The Cold War
Sample Term Paper
The Cold War became a reality because the United States and Soviet Union had fundamentally different visions of the post-war world. American politicians believed that the nations of the world were interdependent and should offer open markets for American goods and services. In this vision, free and open trade was essential to prevent another Depression. In addition, many Americans were proud of their democratic system, believed in Manifest Destiny, and wanted to “share” their version of progressive self-determination with the rest of the world, especially with the newly-independent states of Asia and Africa. Even though the superpowers shunned direct and all-out war, a number of minor clashes exhausted their energies and resources: Berlin, Korea, Hungary, Cuba, and Czechoslovakia. The United States fought a long and in the end pointless war in Vietnam. The Soviet Union was similarly drawn into a civil war in Afghanistan. Both these fights failed.
The conflict between the world views of the United States and the U.S.S.R. came to a head with revolt in Iran, Greece, and Turkey. During World War II, the British had engaged southern Iran, while the Soviets had occupied the north in the area bordering the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. At war’s end, neither side wanted to pull out of the Middle East because both required access to the region’s rich oil fields. The Soviet Union also sought to protect its southern border. Great Britain asked the United States for aid to prop up the pro-British Shah and to stop Arab nationalists from gaining power. In 1946, the United Nations negotiated a settlement between the United States and the Soviet Union, but name calling between the American and Soviet delegates marred the assembly.
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