In this paper I will discuss what actions and thoughts added up to cause the cold war. The cold war lasted from September 1, 1945 to about December 25, 1991. That is about forty-five years, which is an extremely long time. The cold war was a global competition basically between two sides, the Free World, which was led by the United States of America, and the Communist World led by the Soviet Union. The struggle took place through indirect military conflict, and direct competition in the areas of economics, diplomacy, culture, space exploration, and political theory. It also involved nuclear stand offs, espionage, and global competition for other nations. The cold war has established the framework for most international and national policy decisions.
The United States’ goals were to defend Western Europe, contain Soviet and Communist expansion, and to prevent nuclear war. The Americans had an estimated twenty-four million veterans participating in the cold war and spent over twelve trillion dollars on it as well. The results for America were that we maintained the achievements of our victory in World War II, avoided/prevented global nuclear war, and unified Germany. We also directly freed 400 million people in ten different European nations from the bondage of Communism. We did this in the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. The United States also indirectly assisted in the freeing or relieving of tension/control on the peoples of Albania, Yugoslavia, Finland, and Mongolia.
Basically the two pick players in the cold war were the United States and the Soviet Union. At the end of the World War II the relations between these two countries had deteriorated. They became rivals and the tension built up into the creation of the cold war. Things especially heated up between the two when the Soviet Union would not accept the offer from America to give reparations for after the war.
This aid was offered through the Truman Doctrine, which happened in March 1947. What it stated was that American aid was being offered to European countries that bordered onto Communist countries. The Marshall Plan, in June of 1947, which offered aid outside of Europe to stop the spread of Communism-called containment. Then the USSR set up Comminform in September 1947. Which Stalin said was a news agency, but really it was a means of resistance to the Marshall Plan in Western Europe and to consolidate Soviet control over the countries of Eastern Europe.
The Soviet ambassador to the United States was Novikov at the time. Novikov suggested that the United States wanted to form a Western European alliance directly against the Soviet Union. He felt that the Truman Doctrine was the first step towards this goal, but it had been too harsh to attract any European support. Then he said that the Marshall Plan represented a more appealing tactic to involve the Western Europeans in the creation of an anti-Soviet alliance. However apparently the United States was not just pressuring Western Europe, but Eastern Europe as well. This partially, made the Soviet Union very angry. Maybe if the Marshall Plan had been limited to just Western Europe, maybe it would have been less threatening to the Soviet Union and might not have had such repercussions, as well. Once the Marshall Plan was in place the Soviet government moved quickly to gain its control over Europe.
Then there was the whole arms race, which took place mainly between the Soviet Union and the United States, again. The USSR got extremely annoyed not to know about America’s atom bomb in 1945. However the USSR got their own atom bomb in 1949 and then both sides began to stock up on weapons to arm themselves. The Soviets took the American bombing on Japan as an American motive to intimidate Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union. The existence of nuclear weapons prevented an all-out war, possibly a World War III, between the Soviet Union and The United States. Both sides realized that since they both have nuclear weapons what good would it be to use them, because they would destroy each other.
So basically there was numerous things that took place that added up to the creation of the cold war. Nobody can pick out one event and say that it caused the cold war, because it was definitely more than one thing.