Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

The Cold War Notes

International Relations Notes > The Cold War Notes

This is an extract of our The Cold War document, which we sell as part of our The Cold War Notes collection written by the top tier of Swansea University students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our The Cold War Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

International

Relations

notes

1


War

and

Peace

in

the

Nuclear

Age

The

Cold

War


Historical

context

The

Second

World

War

ended

in

1945.

The

winners

of

the

Second

World

War

were

Britain,


France,

the

United

States,

the

Soviet

Union,

China

and

Canada

who

won

against

Japan,

Italy


and

Germany.

Most

European

and

a

lot

of

Asian

states

were

devastated

by

the

war,

their


economical

situation

was

drastic.

The

United

States

on

the

other

hand,

were

experiencing

a


very

prosperous

period.

The

two

superpowers

were

the

United

States

and

the

Soviet

Union.


However,

soon

after

the

end

of

the

Second

World

War,

their

relationship

soon

deteriorated.


This

is

because

of

the

constant

arms

race

and

competition

for

the

non--aligned

world1.


The

United

States

lived

according

to

Capitalism,

which

is

not

exactly

an

ideology,

but

rather


"form

of

social

organization,

based

on

generalized

commodity

production,

in

which

there

is


private

ownership

and/or

control

of

the

means

of

production"

(McLean

and

McMillian

2009,


p.62).

The

Soviet

Union

on

the

other

hand,

was

ruled

by

Communism.

It

is

impossible

to

talk


about

communism

without

mentioning

Karl

Marx.

Marx

is

the

author

of

the

Communist


Manifesto.

In

this

work

he

stated

the

objectives

of

Communism

which

he

thought

to

be

"the


violent

overthrow

of

capitalism

and

the

abolition

of

private

property"

(Dupre

2011,

p.72).


Marx

believed

that

a

revolution

was

necessary

because

"the

dominant

class

under

capitalism


had

used

their

economic

power

to

generate

vast

wealth

for

themselves

[...]

exploiting

the


working

class"

(Dupre

2011,

p.74).

Therefore,

the

compatibility

between

the

Capitalist

(US)


society

and

the

Communist

(USSR)

one

was

almost

impossible.

What

is

the

Cold

War?

The

starting

date

of

the

Cold

War

is

often

debated,

however,

the

official

date

is

considered

to


be

1947.

The

Cold

War

was

a

state

of

mutual

hostility

between

the

two

superpowers

of

that


time:

The

United

States

(US)

and

the

Soviet

Union

(USSR).

The

Cold

War

is

often

called

an


"action

reaction"

conflict,

as

every

action

of

the

US

was

immediately

responded

to

with

a


Soviet

action

and

vice

versa.


The

altered

perception

that

the

superpowers

had

one

of

the

other

is

what

catalysed

the


mutual

paranoia.

The

US

thought

that

the

"USSR

was

dedicated

to

the

conquest

of

Europe

and


the

world

for

itself

and

for

communism"

(Calvocoressi

2009,

p.

3).

The

Soviet

Union

believed


that

"the

western

world

was

inspired

by

capitalist

values

which

demanded

the

destruction

of


the

USSR

and

the

extirpation

of

communism"

(Calvocoressi

2009,

p.

3)


One

of

the

most

peculiar

traits

of

the

Cold

War

is

that

it

was

never

fought

in

a

battlefield,


rather,

it

was

fought

by

secret

agents,

spies

and

secret

investigations.

The

only

active

fighting


was

in

other

places

in

the

world,

geographically

far

from

the

superpowers.

The

Cold

War


period

was

characterised

by

the

constant

fear

of

an

attack

by

the

far

enemy.

This

lead

to

the


arms

race.


The

arms

race

is

in

fact,

one

of

the

most

distinctive

features

of

the

Cold

War.

What

the

term


refers

to

is

the

constant

race

between

the

superpowers

to

have

more

armaments

than

the


enemy,

both

in

terms

of

quantity

and

destruction--capacity.

This

resulted

as

a

rather

expensive


practice,

which

as

many

argue,

lead

to

the

Soviet

Union's

bankruptcy.


