World History

The Cold War Era – Important History lesson we missed 5/5 (5)

cold war

The end of Second World War is considered to be the inception of Cold War. The war has involved almost all the great powers in the world and was spread out to regions out of Europe.

The cold war was simply not a matter of power rivalries, of military alliances. It was accompanied by ideological conflicts as well; the best and most appropriate method of organizing political and economic life. The whole world divided into parts out of which the East European countries joined USSR and created Eastern Alliance and the West European countries joined US and formed Western Alliance. The eastern alliance represented the ideology of socialism and communism. And the western alliance committed to the ideology of liberal democracy and capitalism. The small states in both alliances received the promise of protection, economic aid and weapons to defend against their other state rivals.
The western alliance headed by US formed an organization called North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was organization of twelve states declaring that an armed attack on any one of them would be considered as an attack on all of them. The eastern alliance on the other hand signed the Warsaw Pact to retaliate against NATO.

In spite of such intense rivalry, the cold war did not escalate into a hot war due to logic of Deterrence. It comprises that both the alliances have capacity to retaliate against any attack. And cause so much destruction that neither of the alliance can afford. Even if one of the alliance wins, it would be a victory where no survivors would left to celebrate.

Cold War High Point

In 1961 the leaders of USSR were worried that USA would invade the communist ruled Cuba since it was USSR’s alley. Cuba received both diplomatic and financial aid from USSR. In 1962, the leader of USSR placed nuclear missiles in Cuba to convert it into a Russian base. Since Cuba was an off-coast island in US, it generated a threat for USA from a close range. USA warships ordered to intercept any Russian ships heading towards Cuba. This whole incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis and considered as the high point of Cold War.

Countries which did not become a part of any of the alliance followed the policy of non-alignment. Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) was the outcome of friendship between five leaders of five countries. India’s Jawahar Lal Nehru, Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Naseer, Ghana’s Kwame Nakrumah and Indonesia’s Sukarno. These five leaders came to be known as the five founders of NAM. The first non-alignment summit held in Belgrade by 25 members. The policy of non-alignment involves not joining any of the alliances. And prevent the newly decolonized countries to join the super power camps. NAM does not mean neutrality. But, India as an active member and one of the founders of NAM; repeatedly tried to activate those regional and international organizations which were not a part of alliances led by USSR and US.

The two superpowers signed various Arms Control Treaties such as Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (STBT) and many more to limit the use and production of weapons and missiles and maintain a high degree of peace and tranquility possible with the ongoing cold war.

In conclusion, did you learn anything today? Also, we appreciate your comments.

Article By- Parul Sharma, Delhi.

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