What was the cause of the Cold War?

1 Answer
Jul 29, 2017

There were many reasons.


The world in 1945 was very different from before World War 2. Specifically there was the emergence of the two superpowers, the USA and Soviet Union. Therefore world politics would be dominated by these two giants and in particular their relationship between one another.

Although allies against Germany both countries had entered the war late. The USA may not have been involved in the European theatre, but Hitler declared war on the USA after Pearl Harbour. The Soviet Union initially has a non-aggression pact with Germany but was attacked by the Germans on June 22nd 1945.

This background reflects the complex nature of international politics and shows that although the two superpowers were on the same side, even before the war ended they were in conflict albeit not physical.

The USA was leader of the "free world" with a "democratic" political system and even more importantly a free market, capitalist economy. The Soviet Union was the leader of the communist world and had a centrally planned state controlled economy. It was also a Stalinist dictatorship.

As these two superpowers dominated world politics after World War 2 and they reflected conflicting political, economic and social systems, it was obvious they would come into conflict.

This conflict was known as The Cold War because they never actually fought a conflict with each other. This lasted from 1945 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.

Throughout that period the USA and Soviet Union were on opposing sides in a whole series of conflicts. These included the division of Europe, Germany and Berlin, the Korean War the war in Vietnam and numerous Third World conflicts during the period of decolonisation.