What

increased

the

dimension

of

the

conflict

was

the

possession

of

nuclear

arsenals

by

both


superpowers.

A

nuclear

war

would

have

lead

to

the

destruction

of

the

world.

1 The

non--aligned

world:

countries

which

did

not

follow

Capitalist

or

Communist

ideology.

The

Cold

War

is

the

clearest

example

of

a

state

of

brinkmanship--

which

is

the

practice

of


seeking

advantage

in

convincing

that

one

party

is

willing

to

push

towards

a

highly

dangerous


situation

rather

than

concede.


The

Cold

War

can

be

defined

as

an

ideological

conflict

given

that

it

was

the

struggle

between


two

economic

and

social

systems

completely

different

from

each

other.

The

United

States,


embodied

a

Capitalist

ideology,

while

the

Soviet

Union

lived

according

to

a

Communist

one.


Many

scholars

think

it

is

reductive

to

limit

its

definition

to

the

above,

therefore,

they

add

to

it


a

further

dimension

which

is

that

of

a

geopolitical

conflict.

This

definition

is

attributed

to

the


Cold

War

because

of

the

geopolitical

framework

of

the

world

in

that

moment.

Germany

and


Japan

were

defeated

and

occupied

after

the

second

world

war,

England

and

France

were


weakened

by

the

war.

This

resulted

in

the

United

States

and

the

Soviet

Union

emerging

as

the


two

superpowers.

The

origins

of

the

Cold

War:

schools

of

thought

Many

scholars

tried

to

put

a

finger

on

the

causes

of

the

Cold

War.

Before

exploring

the

three


schools

of

thought,

it

is

important

to

state

that

no

school

of

thought

or

summary

can

possibly


encapsulate

all

the

innumerable

shades

and

nuances

of

the

Cold

War.

There

are

three

main


schools

of

thought

which

enclose

the

most

popular

views

on

the

topic,

those

are:

the


Traditionalists

(or

Orthodox),

the

Revisionists

and

the

Post--Revisionists.

The

Traditionalists

The

Traditionalist--

or

Orthodox--

school

of

thought,

was

one

of

the

first

ones

to

emerge.

It

was


extremely

popular

in

the

1950s--60s

(therefore,

at

the

very

beginning

of

the

Cold

War)

and


dominated

by

British

and

American

scholars.

There

are

three

kinds

of

Traditionalists:


conservatives,

liberalists

and

realists,

however,

they

all

agree

on

a

main

point

which

is

that


the

Soviet

Union

is

to

blame

for

the

beginning

of

the

Cold

War.

Traditionalists

attribute


this

to

expansionist

nature

of

the

Soviet

Union

in

Europe.

They

hold

the

view

that

the

person


who

should

be

blamed

the

most

is

Stalin

who

embodied

Soviet

expansionist

ideals

amongst


which

also

triumphed

a

traditional

"great--power"

foreign

policy.

The

Traditionalist

scholars


also

argue

that

Stalin

violated

the

Yalta

agreement2

by

hindering

free

elections

in

Poland

and


surrounding

himself

with

puppet

Communist

regimes.

Moreover,

they

argue

that

the

Soviet


Union

was

an

undeniable

threat

to

Europe.


Conservative

Traditionalists


They

argue

that

the

USSR

was

aggressive

and

imperialist

and

that

Roosevelt

was

too

soft


towards

it.

Moreover,

they

also

thought

that

Communist

China

and

the

Sovietisation

of


Eastern

Europe

were

inevitable--

this

means

that

no

American

action

could

have

prevented

it.


Liberalist

Traditionalists


They

viewed

Roosevelt's

behaviour

as

a

normal

course

of

foreign

policy

and

the

fall

of

China


and

Easter

Europe

into

the

hands

of

Communism

as

inevitable.

Again,

the

United

States,

could


never

have

stopped

the

expansion

of

Communism.

2 Yalta

agreement:

conference

held

in

February

of

1945.

Those

who

took

part

in

the

conference

were

the

three

main

allies:

The

United

Kingdom

(Churchill),

the

United

States

of

America

(Roosevelt)

and


the

Soviet

Union

(Stalin).

