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During the Second World War, Nazi Germany was a common foe to the Allied powers which included the US, USSR and Britain as the major powers. The Soviet Union and the United States had a very tense relationship such that the level of distrust between the two was un-paralleled. The American society was ever suspicious of Soviet communism and they considered Joseph Stalin USSR’s president as a tyrannical leader for his inhumane rule over the Soviet people. On the other hand, the USSR begrudged the Americans for having failed to recognize the USSR as a legitimate member of the international community. The delay of America into the Second World War resulted in the loss of tens of millions of Russian lives. The Russian hated the Americans for this fact and blamed them for those deaths. The Cold War lasted from 1945 to 1991, 46 years of sustained military and political tensions among the two super powers as at the end of the Second Word War. The cold war was entirely due to differences in the ideologies of the leaders of the two super powers. A number of events took place during the cold war these include the Korean War, the Cuban Missile crisis, fall of the berlin wall, the Détente, the velvet revolution and the eventual collapse of the USSR which marked the end of the cold war.
Tensions between the US and the USSR exploded in 1950 with the onset of the Korean War. Soviets supported North Korea which invaded South Korea in an attempt to push the spread of communism into East Asia. This propelled Truman to increase military spending and General MacArthur was ordered to liberate South Korea from the North. He succeeded in pushing the North Korean back almost to the Chinese border. Communist China responded by sending a million soldiers forcing the American backed South to retreat to the 38th parallel which divided the two countries. The war ended when Eisenhower threatened to use atomic bombs to end the war.
The Cuba Missile crisis presented the greatest test to JF Kennedy the then president of the US. With the aim of removing pro-communist leader Fidel Castro from power, Kennedy allowed the CIA to train a thousand Cuban exiles and help to invade Cuba in 1961. This failed and Kennedy ordered a number of assassination attempts on Castro which also failed. Castro looked to the USSR for economic assistance and protection. Khrushchev took this opportunity to place nuclear missiles in Cuba and the US blockaded Cuba. This was the point when the two powers almost began an all-out nuclear war.
The Berlin crisis of 1961 was the final major incident with regard to Berlin and postwar Germany. The Soviets were against emigration movement. However, East Germans moved to the West by the masses each year taking advantage of a loophole where the four allied members of the Second World War met. In June of 1961 the USSR ordered the Allied forces to move out of West Berlin. A barbed wire barrier was later erected and the wall eventually built effectively terminating the loophole. The fall of the Berlin wall marked the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The Détente is a term used to refer to general relaxation of existing geopolitical tensions that characterized the cold war. It was initiated by Richard Nixon and Gerard Ford in a change of the country’s foreign policy calling for the relaxing of tensions with the USSR. This period was characterized by signing of treaties mainly to reduce the arms race. The period ended when the USSR invaded Afghanistan and the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
The velvet revolution took place from 17th November to 29th December 1989. It was a nonviolent revolution which took place in Czechoslovakia and essentially brought about the fall of the Soviet state in the country. Students made peaceful demonstrations which ended up crippling the political rule by the Soviets in the country.
The fall of the Soviet Union began with the call by Estonia for complete autonomy. This was followed by similar calls in Latvia and Lithuania. This trend began after Gorbachev had allowed for freedom of speech and the people then had the freedom to express their pent up anger. The final situation deteriorated in August1991 where in a last minute effort Gorbachev was kidnapped by hardliners and forced to state on national TV that he was to ick to lead. Protests all over the USSR caused the final collapse of the USSR in January 1992