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The aftermath of world war 2 and the cold war

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Introduction

Victor Fung Class 11(1) IB Sept. 2, 2008 In the aftermath of World War 2, the European countries such as Great Britain, France and Germany emerged weakened both militarily and economically. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as unrivaled superpowers, both keen to make most of their advantage. Although the Soviets and the Americans fought together in the war, the defeat of Germany had made them set their sights on each other. Lack of a common enemy, increasing public pressure, and drastically different ideologies eventually led to arms race that was later known as the Cold War. ...read more.

Middle

Although Germany was partitioned between them, Japan was wholly occupied by the Americans, but that was only the beginning of the problems between the two. Having bested their enemies in the war, both the American and Soviet people found new nationalist pride in being the "victors." Therefore the leaders of both countries had to maintain their dominance to satisfy their people or risk being overthrown. In the United States, the isolationist policy was no longer reasonable for the public, and with a massive army, expanding influence around the globe both militarily and economically was only the natural course of action. ...read more.

Conclusion

With both powers expanding their spheres of influence, it was no surprise that these two superpowers would clash. This problem was made worse with the radically different ideologies the two governments possessed. As a result, there was no middle ground; countries were bound to alienate either country regardless of their choice of government. Both Great Britain and the United States were "alarmed" at the rapid expansion of communism, which obviously threatened their own influence, hence leading to the Iron Curtain speech. The United States and the Soviets both competed with each other in supporting revolution in strategically important areas. As a result, it was inevitable that these two countries should come into conflict with each other, starting the Cold War with decades of proxy wars and arms races. ...read more.

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