Many

agreements

have

been

reached

during

this

meeting,

however,

the

most


important

ones

are:

1.Europe's

freedom

from

Nazism

and

encouraging

ex--Nazi

states

to

have

free


elections,

therefore,

to

embrace

democracy.

International

Relations

notes

3


War

and

Peace

in

the

Nuclear

Age


Realist

Traditionalists


They

do

agree

with

other

Traditionalists

on

the

idea

that

the

Soviet

Union

is

to

blame

for

the


beginning

of

the

Cold

War,

however,

they

also

see

the

United

States

as

largely

responsible.


This

is

due

to

the

fact

that

the

foreign

policy

their

pursued

was

unreasonable

and

based

on


sheer

idealism.

They

also

classify

United

States'

actions

as

crusade

behaviour,

which


according

to

them,

was

not

justifiable

in

that

situation.

The

Revisionists

The

Revisionist

school

of

thought

was

very

popular

in

the

1960s.

It

differs

from

the


Traditionalist

view

in

that

it

blames

both

superpowers,

however,

with

a

special

emphasis


on

the

US,

especially

Roosevelt,

for

the

beginning

of

the

Cold

War.

The

Revisionists

think


that

the

USSR

did

not

pose

a

real

threat

to

the

US

because

the

war

had

left

it

very


economically

weak,

unlike

the

US

which

was

at

its

economic

peak

as

soon

as

the

war

ended.

In


their

view,

Stalin

was

not

an

imperialistic

megalomaniac,

as

the

Traditionalists

pictured

him,


he

was

just

trying

to

rebuild

his

shattered

country.

In

order

to

do

this,

they

think,

he

needed


to

establish

friendly

relationships

with

neighbouring

States.


Roosevelt

is

to

be

blamed

because

he

did

not

take

the

opportunity

to

preserve

a

good


relationship

with

the

Soviet

Union

at

the

end

of

the

Second

World

War.

This

made

it


impossible

for

the

USSR

to

remain

an

ally.


Moreover,

the

Revisionists

see

the

Marshall

Plan

as

pure

Capitalist

exploitation

of

States


which

were

devastated

by

the

war.

They

also

say

that

the

US

offered

the

Marshall

aid

in

order


to

quench

their

thirst

of

expanding

Capitalist

markets.


New

Left

Revisionists


The

New

Left

Revisionists

have

been

strongly

influenced

by

Marxism.

They

state

that

the

Cold


War

was

as

inevitable

outcome

of

American

Capitalist

expansionism.


Post--Revisionists


This

school

of

thought

first

emerged

in

1972.

The

Post--Revisionist

view

differs

entirely

from


the

previous

schools

of

thought,

namely

the

Traditionalists

and

the

Revisionists.

This

is

due

to


the

fact

that

the

blame

for

the

beginning

of

the

Cold

War

is

not

placed

on

the

US

or

the


Soviet

Union,

but

on

the

power

vacuum

created

after

the

Second

World

War

in

Europe.


It

explains

Soviet

and

American

behaviour

as

motivated

by

fear

and

a

desperate

craving

for


security.

This

means

that

everything

that

happened

during

the

Cold

War

period

can

be


explained

in

terms

of

mutual

misunderstanding,

which

lead

to

perceiving

every

action

as

a


threat.

The

Post--Revisionists

see

the

Marshall

Plan

as

an

American

attempt

to

consolidate

the


European

economy.


Who

to

blame?


Why?


--Stalin

was

a

megalomaniac;


Traditionalists


The

USSR


Revisionists

Post--Revisionists

--USSR

was

driven

by

an

expansionist

ideology;


--USSR

was

a

threat

to

Europe.


Both,

but

especially

US

--USSR

was

not

a

real

threat;


--Stalin

was

trying

to

rebuild

the

USSR;


--Roosevelt

did

keep

Soviet

relationship

going;


--Marshall

plan

as

Capitalist

exploitation.


Geopolitical

situation

--Power

vacuum

after

the

Second

World

War;


--Both

acted

with

their

security

at

heart;


--The

Cold

War

is

a

big

misunderstanding.

Containment

policy


The

United

States

tried

various

strategies

to

fight

(the

spread)

of

Communism.

