US and Russia cold war experience between 1945-1990


Price: 4000 Naira (BSC, MSC)



1.1 Background of the Study
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), and the United States with its allies (the Western Bloc) after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan’s “Long Telegram” from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term “cold” is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.
The capitalist West was led by the United States, a federal republic with a two-party presidential system, as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic with a free press and independent organizations, but were economically and politically entwined with a network of banana republics and other authoritarian regimes, most of which were the Western Bloc’s former colonies (Geoffrey Jones, 2014). Some major Cold War frontlines such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Congo were still Western colonies in 1947. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed Marxist–Leninist state led by its Communist Party, which in turn was dominated by a totalitarian leader with different titles over time, and a small committee called the Politburo. The Party controlled the state, the press, the military, the economy, and many organizations throughout the Second World, including the Warsaw Pact and other satellites, and funded communist parties around the world, sometimes in competition with communist China following the Sino-Soviet split of the 1960s. The two worlds were fighting for dominance in poor, low-developed regions known as the Third World.
In time, a neutral bloc arose in these regions with the Non-Aligned Movement, which sought good relations with both sides. Notwithstanding relatively isolated incidents of air-to-air dogfights and shoot-downs, the two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat. However, both were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out nuclear world war. Each side had a nuclear strategy that discouraged an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack would lead to the total destruction of the attacker—the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD). Aside from the development of the two sides’ nuclear arsenals, and their deployment of conventional military forces, the struggle for dominance was expressed via proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.
The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The USSR consolidated its control over the states of the Eastern Bloc, while the United States began a strategy of global containment to challenge Soviet power, extending military and financial aid to the countries of Western Europe (for example, supporting the anti-communist side in the Greek Civil War) and creating the NATO alliance. The Berlin Blockade (1948–49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With the victory of the Communist side in the Chinese Civil War and the outbreak of the Korean War (1950–1953), the conflict expanded. The USSR and the US competed for influence in Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia. The Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The expansion and escalation sparked more crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which was perhaps the closest the two sides came to nuclear war. Meanwhile, an international peace movement took root and grew among citizens around the world, first in Japan from 1954, when people became concerned about nuclear weapons testing, but soon also in Europe and the US. The peace movement, and in particular the anti-nuclear movement, gained pace and popularity from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and continued to grow through the ’70s and ’80s with large protest marches, demonstrations, and various non-parliamentary activism opposing war and calling for global nuclear disarmament. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while US allies, particularly France, demonstrated greater independence of action. The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955–75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.
By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making allowances in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, ushering in a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People’s Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of KAL Flight 007 and the “Able Archer” NATO military exercises, both in 1983. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. On 12 June 1982, a million protesters gathered in Central Park, New York to call for an end to the Cold War arms race and nuclear weapons in particular. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika (“reorganization”, 1987) and glasnost (“openness”, c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia, and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world’s only superpower.
The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially in media featuring themes of espionage (notably the internationally successful James Bond book and film franchise) and the threat of nuclear warfare. Meanwhile, a renewed state of tension between the Soviet Union’s successor state, Russia, and the United States in the 2010s (including its Western allies) has been referred to as the Second Cold War (The Economist, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Cold War had many effects on society, both today and in the past. Primarily, communism was defeated. In Russia, military spending was cut dramatically and quickly. The effects of this were very large, seeing as the military-industrial sector had previously employed one of every five Soviet adults and its dismantling left hundreds of millions throughout the former Soviet Union unemployed.
After Russia embarked on economic reforms in the 1990s, it suffered a financial crisis and a recession more severe than the United States and Germany had experienced during the Great Depression. Russian living standards have worsened overall in the post–Cold War years, although the economy has resumed growth since 1995. It wasn’t until 2005 that the average post-communist country had returned to 1989 levels of per-capita GDP, although some are still lagging far behind.
The legacy of the Cold War continues to influence world affairs. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the post–Cold War world is widely considered as unipolar, with the United States the sole remaining superpower. The Cold War defined the political role of the United States in the post–World War II world: by 1989 the United States held military alliances with 50 countries, and had 1.5 million troops posted abroad in 117 countries. The Cold War also institutionalized a global commitment to huge, permanent peacetime military-industrial complexes and large-scale military funding of science.
Military expenditures by the US during the Cold War years were estimated to have been $8 trillion, while nearly 100,000 Americans lost their lives in the Korean War and Vietnam War. Although the loss of life among Soviet soldiers is difficult to estimate, as a share of their gross national product the financial cost for the Soviet Union was far higher than that of the United States.
