After the Second World War, the USA and USSR became two Super Powers. One nation tried to reduce the power of other. Indirectly the competition between the Super Powers led to the Cold War.
Then America took the leadership of all the Capitalist Countries.
Soviet Russia took the leadership of all the Communist Countries. As a result of which both stood as rivals to each other.
Definition of the Cold War:
In the graphic language of Hartman, “Cold War is a state of tension between countries in which each side adopts policies designed to strengthen it and weaken the other by falling short by actual war”.
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Infact, Cold War is a kind of verbal war which is fought through newspapers, magazines, radio and other propaganda methods. It is a propaganda to which a great power resorts against the other power. It is a sort of diplomatic war.
Origin of Cold War:
There is no unanimity amongst scholars regarding the origin of the Cold War In 1941 when Hitler invaded Russia, Roosevelt the President of USA sent armaments to Russia. It is only because the relationship between Roosevelt and Stalin was very good. But after the defeat of Germany, when Stalin wanted to implement Communist ideology in Poland, Hungery, Bulgaria and Rumania, at that time England and America suspected Stalin.
Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England in his ‘Fulton Speech’ on 5 March 1946 said that Soviet Russia was covered by an Iron Curtain. It led Stalin to think deeply. As a result of which suspicion became wider between Soviet Russia and western countries and thus the Cold War took birth.
Causes of the Cold War:
Various causes are responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. At first, the difference between Soviet Russia and USA led to the Cold War. The United States of America could not tolerate the Communist ideology of Soviet Russia. On the other hand, Russia could not accept the dominance of United States of America upon the other European Countries.
Secondly, the Race of Armament between the two super powers served another cause for the Cold War. After the Second World War, Soviet Russia had increased its military strength which was a threat to the Western Countries. So America started to manufacture the Atom bomb, Hydrogen bomb and other deadly weapons. The other European Countries also participated in this race. So, the whole world was divided into two power blocs and paved the way for the Cold War.
Thirdly, the Ideological Difference was another cause for the Cold War. When Soviet Russia spread Communism, at that time America propagated Capitalism. This propaganda ultimately accelerated the Cold War.
Fourthly, Russian Declaration made another cause for the Cold War. Soviet Russia highlighted Communism in mass-media and encouraged the labour revolution. On the other hand, America helped the Capitalists against the Communism. So it helped to the growth of Cold War.
Fifthly, the Nuclear Programme of America was responsible for another cause for the Cold War. After the bombardment of America on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Soviet Russia got afraid for her existence. So, it also followed the same path to combat America. This led to the growth of Cold War.
Lastly, the Enforcement of Veto by Soviet Russia against the western countries made them to hate Russia. When the western countries put forth any view in the Security Council of the UNO, Soviet Russia immediately opposed it through veto. So western countries became annoyed in Soviet Russia which gave birth to the Cold War.
Various Phases of the Cold War:
The Cold War did not occur in a day. It passed through several phases.
First Phase (1946-1949):
In this phase America and Soviet Russia disbelieved each other. America always tried to control the Red Regime in Russia. Without any hesitation Soviet Russia established Communism by destroying democracy in the Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungery, Yugoslavia and other Eastern European Countries.
In order to reduce Russia’s hegemony, America helped Greece and Turkey by following Truman Doctrine which came into force on 12 March 1947. According to Marshall Plan which was declared on 5 June, 1947 America gave financial assistance to Western European Countries.
In this phase, non withdrawal of army from Iran by Soviet Russia, Berlin blaockade etc. made the cold was more furious. After the formation of NATO in 1949, the Cold War took a halt.
Second Phase (1949-1953):
In this phase a treaty was signed between Australia, New Zeland and America in September, 1957 which was known as ANZUS. America also signed a treaty with Japan on 8 September, 1951. At that time by taking armaments from Russia and army from China, North Korea declared war against South Korea.
Then with the help of UNO, America sent military aid to South Korea. However, both North Korea and South Korea signed peace treaty in 1953 and ended the war. In order to reduce the impact of Soviet Communism, America spent a huge amount of dollar in propaganda against Communism. On the other hand, Soviet Russia tried to be equal with America by testing atom bomb.
Third Phase (1953-1957):
Now United States of America formed SEATO in 1954 in order to reduce Soviet Russia’s influence. In 1955 America formed MEDO in Middle East. Within a short span of time, America gave military assistance to 43 countries and formed 3300 military bases around Soviet Russia. At that time, the Vietnamese War started on 1955.
To reduce the American Power, Russia signed WARSAW PACT in 1955. Russia also signed a defence pact with 12 Countries. Germany was divided into Federal Republic of Germany which was under the American control where as German Democratic Republic was under Soviet Russia. In 1957 Soviet Russia included Sphutnick in her defence programme.
