"A government is not legitimate merely because it exists."

-Jeane Kirkpatrick






Seven Phases of the Cold War


After World War II tensions between many countries were very high. Some of these countries include the United States, the Soviet Union, and the People Republic of China. The United States believed in capitalism while the Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union believed in communism (Wiesberger 1). These three countries were experiencing brinkmanship due to their political differences and their hatred toward eachother in the past. The tensions between these countries led to the Cold War which was a war fought with nuclear missile threats and fear. This war came about because each country was in an arms race to build the most nuclear weaponry and the most destructive ones too but in reality no country wanted to attack the other because they feared nuclear destruction (Trueman 1). During this time period all three countries were experiencing brinkmaship which was pushing something to the verge of war in order to get the opposing country to back down (Philips 1). This tactic was used multiple times in events including the Korean War, the Berlin Crises, and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1). These events sent fear through every person in the world and a time of peace was in need. Eventually this time of peace came and became known as Détente (Trueman 1). Each of the three major countries was intrested in joining for multiple reasons.

800px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png The United State​s of America wanted to participate in Détente because they realized that there are better ways of keeping communism under control, then what they have tried in the the past (1). The United States was also in debt because off thier mass production of nuclear weapons and thought a time of p​eace would help the econemy rebuild (1). Also, the Americans realized that they needed to form alliences with the Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union if they wanted to have a war-free world and more peaceful relationships (Trueman 1).

600px-Flag_of_the_Soviet_Union.svg.pngThe Soviet Union wanted to participate in the Détente because their relations with the Peoples Repuclic of China was on the decline and the feared the United States and China would form a Sino-American allience with the Chinese against the Soviets (1). The Soviet union was also intrested in joining in on this time of peace because they were in debt from the production of nuclear weapons and had little money to use to defend themselves if they were attacked by an enemy nation (1).

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800px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China-1.svg.pngThe Peoples Republic of China was intrested in paticipating in the Détente because they feard the United States for many reasons. They mainly feared the United States because the Chinese heard what the United States was doing in Vietnam and they also feared the United States because China's nuclear stockpile was much smaller than theirs (1). The Chinese also split their relations with the Soviets and when this happened the Soviets stopped funding the Chinese nuclear program and threatend to isolate China but the Chinese didn't want that so they participated in Détente to avoid being isolated from the world (Philips 1).


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​During the begining of the Cold War, tensions between many countries were still high due to post World War relationships. Countries of this era were experiencing brinkmanship which was pushing something to the verge of war in order to get the opposing country to back down (Philips 1). Brinkmanship caused repeated repeated crises, which caused a constant threat to nations national security. An example of these crises is the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy was faced with nuclear threat because the Soviet Union strategically place nuclear weapons in Cuba (Trueman 1). President Kennedy did not want to attack because it may cause nuclear war so his goal was to keep the nuclear attack from happening (Trueman 1). He decided to naval quarantine Cuba so every ship that was entering Cuba was checked by the United States Navy. President Kennedy pushed the Soviets to remove the missiles but they didn't so all supplies coming in to Cuba were cut off (1). The Cubans and Soviets gave in and the missiles were removed. In later years President Kennedy was assassinated and succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson. The United States was at war with North Vietnam at this time. Lyndon Johnson took greater control over the military and started bombing North Vietnam and training South Vietnams army to become better soliders (Trueman 2). He believed in the same ideals of brinkmanship as President Kennedy and saw the war as a way to get back at the Soviet Union for the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Crisis (Trueman 2). This ended the brinkmanship for the time but more was to be expected from the Soviet Union and other rival countries.

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The Vietnam war was causing turmoil which led to a desire for a less confrontational policy due to all the fear caused from missile crises. In response to this desire Détente was created which was a time of relaxation or peace (Trueman 1). It was the first time of relaxation in many years and it eased cold war tensions between the three fueding countries including China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Richard M. Nixon was the United States president who initiated the Détente (1). He made vists to both nations and his partnership with Henry Kissinger was an essential part of the success of the Détente. President Nixon and Henry Kissinger met with the Soviets and the Chinese at many summits and intiated treaties which contributed to the Détente because it eased tensions between the countries. Détente grew out of a philosophy known as realistic politics (Weisberger 1). Nixon re-established the relations between the United States, China, and the Soviet Union through realistic politics, which was Nixon's modified version of Realpolitik (Weisberger 1). Realistic Politics was dealing with politics realistically in a practical manner rather than following a document with rules in which countries must follow in order to achive a goal (Weisberger1).

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kissnixzhen.gifIn the early 1970's China wanted to be politically isolated but President Nixion and Henry Kissinger were intrested in keeping this policy from happening (Philips 1). To stop this they set up secret communication between the United Sates and China (1). At the same time the United States was in negotiation with the Soviet Union over nuclear arms control. These talks between the United States and the Soviet Union became known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks or SALT for short (Trueman 1). These meeting took place in two parts. SALT I took place between 1969 through 1972. During this time period the United States and the Soviet Union came to an agreement on which they would freeze the making of Inter-Contiental Ballistic missiles. This agreement became known as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Trueman 1). This treaty also allowed the two countries to replace their old missiles with new ones with respect to limited strategic weapons (Trueman 1). This treaty caused a fall in tensions and fear and became such a success that SALT II talks began later that year (Trueman 1).

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nixbrezh.gifAfter SALT I, President Nixon and Gerald Ford improved the United States relationship with the Soviets and the Chinese (1). The success of SALT I led to the start of SALT II which began the same year that SALT I ended. SALT II was prevented from being created until 1979 because each countries government had to make political corrections to the treaty (Trueman 1). Jimmy Carter became president and sent the new treaty to congress but he was concerned with the political policies (1). The congress never ratified the treaty due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1). President Carter asked the senate to delay the treaty consideration for a little longer but it never happend and President Carter ended his term and President Ronald Reagan took over (1). With this transfer of power, SALT II was never completed and finalized because Preident Reagan was an anti-communist and never believed in the ideals of Detente (Trueman 2).


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reagan2.jpgAfter President Jimmy Carter's term was up, President Ronald Reagan succeeded him and took office in 1981. President Reagan was an anti-communist and did not agree with the ideals of Detente (Trueman 3). President Reagan increased military spending in order to defend America and proposed a new missile program called the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START for short (Trueman 3). START talks began in 1983 and years later the Soviet Union broke up. This breakup and new leadership of Soviet Republic eased cold war tenisons (1). The START treaty replaced the SALT treaty and it recognized the broken up Soviet Union as the Soviet Republic and recognized it was nuclear capable (Trueman 3). START I was to reduce the amount of nuclear warheads being made and their movement into strategic positions (Trueman 3). This change of power in Russia created a major shift toward ending the Cold War.


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Why was the Cold War a "cold" war?
A. It was fought in the winter.
B. The U.S. and Russia were afraid to fight each other directly in a "hot" war because they feared nuclear destruction, so they fought proxy wars indirectly.
C. The nuclear weapons were thought to cause the world to go into an ice age so nuclear weapons weren't used.
D. Both B and C



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