Raeena, aged 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 began right after World War Two. It was a period of global tension and submissive hostility. The Cold War was mainly developed due to the poor affiliation between USA and USSR. Rather than trying to encourage peace after the devastating World war Three, these countries were building up suspicion and were at the verge of fighting another war. The United Nations, replaced by the League of Nations came into existence on 24th October 1945. The United Nations main aim was to maintain peace and during the Cold War, they found it particularly difficult. In 1948, the countries came dangerously close to war, when the Berlin Blockade took place.

One of the reasons The League of Nations failed was primarily because they couldn’t prevent World War Two. Hence, The U.N was formed with the same aim but with a better structure and values. In today’s world, we don’t seem to have major world crisis, thanks to the United Nations. It has been successful as it has always had enough funds, hardware, political support, which it was able to utilize when the international community decided someone was a threat.

When the war had ended and Germany had surrendered, as the Big Three had planned, Germany would be divided into 4 zones; American, French, British and Soviet. And as Berlin was in the soviet zone, the city was divided into 4 zones as well. As the Western Allies had different views of Germany than Stalin, the three combined their zones, which later became known as West Germany. West Germany was recovering with the help of America, Britain and France. This is where the tension started building up and Stalin thought that the Western allies were being provocative. He didn’t have the economic strength to start a war, but he felt a need to stamp his authority on Berlin, as it was in the Soviet zone.

“What happens to Berlin, happens to Germany; what happens to Germany, happens to Europe. (Molotov). Stalin knew that if he blocked all transport lines into Berlin, it would provoke the western allies, and they would withdraw their power from the West Berlin and Berlin would then be part of the Soviet. This is where the war could have started, but America didn’t want another war. And if they were to get impatient, they could lose West Germany as well, and there would be a communist takeover. The American troops sent planes full of equipment for over 10 months, until Stalin reopened the transport lines to West Berlin.

This could have lead to World War Three, but it was contained, to just threats. I think the USSR knew, that after their great looses of 20 million people, they wouldn’t be able to fight another war. Stalin knew that, but decided to show, they were capable of doing anything; so America would know they weren’t feared by them.
America was concerned when Stalin took over Eastern Europe with all communist governments. Truman was worried about the spread of communism, and communism might spread all over Europe. When communists took over Greece, that move made Truman very uneasy. The United Nations was confronted, but did not take any action. America’s intervention was known as the Truman doctrine.

Now, USA knew that Stalin wanted to spread communism to Western Europe as well. America did not want this to happen and hence came the Truman doctrine. Under this policy, equipment, money and advice would be sent to any country that was at a threat. The Americans wanted to let Stalin know, if communism was to spread any further, military action would take place. So, if Stalin was to take over one more country, there would be war.

Marshal aid was another part of Truman’s work. He was willing to give 17 billion dollars to Europe to rebuild economically and socially. In 1947, the Americans refused to grant the money. But, communists went ahead and took over Czechoslovakia. Americans got agitated, and Europe was quickly granted the money. Stalin was very suspicious of this and felt something was going on; that USA was doing it for their self interest. Americans would benefit from it, but they were trying to help Europe from something like ‘The Great Depression’. Stalin did not allow any eastern European country to join and he thought something was going on. This is another serious issue that could have lead to war. America could have started it when Czechoslovakia was invaded by communists or Soviet could have started it when they thought the Americans were trying to dominate all the states.

Today, such wars are avoided because of peace organizations. If we compare the United Nations from 60 years backs, we see a stronger more confident organization. Today the UN works hard to uphold world peace, health and economic stability. The United Nations has succeeded in various deeds that they have done such as eradicating leprosy, promoting equal rights to all, improving global trade relations. To conclude, today we live in a safer, happier world than ever before.


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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