The Cold War is deemed to have emanated from the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union were left as the two superpowers after the closure of the Second World War. These two countries were considered as opposing superpowers because they had profound political and economic differences. The sustained military and political tension between these two countries is what was considered as the Cold War. Several reasons explicate how and why the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US escalated. These include: lack of the Americans going home despite the closure of WW II, Soviet’s interruption in other countries elections, Berlin tension in 1948/49, Soviet’s explosion of the first bomb, Soviet’s influence on North Korea and encouragement to go to war with the Southerners, launching of Sputnik into orbit, and infiltration of South Vietnam by Communist insurgents. Others reasons were erection of the Berlin Wall and, lastly, the deployment of missiles to Cuba by the Soviet Union. Thus, this essay explicates how and why the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US escalated from 1945 to 1962.
The first reason that led to the escalation of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union was Americans’ reluctance to leave Europe after the end of the WW II. Despite the affiliation between the US and the Soviet Union during WW II, imminent tension was evident, which resulted in the US adopting a “get tough” policy directed at the Soviet Union at the close of the war in 1945/ 46. This contributed to the escalation of the Cold War between these two countries as Soviet Union did not anticipate the move taken by the US against them. In addition, they accused the US and other capitalist allies of intending to overthrow their Communism form of government.
The second reason was Soviet’s interference in other countries’ elections. Research establishes that the Soviet Union interfered with elections in Romania and Bulgaria in 1946 with the intention of making them its satellites. This further aggravated the US because the Soviet Union had promised earlier to allow free and fair elections in the countries under it. In addition, this promoted the Cold War because Soviet Union was spreading its Communism ideologies in those countries, which was against the Capitalist ideology of the West.
Thirdly, the Soviet Union’s attempt to ensure that Western governments evacuate from Berlin also promoted the escalation of the Cold War. This took place in 1948/ 49 when the Soviet troops were ordered to seal waterways, railroad, and highway through East Germany to West Berlin. This was an attempt of ridding West Berlin off the Western governments. Thus, this angered the US because they realized the Soviet’s intention and countered it by organizing the Berlin airlift. This ensured that the Western governments received all the supplies that they required, and this angered the Soviet Union in return, which did not have much choice but to lift the ban in May 1949.
The fourth escalation occurred because of Soviet’s detonation of a bomb. This took place on August 29, 1949, and it brought about an arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States. History reveals that by 1949, only the United States possessed nuclear weapons. The testing of the nuclear bomb by the Soviet Union resulted in the escalation of the Cold War because the US felt threatened by their discovery and so they sought ways of ensuring that they did not use their nuclear power or overthrow the military might of the US.
The fifth escalation took place due to the Soviet’s involvement in North Korea’s affairs. The Korean War commenced in 1950, and Soviet Union was deemed as having fuelled the war by financing the North Koreans with artillery. This promoted the North’s intention of attacking South Korea, which aggravated the US. This contributed to the escalation of the Cold War because the US made attempts at peace talks to end the war, but Soviet Union was determined to promote the war by ensuring the military might of North Korea. Thus, the two countries were forced to deploy their military in the region for protecting their interests.
The sixth reason that led to the escalation of the Cold War was Soviet’s launching of a satellite into the orbit. This aggravated the US because they deemed it as a missile gap between them and the Soviet Union. This prompted the US to launch an earth satellite into the Orbit in 1958. Notably, the US was aggravated because the Soviet’s satellite was more advanced compared to theirs. However, launching of the satellites into the orbit by the two countries resulted in a balance of terror, which was soon followed by the short thaw of the Cold War. On the other hand, approval of the Eisenhower Doctrine also aggravated the Soviet Union because the aforementioned doctrine allowed the US to assist any Middle East country that requested for military assistance against aggression from other countries.
The seventh escalation was because of communists’ insurgencies from the North Vietnam infiltrating to the South Vietnam in the late 1950’s. This was a war of national liberation that was fully funded by the Soviet Union. The US came in to assist the South Vietnam by providing it with military and economic support. This even worsened the situation as the war shifted track to focus on a fully-fledged confrontation between the Northern Vietnam and the American troops in the early 1960’s. The US government did not take the Northern Vietnam infiltration kindly, knowing the impact it had on South Vietnam. The decision by the US to intervene into the infiltrations of the South by the North Vietnam deepened the chances for the war since US could not stand and watch communist insurgencies prevail over the peaceful South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese communists, as would be expected, were entitled to resistance. In this tight situation, the war was very formidable.
The eighth escalation of the Cold War was because of rising of the Berlin wall by the Soviet Union and the East Germany governments. The wall, which would later be ‘the wall of shame’, was to sum up the real image of the Cold War. Construction of the wall was aimed to attract the attention of the youthful J. F. Kennedy, who was to visit the wall and see the history he held over his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Shock workers from Russia and East Germany did this at the dawn of August 13, 1961, demarcating the Western Berlin from the Soviet. They then erected a barbed wire at the border. As much as the West protested, the Russians turned a deaf ear. By August 16, concrete blocks replaced the barbed wire. The wall was completed by the end of August; it was fully erected with designated security that was impossible to cross. The wall served as a den for spies and anyone who tried to cross from the East risked life. J.F. Kennedy responses to this made Khrushchev think that he was weak.
The ninth escalation was because of the Soviet Union deploying ballistic missiles to Cuba. The Cuban missile crisis was the period when the US discovered that the Soviet had deployed missiles in Cuba. In 1962, the Soviet lagged behind in terms of firearms compared to the US; this made the Soviet Union collaborate with the Cuban government for launch of ballistic weapons and eventual attack on US cities. The US government intervened by imposing sanctions on the Cuban territory, putting it under quarantine and consistent surveillance to try to avert the situation. By October 25, Kennedy had put quarantine measures and raised the level of military readiness. However, on 27 October, Khrushchev sent to Kennedy a coded message stating his willingness to remove missiles from Cuba if the US government would stop interfering with Cuba; tensions heightened when the Cubans shot down a US reconnaissance plane. This would turn to a great rift as no party fell for the demands of their enemy. The enmity propped up and escalated the Cold War.
In conclusion, the Cold War was a war of words and actions that did not involve real weapons. However, it weakened the ties bound by the US and its alleys on one side and the Soviet Union and its alleys on the other side. The superiority battle between these two groups emerged with each government employing tactics to avert situations they felt were deplorable to their favor. Interestingly, these efforts proved to escalate the Cold War further. The agreements between the governments further led to the de-escalation of the Cold War after 1962. This was evident in the signing of a treaty of agreement by the USSR, the United States, and Britain in July 1963 for the approval of not testing of nuclear weapons in space. This was after the Cuban crisis, which had proved futile. In 1963, Kennedy came to the aid of USSR by approving to sell American wheat in order to fill the deficit of grain, which had badly hit USSR. This marked the start of a peaceful coexistence, which lasted beyond the death of President Lyndon, who also happened to be a champion of the peace treaties. The peace maintains to date, despite divisions over economic, social and political structures in different countries.