The ‘American Century’ and the Cold War, 1945

The Cold War describes a period of geopolitical tension which came after the World War II between countries in the Western Bloc and those in the Eastern Bloc. The Cold War was the open and yet restricted rivalry that was attained between the USSR and the U.S. and their respective allies (Lewis 69-71). This war was waged on economic, political, and propaganda fronts and had zero or limited recourse to weapons. The countries involved during this period aimed at making their enemies suffer by withholding several essential things they needed or blocking their means of transportation.

This period of the Cold War shaped the history of the 20th century due to the changing relations of the greatest powers (Cox 355). The Cold War was dominated by rivalries between these powers. However, these struggles helped shaped the development of the many countries over the years. The Cold War entailed a period whereby the Soviet Union and the United States continually antagonized each other. These countries together with their allies did not battle directly; instead, they used political maneuvering, propaganda, military coalitions, arms buildups, espionage, and proxy wars between other nations.

The American Century describes a span in the middle of the 20th century, which was hugely influenced by the United States’ dominance due to its powers in political, cultural, and economic terms. This period related to the period of the Cold War because the Americans used their superiority to deny their rival countries some of their needs with an aim of drawing them to their side or making them submit. This ability to be in control politically, economically, and culturally gave the United States a perfect platform to show their superiority and develop the country to a superpower. It also shaped the course of the Cold War, the United States had enough resources, and thus it could sustain itself even if other countries refused to help it.

During the Cold War, the United States came up with a policy, containment, which used numerous strategies with a bid to limit the continuous growth of communism abroad. The policy was used to counter the moves by the USSR to enlarge its communism dominance in the Eastern part of Europe and Asia. This policy meant to ensure the countries that were still allied with the United States that they would continue getting support from the U.S. The United States wanted to ensure that the Soviet Union did not take control of most parts of the world.

In 1962, the USSR and the U.S. engaged in a direct, highly dangerous confrontation during the Crisis. The Cold War was a period, which did not use many physical confrontations, but this time, the two nations came closest to a nuclear confrontation. The U.S. tried to overthrow Castro regime in Cuba and failed by using the Bay of Pigs invasion and the United States’ president Kennedy planned operation Mongoose. This led Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban president, Fidel Castro to draft an agreement secretly, that placed nuclear missiles in Cuba so as to stop any attempts of invasion in the future (Scott and Smith 659-671). The United States discovered the attempts to create weapons in Cuba and the president warned against it but that did not deter Cuba. The United States later ordered a naval quarantine of Cuba but Cuba saw this as a blockade and an act of aggression. However, the two nations came to an agreement when the Soviet Union asked the U.S. to retreat from Cuba, and Cuba to stop the process of making missiles.

The American Century concept from 1945-1990 was because the United States had more dominance in the world than other powers. The concept was rightfully used at this time because the country was a superpower and had the ability to help other nations financially or economically. The country was able to withhold food, other products from other countries while blocking their means of transportation, and they still sustained themselves. Therefore, this term was justified and it described the United States as it was during that period.

Works Cited

Cox, Michael. Twentieth Century International Relations: Collection. New York: SAGE Publications, 2007.

Lewis, Paul. “The Cold War Challenge.” Modern Day Journal, vol. 58, no. 3, 2008, pp. 69-72.

Scott, Lei and Steve Smith. “Lessons of October: Historians, Political Scientists, Policy Makers and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” International Affairs, vol. 70, no. 4, 1962, pp. 659-684.

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