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COLD WAR:THE ERA OF BRINKMANSHIP(1947-1963)

BY Abrar Sadif Islam / Victoria University | 23-Oct-2018
According to the German dictator, Adolf Hitler after the end of World War 2 two countries would emerge as superpowers ,they are will be the United States and the Soviet Union.Hitler's prediction was surprisingly accurate.After the end of two devastating wars(world war 1 and world war 2) the population of the world got the chance to witness “THE COLD WAR” which was the political tension between the United States and USSR(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) characterized by propaganda,competition,threats and proxy wars raged by surrogates.Simply, in other words,The US and Soviet Union instead of fighting a direct hot war they fought for such as, making their individual ideologies renowned as the Americans were Capitalists and Soviets were Communists.
THE SITUATION OF US AND USSR AFTER WW2:After WW2 the economic condition of the Americans was still very appreciable.There were three main reasons for United States which made them a wealthy nation even after World War 2.Firstly,In 1945 America only had an attack on Pearl Harbour so as a result, this attack did not devastate their economy, and also that's why they did not have to spend billions of dollars for repairing damages which countries like Soviet Union,Germany, and Japan(after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Massacre in 1945).Secondly,for having plenty of weapons on hand so that’s why they were able to supply their Capitalist Allied Nations with weapons and as a matter of fact their industries were made very wealthy.Lastly,they formed large Military Bases,Naval Forces and Air Forces through the use of atomic technology.Another proof of the wealth of the Americans are as follows and they are as follows: #By 1945,33% of the world's exports came from the United States and also 67% of the worlds gold reserves were in the United States. #By 1945,United States formed the largest and alongside the strongest Air Force bases and Naval Forces with 2000 heavy bombers and 1200 major warships respectively.

On the other hand,after the World War 2, the condition of the Soviets was not very good as statistics show that Soviet Union lost 27 million soldiers in WW2 as during World War 2 the Soviets achieved an unbelievable achievement by stopping the German Army from taking Moscow under their control.But the Soviets had to pay the price for this incredible achievement which marked the end of World War 2.

1.After World War 2 to prevent all kinds of economic collapses and wars the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S President Franklin.D.Roosevelt had a joint vision.To be cooperative in these difficult circumstances, they organised these global initiatives:

#United Nations-to maintain world peace

#World Bank:A financial institution to aid countries for constructing capital projects.

#International Monetary Fund:To work reducing the chances for economic imbalances and reducing poverty when difficult circumstances are evident

Arguing over Poland was a concern for the three powerful nations that time Great Britain,USA and the Soviet Union.So the UK's Winston Churchill,Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, and America's Franklin.D.Roosevelt met in 1945 at the state Viet town of Yalta for discussing the punishments to be implemented on the Nazis and about the future governance of Poland.They agreed on the Germans being punished but had different perspectives when it came to Poland’s future.Churchill’s point of view was Stalin should not be trusted as he did not want communism to spread.Roosevelt wanted independence in Poland, but he also wanted the Soviets and the Americans to be on good terms as well.For Stalin safety was his top priority, and that's why he was reluctant to give up all the land owned by the Soviets.Because Poland was a shield which protected them from the attack of the Nazis.So he wanted to ensure the Polish Government maintains a good relationship with the Soviet President.After five months Roosevelt was dead,Churchill was not re-elected as the British Prime Minister and as a result Stalin was the only one left in the Big Three category.(In the picture above from left Stalin,Roosevelt and Churchill took part in the 1943 Tehran Conference)

2.Secondly,Arguing over Germany heated up the situation between the United States and Soviet Russia at Potsdam.After WW2 Germany was divided into four zones and each zone was owned by each allied nation who were America,Soviet Union,Britain, and France.The Americans and the Soviets agreed upon punishing the Germans for their crimes by creating the War Crimes Tribunal for making justified decisions on the Leaders of Nazi Germany.But on the other hand, Stalin's demand for $10 billion dollars was rejected for repairing the damage caused in the WW2 for the USSR.

3.Capitalism Vs. Communism:The ideologies Capitalism and Communism are both different from each other as they never go together.In Communism,the production simply is owned the only by the community or the society whereas, in Capitalism,the means of resources of production are owned by private independent owners.Secondly,Communism stands for equal sharing of work according to their abilities and capacity wherein Capitalism,the profit earned by the person belongs to him/her only.For communists, society is above the individuals, and for Capitalists, liberty of the individuals is above the needs of the society.

