The Cold War began sometime around 1945, shortly after the end of WWII.
The Cold War was between the United States and the Soviet Union as they foughtfor dominating world powers with their polar opposite views on economics andgovernment. The Cold War is called the cold war simply because of the lack ofuse of nuclear weapons between the two countries. The USSR and the UnitedStates were nothing more than mere allies fighting a mutual enemy during WWIIand had always depicted one another as evil. However, with the ever-growing fearof communism rising and nuclear powers not be shared equality both the USSR andUS shared different beliefs and fought to keep their beliefs upheld. The Cold War is often described asa war of words and threats between the US and the USSR; mainly being apolitical and economic struggle between the two nations that never occurred duringactual warfare. Both countries often fought each other through satellitecountries such as North and South Vietnam, the North being provided with weaponryand aid from the USSR and the South by the US. By 1947, President Trumanestablished a policy of providing economic and military aid to countriesthreatened by communism—this policy helped Greece and Turkey.
The policy, knownas the Truman Doctrine, was a war strategy of containment versus expansion andcan be seen as quite successful given the lack of spreading of communism. There are several factors that ledto the creation of the Truman Doctrine. In 1946, four setbacks occurred thatresulted in having no chances of achieving a durable post-war rapprochementwith the USSR. The first setback being the USSR’s failure to withdraw troopsfrom northern Iran. The USSR wanted access to oil concessions and attempted topressure the Iranian Government into granting them access. The USSR also wantedbase and transit rights through Turkish Straits and forced Turkish Governmentsinto granting them the rights. Apart from wanting unprecedented access andrights, the USSR rejected the Baruch plan for international control overnuclear energy and weapons in June of 1946. All of these factors play into thereasoning behind the creation of the Truman Doctrine.
The Marshall Plan alsoattempts to deal with the spread of communism by the United States. TheMarshall Plan consisted of billions of dollars in US aid for the countriesstill recovering from war following WWII. Marshall Plan was an incentive basedplan to help European countries reject the move towards communism. Both theTruman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan was meant to carry out the US’s policy ofpreventing the spread of communism and limiting Soviet expansion. Prior to theCold War and both the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, the United States had beenattempting to prevent the further spread of communism in Europe by establishingpolicies of economic and military aid for European Nations.The United States had many alliesduring the Cold War and the forming of NATO occurred in 1949 between the US,Canada, France, Britain, Italy, and the Netherlands. NATO, known as the NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization, was formed to stop aggression by the USSR.
Withthe help of allies, the United States was able to successfully ship supplies byair to residents of the Western-controlled sections of Berlin between June1948-May1949. The Berlin airlift was in response to the USSR blockade of landand sea routes to the cities under Western-control. After the forming of NATOled to the Warsaw Pact, which was an alliance between the USSR and otherEastern European nations.Truman believed in the dominotheory regarding communism and that if one country fell to communism than itsneighboring countries would soon follow and it would eventually reach theUnited States so containment had an important role in the cold war. Truman’s foreignpolicy directed at blocking the USSR’s influence and stopped the expansion ofcommunism, created alliances and helped weak countries resist the controllinghand of communism. The Cold War led to many countries being divided through theiron curtain. The iron curtain is a phrase used to represented the divisionbetween democratic Western Europe and Communist Eastern Europe.
The term ironcurtain was coined by Churchill. The US and democratic Western Europeangovernments feared the USSR would attempt to expand the Iron Curtain ofcommunism further. The resulting fear, mistrust and confrontation led to thenearly 50-yearlong Cold War.The Cold War and its decades long policybattle led to the Korean, the Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. These wars rose duringthe 50-yearlong stretch of the Cold War because of the US and the USSR’sattempts to win over these countries governments.
The United States wasinvolvement in these wars was because the policy of containment applied in Asiaas well as in Europe. However, with the United States growth in partaking inwar growing, they were still reluctant to commit for extended periods of time,and this effect was expressed during the Vietnam War. In 1973, the War PowersAct limited Presidential power to send troops into combat was establishedbecause of the unlimited power granted during the Vietnam war by PresidentLyndon Johnson in 1964. From the end of WWII until the end of the Cold War, theUS carried out its foreign policy mainly by taking a variety of actions to preventthe spread of communism, however the most important aim of their foreign policyhas always been advancement of national self-interest.