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The Cold War

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The Cold War

The Cold War was the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII. The US is a capitalist country and has democracy. The Soviet Union was a Communist state, which lead to strife. The basic tenants of these opposing societies were ingrained in the people, and since only one country be the world leader, the conflict was inevitable. The Cold War lasted from 1945-1989 and was the constant struggle between communist world and western world. The Cold War shaped today's world and as such is something that must be studied.

The Cold War began after WWII when the Allied countries met for the Yalta Conference. Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin met to discuss what would become of the defeated countries. Roosevelt and Churchill wanted to help Germany and Europe rebuild which would hopefully avoid another world war. (GlobalSecurity) Their idea was formed into the Marshall Plan, which funded most of the rebuilding of Europe. (GlobalSecurity) Josef Stalin had a different plan. As the leader of the USSR, which had been battered during the fight, he wanted to make Germany pay. Stalin requested astronomical war reparations from Germany, but Roosevelt and Churchill wouldn't allow it. They finally agreed that Germany could be split into four sections. (GlobalSecurity) However, Stalin refused to accept France into the spoils as they did nothing to earn them. So England, France, and America all got a third of the Free world's half, while Russia bogarted the other half. (GlobalSecurity)The Soviet Union was still not pleased with these resolutions because they wanted a buffer zone for more protection. (Friedman) They felt that the Westerners were threating because the western border was free, directly opposing their military take over style of control. (GlobalSecurity)To provide themselves with more protection, the Soviets began to build up an empire. They established the satellite nations, countries subject to Soviet domination. (Friedman) They also set up communist governments in countries including Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and East Germany. (Cold War Museum) Meanwhile, the United States wanted all nations to have democracy and more importantly, free trade. (Friedman) They attempted to reach these goals with the containment policy, where they try to contain or limit the spread of communism, and through documents like the Truman Doctrine, which called on the US to take a leadership role in the world. (Cold War Museum) The main cause of the cold war was the tension and disagreements between the Communists and the Free World.

In America, the paranoia of communists and communism was widespread. Dubbed the "red scare," everyone was wary of suspicious activity. (History Learning Site) Constantly on alert, many innocent people were falsely accused during this time of mass hysteria. (History Learning Site) Because of these communist scares the Truman administration began loyalty programs, which ensured that communists would "get their comeuppance." The US discovered many acts of espionage and Russia spies who were gathering data on our nuclear weapons and relaying it back to the USSR. (U.S. National Park Service) This action wasn't enough, and there was still a scare among the masses and this led to HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) investigations. HUAC was established to investigate the disloyalty of Soviet Americans who were infiltrating government agencies, etc. (U.S. National Park Service) Many suspicious persons were located in Hollywood as the scene there was quite socialist. Some of the most famous faces in stardom in the US were accused of having radical political associations and ideas during cold war. (History Learning Site) Some actors chose not to answer the congressional questions on Communist influences in Hollywood. (History Learning Site) These actors were called the Hollywood Ten. (History Learning Site) Other actors or film personnel who were suspicious were put on a Hollywood blacklist, which successfully ended their careers for most of the duration of the engagement. (History Learning Site) To keep from having the communist threat growing in the United States, Congress passed the McCarran-Walter Act, which established a quota system for immigrants from each country, strongly discriminating against immigrants from Communist parts of the world. (U.S. National Park Service)

During the Cold War, America focused on containing and eliminating communism. In order to keep the Soviet Union threat in check and worried, the United States advanced their nuclear weapons program.



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