COURSE OF THE COLD WAR
The cold war was fought in Europe Asia, Latin America and Africa,
The course of the Cold War in Europe
The cold war in Europe involved a conflict between the West and the East. The highlights of this conflict included Russia’s overwhelming encroachment and dominance of Eastern Europe. Russia used her military might to impose communist governments on many states like Poland and Romania. They also fanned civil wars. E.g the Greek civil war of 1946. There were widespread outbreaks of violence and demands of freedoms in Poland and Romania, based on western ideologies, in politics and economy.
In Czechoslovakia, communist Russia orchestrated protests against reforms based on western ideologies, by the Dubcek Government, which was supported by the west. Dubcek was arrested and flown to Moscow. Dr. Husak, a Russian ally was installed. The following are the major developments that characterized cold war in Europe.
The cold war was fought in Asia.
In Asia, China was the first front of Cold War. She embraced communism, following the successful takeover of the country by the forces of Mao Tse-tung in October 1949, assisted by the Russians. The Sino-Soviet Treaty of friendship was signed in 1950. Korea, formerly controlled by Japan, was another front for cold war in Asia. When Japan was defeated in 1945, Korea was occupied from the south by American forces, from the north by Russians, placing the country under joint control. The occupying powers failed to unite the two Korea sections when she became independent.
In 1948, the USA announced the formation of the Independent Democratic Republic of Korea in the South. The Russians formed the Peoples Republic of Korea in the north. On 25th June 1950, North Korea Forces invaded South Korea in an attempt to unite. UN condemned this and An American General, Douglas MacArthur led the UN forced that repulsed the invaders.
The cold war spread to Vietnam, with USSR and USA clashing over Vietnam, formerly a colony of France that had been seized by Japan. The two super powers supported different nationalist leaders in the struggle for independence from France.
The Russians supported Ho Chi-Minh who led a revolt by the Vietnamese, against the French.
USA supported Ngo Dinh Diem. The Vietnam War erupted as a result
The Vietnam War was the heaviest cost of containing communism by Americans in a distant country. Americans were humiliatingly defeated in 1975 with a causality of 53,000, despite employing over 400,000 troops. The communist guerillas, the Viet Cong, established a communist government in South Vietnam. The war strengthened American hostility towards Russia
There was an armed conflict between the superpowers in Afghanistan from 1978. The height of the conflict in Afghanistan was the Boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 as a protest against USSR’s involvement in Afghanistan, The conflict took the form of a civil war which was only eased in 1989 when the USSR began to withdraw its troops.
The cold war in Latin America (the Cuban Missile Crisis)
Cuba became the theatre of cold war when USA unsuccessfully supported the Cuban dictator, General Fulgencio Batista against Fidel Castro who was fighting to end Batista’s regime. Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista regime in 1958. The new government immediately gained recognition from many world nations including USA and USSR
In 1960, Fidel began a communist nationalization programme of American oil refineries and sugar plantations. This strained relations between him and the US who attempted unsuccessfully to invade Cuba in 1961 at Bay of Pigs. In January 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States.
In May 1962, USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev secretly built missile installations in Cuba as a means of countering any future American invasion, in exchange for sugar.
The discovery, by American president J. F. Kennedy in October 1962, of the Russian missile installations in Cuba was the beginning of the most serious cold war crisis. He declared that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be taken to be an attack by the USSR and USA would respond accordingly.
USA declared a Naval Quarantine on Cuba to blockade any Russian Vessels
This most serious cold war crisis was only ended when the Russian leader Khrushchev removed the missiles from Cuba and dismantled Russia’s bases in Cuba.
The Cold War in Africa
The cold war in Africa was majorly witnessed in Ethiopia and Angola.
In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile – Mariam, overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, with the assistance of USSR. Haile Mariam introduced socialist programmes,
However, they were short-lived up to the end of his rule in May 1991, when Russians withdrew their assistance.
In Angola, on 11th November 1975, Angola attained her independence from Portugal, with the assistance of the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Soon after, a bruising civil war broke out. USA supported the rebels, led by Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement based in Ovimbudu. Cuba and Russia supported the MPLA government based in Luanda.
Democratic elections were held in Angola in 1989, when USSR eased their aid to MPLA.
FACTORS that led to the Cold War détente by world powers
Effects of the cold war
Effects of the end of Cold War on Africa
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