Type of paper: Essay

Topic: War, Cold War, United States, Atomic Bomb, Communism, World, Cold, Politics

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/24

The Cold War spanned over 40 years and involved many different countries and presidents. The Cold War is typically defined as a time of political hostility between countries, which involved propaganda, threats, and proxy wars. The two major players during the 1948-1991 Cold War was the United States and the USSR. It was also a conflict in ideology between communism and democracy. There were many different wars and political threats during this time, and the end result of the Cold War was the collapse of the USSR, with the US emerging as the lone superpower. However, the Cold War was more a detriment than benefit to the world in general because of the wars, arms race, and political propaganda.
During the Cold War a number of proxy wars were fought between the United States and communism. To deal with the threat of the spread of communism, the US was governed by a policy called the Truman Doctrine. According to President Truman, “The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world—and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation (Truman 1947).” The basic policy of Truman was to help any free, democratic nation that fell into the hands of a communist revolution. Truman would extend the US military and try to fight against its spread. He believed in the domino theory, which stated if one country fell to communism, the surrounding countries were also in danger. In order to stop this, the US employed the theory of containment which is why they got involved in many proxy wars during the Cold War (Divine 371).
The first showdown between the United States and the USSR occurred in Korea. The USSR had installed a communist government in North Korea, which forced the US to try and stop its spread. The US fought on the side of South Korea, and tried to defend when North Korea came in and invaded. At first the US and their allies did well, but after deciding to cross the 38th parallel (the dividing line between North and South Korea), they were routed by Chinese forces which had joined the fight. Because of this, the attempt to unify North and South Korea with a democratic government failed, and the border was kept at the 38th parallel. The end result of the war was that nothing happened. The previous border remained, and the US kept troops in South Korea (Divine 376). There was never officially came to end, and this is just one case of the Cold War being of a detriment to the world. Many lives were lost in a war that did not produce any results. Furthermore, it started massive American rearmament, and increased military bases all over the world. This was the start of an overly expansive military policy that has come to hurt American today.
Of course, when it comes to wars that ultimately failed in both objective and popularity, the Vietnam War reigns supreme. In keeping with the Truman Doctrine, and the policy of containment, the United States went to war in Vietnam to try and overthrow the emerging communist government. Due to the win in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, President Johnson believed that an easy win could be achieved and the North Vietnamese could be defeated (Cherwitz). Unfortunately, after fully escalating the US military presence in Vietnam, the US got involved in a decade long war that did not result in a victory. The war became vastly unpopular in America, and war protests became a symbol of the counter-culture during the 1960s. When US troops finally left Saigon in 1973, over a million people had died during the war, and Vietnam fell to communist forces (Divine 414). The US lost the war and had the US not intervened, the result would have been the same. Instead, massive protests throughout the country sparked violence, and it left a million people needlessly dead. The Vietnam War best exemplifies how the Cold War was detrimental to America and the entire world.
Another effect of the Cold War that was detrimental to the world was the nuclear arms race. WWII ended with the US dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, proving the immense destructive power of the bomb. Naturally, the USSR and the US then began to form a stock pile of nuclear weapons in order to show their countries power. The nuclear proliferation began almost immediately after the start of the Cold War and each side created sizable stockpiles. Between 1960 and 1980 both the US and the USSR increased the number of nuclear warheads by the thousands. Thankfully, neither side used these against the other, but that was due to the policy of mutually assured destruction. Should the USSR fire on the US, they themselves would be get bombed. This created a sense of fear throughout the world, because there were enough nukes in circulation to completely destroy the world (Divine 420).
The result of the arms race between the US and USSR has made it so many countries now want to acquire nuclear weapons. While most Western countries have acquired nuclear warheads, potentially dangerous countries like North Korea and Iran covet the nuclear bomb, showing the detrimental effect the Cold War has on the world today. There have been negotiations the past few years about reducing nuclear weapons, and the Unites States and Russia have done so in past years (Rohlfing). However, there are still plenty of nukes still maintained that could potentially destroy the world. The mass production of such weapons have had a detrimental effect both during the Cold War and today.
Finally, mass hysteria and propaganda led to events such as the Red Scare which did little to benefit the country. During the red scare, the government led investigations into many different agencies and Hollywood to determine people’s loyalty to the government or communism. Many were falsely accused of being communist spies, and those that had any sympathy whatsoever for this idea faced disruptions and were hounded by law enforcement. This led to mass hysteria throughout the country that led to violations of personal freedoms and false accusations. This fear of communism did nothing to help stop the potential problem of the increasing USSR Empire (Murray 125).
In conclusion, the Cold War was more a detriment than benefit to the world in general because of the wars, arms race, and political propaganda. The Korean and Vietnam War produced nothing in terms of communism, and was questionable application of foreign policy to begin with. Furthermore, the nuclear arms race jeopardized the safety of the world, and the political propaganda against communism hurt many people within the United States. For these reasons, the Cold War was of little to no benefit for any party involved.

Works Cited

Divine, Robert A. America past and Present. Brief 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Longman, 2011. Print.
Cherwitz, Richard. "Lyndon Johnson and the “crisis”; of Tonkin Gulf: A President's Justification of War." Western Journal of Speech Communication 42.2 (2009): 93-104. Print.
Truman, Harry. "Truman Doctrine." Avalon Project, 12 Mar. 1947. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/trudoc.asp>.
Rohlfing, Joan. "We Must Be a Global Model for Collaboration on Nuclear Security." New York Times, 14 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/11/14/standing-up-to-aggression-or-ensuring-nuclear-security/we-must-be-a-global-model-for-collaboration-on-nuclear-security>.
Murray, Robert K. Red Scare; a Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1955. Print.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 24) Free The Cold War Essay Example. Retrieved March 07, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-the-cold-war-essay-example/
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