Essay on The Cold War from 1950-1980

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The Cold War from 1950-1980 The period of 1950 to 1980 saw the Cold War spread from the traditional playing field of Europe to other parts of the world. However it is quite clear that the USA and the Soviet Union played only a marginal role in originating these conflicts-at the most setting up the basic framework for it to occur. Furthermore, when they did get involved they each did so to varying degrees. The USA seemed to be much more motivated and interested in involving themselves, while the Soviet Union was more apprehensive. Therefore, to say that both superpowers “were reluctantly drawn into them (the conflicts)” is not completely true. To illustrate my point I will analyse the …show more content…
This was due to mainly two reasons-the fact that by 1939, the Soviet Union had tested their first atomic bomb thus breaking the USA’s nuclear monopoly and the loss of China to the communist. As the Cold War was commonly described as a zero-sum game, the way US saw it, they could not afford to lose anymore territories - such as Korea. Truman was also under much fire back at home for not intervening significantly in China and thus he saw the Korean War as a perfect opportunity to redeem himself. As Geir Lunstead noted:

“The domestic political situation in the United States further undermined the original stance of the Truman administration. Verbal assaults for having ‘lost China’ to the communists became steadily harsher. In February, Senator Joseph McCarthy had begun his attacks on communist influence within the administration. If South Korea fell, too, that would undoubtedly sharpen the tone even further, just a few months before Congressional elections.”[2]

Thus the fact that US had much to gain from intervening in the Korean War, suggests that they were not reluctant to do so.

US actions in the development of the war also suggested they were not reluctant to get involve. The Americans under MacArthur, were not content with simply driving the North Korean forces back to the 38th parallel. They pushed them further back all the way
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