The Cold War: An Overview

Andrea Leyden
Note by , created over 4 years ago

This note provides an overview of The Cold War including the background and cause of the historical event.

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The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact).Historians have not fully agreed on the dates, but 1947–1991 is common. It was termed as "cold" because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, although there were major regional wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan that the two sides supported.

Background of the Cold WarThere is disagreement among historians regarding the starting point of the Cold War. While most historians trace its origins to the period immediately following World War II, others argue that it began towards the end of World War I, although tensions between the Russian Empire, other European countries and the United States date back to the middle of the 19th century.Various events before the Second World War demonstrated the mutual distrust and suspicion between the Western powers and the Soviet Union, apart from the general philosophical challenge the Communists made towards capitalism.There was Western support of the anti-Bolshevik White movement in the Russian Civil War, the 1926 Soviet funding of a British general workers strike causing Britain to break relations with the Soviet Union, Stalin's 1927 declaration of peaceful coexistence with capitalist countries "receding into the past," conspiratorial allegations during the 1928 Shakhty show trial of a planned British- and French-led coup d'état, the American refusal to recognize the Soviet Union until 1933 and the Stalinist Moscow Trials of the Great Purge, with allegations of British, French, Japanese and Nazi German espionage. However, both the US and USSR were generally isolationist between the two world wars

Causes of the Cold War Russian historians blamed Churchill (the British Prime Minister) and Truman (the American president, 1945–1953). They said Truman and Churchill wanted to destroy the USSR, which was just defending itself. The Traditional View: At first, western writers blamed Russia. They said Stalin was trying to build up a Soviet empire. The Revisionist View: Later, however, some western historians blamed America. They said Truman had not understood how much Russia had suffered in the Second World War. The Post-Revisionists: Later still, historians think BOTH sides were to blame – that there were hatreds on both sides. Most recently, historians agree that the Cold War was primarily a clash of beliefs - Communism versus Capitalism.

The Cold War