The Cold War
The Great Alliance created for The Second World War was made of opposite forces. This is why, once the common enemy, Germany, was defeated, there was no bound to keep them together. More than that, the Western democracy and the communist totalitarianism found no way to cooperate in dealing with the problems faced after the war. As a matter of fact, the leaders from Moscow and Washington accused each other of aggressive intentions, action that led to a more profound separation.
The Cold War started in 1947 and it was claimed to have as greatest aim stopping communism from spreading in other European areas. However, it became a fight for supremacy between the most powerful states in the world. This fight had huge costs for both sides, as no resource was spared.
Regardless the worried Occidentals' protests, the Soviets imposed their sovereign in Poland, Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Yugoslavia during 1945-1948. As a result, a physical border but also political restrictions that separated Eastern Europe from the western world into two were imposed. Churchill called this, the "Iron Curtain".
USA initiated a containment policy against spreading communism in 1947. The idea of this action belonged to George F. Kennan, but the one who actually started it was Harry Truman. What is more, Truman understood that the poor economy of the Occidental Europe was a strong element in favor of the communist expansion. Furthermore, the logical course of action was to improve aspects such as cities, roads or industries, which was made possible by the Marshall plan. This arrangement was the final breaking point between Western and Eastern Europe. In response to this, Russia, founded the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in 1949. This was also due to the fact that it had previously forbid all communist countries to accept any type of aid from USA. Every act of the two states had severe consequences on the other.
The international relationships among communist and democratic countries were so tensioned, that the Cold War began. The two main rivals formed political and military alliances in order to promote their interests. N.A.T.O. is founded by U.S.A., Canada, UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Norway, Denmark, Portugal and Island in April 1949. Afterwards, other countries join in N.A.T.O. ranging from Greece and Turkey in 1952, Western Germany, in 1955, Spain in 1982. The birth of N.A.T.O. was the political and military statement against the communism development (the armies of the Eastern states were subordinated to Moscow). Nevertheless, U.S.S.R. responded to N.A.T.O.'s creation by means of the Warsaw "Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance", in 1955. The treaty was signed by representatives from U.S.S.R., Eastern Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.
The Cold War period was synonymous to the arms race. While the U.S.A. started the war with the advantage of having the nuclear bomb since 1945, the Soviets only got it in 1949. As a result, the two opposite sides were almost equal starting from that moment.
Furthermore, the area of this war extended. One striking example is the one of Korea, which was divided into the Northern and Southern Korea. The two prolonged this conflict to nowadays. Another similar crisis took place in Vietnam. While the Korean confrontations lasted for three years, the one in Vietnam lasted for over twelve years. In spite of being helped by U.S.A, the fight ended in favor of Northern Vietnam, which realized the unification. However, the most important crisis is related to Cuba, during which the two states were on the edge of using nuclear weapons. It all started when U.S.A discovered that the Soviets were installing nuclear rockets in Cuba. The divergence ended when U.S.S.R. retreated along with its weapons and when S.U.A accepted not to get involved into Cuba’s internal problems. This is how the influence of the Cold War affected not only Europe, but most of the world.
The after-war period was a continuous oscillation between tensioned moments and well understanding. Both the economical and the cultural exchanges intensified. Moreover, significant efforts were made for maintaining peace and security in Europe, such as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Helsinki - 1975. On the other hand, this calm period had its limits, as the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 by U.S.S.R., showed. The relationships among the great powers of the world were still tensioned.
The official ending of the Cold War takes place in 1991 when U.S.S.R. is destroyed and breaks into pieces.