The Cold War Between the United States and the Soviet Union

Subject: History
Pages: 4
Words: 1226
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Master


The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union became one of the most famous and consequential international confrontations in world history. Its impact can still be noted and outlined throughout over half a century. A result of conflicting philosophies of capitalism and communism, the war can best be described as a politically-driven economic conflict (Harper 28). The government intended to provide residents with more liberties, so it came up with a slew of solid options. The constant economic security was also a significant issue, as was a lack of universal ideals for nation-state membership. In that way, the end of the Cold War occurred primarily due to all of these inconsistencies. Therefore, the termination of the conflict can be acknowledged for what it is: a brighter future for the globe, more wealth, and greater human rights. The Cold War is known as the Silent War because, although there was tension, no specific battles or fighting took place directly between the two countries; both sides purported to be at peace. Ultimately, the Cold War, an ideological and political rivalry between the US and USSR, must be discussed to highlight its great socioeconomic impact on the world.

Primarily, the Cold War inevitably affected human rights all across the world. The Soviet and American delegates’ contests produced two distinct human rights organizations that worked antagonistically in separate areas. One of those teams was centered on the American concept of individualism, which was a big part of their philosophy. On the other hand, the United States feared that the Russians would attack them, motivated by their hate of capitalism. Furthermore, the creation of weapons of mass devastation was a cause for fear.

Factors that Led to the Start of the Cold War

During WWII, America and the Soviet Union were close allies because they shared an enemy. After the war, though, they began to disagree on several issues. In the end, they drifted apart, suggesting that their cooperation had been an illusion all along. Following the end of WWII, both countries remained economically dominant and strove to exert influence throughout Europe (Harper 24). Moreover, as the United States refused to reveal information regarding its nuclear weapons, the distrust rose even more. As a result, Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, remained unaware of the American plan involving deploying a nuclear weapon to destroy Japan until the Hiroshima bombing was reported back to Moscow.

Differences in government regimes and the nationally prioritized values also played a key role as war premises. The American belief that free elections should be held strongly contrasted with the Soviet idea of having no elections at all. First and foremost, the United States was a democratic capitalist nation, whereas the Soviet Union was a communist-based dictatorship. In addition, the US favored healthy competition, while the USSR preferred cooperation. In that case, the United States gained its power through a superior economic system, and the Soviet Union had a developing economy, which gradually led to the Cold War (Harper 31). Similarly, the United States preferred individual liberty, but the Soviet Union supported a covert police-run society.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 sparked an arms race. In 1947, Stalin vetoed Marshall’s help to Eastern Europe, resulting in the Marshall Plan’s end (Harper 64). NATO’s 1949 founding and China’s socialist transformation contributed to the Cold War’s rise. North and South Korea went to war in 1950, with the UN on South Korea’s side and the Republic of China on the North’s (Harper 90). Hence, the two main nations involved in the conflict remained as part of opposing blocs. Moreover, the United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb in 1953, indicating that the government was developing weapons of mass devastation (Harper 92). The distrust between the Soviet Union and the United States grew consequently. In 1956, Hungary broke apart from the USSR, contributing significantly to the Cold War (Harper 120). Rising tensions in each country additionally caused internal conflicts regarding the general issue.

There was also a noticeable divergence in ideology amongst the superpowers’ allies. Consequently, they separated the allies of the United States and the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, throughout this period, both the United States and the Soviet Union demonstrated their strength publicly via space voyages and technological advancements.

The Long-Lasting Effects of the Cold War

Overall, long-term political, economic, and military effects could be highlighted as consequences of the conflict, even though it ended in 1991. For 45 years, the Cold War was waged through military involvement in proxy countries like Angola. There is a direct correlation between the growth of communism and the rise of capitalism, authoritarianism, and democracy. As the United States championed capitalism and the Soviet Union supported communism during the Cold War, the global economy was profoundly affected.

The US equated communism with tyranny, whereas the Soviets advocated equality and referred to capitalism as a selfish and materialistic system. As a result of the free-market system implemented by the United States and its allies, the nations’ economies grew, improving their ranking amongst the countries with the most stable industries (Harper 43). The American domination during the development of globalization is clear evidence of the mentioned phenomenon.

As the economic and military might of the United States grew due to the Cold War, the country’s status as a global powerhouse rose to prominence. International power was gained in 1991 during the Gulf War, and it was anticipated to remain so for the foreseeable future. Even in the case of another country’s more robust military than that of the United States, this position will not alter (Harper 45). In the wake of this, global military tension has decreased significantly, and the focus has switched to economic power.

Despite the possibility of rising tensions, the Cold War was able to keep Europe from going to war on a massive scale. Since the United States was unwilling to employ military force to expel the Soviets from Eastern Europe during the Cold War, the Soviet Union remained completely controlling the area for over four decades after their departure. Due to its weakness after WWII and its fear of starting a war with America, the USSR abandoned Eastern Europe to its conquerors. America negotiated treaties with Western Europe as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Soviet Union also formed the Warsaw Pact with its partners in Eastern Europe as part of the agreement. Since the two troops have established dominance over their respective territories, no one seeks to invade the other’s region.


The Cold War marks a period of ideological and political tension between democratic and capitalist America and the totalitarian communist Soviet Union. As the two superior nations feared each other’s gaining the ultimate power, this was a time of economic and political dominance wars. Ideological and tactical territorial achievements along with actual military engagement in other countries that adopted and supported the movement sparked the conflict. The political rivalry lasted 45 years and had both short- and long-term repercussions. As a result of the Cold War, the United States emerged as the world’s dominant economic and military force, while the Soviet Union took over as the most excellent economy globally after its internal struggles. In that way, the conflict’s socioeconomic impact remains significant nowadays, primarily through its stimulating effect on the countries economies.

Work Cited

Harper, John Lamberton. The Cold War. OUP Oxford, 2011.