Cold War on Europe, European Union Term Paper

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¶ … cold war on Europe, European Union and trans - Atlantic Alliance

Impacts of the End of the Cold War on Europe, European Union and trans

Atlantic Alliance

The Cold War is a generic name given to a certain period in the history of humanity after the Second World War, characterized by conflicts and tensions between the two great powers at the time and subsequently their allies. On one hand there were the United States of America and their allies: Great Britain, France, West Germany, Japan and Canada. At the other pole stood the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) with Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, Romania, Cuba and China as main allies.

In this case, the actual meaning of the word war needs to be narrowed down and understood only as a nations' state of encountering tensions and "deteriorating to the point of war without the occurrence of actual warfare."

Relevant about the Cold War is the actual on going of the conflicts. They are present in all domains starting from military to education and they have been generated by opposite view points of politics. The U.S. And its allies stood for capitalism and democracy, whereas the Soviet Union and allies promoted communism.

The Cold War is also characterized by the existence proxy wars. Throughout these wars, the United States and the Soviet Union used their allies "as a supplement or a substitute for fighting each other directly."

2. Impacts on Europe

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In spite of their geographical vicinity, the countries of the old continent turned against each other as the western parts of Europe supported the ideas of the United States and the eastern countries fought along the Soviet Union. The effects of this separation and also the impacts of the end of the Cold War upon the European countries was long studied by many specialists.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Cold War on Europe, European Union and Assignment

The Central Intelligence Agency released in 1999 a historical study of the Cold War entitled at Cold War's End: U.S. Intelligence on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1989-1991. According to this source, chosen as material due to the reputation of CIA and also its objectivity and clearance of presenting the true facts, a direct and immediate consequence of the ending of the Cold War upon Eastern Europe was the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In the CIA study, civilian defense expert and Duma deputy Aleksey Arbatov stated his opinion that "The Soviet empire was created and built for the arms race, confrontation, and even war with the rest of the world" and that it would be "difficult to imagine a Soviet Union without a Cold War," therefore the necessity for the immediate dissolution of the U.S.S.R.

The disappearance of the Soviet Union had numerous implications on Eastern Europe, the most relevant of which being political, military, humanitarian and economic. The political factor was revealed by the fall of the communist regimes in most countries and the military one resided in the Soviet troops leaving countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Afghanistan. These countries then rose their "iron curtain" and began developing economic partnerships with their neighbors, setting the basis for a significantly improved international trade. However, the Russian pole of the U.S.S.R. refused to embrace capitalism or democracy and continued with a communistic structure until the early '90s when they faced the Great Depression, a time of economic collapse that forced them into adopting "capitalist economic reforms."

Some specialist consider that the Cold War had finally ended on the ninth of November 1989, with the fall of the Berlin wall, an icon of the ideological fights between U.S. And U.S.S.R., and therefore between East Germany and West Germany. The demolition of the Berlin wall represented the fall on the communist regimes, brought about the possibility of Germany's unification and set the coordinates for a new and improved human condition.

But not only the eastern part of Europe suffered the consequences of the end of the Cold War; such did the western part of Europe. Doctor Christopher Reeves at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, chosen as reference due to his immense works and studies in the field of European history, pointed out the impacts upon the U.S. Allies. The end of the cold war left most of these countries in a democratic status which allowed them to "enjoy an unprecedented degree of stability." Tormented by the cold war, the western countries of Europe suffered great economic losses and were faced with the challenge of rebuilding themselves. This fact turned out to be an advantage for these countries as it "presented postwar planners with an opportunity to mould Western Europe in a new way."

3. Impacts on the European Union

However malefic it was upon the participants, and mostly upon the Soviet Union and its allies, the cold war gave participants the opportunity to ally themselves and form political, military and economic partnerships. In fact, the nowadays strongest European Union had its basis set during the cold war.

More precisely, according to Wikipedia, the Free Online Encyclopedia, source chosen as material due to its precise data and easy accessibility, in 1947, the United States of America developed a partnership with the countries of western Europe forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Ten years later, in 1957, the European economic leaders decided to form an all European alliance into the European Community. The disastrous results of the word wars and the cold war set the formation of more European multi-country associations, such as EEC, OEEC or EFTA. Because the organizations were ruled by diverse powers based on various regulations, members felt the need of a higher power, that's how the European Union was formed.

In other words, the end of the cold war generated various impacts upon participants who felt the need to organize themselves into associations and protect one another against common enemies and support one anther in reaching common and individual goals.

4. Impacts upon the trans-Atlantic Alliance

During the cold war, the United States of America and the Western European countries formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in order to join forces against their common enemy, the Soviet Union. Also, besides fighting the Soviet threat, NATO was concerned with "preserving its economic, technological, and military stature."

However, the end of the cold war impacted NATO greater that it had been initially expected. With the common enemy now eliminated, the role of the trans-Atlantic Alliance decreased significantly. Initially, NATO members focused on improving their economies and the international trade as well as exchanging knowledge of military, health and technology. As time passed, these goals were no longer considered core objectives of the organization, and they were replaced with new techniques and strategies of discovering and fighting enemies outside Europe. The most relevant examples of the current activities performed by NATO are the recent wars in Golf, Iraq or Afghanistan.

5. Economic impacts

The cold war had malefic implications upon all participants, leaving behind wrecked economies that had to be rebuilt from scratch. However, the end of the cold war brought about beneficial economical implications for participants as it offered U.S. And western European countries the possibility to consolidate their economic statuses. The Eastern European countries were freed from the communist closed economies which forced them to cover their needs from internal productions of goods and services.

The economic policies after the cold war were meant to support international trade and promoted David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantages. This encouraged countries to produce those goods and services at which they possessed a comparative advantage in report to other countries (e.g. labor force or natural resources). Then they would internationally trade these goods and in return purchase other items their industry could not produce efficiently.

In a nutshell, the end of the cold war opened up a multitude of opportunities for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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