How did the two superpowers compete with each other in the period 1949-85?
Though the United States (US) and Soviet Union (USSR) were former allies, after the Second World War, they could not settle their disagreements and cooperate in peacetime. Cold War started as tension and hostility was development between capitalist bloc led by US and communist bloc led by USSR. Fortunate enough, there was not any large-scale and direct fighting. Yet, the two superpowers still used distinct methods to compete with each other.
First, spying operations took place. These were vital source of stolen information on each other’s upcoming actions and plans. So it was understandable that the Central Intelligence Agency of US and the Council for State Security of USSR were set up in 1947 and 1954 respectively. From time to time, both sides condemned each other’s spying actions, which worsened their relations beyond doubt.
Second, the two superpowers’ diplomatic policies showed fierce competition. For US, its President Truman was determined to check the spread of communism and so, economic and military aid are given to countries that were threatened by USSR, such as Greece and Turkey. The Truman Doctrine changed US’s foreign policy to ‘policy of containment’. So, it was understandable that USSR would react swiftly, in order not to counteract capitalists’ influence. And the most concrete examples were economic cooperation, Marshall Plan verse Molotov Plan, and military alliances, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) verse Warsaw Pact.
It indicates the principles and preferences on which a country wants to establish relations with another country. ” WHY IT IS NECESSORY FOR A COUNTERY? No country today can think of a life independent of other nations. Every country has to develop relations with other countries so as to meet its requirements in economical, industrial and technological fields. It is thus necessary for every country ...
Under Marshall Plan, massive economic aid was given to Western European countries by US, so as to help them recover their economies and eventually she could resist communist expansion. Meanwhile, in order to prevent her satellites in Eastern Europe from accepting Marshall Plan, the Cominform was formed to cooperate activities between USSR and her satellites while Molotov Plan was launched and Council for Mutual Economic Assistance was set up, to provide economic assistance to Soviet satellites.
On the other hand, led by US, NATO was established with 12 member states in 1949. Later in 1955, the admission of West Germany to NATO, USSR perceived this organization as a threat to communist. In response, USSR formed her own military alliance with her satellites in Eastern Europe, named Warsaw Pact.
Third, the two superpowers backed up local wars of different countries. Because of ideologies differences, US and USSR supported different part of a country whenever there was a civil war. For instance, Greek Civil War, Chinese Civil War, Korean War and Vietnam War worsened the relationship of the two superpowers.
For Greek Civil War and Chinese Civil War in 1946 to 49, both civil wars aroused international attention as they related to the struggle between capitalist and communist bloc. For Greek, US intervened and defeated the Greek Communist Party. For China, US failed to intervene and Chinese Communist Party rose to power.
For Korean War in 1950 to 1953, USSR supported North Korea to set up a communist government while US helped set up a democratic government in South Korea. As a result, Korea was divided into two parts.
For Vietnam War in 1961 to 1975, North Vietnam set up a communist government and wanted to annex South Vietnam. In order to prevent South Vietnam from falling into communist bloc, US bombed North Vietnam and this provoked Vietnam War. With the help of other communist countries such as USSR and China, North Vietnam annexed South Vietnam.
Fourth, indirect conflict related to military issue took place. USSR hoped to turn Cuba into a Soviet missile base and installed nuclear missiles there. These missiles could destroy US. In response, US President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba as there a serious threat to its national defence. Fortunate enough, USSR backed down. If not, a war should have been taken place.
Answer with reference to the concept of insurgency/guerrilla warfare. The longest war in the history of the United States of America has taken place in Vietnam during the Cold War. “The US fear of a communist Europe led them to intervene in a war that was not seen in a vital importance or that would not be in the country`s interest to gain any advantage” (Bernstein 1987/8, p. 86). One of the main ...
On the other hand, USSR sent troops to Afghanistan. US President Jimmy Carter then called for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and imposed a ban on the US grain sales to USSR. Additionally, US Congress rejected the nuclear arm agreements laid down in the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT 2).
In addition, US launched the Star Wars Plan. US President Ronald Reagan decided to strengthen national defence. Therefore, her NATO allies and she invested and set up new missile system. In 1983, the Strategic Defence Initiative was introduced to against the possibility of a Soviet missile attack.
All in all, during Cold War, no large-scale and direct fighting took place fortunately. Yet, the two superpowers indeed competed with each other in different forms, including having spying operations, changing their diplomatic policies, backing local wars and having some indirect conflicts related to military issue.