Unit Question: How do ideologies shape and effect our world?
During the Second World War, Britain and America were allies of Russia, fighting together against Germany. After the war, they became enemies. The United States and the Soviet Union emerged from World War II as the world’s two superpowers. No other countries were equal to them in military power or political influence. Differences in political and social beliefs and policies soon pulled the two superpowers apart and led to a struggle between them known as the cold war.
Historians have thought about the cold war first in terms of Russian blame then later the revisionists talk of U.S. blame and now we tend to focus on the cold war as a social, and political clash of ideas. It is the ideas that have motivated the event we call the cold war.
After Hiroshima, and particularly after 1949 when then Russian scientist Kurchatov developed the atomic bomb, politicians realized that the bomb would change international politics. In the cold war, each superpower sought world influence by means short of total war. This was because the possibility of nuclear war made the costs of a hot war too high. Another ‘hot war’ would kill all humankind. War would be MAD (mutually assured destruction).
So the USA (along with its allies) and Soviet Russia stopped short of war. They didn’t declare war. But they did everything to oppose each other short of war. The weapons used in the cold war included the threat of force, the use of propaganda, and the sending of military and economic aid to weaker nations. It was called the ‘cold war’. It lasted until 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Source: adapted from John D Clare
The political event we call the cold war had two rivals: East vs West or Capitalism vs Communism or the USA vs the USSR but the impact of this event was global. Other nations were impacted by the cold war often in very significant ways that altered the shape and fortunes of these nations.