Modern History (Cold War In 19th Century) : 653270


What Were The Causes And Effects Of Cold War In 19th Century?



The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze the major causes of cold war in 19th century along with the impacts that came along as a result of cold war. Therefore, this paper analyzes part of modern history where many countries were involved in making this history. There are a number of wars that have affected the world in a particular period of time. For instance, from year 1914 to 1918, the world experienced the First World War which involved many nations such as triple alliance (Beevok 2014). These wars move chronologically with time and the causes and effected are associated to different attributes of superiority complex. Later on, the world experiences the Second World War between the years 1939 to 1945. These wars have been caused by human activities and the effects of these wars are absorbed by the same human beings. Other wars include Gulf War. For the purpose of this paper we consider Cold War that occurred after the Second World War of 1945. Therefore, the causes and effects of Cold War will flow chronologically between the years 1945 to 1991.

To begin with, the first question that come to mind of any historian is, what is Cold War? Cold War can be defined typically as a state of fear, geopolitical tension that occurred after the year 1945 when Second World War ended. Cold War took place between different world powers such as the powers in the Western Bloc and the powers in the Eastern Bloc between the years 1947 to 1991 (Beevok 2007). It involved superior powers such as United States of America, NATO and Soviet Union. To clarity, the powers in the Eastern Bloc were formed by the Soviet Union together with its satellite states (Beevok 2012). On the side of Western Bloc, the United States of America together with NATO allies combined to respond to Eastern Bloc. Along with these two blocs, other western colonies joined the Cold War in 1947. These other parties included Congo, Indonesia and Vietnam. From that background, this paper aims to answer the analogy of what caused Cold War and the impacts of this war to the entire world and especially the participants of the war.



Causes of Cold War.

Cold War was caused by many factors that were rotating between the Eastern Bloc and the Western bloc. These causes are traced from different perspectives. They can be traced from political aspects, social aspects, economic aspects, ideological aspects and superiority complex.

According to the article published by George Orwell in the year 1945, one of the main political cause of Cold War was propaganda. This propaganda was based on the aspects of development of nuclear weapons. According to the article, it was anticipated that there would be a nuclear superiority between the super powers in Easter Bloc and Western Bloc. This propaganda made geopolitical tension to increase in the Western bloc and in the Eastern Bloc. This is because, the complexity of nuclear weapons in terms of damage cannot be under estimated. These weapons have been described by military analysts as weapons of mass destruction (Gilbert 2004). Therefore, each bloc feared since in case one bloc possessed nuclear weapons, then they could have been used to victimize the other bloc. More damage would have been caused to millions of people and proper if any bloc used these weapons to fight against their competitors. Devastating effects of nuclear weapons were mentioned by presidential adviser and America financier Bernard Baruch in the year 1947 at a speech that was offered in a State House in Columbia.

Another cause of Cold war was differences in political ideologies. These ideologies were traced from the former Allies involved in the Second World War. The different ideologies were attributed by conflicts over of Europe. By the end of Second World War, Europe was completely torn by the effects of the war. According to the article written by Noreen Gunnell, many ideas were raised on what Europe will become after the Second World War (Beevok 2013). Many people said that Europe will never regain the superiority complex. This was not well coming to European nations. It automatically caused Cold War as Europe Tried to regain the lost glory.

Another major cause of Cold war was difference in political systems. Just after the end of the Second World War, there was friendship that seemed to exist between the United States of America and the Soviet Union (Bosco 2014). The World was regaining peace.  However, there was emergence of tensions which were exacerbated by loss of lives and economic losses in the Second World War. Both the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc decided to use different political systems of administrations. This direction made the two sides to apply political sanctions that caused Cold War. According to Soviet Union Leader Sir Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union had lost over more than 20 million lives in the Second World War (Weiss 2013). In that case, he decided to employ a different political system to govern Soviet Union. This created tension on the side of the United States of America. This resulted to enactment of a new political System by the United States of America. This tension resulted to Cold War.

Moreover, the other cause of Cold War was war devastation. The effects of the Second World War made both sides to lose a lot of economic wealth and loss of millions of lives (Barnett 2004). It was feared that each side would aim at recovering their economic status and revenge for their lost lives. In that connection, a moment of distrust occurred thus causing Cold War. The Soviet Union anticipated future attacks from the United States of America and vice versa.

Furthermore, the disagreement over rebuilding Europe was another major cause of Cold War. Europe was highly affected by The Second World War and in particular Germany after the death of Adolf Hitler. The meeting held by the three leaders of the Allied Forces resulted to distrust and mutual hostility. The decision to subdivide Germany by Stalin, Churchill and FDR of Allied forces was not taken in good faith (Bosco 2009). Disagreement arose when Stalin raised the idea of absorbing Germany and other European nations so as to spread communism. This resulted to emergence of Cold War when Germany was split into different zones.