THE ERA OF BRINKMANSHIP(1948-1963):The Berlin Blockade was one of the first major crisis where international involvement was upheld in the Cold War.The Berlin, The Berlin Blockade, was an attempt by the Russians to stop the Capitalist Nations such as USA,U.K, and France having access to the areas of Berlin controlled by the Soviets.The Soviets blocked the railway,roads, and canals by which the Soviet Union's Western Allies were unable to have access to the areas controlled by the Russians in Berlin.It all started when in 1946 George Kennan,The American Diplomat to Russia,reported of the motives of the Soviets in Eastern Europe of spreading communism.That was the time when Kennan prepared the Containment Policy which was made for making Capitalism attractive through spending the wealth of the

Western Allies.The Containment Policy had three Global Initiatives:

#Truman’s Doctrine:Harry.S.Truman succeeded Franklin.D.Roosevelt after his death in 1945.Truman declared all forms of support for the countries who wanted to withstand communism.This was his general aid policy formed in 1947.

#Marshall Plan:Europe’s economy was absolutely dismantled after World War 2 and to make communism unattractive George Marshall,US Secretary of State,made a plan to give their wealth to the European countries to make them wealthy.It was created in 1947.

#NATO(1947):North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was formed by capitalist nations such as UK,US,France, etc for defence purposes against communist nations.They decided to defend each other if any capitalist nations were attacked by any communist nations.

The Soviets did not positively towards the following actions taken by the Americans above.They were in a very hostile situation that communism would become unattractive and then. As a result, the Soviets would have to give up the land owned by them in Eastern Europe.Tensions arose when Deutschmark was introduced in West Germany as their currency by February 1948, and then the Soviets negatively reacted towards the act of reuniting Germany fearing that whether they will lose their influence of communism all over Germany.Soviets initiated to drop the blockade as soon as the new currency Deutsche Mark was established in West Berlin.The western allies organised to blow away the blockade with firearms, but it was deemed too risky for the start of World War Three.The Western Allies organised a Berlin Airlift for carrying the supplies to the West Berliners containing tons an estimated amount of 8,893 tons of necessities such as fuel,food and many other resources every day.Also on the other hand also the Soviets did not stop the Capitalists to supply necessities and goods to West Berlin because they also didn’t want any conflicts which could lead to World War Three.All the necessities and goods were supplied by The Royal Air Force,United States Air Forces,French Air Force, and many other government organisations form Capitalist nations.By 12ty May 1949 the Soviets accepted defeat, and then the blockade of West Berlin was lifted from the Soviets, and the Westerners had access to West Berlin again.The blockade lasted for 321 days, and the westerners made an estimated 272,000 flights (according to history.com) in West Berlin with thousands of tons of necessities worth $224 million dollars at that time.In June 1949 East Germany and West Germany were made to republics which the Capitalists and Communists agreed upon.The Berlin Blockade marked the start of the political tensions between the United States of America and Soviet Russia and also was the beginning of these two nations ideological and economic differences.

The Berlin Wall on 10th November 1989(the day after it was announced to collapse)