In 1953 Stalin died and Khrushchev became the President of Russia. In 1956 an agreement was signed between America and Russia regarding the Suez Crisis. America agreed not to help her allies like England and France. In fact West Asia was saved from a great danger.
Fourth Phase (1957-1962):
In 1959 the Russian President Khrushchev went on a historical tour to America. Both the countries were annoyed for U-2 accident and for Berlin Crisis. In 13 August 1961, Soviet Russia made a Berlin Wall of 25 Kilometres in order to check the immigration from eastern Berlin to Western Berlin. In 1962, Cuba’s Missile Crisis contributed a lot to the cold war.
This incident created an atmosphere of conversation between American President Kenedy and Russian President Khrushchev. America assured Russia that she would not attack Cuba and Russia also withdrew missile station from Cuba.
Fifth Phase (1962-1969):
The Fifth Phase which began from 1962 also marked a mutual suspicion between USA and USSR. There was a worldwide concern demanding ban on nuclear weapons. In this period Hot Line was established between the White House and Kremlin. This compelled both the parties to refrain from nuclear war. Inspite of that the Vietnam problem and the Problem in Germany kept Cold War between USA and USSR in fact.
Sixth Phase (1969-1978):
This phase commencing from 1969 was marked by DETENTE between USA and USSR- the American President Nixon and Russian President Brezhnev played a vital role for putting an end to the Cold War. The SALT of 1972, the summit Conference on Security’ of 1975 in Helsinki and Belgrade Conference of 1978 brought America and Russia closer.
In 1971, American Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger paid a secret visit to China to explore the possibilities of reapproachment with China. The American move to convert Diego Garcia into a military base was primarily designed to check the Soviet presence in the Indian Ocean. During the Bangladesh crisis of 1971 and the Egypt-Israel War of 1973 the two super powers extended support to the opposite sides.
Last Phase (1979-1987):
In this phase certain changes were noticed in the Cold War. That is why historians call this phase as New Cold War. In 1979, the American President Carter and Russian President Brezhnev signed SALT II. But in 1979 the prospects of mitigating Cold War were marred by sudden development in Afghanistan.
Vietnam (1975), Angola (1976), Ethiopia (1972) and Afghanistan (1979) issues brought success to Russia which was unbearable for America. American President Carter’s Human Rights and Open Diplomacy were criticised by Russia. The SALT II was not ratified by the US Senate. In 1980 America boycotted the Olympic held at Moscow.
In 1983, Russia withdrew from a talk on missile with America. In 1984 Russia boycotted the Olympic game held at Los-Angeles. The Star War of the American President Ronald Regan annoyed Russia. In this way the ‘New Cold War’ between America and Russia continued till 1987.
Result of the Cold War:
The Cold War had far-reaching implications in the international affairs. At first, it gave rise to a fear psychosis which resulted in a mad race for the manufacture of more sophisticated armaments. Various alliances like NATO, SEATO, WARSAW PACT, CENTO, ANZUS etc. were formed only to increase world tension.
Secondly, Cold War rendered the UNO ineffective because both super powers tried to oppose the actions proposed by the opponent. The Korean Crisis, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War etc. were the bright examples in this direction.
Thirdly, due to the Cold War, a Third World was created. A large number of nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America decided to keep away from the military alliances of the two super powers. They liked to remain neutral. So, Non-Alignments Movement became the direct outcome of the Cold War.
Fourthly, Cold War was designed against mankind. The unnecessary expenditure in the armament production created a barrier against the progress of the world and adversely affected a country and prevented improvement in the living standards of the people.
Fifthly, the principle ‘Whole World as a Family’, was shattered on the rock of frustration due to the Cold War. It divided the world into two groups which was not a healthy sign for mankind.
Sixthly, The Cold War created an atmosphere of disbelief among the countries. They questioned among themselves how unsafe were they under Russia or America.
Finally, The Cold War disturbed the World Peace. The alliances and counter-alliances created a disturbing atmosphere. It was a curse for the world. Though Russia and America, being super powers, came forward to solve the international crisis, yet they could not be able to establish a perpetual peace in the world.
The Cold War was one of the most devastating episodes in the world’s political history. It involved aspects of political as well as economic tensions between the two super powers of the time: the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR) (Painter 112). In order to effectively understand the Cold War, one needs to recall the destruction that the two powers had witnessed, especially during the Second World War. Since the U.S. and the USSR both possessed nuclear weaponry, direct military combats would have led to self-destruction. Ideally, the U.S. was trying to stop the spread of communism. As a result, other nations took sides either with the U.S. (Western block), the USSR (Eastern block), or remained neutral. Since there were no direct combats, the Cold War was characterized by rivalry in sports events, nuclear race, espionage, spread of propaganda, competition in technological development, efforts to lure the support of neutral nations, military coalitions, cultural infiltration, aid or sanctions to different states and the like. Specifically, this essay seeks to outline how cultural infiltration and the spread of propaganda in America led to the Cold War development at home and abroad. While the American approach to spread propaganda and infiltrate cultures would protect or advance their interests, such actions greatly exacerbated the spread of the tensions. However, some authorities propound that this also deterred the outburst of war through concealing sensitive information and replacing it with half truths or lies.