In addition to the loss of life by uniformed soldiers, millions died in the superpowers’ proxy wars around the globe, most notably in Southeast Asia. Most of the proxy wars and subsidies for local conflicts ended along with the Cold War; the incidence of interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, as well as refugee and displaced persons crises has declined sharply in the post–Cold War years.
The legacy of Cold War conflict, however, is not always easily erased, as many of the economic and social tensions that were exploited to fuel Cold War competition in parts of the Third World remain acute. The breakdown of state control in a number of areas formerly ruled by Communist governments has produced new civil and ethnic conflicts, particularly in the former Yugoslavia. In Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War has ushered in an era of economic growth and a large increase in the number of liberal democracies, while in other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, independence was accompanied by state failure.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to analyze the US and Russia Cold war Experience between 1945 to 1990.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is centered on the analysis of the US and Russia Cold war Experience between 1945 to 1990.
1.5 Research Methodology
Doctrinal method and also empirical shall be mainly adopted in this research which will entail the consideration of statutes, textbooks of both foreign and local authors, journals, case laws conferences, materials form, collection of facts and data through questionnaires, internet and other relevant materials will be consulted.
1.6 Literature Review
As soon as the term “Cold War” was popularized to refer to postwar tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, interpreting the course and origins of the conflict became a source of heated controversy among historians, political scientists and journalists (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). In particular, historians have sharply disagreed as to who was responsible for the breakdown of Soviet Union–United States relations after the World War II and whether the conflict between the two superpowers was inevitable, or could have been avoided (Brinkley Alan, 1986). Historians have also disagreed on what exactly the Cold War was, what the sources of the conflict were and how to disentangle patterns of action and reaction between the two sides (Halliday Fred, 2001). While the explanations of the origins of the conflict in academic discussions are complex and diverse, several general schools of thought on the subject can be identified. Historians commonly speak of three differing approaches to the study of the Cold War: “orthodox” accounts, “revisionism” and “post-revisionism”. However, much of the historiography on the Cold War weaves together two or even all three of these broad categories (Byrd Peter, 2003) and more recent scholars have tended to address issues that transcend the concerns of all three schools.
Soviet historiography was under central control and blamed the West for the Cold War (Samuel H. Baron, and Nancy W. Heer, 1979). In Britain, the historian E. H. Carr wrote a 14-volume history of the Soviet Union, which was focused on the 1920s and published 1950–1978. His friend R. W. Davies said Carr belonged to the anti-Cold-War school of history, which regarded the Soviet Union as the major progressive force in the world, the United States as the world’s principal obstacle to the advancement of humanity and the Cold War as a case of American aggression against the Soviet Union (R.W. Davies., 1984 and Hillel Ticktin, 2000). Carr criticized those Anglophone historians, who he felt had unfairly judged the Soviet Union by the cultural norms of Britain and the United States (Laqueur Walter, 1987).
The first school of interpretation to emerge in the United States was “orthodox”. For more than a decade after the end of the World War II, few American historians challenged the official American interpretation of the beginnings of the Cold War (Brinkley Alan, 1986). The “orthodox” school places the responsibility for the Cold War on the Soviet Union and its expansion into Eastern Europe (Calhoun Craig, 2002). For example, Thomas A. Bailey argued in his 1950 America Faces Russia that the breakdown of postwar peace was the result of Soviet expansionism in the immediate years following World War II. Bailey argued Joseph Stalin violated promises he had made at the Yalta Conference, imposed Soviet-dominated regimes on unwilling Eastern European populations and conspired to spread communism throughout the world (Brinkley Alan, 1986). From that view, American officials were forced to respond to Soviet aggression with the Truman Doctrine, plans to contain communist subversion around the world and the Marshall Plan.
Another prominent “orthodox” historian was Herbert Feis, who in his works like Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War stated similar views. According to him, Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe in the postwar period was responsible for starting of the Cold War. Apart from this, he also argued that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies towards Stalin and his “surrender” to Stalin’s demands in the Yalta Conference paved the way for Soviet aggression and destabilized balance of power in Europe in Soviet favor (Feis Herbert, 1957. The interpretation has been described as the “official” United States version of Cold War history (Calhoun Craig, 2002). Although it lost its dominance as a mode of historical thought in academic discussions in 1960s, it continues to be influential (Nashel Jonathan, 1999).
