Origins of the cold war
The cold war was a state of political, economic and ideological struggle between two superpowers; the United States of America and the then Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic and their allies. The tension began sometime after the end of the Second World War in 1945 and lasted till the collapse of the union sometime in December 1991 (Walter 18-34)
There were ideological differences between the heads of the two states; while Truman who was the president of the United States wanted to end communism, his counterpart Stalin run a communist country. Truman’s advisors convinced him to implement containment, which was a policy that was meant to control Russia’s expansive tendencies (Theodore). It claimed to help independent states from outside pressures, and this was they could stop the spread of communism. During this time Truman offered money to intervene in war hence introducing Truman’s doctrine.
The United States had different agendas when it came to particular countries such as Germany. The United States wanted Germany to recover from the effects of war and regain her trading capability; on the other hand, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic was out to make her a communist state hence ensuring that the states around the union were friendly. The Yalta and postdam conferences all held to determine the fate of Germany did not achieve the desired results (BBC). Churchill and Roosevelt who were present at the Yalta conference had passed away when the postdam conference was held creating differences between the main leaders present at the postdam conference. The Marshall plan was also introduced to give European states financial support so that they could recover from the war and not turn to communism. Stalin opposed this move and forbade the states in the union to apply for the aid. The marshal plan saw Czechoslovak become a capitalist state at the time.
Deception and failure to be honest between the two leaders also accelerated the tension further between the two factions. Truman failed to inform Stalin that he had an atomic bomb. He went ahead to attack Japan so that it would surrender before Russia could send soldiers to Japan; this action agitated his Russian counterpart, Stalin. What followed was an arms race between the two stateS (BBC). The Americans encouraged the development of atomic bombs; meanwhile, Stalin too created his atomic bombs.
Space exploration provided another arena for competition between the two countries. In the late 1950s the Soviet launched the first artificial satellite; in 1961 they shoot the first person into space (BBC). In 1969 the United States had its first achievement when their successful land to the moon.
The competition was also expressed in the sports arena. Some contests had underlying political tension more so during the Moscow Olympics of 1980; the United States did not attend, and during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles the Soviet Union was not present (BBC).
There were various developments during the cold war that further fuelled the war between the two warring factions. The Berlin blockade and airlift did not favor the development of Germany as Truman had wanted. Britain, France and America had joined their zones to form the western zone and further introduced a currency to help the area trade (Theodore). The Korean War was a fight between communism and capitalism; the United States and the Soviet used resources in their power to support the divided factions of Korea so as for further their ideas. The war ceased due to threats of the atomic bomb being used in the country.
The Hungarian war was a way of the country getting its independence from Russia after the death of Stalin, but this was not to be leading to the war. The Cuban missile crisis also made matters worse between the two states; the heads of states had to come to an agreement due to the imminent danger of nuclear bombs utilization leading to nuclear wars (Gadis & Lewis).
In conclusion, the origin of the cold war was based on various factors, ideological, political and economic. It resulted in war among different states as leaders choose the economic policy to establish and development in some sectors such as space exploration.
BBC. History; The Cold War. 2015. January 2017 Accessed from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir2/>.
Gaddis, John Lewis. Strategies of containment: a critical appraisal of American national security policy during the Cold War. Oxford University Press, 2005.
LaFeber, Walter. America, Russia and the Cold War 1945-2006. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2008.
Theodore. HOW DID THE COLD WAR START AND END? 2013. January 2017 Accessed from <http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/11/cold-war-start-end/>.