The Berlin Wall was another form of conflict in the Cold Wars brinkmanship era of the Cold War which took place at the start of 1960’s because of the political tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.The mistrust amongst the Capitalists and Communists and also spying against each other contributed to the construction of the Berlin Wall.Berlin became a tale of two cities by 1961 as West Berlin was controlled by The Capitalists and as East Berlin was controlled by the Communists.The United States tried to develop West Berlin in which they succeeded through implying the policies and strategies prepared by the Capitalists.The Allies of the west used West Berlin for showing off their wealth and benefits.West Berlin economy was booming because of their highly skilled workers,labourers, and professionals.But on the other hand, East Berlin lacked the prosperity of West Berlin.As for an example that when people from the East needed any sort of machinery, they had to wait for 1 year or 2 years.That's why for making their lives better people from the east migrated to the west.Even though Berlin was divided into East Berlin and West Berlin, the border between these two cities was still open, and people could have easily crossed the border for entertainment,shopping,work, etc.The migration of the East Berliners to West Berlin made the Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev furious.The main difference between the people of East Berlin and West Berlin was the Soviets took wealth from East Berlin for making the Soviet Economy better, but Americans used West Germany as a shop window for promoting Capitalism.An estimation according to history.com shows that between 1949 to 1960 three million people relocated to West Germany from East Germany for bettering their lives.This was the one-sixth of East Berlin's total population, and also it was one of the largest migrations in European history.So, as a result, the Economy of West Germany flourished, and the Economy of East Germany was not improving also the Western Governments were using West Berlin as a place for spying on Soviet Russia and other communist countries.Another reason for building the Berlin Wall was at that time in 1961 Nikita Khrushchev failed to negotiate plans on developing West Germany with newly elected American president John Fitzgerald Kennedy.In the end, after this souring moment between these two powerful men, Nikita Khrushchev ordered the Berlin Wall to be built on 13 August 1961, and 50,000 East German police carrying firearms stood up between East Berlin and West Berlin borders while the builders were setting up the barbed wires.The track of the Berlin Wall was followed by each zone of the borders by zigzagging down through the middle of the roads also a warning was sent to the Capitalists by taking positions with Tanks and Troops so that they don't interfere with their business.Within a few months,those barbed wires were by the communists with permanent walls after taking a week for topping the cement blocks which was an initial fence.After the wall was completed the border was reinforced with slabs,guard towers,searchlights, and machine gun posts.Westerners termed this as "The Wall Of Shame"even though Kennedy was reluctant to start a war over Berlin Wall.The Russians, on the other hand, termed this as "Border Control."The event stopped the flow of East Germans to West Germany which helped the East German economy to improve.The length of the Berlin Wall was 165 kilometres which separated East Berlin from West Berlin with a height of 3.4 ft.Later the Berlin Wall was destroyed on 9th November 1989 which marked the end of Cold War and also the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev on the left and American President John.F.Kennedy on the right.The photo's being taken from the source The Woodstock Whisperer.In the source, it shows that tensions increased between the giant nations in October 1962 because of the event called the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day conflict between the Leaders of the Soviet Union and United States of America (Nikita Khrushchev and John.F.Kennedy respectively) over the installation of Soviet Missiles in Cuba just 90 miles away from the U.S shores and also concerning the American missile deployment in Italy and Turkey.This confrontation took place in 1962 from 16 October to 28 October.This confrontation is considered as the closest that any event in the Cold War came to a full escalating Nuclear War.Robert.F.Kennedy,the adviser of President Kennedy and his brother,informed John in October time at 9 a.m the U2 spy plane photographed a picture through the intelligence agency which finally convinced the American President that the Russians are placing missiles in Cuba.

The Soviet Missiles were capable of hitting the cities in the United States and Mexico in the source given above.

These were the following missiles the Soviets used to threaten America for withdrawing their missiles from Turkey and Italy:

1.24 SS-4 medium-range ballistic missile
2.16 SS-S long-range Ballistic Missile
3.42 ll-28 jet bombers
4.42 MIG-21 jet fighters
5.24 advanced SAM surface to air missiles
6.four elite combat regiments
7.two tank battalions
8.More than 40 thousand troops

The Americans could not let these dangerous Missiles be placed in Cuba,an island nation, which is just a few hundred miles away from the US shores.Because the missiles could destroy all the major American cities such as San Francisco,Los Angeles, and a few others.The Americans became furious over the missiles being deployed in Cuba by the Soviets. As a result, John.F.Kennedy was close to starting a nuclear war over Cuba.When the missiles were placed in Cuba, the Cuban Leader Fidel Castro played a huge role for increasing tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States of America by agreeing to let the Soviets place the missiles in his territory.The reasons which prompted Fidel Castro to let the Soviet deploy missiles in Cuba are given below:

#Firstly,The United States has been consistently involved with politics and economy of Cuba since helping them from getting independence from the Spanish in 1898.According to history.com,it was estimated 90 percent of the cattle ranches also mines, and 40 percent of their sugar industries were owned by the Americans.But this scenario changed after a few decades,when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 through the military coup d e'tat(a process to overthrow the government by forces within the government)in 1959 with the assistance of his guerrilla forces on 26th July.Even though Fidel Castro was not communist but most of his family members were which later led the USA to become hostile towards him.Also, they became belligerent regarding Fidel Castro’s reforms such as nationalising private owned schools and distributing large portions to the public.So as a result,the US government fought repeatedly against Fidel Castro so that he gets dethroned and the US have full access to Cuba again.One of America's activities to fight against Castro was to blockade all the oil from entering Cuba.This situation led Castro to sign a trade pact in 1960 with Cuba and later to lead to all the diplomatic ties being cut off with The US by 1961.