United States involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s disillusioned New Left historians and created a minority of historians with sympathy towards the Viet Cong communist position and antipathy towards American policies.
Much more important were the revisionists who argued that both United States and the Soviet Union were responsible for blundering into the war and rejected the premises of “containment”. They battled the “orthodox” historians (Brinkley Alan, 1986). “Revisionist” accounts emerged in the wake of the Vietnam War in the context of a larger rethinking of the United States role in international affairs, which was seen more in terms of American empire or hegemony (Calhoun Craig, 2002).
While the new school of thought spanned many differences among individual scholars, the works comprising it were generally responses in one way or another to William Appleman Williams 1959 volume, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. Williams challenged the long-held assumptions of “orthodox” accounts, arguing that Americans had always been an empire-building people even while American leaders denied it (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). The influence of Williams, who taught at the University of Wisconsin, and several of his students who subsequently published works on these themes, was enough to create what became known as the “Wisconsin School” of American diplomatic history (Rosenberg Emily S., 1994). The Wisconsin School was distinct from the New Left; while members of each found themselves allied at times, New Left critiques tended to be a good deal more radical both in analysis and in proposed solutions (Morgan James G., 2014).
Following Williams, revisionists placed more responsibility for the breakdown of postwar peace on the United States, citing a range of their efforts to isolate and confront the Soviet Union well before the end of World War II (Calhoun Craig, 2002). They argued that American policymakers shared an overarching concern with maintaining the market system and capitalist democracy. To achieve that objective, they pursued an “open door” policy abroad, aimed at increasing access to foreign markets for American business and agriculture (Nashel Jonathan, 1999).
Revisionist scholars challenged the widely accepted scholarly research that Soviet leaders were committed to postwar expansion of communism. They cited evidence that the Soviet Union’s occupation of Eastern Europe had a defensive rationale and that Soviet leaders saw themselves as attempting to avoid encirclement by the United States and its allies (Calhoun Craig, 2002). In that view, the Soviet Union was so weak and devastated after the end of the World War II to be unable to pose any serious threat to the United States, who maintained a nuclear monopoly until the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in August 1949 (Brinkley Alan, 1986).
Revisionist historians have also presented the view that the origins of the Cold War date to the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). Some reach back even further as Wisconsin School historian Walter LaFeber in his study America, Russia, and the Cold War, first published in 1972, argued that the Cold War had its origins in 19th century conflicts between Russia and the United States over the opening of East Asia to American trade, markets and influence (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). LaFeber argued that the United States commitment at the close of World War II to ensuring a world in which every state was open to American influence and trade, underpinned many of the conflicts that triggered the beginning of the Cold War (Brinkley Alan, 1986).
Starting with Gar Alperovitz in his influential Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (1965), revisionists have focused on the United States decision to use atomic weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the last days of World War II (Brinkley Alan, 1986). In their belief, the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in effect started the Cold War. According to Alperovitz, the bombs were used not against an already-defeated Japan to win the war, but to intimidate the Soviets by signaling that the United States would use nuclear weapons to stop Soviet expansion, though they failed to do so (Nashel Jonathan, 1999).
New Left historians Joyce and Gabriel Kolko’s The Limits of Power: The World and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1945–1954 (1972) has also received considerable attention in the historiography on the Cold War. The Kolkos argued American policy was both reflexively anticommunist and counterrevolutionary. The United States was fighting not necessarily Soviet influence, but also any form of challenge to the American economic and political prerogatives through covert or military means (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). In this sense, the Cold War is less a story of rivalry between two blocs, but more a story of the ways by which the dominant states within each bloc controlled and disciplined their own populations and clients and about who supported and stood to benefit from increased arms production and political anxiety over a perceived external enemy (Halliday Fred, 2001).
The revisionist interpretation produced a critical reaction of its own. In a variety of ways, “post-revisionist” scholarship before the fall of Communism challenged earlier works on the origins and course of the Cold War.
During the period, “post-revisionism” challenged the “revisionists” by accepting some of their findings, but rejecting most of their key claims (Brinkley Alan, 1986). Another current attempt to strike a balance between the “orthodox” and “revisionist” camps, identifying areas of responsibility for the origins of the conflict on both sides (Brinkley Alan, 1986). For example, Thomas G. Paterson in Soviet-American Confrontation (1973) viewed Soviet hostility and United States efforts to dominate the postwar world as equally responsible for the Cold War (Brinkley Alan, 1986).
