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What were the causes of the Cold War?

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Just like WWI and WWII there were more than just one cause for the Cold War. In many cases it was because of rage, anger, and the fear of communism. This is because bridges were burned in WWII because Stalin was upset that it took the United States and Britain so long to setup a front in France which contributed to the Soviet Union losing millions of troops. Stalin was also upset that the United States terminated the Lend-Lease aid before the war was even over. The American and many Europeans feared a communist society and after WWII European countries such as Britain and other countries such as Vietnam were unable to fight back and hold up against the Soviet Union due to the simple fact that WWII drained most of their resources. Some see it that the Cold War was mainly against the United States and the Soviet Union simply because the United States was funding and helping defeat the Soviet Union more than any other country. There was never actually a war between these two countries it was mainly just hostility. “The term cold war refers to the fact that, although the United States and the Soviet Union never engaged in direct military conflict- that is, their own armed forces never actually fought each other- the relationship between them was froze into one of deep hostility” (Shubert, Goldstein, 2012, sect. 5.1). A part of the Cold War was in fact the arms race when the Soviet Union created their own atomic bomb and both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to create 25,000 nuclear weapons by 1990. This lead to many to be scared for the future of mankind. The main reason as to why the Cold War started however, was because of the fear of communism and the lack of support during WWII. Some other smaller reasons were things such as the Soviet Unions fear of the atomic bomb, many European and American leaders disliked Stalin, the Soviet Union wanting to spread communism throughout the world, and the Soviet Unions expansion into Eastern Europe. The United States and the Soviet Union had many political and economic issues and this also helped lead to the Cold War.

How did the outcome of the Second World War factor into the Cold War?

Just like WWI played a major role in WWII mainly because of fear, anger, and Hitler wanting to get revenge for the Germans the same thing happened in WWII which lead to many causes of the Cold War. The United States ended their Lend-Lease agreement early before WWII was over which was aid that was helping the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union also lost more citizens and military personnel than any other country in WWII. The main cause behind this was unskilled troops and lack of experienced leadership. However, Stalin believed the main reason was because the United States and Britain took so long to create a front in France to help the Soviet Union fight off Germans. This also didn’t help matter because Stalin was angry about losing so many soldiers. WWII left many countries hurting in terms of economics except for the United States and the Soviet Union so therefore, Stalin wanted to take over Eastern European countries in hopes to spread communism. With WWII crippling many European countries it was up to the United States to help aid them so this didn’t happen.

What role did communism play in the Cold War?

Communism played a huge role in the Cold War. This is because the Soviet Union was trying to expand into Eastern Europe in hopes to spread their country and also spread their love for communism. In the eyes of many including Stalin some believed that communism was the only way. This was also true for an American author John Scott who ended up moving to the Soviet Union because he was tired of the American capitalists’ ways. It also helped fuel the Cold War because of what is known as the Red Scare. The Red Scare was the thought and fear of communism taking hold of the world including the United States. Americans were scared that Soviet Union spies would come over and try to challenge their current society. This made many Americans scared and on edge.

What role did nationalism play in the Cold War?

Nationalism also played a significant role in the Cold War. This is because of anti-Soviet nationalism. This helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union. Nationalism lead to different types of ideology and it lead to many others wanting freedom in order to pursue and have consumer goods such as Michael Jackson CD’s and blue jeans. Under communism control the Soviet Union tried to keep this out of their nation in order to help control their citizens better from the outside world. However, as these things slowly made their way of being known to the communist Soviet Union the citizens were getting to where they wanted to have these nicer things. This meant the Soviet Union would have to fall and so would communism. Therefore, nationalism helped aid anti-Soviets which by this point was about 50% of the population.

What was life like for Eastern Europe during the Cold War?

In many cases the Soviet Union turned Eastern Europe into what many would call satellite states. However, by 1948 most of Eastern Europe was dominated by the Soviet Union which consisted of 90 million people. This meant they were attached to all the ways of the Soviet Union their military, economics, and political systems.

What was life like for people in Western Europe during the Cold War?

Western Europe was dominated more by the United States than was Eastern Europe. Western Europe was still struggling from the destruction of WWII so the United States helped by doing things such as investing, trade, and helping with military issues. However, unlike Eastern Europe the United States did not treat Western Europe like satellite states. The reason behind the United States being in Western Europe was to help keep the Soviet Union from invading. Democracy was what fueled western Europe unlike communism which fueled eastern Europe. The biggest change for western Europe was constantly living in fear of the Soviet Union and their arms.

What was life like for Women during the Cold War?

During the Cold War women were still sought to be holding many traditional roles. This is because of things such as mass media which helped reinforce messages about traditional roles. In many cases the term nuclear family was used to help encourage families to have a structured foundation which would lead to a strong society. It was though that women were what kept families intact during the Cold War. This is because it was thought that she could do this best by staying home and taking care of the husband and children.  “Now, woman has always been man’s dependant, if not his slave; the two sexes have never shared the world in equality. And even today woman is heavily handicapped, though her situation is beginning to change”(Beauvoir, 1972). However, women still made up a significant part of the labor force despite being told to go back to being wives in a traditional setting. This helped lead to the sexual revolution in the 1960’s.

How did the Cold War affect European culture and society?

The Cold War created a divide between Western and Eastern Europe. This is because the Soviet Union was very present in the east and the United States was very present in the west. This created suppression and communist rule in the east which meant many things such as consumer goods and religion were challenged in the east while religion and consumer goods thrived in the west.  However, both sides lived in fear due to nuclear weapons and atomic bombs because neither knew what the future of mankind would look like. Eastern and Western Europe both needed help economically due to the fact that WWII drained most of both sides resources.

De Beauvoir, S. (1972). Introduction: Woman as other (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. (H. M. Parshley, Trans.). From The second sex. New York, Penguin. Retrieved from http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction.htm (Original work published 1949)

Shubert, A. & Goldstein, R.J. (2012). Twentieth-century Europe [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/ 

The Cold War Erupts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2019, from http://www.ushistory.org/us/52a.asp

Women in the 1950s. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2019, from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/postwarera/1950s-america/a/women-in-the-1950s

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