The U.S. History from 1945 to the Present
This model paper is an attempt to explain in detail the numerous milestone events that have occurred since 1945 in the United States of America (Brands 72). These events have had both positive and negative consequences. All together, they have made the United States develop into the country it is today. These events included wars such as Cold War, political confrontations, industrialization, recessions, economic take-offs, U.S. invasions ,various inventions and many other crucial happenings. Since 1945, some events have also improved the culture, economy, and social standards in America. This paper will explore in detail one of the key events, the Cold War, which swept across the nation of America since 1945. That event was so culminating that it left behind far-reaching effects that have set aside a big historical event to be remembered among the people of the United States and the world in general.
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The capitulation of Germany in 1945, an instrument of surrender was signed on May 8, manifested the end of the Second World War in Europe. Nevertheless, the Axis collapse caused confrontation of the USSR and the United States. Prior to the end of the war, the two nations had entered a coalition to be able to conquer the common enemy: Germany. When the enemy was conquered, unstable coalition went all to pieces; the future collaboration between the two nations was impossible. The Soviet Union and the United States wished to develop in different after-war environments following the opposite ways. The Soviet Union struggled to make more nations adopt communism; Moscow offered numerous economic benefits, political and military support in case of any warfare (Donaldson 187). The United States, on the other hand, dreamt of the world of free commerce that could help the American economy overcome the post-war recession. To achieve this goal, the United States tried to build the self-governing systems in the countries that had gained independence. In addition, disagreement over strategies of rebuilding post-war Eastern Europe uncovered the diversity in each nations vision of the post-war world. In the end, the intensifying conflict between the two nations brought about the beginning of a new global war The Cold War. Since the end of the Second World War and up to the mid of the 1950s, the United States of America has been facing a raising anxiety and fear of the communist invasion. In the course of the Cold War, the government exploited this anxiety in the U.S. foreign and home policy in order to achieve the main objectives of bounding the USSR and ceasing the spread of communism.
During the event of the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union came together and fought against the Axis Powers. The existing relationship between these two powers happened to be a tense one. The nation of U.S. was constantly wary of Soviet communism and thus concerned about the Russian leaders tyrannical and bloodthirsty rule in USSR. Whitfield, (103), reports that the Soviets had long been resenting the U.S. long refusal to treat the USSR as an authentic part of the worldwide community and their delayed entry into the Second World War. This resultantly led to the multiple deaths of Russians. Later on, these grievances culminated into a devastating sense and feeling of mutual distrust and enmity. What followed is the post war Soviet imperialism in Eastern Europe, which fired many Americans fears of the Russian plan to take full control of the world. The Russians still resented what they termed as American officials pugnacious bombast, arms buildup and domineering approach to intercontinental relations. Such a hostile atmosphere made it impossible to have either party to face blame for the Cold War, which appeared inevitable
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When the second Cold War ended, majority of American officials agreed on the best defense against the Soviet threat was containment strategy. The terrible results of the nuclear war began a new period of stability. The so-called balance of deterrence or balance of terror ensured that each nuclear superpower was interested in providing the other power with no signal that could have been used as a reason for the attack. This state of affairs caused an armaments race. It started with the increasing danger of instability in Western Europe. This way, the nuclear weapon could not be used, but it was regarded as an important argument. Talks about tactical nuclear weapons concerned more creativity than realism. The United States put the main emphasis on the nuclear dominance, as the country realized that it was the only weapon to oppose to the Soviet geographical presence in Europe. The Cold War was the most vital diplomatic and political matter of the 20th century. The two superpowers created chaos conflicting in various parts of the globe. They denounced and threatened with the weapons employment and tried to discredit each other.
The process of decolonization intimately related to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the foundation of the United Nations Organization. It not only was affected by the superpowers confrontation, but also had an influence over that competition. America had a strong bond with its European associates, who had claims on their past colonies; on the other hand, it supported the national self-purpose. The Cold War was meant to compromise the United States position concerning its support of decolonization. It also poured oils on flames of the American fear of the communist growth and favored the Soviet strategic ground in Europe. The disagreement between the post-war strategy of America and the USSR became inflammable in 1946 as the result of the revolt in Greece. The communist troops, supported by the communist nations of Yugoslavia, intimidated to take over the rule in Greece. The US under Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, cautioned against the ruinous consequences of the communist success in Greece (Donaldson 133).
The ever-increasing anxiety of communism caused Americans to be afraid of not only the communist expansion, but also the possible war. The first example of the extra policy was Economic Rescue Plan issued in1947, and referred to as the Marshall Plan. Considering the assumption that economic strength would translate into civil stability, the Marshall Plan invested billions of dollars in economic support and reconstruction of the markets in Western Europe. With the beginning of the War in Korea in 1950, the strategy was fit in place. As Truman implemented the rule of control and sent American troops to fight the Soviet hostility in Korea, a contemporary terror began to rise. It became more obvious that the USSR hostility in Korea was only a disruption meant to draw the attention of the Americans to the East and out of Western Europe, making it weak for the Soviet attack. However, the Marshall Plan succeeded in renovating the markets of the Western European realms, thus reinforcing the civil structures and preventing the countries from flying to the communist arms.
