Komal, aged 16

“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.

This quote comes from a time when the UN had to try to keep peace in a world threatened by the Cold War. By 1949, what were the dangers to peace? The relationship between USA and USSR which developed after the World War Two is known as the Cold War. The “friendship” between USA and USSR only existed as they both had a common enemy which was Germany. It was understood that by 1946 the wartime friendship between the allies had fallen apart due to suspicion and they saw each other as profound enemies.

President Truman of USA and Stalin of USSR both distrusted each other. USSR had a vast army which was known as the Red Army whereas US had the most powerful weapons. Stalin’s troops controlled the Baltic States, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania and had created fear among other countries for a Communist take over. Stalin now tightened his control in each country where he had established a communist government. In his communist government, he only hired people who were loyal to him and replaced those who were independent mined. The western powers had agreed that the Eastern Europe would be a Soviet “sphere of influence” but had never imagined such great Communism domination. All Eastern European countries were controlled by Communist governments by 1948 apart from Greece and Czechoslovakia. Other countries, for example, France and Italy felt vulnerable to Communist take over. Truman had now understood that the Eastern Europe was now communist and now his objective was to stop any further expansion of communism. USA was willing to provide equipment, advice and money to any country which was threatened by communism. This was known as the Truman doctrine and this policy was names as containment. To stop communism, Truman sent out George Marshall to observe the world economy as he thought that communism only accomplished in its aim when a country was facing problems and needed help. With Marshall’s suggestion 17 billion dollars were made available over a period of four years. It is understood that Stalin was trying to spread communism and cripple Germany but it could also be argued that USA was trying to dominate over other countries so they could get dependent on dollars.

The Western allies and the Soviet Union had completely different opinion about what to do with Germany. Stalin wanted to crush Germany whereas the Western allies thought that Germany would never be able to feed its population. In 1946, USA, France and Britain merged their zones to form one zone which was known as West Germany. In June 1948, Stalin instituted a blockade which halted the arrival of food, materials and supplies in West Berlin. Stalin had predicted that plan would make the Western Allies leave West Berlin so that Berlin would become only dependent on USSR. His plan failed when Truman decided to air lift supplies and the population of West Berlin was supplied with required material. In 1949, Stalin realized that the blockade was no help in making the Western Allies give up Berlin, therefore he reopened the communications.
The tension of the Cold War in Europe had suddenly moved to East Asia. In October 1949, the People’s Liberation Army under the leader Mao Zedong was declared in China. It was a shock for USA that there was now a massive communist state. The USA was now imagining how the Communists would rule over Asia and their communist states in Europe. Now the combined size of Soviet Union and China threatened the US twice as much as before.

Japan had ruled over Korea until 195. As a result of the Second World War the northern half of Korea belonged to the Soviet Union and the southern half was owned by the US. The northern part of Korea was under Communist control and was ruled under Soviet style one party system. The southern part of Korea was not democratic and was anti-Communist. The North Communist leader and the president of South Korea had a bitter relationship. The reunification of North and South Korea seemed near to impossible. A war in future seemed inevitable.

The above analysis indicates that there were quite a lot of factors which could disrupt the peace in future. The expansion of communism was a threat to the other nations. The tension created between US and the Soviet Union during the cold war could easily start World War 3. The difference in opinion between the Communists and the Anti-Communists was a growing problem. In my opinion, by 1949 there were 3 scenario’s which could happen. The first scenario could be that US and the Soviet Union make a sensible negotiation between each other which would end the cold war and would be better for everyone. This is the best case scenario but is the least likely. The second scenario could be that the US and the Soviet Union end up having a war. This would mean that the cold war would lead to a nuclear war between the Western States and the Communist States. The third most likely scenario is that the cold war between the two states continues. This would mean no nuclear war but the cold war could continue for a long period of time. In all 3 scenario’s, the global peace seems to be in perpetual danger.


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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