For anyone interested in military history, the Cold War is an intriguing part the of post-World War Two period, affecting Europe and America's relationships. The enormous sense of distrust between Russia and the West created decades of unease.
Here at Surplus Store, we love discussing military history and offer a brief overview of this troubling time in history. We offer a brief overview of how the Cold War began. As an online airsoft store, we offer everything you need from replicas to add to your collection to Air Arms air rifles on the field.
You may have heard the Cold War was between the East and the West, but who were they?
The Cold War was between two of the world’s greatest superpowers at the time - the Soviet Union and the United States.
The East refers to Soviet Russia, a communist country. The West or western countries refers to the US and its allies, including the UK and France. They are referred to as being capitalist countries and, in essence, didn’t feel comfortable with communists governing in Europe.
Despite having the word war in its name, the Cold War was titled because there was no direct and significant fighting between the countries involved. George Orwell famously coined the term in 1945 when writing his essay ‘You and the Atom Bomb’.
Instead, the Cold War was over four decades of tensions between the Soviet Union and the western allies.
Each superpower fuelled and supported wars known as proxy wars over this time period. Proxy wars are fights between countries, usually developing countries, which are prompted by other powerful countries. However, the powerful nations that instigate the war are never directly involved in the war itself. The Vietnam war is a powerful example of a proxy war.
H2: What caused the Cold War?
The origins of the Cold War are complex. There are many contributing factors as to why tensions arose between Russia and the West.
With the threat of Hitler during the Second World War, the UK, Russia, and America worked together to combat the Nazi party as the ‘Grand Alliance’ in 1941.
World War Two ended after the USA dropped the A-Bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, and a need for diplomacy to be returned to Europe after the destruction of the Nazi’s.
Occupational administrations were organised in Germany by the Allies, and the country was split into two occupational zones; east and west.
The eastern occupational zone was under the control of the USSR, and the western was under Western Allies' power.
However, tensions rose between the Soviet Union and the West after Stalin, the USSR leader, didn’t exactly stick to the agreements made in conferences between the countries after World War Two.
A communist country since the start of the Soviet Union in 1922, Russia had slowly started taking power from countries in Eastern Europe that were supposed to receive elections for governing after World War Two.
Churchill famously declared that an ‘Iron Curtain’ had descended across Europe at the USSR's hands.
Some countries in Eastern Europe were considered puppet states of the USSR and were those essentially governed by Russia despite the intentions to govern themselves after the war. The countries illustrated the political division across Europe and symbolised the separation between the USSR and the Western Allies.
Some of the countries included were:
These countries contributed to what was known as the ‘Eastern Block’ and became part of the communist states under the hegemony of the USSR.
With a threat of communism spreading throughout Europe, the ‘Iron Curtain’ of Eastern Europe caused America and the USA's concern.
Over time, the Western Allies intervened where they could if an opportunity for communism to spread arose.
One such event that enhanced tensions between the East and West was the occupancy of Iran. After the Second World War, Iran was occupied by the USSR and the UK.
It was agreed that after the war, both countries should leave Iran. However, instead of removing themselves as the UK did, the USSR remained in the country.
By not following the post-war agreement, the USSR was forced to remove its power in Iran through the UN's rule. Again, this only increased tensions between Russia and the West.
The feeling of mistrust caused the West to create the NATO agreement in 1949, making Russia feel threatened by the West, accentuating the divide between the East and West.
For some, the Cold War's official beginning is regarded when America announced the ‘Truman Doctrine’ in 1947 because it laid out its concerns with the Soviet Union and announced it would work to stop the spread of communism throughout the world.
So there it is, a very brief overview of the start of the Cold War. If you're as fascinated by military history as we are, why not check out our blog?