#Secondly,The Invasion of the Bay of pigs was also the issue which contributed to Fidel Castro's acceptance of deploying Soviet Missiles in Cuba.This escalated the tensions between Cuba and America to a political level.The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trained and equipped 1400 men to invade Cuba after landing on the Bay of Pigs.The Americans thought that the Cubans all wanted to fight against Fidel Castro and by working to together, Castro will be overthrown.But in 1961, The Bay of Pigs turned out to be a total failure from the American perspective.The Cuban locals fought fearlessly against the American Naval Force, and many were dead and also a few rescued by the US Navy.This was a total embarrassment for the CIA and the Kennedy which later led the Americans to intake a much more aggressive policy towards the Cubans which included:

1.Ban on the Cubans from traveling to the US and the Americans traveling to Cuba
2.The ban on importing goods from Cuba
3.Continuing economic blockade with Cuba

Active Support from the Soviet Union:By 1960,Khrushchev noticed the broken relationship between the Cubans and Americans and took immediate advantage of the situation.As both Khrushchev and Castro had souring relations with the US leading to the Soviet Union and Cuba becoming political allies.In 1959,through Castro’s request, the Soviet-Cuban relationship was established, and later Soviet Union signed a secret military agreement with Cuba to assist them.

John.F.Kennedy considered 4 options after the US spy plane confirmed the existence of Soviet Missiles in Cuba:


1.Naval Blockade
2.Bombing the missile site
3.Invading Cuba
4.Naval Blockade

The US decided to pull out a Naval Blockade which would restrict the Soviets for supplying any missiles to Cuba.But the Americans failed as the Soviet Weapons were supplied to the Cubans anyway as the Khrushchev ordered the Soviet Troops to be alert.On 25th October Kennedy was successful to curse 12 Soviet ships back to the Soviet Union.This event did not escalate to any wars as Blockade was commonly practiced by the oppositions.Kennedy publicly requested Khrushchev to remove all the missiles from Cuba.As tensions between both of the nations were increasing both Khrushchev and Kennedy were looking for solutions to end the problems.On 26th October 1962, it was revealed that Kennedy received two private telegrams from Khrushchev.The first one explained he would consider removing them the Naval Blockade was lifted from the Americans.And the second telegram explained that for him to remove all the missiles from Cuba,Kennedy must remove the missiles lodged in Italy and Turkey.On 27th October Kennedy replied to Khrushchev's first telegram and later discussed the second telegram in a secret meeting.In reply to Khrushchev's first telegram Kennedy explained that if the Soviet missiles were removed, then the US would lift the blockade and never try to invade Cuba again.After the telegram,Robert Kennedy(John.F.Kennedy's brother) held a secret meeting with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin by Kennedy's order in response to the second telegram that if the Soviet Missiles were removed first, then the US missiles based in Italy and Turkey would be removed in the following six months.The Soviets accepted the deal, and the missiles were removed from Cuba, and later as a part of the deal, the Americans shut down their missile bases in Turkey and Italy which led to the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

THE CONTINUATION OF COLD WAR:The Cold War still continued even after the era of brinkmanship or when the era of brinkmanship was still active.This period is known as the second Cold War referring to the conflicts and tensions which arose in the 1970's and 1980's.This second reign of Cold War was not active as long as the first reign of the Cold War lasted as the Cold War ended in 1991 officially between the two nations.The most notable event which started the second reign of the Cold War was the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.In September 1979,The Soviets seized power in Afghanistan by assassinating Nur Muhammad Taraki by fellow Soviets and Afghan communist Hafizullah Amin,who became the president of Afghanistan after his assassination,but was later betrayed by the Soviet Forces in December 1979.The Soviets later installed Babrak Kamral,an Afghan politician,as the president of Afghanistan who later led the Soviets to be directly involved with the politics of Afghanistan.The Americans supported the Afghans as they were ultimately against the decision of the Soviets invading Afghanistan, but the Americans still had a grudge over the events that happened in the first reign of the Cold War.Also, the Afghans were also intolerable towards the Soviets invading them because they could not bear an Atheist country capturing a Muslim country.Jimmy Carter,who was the American president from 1977 to 1981,assured the Mujahideens(The Afghan rebellions) to give full assistance to getting trained for fighting against the Soviets.Jimmy Carter also responded by increasing the military spending and also planned to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.He labeled the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan as "the most serious threat to peace since the Second World War."In the 1980 US presidential election Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter to become the president and promised to increase the military power so that he could put an end to the Cold War.In this prospect Margaret Thatcher,The British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990,was also against the Soviets invading Afghanistan as both Reagan and her claimed the Soviet Union as the “evil empire” by denouncing the communism ideology.In early 1985,Reagan developed a strategy called Reagan’s doctrine(a policy to end the Cold War) containing an additional right to overthrow the Soviet regions.With Reagan's request the CIA(Central Intelligence Agency) for weakening the Soviet Union, they promoted Islamism in the majority of the Islamic Soviet State for propelling the Muslims living in Soviet Russia also encouraged Pakistani soldiers to train Muslims of all around the world to fight against the Soviets in the Soviet-Afghan War.

