Wednesday, March 16, 2016

History of the Cold War #3


I want to step back and answer the question: What was the Cold War?

The Cold War was 43 years of alternating conflict and cooperation between the newly communist countries of the east and the democratic nations of the west. I say that communism was new because relatively speaking, it was. Democracy had been tried and proven true. Communism was the implementation of the ideas of Karl Marx developed only in the 19th century and only implemented in the 20th. The followers of Marxism had hopes for a better world, but as communist countries change and adapt in the 20th and 21st century, we see the failings are epic and theories are not always realistic.

The east was led by the USSR and China--the west by the United States and her allies--the oddity is that at the beginning of the Cold War, the USSR, China, and the US were all fighting on the same side. Their dependance upon one another was not because of commonalities; they simply knew they could not defeat Germany and Japan with out their combined forces.

No wars were ever proclaimed during the Cold War but the idealogical battles led to physical, bloody conflicts: The Korean and Vietnam War. Koreans and Vietnamese suffered greatly as the bigger interests watched the fight between democracy and communism play out far from their own lands.

The Cold War brought out the worst in leaders of nations. Both the east and the west engaged in and supported:
*covert military operations—coups, revolutions, assassinations and insurrections
*Shooting down airplanes, the taking of hostages and hostage victims
*economic sanctions
*blockades
*boycotts
*quarantines
*built walls

*manipulated the price of oil and production
* nuclear arms developed and  grew in number until the possibility of global destruction became a possibility

When the super powers realized the possibility of global destruction, only then did their "best" capabilities rise to the surface. When the very lands, people and ideas could have been destroyed by what war was meant to protect, change became a possibility. Only when they realized the entire world could be destroyed did they try to keep it from happening.

From The Cold War: Great speeches in History edited by Louise I Gerdes
The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis