Containment Cold War Essay Prompts

United States Containment Policy During The Cold War Essay

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During the Cold War, America's basic policy was that of "containment" of the Soviet Union. The policy of containment was based upon several principles. First, the Soviet Union wanted to spread socialism to all areas of the world. However, it was felt that the leadership of the Soviet Union felt no particular rush to accomplish their goal. "The Kremlin is under no ideological compulsion to accomplish its purposes in a hurry. Like the Church, it is dealing in ideological concepts which are of a long-term validity, and it can afford to be patient. (Hook and Spanier, 42)." In other words, the Soviet leadership believed that, since their ideas were the correct ones, they would eventually prevail, and thus, no direct confrontation would be…show more content…

The success of the Soviet attempt to spread communism and socialism to developing countries would be the direct opposite of the goals of containment, by giving the Soviet Union allies outside of Europe, and a large amount of natural resources to use. Thus, the United States was forced to respond by modifying foreign policy to include financial and economic assistance to developing countries. While the effect of this assistance did not in fact increase the living conditions of the general populace in the majority of these nations, its did, with a few notable exceptions, prevent them from becoming communist or socialist nations. Despite efforts to contrary by the United States, some developing nations did adopt communism, most notably North Vietnam and Cuba. In Cuba, America attempted to overthrow the communist government via a covert invasion, and when this failed, the USSR, sensing weakness and indecisiveness in the American leadership, attempted to place nuclear warheads on Cuba. The United States responded by blockading Cuba, and the USSR relented. Both the covert invasion and the later blockade were major diversions from the initial policy of non-military containment of the expansion of socialism. The creation of a communist state so physically close to the United States was of major concern

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Following each question are suggested points or terms to include in a response. Think about the connection and how you would include the item.

  1. What caused the Cold War? Discuss explanations by level of analysis.
    • fault of the United States
    • fault of the Soviet Union
    • ideological
    • leadership
    • bipolarity
    • misperception
  2. Discuss the Bretton Woods system.
         
    • planned even before the end of World War II
    • goal was to avoid economic collapse like that of the 1930s.
    • created the institutional framework for money, finance, and trade
    • IMF
    • IBRD
    • GATT
    • gold standard and exchange
  3. Discuss the U.S. foreign policy of containment from its origins through implementation. Was it a success?
    • Long Telegram
    • George Kennan
    • Truman Doctrine
    • Cold War explanations, especially mutual mistrust
    • NSC-68
    • Korea
    • massive retaliation
    • flexible response
    • Vietnam
    • détente
    • Reagan Doctrine
  4. How did Korea change the Cold War?
    • U.S. military buildup, as prescribed in NSC-68
    • increased U.S. involvement in Asia
    • solidified bipolar competition
    • introduced concept of limited war because nuclear weapons were not used
  5. What caused the end of the Cold War? Discuss explanations by level of analysis.
    • Reagan
    • Gorbachev
    • internal changes in the Soviet Union
    • Soviet Union collapse, end of the "evil empire"
    • decline of bipolarity


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