Bipolar world: Cold war- USA vs USSR

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  • Bipolar world- Cold War:USA vs USSR
    • The Cold war i.e. a conflict without fighting, was set against the backdrop of international rivalry after WW2. It raged for 40 years between the world's 2 post-war superpowers- the USA and USSR.
      • The different ideologies of communism and capitalism prevented mutual understanding on major issues:
        • The Soviet policy toward Western Europe after 1945. Faced with hostility from the West- 'iron curtain'.
        • The USA and USSR had 27,000 nuclear weapons between them.
    • The USSR becomes a superpower and influence:
      • In 1941, the USSR had the industrial strength to take on and defeat Hitler, and had the world's 2nd largest economy- having taken over Britain.
      • After 1945, the USSR competed with the USA- matching its research and technology and testing and producing nuclear weapons by 1949.
      • In 1961, the USSR beat the USA to put the 1st man into space (Yuri Gagarin).
      • By 1960s, it was the world's 2nd economic superpower, although its GDP was less than half that of the USA.
    • Capitalism
      • Most countries are now capitalist- believing in a market economy.
    • Communism- communal wealth.
      • E.g. Kerala, S India, has had a communist state government since 1957. Although, one of India's poorest states, its communist state government has invested in education, healthcare, life expectancy at levels associated with richer countries.
    • Influence of USSR
      • During 70's, there was considerable Soviet influence in Africa.
        • China played a role in supporting communist Viet Cong forces during Vietnam War.
        • Gave military assistance to 17 sub-Saharan countries.
          • Republic o Congo- provided military assistance. In return, was given access to natural resources and allowed to establish a military base in the country.
          • Angola- supported Marxist MPLA with arms and equipment in civil war, including aircraft.
          • Guinea's bauxite reserves were opened by USSR's largest economic ad programme in the region. Granted military privilege.
          • Somalia- largest Soviet support in East A (military equipment worth US$165m.
            • Soviet naval renaissance aircraft, operating from Somali airfields, gave Mos. potential to cover entire Indian Ocean.
    • Influence of USA
      • Spread of communism throughout E Europe, China and Korea in 140s caused shockwaves in USA.
      • By mid-1950's, American money was pouring into India + South- East Asia, as USA feared communist expansion.
      • Fight against communism dominated US foreign policy until collapse o USSR in 1991.
      • US promotion of economic development thrugh modernisation theory was to dominate economic delopment.
        • IMF and WB helped to achieve this influence.
        • Modernists believed that the world could be improved by human intervention. Naturally superior + more intelligent than indigenous people.


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