The Cold War was a very tense relationship between the US and its allies (primarily through NATO), and the Soviet Union, a.k.a. the USSR, and its allies (primarily through the Warsaw Pact) that started within the first two years of World War II ending. Most historians agree on the dates 1947 to 1991 within which the Cold War was occurring, and within those years, there were a number of phases. On November 6th of 1946, the “Iron Curtain” was created, a term used to describe the boundary that divided Europe between the Warsaw Pact countries (USSR and company), and the NATO countries (US and allies). This lasted until the end of the Cold War in 1991 (At this time, NATO and the Warsaw Pact had yet to be created). The following paragraphs go to explain some of the major events of the Cold War, but do not include all of them. Some of the events here are being researched more in depth by other people in the class, so if you have questions about them, referencing those might be a good idea.
Since the conflict started very quickly after WWII, much of Europe was in a state of destruction. On April 7th of 1948, the US implemented the Marshall Plan (Officially called the European Recovery Program or ERP for short). This gave monetary support to help rebuild the European economies in order to prevent the expansion of “Soviet Communism”. In 1948, NATO was officially created in response to the expansion of Communism by the US and 11 other countries. One month later, a rival group was created by the Soviet Union, known as the Warsaw Pact.
Within the Cold War was many individual wars and struggles, the first being the Vietnam War. South Vietnam was an ally of the US, while North Vietnam was allied with the USSR/Soviet Union. It began as an internal struggle within Vietnam, where North Vietnam wanted to reunite with the South and recreate the communist government. Seeing this as the last hope of keeping other countries in South Asia communist-free, the US intervened and support South Vietnam, pulling North Vietnam’s allies to back them up. The war lasted from 1955 to 1975.
The Sputnik crisis was America’s reaction to the Soviet Union’s success within the Sputnik program. Although Sputnik was harmless, its orbiting scared the American people. This was a key Cold War event that began on October 4th in 1957 (this being the date the USSR launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite).
The closest the world ever came to nuclear war was the Cuban Missile Crisis. The US armed forces were at the highest point of readiness and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were ready to use battlefield nuclear weapons in case of invasion. But due to President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev and the ambassador to Khrushchev, Tommy Thompson, war was avoided.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell as quickly as it had risen. There was evidence that the communist was failing, but the leaders of the East Germany Communist party insisted that Germany didn’t need a drastic revolution, but just minor changes. The people of East Germany did not agree. Communism began to fall with the surrounding countries and more exiting points were made accessible to East Germans to flee into the west. Then, on the evening of November 9th, the Berlin Wall began to collapse.
The USSR was formally dissolved on December 26, 1991. This led to the independence of all 15 republics of the Soviet Union. The day before, President Mikhail gorbachev resigned, “declared his office extinct”, and handed over the USSR’s nuclear missile launching. The US and its NATO allies had beaten the countries under the Warsaw Pact, and the Cold War was over.
The Cold War was fought by the US and its allied powers, and the Soviet Union and its allies. The US viewpoint on the war was to stop the spread of Soviet communism, which was spreading across Asia. It also didn’t help the war that President Truman had a very strong feeling of dislike to President Stalin of the USSR. They also were scared of a communist attack.
The other viewpoint of the Cold War was that of the Soviets. Their viewpoint within the Cold War was to spread Soviet Communism through the world, for they had a hatred for Capitalism, which the Americans had bought into. They also wanted to spread into Eastern Europe, and believe they need a more strong and secure western border.
My suggestions for peace would not be able to include any help from the United Nations, for the Security Council contained both members from the US and the Soviet Union, and they would veto each other. I think either side would have to try and create peaceful negotiations between each other to try and end the war, although it would be very hard to reach a medium for peace between the sides because of their contrasting views. One side would basically have to give up on their own to end the Cold war (which eventually happened within the USSR).