The Cold War refers the period of tension, competition, and conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States and their allies since the mid 1940s to the early 1990s (Roberts, 2011). It was among the longest and costliest conflicts in human history, which took place over the duration of seventy years, with periodic letups in the degree of hostility. The Cold War was also the world’s war of the widest scope, because it took place on every continent on Earth and, taking into consideration the space race, over each continent. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States happened in multiple arenas: ideology, espionage, and psychology; military coalitions; military and technological developments; industrial, which includes the space race; many proxy wars; a massive nuclear and conventional arms race; and costly defense spending (Roberts, 2011). The Cold War occurred in a number of means, such as propaganda, diplomatic haggling, economic war, and military clashes. It also took place in a number of places, including neutral states, newly independent countries in Asia and Africa, and in outer space (Roberts, 2011). This research paper will consider the reason of the Cold War, influences of the Cold War, the beneficiaries of the Cold War, and sufferers of the Cold War.
Reasons of Cold War
The most significant reason of Cold War was the United States' fear of USSR. However, a number of factors led to Cold War since about 1946 to 1991 (Martin, 2011).
Once the Second World War had ended, the Berlin wall split Germany into two parts, which were West Germany and East Germany. Soviet Union was in charge of the East Germany while Europe was in charge of the West Germany. Since the Cold War had become dominant in the place of Soviet Union and European lands, the two super powers experienced the most impacts. The United States experienced less severe effects, so they provided free support to enable Europe rebuild. The Soviet Union did not accept assistance for its invaded territorial dominions and themselves. The United States want to scare USSR with exploding the atomic artillery (Martin, 2011).
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) kept the Germans down, the Soviet Union outside, and the Americans inside (Martin, 2011). The trouble with the alliance of America with NATO included the attempt to attain acceptance as neutral; but it is not possible to be neutral while at the same time be an element of an alliance that is against Soviet Union. Therefore, Soviet Union anticipated it with the Warsaw Pact, which, however, broke up when the communist nations fell (Martin, 2011).
The United States wanted to promote free trade across the world while the Soviet Union wanted to shield off her republics from globalization. Russia was not to accept trading with the West, because it would disclose its risk to western influences, which would have weakened the strength of the totalitarian government (Martin, 2011). The United States supplied enough war materials to the Allied countries through the Land-Lease program during the Second World War (Komska, 2011). As this program suddenly ended, the war-ravaged Soviet Union failed to obtain American material support to help in the economic reconstruction after the war. These differences resulted in much ill feeling between the Soviet Union and the United States (Martin, 2011).
Many people claim that the invention and use of Sputnik was the significant reason that resulted in the Cold War (Martin, 2011). Moreover, Americans expressed fears because the Soviet Union could launch the satellite up in the sky, build powerful artillery, and place it on the satellite. Therefore, the aggression of Soviet Union made Sputnik satellite to be extremely terrific. This forced the super powers into war in the period between 1950s and 1960s. Atomic bomb was another technological device that might have resulted in the Cold War. The Unites States designed and built atomic bombs. When the Soviet Union realized the presence of the atomic bomb, they felt the power of the United States has overwhelmed their power. The Soviet Union tried to build an atomic bomb just like the United States do, but when the United Sates caught realized this, they started building a more powerful hydrogen bomb (Martin, 2011).
The United States expressed fears regarding communism, because Americans believed in ideology. This meant that, when a nation joined communism, they would be the next victims. Containment was their solution for this, which played into the hands of Stalin. The United States became stronger with respect to military in order to ensure that they do not fall to communism (Komska, 2011).
Influence of the Cold War
The Cold War was a significant influence on almost every aspect of American society. Cultural enmity between the Soviet Union and the United States had both negative and positive reverberations. Mutual fear between the Soviet Union and the United States led to political confrontations; some of which almost led to the next world war (Martin, 2011). Different economic philosophies led to opposing claims of what independence meant, and economic competition resulted in massive military expenditure by both nations. Because of its influence, the Cold War acted as the defining event of the 20th century’s second half and affected almost all American domestic and foreign policy decisions in varying extents (Martin, 2011).
The Cold War is a significant event because it divided the world into two different military blocs. The United States and Soviet Union set up military alliances in many parts across the world. Ideological rivalry is another influence of the Cold War. The United States established military bases across the world in order to use them against the danger of communist aggression. The Cold War influenced the occurrence of a race for powerful and deadlier weapons. This is one of the most dangerous effects of the Cold War, because the super powers developed nuclear bombs. The testing of nuclear weapon resulted in serious hazards to the civilians. Therefore, the race for armaments during the Cold War had created the danger to the survival of human beings (Martin, 2011).
Beneficiaries and Sufferers of the Cold War
The greatest advantage of the Cold War for the weak countries was that they could protect their national interests in line with their religious, cultural, and political environments. The weak countries were free to befriend any of the super power and use it to their benefit. The weaker countries of the world, like in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, could resolve their external and internal disputes by seeking help from their respective friend who was a super power (Saull, 2011). Such assistance was never conditional, because both the super powers would attempt to draw maximum nations under their influence. The recent example of Bosnia includes a case where America did not intervene in the period between 1992 and 1995, when the Serbs were perpetuating austerities on Muslim minority. It was only after 1995, due to a lot of criticism, that America came in and solved the issue. If it were a bipolar system, the resolution of the issue could have occurred in a much earlier period (Martin, 2011).
In the period of the Cold War, any super power was not able to exploit the weak countries because the other super power would come for the rescue. However, in the present contexts, with the exception of few powerful nations, majority of the nations is liable to undergo exploitation due to a single world power. Nations like Pakistan have little alternatives, as was the case after September, 9, when Pakistan had no alternative except siding with America. The United States, being the single dominant power, is perusing various goals across the world by pressurizing weaker countries through regional hegemonic countries (Roberts, 2011). Pakistan befriended America and enjoyed more benefits than America did during the Cold War. In moral terms, America should have looked after the interests of Pakistan after the end of Cold War, but the things happened in other way round. India is a weak country that had befriended Russia, but later on, emerged as a strategic friend to America (Saull, 2011).
Certainly, the Cold War was a war, and the Soviet Union, certainly, was the loser (Martin, 2011). The Soviet Union failed in its efforts to conquer the world, and has lost. The saddest example of such failure for the Soviet Union was the war in Afghanistan. For the United States, it was Vietnam, which suffered several years of bloody conflict that cost the lives of numerous Vietnamese people. Across sub-Saharan Africa, the Cold War caused, perhaps, the most negative impact on the developing world. Angola, for instance, suffered one of the longest conflicts in modern history (Komska, 2011).
The Cold War was the longest and costliest event that occurred between the Soviet Union and the United States. This even took place because of a number of reasons, classified as political, technological, economic, and ideological reasons. The Cold War had significant influences to the lives of people, which resulted into both negative and positive reverberations (Martin, 2011). For instance, the invention of nuclear bombs led to the presence of deadliest weapons, which are also significant in maintaining security. The Cold War has both beneficiaries and suffers depending on its influences (Saull, 2011). Some of the weaker countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa benefitted from the Cold War, because the super powers protected their national interests in line with their religious, cultural, and political environments. However, some weaker countries like Angola suffered one of the longest conflicts in modern history due to the Cold War (Martin, 2011).