The Cold War


1945 marked a dramatic shift in the intensity of the ideological conflict between capitalism and communism. This occured through an important transdormation in world order. The post-1945 world was characterised by the emergence of the USA and the USSR as 'superpowers', predominant actors on the world stage, apparently dwarfing the 'great powers' of old. 

The super power era was characterised by the Cold War - marked by tensions between an increasingly US - dominated West and Soviet East. 

The pre WW2 period gave way to Cold War Bipolarity.

The first phase of the Cold War was fought in Europe. The division of Europe that had resulted from the defeat of Germany quickly became permanent. As Winston Churchill put it (1946) an 'Iron Curtain' had descended between East and West from Lubeck - Northern Germany to Trieste in the Adriatic. 

Some trace the start of the Cold War to the Potsdam Conference of 1945 which witnessed disagreements over the division of Germany and Berlin into Four Zones, while others associate it with the establishment of teh 'Truman Doctrine' in 1947, whereby the USA committed itself to supporting 'free people' later instigating the Marshall Plan, which provided econmoic support for the rebuilding of war-torn Europe in the hope that it would be able to resist the appeal of communism. 

The Process of division was completed 1949 with the creation of 'two Germany's' and the establishment of rival military alliances, consisting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and, in 1955 the Warsaw Pact.

Thereafter the Cold War became Global.

The USA and Soviet Union rivalry was exacerbated by their common geopolitical interests in Europe and by a mutual deep ideological distrust. 

The traditional-orthodox-explanation for the Cold War lays


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