The seminal work of this approach was John Lewis Gaddis’s The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947 (1972). The account was immediately hailed as the beginning of a new school of thought on the Cold War claiming to synthesize a variety of interpretations (Nashel Jonathan, 1999). Gaddis then maintained that “neither side can bear sole responsibility for the onset of the Cold War” (Brinkley Alan, 1986). However, he emphasized the constraints imposed on United States policymakers by the complications of domestic politics (Brinkley Alan, 1986). In addition, Gaddis has criticized some revisionist scholars, particularly Williams, for failing to understand the role of Soviet policy in the origins of the Cold War (Nashel Jonathan, 1999).Gaddis’s 1983 distillation Gaddis, John Lewis 1983 of post-revisionist scholarship became a major channel for guiding subsequent Cold War research (Hogan Michael J., 1987). An almost immediate move to challenge Gaddis’ framework came from Melvyn P. Leffler, 1984a who “demonstrated that it was not so much the actions of the Kremlin as it was fears about socioeconomic dislocation, revolutionary nationalism, British weakness, and Eurasian vacuums of power that triggered US initiatives to mold an international system to comport with its concept of security” (Leffler; Painter, David S., eds. (2005). That provoked “strong rebuttals” from Gaddis and his followers, (Gaddis, Kuniholm, Bruce 1984) but Leffler deemed their objections inaccurate and unsubstantiated (Leffler, 1984b). However, Leffler himself still falls within the overall post-revisionist camp.
Out of the “post-revisionist” literature emerged a new area of inquiry that was more sensitive to nuance and interested less in the question of who started the conflict than in offering insight into United States and Soviet actions and perspectives (Calhoun Craig, 2002). From that perspective, the Cold War was not so much the responsibility of either side, but rather the result of predictable tensions between two world powers that had been suspicious of one another for nearly a century. For example, Ernest May wrote in a 1984 essay:
After the Second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union were doomed to be antagonists. […] There probably was never any real possibility that the post-1945 relationship could be anything but hostility verging on conflict. […] Traditions, belief systems, propinquity, and convenience […] all combined to stimulate antagonism, and almost no factor operated in either country to hold it back (Brinkley Alan, 1986).
From that view of “post-revisionism” emerged a line of inquiry that examines how Cold War actors perceived various events and the degree of misperception involved in the failure of the two sides to reach common understandings of their wartime alliance and their disputes (Halliday Fred, 2001).
After the opening of the Soviet archives, John Lewis Gaddis began to argue that the Soviets should be held more accountable for conflict. According to Gaddis, Stalin was in a much better position to compromise than his Western counterparts, given his much broader power within his own regime than Truman, who was often undermined by vociferous political opposition at home. Asking if it would have been possible to predict that the wartime alliance would fall apart within a matter of months, leaving in its place nearly a half century of cold war, Gaddis wrote in his 1997 book We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History the following:
Geography, demography, and tradition contributed to this outcome but did not determine it. It took men, responding unpredictably to circumstances, to forge the chain of causation; and it took [Stalin] in particular, responding predictably to his own authoritarian, paranoid, and narcissistic predisposition, to lock it into place (Gaddis, Kuniholm, Bruce 1984).
According to Leffler, the most distinctive feature of We Now Know is the extent to which Gaddis “abandons post-revisionism and returns to a more traditional interpretation of the Cold War”. Gaddis is now widely seen as more “orthodox” than “post-revisionist”. The revisionist Bruce Cumings had a high-profile debate with Gaddis in the 1990s, where Cumings criticized post-revisionism generally and Gaddis in particular as moralistic and lacking in historical rigor. Cumings urged post-revisionists to employ modern geopolitical approaches like world-systems theory in their work.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
In carrying out this research many factors served as constraints:
1. The limitation of the research title as US and Russia Cold war Experience.
2. Financial Limitation.
3. Inadequate Time: time factor constitutes the major limitation of this research study. It relates to the fact that the time for research work was short because it was combined with lectures, studies and examination.
4. Negative attitude of respondent: the problem facing the researcher with regards to the respondents relates to the non-cooperation and uncompromising attitude some respondents in giving
1.7 Definition of Term
Civil War: A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country.
Political Decay: Political decay is a political theory, originally described by Samuel P. Huntington, which describes how chaos and disorder can arise from social modernization increasing more rapidly than political and institutional modernization. Huntington provides different definitions for political development and describes the forms of political decay according to the various definitions.

Get Complete Materials


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy