The Cold War was a time period whereby the world watched as two contestants, the United States representing capitalism and the Soviet Union representing communism duked it out to be the worlds only superpower.
Created by RyanLawson on Nov 9, 2010
Last updated: 11/09/10 at 10:32 PM
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Leaving many in disbelief, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen other, independent countries. The United States had come out victorious as the “Red Dog,” had failed, and capitalism prevailed over communism. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had once again become a single nation – Russia.
After elections showed that Germans wanted the country to once again be unified, they were. Due to the drastic economic and social differences that existed between East and West Germany, the country was plunged into a short recession, coming out of it by 1994.
After a week of violent riots and fighting, the Romanian people overthrew their communist government, becoming the first country in the Eastern Bloc to break free from the holds of communism.
On this day the communist leader of East Berlin announces that the wall would be open to those wishing to make private trips. Quickly thereafter the wall was brought down completely, thus signifying the divide between both superpowers coming disappearing as well, as the world slowly becomes more globalized and integrated as one.
Perestroika refers to change made politically and economically, as Gorbachev shifted the political system to a more democratized way, such as that seen in the United States. He introduced the Soviet Union to voting who would be in office, and allowed more privatization of business. Glasnost allowed the Soviet people more freedoms and rights, and was meant to allow people to vote for whomever they wished to be elected into office.
Coming to office in 1989, Gorbachev implemented two main acts of reform for the people living under the Soviet Union – Glasnost and Perestroika. Gorbachev felt that the Cold War was a direct result of mistrust between the two superpowers, and worked to improve relations between them.
This was an idea implemented by Reagan by using both ground and space technology to defend the United States from any nuclear ballistic missiles that the USSR may attempt to attack them with.
Elected on November 4th 1980, Reagan would serve two terms in office, aiding the United States and Soviet Union in reaching an eventual truce.
As Afghanistan was taken over by a very unpopular communist party, uprisings and guerilla war in the country soon broke out. This prompted the USSR to send over 30,000 troops to invade and secure their communist allies power.
President Carter and Breshnev agree to sign another disarmament agreement, however as the USSR invades its neighbor to the south, Afghanistan, the United States sees this as being distrustful and withdraws from the agreement.
Strategic Arms Limitations Talks between Nixon and Breshnev, whereby both companies agree to reduce their nuclear arsenal, marking the beginning of lessening tensions between the United States and Soviet Union.
In order to counter the US lead in arms advancement, Nikita Khrushchev placed intermediate range nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy responds to this discovery on October 22 stating that any attack from Cuba would be taken as an attack from the USSR, and imposed a naval blockade to persuade the halt of these missile site construction. This is the closest the world would come to nuclear conflict.
After the crisis in Cuba almost brought the worlds superpowers to nuclear war, both sides agreed to create a hotline connecting their capitals in the case that a misunderstanding or issue should arise between the two, helping prevent another crisis such as this.
The USSR erects a wall separating West and East Berlin. This wall was protected with barbed wire fence, armed guards as well as heavy gun positions. Estimates of up to 200 citizens attempting to escape from East to West Berlin were killed, but miraculously almost 5000 people made the escape safely.
In an attempt to fly over denied airspace and photograph the Soviet territory, CIA pilot Francis Gary was shot down in his U-2, as the US believed the USSR may be on the verge of developing ICBM’s. This raised tensions between USA and USSR as the Soviet Union accused the USA of espionage.
After 2 years of being exiled in Mexico, Castro and his guerilla forces invade Cuba, in the attempt to overthrow General Matistas government, and eventually seized control and implemented a communist government on January 1 1959.
This day would mark to start of the space race, as the USSR launches the world’s first satellite into orbit – ushering in a new era of technological and military threats posed by the USSR to the USA.
Students gather in Budapest, Hungary in an attempt to overthrow the Stalinist government that had seized control of Hungary. They also wanted a free press and the right to a democratic election. As the USSR continues to support the communist party Hungary requested its leave from the Warsaw Pact, and asked for the assistance of the UN to remove Soviet troops from their countries borders, however would receive no help.
Originally fought between France and Vietnam in an attempt to prevent the Viet Cong and northern Vietnamese communists from taking over the Republic of Vietnam (southern Vietnam). The United States would then replaced the French as they could not contain the communist threat. The United States decides to also withdraw in 1975, and south Vietnams capital, Saigon, falls to communism soon after.
During this time, many believed that communists had weaseled their way into American society, and even worse the government. McCarthy went on a witch hunt in an attempt to find these communists and remove them from office. As McCarthy shifted his focus from political figures to military officials he drastically lost support, and was driven to resignation in 1954.
Backed by the USSR and Communist China, North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt to make a communist takeover. The capitalist US in response aided South Korea with the support of the UN. This created a proxy war between the USSR and USA.
During the Greek Civil War, President Truman issued the Truman doctrine, as an effort to aid Greece in becoming a democratic country rather than allowing it to fall to communism.
On this day the Soviet Union dropped its first atomic bomb – a great surprise to the United States because prior to this they thought they had a stronghold on atomic superiority. This day marks the true beginning of the atomic arms race, as each contestant fought to arise as the world’s strongest super power.
This is a formal treaty signed by countries of North America and Western Europe, stating that if the Soviet Union were to invade any of NATO’s 16 members, all would get involved. Today NATO does more than protect its member countries, as it has been active in such places as Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, as they attempt to create and maintain world peace.
The Berlin blockade was the beginning of the cold war’s serious escalation as the Soviet Union made a blockade on all road and rail transportation linking east and west Berlin in order to starve the East Berliners into submission. The Berlin Airlift was the capitalists response to this blockade in which they flew in supplies to the famished eastern Berlin in an effort to promote capitalism.
This was a plan proposed by General Marshall as a means to repair Western Europe in order to maintain a healthy world economy, whereby the United States gave away 13.2 billion dollars to 16 Western European nations.
At this time the Second World War had been over for a little over two months. Churchill, Stalin and Truman all met in Potsdam to determine what Europe’s future will hold. The result; Stalin and the communist Soviet Union would control Eastern Europe and East Berlin, and the more Capitalist Americans, French and British would have control of West Berlin. The map of Europe was redrawn.