The Cold War (1945-1989) essay part 2
- The significance of the Cold War in Modern World History
The significance of the Cold War in Modern World History is obvious. Giving an overview of the origins, the major causes and consequences of the Cold War, it is necessary to consider that the Cold War is truly over. It has had considerable effects on Europe, and the former USSR, as well as the U.S. foreign policy.
The Cold War provided massive opportunities for technological progress in space exploration. The so-called Space Race played an important role in the Modern World History. The leader of the USSR Khrushchev was “keen to take on the USA in the race to explore space” (Waugh 257). The USSR was focused on increasing Soviet influence in different spheres of human activity in order to demonstrate superiority of Soviet technological progress. The first satellite Sputnik was launched in 1957. It was the start of the Space Race that ended in the 1980s. The United States failed to launch their satellite in the same year or earlier (Waugh 258).
In addition, the Cold War can be defined as a cultural conflict between the two nations, which is based on ideological differences. There were two directions of events in the Cold War, which led to the final victory of the West and the formation of the world government (Rosati & Scott 43). The communist model of the USSR was based on competitive economic approach in relation to the economy of the United States. According to researchers, “the end of the Cold War in 1989-1990 made the world an even more complex place, with contradictory implications for American power and the U.S. foreign policy” (Rosati & Scott 43).
In fact, for the U.S. foreign policy, there were two important trends: first, “the collapse of the USSR as a powerful communist state and the growth of globalization worldwide, and second, “the continuation of global conflicts, crises and wars” (Rosati & Scott 43). The collapse of communism led to reinforcement and intensification of global changes and the changes in the U.S. foreign policy since the Vietnam War. Besides, the collapse of communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe contributed to the development of international political relationships based on growing interdependence and complexity, which led to the promotion of globalization processes (Rosati & Scott 43).
- Representation of some aspects of the event that helped to shape Modern World History
Some important aspects of the Cold War helped to shape Modern World History. The Cold War promoted the idea of the spread of communism, although the main source of Communism, the USSR collapsed in 1990. A series of events encouraged by the Cold War had a strong impact on shaping shape Modern World History. For example, in 1949, China became communist, establishing the People’s Republic of China with Mao Zedong at the head. In 1979, the USSR invaded Afghanistan to spread communist ideology. In 1950, the Korean War started and lasted 3 years to spread communism in South Korea. In addition, the Cold War dominated many other international affairs, which led to crises and military conflicts, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Berlin Crisis of 1961, Czechoslovakia invasion and other events.
Nevertheless, the end of the Cold War in 1990 failed to signify the end of all military conflicts and wars in the world. According to Jerel Rosati and James Scott, “the Cold War’s end led to a world of greater complexity, where global issues proliferated and power became more defused” (44). This fact means the event like the Cold War helped to shape Modern World History, making it more complex. The end of the Cold War led to the creation of new conflicts and crises because of the increased United States intervention in the world. For example, since the end of the Cold War, the new problems which involve international conflicts have already become acute. These problems are connected with terrorism. The event of 9/11 has become a tragedy for the nation. According to researchers, there are other types of conflicts and wars that occurred since the end of the Cold War and reflected some aspects of that event (Rosati & Scott 44). Some of these conflicts are
- Political and economic disputes that refer to the issues regarding the state boundaries (e.g. Middle East, India and Pakistan);
- Considerable changes in political powers of such countries as China, Russia and the countries of the EU;
- Nuclear proliferation (Gottfried 52);
- Migration of people caused by military conflicts;
- Scarce water resources;
- Economic problems caused by social inequalities;
- International instability in economy and other fields caused by limited opportunities of developing countries;
- Technological progress in ICT, which can be categorized as the “profound technological development occurring with greater speed and uncertainty” (Rosati & Scott 44);
- Environmental problems, including global warming, pollution and deforestation.
In general, the Cold War led to considerable changes in global economy and politics, increased global complexity and the rise of globalization worldwide, as well as led to the spread of continuing conflicts and wars, promoting uncertainty in the future of humanity. The Cold War shaped many countries, making their economies more complex.
- Discussion: Would Modern World History be different if not for the occurrence of the Cold War?
Modern World History would be different if not for the occurrence of the Cold War for a number of reasons. First, the Cold War prevented the use of nuclear weapons. Due to the established policy, the only use of nuclear weapons in war was Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945. Undoubtedly, the development of nuclear weapons had an enormous impact on humanity, especially the subsequent arms race, which put humanity at risk of nuclear war between the two superpowers, the United States and the USSR. Everyone on the planet would consider nuclear war impractical and destructive for civilization (McKay & Crowson 12).
Second, Modern World History would be different if not for the occurrence of the Cold War because the Cold War led to the collapse of the USSR and its communist system. This fact means that the U.S. economic system won the competition due to more progressive economic approaches and more powerful ideology. The USSR was unable to continue competition in the form of the Cold War practices (Jerel & James 72).
Third, Modern World History would be different if not for the occurrence of the Cold War because the event contributed to the increased role of international diplomacy. Since the end of the Cold War, the “changing shape of global governance has been influenced by a range of actors other than those tied to the nation state” (McKay & Crowson 13).
Thus, it is necessary to conclude that the Cold War was an important global conflict, which was based on different ideological perceptions and experiences, depending on individuals’ locations and social positions. The significance of the Cold War in Modern World History is obvious. Both the United States and the USSR were founded on the ideas aimed at improvement of human lives. However, different approaches to economy and social development led to the conflict between two superpowers. The Cold War helped to shape Modern World History, providing massive opportunities for political, economic and social development of the nations. Modern World History would be different if not for the occurrence of the Cold War. The collapse of the USSR and its communist system provided considerable changes in foreign policies of many countries, including the United States.
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