Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Cold War

Written By Anousha Chopra (Grade 8)

As World War II came to an end in 1945, the three major Allied Powers – Soviet Union, United States and Great Britain shared a common desire for a long-lasting peace.

However, such negotiations and discussions could only last 18 months, after which the Cold War began, lasting more than four decades. 

Over this time, the Cold War was fought in multiple ways, ranging from armed conflicts, political assassinations and revolutions against communism funded by the state. 

It was dominated by economic actions and political propaganda, but never direct military action. It brought forward the ideological differences between the West and the East, between capitalism and communism. 

The United States was mistrustful of the Soviet ideals and wanted to ensure prevention of spreading of the Soviet influence. This inclination led to the formation of NATO, a mutual defence alliance between U.S., Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the U.K. 

In order to counterpoise this alliance, the Soviet Union, along with eight other Communist countries, formed the Warsaw Pact. This fortified the military and ideological barrier, something which Winston Churchill referred to as ‘The Iron Curtain.’

While the ideological differences across the two sides of the Iron Curtain were obvious, the military front of it was exposed during the Berlin blockade. After the end of WW II, Germany was divided between the four Allied Powers. The area of Berlin enclosed in Soviet control had no connection to the other parts. U.S.S.R imposed the Berlin Blockade cutting off all river and land transit. 

The nuclear arms race that played a significant role in the Cold War, bringing the world on the brink of a nuclear war. Both U.S.A and the U.S.S.R were trying to expand their nuclear arsenal rampantly. By the late 1980s, U.S was estimated to have 23,000 nuclear weapons as opposed to the Soviet Union’s 39,000.

Finally, the winters of 1991 brought the Cold War to a close, with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R due to political chaos and economic reforms. 

However, what significance does the Cold War hold today, when the U.S.S.R has long disintegrated and nuclear arms build-up has drastically fallen down?

The Russia-Ukraine war which began February last year, has raised the prospect of yet another Cold War between Russia and the United States. NATO, now an alliance with more than 30 member states, has now stretched its influence to Russian borders. Russia perceived this extension of political power wielded by the NATO a threat to its safety. 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might as well mark the unfolding of a series of events which may eventually lead to a revival of the Cold War. 

Featured Image Courtesy – E-International Relations


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