Term Paper: U.S. History and Foreign Policy

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¶ … U.S. history and foreign policy. The writer explores the five questions and devotes two pages to each answer. There were fours sources used to complete this paper.

Explain the development of containment after World War'll and the reasons for conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The development of containment after World War II had an impact on relations between the Soviet Union and the United States that cannot be denied. While the use of the word containment was not new during 1946, it was new with regards to the Soviet Union and the United States at that time and it strained the relations between the two super-powers (CONTAINMENT of SOVIET UNION (http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19870301faessay7847/george-f-kennan/containment-40-years-later-containment-then-and-now.html).

It was a little more than a year after World War II had ended. United States military troops were still being demobilized as were the troops from the Soviet Union.

Russia had suffered from more than 25 million casualties of war and their economic sources were quite depleted.

With the situation the Soviet Union was in they were considered at the time an ideological threat to the world and to the United States, meaning that the ideology by which the Soviet Union was formed and operated under was a direct threat to the freedom of the U.S. If it ever regained its former strength.

Until then the U.S. had been complacent in allowing military aid to the Soviet Union even as the Soviet Union was running over the rest of Europe. In addition the Soviet Union refused to allow the U.S. To look at Germany.

The United States defined its defense aims clearly. The National Security Council (NSC) undertook a full-fledged review of American foreign and defense policy (an Outline of American History (1994) (http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch11_p5.htm).The resulting document, known as NSC-68, signaled a new direction in American security policy. Based on the assumption that "the Soviet Union was engaged in a fanatical effort to seize control of all governments wherever possible," the document committed America to assist allied nations anywhere in the world which seemed threatened by Soviet aggression (an Outline of American History (1994) (http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch11_p5.htm).The United States proceeded to increase defense spending dramatically in response to Soviet threats against Europe and the American, British and French presence in West Berlin (an Outline of American History (1994) (http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch11_p5.htm)."

Part of the United States decision to do this was based in the fact that the Soviet Union refused to produce certain economic and military data that had been requested at a joint meeting between 16 nations that were trying to hammer out agreements to help them rebuild and regain their former standard of living. The Soviet Union's refusal to take part in this after the first meeting raised a red flag to United States leaders who wondered what the Soviet Union was trying to hide.

This move strained relations between the Soviet Union and the United States and the cold war began.

2. What happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis and why is it an important case of Cold War confrontation?

The Cuban missile crisis was perhaps one of the scariest events in American history to date, with the exclusion of the events of 9-11. When it occurred it was during an era in which Americans were extremely cautious of things such as bombs and possible air raids. It was a time where elementary and high school students were taught to get under their desks and cover their heads during air raid and bomb drills that became a routine part of their week. It was a time when Americans were being taught to fear the Soviet Union and all things communist and wee convinced through various propaganda that communists were raised to hate and kill Americans on sight.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of readiness ever and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were prepared to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island if it was invaded. Luckily, thanks to the bravery of two men, President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev, war was averted (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html)."

It was 1962 and during that year it was well-known that the Soviet Union was extremely far behind the United States in the race to arms. To illustrate the differences in power one only has to realize that the United States had developed and built missiles that were able to reach the soil of the Soviet Union while the Soviet Union's missiles were only strong enough to reach certain areas of Europe but in no way were they capable of reaching United States land. This created a very uneven balance of power within the two nations and their relations became strained.

In late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. A deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arsenal and provide a real deterrent to a potential U.S. attack against the Soviet Union (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html)."

Cuban leader Fidel Castro had concerns about a future United States attack. Since the failing of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 Castro made no secret that he had concerns the United States would launch a second attack on his homeland. Because of this fear he didn't hesitate to agree to the request of the Soviet Union to have their missiles planted on his land thereby making the threat to the United States by a Soviet attack extremely real (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html).

All of this was done in secrecy without the knowledge o the United States or its leaders. The first the United States realized what was happening was when aerial photographs showed pictures of the Cubans constructing Soviet Union missiles on Cuban land.

It was October 15, 1962. The president at the time, John F. Kennedy was informed of this new and very serious development on the morning of October 16 and it began what is now referred to as the Cuban missile crisis (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html).

The first thing Kennedy did was organize the EX-COMM. This was a group of his 12 most important and trusted advisors. He and they argued, talked, and debated for an entire week about this situation and what the best way to handle it would be.

At the end of that week Kennedy made the decision to place a naval quarantine around Cuba. He could see no other feasible way to stop the progression of the plan that the Soviets had without blocking any additional entry of soldiers or materials to build the Soviet Missiles with (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html).

One of the hardest decisions the president had to make during this time was whether or not to inform the public of the developing events. After much deliberation he decided it was the right thing to do and on October 22 the president announced in a state of the union address the fact that the Soviet Union was building missiles in Cuba which would have the power to reach the United States.

He explained his decision to isolate Cuba with a quarantine to the public and explained he would demand the Soviets remove any and all of their offensive weapons from Cuba immediately (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html).

During the public phase of the Crisis, tensions began to build on both sides. Kennedy eventually ordered low-level reconnaissance missions once every two hours. On the 25th Kennedy pulled the quarantine line back and raised military readiness to DEFCON 2. Then on the 26th EX-COMM heard from Khrushchev in an impassioned letter. He proposed removing Soviet missiles and personnel if the U.S. would guarantee not to invade Cuba (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html)."

October 17 was a very difficult day during the crisis as a U-2 was shot down over Cuba. The Soviet president then sent a letter demanding the U.S. remove all of its missiles from Turkey.

That letter was ignored and not responded to. "Tensions finally began to ease on October 28 when Khrushchev announced that he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers be removed from Cuba, and specifying the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba (CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS (http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html)."

From that point forward the United States has kept its agreement not to invade Cuba and Cuba has kept its agreement not to let the Soviet Union place weapons of mass destruction on its soil that could potentially destroy the United States.

3. Explain how the United States got into conflict in Vietnam and how did the U.S. end is role in Indochina?

Most people in America are familiar with the fact that the country got into a conflict with Vietnam but as time moves forward it may become fuzzy… [END OF PREVIEW]

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