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Who Won the Cold War? Essay

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The Cold War A hot war has physical fighting. In a cold war, there is not. The Cold War refers to the time after WW2 when there were tensions between the USA and its allies and the USSR and their allies. USA Capitalism vs USSR Communism The Soviet Union and the USA had different ideologies (a system of ideas and ideals). The Soviet Union was Communist after the Russian Revolution of 1917 (a forcible overthrow of government in favour of a new government). This was a division between the ‘East’ and the ‘West’ - between Communism and Capitalism. In the 19th century, there was an industrial revolution and economic boom, factory owners became rich. In capitalism, anyone can open up a business - this is known as a ‘free economy’ where the economy is loosely controlled and guided by whatever people want.

There was a large division of wealth, but the majority of people had a high standard of living. In Communism all businesses are owned by the government. The economy is controlled. The standard of living was all fairly low: the money was shared equally. Under Lenin, he called for a ‘world revolution’, where the Workers united against the Capitalists. Both sides used propaganda in the form of posters and newspapers against the ‘threat of the West and Capitalist’ and vice versa. Russian Revolution of 1917 In February 1917, the Russian Royal Family was deposed (removed from power) and executed a while after. They were replaced with a new provisional government. In October 1917, the Bolsheviks (a Communist group) seized power and Russia became Communist. The Bolsheviks were led by Lenin who returned to Russia through Germany after Russia became a Republic (without monarchy). From 1917 - 1922, Western Powers like the USA, Britain and France sent money, troops and weapons to opponents of Communists in Russia.

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This became a civil war between the ‘whites’ (non-Communists) and ‘reds’ (Communists; the traditional Socialist colour). At the very end, the Reds won. Lenin declared the creation of the USSR [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics]. The Western intervention made the Communists fear future attacks from the Western Powers. Meanwhile, the Western Powers were afraid of the spread and influence of Communism in other countries - predominantly the East. During the civil war, the Reds Had agreed to a peace treaty with the Central Powers; they withdrew from WW1 to better focus on their civil war against the Whites. The peace treaty was known as the ‘Brest-Litovsk’: the Communists left the agreement made between Russia and the Allies before the revolution to be in war against the Central Powers; the Communists ceded all of its Baltic States to become German Vassals, recognised the independence of Ukraine, as well as the Southern Caucasus. The lands were never ceded as the Central Powers were eventually defeated. Brest-Litovsk’s harshness by the Germans were cited against them by the Allies in the Treaty of Versailles.

The Russians were seen as cowards and betrayers. Stalin’s Regime After Lenin died, Joseph Stalin succeeded him. He ruled with an iron fist and executed many powerful Bolsheviks that could oppose him. His government was very secretive and led many other countries in the West to distrust it. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Agression Pact Before the Axis Invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis and the Soviets were actually in good terms. On 23rd of August 1939, the Nazis and Soviets promised to not declare war on eachother (non-aggression pact). Secretly, they also promised to share Eastern Europe - Poland would be divided, the Baltic States would be given to the Soviet Union. Learning from WW1, this was vital for Germany incase of a British Blockade. In this sense, Stalin was co-operating with Hitler - which the West did not trust.

However, this did not last long. Operation Barbarossa On the 22nd of June 1941, a surprise-invasion was made by the Axis into the Soviet Union. The pact was broken. The USSR and the Allies cooperated against Hitler. The Russians had a ‘Scorched Earth’ policy. When they saw the Germans would capture a territory, they would completely torch anything valuable and infrastructure: food, railway, supplies etc. This slowed down the German’s progress, as they had to repair any damaged railway: significantly limiting the rate of supplies they could send to the frontline.

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Who Won the Cold War? Essay. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
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