The Cold War is a tumultuous part of the world history that still affects many countries. Although the USA and USSR were allies in World War II, the tension between the two world superpowers escalated right after the end of the war due to the differences in their beliefs and ideologies. As a result, there was an emergence of an international power struggle in which both countries exploited all the available opportunities to expand their dominance in the world. An analysis of the Cold War shows that it led to the increase of nuclear arsenals, the emergence of terrorist groups, and wars that have continued to devour many societies. This paper describes the Cold War and evaluates its influence in the events that occurred after the postwar period.
The main cause of the Cold War was the ideological difference between the US and the Soviet Union on capitalism and communism. Despite their ideological differences, the two were considered to be undeclared enemies that would never directly fight each other on a battlefield. However, they still remained in a state of war for five decades. In 1949, the Soviet Union developed its nuclear program that made the world to tremble with the fear of a possible nuclear catastrophe. Later in 1961, it erected the Berlin Wall in order to stop Germans from fleeing the communist East Berlin to West Berlin. Hundreds of Germans were shot and killed while trying to climb over the Berlin Wall. After the erection of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis emerged in 1962 (Munro 8-15). This crisis made the world to come to the brink of a global nuclear war. During this period, Cuba allied herself with the Soviets and permitted them to install nuclear weapons that targeted the U.S. Fortunately, the U.S. spy planes discovered these nuclear missiles, which resulted in the formation of a truce to avoid a nuclear war. The Soviet Union agreed to remove its missiles in Cuba if the US did the same in Turkey.
In the Second Indochina War, which lasted for over a decade, Vietnamese fought the US using ammunitions from the Soviet Union. The US suffered a huge blow in its Cold War agenda since it lost the war and also incurred a huge number of deaths on its deployed soldiers. As a result, Vietnam became a communist country. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. To counter the Soviet Union’s mission, the US funded the Afghan Mujahedeen fighters (Munro 8-15). By the end of 1980’s the Soviet Union realized that the war could not be won. In particular, the war had resulted in the death of a lot of its troops and had also dealt a huge blow to its economy. Therefore, it decided to end the war. At the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, the dominance of the Soviet Union had significantly declined; the Berlin Wall was brought down, pro-Soviet regimes in Europe collapsed, and in 1991, the USSR was dissolved. Consequently, there was the emergence of independent Soviet republics.
The Cold War had some positive contributions to humanity. In fact, it was marked with huge strides in technological advancements, especially in the aviation industry. Due to the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union, rockets that could travel to the moon were invented (Nye 4-24). This technology contributed to other fields of science such as transport, mechanical, and communication engineering.
On the overall, the Cold War had negative consequences that still afflict many societies. Despite the technological achievements made during this period, the social, economic, and political injustices that occurred during the Cold War led to an increase in terrorism and a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, it also made many prosperous economies to crumble.
Munro, Alan. “Humanitarianism and Conflict in a Post-Cold War World.” International Review of the Red Cross, no. 835, 1999, pp. 8-15.
Nye, Joseph. “International Conflicts After the Cold War,” The Washington Quarterly, vol.19, issue 1, 1996, pp. 4-24.