A quick guide on when the cold war was and how long did the war last.
How did the cold war begin, and how long did the cold war last? Many of us wonder about this question while reading history textbooks, and people refer to it in their political conversation.
So, how about we discuss this today?
Cold War was an open yet constricted rivalry that started developing after the Second World War between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. It was based on political and economic advocacy because of only limited recourse to weapons as pretty much was used and destroyed in World War II, which was more disastrous than World War I.
Historians used to believe that if this cold war rivalry couldn’t solve at early ages, it could take a big form of destruction on a much larger scale than World War II happened as many new countries could also take part in this crisis as they already experienced atomic bomb in World War II.
1. How Did the Cold War Begin
After the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, which led to the close of World War II, one could feel the uneasiness that had already taken place among Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. By the end of 1948, the government of soviet united nation started installing left-wing governments in the countries of East Europe that were under the Red Army.
The Americans and the British feared the permanent Soviet government domination of eastern Europe and the threat of the communist party coming to power in the area of democracies of central and eastern Europe. Soviet troops have started influencing the European nations, which slowly showed symptoms of a new era where the cold war started.
The Soviets Union, on the other hand, was preventive of their actions, but at the same time, they wanted control over eastern Europe. They were focused on spreading soviet communism worldwide on a large scale for ideological reasons.
2. When Did the Cold War Start?
The war began in 1947 when the US provided aid through the Marshall plan in Western Europe and brought these countries under America. The Soviet Union started spreading communism in eastern Europe. The constant fear of philosophers of that era was nuclear weapons or any country busting into nuclear war.
Many historians believed that the Soviet Union paved the way for the Cold War’s passion for military power and spread its ideology of having communism or communist parties that threatened the world with war based on nuclear weapon.
The Soviet Union exploded their first atomic warhead, thus ending the American monopoly on the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union supported the communist government of North Korea, whereas America supported South Korea, which led to the Korean war, which made the war at its peak.
3. Marshall Plan
It was formed after the disastrous effects of the WWII. It was enacted in 1948, and around 15 billion dollars of aid was lent out to the devasted states. The plan had been composed by the then US Secretary of state George C. Marshall. However, the plan is also considered responsible for erupting the spark of the Cold war.
The destruction that had been originated because of the Second World War was enormous. Millions of people, both soldiers, and civilians, were either killed or rendered homeless. Europe’s economy had completely collapsed.
Many major cities such as Germany, Italy and Belgium, Great Britain and France, many of which were leading industrial and cultural centers, were completely worn out. Several roads, bridges, railways, and ports were destroyed as a result of several airstrikes.
4. The Cold War Abroad
4.1. Korean War
This war played a huge role in the development of the war. The Korean war was the first time when the UN and the Soviet Union had fought a war in a third country.
Despite several denials, the Soviet Union was always involved in accelerating war between South Korea and North Korea. The contribution made by the Soviets was crucial. They provided diplomatic support, strategic and grand tactical planning, including the planning and provoking of the invasion of South Korea.
They constantly supplied resources to their armies, trained their soldiers with aircraft, and flew aircraft for them that had North Korea initials, and after the war, they destroyed those aircraft.
The Western Bloc was led by the United States and the other First WW nations of the Western Bloc, generally termed democratic allies. Still, a part of a dominant nations group as most of them were their colonies which recently perceived independence.
Whereas European allies were led by the Soviet Union and its communist party, they greatly influenced the eastern part of Europe. The US was supporting right-wing governments and Soviet Union-funded communist parties, which also crumbled the Soviet economy.
East Germany was under full potential control of the soviet bloc. The states and the Soviet Union were aware of the capabilities of atomic bombs as the US already used them in Japan. They believed communism as an expansion of their ideology, whereas Americans resisted communism.
Americans believed that communism would destroy the meaning of terms of the federal government and diplomatic relations. Communists did not believe in international relations among various countries, and they conquered the world by a nuclear attack by attacking major powers of countries.
Though America has used nuclear missiles before any country by attacking two cities of Japan, the Soviet Union was maintaining its international affairs because of their interest from China and North Korea.
The United States and its allies created the North Atlantic treaty organization’s military alliance in 1949 in the restlessness of a Soviet attack. They termed it as their global policy against Soviet-influenced regions.
The Soviet Union formed the Warsaw pact in 1955 as its response to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Major crises of this phase were the 1948–49 Berlin blockade, which led to the 1927–1949 Chinese civil war, and then the 1956 Hungarian revolution and 1956 Suez crisis.
It leads to the Berlin crisis of 1961 and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The US and the Soviet Union started a battle to influence middle east regions and newly acquired independent countries of Asia and Africa.
In the meantime, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the 1968 Prague spring, which caused internal turmoil in the states, which caused civil war moment and opposition to the Vietnam war.
4.2. Vietnam War
The Vietnam war, also known as the second Indochina war, was a conflict in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It was the second Indochina war that was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union and China, and other communist allies. The communist state-supported South Vietnam, also known as western allies, the USA, Philippines, Australia, South Korea, and Thailand. The war was considered a cold war proxy era or proxy war by some historians, with direct involvement of the US lasting for 20 years, and the war ended in 1973.
The western and eastern were two powers that could create a better future or not leave a future for other countries of the world. The USA and Great Britain were quite powerful, but countries like Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union made them worried about their powers.
The extent of the cold war was rising with every sector, for example, making public affairs with other nations or trading with developing countries.
They had developed the space race when the president of the USA, John F. Kennedy, announced landing a human for the first time on the moon, and his dream came true when Neil Armstrong became the first person to land on the moon and thus won the Space Race for the USA.
