Cold War Rivalry

Cold War Rivalry

Cold War Genesis (1945-1947)

  • The Cold War is characterised by political, ideological, and military rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union after WWII. It was devoid of direct military confrontation between them.
  • The Yalta and Potsdam Conferences in 1945 were instrumental in shaping post-war Europe and sowing the seeds of the Cold War.
  • The launch of the Truman Doctrine in 1947 underlined U.S. commitment to contain Soviet expansion and was a reaction to crises in Turkey and Greece.

Red Scare and McCarthyism (1947-1954)

  • Red Scare is a term used to describe the fear of Communist infiltration in American society and politics, especially in the 1950s.
  • McCarthyism, named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, represents a period of intense anti-Communist suspicion and witch-hunting in the U.S.

Arms Race and Space Race (1950s-1970s)

  • The Cold War sparked an intense Arms Race between the U.S. and USSR, as both powers sought to outdo each other in nuclear and military capability.
  • The Space Race was another field of competition, with the U.S. eventually outracing USSR with the moon landing in 1969.

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 marked the closest point the world ever came to a nuclear war. It was a 13-day political and military standoff over the installation of nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba by the Soviet Union.
  • The crisis was resolved peacefully but left a significant impact on U.S.-Soviet relations and led to a shift from a confrontational posture to a more diplomatic dialogue, known as ‘détente’.

Détente and End of Cold War (1960s-1991)

  • Détente refers to a relaxing of tensions between the U.S. and USSR during the late 1960s and 1970s, marked by the signing of various arms control agreements.
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 symbolised the end of the Cold War era, followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Impact & Legacy of the Cold War

  • The Cold War had profound impact on U.S. foreign and defense policies, leading to massive military build-up and interventions around the world.
  • The domino theory and adoption of containment policy dictated U.S. involvement in wars such as the Korean War and Vietnam War.
  • The tension and rivalry of the Cold War have shaped international relations and global politics to the present day.