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"Why did Soviet-American hostility between 1947 and 1962 not result in a world war?"
A janitor leans on a switch, lets loose a nuclear bomb onto the USA who replies with a deadly barrage, which in turn lets missiles from everywhere loose, destroying everything. Nuclear power has the potential to completely wipe out the human race. We witnessed the destruction of nuclear power at the end of World War II. This form of power almost came into use in the Cold War, yet there are a number of reasons as to why World War III never happened. As John Mason said the Cold War remains a Cold War "Because there was no direct armed conflict between the two continental giants, the description cold war remains an accurate one" . A World War would have resulted in the use of nuclear weapons, which had the capability of completely wiping out all humanity. Soviet and American leaders were smart- they knew what could happen. The destructive capability of nuclear warfare is the fundamental reason as to why the Cold War never resulted in World War. Between the years 1947-1962, a series of events occurred assuring the world that World War III would be prevented; these events included the Berlin Blockade, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuba Missile Crisis. Ultimately, what I will discuss in this essay will be the essential reasons as to why I believe that the Cold War did not erupt into World War. In my opinion World War III was avoided because of Mutually Assured Destruction, luck (to some degree) and the fact that neither side had anything to gain from a "Hot War".
Although the Cold War spread to Korea and involved a lot of European countries, it never resulted in World War because the problem was essentially between Russia and the USA. It was the American policy of containment that prevented this war from boiling hot. Russia aimed to spread communism throughout Europe and the USA fought to prevent it's spread. This led to the implementation of the Truman Doctrine on 12 March 1947, which enforced the policy of every nation as having to chose between two ways of life and promulgated that it was the policy of the US "to support free people who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures" . This then led to the Marshall plan, created by US Secretary of State, George Marshall. The Marshall Plan gave aid to Europe. The Economic Recovery Program (the official name of the Marshall Plan) supplied giants and credits totaling $13.2 billion to sixteen European countries . Nevertheless, this plan improved US alliances with Europe bringing important aid to an economy in chaos. This strengthened their position against Russia. Not only was the Marshall Plan a success for the USA and Europe, but it also caused a crisis in Soviet-Western relations The Soviet Union, not surprisingly, refused to participate and it's subsequent denunciation of the plan sealed the economic and political division in Europe . This was bad for the Soviet Union. By 1960, Western Europe was well above pre-war levels and its people were living better than ever . At this point, the West was in a better-equipped position than the Russian's. In the event of an armed conflict, the Russian's would have stood no chance. The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan prevented War, because the USA were in a far more powerful position and the Russian's knew that they could not successfully fight a war.
The failure of the Berlin Blockade is another reason as to why the Cold War never boiled hot. On June 24, 1948, Josef Stalin ordered the blockade of West Berlin's roads and railways; this was enforced one day after the Western powers introduced a new currency in the Western zone. By doing this, Stalin felt as though he had gained power because he felt as though he had complete control over West Berlin's 2.4 million people. I also believe that Stalin did this in order to get the West out of Berlin and prevent the setting up of a Western German state. This only worsened opinion of the Soviet Union The United States (as part of the Marshall Plan) and Britain responded to the Soviet challenge by a massive airlift that supplied Berlin with food, fuel and basic commodities for almost a year . This gave the world the impression that the Soviet Union were trying to starve women and children. Realizing that he was headed nowhere fast, in May 1949 Stalin acknowledged the failure of the blockade and ended it. This was the first incident in the Cold War where there was the potential for things to get
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Cold War, Marshall Plan,
Names mentioned in this term paper
Locations mentioned in this paper
United States, Soviet Union, the first conflict, Cuba, Berlin, Europe,
Keywords talked about in this paper
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