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Book Report


The cold war basically pitted the United States of America against the communist leaning states of the Soviet Union. By extension the conflict that was cold war also pitted the allies of the two protagonists against one another. The post-World War II period i.e. the mid-1940s through to the early 1990s was marked by an intensive contest in terms of ideology, technological advancement and even more candid was the overt show of military might. Inspite of all these the world ,throughout this period, never witnessed any direct military clash between the United States and the Soviet Union. Joyce &Gabriel Kolko, (1972). What was witnessed however was a series of near war situations that only culminated into political realignments in political systems of the allies of the United States and the Soviet Union. While the United States was an outspoken crusader of the anti-communist stand, Russia was perceived as a communist state which, if unchecked at least according to the United States, would rapidly spread this ideology across the world. The United States had throughout the period Britain as its erstwhile ally. Other allies of the United States included all Western Europe states. On the other hand, Russia enjoyed the support of the Soviet Union member-states and Eastern Europe states. A profound feature of the rivalry between the United States and Russia was the apparent military build up on either side. There was a tremendous growth in the military budgets of the two superpowers. Development of nuclear weapons was also undertaken by both sides. It is worth noting that a major point of departure between the United States and Russia was the reconstruction of the world after the end of the World War II.As a result there was a spillage of the cold from Europe to other region of the world. In a swift response, the US forged alliances with rest of the world in a bid to stem the spread of communism. Apart from its allies in Western Europe, the US reached out to countries in the Middle East as well as South East Asia. The tensions that characterized the Cold war period at times threatened to explode into world wars. Multiple crises occurred over this period. These include the Berlin Blockade (1948-1949), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (1959-1975) and the Soviet Afghan war.

The world has experienced dramatic changes since the end of the World War II. The fall of the Berlin wall in the 1990’s happens to be just one of the dramatic events. others might as well include the following;hundredsof thousands of American troops were poised to defend Saudi Arabia against further Iraqi aggression following its invasion of Kuwait and the Soviet Union had joined the United States in the United Nations Security Council to support the collective use of force against Iraq. But even more dramatic changes would follow as first the Soviet Union itself imploded. Thus the United States suddenly found itself victorious in its long Cold war struggle with Soviet communism emerging as world’s sole remaining superpower. The United States also emerged victorious in the Persian gulf war, prompting President Bush to speak wistfully of a new world order in which the rule of law would reign supreme, but a surge of ethnic nationalism-often accompanied by violent conflict-quickly dissipated hopes that the post-Cold war would be a more orderly and peaceful one.

The period between end of World War II and now has recorded interesting twists and turns in as far as the relations of America and Russia are concerned. Of the multiple political economic upheavals the most profound subject that has pitted America and Russia is perhaps the cold war. In the history of the two countries, the Cold war and the post cold development have invariably generated immense political and diplomatic relations between the two. The Cold war could be termed as one of the many international contests for power and position of global proportions and with global consequences. Others include World War I and World War II. An aspect worth noting is that each conflict forced the United States to confront its destiny as its political, economic and military importance in the world grew. In America’s perspective the cold war was about anti-communism, anti-sovietism and containment. In much finer details it was America’s fear of communism, fear of the Soviet Union and a determination to contain both.

Origin of the Cold war

In 1917 the underlying differences between the proponents of various ideologies came to the fore. It is worth noting that at around the same period Russia as a country underwent tremendous transformation. This was in the form of the Russian revolution that thrust the state into an economic powerhouse. Consequently the USSR emerged as a major communist state. Russia’s breakthrough sparked immense interest from the United States. America and Russia’s relations became a matter of grave concern for the leaders of the two superpowers. Brewing mistrust between the Russia and the United States was sparked by a series of events; First of all it was only until 1933 that the US softened its stance and recognized the Soviet Union.Secondly, US’s intervention in Russia’s support of the white army during the Russian civil war only served to heighten the tension, between the two states. Britain’s tight embrace with Germany and the signing of the accord seeking to end aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union was just but one of the many events that sparked this suspicion...

How did the Cold war manifest itself?

In 1953 the world saw the unprecedented shift in the twists and turns of the Cold war. This came in the form of major changes in the political leadership on either side. In January, Dwight D, Eisenhower ascended to the helm of the American presidency. Dwight’s administration employed a change in tact. Over this period Dwight’s military agenda significantly shifted from what Truman consciously pursued. In Truman’s reign, the United States increased its military budget. In a complete departure from this Eisenhower cut down the defense budget and instead sought to flaunt the United States’ nuclear superiority. He, however,continued fighting the Cold war with the similar zeal his predecessor exhibited. In March the soviet saw the demise of Joseph Stalin and similarly, there was a dramatic shift as far policy is concerned. This shift in policy was presided over by the new soviet leader; Nikita Khrushchev. The US President Eisenhower had John Foster at the helm of the office of the secretary of state. During his reign Foster employed new measures to pursue the anticommunism wave. As the US’ secretary of state Dulle cemented the massive response that included a severe response to any sort of aggression emanating from the dreaded Soviet Union. The passing on of Joseph Stalin relatively quelled tensions, however in Europe the Cold war revolved around equivocal calls for disarmament by both sides. West Germany and Eastern Europe became military bases for the US and Soviet forces respectively. In an ingenious move to stem the rearmament of West Germany, the Soviet moved swiftly to form an alliance with Eastern Europe states with a communist bias...


Kegley, C.W, (1996) .American foreign policy: Pattern and Process.St.Martin’s Press, Inc.New York.


Joyce &Gabriel Kolko, (1972).The limits of power: The world and United States Foreign Policy 1945-1954, New York; Harper & Row.

Bob Woodward, (2007).Bush At War, New York, Eric Olean…

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