What Led to the Cold War?

Historical Background

Historically, the Cold War started in 1945 way before the silence of gunshots in Pacific areas and in Germany when World War II had just ended. There were major reasons for the outbreak of the Cold War. One of the reasons points out to the strained relationship between the Soviet Union’s Stalin and the United States’ Truman.

This was attributed to the competing ideologies between the two nations where one, the USA, valued freedom through capitalist system whereas the Soviet Union was ruled through dictatorship by the communism system. This brought many controversies that later resulted in a clash.

For instance, Stalin’s intention was to completely destroy German’s industrial base so that it no longer had the guts to resurface as a military giant in Europe, thereby preventing her from remilitarizing. Truman, however, was not in the best interest of this as he had the opinion that democracy and industrialization were more important than aggression to helping Germany recover.

Another major historical reason as to the emergence of the Cold War was that the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin tried to undermine Germany’s democracy as a state by advocating for retribution of Germany. This was through letting her pay large sums of money in war reparations because of having started the First World War. Again, the United States viewed this as a revenge mechanism and did not hold a similar opinion. This led to the beginning of the Cold War (Lewkowicz, 46).

The events before the Second World War lay the ground for the Cold War as tensions between former allies escalated. The creation of the Eastern bloc by the Russian satellite, the delay of the amphibious raids and the mass killings of the Jewish living in Germany were such events. Besides, the Act also known as the Holocaust that involved slaughtering of the Jews living in Germany angered the US.

These events slowly broke down the coalition between the allies and later broke down into war. Trust was not restored, and each side saw events completely differently and believed on their sides to be the right one. Actions undertaken by either side made it worse by creating more hatred.

On the other hand, the news of the fate of the Berlin city dominated every part of Europe and the world at large. The formation of the Eastern bloc by the Soviet Union also stunned a majority who were against such division.

In order to counter-attack and minimize further spread of the communists’ influence abroad, foreign policy officials took it upon themselves to ensure that the US had the mandate not just to protect the citizens from attack by external forces, but also to check the influence of the USSR in international matters continuously.

In 1947, Truman allocated colossal sums of money in the budget under what was known as Truman’s Doctrine to aid those nations that were passionately fighting communism influence abroad. To begin with, he sent a package of over $400 million to the revolutionaries fighting in Turkey in order to diminish the communist influence (Hughes-Warrington 124).

Two Lenses of International Relations

International relations contain theories that can vividly explain the causes of the Cold War. It can be studied through a theoretical angle, which comprises both Marxism and capitalism. Therefore, the differences in ideologies of handling issues and addressing problems that affected the bereaved nations were some of the immediate causes of the Cold War after World War II.

More related to this is the issue of liberalism. To be precise, it functioned as a principle that gave citizens equal rights as long as such rights did not interfere with other people’s freedom. This means that a superior body, usually the legislature, had to offer checks and balances so that everyone could operate under conditions that were conducive for all.

Liberal explanation stipulates that liberals do not go to war with one another hence giving more regard to a feeling of democratic peace. Despite the idea of liberalism, the USA and the Soviet Union had different ideologies of approach to matters that affected democracy, leadership, and the economy as a whole. In fact, the more problems plummeted, the more they hated each other.

The greatest principle governing it is that none is above the law and that it is the mandate of the governing body to instill confidence in its people through the constitution, which is not formed by a single person, but rather by the representatives of the people being governed.

The US has remained an icon in the struggle for democracy across the world. The liberal ideology in the 19th century advocated for the rights of individuals in both political and economic arena without any interference from the government or other external forces (Jones 94).

Although Marxism principles of Communism were good, no nation could fully implement such ideologies. Therefore, it was simply a utopian dream. Karl Marx tried to offer the best definition of a state as far as the spirit of Communism was concerned but that which has been severally misinterpreted by the followers who have been victims of adopting principles that only suit their purpose.

He defines the state as an organ, which is subject to change due to being overtaken by a more dominant group. The Soviet lived under this utopian belief that it would rise as the ruling class in the whole world; thus, causing the Cold War (Howe 99).

The isolation of the Soviet Union in international diplomacy was something that did not augur well with Soviet Russia. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet remained suspicious of their neighbors whom they described as hostile capitalists.

To Vladimir, advocacy for diplomacy was simply a weapon meant to create divisions in the enemies’ camp. This led to the establishment of the Comintern Act, something that called for military turmoil abroad. The Act worsened the relationship between the Soviet Union and America in international matters.

After the Second World War, Truman became increasingly involved in trying to maintain peace by establishing a new state of order in the international domain. The creation of the World Bank was his brainchild. He also helped in funding the rebuilding of Japan and even outlined the Marshall Plan, which aimed at the reconstruction of Germany in order to make it an industrialized nation as before.