According to the arguments raised by some historians, Cold War was caused by Soviet Union from one end Americans on the other end. In that case, Soviet Union backpedaled the agreement so as to allow the community they ruled to embrace communism. Again, the people of Eastern Europe were allowed to determine their own fates. This resulted to application of totalitarian rule that made the territories to fall behind the Iron Curtain. On the other hand, the Americans ignored the decision of Soviet Union and their legitimate security (Leffler 2008). The Americans started intimidating the world by use of atomic bombs. They also wanted to recover from economic losses attributed by the Second World War by expanding their influence in international level as well as creating market dominance. In that case, Soviet Union retaliated causing the Cold War. The fact that Joseph Stalin was a dictator who used communism ideology go gain dominancy in the world could as well contributed to Cold War. This is because, the American joined the Cold War so as to limit Stalin from inevitable totalitarian conquest.

Later on, in the 1960s, other sections of the world started having Cold War. The Vietnam War resulted to Cold War in Vietnam due to endemic government distrust and dishonesty (Zubok 2009). From that time, cold war has been caused by many factors in political, social, economic and ideological differences in different parts of the world. However, in summary, the main causes of Cold War of 1945 to 1991 was contributed by the following aspects.

  1. The fear of communism by America and attacks associated to communist leaders.
  2. The dislike of Joseph Stalin the leader of Soviet Union.
  3. The fear of American’s atomic bombs by USSR.
  4. The fear of Capitalism by Soviet Union and attacks associated to capitalist leaders.
  5. The actions of USSR in the Soviet zone of Germany.
  6. The refusal of sharing nuclear secretes by Americans.
  7. The expansion of west into Eastern Europe by USSR together with broken election promises.
  8. USSR feared attacks from the Americans.
  9. The need of USSR to secure western border.
  10. Suspicion and distrust between Soviet Union and America.

Effects of Cold War.

The impacts of Cold War were witnessed all over the world and they can be traced from different perspectives such as political effects, social effects and economic effects. By the impacts associated to Cold War, we realize that war is devastating and very expensive.

Cold War took place in chronological order which resulted to different effects. There was Cold War of 1947 to 1953, Cold War of 1953 to 1962, Cold War of 1962 to 1979, Cold War of 1979 to 1985 and Cold War of 1985 to 1991 (Westad 2007). From that chronological path of Cold War, the effects have been subjected to the society, both in the past and at present. To start with, the major effect of Cold War was experienced in Russia where spending on military matters were reduced drastically. This decision affected very heavily the military sector in Russia where many people lost their employment. These effects of Cold War in Russia can also be traced on 1990 when Russia embarked on capitalist economy. In that case, the country experienced financial crisis associated with recession economic cycles. It is estimated that the financial crisis in Russia was much devastative than what was experienced by United States of America along with Germany in the period of Great Depression.

Another effect of Cold War is worsening of living standard of citizens in areas where Cold War was highly experienced. For instance, in Russia. The living conditions in Russia worsened in post-Cold War period but the country started recovery since 1995 (Fink 2017). Again, Cold War resulted to superiority complex of United States of America.  It is asserted that United States of America became a super power in 1989 by holding military alliances with over 50 countries worldwide. The deployment of over 1.5 million military troops to over 117 countries made United States of America to become a super power as a result of Cold War.

In addition, a lot of people lost their lives due to the effects of Cold War. For instance, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 military soldiers from American origin lost their lives in Vietnam War along with Korean War (Knight 2012). In that connection, the effects of Cold War were associated to loss of property that was destroyed. This as well affected the economic conditions in the counties. For instance, it is estimated that United States of America used over $8 trillion so as to service the war in Vietnam and Korea.

Finally, Cold War resulted into Proxy Wars and local conflicts. In that case, a lot of interstate wars, revolutionary wars, ethnic wars and emergence of refugees was reported during Cold War period (Westad 2017). However, numerous nuclear legacies are identifiable from Cold War. From the experience of Cold War, there has been availability of modern technologies for nuclear energy and power. The other positive impact of Cold War is application of radiations in medical treatment as well in healthcare improvement.


In conclusion, despite the occurrence of Cold War from 1947 to 1991, the world has tried to maintain peace via peace agreement signed after Cold War. My wish from what happened during Cold War period is to request the world to maintain peace so as to avoid the devastative effects of war. In that case, let us use the skills acquired during the Cold War bring positive changes in the world (Gaddis 2006). The use of nuclear energy and power can be used positively in industrial production, environmental remediation, technological development and science research. Again, it is important to curb the risks associated to nuclear along with radiological terrorisms.


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