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Events Influencing The Cold War

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During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were allies. After the war the two countries emerged as the two most powerful countries in the world. Although the world war ended, it was not a clean ending. Iron-willed Stalin wanted a postwar settlement that would guarantee the Soviet Union's security and future. He wanted parts of Poland and Finland and the Baltic states. With Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union would have a buffer against future aggression from the West, colonies for rebuilding the economy, and new territory to the Communist world map. Roosevelt, on the other hand, opposed colonialism and the spread of Communism. For the next couple decades until 1991, the US and USSR would be locked in an arms race known as the Cold War.

After World War II the Big Three decided at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, how the framework for a post-war settlement in Europe would be settled. They decided that Berlin, like the rest of Germany, would be divided into West and East Berlin. West Berlin thrived under Allied control and eventually in 1948, Stalin want the allies out of West Berlin. The US refused to comply and Stalin, in return, threatened West Berlin with starvation into submission. Around the clock airlift was required to keep West Berlin alive.

In March 1946 Truman announced that the Russian has erected the Iron Curtain. Persuaded by George Kennan's letter arguing that America should block Russian aggression around the world with economic power and force, the Policy of Containment was created. That same year Truman was informed by his top generals and intelligence that the Russians would not be able to build their own bomb until 1966. However, Klaus Fuchs, a high level German scientist, stole nuclear secrets and gave them to the Russians, allowing them to create a "bomb" by 1949.

The US, however, was not completely unprepared for this. Although we only had two bombs left after bombing Nagasaki and Hiroshima, we still developed elaborate plans in case of war with Russia. In 1946 Pincher had a design that will enable us to obliterate 20 Russian cities with nuclear bombs. In 1948 a more detailed plan was designed that consisted of dropping 34 nuclear aerial bombs against 24 Russian cities. New nuclear plans were continually introduced all the way up to 1982.

Truman declared his stance against the Soviet Union in 1947 with his major foreign policy address and the Truman Doctrine. Applying that all rebel movements around the world are inevitably linked to the Soviet Union, Truman offered people everywhere in the world who resisted Totalitarianism to receive aid from the United States. After the destruction of Germany after the world war, other major countries of Europe, France and Italy, also faced take over by Russia. In June 1947 US Secretary of State delivered the Commencement Address that reached out to these countries to appeal to the US. With the implementation of the Marshall Plan, billions of dollars was pumped into Europe every year to aid these countries.

In the next couple of years, Russia began imposing itself upon other nations. Communism was imposed over Hungary in 1947, and in 1948, the Czechoslovakia government was also taken down. In resistance to the Russian force, the United States, Canada, and some European nations created a new defense organization called NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

By the late 1950s, the Cold War was in full gear and Russia continued to push for the US evacuation of Berlin. On May 1st, 1960, an elite spy plane was shot down over Soviet territory. The Soviets were furious, and accused the US of spying. US denied these allegations and stated the planes were simply weather planes. Matters around the world were further complicated by the arrival of the Cuban Revolution lead by Fidel Castro



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