The Cold War was rooted in the collapse of the American-British-Soviet alliance that defeated the Germans and Japanese during the . Already divided ideologically and deeply suspicious of the other side’s world plans, American and British diplomatic relations with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union severely cooled after the war, over several items. In particular, the Soviets placed and kept local communist parties in power as puppet governments in once-independent countries across Eastern Europe, without due democratic process. This situation led former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill to state in 1946 that an “iron curtain” had descended across the European continent.
That same year, the Canadian government revealed that it had given political asylum to , who, in September 1945, as a cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, had stolen documents showing Soviet spies at work in American, British, and Canadian government and scientific departments. This event brought home the new world reality to Canadians. The following year, in 1947, American financier and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch aptly observed in a speech that, "we are today in the midst of a cold war."
Quoted in Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), p. 238. The worker was Jim Kain, described as a clean shaven twenty-two-year-old graduate student from Alabama. His colleague William McFarland, 29, said he didn’t regard his work on military weapons as “evil. I think the American government is composed of rational men who do not sit around all day thinking of ways to kill people.” See also Jon Nordheimer, “Protests Disturb Lab Men at M.I.T.,” New York Times, November 9, 1969.
Thomas Johnson, American Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945-1989: Book II, part II, p. 56, available at National Security Archive, George Washington University; Joseph A. Fry, Debating Vietnam: Fulbright, Stennis, and Their Senate Hearings (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), p. 143; and Appy, Patriots, p. 214.
For an excellent analysis of economic motives interwoven in the American quest for hegemonic power in Asia as well as ideological-driven rationales, see Noam Chomsky, At War with Asia: Essays on Indochina (New York: Vintage Books, 1970; republished, Chico, CA: AK Press, 2004).
American bombing missions were enabled by the U.S. global military base structure, which allowed airplanes to carry out missions from as far away as Guam, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Thailand, and by the construction of air-bases, landing fields, military compounds, roads, ports and energy depots in South Vietnam by two politically connected companies, Bechtel and Kellogg, Brown and Root. For the Pentagon, Vietnam served as a “remarkable technological opportunity,” in the words of General Maxwell Taylor, for showcasing new super-weapons developed by military scientists and engineers. Following the Soviets launching of Sputnik in 1958, the Eisenhower administration founded the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), whose mission was to recruit top scientific talent for developing cutting edge military technologies that would enable the U.S. to win the Cold War. In 1971, it was estimated that more than 240,000 technological and scientific workers were involved in war related production or research. Their output was considerable.
The circumstances of the Cold War made it different than previous international conflicts because it was the first conflict that could potentially lead to massive, worldwide destruction....
Eisenhower’s policies and programs of the Cold War included MAD and McCarthyism, which caused domestic fears, Brinksmanship and the creation of highways to carry military equipment through the Federal Highway of 1956 in case of foreign war, and his creation of NASA and the National Def...
President Eisenhower was elected in 1952, and various actions he took throughout his two term administration both assuaged and increased American fears related to Cold War problems.
After two and a half months of intensive bargaining, a set of agreements was finalized on July 21. The agreements called for a temporary division of Vietnam at the 17th parallel in order to allow Viet Minh forces to withdraw to the north, and French forces to withdraw to the south. National elections, north and south, were scheduled for July 1956, after which Vietnam would have one government ruling the whole country. During the two-year interim, the Geneva Agreements expressly prohibited the introduction of additional military personnel, foreign arms, and foreign military bases throughout Vietnam. The final declaration emphasized that the “military demarcation line is provisional and should not in any way be interpreted as constituting a political or territorial boundary.” The Viet Minh, having won the war, made a significant compromise in delaying its assumption of power. It did so at the behest of the Chinese and Soviet delegations, both of which were interested in reducing Cold War tensions with the United States.
Fought to prevent the spread of communism in Korea, the Korean War was a bold political victory for the United States because America sent a clear message to the entire world, as it was the first military action of the Cold War, that the spread of communism will not be tolerated by the strongest military in the world, the United States.
A third development was the signing of an international peace treaty ending the civil war in Laos in July 1962. The agreement was welcomed across the world as a step toward reducing Cold War tensions. Along with de Gaulle, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan helped to convince Kennedy that a negotiated solution in Laos was the most realistic option and would not hurt U.S. interests in the region. After conferring with Kennedy in March 1961, Macmillan wrote to de Gaulle: “I think that the President really accepts the necessity for a political solution if we can get one.” It took thirteen months of negotiations, but in the end, an agreement was signed by fourteen nations, including the belligerent parties in Laos and the governments of South Vietnam, North Vietnam, the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China. Laos became a “neutral and independent” nation led by a coalition government under prime minister Souvanna Phouma, with power shared with the communist-led Pathet Lao. As the U.S. had been supporting anticommunist guerrillas in Laos since the late 1950s, approval of the treaty marked a significant change of policy.
Therefore the cold war can’t be classified as a global war in terms of the military and actual warfare’s, as the two superpowers (Soviet Union and USA) fought indirectly with each other, however to an extent the cold war can be said it’s a global war in t...