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Cold War

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The Cold War is a term used to describe the open yet restricted rivalry and hostility that developed after World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War lasted from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s. Numerous consequences resulted from the war, such as, the Korean War, the Truman Doctrine, and the Warsaw Pact.

Although it centered originally in Europe, the Cold War animosity eventually drew the United States and the USSR into local conflicts in almost every quarter of the globe. (Legvold 1).

Hatred between the United Sates and the USSR had its roots in the fading moments of World War I. Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin resolved to withdraw Russia from the war, but in 1918, the US and its allies intervened militarily in Russia to restore the collapse of the Eastern Front in their effort against Germany. The US and the European Powers took offense to Russia's leadership. In 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR, was formed as a federal union of Russia under Communist control. Joseph Stalin ruled the USSR from 1929 to 1953. (The Cold War and post-Cold War eras: An overview 1)

The United States and the USSR had become divided over political future in Poland, even before the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945. Stalin's forces had driven Germans out of Poland in 1944 and 1945 and he established the pro-Communist temporary government there. The US accused the USSR of expanding Communism in Europe and Asia. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman issued the Truman Doctrine, which authorized aid to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey. In the summer of 1947, the US committed itself to a massive economic aid program. This program was called the Marshall Plan, after the US secretary of state George C. Marshall. It was designed to rebuild Western European economically. (Legvold 3)

Many significant events that helped shape the Cold War were the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was signed in April 1949 and followed the Berlin Blockade. In 1953, a serious impact to the Cold War was the death of Stalin. Meanwhile in 1955, a group of Eastern European communist nations led by the USSR formed the Warsaw Pact. The Construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 was to prevent East Germans from fleeing into West Germany. (Legvold 4)

In addition to these occurrences, in June of 1950, Stalin had looked as if to support the plans of North Korean Communist leader, Kim II Sung to attack South Korea. He assumed that the US and other powers would not get involved. This mistaken assumption led to the Korean War. Another instance where the Cold War turned hot was in the Vietnam War, which began in 1959 and lasted until 1975. It was a long bloody conflict and placed the Communist North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front against the South Vietnamese. Also, the Cuban missile crisis informed both sides that nuclear war in pursuit of political objectives was simply too dangerous. (Legvold 4-5)

The Warsaw Pact was a military alliance of eight European Communist nations and was formed in 1955 in response to West Germany's entry into NATO. Its terms included a unified military



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