• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

More often than not, superpowers, rather than causing regional conflicts, were reluctantly drawn into them." How far does your study of the Cold War in the period 1950-80 supports this view?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1. "More often than not, superpowers, rather than causing regional conflicts, were reluctantly drawn into them." How far does your study of the Cold War in the period 1950-80 supports this view? The period of 1950 to 1980 saw the Cold War spread from the traditional playing field of Europe to other parts of the world. However it is quite clear that the USA and the Soviet Union played only a marginal role in originating these conflicts-at the most setting up the basic framework for it to occur. Furthermore, when they did get involved they each did so to varying degrees. The USA seemed to be much more motivated and interested in involving themselves, while the Soviet Union was more apprehensive. Therefore, to say that both superpowers "were reluctantly drawn into them (the conflicts)" is not completely true. To illustrate my point I will analyse the Korean and Vietnam wars. There is strong evidence to suggest that US entered the Korean War fairly voluntarily. Firstly, the US was motivated by strong security interests. They misperceived the North's invasion to be Soviet instigated and an attempt to spread communist ideology into Asia. ...read more.

Middle

Thus Truman felt he had to prove them wrong by taking a harder approach against communism. Also, the US felt that the loss of Vietnam would put a strain of the security of not only Japan but the whole Eastern Pacific which included countries such as Australia and India. Very much in tangent with this, is concerns over the domino theory (invented during this time), where the US believed that if Vietnam fell so would the countries around it, and then the countries around those countries and so on. Thus, they felt they had to stop this communist expansion before it got out of hand. John W. Mason tell us in his book, "The Cold War 1945-1991", that: The Eisenhower administration saw Ho Chi Minh as an instrument of international communism and claimed that the loss of Indochina would have a disastrous effect on the rest of South-east Asia. The domino theory-later to be ridiculed by critics of the Vietnam War-was born."3 Furthermore, US were not only motivated by strategic concerns but also political and economic ones as well. Firstly, US wished to help France, so as to build upon already present friendship and obtain French support in NATO. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most important point which shows how reluctant the Soviet Union was in getting involved in the war was the fact that pressed for a quick and peaceful end to it. They got involved due to obligation, maintained as limited role as possible and wanted to get out at the first opportunity. It can thus be seen that the degree of involvement varied depending on the superpower. While neither superpower played a significant role in originating either conflicts, the US got more involved in them as compared to the Soviets. This was mainly due to the fact that the US had a greater interest in these conflicts than the Soviets, and thus were more strongly motivated to intervene. Thus, it can be said that US were fairly voluntary in their involvement in these regional conflicts, as they sought to further their own interests. US actions and policies during these conflicts also seemed to suggest voluntary involvement as they seldom showed signs of disengagement but rather tended towards escalation. The Soviets however, very much unmotivated to get involved, were cautious with regards to their involvement in the wars, playing as limited a role as possible. Thus one cannot say that the statement, is completely true, though it may be to a fairly large extent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Why did North Korea invade South Korea in June 1950, and why did USA ...

    All the messages to America from events in Europe said they had to act decisively and immediately to prevent the spread of communism. However, China had been lost to communism already, so no action is practical there. US were itching to see where it would appear next.

  2. How far was the USSR responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War?

    to support the local communists, the USA did back the anti-communists in the Greek Civil War's closing stages, thus showing its determination to maintain its influence in Europe. However, there is a post-revisionist middle ground between the two extremes, claiming that both superpowers share the blame for the outbreak of the Cold War between them.

  1. "The Cold War in Europe brought the big powers into fighting wars outside Europe ...

    Perceptions of the other superpower's likelihood to respond * This limited each superpower's scope to act greatly; if it was judged that the other superpower would respond with military force, then it was far less likely for a superpower to become involved directly and explicitly in a globalised conflict *

  2. How did the Cold War shape post-war politics during the period 1945-1961?

    follow, and they found that the superior countries were happy to support them to gain more assistance. Therefore, with the Americans supporting Israel, the Soviets found that they could gain influence in the region by assisting Israel's Arab neighbours with there causes.

  1. North Korea and South Korea after the Korean war.

    Some people are hopeful once the dictator in the North either falls or dies reunification of the states will happen with little resistance. In conclusion, North Korea and South Korea have worked towards the common goal of reunification despite obstacles and set backs.

  2. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    The Soviet Union, by contrast, operated with few such constraints. Although Soviet pronouncements on foreign policy tediously invoked the rhetoric of capitalist imperialism, abstract principles meant far less than national self-interest in arriving at foreign policy positions. Every action that the Soviet Union had taken since the Bolshevik revolution, from

  1. How far did peaceful coexistence ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and ...

    But by 1954, Khrushchev saw that the Porkalla region was more of a financial drain than an asset, and so he gave it back to Finland, and the influence the Soviets had over the region was reduced significantly(although the Soviets still ensured that Finland would not pose a threat to the Soviet Union when necessary, especially by intervening in elections).

  2. The aim of this essay is to evaluate if the end of the Cold ...

    The end of the Cold war had brought with it, the invalidity of the limiting force of bipolarity in the international system. In the Western and Eastern bloc, the concept of a common threat was now the defining principle of order.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work