The Cold War Essay

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The Cold War was one of the most important political confrontations of the twentieth century, with the potential to wreak enormous damage to the world and its inhabitants. It began during the last stages of World War II when the alliances were crumbling and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War was the 20th century's version of great power rivalry (except they were superpowers with the ability to annihilate each other with nuclear weapons at a moments notice.)
From the moment the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917 conflict with the Capitalist West was inevitable. The varied theories of its cause are subject to debate by historians across the globe, although certain key reasons have been, to some extent,
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Capitalism held the attitude of minimum government interference in business and commerce in private ownership and free enterprise. Accumulation of wealth was encouraged, the complete opposite of the ?for each according to his needs? principle, and it was up to the individual to ensure his survival and success, it was not the responsibility of the state to look after its people. Democracy allowed for multi-party elections, with a variety of political parties and candidates for the voters to choose between. America, in the lead up to the Cold War, was under the impression that Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, was trying to spread Communism worldwide. This was because of Stalin?s attempt to set up pro-communist systems elsewhere.

Soviet forces ?liberated? the Eastern European countries from Nazi control as World War II neared its end, but at the war?s end Stalin refused to remove his troops and began establishing pro-Communist regimes through Eastern Europe, the satellite states, as well as Russia?s western frontier. Stalin insisted this was done to create a ?protective buffer guard? against future invasion. These actions caused the aforementioned suspicions from the western powers that the Soviet Union intended to spread communism worldwide. ?An iron curtain?had descended,? stated the British Prime Minister, Churchill, indicating the spread of Communism versus Capitalism had divided Europe from east to west. Parts of the Middle East were also…

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