Aleena, age 15

“Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just.” – Dag Hammarskjöld 

The Cold War was a conflict which began in 1945 and ended in 1960. In those five years, many notable events took place along with very many changes between people, countries, politics and laws. All these were mainly occurring between the Communist world, known as the Soviet Union and the Capitalist world, known as the United States. Since President Truman, who was Roosevelt’s successor and who replaced Roosevelt as president after he passed away on April 12th 1945, declared an Anti-Communist policy, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States was born.

There was much tension between Churchill, Stalin and the new, Truman as many suspicions were roaming around between the Big Three’s minds. According to Stalin and Churchill, Truman was perceived as a very Anti-Communist leader and was highly suspicious of Stalin as he was from theUSSRand thought that the Soviet Union was going to take over the world one day and win the battle of Communism versus Capitalism. One of the situations known as cooperation and “sharing” was in 1945 when the American military inspected and victoriously determined that there was an atomic bomb at a desert site in theUnited States. At a Conference inPotsdam,Berlin, the first thing Truman did was inform Stalin about this. This was a great threat to peace and especially, to the world.

In addition to this, a Potsdam Conference took place on the 17th of July, 1945. This conference did not go as ethereally as it did in the Yalta Conference, which was not a big surprise. A new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee had taken Churchill’s place as he was out-voted in the election inBritain. In the absence of Churchill, the conference went from rivalry to suspicion between the two leaders Stalin and Truman. This was just the beginning of their own personal war.

There was no question about peace as the term “peace” had not yet reached their vocabulary. They had many disagreements such as what to do with Germany, Soviet policy inEastern Europe, and over reparations. Not one of them listened to their opinions or looked at a problem and solution in a different perspective. Stalin wanted to attenuate Germany to protect theSoviet Unionagainst future threats which Truman disagreed upon this as he did not want to do the same mistake which was made by the Treaty of Versailles.

The Treaty Of Versailles was something no German would forget. Peace was also not a choice at that time as so much land was taken fromGermany. The army was reduced to 100,000 men, economically they were radically bankrupt andGermanywas forbidden to unite with Austria to form one super state so that the economic potential was set to a bare minimum.

From 1945 to 1948, the USSR penetrated Communism through the whole of Eastern Europe. Of course, the Western world was stunned by the confidence the USSR had in order to make this decision. In 1945,Britain sent troops to Greece which was one of the lucky places to not be harmed by the impact of Communism. This is where the USSR came in. They were against the fact that Britain invaded Greece and would become a problem for the country so the brought the United Nations in. The United Nations did not uphold Britain and that is where the USSR gained their moment and began a civil war against Britain in Greece. The US intervened and supported Britain. No big event took place in between the USSR and Britain. Greece’s economy was delicate even before the civil war began.

Between 1947 and 1948, the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid came in the picture. They were known as “the two halves of the same walnut”. The Truman Doctrine was an intervention by the Americans in Greece which changed the views of theUS’s attitude towards politics. The Truman Doctrine turned out to become exactly like a rule where the USA was to send money, equipment and advice to any country which was by the American perspective, endangered by the threat of a Communist take-over.

Truman had decided that he should prevent Communism from spreading worldwide. This policy became known as “containment”. Truman then sent the American General George Marshall to evaluate the economic state of Europe. He found the European economy to be destroyed. Furthermore, the countries of Europe owed the US 11.5 billion dollars to the USA which was out of the question. That is when the Marshall Aid itself came in. George Marshall decided that around 17 billion dollars would help to rebuild Europe’s good fortune. “Our policy is directed against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos” said Marshall.

By 1947, Truman’s plan was in the process. For a short period of time, the American Congress had no interest in granting this money as 17 billion dollars was no joke. When Czechoslovakia was taken over by Communism, the American Congress and every other citizen in The US changed their points of view. Marshall Plan took off and made 17 billion dollars over a period of 4 years. Stalin viewed Marshall Aid with great suspicion and was worried that their anti-Communist aims would weaken his hold on Eastern Europe. He also felt that the USA was trying to dominate as many states as possible by making them accustomed to dollars. Even till this point, peace was hardly noticeable.

In 1949,China became a communist state. The Americans had always regarded China as their mainstay in theFar East. Between 1946 and 1949, The US aided China by donating 2 billion dollars to support Nationalists. A new report had come in and was reported to Truman that Stalin was using Cominform to help the idea of Communism spread in places like Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, Korea and thePhilippines. It was thought as a conspiracy. The USA had blocked China’s entry into the United Nations since it regarded the Nationalists as the rightful government of China.

China was a growing superpower with the help of their leader, President Mao. The US-China relationship was over. In completion to this, peace was obviously a very hard thing to get around to. Politics, economy, law, religion, society, leaders and military are the main reasons for why peace should be listed as one of the difficult things in the world to accomplish. Power also has a main role as everyone, or more like every leader is on the run for being number 1. It is the year 2011. Problems come and go, are resolved and unresolved. The Cold war a huge event/ war in this world which should be remembered and should be looked at for guidance, and learning from past mistakes.


About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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