What was the Cold War and what events caused it?
Cold War is the term used to describe the intense rivalry that developed after World War II between groups of Communist and non-Communist nations. On one side were the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) and its communist allies that referred to as the Eastern bloc. On the other side were the United Staes and its democratic allies, usually referred to as the Western bloc. Cold War was characterized by mutual distrust, suspicion, and misunderstandings by both the United States and the Soviet Union, and their allies.
The United States accused the Soviet Union of seeking to expand Communism throughout the world. The Soviets charged the United States with practicing imperialism and with attempting to stop revolutionary activity in other countries. Each blocs vision of the world also contributed to East-West tension. The United States wanted a world of independent nations based on democratic principles. The Soviet Union attempted to control areas it considered vital to its national interest, including much of Eastern Europe.
The Yalta Conference is often cited as the beginning of the Cold War. During the seven days of February 4 11, 1945, the Big Three Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin met in Crimea at the Lavidia Palace on the Black Sea. The main purpose of Yalta was the re-establishement of the nationas conquered and destroyed Germany. Poland was given back its independence and given its own natinal election in order to create a new, independent government. The Yalta Conference agreed to divide Germany into zones controlled by each of the three nations present. One result of this discussion was that Stalin was persuaded to endorse a Declaration on Liberated Countries which pormosed free elections and other democratic practices and liberties in Eastern countires that were at the time the site of Red Army victories over the Nazis.
During 1945 and early in 1946, the Soviet Union cut off all contacts between the West and the occupied territories of Eastern Europe. In March 1946, Winston Churchill warned that an icon curtain has descended across the Continent of Europe. He made popular the phrase Iron Curtain to refer to Soviet barriers against the West. Behind these barriers, the U.S.S.R. steadily expanded its power. In 1946, the U.S.S.R. organized Communist governments in Bulgaria and Romania. In 1947, Communist took control of Hungary and Poland, and the Czechoslovakia early in 1948. These countries became controlled by the U.S.S.R. Yugoslavia also joined the communist bloc. Communists led by Josip Broz Tito then took over the government.
The war against Japan was not as devastating as the United States had expected. One by one, the important cities of Japan were bombed. Some bombings were targeted at military sites; others were terror bombings of civilian populations. Hiroshima, a city know for its military importance, evacuated non-essential citizens for fear of an American attack. The decision to drop the bomb was made by Harry Truman. Hiroshima was destroyed by the atomic bomb just a few days after the Postdam conference in which Truman announced the existence of the bomb to his allies in order to show military superiority.
Cold War tensions increased in the early 1980s resulted from the Soviet intervention in Afganistan and from continued American fear of Soviet and Cubal influence in thr Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Amrica. U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his administration adopted a policy they called linkage, tying any U.S. arms agreement to consideration of Soviet Expansion.
According the historians the Cold War was never really a war, and so it never officially bega or ended. Perhaps the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 will be remembers as the symbolic end of the Cold War.