n the aftermath of the Second World War in 1945, the alliance between the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union underwent an extreme rivalry. The profound ideological, economic and political differences between Communist and non-Communist nations, particularly the Soviet Union and the United States, created the grounds for the Cold War, which evolved as a Soviet-American state of disagreement, tension and opposition from 1945 to 1991.The Cold War was not a declared war or an armed conflict. It took place on a diplomatic, geopolitical, ideological and economic level only and this is why it was called “Cold”.
In this general context of differences between the East and the West, the American fear of Communist attack and the Russian fear of the America’s atomic bomb have created a highly vulnerable environment where the Communist nations had no other option than to express their dislike of the non-Communist nations’ practices and their profound dislike of capitalism. In addition, Soviet Union’s need for a secure Western border to anticipate an American attack and its expansion into Eastern Europe have created high opposition from the United States in regards to sharing nuclear secrets. Moreover, the Soviet Union’s broken election promises in the Eastern block and the personal dislike of Truman for Stalin have complicated the situation even more, particularly under the threat of Russia’s effort to spread Communism around the globe.
The timeline of the Cold War could be presented as follows:
• 1946: Churchill declares that an “iron curtain” has fallen over Europe
Political differences between the Soviet Union and the United States were mostly developed after Second World War, when the decline of Europe led to the sharing of power between the two super-powers. At the Yalta Conference (February 4 to 11, 1945), the Big Three, namely Roosevelt (US) Stalin (Soviet Union) and Churchill (Great Britain), practically divided the world. Germany, divided into four occupied zones, would be under the control of Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. At the Yalta Conference, the Soviet Union promised to allow free elections of parliamentary governments in the area under control, which included Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. However, this promise was never held thus causing the fierce opposition of the Allies. As a response, a new foreign policy of control was introduced by the Allies aimed at keeping Communism only to the Eastern block, which was referred to by Churchill as “Iron Curtain”.
• 1948: Berlin is being excluded by the Soviet Union with the raise of Berlin Wall, which separates Germany into Western and Eastern, or into Capitalist and Communist.
The strong political opposition between the Soviet Union and the United States was basically the result of a conflict between Communism and Capitalism. Truman, who was the elected U.S. President after Roosevelt’s death doubted the promises of the Communist regime. Unlike Roosevelt, Truman believed that Communists would continue to exercise powerful control over Eastern Europe and that, over time, they would try to extend this control over Western Europe. As a result, the Truman Doctrine in 1947, known as the Marshall Plan, asserted that help would be provided from the United States only to non-Communist nations. The Marshall Plan aimed at the recovery of non-Communist countries after the Second World War and it was regarded as a solution to resist communist pressure. In addition, according to Truman, having developed and used the atomic bomb against Japan in 1945 was providing the United States with a competitive advantage against the Soviet Union and with the right to a rigid attitude towards Russian expansion in Europe.
It is also believed that Churchill’s speech at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946 deteriorated the poor relations between the Soviet Union and the United States as it intensified the suspicions of the West for belligerent plans of Soviet Union in Europe. Churchill implied that all the capitals of the Central and Eastern Europe were subject to the Soviet influence, but also to an increasing control from Moscow”.
• 1949: NATO is founded and with the guidance of the United States it aims at the dissuasion of the communist threat in Europe.
• 1950-1953: the War of Korea brings in juxtaposition the United States and its allies with China and the Soviet Union.
• 1955: the Warsaw Pact is signed in order to assemble all the military forces of the Soviet Union and other Socialist – Communist countries of Eastern Europe.
• 1962: Crisis in Cuba after the failed plan of installation of Soviet rockets.
• 1965-1975: the Vietnam War brings in juxtaposition the United States with the Northern Vietnam, which is helped by China.
• 1987: The United States and the Soviet Union sign the first pact of nuclear disarmament.
• 1991: Collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War.
Despite many aggressive actions undertaken both by the Soviet Union and the United States until 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Third World War didn’t burst out. The Cold War continued without actual conflict between the two super-powers. On December 21, 1991, the Soviet Union was split up to eleven distinct ethnic and racially separate units, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Clearly, all those historical facts that constitute the timeline of the causes of the Cold War are the results of the profound ideological and economic differences between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Ideologically, the Soviet Union and the United States were completely different. Unlike the United States where the government was elected by free elections, in the Soviet Union, the government was formed by the Communist Party. In the US, people were free to form political parties and they possessed the right of assembly, of speech and of the press. On the contrary, in the Soviet Union, the people did not have any of those rights. Apparently, those two systems of government were completely opposed, leaving almost no compromise between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Economically, the Soviet Union and the United States were fundamentally opposed. The United States were encouraging free trade and the benefits associated to it such as the increase of nation’s stock of resources and of supplies of labour and capital from foreign investors. On the contrary, the Soviet Union was proclaiming opposition to international commerce in the fear of being opened to Western influences, a fact that might penetrate the power of the Communist totalitarianism.
Christina Pomoni has acquired her MBA Finance from the American College of Greece. Her advanced familiarity with financial statement analysis, capital budgeting and market research has been acquired through her professional career at high-esteemed organizations. As part of her long journey, Christina has served as an Equity Research Associate at Telesis Securities (EFG Eurobank) and a Financial & Investment Advisor at ING Group. Besides, having lived at Chicago, IL, Boca Raton, FL and Paris, France has helped her, not only to be a successful professional, but mostly to see life under a more creative and innovative perspective. Since 2005, Christina provides high quality writing services to numerous websites and research companies contributing her knowledge and expertise. Her areas of specialization are Business, Finance & Investment, Society, Politics & Culture. She also has a very good knowledge of Entertainment, Health & Fitness and Computers & Technology. Christina currently designs the website of her own writing company. Believing that knowledge is the road to opportunity and development, her mission is to promote her already established knowledge to a growing number of visitors and to provide high quality writing services to meet the most demanding customer requirements.