused and worsened deep structural problems in the system, which experienced at least ten years of economic stagnation in the late Brezhnev years. USSR investment in the protection sector was not motivated by military necessity, but mostly by the interests of massive party and state bureaucracies that were dependent on the industry for their privileges and power. The Soviet Armed Forces grew into the largest in the world with numbers as well as the types of weapons they possessed. However, the quantitative advantages often concealed areas where the Eastern Bloc significantly lagged behind the West. U.S military By the early 1980s, the Soviet Union had built up a military arsenal and army that surpassed one of the U.S. Shortly after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. President Carter started building up the United States military. This buildup was quickened by the Reagan administration, which in five years increased the military spending from 5.3 percent of GNP to 6.5 percent, the most massive peacetime defense buildup in U.S. history. Oil Glut Additional structure of its military, due to the immense army expenses, along with inefficient manufacturing and collectivized agriculture, were already a heavyweight for the Soviet economy. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia increased oil production, and t

Economic Issues

American domestic public worries regarding intervening in foreign conflicts have resulted from the end of the Vietnam War. The Reagan administration indicated the use of prompt, low-cost counter-insurgency tactics to intervene in external disputes. In 1983, the Reagan administration interfered in the Lebanese Civil War, bombed Libya, invaded Grenada, and backed the anti-communist paramilitaries seeking to defeat the Soviet-aligned Sandinista government in Nicaragua. While the president’s interventions against Libya and Grenada were popular in the U.S., his backing of the Contra rebels was more controversial as well as the support of the military government of Guatemala in the Guatemalan Civil War, especially the regime of Efraín Ríos Montt. Meanwhile, the USSR incurred high prices for its foreign interventions. Even though Brezhnev was convinced that the Soviet war in Afghanistan would be short, Muslim guerrillas, aided by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Britain, China, and Pakistan, waged a fierce resistance against the invasion. The Kremlin sent approximately 100,000 troops to support its regime in Afghanistan, leading many outside observers to dub the war “the Soviets’ Vietnam.” However, Moscow’s quagmire in Afghanistan happened to be far more destructive for the Soviets than Vietnam had been for the U.S. because the conflict coincided with a phase of domestic crisis and internal decay in the Soviet system. Soviet Dissolution In the Soviet Union itself, glasnost led to the weakening o

Aftermath

The Cold War aftermath After the destruction of the Soviet Union, Russia significantly cut military spending, and restructure of the economy left millions of people unemployed. The capitalist reforms culminated in a recession during the early 1990s, more severe than the Great Depression, as experienced by Germany and the United States. The Cold War continues to have an impact on world affairs. The world after the Cold War is considered to be unipolar, with the U.S. as the sole remaining superpower. The Cold War distinctly defined the political role of the U.S. after World War II—by 1989, the nation had military alliances with 50 countries, with 526,000 troops stationed abroad, with 130,000 in Asia and 326,000). The Cold War also marked the peak of peacetime military-industrial complexes, especially in the U.S., and significant military funding of science. These complexes, even though their origins may be found as early as the 19th century, increased significantly during the Cold War. Some experts believe that up to 50 nuclear weapons were lost during the Cold War. Total U.S. military expenses throughout the entire Cold War were estimated at $8 trillion. Further, almost 100,000 Americans lost their lives in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Even though Soviet casualties are hard to estimate, as a share of their gross national product, the financial cost for the USSR was considerably higher than in the United States. Besides the loss of life by uniformed soldiers, millions died in the proxy wars around the world, especi

More about Cold War

Cold War

The Cold War waged on economic, political, as well as the propaganda fronts and included limited recourse to weapons. The term was first used by the famous English writer George Orwell who mentioned it in an article that he published in 1945. By this name writer referred to what he prognosticated would be a nuclear pause between two or three monstrous nations, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be annihilated in just a few seconds. The first who used the term was an American presidential adviser Bernard Baruch who mentioned it in a speech that he held at the State House in Columbia, in 1947.

Origins of the War

Following the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945 near the close of World War II, the shaky alliance between the U.S. and Great Britain, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union on the other started to unravel. By 1948 the Soviets had established left-wing governments in the countries of eastern Europe that had been freed by the Red Army. The British and the Americans were scared of the permanent Soviet domination of Eastern Europe as well as the threat of Soviet-influenced communist parties gaining power in the democracies of western Europe. The Soviets, on the other hand, were planning to keep control of eastern Europe to safeguard against any potential threat from Germany. Another reason was their determination to spread communism worldwide, mainly for ideological causes. The Cold War had hardened by 1947–1948, when the U.S. aid provided under the Marshall Plan to western Europe had led those nations under American influence, and the Soviets had openly established communist regimes in eastern Europe.

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