The Cold War was an indirect political, ideological, and sometimes military confrontation that took place during 1947-1991 between the two largest powers in the world after World War II , the United States of America and the Soviet Union. One of its manifestations was the division of the world into two camps: a Communist led by the Soviet Union and a liberal led by the United States.
The historical context
Western countries - led by the United States , France , and Britain -allied themselveswith the Soviet Union during World War II out of fear of the common Nazi enemy. It was evident that the ideological contradiction and the heightened conflict of interests would not be delayed in expressing itself if the war ended.
The Yalta Conference (February 1945) revealed the prevailing distrust between Western and Soviet allies, despite Britain and the United States accepting the territorial gains of the Soviet Union that were contrary to what the Allies agreed during the war.
The United States and Western Europe were wary of the Soviet Union to annex or put under its tutelage eastern European countries, and these concerns were confirmed by the convening of the Potsdam Conference (July / August 1945) and Soviet President Joseph Stalin refused to organize democratic elections in Poland , which fueled A heated row between the two sides reached its reach two years later.
The Soviet Union's ambitions to dominate Eastern Europe were a reason for US President Harry Truman's declaration in 1947 of his intention to confront the Soviet expansion, and he declared his confrontation with the strategy of "containment". Its strength was to besiege the expansion of communism by a number of means, including proposing economic support for the countries of Europe that wanted to remain free outside the Soviet umbrella .
Thus launched Washington , " the Marshall Plan , the famous" , which is to support Europe economically to rebuild their countries devastated by war, and cut the road to Soviet domination chlamydial Playboys help Europe stricken.
Stalin responded to the American move to strengthen his control over the socialist countries (at the time they were called popular democracies) by establishing in 1947 the "Communist Information Office" (Cominform), a forum of the communist parties in European countries that included most of the communist formations in Eastern Europe, and participated in it from The Western countries, the French and Italian Communist parties, had a large popular presence in their countries.
Through this forum , Moscow sought to frame and direct the ideological and political development of its member countries and parties. Thus the Soviet counterattack was born, considering that the world was divided into two camps: one of them was an "anti-imperialist" leader led by the Soviet Union, and the other was a "non-democratic" imperialist led by the United States.
Division and Coexistence
Thus, Europe found itself divided between the two great camps in a global struggle known politically and medialy as the "Cold War" , especially after the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia (1948) and their liquidation of their political opponents and the empowerment of the Soviets from the country.
The Prague coup warned that the next step might be Germany. Western countries took the initiative to respond by declaring Germany a stronghold to fight communism. The three main western countries (the United States, Britain, and France) decided to unify their spheres of influence in Germany and coined a currency for the western part of them.
Stalin's response was not late, so he announced the closure of all land and railroads leading to Berlin to push the Westerners to leave their spheres of influence in the city, so the United States did not respond but to establish an air bridge to supply the city, and threatened to use force if the Soviets objected to air transport in the originally agreed corridors .
Stalin backed down from the fear of a military confrontation with the world's only nuclear power today and the lifting of the blockade, and the Berlin crisis ended with the division of Germany into two states.
The relations of the two world camps witnessed an important transformation after the death of Stalin Khrushchev in 1953 , after his successor Nikita Khrushchev adopted a more conciliatory policy and the Westerners found their misfortune in it, especially since at that point the West witnessed an escalation in the voices against American hegemony, expressed by the position of French President General Charles de Gaulle who Since his return to power in 1958, he has strongly criticized what he called the "American trusteeship", and then ended up with the withdrawal of France from the leadership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1966.
Within the eastern camp, Peoples China began to compete with the Soviet Union to the point of complete hostility with them completely in 1960.
Despite this, the two camps remained hostile and competing, sometimes approaching the "brink of the abyss", and expressed their alignment in areas of armed conflict across the world (the two Koreas war, the rebellions in Latin America, the Congo and Namibia war , the Arab-Israeli conflict .... And so on.), but the Cuban crisis In 1962, the most important confrontation was about to throw the world into a destructive nuclear war.
Peaceful coexistence between the two largest camps dominated the scene of international relations, starting in the early 1970s Until the fall of the Soviet Union entirely in 1991, then the world entered a new stage, the era of unipolarity led by the United States.