Cold War

The Cold War was a conflict between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from the end of World War II until 1991.

The Cold War was the political-ideological conflict that was established between the United States and the Soviet Union after the Second World War . This polarization marked the world from March 12, 1947 (date of Truman’s speech, then president of the USA, announcing the war against communism) to December 26, 1991 (date of Gorbachev’s resignation, the last Soviet president), causing several conflicts in other countries, such as the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, in addition to the division of others, such as Germany, which even had its capital divided (by the Berlin Wall).

In Latin America, the Cold War caused the USA, via the CIA, to sponsor several dictatorships, including the Brazilian one, which lasted more than 20 years. The end of the Cold War only happened with the end of the USSR , and its main consequences were: the establishment of capitalism as the only world order and the creation of new countries in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Summary about the Cold War

  • The causes of the Cold War were the disputes and conflicts after the Second World War, mainly the division of the world between two powers that emerged: the USSR , socialist, and the USA, capitalist.
  • One of its main characteristics was polarization.
  • Its main events were: the Korean War; the Chinese Revolution; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Vietnam War; and the War in Afghanistan.
  • During the war, one of the countries that suffered the most was Germany, which was divided in two, and the capital, Berlin, as well.
  • Brazil in the Cold War remained in the capitalist bloc, although João Goulart, president at the time, adopted measures that brought us closer to the USSR, which provided the basis for the military coup.
  • The end of the Cold War occurred with the decline and, consequently, the end of the USSR and the division of the world between capitalists and communists.
  • The consequences of the Cold War were: the creation of new countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, the creation of NATO and the establishment of capitalism as the only world order.

What were the causes of the Cold War?

The Cold War was a direct consequence of the end of the Second World War and how the world was shaped after that conflict, with the dispute between two powers with completely different political and economic models: on the one hand, the United States (USA), capitalist , and, on the other, the socialist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Both sought to conquer new countries under their rule and establish a new global hegemony.

Characteristics of the Cold War

  • Polarization: the world was divided into two large blocs: one that supported capitalism and, therefore, supported and supported the USA, and the other that supported the Soviet Union and supported socialism .
  • A large number of economic and military agreements and treaties : which aimed at diplomatic solutions to the war.
  • External interference: as the Cold War was a dispute over hegemony and territories, external interference was a hallmark of the period, as both the USSR and the USA used and abused their influence in several countries, not just the ones nearby. In this way, several coups d’état were carried out in Latin America and several conflicts arose in Asia and Africa.
  • Arms race: throughout the Cold War period (1947-1991), the USA and the USSR competed not only via ideology but also with threatening weapons. Thus, technologies for this purpose have been extremely developed on both sides over the years.
  • Space race: in the dispute between the Americans and the Soviets, both countries also invested in space technological development. Thus, the person who first sent a satellite (Sputnik 1, in 1957) as well as an animal (the dog Laika, in 1957) and a man (Yuri Gagarin, in April 1961) into space was the USSR. The USA took the first man to the Moon (July 1969).

What were the main events of the Cold War

The most important events of the Cold War were: the Korean War; the Chinese Revolution; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Vietnam War; and the War in Afghanistan.