Continual fight between the two models of the post-war world of the Soviet Union and the United States run to a full appraisal of American external policy by the National Security Council (NSC). Continuing worries of the communist attack were displayed in a policy report prepared by the Security Council in 1950. This report, known as NSC-68, had been ruling America’s foreign policy for many years. It regarded the conflict between the West and the East, and cautioned that every such battle threatened not only the United States but also all the whole planet. To test the Soviet hostility, NSC-68 summoned for increased help for the nations vulnerable to socialist aggression in line with the increased funding of the United States defense matters, from 5% to 20 % of the state budget. With the enhanced defense expenditure, the United States wished to get an unsurpassed atomic power that it could use as an argument in negotiations with the Soviet Union. Indeed, the increased expenditure on American defense led to the invention of modern atomic missiles and bombs, hydrogen bombs, and atomic-powered submarines. However, the United States has never been a sole leader in its atomic sovereignty for a long time. By 1949, the Soviet alliance had detonated the first atomic missile. Terror of an atomic war by the Soviets urged the United States to create even more atomic arms. The more arsenals the United States made, the more military hardware the Soviet Union gathered. At the end, both states had a sufficient number of the atomic weapon to destroy the planet for many times. This new menace of global eradication gave the United States nation another reason to fear the communist aggression.
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Through the early 1950s, the fear of the communist attack continued to aggravate all over the United States. By 1953, the country found itself making the next step in the Cold War. A new terror emerged; communism was about to spread to South and Central America (Vinovskis 89). Communist groups in Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, and other Latin American countries started exerting pressure on their governments conducting propaganda through the popular media and public addresses. In response, the United States stepped up with the new strategy in foreign policy: namely Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Thisagency was founded in 1947 to manage the foreign intellect gathering. The CIA was involved in furtive operations to demoralize the systems friendly to communism. The United States employed this new tool, not only in South American realms but also all over the world. By 1957, 1?2 of the CIA people and 80% of their financial powers were focused on the actions undermining the foreign governments, placing foreign leaders on the payroll, supporting foreign civil parties, and backing up foreign tabloids and labor coalitions that followed the pro-American line.
After the death of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, the United States viewed a small opportunity to eliminate the terror of the communist hostility by endeavoring to add a new line to the foreign policy: peace. President Eisenhower offered his five Points for Peace. The United States believed that Eisenhower’s idea would turn the tide of the Cold War and create a peaceful world. Beside the 5 Points, Eisenhower defined steps that the Soviet Union had to take to demonstrate that its intentions were peaceful. These moves included an armistice in free, equal, and united Germany, Korea, and self-governing Eastern Europe. The Soviet alliance was not ready to change the ideological course, and under the governance of Malenkov, the war between the Soviet Union and the United States continued (Arnold 118).
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Perspectives The Cold War led to the changes to the presidency in the nation of America; fueled by both internal and external forces. In internal perspective, Traumas hard line stand against Stalin forced his administration to affect many presidential acts. Whilst externally, politicians used anti-communist frenzy to make their campaign on a strong and rightist platform. They did this while accusing the present administration of softness in a bid to better their portion. At one juncture, Robert Taff accused Trauma for seeking a congress that was full of dominating the Russians who resided abroad and fostering communism at home. The U.S. policy came to be one of the containment policies since it reacted to to the COLD war. The weakening of the mutual confidence of both nations led to the evolving of a certain kind of a chess game by use of the world map as its board. The American nation supported corrupt and anti-democratic governments. On the other hand, the Soviets backed groups, which were favorable to their own interest (Brands 134). The Cold Wars anti-communist and rhetoric propaganda largely dictated foreign policy. The Cold War affected domestic policy in two ways. Firstly, it influenced the social aspect where the exhaustive indoctrination of the Americans led to the regression of social reforms. Secondly, the Cold War affected the economic aspect where massive growth stimulated by war-related industries was aided by heavy government development. The New Deal economics was greatly affected by the Cold war.
In 1957-1972, there was the rise of tension in the Cold War. The Soviet Union developed ICBMs, which could deliver nuclear weapons to America. People of the United States became more concerned about the bomber gap. This made the United State test nuclear weapons as a way of preparing for another war. The Soviet Union, in turn, did the same in order to prepare the country for possible war. In addition, the United States increased the number of secret agent flights over the territory of the Soviet Union in order to determine the location of the bomber gap (Ahlstrom 415). This gap existed, but it was in favor of the United States. President Eisenhowers way of spying was secretive, and he used it to silence the democrats who criticized him for using soft defense. His condition was complicated when a spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union territory in 1960s. The President feared to conceal his knowledge about the Soviet defense. He increased the nuclear testing in order to bounce public attention. In 1961, Eisenhower denoted a fifty-seven megaton H-bomb. This was the largest fabricated explosion in the world history. Nuclear testing by the United States and the Soviet Union had not accomplished anything; it had only increased the world concern about high radiation levels that were released into the atmosphere.
The United States history has had an immense influence on the American nation and the world at large. Since 1945, the United States has experienced many challenges and changes. They enabled people not only to learn the lesson from the history but also to acquire knowledge of different issues. America engaged in numerous wars and conflicts that made the situation in the country unstable. The Cold War taught the American government and people to look for ways to defend them. It also urged the government to find the better weapons in order to be prepared for possible war. This process led to improvement in science and technology as both superpowers tried to make advanced weapons. This way, the education was also improved, and many discoveries were made. In addition, the war also promoted peace and mutual understanding as different countries directed negotiation in order to find the best solution (Vinovskis 7). Business also improved due to the competition that had been developing since the 1950s. People searched for ways to make their products or services sell in the global market. This improved the economic status thus increasing the countrys influence in the international field. As a result, communication and technology were also improved. The history has made the people of the United State acquire knowledge and develop new skills.