The influence, but consequently it involved the United States


The United States suffered a
great deal of loss during the cold war, especially by entering the horrific
proxy wars (such as Vietnam). All of these losses were a consequence of the
poor leadership decisions made by the United States government, all the way
back in World war II, however it was a period of great growth in foreign affairs
and overall, there were some failures and successes for the United States.

The Rio pact of 1947 was an
example of containment used in Latin America. The Rio Pact provided that
“an armed attack by any State shall be considered as an attack against all
the American States and, consequently, each one of the said Contracting Parties
undertakes to assist in meeting the attack.” Signed in 1949, it created
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the Cold War, such
policies seeking to limit Soviet influence, but consequently it involved the
United States and its allies to get into proxy wars such as the
Korean War and
Vietnam War.

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Rejecting the rollback of
Communism by force because it risked nuclear war, Washington developed a new
strategy called containment to oppose the spread of
communism. The idea of
containment was to match Soviet aggression with force wherever it occurred
while not using nuclear weapons. The containment policy was developed by U.S.
diplomat George Kennan in 1947. Kennan characterized the
Soviet Union as “an
aggressive, anti-Western power that necessitated containment”, a
characterization which would shape US foreign policy for decades to come. Due
to the hostility on both sides and each countries’ search for security, a tense
worldwide contest developed between the two states as the two nations’
governments vied for global supremacy militarily, culturally, and influentially.

The United States enacted the
Marshall Plan in 1948,
which supplied Western Europe –including Germany–with $13 billion USD in
reconstruction aid. A similar program was used by U.S. to restore the Japanese
economy. The U.S. actively sought allies, which it subsidized with diplomatic
support along with military and economic foreign aid. Most nations aligned with
either the Western or Eastern camp, but after 1960 the Soviets broke with China
as the Communist movement worldwide became divided.

For more than 40 years, the
worldwide clash between Capitalism and Communism was shaped with a never ending
nuclear arms race, intensive espionage and fierce competition as each side
tried to gain an upper hand in the much anticipated nuclear war that everybody
feared would someday come. Of these, three major foreign policies shaped the
circumstances of the cold war.              

The grand alliance completely
fell apart after the WW2 ended and soon the countries turned against each
other, especially U.S. and the Soviet Union, in their attempts to make their
government model, a more widespread one.
The Foreign policies of both the
countries throughout the second half of the 20th Century was defined by the
Cold War. They mainly focused on getting ahead in the competition between the Americans
and the Soviets in terms of global affairs, military build ups, technology and
nuclear power.

In Potsdam, the grand alliance
had made an agreement on the division of Germany. All of Germany was divided
into zones of influence: French, British, American and Soviet zones. Berlin,
the capital, was also split into these very zones. In terms of reparations, the
Soviet Union pressed for the most reparations because they had the highest loss
in terms of casualties and financial expenditure. In case of atomic bombs,
America had already tested the atomic bomb and that made a massive difference
to the way they negotiated. Finally, in Poland, the Red army (the communist
army) had occupied much of Eastern Europe. These factors, completely changed
the working relationship between U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The final conference, the Potsdam
conference from 17 July to 2nd August, 1945,
had some new faces. Harry S. Truman represented U.S. after the death of FDR and
Clement Attlee was elected the new Prime Minister of Britain. There were very
serious divisions in this conference, especially because the war was now coming
to an end- they didn’t have a powerful enemy they were all opposed to so there
wasn’t much holding them together. Also, Truman, unlike FDR, had a very
different attitude towards Stalin. Four major topics came up for discussion
during Potsdam, that included Territory, German reparations, the atomic bomb
and Poland.

Many agreements made by FDR in
Yalta, backfired for the United States. U.S. had successfully deployed the
Atomic bomb and so, they didn’t require assistance of the Soviet Union (as was
requested by FDR), but the Soviet Union held up their end of the bargain,
because of which they got notable influence over Asia. Also, in 1949, unlike
what was agreed by FDR and Churchill, Stalin invaded all of Poland. Poland was
communist, and completely under the eastern sphere of influence.

