The end of the World War II was succeeded by the beginning of the Cold Car that lasted over 40 years. At the present it is no use to try determining who exactly was responsible for it – the USSR government or US politicians. However, the struggle to maintain control and world dominance by increasing military and nuclear power had a great impact on the world at large and resulted in colossal political tension as well as enormous finances loses and human lives sacrificed.
Only shortly after USSR and USA got united victory in the war against German domination in the telegram sent by American diplomat in Moscow George F. Kennan the prospective opposition of powers and ideologies and the world dominance was discussed. Just a little later Churchill in his speech in Fulton only built on this concept and declared the fall of the “iron curtain” between Soviet Union and English speaking countries. Soviet government had to respond accordingly. Years later Mr. Kennan in his own memoirs noted how irrational his telegram was, however at the time he was writing it he was fully convinced of the described state of the affairs.
Historically, there was no one country that at one point or the other was able to have a control over the world with other countries not being able to withstand it by forming coalition. However, after the World War II the political climate in Europe was changing rapidly. Great empires that had been major political forces had fallen, and the power distribution gravitated to two major centers – Soviet Union and United States. Both of the supreme regimes were striving to further their influence. The USSR seemed to be a giant to be feared: at first, because it was “impervious to logic of reason, and it is highly sensitive to logic of force.” Later it was feared because Soviets were using “violent or non-violent methods in accordance with the dictates of expediency.” Being in the position of victors boosted Soviet Union’s confidence in its capability to stand against major forces and to have influence over other countries they entered to “free”. It seemed that their propaganda, which deemed “negative and destructive”, was spreading far beyond the USSR itself. Spread of communism had to be counterfeited with improved internal politics as well as encouragement for other countries to follow freedoms and guidance offered by US society.
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The fear of Soviets, among other, laid in their “apparatus of amazing flexibility and versatility, managed by people whose experience and skill in underground methods are presumably without parallel in history.” Totalitarian Soviet Union was a force that had more power than was obvious. People always feared the unknown, and there was a lot that was not on the surface. Communistic ideology did not tolerate democracy in any form therefore peaceful coexistence of the two ideologies seemed impossible.
Over the years the tension between two world superpowers only grew. The military evaluation only showed U.S. insufficiency and need in increasing its atomic capability. National Security Council Memorandum Number 68 (1950) clearly reflected that trend while discussing possible war conflicts and the advantages both superpowers possess. At that time increasing atomic capability seemed as the only possible solution to the existing world power struggle and the way of thinking was very rational. The whole world lived in the fear due to the risk of the atomic war.
Nowadays, it is easy to make judgments of the rationality of the policies implemented then, and to judge the outcome. However, instead of judging we should strive to learn from history and, shall the situation arise again, to communicate and to establish guidelines for the benefit of all.