Who Is Responsible for Cold War
The Cold War was a state of opposition between the two blocks of countries during several decades of the 20th century. The Soviet Union and the USA were the most developed players in the sphere of economic influence at that time. Thereby, each of these states led the Eastern and Western blocks of political and military forces in the world. The period of Cold War started in the next years after the World War II and it lasted until the Soviet Union’s disintegration in 1991. This war was called “cold” because there were no actual military battles. On the contrary, the USSR and the USA cultivated peaceful relations in many regions (Gaddis, 2005). Sometimes, however, both countries showed the latent hostility in their support of the warring parties of regional conflicts as it was in the history of the Middle East in the second half of the 20th century (Boundless, n. d.). The historians continue to argue over the real reason for the Cold War and the party which “invested” more in causing the large-scale political tension between the two groups of states. To answer these crucial questions, the history of both USSR and USA after the World War II, which has influenced the further course of history all over the world, has to be analyzed. The state responsible for unleashing enmity has to admit its guilt and bear the responsibility for it.
Position of the USSR
The USSR existed for approximately 70 years until the end of the 20th century. It united 15 constituent republics, but the center of power and decision making was in Moscow, Russia. All of the USSR members are now independent, but they until feel the influence of the Soviet Union concepts and beliefs. The main reason for the USSR creation was the necessity to preserve and develop socialistic principles. All the population was made equal by establishing almost similar conditions of living, education, work, and lifestyle for everyone. The socialistic notion appeared during the Socialistic Revolution in October 1917, which was widely known and celebrated in the USSR as the October Revolution. At that time, Vladimir Lenin was the leader and ideological inspirer of the soviet people. During the World War II, the country was headed by Joseph Stalin, the leader famous for his cruelty and repressions. After his death in 1953, the power moved to Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Thus, the genesis of Cold War opposition was born on the initiative of the two politicians, Stalin and Khrushchev (World Atlas, n. d.). The USSR ideology was believed to be leading in the world and influenced the other members of the Eastern block of Soviet states and their partners. Therefore, the rising economic and military power of the United States was considered as threatening. The USSR did everything possible to outrun the rival. With the years passing, the competition became greater. The countries started to show their military power by supporting the armed conflicts in the world. Until the 1980s, the situation heated and the nuclear arms race was about to “explode.” which could have had terrible effects on all the population (Haines, Leggett, 2001). Thus, the USSR collapse in the 1990s did not only mean the break of socialistic ideas but also brought the relief because the possibility of military operations became excluded.
Position of the USA
The United States of America have the history of more than 200 years. During the years of its existence, the country has overcome the great number of obstacles and difficulties to become strong and independent. The participation of the USA in the World War II was indirect as the military actions did not touch its lands. However, the state played its active role in the outcome of war (Royde-Smith, 2017). Its economic and political course of action changed after the war. For example, the participation of the USA in the Lend-Lease program connected with weapons and ammunition supply to the allies has had a positive influence on the economy of the country (Office of the Historian, n. d.). This was especially noticeable after the years of Great Depression. The USA became the significant and important partner for the number of other countries. Thus, the military branch was developing intensively to satisfy the customers’ needs. After the World War II the competitive situation with the USSR in the sphere worsened. Talking about the political situation, the president Harry Truman, who took office in 1945 – 1953, announced the Truman’s Doctrine, a foreign policy’s vector of development (Truman, 1947). Its main aim was to help the states that suffered from the military invasion and economic expansion of the USSR by supplying food, materials, and weapons. Therefore, the step which had a positive impact on the establishment of save world and prosperous America contributed to the nuclear arms race as well as heightened the USSR’s desire of leadership.
It has to be mentioned that thoughts of American and post-Soviet historians on the matter of culprits of the Cold War differ. Undoubtedly, the majority of experts defend their national consciousness and ideas. However, three views on the theme can be differentiated: traditional, revisional and post-revisional. According to the classification, traditionalists understood Cold War as a result of Stalin’s aggression and the imposition of Soviet notions and concepts. Revisionists starting from William Appleman William considered the American diplomacy as the key cause of military and political tension, while supporters of post-revisionism movement regarded the latent confrontation as the coincidence of the number of events in the world. Thus, the direct fault of the USSR or the USA has not yet been justified (John D Clare, n. d.).
Having analyzed the political and economic situations after the World War II in both countries, it becomes clear that they had the reasons to pretend to the domination in the world. While initially it seemed that the causes of this confrontation were connected with economic growth after the destructive and devastating war, at the beginning of the 1950s the perspectives changed and the USSR and the USA saw the chance to strengthen the political and military influence. Due to the fact that both states had various effective methods of impact (socialism in the Soviet Union, and marketing relations in the United States), Cold War started and spread immediately in the next decades (Offner, 2011). Consequently, the tense relations between the countries of Eastern and Western blocks were provoked by the USA and the USSR. Each party’s ambitions disturbed the situation. However, the rivalry brought a number of benefits to the next generations in the spheres of science, medicine, space exploration, etc. (The Source, 2014). These innovations became useful for the whole world and some of them initiated new discoveries.
In the modern world a lot of things have changed. The alignment of forces among the most developed and influential states have indicated that cooperation is better than opposition and tense relations. However, until there are the players on the international arena that do not accept this position. For example, the inheritor of the USSR the Russian Federation with its imperialistic ambitions sometimes makes aggressive steps in the sphere of international policy, and the conflicts at the Russia’s borders and outside them are the clear proof of this. Afghanistan, Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and a number of other countries and territories suffer from the excessive attention and influence of the Russian Federation. Thus, the Soviet Union and the Cold War continue to echo even in the 21st century, and the countries which led the rivalry blocks for the decades until pay for the consequences of the political steps they have taken.
Gaddis, J. (2005). The Cold War. The Penguin Press, New York, NY.
Why did the USA and USSR become rivals in the period 1945 to 1949? (n. d.). John D Clare. Retrieved from http://www.johndclare.net/cold_war1_answer.htm
Lend-Lease and Military Aid to the Allies in the Early Years of World War II (n. d.). Office of the Historian. Retrieved from https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/lend-lease
Truman, H. (1947). The Truman Doctrine. American Rhetoric. Retrieved from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/harrystrumantrumandoctrine.html
Offner, A. (2011). President Truman and the origins of the Cold War. BBC History. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/truman_01.shtml
Royde-Smith, J. (last updated 2017). World War II. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/World-War-II
Leaders throughout the history of the Soviet Union (n. d.). World Atlas. Retrieved from http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/leaders-throughout-the-history-of-the-soviet-union.html
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Teaching the Cold War (2014). The Source, The California History-Social Science Project, UC Regents, Spring.
Haines, G., Leggett, R. (editors) (2001). CIA’a Analysis of the Soviet Union 1947 – 1991: A Documentary Collection. Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington DC.