Even though the Soviet Union cofounded the United Nations, she became more aggressive and opposed every positive move the US intended to undertake towards improving the process and creating an enabling environment for the people.

For example, during the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Stalin tried to thwart such schemes without suitable reasons. Moreover, the Soviet protested and opposed the outlining of the Marshal Plan, claiming that it would give the Germans a military advantage over other industrialized nations. This would encourage aggressiveness. Truman, however, became adamant of such claims and ensured successful implementation of the projects in Germany.

In retaliation, the Soviet Union went ahead to establish a pro-communist administration in Poland and other Eastern European allies so as to create a barrier between Germany and the Soviet as a protection mechanism, further leading to the division of both West and East Europe. This Act of cowardice contributed towards the Cold War.

As if that was not enough, the Soviet Union was determined to drive out the Americans and the British forces that occupied the Berlin city in Germany but failed in every attempt. They blocked most of the roads and railway access in a bid to limit the entrance of the troops into Berlin City.

During this time, the starving Berlin received donations in the form of food and drugs from the United States. America was particularly concerned with Berlin because she did not want it to collapse as much although the opposite had been the wish of the Soviet’s Stalin.

Due to his influence in West Europe, Truman persuaded the Western European powers to enter into the NATO treaty. This treaty was signed by America and the allies such as Britain with the aim of defending themselves from every attempt of the Soviet invasion.

Many nations in Europe joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization promising to unite together to challenge every form of aggression that would emanate from their enemies. Again, due to a sense of insecurity and fear of losing the battle against the Liberalists, the Communist Soviet formed almost a similar pact with her allies in Eastern Europe known as the Warsaw Pact of 1955.

Going by history, Marxism is an ideology founded under Karl Marx Manifesto and involves class struggle. It is also known as socialism and was largely adopted by the Soviet Union. It is the opposite of capitalism, which was adopted by the US. It was founded under the principle of the state is the monopoly of all the resources and was instituted as a reaction of the capitalists’ habit of exploiting workers (Howe 46).

Looking at the other side of the coin, the ideological difference between the two world superpowers brought much division into the world. The US, in particular, had the burden of defending the liberal Capitalists by containing the Communists bloc under the dominance of the Soviet.

The Communists community received massive support from sympathizers such as China who fully adopted Communism under Mao Zedong and others. However, the United States had remained in the battlefront for decades under its foreign policy in fighting Communism.

Without any element of partisanship, the motive behind the US, limiting Communism influence in most parts of the world was not merely out of malice or political and economic gain. This was, however, due to her belief in some of the worst policies such influence would cause to the world leading to infringement of human rights.

In its defense, the United States used the Cold War as a platform under which the rest of the world would be able to see the negative influence of Communism as totalitarianism that was, in fact, the worst form of Communism. The Soviet Union and the fascism or the totalitarianism were inseparable since they all aimed at challenging the fundamental rights of the citizens. Such ideologies believed in establishing powerful states with powerful leaders and the control of freedom of speech and sometimes movement.

In this new world order, the position played by aggressiveness is detrimental to international peace. Soviet Union collapse remains a historical failure and a lesson that every world leader must learn that conflicts (and any other act of belligerence) do not pay.

Although the era marked by rumors of big wars has slowly died down, it has, however, become apparent that there are regions that have become seriously interlocked in conflicts. This has been attributed to due to the collapse of the Cold War disciplines that has continued to subject both the social systems, as well as the state systems into a series of strained relationships (Mearsheimer 78).

In conclusion, the international relationship has continued to act as a disciplining mechanism in the new era of world order, thereby trying to restore peace even in war-torn areas. The major challenge has always been lack of corporation from the arrogant economic giants whose governments hold little regard for the rights of their citizens. It is critical to note that making the decision of such importance as to leadership styles and those of economic value that people perceive to be right, should be clearly determined.

Good leadership recommends the inclusion of rights and promotion of democracy. Addition of some other factors such as peace and integrity will not only lead to good governance but will also lead to improved socio-economic status in the entire communities, in the world. Different ideologies should be brought together towards the same desired goals towards the betterment of life.

Works Cited

Howe, Paul. “The Utopian Realism of E.H. Carr.” Review of International Studies 20.3(1994): 277–297. Print

Hughes-Warrington, Marnie. Fifty Key Thinkers on History. London: Routledge, 2000. Print

Jones, Charles. E.H. Carr and International Relations: A Duty to Lie. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print

Lewkowicz, Nicolas. The German Question and the Origins of the Cold War. New York: IPOC, 2008. Print

Mearsheimer, John. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton, 2001. Print

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