Cold war refers to the conflict between the nations that supported communism, headed by the Soviet Union, and those that supported democracy, headed by the United States. The cold war involved propaganda, fiscal warfare, political arguments, and martial conflicts at times. The cold war is said to have begun around 1947 when President Truman of the United States affirmed his policy against communism thereby provoking a cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The war is said to have begun as a result of the clear-cut differences in governance between the United States and the Soviet Union. For instance, in the United States, the populace had the privilege to select their own leaders, and again, they were allowed to come up with their own political organization and allowed the privileges to gather in the form of meetings and free communication. While in the Soviet Union the communist party had the mandate to select the people who would constitute the government, they had no right to form their own political movements; they were also not allowed the privilege of free communication and gathering.
Another possible cause of the conflict was as a result of global trade. While the United States wanted free trade among the various countries, the Soviet Union was trying to prevent its member countries from trading with the other countries in the world. Russia, for instance, was hesitant in opening up to the rest of the western countries through trade since it was afraid of this having an influence on its autocratic governance. This, therefore, created a lot of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.
At the end of the World War II, Europe had collapsed and so the international power was split between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result of this, a lot of tension developed between these two unions as each one of them struggled to gain control over the world countries (The Postwar US para. 4). Basically, initial war started during peace agreement conferences and it got deepened when President Truman declared his policy against communism.
The Soviet Union had already begun expanding her influence in Europe even before the world war came to an end. It did this by deploring its red army to various parts of Europe and by the time the war came to a halt, it was already in control of a larger portion of the eastern side of Europe. The communists controlled the voting process in Europe and even won the first election and retained the powerful ministries of defense and military in the newly created government. Other factors that promoted the cold war was the American’s response to Russians influence on Europe which was rather quite negative, this furthered the bad blood between these two unions(Dudziak para.5).
The reasons behind the establishment of civil rights movements
The ingress of the United States into the world war caused it a lot; for instance, a good number of the Americans were forced to move into the coastal lands around the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf in order to provide labor in the war industries. At the end of the war, America was significantly better placed after the war than several other countries that had been involved in the war. The GI Bill was passed in 1944 in order to provide support for the people who had been involved in the war to access education and economic development.
The Americans therefore looked for all the means and opportunities to rebuild their lives. Though not all of them got an equal chance in exploring the available opportunities. The whites had an advantage in all this and were able to be better placed economically than the other groups such as the Hispanics and African Americans (The Postwar US para. 3). These groups, commonly known as the minority groups, developed an aggression in fighting for their civil rights in order to enjoy the complete rights and privileges that had been indicated in the constitution after the war (Boyer, 221).
The uprising of the civil rights movements in the US
The civil rights movements in the USA refer to a fight especially by the African Americans to acquire equal. Civil rights as all the other Americans. This movements had a lot of influence on America and they lead to an improved approval of constitutional rights and it also exposed the country to the pervasiveness and cost of racial discrimination (Gaddis, 2005, 25). As a result of this, the African Americans came together with the some of the whites in the United States to protest against bigotry that was real in the US. For quite some time during the world war, a few African Americans had united to fight for equal rights but after the world war quite a number of the civil rights movements came into the limelight. A significant period in the civil rights movements occurred between the years 1950s and 1960s when strong civil rights lobby groups were formed and Martin Luther king Junior became the head of these civil rights pressure groups (Boyer 230-233).
King arranged remonstration through public meetings, embargos and demonstrations. His expectation was that the individuals who were seeking equal rights through tranquility and courteous would be in support of the movements that he believed supported peaceful lobbying for the equivalent privileges for both the whites and the blacks. In 1964 and1965, the movements succeeded in having the central government pass the civil rights act and the voting rights acts. These acts abolished racial segregation, pledged the African Americans equal defense by the constitution and also guaranteed them the right to vote. Even though these acts were passed and the African American were really impressed, the civil rights movements did not stop here as the African Americans continued fighting for equal remuneration and access to educational opportunities for the blacks and the whites.
The cold war and the civil rights movements in the US highlight the correlation between the American approach to racism within its borders, across the borders and the international relations during the period just after the world war two. A weak correlation between the American home policy and foreign policy on racism and discrimination was evident during this period because racial discrimination (Dudziak, 2002, 76) economic and social inequalities and racial violence continued in the US. This sparked lot of international protests and the image of the United States became tainted internationally. It was rather absurd to have the United States trying to shape discrimination in the other countries while it could not handle the discrimination within its own walls.
