Research Paper: Influential Factor in the Evolution

Pages: 9 (3249 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] World War II had thus caused a shift in influential power and both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to exploit the new reconstructed framework of the world. The Soviet Union sought to do so by expanding socialism to countries in Europe, looking thus to dominate states in the sphere whereas the U.S. And other Western nations believed that communist ideology is threatening to both national identity and the ideal of democracy which is why they sought to prevent this from happening. Indeed, among the causal factors that led to the unfolding of the Cold War, the conflict of two competitive ideologies is assumed to be most prominent. Both the U.S. And the Soviet Union were convinced of the superiority of their system and the imperious need to prevent each other from expanding. However, the ideological cause appears to have been more of a substitute or, better yet, the reasoning behind the rivalry of two opponent super powers that engaged in conflictive positions merely to promote and defend personal interests. Indeed, ?not only is reality more complex than ideology but change is the first law of the political universe. (Thompson, 1991, p. 74) And the political universe of the two powers in the aftermath of the Second World War was highly dependent on their influence over other nations. McCauley noted that ?once in control of eastern and south-eastern Europe and part of Germany, Russia could strip these countries to benefit Soviet industrial reconstruction. (2008, p. 21) On the other hand, Germany was important to the United States, as well to both Britain and France that wanted to incorporate the country into the system of capitalism proponed by the Western world. Neither the U.S. Nor the Soviet Union was willing to cede influence over Germany to the other. Thus, the division of Germany between East and West by the rise of the Berlin Wall represented the symbol of separation between devised Europe. One of the historical interpretations of the Cold War is in relation to the conflict of interests such as the one aforementioned between the two powers.

Historians adhering to the Realist School of Thought emphasized on the role attained by the United States and the Soviet Union in relation to personal interests. Realism accentuated on the Cold War as a bipolar conflict and emphasized Stalin's and the Soviet Union's implication and responsibility for the emergence of the Cold War. The conflict, as seen by realism, was often depicted as the battle between forces of good which were represented by the Western democracies and forces of evil represented by the communists. However, it must be acknowledged that realist claims came from historians and researchers mainly from Western European Countries and the U.S. who did not have access to the archives in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Vietnam, etc. Thus, it could be reasonably argued that their claims were deemed to favor one position to the detriment of the other. This is because, while the Cold War was unfolding, the historians and researchers who advanced the theory of the Soviet Union war responsibility were constricted in their work by various limits. This is to say that the adherents of realism were constructing their theories of war while the latter was in full emergence and enactment. Thus, it is understood that the analysis and understating of the event could have been diminished as opposed to cases when historians can approach an event after having acquired general perspective and objective commitment of the cause. However, this historical interpretation is far more outreaching as it implies a multitude of branches that throw out each others' assumptions (Feng & Ruizhuang, 2006, ?Man, State, and System: Three Images of Realism?). Moreover, realism merges in its initiation of claims with traditionalist views that first emerged at the end of the 1940s. The latter as well accentuates the Soviet Union's position of having caused the Cold War and situates the United States on a position of high morality, claiming that the latter was guided by a series of principles specific for the democratic policies it remained faithful to. In time, other historians have adopted contrasted positions criticizing the actions of the U.S. government and claiming that the Soviet Union had no other choice but to respond and it was thus the former that led to the unfolding of the Cold War. Nevertheless, some continue to rely on opinions that ?ideology was an important factor in decision-making for the Soviet Union and its potential allies, especially in the early Cold War, and that the communist world coordinated expansionist policies far more than believed by many critics of U.S. policies. (Macdonald, 1995, ?The Historical Debate over U.S. Policies: Traditionalism, Revisionism, Post -- Revisionism, and Realism?)

Following the conclusion of the Cold War, a new series of approaches in relation to the former appeared which were now based on accession of archives, and were initiated by specialists from both camps. Thus, new studies did not rely extensively on the perspective of one single theoretical approach. Not only did it assume a new one but a new methodology as well that included comparative research. What the proponents of the new series suggested and indeed substantiated was that ideas and ideology generally assume a far prominent role than initially sought. While the old historical interpretation embraced ideology as a prime cause for the emergence of the Cold War, this new series of approach hardly even mentioned the former. Since the Cold War was a phenomenon that included a starting point and a finish line, it was considered that its main goal now was to address and explain change and transformation. This time, the Western policies were also considered to have played their part in triggering the Cold War and shaping its evolution. The aim for the historians was not to draw lines between who initiated the war any longer but to analyze and understand the motivations and actions of both the U.S. And the Soviet Union. Furthermore, it perpetuated the idea that minor states could have influenced the two powers as well. The revisionists sought, on the other hand, to challenge the morality that had allegedly driven U.S. To engage in the Cold War. William Appleman Williams criticized the U.S. foreign policies during the Cold War by placing it within a larger context of territorial expansion: the essence of American foreign relations is so obvious as to have been often ignored or evaded. It is the story of the evolution of one fragile settlement planted precariously on the extreme perimeter of a vast and unexplored continent into a global empire. (as cited in Hurst, 2005, p. 31) Thus, the post -- revisionism was in effect the solely historial interpretation not to have been focused intrinsically on whose to blame but rather what could be learnt from the experiences.

When the Soviet Union lost its power in 1991 and the Cold War ended, globalization could follow its course and so, it could be argued that a positive outcome of the war resulted in the integration of areas that had been previously deprived from the capitalism of the Western world within the system. The pressure exerted by both camps contributed to relevant researching that helped the development of technologies today. However, one cannot deny that negative outcomes prevail over the benefits of the war such as it would be expected even in cases of unconventional battlefields. The bipolarity of the Cold War guaranteed in itself the equilibrium that stood at the basis of the predictability, stability, and security between the world states. The unilateral condition that resulted with the Soviet Union having lost its power, questioned the existence of the primordial principles of a bipolar condition: sovereign equality, non-intervention, not resorting to force or threatening with force, etc. The unavoidable abuse of the unilateral power became more chaotic as the United States proved capable of winning whatever war but incapacitated to impose peace. Thus, the unilateral condition that followed the bipolarity was soon succeeded by a multi-polarization that sprang more economic, military, and cultural disorder in the world. The economic crisis of the twenty first century is the crisis of global equilibrium and the moral crisis circumscribed by the disordered dissolution of the Soviet Union and the afferent bipolarity. For many, the Cold War continues to unfold today and Tobin Siebers has acknowledged the concerns of the many stating that ?we are afraid that the cold war will never end, and so the history of the cold war is the story of our skepticism about endings, intentions, interpretations, and calculations concerning numbers, troop movements, weapons, negotiations, and claims to truth and falsehood. (1993, p. 29). With the economic crisis continuing to affect the world and the war in Syria provoking controversies between the U.S. And Russia, we feel compelled to acknowledge and indeed support the skepticism.

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