The Role of Intelligence Agencies
According to Cold War history, the CIA attempted to obtain control over several intermediary countries, such as Afghanistan, Chad, Grenada, Cuba and Angola, but the major world powers never began an armed conflict against each other. The military units of the two nations participated only rarely in the Cold War. This war was waged primarily by the KGB and the CIA.
Causes of the Cold War
There were many causes of the Cold War, including the following:
- Political Ideology. The Soviet Union embraced the ideology of communism and wanted to spread this philosophy over the globe. This was a threat to the United States. The United States believed in democracy.
- America had obtained atomic weapons and this was a threat to the Soviet Union. Both nations were in fear of an attack from the other.
- The Soviet Union exercised control over Eastern Europe which constituted a threat to the United States.
- The Russians were afraid America would attack the Soviet Union from Western Europe
Although history records many causes of the Cold War, one of the primary causes was an argument between the two countries about the political philosophy of communism. While the East embraced Communism, the United States was adamantly opposed to this philosophy of government.
McCarthyism and the “Red Hunt”
In 1950, Joseph McCarthy, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, accused over 200 federal workers of being members of the Communist Party. Although Senator McCarthy had no evidence upon which to base these allegations, President Truman initially backed the inquisitions, but eventually distanced himself from the investigations because he felt that they were becoming “witch-hunts.”
The Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Sputnik Crisis
The history of the Cold War is also the history of the beginning of the Space Age.The Space race began in earnest after this, leading up to the Apollo program, and the moon landings in 1969. Sputnik Crises occurred when the Russians launched the Sputnik 1 Satellite. The U.S felt that it was necessary to win the race to space, and so did the Russians. There was serious competition in the race to space, especially between the United States, and the Soviet Union. Sputnik I, the world's first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, launched on October 4, 1957, and the Space Age emerged. This event gave the impression of a deficit in technological advancement and helped to provide the momentum in spending for technical and scientific projects and educational programs. The United States needed to recover a sense of international respect.
Cuban Missile Crisis
In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crises moved the United States and the Soviet Union close to war. U.S. intelligence services discovered Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba. During a tense week, President Kennedy imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba and announced that the U.S. would respond to an attack from Cuba as an attack by the Soviet Union. On October 28, Khrushchev backed down and announced to the world that he would dismantle the installations.
The End of the Cold WarThe history of the Cold War shows that the conflict began to unravel in the late 1980s during the administration of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. He disassembled the autocratic facets and factions of the Soviet system and tried to integrate the concept of democracy into the political system. The Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, and 15 newly independent nations emerged, each with a democratically elected, anticommunist leader. Cold War History shows that although no shots were fire, and no physical battles were waged between the two opposing countries, the effects of this conflict brought many changes on both sides.
Effects of the Cold War
- Both countries created made weapons and missiles
- NATO and The Warsaw Pact were created
- The Soviet Union was demolished
- The Warsaw Pact was eliminated
- The Baltic States achieved independence
- Communism was eliminated across the globe
The psychic scars of this period are still felt today. Cold War history shows that during this time, the civilian population in America was encouraged to build personal bomb shelters. Sirens rang out urgently during air raid drills and teachers taught schoolchildren to hide under their desks.