  • Korean War (1950-1953): was the result of the division, carried out by the USSR and the USA, of the Korean peninsula and, also, the first major battle of the Cold War. This separation, made artificially, placed the north under communist rule and the south under capitalist rule. The crisis between the two parties increased over the years, from 1945 to 1950, causing the invasion of North Korea under South Korea, with the aim of reuniting it, making it entirely communist. Despite this objective, the USSR participated in the conflict in a veiled manner. The USA entered for good in 1950. Korean territory is still divided today.
  • Chinese Revolution : China, since the 1920s, was going through a civil war between nationalists, supported by the Americans, and communists, with the support of the Soviet Union. This conflict ceased for a time, but, with the end of the Second World War, it resumed. The communists emerged victorious and took power in 1949. As a result, the USA found itself deeply threatened, which subsequently led to greater Yankee investment in countries such as Japan and South Korea, aiming to counter the communist advance in the East.
  • Missile Crisis : the period of maximum crisis of the Cold War. It occurred in 1962, in Cuba, which, three years earlier (1959), had gone through the Cuban Revolution , which generated the North American embargo and the consequent alliance with the USSR, which, in turn, installed a missile base there. Due to its proximity to US territory, this installation generated a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, even though these weapons did not, in fact, represent serious intimidation to the Americans, but much more because they harmed Kennedy’s presidential propaganda. For this reason, there was a threat of war. Two weeks later, the Soviets removed the missiles and, in return, demanded the withdrawal of American missiles from Turkey.
  • Vietnam War : took place between the years 1959 to 1975. For the USA, this was the most delicate period of the entire Cold War, as, in support of South Vietnam, which was in conflict against communist North Vietnam, they invaded the last country. However, this conflict cost the American coffers a lot, in addition to generating many casualties in the army and protests against the war. Thus, in 1973, the USA was forced to withdraw, defeated, and, in 1976, Vietnam was unified under northern hegemony.
  • War in Afghanistan (1979): if the USA suffered a major defeat in Vietnam, the War in Afghanistan (1979) is considered the “Vietnam of the Soviets”, as they occupied the country in support of the communist government, contrary to Islamic fundamentalists, who They acted, mainly in the interior, in regions that were geographically difficult to access, hindering the Soviet counterattack, which, after a decade, proved to be in vain. Economically exhausted and already in crisis with the USSR, the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

Germany’s participation in the Cold War

The German country was a critical point in the conflict, as polarization was most explicitly manifested there , which divided it into zones of influence at the end of the Second World War. Thus, East Germany emerged, linked to the USSR, and West Germany, linked to the USA. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRA) corresponded to West Germany; and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), to East Germany. This separation had repercussions on the capital, Berlin, from 1961 onwards, being divided by a wall.Don’t stop now… There’s more after the advertising 😉

The Berlin Wall existed for almost three decades . It was built by East Germany, with support from the USSR, since the capital was on the Western side, which led to several population flights to the other side. Its fall, in 1989, was one of the greatest symbols of the decline of the USSR, the reopening and the end of the Cold War.

Brazil in the Cold War

With the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, Brazil became part of the new world order that divided the world, the capitalist bloc. Despite this, João Goulart, then president, began to apply, from 1961 onwards, a different foreign policy. To this end, he supported student, peasant, popular and trade union movements. He also sought to get closer to the USSR, which generated conflicts with Brazilian military, political and economic forces.

Furthermore, at the beginning of 1964, he proclaimed a series of social reforms (among them, agrarian reform, for example), called basic reforms. The Brazilian bourgeoisie, influenced by the USA, attacked this policy, generating coup plots, which culminated in the 1964 coup , starting the Brazilian Military Dictatorship , which lasted more than 20 years.

End of the Cold War

The Soviet economy, from 1970 onwards, began its crisis . The aforementioned War in Afghanistan contributed to the decline of the superpower, just as Chernobyl , the nuclear accident in 1986, caused the State to spend a lot and also lose (even more) prestige on the world diplomatic stage. In this way, a plan to reopen the country began to be drawn up, but its end only came at the end of 1991, with the resignation of Gorbachev , responsible for perestroika and glasnost (economic and political opening measures in the USSR).

Conflicts between communists and capitalists by this time had also cooled down, which facilitated the opening to the West, especially economically. With the end of the Soviet Union, the Cold War also ended.

Consequences of the Cold War

With the end of the Cold War and the USSR, small countries were formed in Eastern Europe — such as Yugoslavia, Slovakia, Slovenia, etc. — and in other regions of the planet — such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. The Soviet Union itself became Russia again.

Another consequence of the Cold War was that, economically, the European Union was formed by the capitalist countries of Western Europe and Comecon (socialist nations of Eastern Europe). In the military field, in turn, we can highlight the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, led by the USA. Finally, the previous polarization became a generalized capitalist regime.