The Cold War was the name for the long period of discrepancies between U. S. A and the Soviet Union. The Cold War caused many of the biggest major crises in the world such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Wall. Though the Soviet Union and America never fought each other directly, they fought indirectly by putting other non-superpower countries to fight for their same beliefs on the superpower’s behalf (“What Was The Cold War”). That included wars such as the Korean and Vietnam War. These wars were called surrogate wars.
That way, there would be no catastrophic consequences due to the nuclear power that the US and the Soviet Union had. But the Cold War did not just occur for no reason, nor did it occur from just one action. There were many American and Russian actions that led to the Cold War starting from just the distrust and differences of each others ideals and forms of government. There were many Soviet actions that led the Cold War. But what really caused the Cold War from the Soviet’s side was their greed for power and control over Europe and other Asian countries.
The way the Soviets took control over everything in countries such as Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Albania, and East Germany shocked the Western world. The subsequent denial of political and civil freedom within these nations made many countries turn against the Soviet Union and communism (“Cold War in the International Arena”). Also, the way the Soviet Union used the East European countries for their own benefit and not for the individual country disgusted many. An example of the Soviet actions against their territory was the Berlin Wall which separated East Germany to West Germany.
On August 13, 1961, the East German government led by Soviet officials began the construction of the Berlin Wall. When Germany became occupied by the Allies after World War II, the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allies disagreed on how Germany should be run. These discrepancies included things like whether Germany should be a communist-run country or a capitalist country. Finally, when the Allies and West Germany made the big step to make their own currency, Khrushchev ordered a separation between East and West Germany. Many East Germans, not anting to be run by communism, tries to escape over the border to West Germany. In order to stop the border-crossers, the Soviets built a wall five feet thick and 96 miles long all across Germany. In order to stop people from jumping over the wall, the Soviets built 332 watchtowers guarding the wall. Over 200 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall. To gain full control of Germany,Khrushchev ordered a blockade of supplies to East Germany. He thought if the Allies saw the East Germans starving, they would give him complete control over Germany.
But instead of turning power over to Khrushchev, the US sent cargo planes to East Germany that were full of supplies. They flew over the cities and parachuted down food and other necessary supplies to the people of East Germany. The way the Soviet’s tried to starve East Germany and the way the US handled the problem increased the tensions between each other eventually leading to the Cold War. America also had a big part in starting the Cold War. They had many actions that also led to the Cold War, but the most influential one was the policy of containment that America adopted.
The foreign policy of containment was adopted by President Truman. It was a policy directed at blocking Soviet influence and stopping the expansion of communism (Roger B. Beck 533). Truman needed the approval of Congress to give him $400 million to fund his policy. He justified it by saying, “I believe we must assist free peoples to work out their destinies in their own way,” (“Containment and Cold War, 1945-1961”). Many actions that came from following containment occurred during the Cold War.
One example of the US following containment was Vietnam and Korean War where America tried to set up a nationalist government to stop the communist government from taking over that country. America’s constant trying to stop the spread of communism infuriated the Soviet Union to no end. Another American action that led to the Cold War was the creation of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. They were both focused on reviving war-torn Europe while continuing the global blockade on communism (Roger B. Beck 534). Though with that came a big price (literally).
Just the Truman Doctrine costed $400 million which they gave to recover Turkey and Greece (Roger B. Beck 534). The Marshall Plan provided fuel, raw materials, goods, loans, food, machinery, and advisers to jump start Europe’s economy. This plan was in effect from 1948 to 1951. About $13 million was spent on the Marshall Plan. It was a costly price to pay for trying to stop communism from spreading throughout Europe but there were no regrets. Growth in all the countries that were part of the Marshall Plan increased things like economic and agricultural growth by at least 15%.
Had the Marshall Plan not have existed, the economy in most countries in Europe would have collapsed leaving communism a viable choice and democracy not. But because of the Marshall Plan, the Soviet Union was unable to spread communism throughout Europe when it was vulnerable. Now it was almost impossible for them to spread communism when the economy of Europe was stable. The US’s advance in stopping the spread of communism increased the tensions and hatred between the Soviet Union and America. One of the major reasons why the Cold War started was on the subject of nuclear weapons and nuclear warfare.
The Soviet’s refusal to sign many nuclear weapon related treaties increased tension and distrust between American and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union didn’t sign treaties like the CTM which controlled how much nuclear weapons a country could produce and how many they could test. Instead of signing the treaty, the Soviets started developing and testing nuclear weapons underground thus out of the world’s view. To see what the Russians were doing, the US sent U-2 planes to spy on Russia. But on May 1, 1960, a U-2 plane was shot down by the Soviet Union (“The U-2 Incident”).
The pilot, Francis Gary Powers was captured and tortured but was eventually set free. The Soviets, now knowing that America was spying on them, increased their distrust in the US. There were many actions by both sides that led to the cold war. Though American won in the end, there was no reason for the war to occur. Many of the actions were avoidable as silly as it seems. Luckily, both sides were sane in the head and did not approach a full-on nuclear war or the consequences would have been drastic.