For instance, the US backed the Ethiopian government and the Soviets backed next-door rival Somalian the s; when an Ethiopian revolution caused the new government to seek Soviet help, the US switched to support Somalia instead Goldstein, The United States became alarmed with the growing of communism in Europe and set up the Marshall Plan in order to counteract the spread of communism.
The Marshall Plan was an economic support program funded by the United States.
They gave relief money to the war torn democratic countries in order to rebuild their economy. They did not give money to the Soviet Union and any of its satellites. This restricted trade to within the Soviet Union. These measures to isolate the enemy and set up economic barriers helped to provoke the Cold War.
The Soviet Union and the west also formed political alliances to combat the other side. These military coalitions put a greater threat behind the growing conflicts by involving more countries. These military alliances were supplemented by two edicts set by the Soviet Union and the United States. The United States issued the Truman Doctrine, which stated that they would support those countries resisting communism. Likewise, the Soviet Union later issued the Brezhnev Doctrine which decreed that the Soviet Union would intervene with force in order to protect communism in its satellites.
One of the main issues that strained relations between the Soviet Union and the west was the threat of nuclear war. Both the Soviet Union and the United States knew how to make nuclear weapons. This knowledge made the consequences of their actions much more cautious. This helped to cause the war during the Cuban Missile Crisis where the Soviet Union planted nuclear missiles at the United States from Cuba for a time.
The ideological differences, economic barriers, political and military alliances, and nuclear weapons all contributed to creating the Cold War. The Cold War was the result of a clash between communism and capitalism, two opposing world-views. Another cause of the build up to the Cold War was the intransigent attitude of both sides. The Soviet Union was extremely concerned about its security after having been invaded twice in the twentieth century. After that the USA moved its bombers into Europe.
Russia responded by forming the Warsaw Mutual Defense Pact with its buffer zone neighbors. In the Soviets used a missile to launch Sputnik 1 into orbit around the earth. The arms race evolved into a space race as the United States rushed to launch its own satellites. The space race was an opportunity for the two nations to show their technological superiority.
The Soviet Union was too economically enfeebled to reply in kind. In Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. He adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the Americans and many arms reduction pacts were signed. The first unmistakable evidence of the Soviet missiles came from a U-2 reconnaissance flight over the island on October 14, , that showed the first of twenty-four launching pads being constructed to accommodate forty-two R medium range missiles that had the potential to deliver forty-five nuclear warheads almost anywhere in the eastern half of the United States.
Kennedy suddenly saw that he had been deceived by Krushchev and convened a war cabinet called ExCom Executive Committee of the National Security Council , which included the Secretaries of State and Defense Rusk and McNamara , as well as his closest advisers.
United States Relations with Russia: The Cold War
At the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs began planning for an immediate air assault, followed by a full invasion. Kennedy wanted everything done secretly. He had been caught short, but he did not want the Russians to know that he knew their plan until he had decided his own response and could announce it to the world.
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Kennedy shared his decision to pursue negotiation and a naval blockade of Cuba while keeping the option of an all-out invasion on the table with the Joint Chiefs on Friday, October Of all the Chiefs, Kennedy and his team saw LeMay as the most intractable. But that impression may have come from his demeanor, his candor, and perhaps his facial expressions, since he was not the most belligerent of the Chiefs.
Shoup was crude and angry at times. LeMay differed from Kennedy and McNamara on the basic concept of nuclear weapons. Back on Tinian, LeMay thought the use of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, although certainly larger than all other weapons used, were really not all that different from other bombs. He based this on the fact that many more people were killed in his first incendiary raid on Tokyo five months earlier than with either atomic bomb.
The Impact of the War
But McNamara and Kennedy realized that there was a world of difference between two bombs in the hands of one nation in and the growing arsenals of several nations in Upon entering office and taking responsibility for the nuclear decision during the most dangerous period of the Cold War, Kennedy came to loathe the destructive possibilities of this type of warfare. McNamara would sway both ways during the Cuban Missile Crisis, making sure that the military option was always there and available, but also trying to help the President find a negotiated way out.
His proportional response strategy that would come into play in Vietnam in the Johnson Administration three years later was born in the reality of the dangers that came out of the Cuban crisis. Finally, Nikita Krushchev, who created the crisis, brought it to an end by backing down and agreeing to remove the weapons.
As a political officer in the Red Army during the worst of World War II, at the siege of Stalingrad, the Soviet leader understood what could happen if things got out of hand. In an effort to help him save face, Kennedy made it clear to everyone around him that there would be no gloating over this victory.
Castro, on the other hand was quite different in his response. There was also a feeling of letdown among the Joint Chiefs.
They thought the U. They also did not trust the Russians to stand by their promise to dismantle and take home all the missiles. The Soviets had a long track record of breaking most of their previous agreements. LeMay considered the final negotiated settlement the greatest appeasement since Munich. It was a hollow gesture as they were scheduled to be removed already, but it allowed Krushchev to save face internationally.
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Castro continued to be a thorn in the side of the United States. But ultimately, he was mostly inconsequential. Despite his Quaker roots, Nixon had a reputation as a staunch anticommunist. This plan was part of his broader theory that came to be known as the Nixon Doctrine. Nixon and Henry Kissinger first as national security adviser and then secretary of state agreed on the need to accept the world as it was—conflicted and competitive— and to make the most of it. Containing communism was no longer U.
In a multipolar world—comprising the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Europe, and Japan—America could work even with communist countries as long as they promoted global stability, the new core of U. Gone was the Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy understanding that a loss of freedom anywhere was a loss of freedom everywhere. Nixon was most lucid about the Nixon Doctrine in his June commencement speech at the U. Naval Academy. He suggested that U. But the president spent much of his speech on what he really thought was important: making his kind of realism the basis for American foreign policy in general and Cold War policy in particular.
Because there were limits to what America could achieve and because U. The Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy team went to work, beginning with Vietnam. In four years, the Nixon administration reduced American forces in Vietnam from , to twenty-four thousand.
Spending dropped from twenty-five billion dollars a year to less than three billion. In , the president abolished the draft, eliminating a primary issue of the anti-war protestors.
Joseph Stalin: National hero or cold-blooded murderer?
At the same time, he kept up the American bombing in North Vietnam and added targets in Cambodia and Laos that were being used by Vietcong forces as sanctuaries, while seeking a negotiated end to the war. An impatient Congress and public pressed the administration for swifter results and accurate accounts of the war. President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had been guilty of making egregiously false claims about gains and losses in Vietnam. Escalation of the war produced widespread student protests, including a tragic confrontation at Kent State University, where four students were killed by inexperienced members of the Ohio National Guard.
On June 24, the Senate decisively repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which had first authorized the use of U. But the Nixon Doctrine also contained elements of force.