VS. Soviet Union United States of America
After World War II, the two nations that remained strong were the Soviet Union and the United States of America. The Cold War was not a war that involved direct military conflict between the nations. The reason for this is because both nations had nuclear weapons that could devastate a nation. As a result, the two nations were involved in proxy wars which were wars fought amongst countries that were decided whether they wanted to support the Soviet Union or the United States of America.
"When I was in the White House, I was confronted with
the challenge of the Cold War. Both the Soviet Union and I had 30,000 nuclear
weapons that could destroy the entire earth and I had to maintain the peace."
This is a direct quote that was said by the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. I believe this quote is useful in understanding the way both nations felt during this time. It was vital to make sure that the Cold War did not become a "hot" war because that would have resulted in the destruction of the world.
THE END OF THE COLD WAR AND COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION:
The Soviet Union was highly interested in obtaining Afghanistan. As stated in Kinzer, "Afghanistan has no oil, no mineral wealth, and little fertile land, but it does have one asset that has always attracted outsiders: location." With this said, nations such as the United States wanted to make it extremely difficult for the Soviet Union to conquer Afghanistan.
One of the main reasons the Soviet Union collapsed was becasue they invested a lot of their resources in controlling Afghanistan. According to Kinzer, the United States CIA organizeda covert operation which would weaken the Soviet Union. The CIA planed to aid "Afghan Guerrillas" to rebel against Soviet Union rule. In the 1980's Ronald Reagan asked leader of Saudi Arabia to help in the rebelling in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia gave over a billion dollars to the cause. On February 15, 1989, under the new leader of Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, the soviets withdrew all their troops.
Another issue that contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union was the political issues. In addition to the internal issues, Khrushchev and Mao of China weren't getting along. This caused the Soviet's to be alone in the Cold War fight against America. Economically, the Soviet Union was a major exporter of goods to other countries during the early part of the Cold War. However, the Soviet Union lost the "arms race" against america and soon fell behind industrially and was importing more than exporting.
The revolutions of 1989 were a series of revolts against the one party communist government. During the late 1980's Germany was divided. East Germany was under Soviet's rule, and Western Germany was under American rule. This wall was taken down which basically was the end of Soviet domination in Europe. This event happend while Mikhail Gorbachev was head of state in the Soviet Union. In December 1991, the long and expensive Cold War was offically done. Ultimately, Gorbachev and Reagan worked out a way to end the war. Gorbachev
Image of people climbing over the Berlin Wall that was dividing East and West Berlin.
A terrorist that was part of Al-Queda. The United States funding "gureillas" caused him to obtain power.
Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin, 2005. Print.
Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York: Times /Henry Holt, 2006. Print.