Following Tehran, the Yalta
conference in from 4th to 11th February, 1945,
was the peak of the relationship for the Grand Alliance. Roosevelt was
beginning to genuinely trust Stalin. He said during this conference: “If I
give him everything he will word me for a world of democracy and peace.”
With this new trust, FDR requested the Soviet Union to join U.S. in the fight
against Japan. Stalin negotiated and got a deal that in return, the Soviet
would have their influence in Asia recognized in particular in areas such as
Manchuria. FRD agreed. Many Americans weren’t happy with this decision because
they felt they were giving away Asia to the Soviet Union. The big three, all
agreed that they were going to force Germany to surrender: they would split
Germany into zones, areas they controlled; they would demilitarize Germany;
remove traces of the Nazi party and Nazi leaders; and Germany would pay
reparations- part of which included forced labour. The Soviet Union also made
the commitment to join the United Nations, an organization which was in the
process of being created. It was also decided that Nazi war criminals would be
chased and tried after the war. The division of Poland (unresolved from the
Tehran Conference) was still there. They made an initial agreement that an area
of Poland would be under the Soviet Union. The rest of Poland would have free
election and these would potentially be completely independent.

The Tehran Conference in 1943,
from 28th November to 1st December,
was the first conference between the great alliance where Roosevelt, Stalin and
Churchill discussed their strategies to defeat Nazi Germany and made crucial
decisions about situations after the end of WWII. Some of the important
discussions included an agreement to open a second front in WW2 ( Western
Europe). The Soviet Union was very
keen on having the second front open so that the pressure of German soldiers
they were fighting with in the Soviet Union, was lightened. The very first
clash in ideologies between these countries came up during this very
conference, when the Soviet Union wanted to have a sphere of influence over
Eastern Europe but U.S. and Britain wanted to have a western sphere of
influence over the same region. This is crucial because countries under their
spheres of influence, follow those respective models of government. Some
unresolved issues included the discussion of what would be done with Germany
after the end of the war, and also how much of Poland would the Soviet Union
Claim? This was demanded by Stalin, because before he entered the Grand Alliance
he was in a pact with the Nazis, called the Nazi-Soviet pact where the division
of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union had been agreed upon.

The relationship between the grand
alliance began to change towards the end of WWII. It essentially went from
friendship to suspicion. Their relationship was an alliance due to a common
enemy rather than a genuine mutualistic relationship. Americans had issues with
communism and the brutality of Stalin’s rule. The Soviet Union had problems
with America not treating it as an important part of the international
community and with America’s late entry into the second world war which
resulted in the death of tens of millions of Russians. Even as allies in the
second world war, tension was high between the two sides, which was clear in
each of the three conferences.

The cold war was due to the
intense geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and its satellite states,
who were considered the eastern powers, and the United States and its NATO
allies, who were considered the western powers. Historians don’t seem to agree
on a common timeframe for the Cold War,
but it is commonly believed that it started either in 1947- the year the Truman
Doctrine was announced, or 1989- when communism fell in eastern Europe and
ended in the year 1991- when the Soviet Union Collapsed. The Cold War was
mainly comprised of proxy wars rather than a large-scale fighting between the
two sides.

The Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam
conferences were conferences between Joseph Stalin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(and later, Harry S. Truman) and Churchill (and later, Clement Attlee) who
represented the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Britain respectively. These big
three to decide their strategies to defeat the Nazis and the post-war world.
These conferences are crucial because they highlighted the differences between
these three nations and therefore causes of the Cold war. These conferences
took place during the duration of the second World War, therefore the decisions
made by FRD and other American Presidents during these conferences are the
“leadership decisions” made by United States that shaped the post-war
Cold War.

The second world war was the
second global war, starting on the widely accepted date of September 1st, 1939 and it lasted until September 2nd, 1945. The
United States allied with Britain and the Soviet Union, despite their differences, because they had a
common enemy– the Nazi Germany. This alliance was strange because it was
between the biggest Capitalist country (U.S.), the biggest Communist country
(Soviet Union) and the biggest Colonial power (Britain) and indeed, it was the
reason for the post-WWII Cold War.