The U.S. was instrumental in the progression of the Cold War. It is important to note that the Cold War took place not only in America but also abroad. Some of the components of the Cold War were the 1961 Berlin Crisis, the Vietnam War, The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Suez Crisis, the downing of flights such as the Korean 007, Berlin Blockade, Korean War among others. In all these cases, the U.S. played a critical role in the escalation of war. This was particularly because of the instances of cultural infiltration and propaganda.
The US sought to spread propaganda against the USSR and the Eastern Europe Communist Party in order to destabilize them. In his Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War,Walter Hixson describes the effect of propaganda and cultural infiltration in fuelling war abroad. According to Hixson (ix),
“Although these efforts usually remained on the periphery, I have found that they were more significant than often recognized. Washington sought to destabilize the Soviet and the Eastern European Communist Party regimes, first through psychological warfare and finally through an ultimately more effective, albeit longer term program of gradual cultural infiltration. Despite misperceptions and a lack of priority accorded to such efforts, Washington had succeeded in “parting the iron curtain”’.
The U.S. use of propaganda somewhat kept war out of the country itself, thus fuelling it abroad. According to Hixson (ix), culture and propaganda were national security policies for averting war in America. However, a close scrutiny would demonstrate the same increased tensions in all states involved, which was the basis of the Cold War. In the view of Hixson, the effect of these strategies in the U.S. was relatively small compared to how it was in other countries. However, there are explicit studies that depict the two approaches as weapons of the Cold War. Moreover, they were instrumental in escalation of tensions, especially through partial diplomacy, among counties outside America, in the Eastern block in particular. To effectively spread propaganda abroad, the U.S. used broadcasting, diplomacy, print media, cultural exchange programs, international exhibitions and film.
The U.S. used cultural expansion as a way of influencing the outer world. This was conducted in various ways. For instance, the period of the Cold War saw the increase in exportation of technology and ideological concepts emanating from capitalism, as opposed to communism, such as consumerism, affluence, individual freedom and middle-class status. Since communism was directly opposite to what capitalism stood for, the Soviet Union intensified its push to spread its ideals. A good example is the Vietnam War in which the U.S. spread its ideas to the South while the USSR strengthened its grip in North Vietnam.
Cultural infiltration was also done through other means in a bid to escalate war. One of the best examples was the increased land lease by the U.S. in Western Europe. This was supposed to counter the effect of and investment of Russia in that part since it was already strong in Eastern Area. In addition, cultural infiltration was conducted through military occupation and the Marshall Plan. There is no doubt that, being one of the greatest players, the U.S. army was able to train other armies in a bid to fight Russia. Although at the face value it may appear as a mere training, the systems of military training in those countries, even till now, are based on the U.S. system. Most significantly, economic aid was a key way of cultural infiltration. Through aid, America was able to dictate conditions and terms; these terms most frequently introduced adoption of capitalism as an economic and political ideology and a consequently explicit rejection of communism. The best examples of countries abroad that were culturally infiltrated through this approach are Austria, West Germany, Italy, and France among others. The Marshall Plan would crown it all: through the economic assistance, it meant that a greater part of Europe would conform to the U.S. ideals as well as economic culture.
The spread of propaganda led to counter-reaction on the part of Russia. For instance, Hixson (xii) observes that the USSR began to jam radio signals to avoid the spread of propaganda by the U.S. When compared to war abroad, the effects of Cold War at home, on the basis of the two approaches, were less significant. It was evident that there were internal wrangles, especially among government officials, on how the war was to be approached. Moreover, perhaps the most significant effect at home was the increased action by the civil rights movements as well as student movements. Most of these groups were opposed to the U.S. involvement in Cold War because it did not only have financial implications but also led to loss of lives.
The approach adopted by the U.S. to fight the Cold War led to a bigger conflict. Attempts to infiltrate cultures abroad and spread propaganda led to counteractions from the USSR and the entire Eastern block, thus exacerbating war. For instance, the USSR counteracted the spread of radio propaganda by jamming radio signals. At home, there were not only differences in the way the war was to be approached, but such activities increased protests across the country. There is no doubt that the approach applied by the USA in stopping communism had effects at home and abroad. Moreover, more effects were felt abroad than they were experienced at home.
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