Why Was The United States Unable To Avoid Entering A Cold War With The Soviet Union?
This was one of the hottest questions of the 20th century – “why the United States of America was unable to avoid entering a Cold War with the Communist Soviet Union?”
We have found five reasons for the United States’ entry into the Cold War.
1. First Reason: Becoming the world’s number one superpower. They didn’t want to leave this opportunity to the Soviets.
2. Second Reason: To protect Democracy and human rights values from authoritarianism (Communism).
3. Third Reason: Fear of the Domino theory. The United States wanted to stop Communism’s expansion all over the world.
4. Fourth Reason: The US was a Capitalist nation from the beginning. They wanted to support the expansion of Capitalism in the entire world.
5. Fifth Reason: National security from the Communist block. In 1949, the United States and its Western allies formed NATO to ensure their national security.
Now, let’s discuss all these five points, one by one.
5 Reasons For The US Entry Into The Cold War
1. For Becoming The World’s Number One Superpower
After the Second World War, the previous superpowers such as France and Great Britain were almost devastated and started losing their status as the world’s decision-makers.
The two Great Wars (WW1 and WW2) almost ruined their capabilities to control the whole world.
Especially, it became a great shame when in 1940, Germany defeat France within just 46 days (Battle of France).
Now, two new superpowers on the world’s stage slowly began rising up their heads; on one side, the Communist Soviet Union, and on the other side, the United States of America.
Although, the Soviet Union was much weaker than the US on various sides, but they were quite ready to take a major role in the world’s decision-makers.
This Soviet readiness alerted the United States; because if the US had not tried to become more powerful than the Soviet Union, it could have lost its influence in the world.
That cautiousness started a race between these two giants and in a few years, the race transformed into the Cold War.
2. To Protect Democracy And Human Rights
This was the second biggest reason why the United States was unable to avoid entering a Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Obviously, you know that the Union of Soviet Russia was a Communist nation; where democracy had no existence.
America and other Western democratic nations considered Communism a major threat to democratic values and human rights.
They already saw how Joseph Stalin was killing thousands of Russian people who challenged his Communist dictatorship.
Hence, they were always conscious to contain it within the land segment of the USSR.
But as they were trying to stop the Soviets; the Soviets were also trying to expand it more and more.
Especially, in Eastern and Central European nations such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia; they succeeded in establishing Communist governments.
The US was afraid, if it continues happening then over time, it would eat up the entire world.
So, to prevent Communism’s expansion, they took many actions that led the Soviet Union angry.
For example: in this case, the Marshal Plan was one of the most popular initiatives from the American side.
The Russian leader Joseph Stalin was once so angry with all these decisions that he even stated – war against the west is inevitable.
3. The Fear of Domino Theory
The United States of America feared the Domino theory.
As per the Domino theory, if a country falls into Communists’ hands, then the democratic governments of the countries around it will fall and that too will become Communist countries.
The US & Western allies were well aware of the domino effect and hence they tried to prevent it as much as possible. Especially, in the case of newly independent countries of Asia; such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.
Even to keep maintain it, they had to fight many major proxy wars against the USSR in various regions of the Asian and African continents.
Examples: Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam War (1955-1975), Soviet Afghanistan War, etc. These proxy wars led the US and the USSR into indirect arm conflicts, where millions of people lost their lives.
4. To Support The Expansion of Capitalism
The United States and other Western countries’ economies were based on Capitalism. In this system, the government takes less control of its economy.
But contrary to the United States Capitalist economy, the Soviet Union and other Communist nations’ economies were based upon Socialism. In this system, the nation takes the main control of its economy.
America and other Western countries had a fear that the expansion of Communism in the world will prevent the growth of Capitalism. Finally, it would prevent Western Capitalist nations from doing free trade with other countries (If they become Communists).
This was also a major reason, why the US had to enter into the Cold War against USSR.
5. National Security From The Soviet Block
On August 29th, 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first nuclear bomb. It shocked the United States and its Western allies. Also at the same time, it made them quite cautious.
The test led these two big powers to an arms race. The way the Soviet Union started making destructive weapons; the US also started making more and more destructive weapons.
The most dangerous weapons that have been made in human history to this date, all have been done during the Cold War era.
In 1949, with the formation of NATO, the United States led the tension to another level. In response, USSR also formed the WARSAW alliance in Poland, in 1955.
This arms race became a big reason that the US couldn’t avoid the Cold War with the USSR; because it became an issue of their national security.
Cold War Facts
1. Did you know? The space race was a significant phenomenon of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
On April 12, 1961, the Soviets send humans into space for the very first time in human history.
Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first person to achieve this success.
The establishment of NASA was also a result of this competition. The United States established NASA on October 1st, 1958.
2. Did you know? Though Cold War lasted for nearly 45 consecutive years, but the USA and the USSR were never involved in a direct armed conflict against each other.
However, through proxy wars, these two big powers killed millions of innocent people throughout the world.