The three main countries of axis powers, namely Japan, Italy, and Germany, were far behind these races as they were trying to come out of the loss they had faced in the previous war.
United Nations tried to resolve the armed conflict between the two nations, as they were both in a trade conflict. As soon as the UN was established, it quickly became the background between communist and non-communist parties as both of them held the veto. The UN acted as a supervisor to watch the actions of these countries.
5. How Long Did the Cold War Last
Here’s the answer to how long did the cold war last.
In 1945 one major war ended, but it sparked another war commonly known as the cold war.
The Cold War lasted about 45 years, although there were no direct military campaigns between the two main opponents, the United States and the Soviet Union. Still, billions of dollars and millions of lives were lost in the fight.
The United States wanted to become the leader of the capitalist world. America and its allies had one motive: to stop the influence of the communist Soviet Union from spreading into Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Countries as remote as Korea and Vietnam, Cuba and Grenada, Afghanistan and Angola, became the victim battlegrounds between the two ideologies of capitalism and communism. The United States had made clear its ideology that it would not retreat into its former isolation stance as long as there was a Cold War to fight with the Soviet Union.
UN was a battleground for the Soviet Union and the states as the security council could not act without their permission; however, the security council acted against the Soviet Union once, after North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950.
When North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950, the security council granted then-president Truman the authority to send American troops to America to defend South Korea, this happened too because the permanent seat of china was then held by anti-communist supporter Taiwan, resulting in the Soviet Union failing to use the veto.
The long-term causes of the Cold War were clear on western democracies and had decided to be hostile toward the idea of a communist state. The United States had refused recognition to the Soviet influence for 16 years after the Bolshevik takeover.
There was bitterness on the Soviet side as well. Twenty million Russian citizens died during the WWII. Stalin was infuriate that the Americans and British had waited so long to open a front war in France.
The Soviet Union was ready to fight with nuclear weapon or bombs, but the USA backed off from the fear of nuclear annihilation and millions of death in return. Further, the United States terminated lend-lease aid before the war was complete. Finally, they believed in communist regimes.
Both the countries were in the urge of economic reform, but the defense spending was making them weaker. They were at a loss from the trade side, especially for the Soviet Union because of its communist ideologies.
They had already spent enough money in WW II. Also, millions of people died too, so they lost human resources.
6. Berlin Wall
The german democratic republic constructed the Berlin Wall during the Cold War to prevent its population from escaping Soviet-controlled East Berlin to West Berlin, which the major Western Allies group controlled.
It divided the city of Berlin into two physically and ideologically contrasting zones. The berlin wall symbolized the Cold War’s division of East Germany from West Germany and eastern from western Europe.
7. Effect of WWII on Eastern Europe’s Economy
Large amounts of physical capital were destroyed through six years of constant ground battles and hydrogen bombs dropping on their homes.
Moreover, many people were forced to give up on their possessions and property and were asked to move on to new lands without compensation.
8. End of The Cold War and Effects of The Cold War
The Cold War changed a lot of things, including the political dynamics of the United States. It changed the presidency of the United States. It was the internal and external forces that influenced those changes.
Internally, the 33rd president of the United States, Truman’s strict opinion against Stalin had put a lot of pressure to cause an effect on presidential acts.
Externally, the factor that affected was politicians using anti-communist hysteria to campaign on a strong, rightist platform, occasionally accusing the current administration of softness to improve their American official’s foreign policy.
The United States was in favor of corrupt and anti-democratic governments but friendly to America. Meanwhile, the Soviets subsidized groups favorable to their interest.
In American history or their national archives, it was found out that the cold war dominated international affairs, but it also created turmoil in the American economy. The rivalry between the two nations was in many forms ideological, cultural, political, and economic.
- Effect of the cold war in Russia: The effect of the cold war in Russia resulted in the cutting of military aid dramatically, creating a decline in the Soviet Union’s military-industrial sector. As a result, millions of people became unemployed, which affected the economy of Russia. It tried to create many industrial reforms and underwent a financial crisis, which was the Great Depression.
- Growth in weapons competition– The major power of America and Russia was based on weapons only. Army, air force, and navy got more powerful. They included modern missiles and artificial satellites, fighting airplanes, nuclear weapons, and submarines.
- Discredit Of UNO– UNO wanted to create an idea of one world, but the urge for power, nuclear weapons, the partition of the world created hurdles for UNO. The security council tried to face the problems of veto as it was only divided into big nations.
- Human welfare was neglected– An atmosphere of fear and danger was created among human beings, especially after the droppings of nuclear bombs on the two cities of Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The big nations spend 25% of their income on military and creating nuclear weapons and missile sites, and when they tried to reduce it like Russia, they faced great depression. During economic reforms, many people were homeless, and they were moving from one place to another.
- Growth Of NON aligned movement– Many counties unwillingly participated in the movement only with the fear of being left out or becoming a victim between these two super nations. But India’s then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Yugoslavia’s President, Marshal Tito, and Egypt’s President, General Gamal Abdul Nasser, did not mix with any group and separated NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT.
The Cold War legacy continued to affect the international affairs of the world after the dissolution of the Sov. Union. The world post-cold war is considered unipolar, making the USA the only superpower.
9. Mikhail Gorbachev Policy’s Effect on Cold War
Former president of the Soviet Union M. Gorbachev wanted to reform how it was used to work and how it cooperated with other foreign countries.
Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan ended the cold war by introducing new policies and cutting expenditure on the army and weapons. Gorbachev introduced the policies of Glasnost and Perestroika to attempt to improve relations with the west and improve the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) economy.
The end of the Cold War began as the Berlin Wall came down and democratic or free elections took over the communist regimes.
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