Causes of the Cold War Research Papers
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There were numerous factors that led to the outbreak of the Cold War in 1945, immediately following the end of World War II. The greatest contributing factor to all this was the ideological, political, and economic differences between the society and government of the west and that of the Communist system used in the Soviet Union. This difference would lead to dramatic foreign policy positions that would shape world affairs for the next four decades.
Americans, on the whole, were afraid of Communism. As a capitalist, democratic society, they did not understand how a government could restrict free market enterprise and be governed by one political party. As the Soviet Union became increasingly powerful, Americans were afraid of the continued spread of this system, ultimately fearing that it would become a direct threat to the way of life that we as a society held dear. Further, in the treaties that brought an end to World War II, freedom was promised to the nations of Eastern Europe, giving them the opportunity to democratically choose what system of government they wanted to have. Stalin, however, as leader of the Soviet Union, broke these treaties and did not allow for fair and accurate elections, installing Communist governments regardless of the people’s wishes.
The Soviet Union was also fearful of America:
- America had harnessed the power of the Atomic Bomb and used it on two Japanese cities at the end of the war.
- Russia had suffered invasions by European powers twice in the a span of 40 years
- Russia sought to create a secure western border that would prevent future attacks.
- They were willing to go to great lengths to defend their way of life from what they perceived as a credible threat
The ensuing tensions between the two global superpowers would result in a period of time today known as the Cold War.
The Cold War and Propaganda
When the Cold War erupted, it assumed a completely different style of wartime behavior. Instead of fighting with physical weapons and assaults on specific geographic locations, but the United States government and the Soviet government sought to control the minds of the people. Both sides used propaganda in order to attempt to influence their populations. Words and images replaced guns and missiles.
In order to show patriotism, residents were socially require d to express their own hatred for the alternate country. This could take place in a number of different socially or governmentally predetermined manners and aspects. If such an expression was not made, and worse if they residents sympathized with the other country, they were socially ostracized at the very least.
“Most persons regard the Cold War as essentially an ideological war”. Propaganda was the main instrument through which the war was fought, and this was true of both sides in the war. In America, Washington D.C. and the political leaders there seemed to wonder, as the country moved on from the impact of the World Wars and into the environment of the Cold War, what propaganda could do for them strategically.
Journalism and News was replaced with propaganda. The paradigm for the propaganda had its roots in military and militaristic needs and desires. This would go on to require “the testimony of leading editors and journalists to evidence propaganda’s utility.
This model placed propaganda operations in the hands of multiple news outlets”. When this failed abroad, despite the domestic success, the journalism paradigm was replaced with the militaristic paradigm. The problems between the countries and the methods through which they fought would continue throughout the next few decades and many people would become fearful, caught up in the mob mentalities that the propaganda supported.
Propaganda was fashioned as a “statute for military involvement”. This was done, supposedly, in order to help spread “the truth about the United States” to international areas through news in order to help reduce the risk of war. It was promoted that this would then help the nation to avoid a high increase in taxes and an inevitable need to cover the payment for a billion dollar military task force, which would be the result of war.