In order to correct its tainted image, the United States defended itself by claiming that the existence of so many races within the country was a strong sign of racial equality in the country. The American government also decided to have control over the African Americans who were living in countries outside the United States; they did this in order to prevent them from bringing to the international community’s attention, the reality of racism in the US (Dudziak, 2002, 79). For instance, the government seized the passports of W.E.B DuBois and Paul Robeson when they tried to expose the discrimination against the blacks in the US. A number of writers such as Richard Wright and Baldwin James were also forced to flee to other countries; from those regions they continuously subverted the government’s strategies and policies on solving the racism issue. Josephine Baker, a musician was forced to move out of the country due discrimination in the US which according to her was seriously interfering with her musical career. Even after she denounced her American citizenship, the American government continued to silence her through propaganda, liaising with the media in the countries she was to discredit any information she gave and they also conducted investigations that could link her to communist governance in order to taint her name (Dudziak, 2002, 79).
Even though the government was trying to silence the anti racism activists leaving outside America, President Truman felt that as a result of the cold war that was raging between the US and the Soviet Union, it was important that societal amendments were made in order to put the US at an advantage in this battle. As a result of this, the president’s committee on civil rights in 1947 was formed; this policy analyzed the need to tackle the civil rights issue in the country since it was seriously interfering with the country’s international relations. The President therefore recommended the senate to pass the civil rights laws that would abolish killings of the African Americans, allow the blacks voting rights and to establish a permanent civil rights body to look into the rights of the blacks. All these recommendations failed to see the light of the day; this was as a result of the prevalence of the Southern Democrats in a number of the senate committees who had all along been opposed to granting equal rights for the African Americans and the whites.
Truman felt frustrated by the senate’s conduct and so he decided to use the authority of the administrative and the lawmaking divisions in order to handle issues affecting the government. He therefore decided to integrate the US Armed forces through administrative command. He also allowed the filling of the amicus curiae briefings that were in support of the cases that were presented by the NAACP at the courts. These updates laid emphasis on the need to abandon racism as it was becoming a drawback in America’s war against communism. The cold war therefore created a necessity to tackle the civil rights issues in the United States.
The changes brought about by the cold war
The cold war had a lot of impacts on a number of countries around the world. For instance, as a result of the cold war the communism system of governance ended, USA became the major super power, a number of the countries that had earlier on been under the Soviet Union attained independence, the Warsaw pact got dismantled, the two states that earlier on made Germany were unified again to form today’s Germany after the destruction of the Berlin wall, the Soviet Union crumbled, the Vietnam and Korean wars erupted and both The United States and the Soviet Union established huge caches of various types of weapons (The Postwar US para. 5).
The cold war refers to a conflict that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union; while united sates supported democracy, the soviet union supported communism, this sharp differences was the cause of tension as each of the unions tried to draw a large number of the other world countries towards its ideologies. The cold war also intensified because the US acquired a lot of atomic weapons, the Soviet Union’s acquisition of a larger portion of the Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was also worried about the US using the Western part of Europe to wage war against it. These factors and several others, created a serious tension between these two unions.
At the end of the world war the Americans were looking for all the opportunities to improve their living standards but the minority groups such as the African Americans, Hispanics and the others felt exclude and as a result they started fighting for the rights to enjoy the privileges that the constitution had indicated for all the citizens. As a result of this, a number of civil rights movements were formed in order to fight for the rights of the African Americans that continuously became infringed by the white Americans.
The US fought the Soviet Union by strongly criticizing its communist form of governance and this meant a war to promote human rights and democracy. The irony of all this was that the United States was also facing a serious domestic problem; racial discrimination. This made the US’s efforts to fight communism futile as the foreign relations between the country and other democracies strained on the grounds that the US was abating racism. President Truman therefore made recommendations to the senate to pass bill that would promote equal rights and privileges for all its citizens. But since the recommendations failed to go through the congress, Truman used his executive powers to desegregate the armed forces. In 1964 and 1965, civil rights act and the voting rights acts were passed that allowed the African Americans civil rights as well as voting rights.
Boyer, Paul S. Promises to keep: the United States since World War II. FL, Houghton Mifflin. 1999
Dudziak, Mary. Cold War civil rights: race and the image of American democracy. University Press. 2002.
Gaddis, John L. Strategies of containment: a critical appraisal of American national security policy during the Cold War. NY, Oxford University Press US, 2005.
“The Postwar US.” The Postwar US: 1945-1968. 2002. Web.