To what extent could the cold war be prevented?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 12th grade April 2005

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The cold war was, in the main, a war between the ideology of communism and that of capitalism where disputes had never actually resulted in armed conflicts (or at least not directly). Furthermore, we can argue that it was a psychological clash, by which the leaders of the major countries (US, UK, USSR etc.) held a principal role. Since the causes of the cold war were mainly psychological, then we can discuss that it was inevitable.

The four major causes of the cold war were differences in ideology and aims, distrust among the superpowers, and other critical events that triggered further disparity in their beliefs. The US and the USSR held different ideologies ranging from social, political and economical aspects: The US believed in capitalism, human rights and the free market economy, while on the other hand the USSR believed in communism, ignored human rights, and adopted a central planning economy.

Diverging aims materialized as the war came to an end. The US was determined to contain communism and to aid for Germany in its recovery (with her own interests at heart of international trade). Contrarily, the USSR wanted reparations from Germany and 'buffer states' in order to prevent future invasions.

Resentments of history have also proven to have affected the psychology of the superpowers: The US distrusted Stalin, the Soviet leader, due to the 'non-aggression pact', whereby Stalin signed a pact with Hitler so that he would not invade the USSR. The overdue of the Second Front was the USSR's motive to distrust the US, where Stalin continuously insisted on his demand for a second front to fight the Nazis but it was only in the late stages of the Second World War that his request was granted. This history became a drawback in the future relations between the...