The Soviet contingent increased to 108,000, but the cost of the war was too high for the Soviet Union to back their troops which later led the Soviets to withdraw their soldiers from May 15,1988 to February 15,1989 .Because of this, the Soviet Economy was devastated, and experts say that the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan was a contributing factor in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. Secondly,the Soviet and US military and economic issues arose in the mid-1980's which created tensions between the two sides.The Soviets built up a military base for which they had to spend 25% from their Gross Domestic Product.The Soviet spending on the arms race and other Soviet commitments both caused deep-seated structural problems in the Soviet economic system which later led to the era of economic stagnation in the Soviet Union.In the early 1980's the USSR built up military and army surpassing the military power of the United States.Soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,America massively began building up a military base far larger than the Soviets.Later for according to Reagan's doctrine Ronald Reagan increased military spending from 5.3% in 1981 to 6.5% in 1986.After Reagan's military expansion,the Soviets couldn't respond any further with their military base because of the huge military expenses alongside the inefficient planned manufacturing and collective agriculture were already a heavy burden for the Soviet Economy.Also, the 1980's oil glut affected the Soviet Union as oil was their main export source at that time.This happened because Saudi Arabia was increasing their oil production.The oil price is decreasing and large military expenditure eventually the Soviet economy to stagnation.The USSR sent nearly 100,000 troops to assist their puppet regime in Afghanistan leading the war as “Soviets Vietnam."But later the Soviet-Afghan invasion was far more disastrous for the Soviets in the than the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War.And the conflict coincided with a period of internal decay and domestic crisis in the Soviet system.

Final Years of the Cold War(1985-1991):In response to Kremlin’s military concessions,Reagan agreed to renew talks on economic issues about the arms race.In the first summit in Geneva,Switzerland held in November 1985 both Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev(who was the Soviet leader from 1988 to 1991) participated and later agreed to reduce each country's nuclear weapons by 50 percent.In the second summit which was held in October 1986 at Reykjavik where talks went well, but later the focus shifted to Reagan's strategy of Defensive Initiative which Gorbachev didn't agree on.But in the third summit in 1987 led both of the leaders to sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).The INF treaty eliminated all nuclear-armed,ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges from 300 miles to 3,400 miles.This treaty signalled the intention to end the Cold War, and it was shown from both the leaders.Reagan's "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL" speech,in front of the Brandenburg gate on 12th June 1987,would remain in the hearts of both the Americans and Russians as this helped both the nations to understand and end the Cold War.Between the east and west tensions rapidly severe in the late 1980’s when in the final summit held in 1989 at Moscow where the START I Treaty(the treaty which limited the uses of weapons of both countries).This treaty later led the Soviets not to interfere with the affairs of the Central and Eastern Europe because the treaty was represented a substantial economic drain.In 1989 after the Berlin Wall was broken down on 3rd December Gorbachev and Reagan’s successor George H.W Bush declared the Cold War to be over at least he Malta Summit.

Many experts say that Mikhail Gorbachev's inheritance of the stagnant economy and his political structure led the Soviet Union's gas and oil revenues dropping low dramatically which later resulted in them to lose their grip on Eastern Europe.Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the leader of Soviet Union on 25 December 1991.The U.S president George H.W Bush expressed his feelings after the Cold War ended "The Biggest thing that has happened in our lives is that by the grace of God America has won the Cold War."

Prepared by : Abrar Sadif Islam
Studying at Victoria University, Melbourne(International Foundations for criminal justice)