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  #61  
Old 11.02.2011, 04:11 PM
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Haha, how long have you got?

Mainly because of Second World War. The formation of two sides seperated by geography, ideology and economy. Eastern Europe was seen by Stalin as the USSR's sphere of influence as opposed to the Western European nations who looked to the US for help during the war and straight after. The political tensions had been strained long before 1945 however and many war decisions, such as the location of the Western Front, were subject to political manouverings.

In the immediate post war period we have examples such as the division of Germany and the occupation of Eastern Europe by the massive Red Army which lead to tensions. Stalin wanted to act independently of the other Allies and this distanced relations. (See Kennan's Long Telegram Feb 1946). The Marshall Plan in 1947 is commonly seen as the defining moment when West and East engage in the Cold War.
The way I read it is that it all started back in the good old 1920s...

After the Russian Revolution came the Russian Civil War between the Reds (the Bolsheviks) and the Whites, who were supported in the full sense of the term by the British and Americans. The Whites were defeated and the Bolsheviks were happy. Stalin was maneuvering his way into power, and he got it.

Stalin however was your typical insecure dictator. He remembered that the USA had tried to remove him and the Bolsheviks from power in the 1920s, and he wasn't going to forget that in a hurry. When it came to the war, he did anything he could (the treaty with N a z i Germany) to stay out of it as he feared for the existence of his country. When the Germans betrayed him he was forced to fight alongside the two nations he really feared.

American and British actions during the war didn't help matters, as they stalled over the Second Front and, as the war was drawing to its end, President Truman undid all of the good work that his predecessor had done. With Truman's bullishness came a return of the fear from Stalin, as the dropping of the nuclear bombs without expressly telling Stalin was enough to send him into deep paranoia.

Stalin therefore felt the need to create a buffer zone around Russia, as he felt that Germany may attack again, with the backing (perhaps open backing) of the USA and the rest of Europe. Seeing this, the USA felt Stalin to be the aggressive one, and they started to work against him, Marshall Aid, the Truman Doctrine etc, which sent him further into paranoia, which sent the USA further into paranoia etc etc.

So, the Cold War, in my opinion, started because both sides made mistakes, the main one being a mis-perception of the other side. If both countries had a better understanding of how the other worked, they would not have ended up with such a polarised world. It would not have stopped them from opposing each other, but such polarity would not have happened.
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  #62  
Old 11.02.2011, 05:17 PM
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Y'all are absolutely correct in everything you say here, man, you guys would rock out As in History class!

But for me, I see things a bit less theoretical and a wee bit more material, practical...

When D Day + a Gob of Days, finally came to pass, and both the Russians and the Western Allies were making inroads enough on their respective fronts to finally uncover the military sites of the Reich in various occupied countries, I think that's when the "We Better Grab This Stuff Or They Will!" paranoia really set in, starting on the Western side with the Dora camps, home of the V1 and 2...

Russia, of course, did the same thing on its end and BOTH sides knew, with the help of infiltrators, that not only a land-grab but an Intelligence Grab was at foot...

For me, I think when the States grabbed von Braun and his colleagues after the war, the consternation when the four quadrants were divided for Germany and better yet for Berlin, the stone-walling Truman got even prior, concerning that very issue at the Potsdam Conference and then finally, when talks just ceased and the food air drops had to be made into Berlin after the Wall was built, all were death knells in this respect.

I do agree that the hardliner Truman didn't help diffuse the Stalin paranoia one bit and when Stain saw how overtly Churchill and Truman were aiding the Jewish concentration camp refugees to make a forced homeland in Palestine, I think Stain took one look at this and said no, time to baton down the hatches, turn off the telephones and head home...

You put up physical walls to match the psychological ones and those babies will last decades, never actually work, of course, but do some mighty fine damage to diplomatic relations along the way...

The West could have seen the Cold War heating up once more with the hard-line Putin but I think, now, in today's society, where even the Media demand communications from all sides, all the time, the ease with which to enter into radio silence is basically, very difficult now...

The world talks, walks, together, an almost forced global community, if you will...let's hope I'm right for nothing is hotter than a Cold War...sigh...
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  #63  
Old 12.02.2011, 09:13 PM
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Only have a basic understanding of the Cold war, by basic i mean i did a few modules on it at Uni. I agree about the Paranoia bit, especially from Stalin and understand why he was so paranoid despite the fact that he was a complete(insert your own term here)
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  #64  
Old 13.02.2011, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by leebladedawg View Post
Only have a basic understanding of the Cold war, by basic i mean i did a few modules on it at Uni. I agree about the Paranoia bit, especially from Stalin and understand why he was so paranoid despite the fact that he was a complete(insert your own term here)
Didn't help that in his testament, Lenin said;

"Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc. This circumstance may appear to be a negligible detail. But I think that from the standpoint of safeguards against a split and from the standpoint of what I wrote above about the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky it is not a [minor] detail, but it is a detail which can assume decisive importance."

