Humanities essay. The statement is: “ The Cold War was characterized by intense competition between the rival blocks that had unintended impacts on the lives of ordinary people." Examine the validity of this statement. The statement basically says t Example
The Impacts of Cold War 5
Competition between the US and Soviet Union
By the end of the World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union had acquired wealth and therefore wanted to show their powers. The show of mighty between the two superpowers triggered the Cold War that was marked by completion, tension and conflict between the communist nations and the democratic nations. Some of the predominant features during the Cold War were the Space Race, Arm Race and advancement in Technology. Funds belonging to the public were deployed to these projects at the expense to other domestic programs that would be more beneficial to the society. This affected the way of living of people in the two blocs. This paper discusses the key aspects of Cold War such as the Space Race, Arm Race, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, advancement in Technology among others.
The Space Race kicked off in October 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite known as Sputnik. The US was astonished and feared for its security since the Sputnik was streaking across their space. This launching of the first satellites ignited the thinking of intellectuals with the intention of competing with the Russians. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NASA was founded with the purpose of integrating all military space programs. Some of the impacts of the Space Race were the change in education system and imaginations of the people. The education system was changed with the curriculum giving more emphasis on science and mathematics in the nation’s schools. More money was allocated to the education system to back up the new idea. This led to students receiving courses in math and science which laid down the base of exploring of the universe. The United States launched Explorer I in space to show off its power to the Russians.
The dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United State in 1945 marked the beginning of the arm race. By 1949, United States maintained its stand of atomic monopoly. After the Soviet Union acquired atomic weapons in 1949, the US sought to maintain its nuclear dominancy by producing more atomic weapons and hydrogen bombs. More sophistical weapons that were accurate and would travel for long distances were designed. During the Korean War, the United States took advantage to the situation to increase in armed forces, production of aircraft, ships, combat vehicles and other arsenals. Only a few of the arsenals were directed to the Korean War while the rest were intended to counter the Soviet dominance in the central Europe.
The acquisition of arm by the two superpowers led to heavy spending on military issues. For instance, according to Pinter, the United State military expenditure by 1954 was 12.7 percent of GNP. This spending was at the expense of domestic reforms. Allocation of resources was distorted reading to neglecting of people’s immediate needs. The launching of sophisticated weapons such as the hydrogen and atomic bombs led to destruction of properties, killed and maimed innocent citizens that were not part of the arm race.
The Arm Race led to the advancement of technology during the Cold War. Sophisticated weapons such as biological, nuclear and chemical weapons were developed. Great ideas led the designing of aircrafts, rockets, jet fighters submarines, satellites among others. Some of these developments served as a benchmark for innovations and exploring through space. For instance, the Russians were the first to explore space and the US followed.
The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred after Cuban leader Fidel Castro asked for military and economic assistance from the Soviet Union following the United States failure in Bay of Pigs invasion. Nikita Khrushchev, who was then the Soviet premier, took advantage of the failed invasion by securing the right to place nuclear arsenal in Cuba. When the United States president, John F. Kennedy learned of the missile, he ordered naval blockade of the Cuba Island demanding the removal of the arsenals. After Nikita Khrushchev gave in to the US demands he promised to remove the missile if John F. Kennedy lifted the ban. The US agreed to lift the ban and also agreed to remove nuclear missiles in Turkey that aimed at the USSR. The Cuban citizen feared attacks from the United States. They were also denied freedom of movement following to the enactment of the ban. The Soviet Union supported Cubans while the US was against them.
Following the good relationship with the United States and the fear of communism, Australian government send troops to fight in the Vietnam War. The Australian soldiers had also fought in Korea and Malaya. Despite of the government involvement in Vietnam, there was anti-war protest in Australia by 1962. By late 1960s, anti-war movement dominated all sections of Australian community. After the end of Vietnam War the war veterans were not welcomed back since the Australian people did not want to be associated with the war.
The developments of the Third World escalated the Cold War tensions. Most of the developing countries were in support of the Soviet Union since they wanted to dispute the Western culture by regenerating their own cultures and customs. Most of the missionaries had collaborated with the United States and therefore, the Third World did not want anything to do with them other than evicting them.
It is evident the Cold War had direct and indirect impacts to the common people. The Cold war changed the social status of many people through its impacts. Taxes that could have been deployed to other sectors found its way in development of arsenals that was a threat to not only to the rivals but also to the citizens. Although the Cold War had some negative impacts to people, the two blocs used it to improve their economy and technology.
Painter, D. (1999). The Cold War: An International History. Routledge, New York.
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