The Cold War: Study Notes

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Part A After World War II, tensions began to increase between the U.S. and the Soviet Union largely based on mistrust. On one side, America had not been invaded, had nuclear weapons, and was rebuilding Japan and Europe. On the other side, the Soviets had lost millions of people and had a decimated infrastructure and agricultural economy. To protect itself from perceived aggressive, the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe and the Iron Curtain was born, giving way to the term Cold War. The major U.S. foreign policy issue at the time was based on two things: containment of communism and the domino effect. The decolonization of countries in Africa and Asia was significant because each side (US and USSR) wanted to be the dominant influence in that country. The US felt that if one country in a region went communist, like dominos, all would (e.g. Vietnam).
Part B When China's revolution ended and the country (except for Taiwan) became communist, the US worried that the Soviets would have undue influence in most of Asia. China is vast in territory and people, and with the Soviets and Chinese as allies in the war against capitalism, the stakes were even higher. China backed North Korea against the US occupied South, again the feeling was if South Korea became communist, it would only be a matter of time before Japan, the rest of Indo-China, and so on became communist. The fear between the major players was increased once the Soviets launched their first nuclear weapon, in 1949. The
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