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What were the major causes of the Cold War?
The United States and Soviet Union harbored deep suspicions toward one another. These suspicions began before World War II, extending all the way back to the Russian Civil War in which the United States intervened on behalf of the moderate White Army against the eventual winners the Bolshevik Red Army. From then on, authorities in Moscow believed the United States represented the greatest threat to the Soviet Union because of its commitment to capitalism. Politically, the Soviet Union was keen to ensure a liberated Eastern Europe remained politically friendly to Soviet interests (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) Joseph Stalin demanded that the United States and Britain accept Soviet domination over Eastern Europe.In 1944, Joseph Stalin met with his British counterpart, Winston Churchill, where it was agreed that the British would retain primary influence in Greece, while Soviet authorities would take the lead in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union stationed troops in Eastern Europe to solidify their control. Additionally, Soviet-aligned political parties came to power throughout the eastern half of the continent. Another major turning point in the relationship between the Soviet Union and the West occurred when Harry Truman inherited the presidency of the United States. Truman’ s predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt had been amenable to Soviet demands. Truman, acting under the advisement of George Keenan developed a foreign policy, in which the United States pledged to respond to any act of Soviet aggression. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
What effect did World War II have on the Cold War?
World War II left the economies of Europe in tatters. Western political elites were gripped by the fear of communism and the prospect that it might spread west. France and Italy appeared particularly vulnerable because before the war erupted. Communist parties in those nations had gained significant followings. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) George Marshall of the United States devised a plan in which the Americans would invest in astonishing seventeen billion dollars in the economies of Europe between 1948 and 1953. Initially, the United States offered every European nation, including the Soviet Union, the opportunity to participate in the program. The Soviet Union immediately declined, however, some countries in the Soviet sphere of influence, most notably Poland expressed interest, but the authorities in Moscow would not allow Poland or any other Eastern European nation to participate. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)For the countries that did participate in the Marshall Plan, the United States became their chief economic benefactor. The economic and military clout of the United States provided reassurance to Western European citizens that the advance of communism would be halted.
what role did communism play in the Cold War?
Communism was at the core of the Cold War period the United States and its European allies took measures to stop it from gaining a foothold, not only in Western Europe but around the globe. , 1949, the United States, along with Great Britain, Belgium, France, Italy, and a few other partners from non-Communist Europe created a military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. All members promised military intervention if one party was attacked by the Soviet Union. West Germany was not included in the original alliance, however, when it joined in 1955, the Soviet Union responded with the creation of the Warsaw Pact, A similar alliance of Soviet satellite regimes. Western fears about the spread of communism were not unfounded, in 1950, North Korea invaded the South with the aid of the Soviet Union. Communist expansion would become a central foreign-policy doctrine for Soviet Premier Brezhnev after deposing Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. The Brezhnev doctrine was similar in many respects to the Truman doctrine is it pledged Soviet intervention for communist insurgencies across the world. The two doctrines effectively made the Cold War, a global ideological battle. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
How was nationalism a factor in the Cold War?
Nationalism during this time is associated with two men, both of whom were leaders of communist governments. Josip Tito of Yugoslavia resisted Moscow’ s attempts to assert greater control over his country. For his insolence, Tito and Yugoslavia were excommunicated from the Communist bloc. Although Yugoslavia remained a communist dictatorship, market mechanisms were implemented, and Yugoslavia was able to receive assistance from Western governments. Tito became a leading figure in a group of nonaligned countries, which is to say that none of the participating nations were firmly in either the Western camp led by the United States or the Communist camp led by the Soviet Union. ( Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) In the spring of 1968, Czechoslovakia became embroiled in a protest movement where citizens sought greater autonomy and freedom. The emergence of Alexander Dube, check was cause for celebration in Prague. Under his leadership, the Communist Party was reformed, and censorship was reduced. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) The so-called Prague Spring came to an abrupt end when on August 20, The Soviet Union invaded and brutally suppressed dissent.The Soviet intervention resulted in the deaths of 500 people. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
What was life like for Europeans living in the Western sphere of influence?
With the assistance of the Marshall plan, Western Europe experienced an economic surge from 1950. Economies experienced tremendous rates of growth ranging from 3% in Sweden to 6% in Greece. The economic growth was spurred by dramatic transformation in economic production. Throughout Europe, the agricultural sector was reduced. Agricultural employees found new work in either heavy industry or the service sector. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) The increased mobility allowed Europeans to purchase items which would have previously been unthinkable, such as refrigerators, televisions. Adding to the comfort in the West was the massive expansion of the welfare state, which was underpinned by a near universal acceptance of Keynesian economic theory. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
What was life like in the Soviet sphere?
Economic conditions deteriorated steadily in Eastern Europe. After World War II, Marxist economies managed to keep pace with the West reasonably well averaging around 4% annual growth. 1973, would prove to be a pivotal turning point in the history of the Soviet Union and its satellite states, because Eastern European economies managed a meager 1.25 annual growth rate, placing them far behind the West in development. The Soviet Union’ s extreme emphasis on heavy industry took a toll on the quality of consumer goods. Centralized planning was built around quantity over quality. In almost every respect products produced in the East were inferior to those produced elsewhere. The Soviet Union battled a long-standing housing crisis, which started in the wake of World War II and never fully resolved itself. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.) Almost every communist regime imposed travel restrictions on its citizens. The most prominent travel impediment was the erection of the Berlin wall. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
what was life like for women during the Cold War?
The feminist movement emerged as a political and social force in Europe during the Cold War. The French intellectual Simone de Bolivar was a champion of what came to be known as second wave feminism. In her 1949, book, ” the second sex.” Bolivar laments the historical treatment of women. She argues that women are treated as other, noting they are frequently subjugated by men who only see them through the lens of physiology. Bolivar continues asserting that men have relied on religion, philosophy, and biology to justify women’ s inferiority. (Marxist.org nd.) the thrust of Bolivar’ s work is that women should take pride in their uniqueness and assert themselves as equals in European society.
How was European culture and society affected by the Cold War?
The resurgence of European economies led to a rise in wages, which in turn resulted in an increase of disposable income, particularly for young people. With the United States heavily involved in the affairs of Western Europe youth began gravitating toward American music and Hollywood movies. Europeans also wholeheartedly embraced American fashion trends like blue jeans. Not all Europeans were happy about this change; French cultural critics were concerned that America held too much sway over young Europeans and French culture would eventually disappear if the trend continued. (Schubert & Goldstein 2012.)
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