The

most


important

one

is

certainly

the

Containment

policy.

Containment

policy

had

two

forms:

the


offensive

and

defensive

one.

The

offensive

form

comprises

violence,

or

its

threat,

and

the


defensive

one

is

based

on

economic

strategies

to

create

trading

blocs.

The

policy

of


Containment

comprises

various

steps:


--The

Truman

Doctrine:

the

attempt

of

restraining

Communism

through

economic

aid

and


the

declaration

that

the

United

States

will

provide

help

to

those

who

are

free

people

who

try


to

resist

armed

minorities

who

try

to

subjugate

them,

both

from

inside

or

inside

their

country.


This

also

meant

the

attempt

of

preventing

the

spread

of

communism

through

economic

aid.


The

Truman

doctrine

was

announced

on

March

the

12th

of

1947

when

in

Greece

there

was

a


civil

war

between

Royalists

and

Communists.

Russia

on

the

other

hand,

was

insisting

with


Turkey

for

it

to

give

back

Russian

land

conquered

in

1918

by

the

Turkish

people.

In

order

to


persuade

the

US

Congress

to

send

money

to

both

Greece

and

Turkey,

Truman

proclaimed

the


Truman

Doctrine.

It

is

important

to

state

that

this

is

the

first

actual

anti--Communism

strategy,


which

will

be

pursued

in

other

ways

by

Truman

successors.


--The

Marshall

Plan:

was

"announced

by

the

US

Secretary

of

State

George

C.

Marshall

on

5th


June

1947.

Sixteen

European

States

became

the

beneficiaries

of

American

grants.

[$12.5


billion

was

delivered]"

(McLean

and

McMillian

2009,

p.333).

The

Marshall

Plan

was

based

on


the

condition

that

"European

States

traded

with

America"

(Thomas

2009,

p.

35).

The

Marshall


Plan

was

designed

to

comprise

the

Soviet

Union

as

well

as

other

Eastern

European

states.


However,

Stalin

soon

declined

it

and

forced

Eastern

European

States

to

do

so.

The

plan


identifies

the

moment

in

which

compromise

between

the

US

and

the

USSR

was

no

longer


possible.


--Establishment

of

NATO:

which

stands

for

North

Atlantic

Treaty

Organization,

was


established

on

the

4th

of

April

of

1949.

The

NATO

is

essentially

a

military

alliance.

It


constituted

a

group

of

allied

states

which

adopted

the

principle

of

collective

security--

meaning


that

an

attack

towards

any

allied

state

would

have

been

considered

an

assault

towards

them


all.

This

gave

the

right

to

strike

back.


--Creation

of

a

West

German

state:

September

1949:

birth

of

a

Federal

Republic

of

Germany


(West--Germany)

October

1949:

the

portion

of

Germany

which

was

occupied

by

the

Soviets


was

the

German

Democratic

Republic

(East--Germany).


--NSC--68:

completed

in

April

1950,

it

is

the

most

significant

action

which

was

part

of

the


Containment

policy

in

its

offensive

form

is

(National

Security

Council

Report

68

approved

by


Truman).

By

approving

it,

Truman,

allowed

an

immediate

and

large

scale

build

up

in

the


American

military

strength

and

that

of

their

allies.

NCS--68

is

extremely

important

as

it

is

seen


as

America's

determination

to

assert

international

order.

After

that,

national

security


expenditure

rose

from

$13

billion

in

1950

to

$50.4

billion

in

1953.

Soviet

response

While

the

US

was

developing

strategies

to

contain

Communism,

the

Soviet

Union

was


developing

a

scheme

to

defend

itself

against

eventual

Capitalist

attacks.

In

response

to

the

US


NATO,

the

USSR

ideated

the

Warsaw

pact.

The

pact

was

signed

in

Warsaw

on

the

14th

of

May

1955. Like

the

NATO,

the

Warsaw

pact

was

based

on

the

principle

of

mutual

defence.

In

other


words,

if

one

of

the

member

states

was

attacked--

all

the

members

of

the

pact

would

respond


to

the

strike.

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our The Cold War Notes.