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The Cold War And Long Peace Between The United States And The Soviet Union

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In this project, we will discuss: Why the Cold War never exploded into a hot war and explain the ‘long peace’ between the United States and the Soviet Union, 1945- 1991.

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To do this, we will first introduce the Cold War by briefly explaining it, then explain what a hot war is and why it has never exploded into a hot war. Then we will define what a long peace is and finally we will explain the ‘long peace’ between the United States and the Soviet Union, 1945- 1991.

The Cold War took shape at the end of the Second World War. Indeed, at the end of the latter, two superpowers emerged, the United States of America, engaged in liberalism, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR, which engaged in communism.

The Cold War, which began in 1947 after the end of the Second World War and ended between 1989 and 1991, was a period of tension and threats of conflict between the two superpowers.

It took the form of the installation of an iron curtain (1946), the north-south border of central Europe. This barrier was reinforced to the extreme at the tip of the Berlin Wall, built in 1961.

The world is then divided into two camps, the communist bloc with the Soviet Union, which defends a controlled economy and the suppression of social classes and planned by the state and the western camp around the United States, which defends a liberal, democratic and capitalist system.

On the one hand, the Eastern bloc refers to all the so-called ‘communist’ (Stalinist) countries after the Second World War. These countries were all located east of the Greenwich meridian (except Cuba), hence the name given to the block.

On the other hand, the Western bloc is the United States’ sphere of influence and therefore includes countries that, on the one hand, freely consent to its accession and negotiate the conditions of its participation, but which, on the other hand, suffer the consequences of a weak to strong relationship with the United States: in exchange for the security and economic assistance received, these countries are more or less obliged to align themselves with American foreign policy, as appropriate. During the Cold War, the Western bloc was first and foremost part of Truman’s policy to contain communism: it had to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding its sphere of influence by surrounding it with a network of military and economic alliances.

In short, the Cold War was a hostile rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the late 1940s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The war was only ‘cold’ because the United States and the USSR never clashed in a direct military confrontation. They have never used their nuclear weapons stockpiles.

But the two superpowers have absolutely threatened to destroy their nuclear weapons stockpiles. Instead of the usual battles, these two countries have participated in ‘proxy wars’ by supporting Allied countries in many ‘hot’ wars such as Korea, Vietnam and Angola. The Cold War defined the foreign policy of both countries in the second half of the 20th century. Both the Americans and the Soviets fought for allies to maintain and expand their respective spheres of influence around the world, and both sides saw the Cold War as a battle between civilizations.

In the global confrontation between American capitalism and Soviet communism, only one could win.

It was at the end of the 20th century that Eastern Europe experienced major geopolitical upheavals. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 put an end to the Cold War and its divisions inherited from the Second World War. The Eastern bloc then disintegrated in 1991 with the liberalisation of the Eastern countries and the collapse of the USSR, but some countries with Stalinist regimes persist.

First, how should the Cold War be defined?

The damage caused by the Second World War meant that the two countries (USA/USSR) avoided any direct fighting between them and they thought of a new strategy where they tried to win the battles fought on the political front. The main signs were observed when both countries sought to form alliances with like-minded countries. America is turning to countries like the United Kingdom and France.

07 September 2020

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