Not exactly a glowing report from the man he insisted he was closest to!
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  #65  
Old 14.02.2011, 05:03 PM
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I'm in a class that deals mostly with regional development, but we've talked a lot about the cold war (and the east/west fighting for client countries via foreign aid) the last couple weeks.

One of the points we talked about last week was that there was a perception during the early parts of the cold war that Communism was a juggernaut, mainly because you can't force savings, something you can't do in a market economy. A lot of early aid policy was based around an assumption that Communism was a powerful economic system but flawed social system so the west needed to create ways to compete

it took a couple decades to figure out that the growth rates being reported behind the iron curtain were, at best, somewhat optimistic.
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  #66  
Old 16.02.2011, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by FightingIllini07 View Post
I'm in a class that deals mostly with regional development, but we've talked a lot about the cold war (and the east/west fighting for client countries via foreign aid) the last couple weeks.

One of the points we talked about last week was that there was a perception during the early parts of the cold war that Communism was a juggernaut, mainly because you can't force savings, something you can't do in a market economy. A lot of early aid policy was based around an assumption that Communism was a powerful economic system but flawed social system so the west needed to create ways to compete

it took a couple decades to figure out that the growth rates being reported behind the iron curtain were, at best, somewhat optimistic.
There are some schools of historical thought that believe that the Cold War ended, with the USSR's defeat, as early as 1962 immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet economy was never as strong as that of the US and many of the 'facts' and 'figures' released by the Soviets were falsified. It just took Westerners years to realise this!
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  #67  
Old 17.02.2011, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by nepalex View Post
There are some schools of historical thought that believe that the Cold War ended, with the USSR's defeat, as early as 1962 immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet economy was never as strong as that of the US and many of the 'facts' and 'figures' released by the Soviets were falsified. It just took Westerners years to realise this!
Another factor that played a role in ending the might vs. might standoff was when the West realized that Soviet weapons of war were vastly overrated and sometimes pieces of junk. The Afghan war helped shatter some of these illusions as well as exposing their resolve ala the US in Nam.

Toward the late 1970's the US was able to get their hands on a fabled piece of technology that the West held in awe...the Mig-25. It turned out to be not so astonishing.

http://www.amazon.com/Mig-Pilot-Esca.../dp/0070038503

The defection of this pilot with his Mig-25 not only shed light on the overrated Soviet weapons of war to the American military brass but it illuminated the poor and dreadful state of affairs of life in the Soviet Union and how it had been a paper tiger for quite some time.
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  #68  
Old 17.02.2011, 12:47 PM
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Another factor that played a role in ending the might vs. might standoff was when the West realized that Soviet weapons of war were vastly overrated and sometimes pieces of junk. The Afghan war helped shatter some of these illusions as well as exposing their resolve ala the US in Nam.

Toward the late 1970's the US was able to get their hands on a fabled piece of technology that the West held in awe...the Mig-25. It turned out to be not so astonishing.

http://www.amazon.com/Mig-Pilot-Esca.../dp/0070038503

The defection of this pilot with his Mig-25 not only shed light on the overrated Soviet weapons of war to the American military brass but it illuminated the poor and dreadful state of affairs of life in the Soviet Union and how it had been a paper tiger for quite some time.
None of that stopped the US shelling out billions and billions of dollars on military equipment in the 80s and beyond. Perhaps thats another debate though...
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  #69  
Old 17.02.2011, 04:34 PM
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None of that stopped the US shelling out billions and billions of dollars on military equipment in the 80s and beyond. Perhaps thats another debate though...
Why would they in that mindset back then and that exact situation considering the prevailing viewpoint of the USSR still being a major threat to safety? I think the newly appreciated better understanding of the Soviets situation encouraged leaving them in the dust; your opponents weary in a marathon, sprint early and often and he'll try and chase you to stay within distance. It was a ridiculous way of forcing their bluff.

Here's a graph on military spending the last 60 years in the US. 1966, 1986 and 2006 are the spikes in wasting billions.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...seSpending.PNG
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  #70  
Old 17.02.2011, 08:21 PM
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What are peoples thoughts, in terms of Communisim, on the general idea coming out by many analysts that China will overtake US in around a decades time as the major world power. When at Uni we did a module on the death of communisim but does this prove that it never died, even with the Capatalist moves into the markets etc
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