When we hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope we use. - Joseph Stalin
The Cold War isn't thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn't sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting. - Richard M. Nixon
Scores of troops, weapons and destruction. Loss of life and materials on both sides. An inevitable end in one party's favor or perhaps a draw. These are the characteristics of war. From time immemorial, the Earth has seen man war with his brother, his neighbor and his foes across an ocean. For bigger and wider borders, for fame, for money and conquest, for educating the savages, the excuses for waging war are infinite but the march to battle goes on and will go on. But not all battles are fought on a battlefield. And not all wars have an end. When mutual distrust and an urge to win with a stomp in the defeated one's face are present, then the war becomes a silent test of wills, a quiet game of strengths and weakness and the stakes are much higher and deadlier. And such silent wars can go on for decades, influencing generations for centuries to come. The war under discussion over here, is the Cold War. In this article, learn about the reasons and causes of the Cold War.
The Origin of the Cold War
The trouble with the question "How did the cold war start?" is how can you pinpoint the origin of a war. The actual reasons and causes behind a war, are like the heads of a Hydra (mythical Greek beast), too many to count, each growing at a different time and a different place. The best place and time to start with is the year 1917, the year of revolutions in Russia.
☭ The Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II was forced to abdicate by the masses, World War 1 was going on and in October, the Bolshevik party overthrew the existing provisional government and started a civil war between the upper class and the workers and peasants of Russia. This period of upheaval and unrest marked the inception of communism in Russia and parts of Europe.
★ Communism as a system of government, became the key point of difference between the people's Russia and capitalist America. Both parties were obsessively suspicious of the principles behind their respective ideologies. The success of the Revolution in Russia served as a powerful indication of the strength and power, that a communist force could muster. The Russian revolutionists were wary of capitalism, as it allowed too much power to settle in the hands of a few, a situation they had experienced by living under monarchy rule for centuries. Both sides were suspicious of conversion tactics on the part of the other. Plus the U.S. decided to assist the anti-Bolshevik side in the civil war of 1918, which only cemented their evil in the Russian population's eyes.
☭ The civil war of 1918 was won by the Bolsheviks, who aggressively stated their communist system should replace the monopoly of capitalism. They had the right man for political tactics, Joseph Stalin, an energetic and forceful personality to continue the communist regime. The difference in economy also added to the silent tussle between the Soviets and the Americans. The U.S. encouraged international trade and exchange, to create a global economy. The Russians had a closed-off approach to trade and business. They feared the easy money and trade practices of capitalism would tempt the loyalty of their people. This led to impressions formed in both parties about the true intent of each other. A classic case of good vs evil, depending on which side of the line you were standing on.
★ Germany's actions in the latter half of the 1930s, further widened the gap between the Soviets and the Americans. Germany and the Soviet Union signed a pact agreeing to trade of certain materials and military equipment. They also agreed to split Poland and Eastern Europe between themselves. In accordance with this, Poland was invaded by the Soviets in 1939, who also made war advances to nearby European countries. The friendly manner between Germany and the Russians, (carrying out trade, dividing territories) frightened the U.S., as an alliance between the two was a severe threat to the American nation.
☭ Germany showed it's true colors with the coming of the Second World War. This war also forced the Soviets and Americans to work together against an enemy. Though WWII managed to distract them from their rivalry, some wartime antics like the Katyn massacre and the events during the Warsaw uprising, added to the mistrust on both sides.
★ The end of the war brought the rivalry back to the forefront. The establishment of a post-war Germany, with a secure form of government was a bone of contention between the Americans and Russians. While the U.S. wanted a liberal and open state, the Soviets were still cautious about the Eastern European states and wanted to render them harmless. They feared any slack shown towards Germany, would revive the Nazi spirit. Such opposite ideas led to multi-layered tension between the 2 parties. The Soviets in an act of rebellion, bombed the island of Bornholm, which further angered the U.S. The resulting postwar conferences only underlined the difficult attitude present between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The introduction of Harry S. Truman, the newly appointed president of the U.S.A made the American stance against Russia even more antagonistic.
☭ Fed-up of playing games with the U.S., the Soviet Union started extending its influence among its bordering and nearby countries. Annexation and joining of borders formed the Eastern Bloc states, and added massive power to the Soviet's reign, in terms of land, men and materials. Such forceful grabbing tactics were the final nail in the relationship between Russia and the U.S.. Russia not content with the Eastern states, extended its influence to Greece, Turkey and even France. The U.S. countered with the Truman Doctrine in 1947, setting their stance as anti-communist for good.
The Cold War was fought in all spheres - space and sports, economy, weaponry both armed and nuclear. It was supplemented by propaganda and media coverage. Open aggressive threats and moves, with espionage on the side, taps were kept and progress was monitored. For every one advancement the Soviets made, the Americans would match and increase, resulting in a never-ending chess game. No obvious declarations or open aggression was carried out. On the surface, everything was calm but the undercurrents of mistrust were strong and deep. It would take the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, for both sides to bury the hatchet. The debate over "how did the Cold War start" is a never-ending issue, with numerous arguments on either side. Whatever the causes of the Cold War are, one thing to be thankful for: It's over.