The Cold War Era

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Chapter 1The Cold War EraOVERVIEWThis chapter provides a backdropto the entire book. The end of theCold War is usually seen as thebeginning of the contemporary erain world politics which is thesubject matter of this book. It is,therefore, appropriate that webegin the story with a discussionof the Cold War. The chapter showshow the dominance of twosuperpowers, the United States ofAmerica and the Soviet Union,was central to the Cold War. Ittracks the various arenas of theCold War in different parts of theworld. The chapter views the NonAligned Movement (NAM) as achallenge to the dominance of thetwo superpowers and describesthe attempts by the non-alignedcountries to establish a NewInternational Economic Order(NIEO) as a means of attainingeconomic development andpolitical independence. Itconcludes with an assessment ofIndia’s role in NAM and asks howsuccessful the policy of nonalignment has been in protectingIndia’s interests.The end of the Second World War led to the rise of two majorcentres of power. The two pictures above symbolise thevictory of the US and the USSR in the Second World War.1. American soldiers raising the US flag during the Battle ofIwo Jima, Japan, on 23 February 1945Credit: Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,Photograph by Joe Rosenthal/The Associated Press2. Soviet soldiers raising the USSR flag on the Reichstagbuilding in Berlin, Germany, in May 1945Credit: Reichstag flag, Photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei/TASS2020-21

2Contemporary World PoliticsCUBAN MISSILE CRISISWe are on a world tour! Will meet you in different countries. Feels goodto be around where events have happened.Map showing the range of the nuclear missiles under constructionin Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban missile crisisSource: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum2020-21In April 1961, the leaders of theUnion of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR) were worried that theUnited States of America (USA)would invade communist-ruledCuba and overthrow Fidel Castro,the president of the small islandnation off the coast of the UnitedStates. Cuba was an ally of theSoviet Union and received bothdiplomatic and financial aid fromit. Nikita Khrushchev, the leaderof the Soviet Union, decided toconvert Cuba into a Russian base.In 1962, he placed nuclear missilesin Cuba. The installation of theseweapons put the US, for the firsttime, under fire from close rangeand nearly doubled the number ofbases or cities in the Americanmainland which could bethreatened by the USSR.Three weeks after the SovietUnion had placed the nuclearweapons in Cuba, the Americansbecame aware of it. The USPresident, John F. Kennedy, andhis advisers were reluctant to doanything that might lead tofull-scale nuclear war betweenthe two countries, but they weredetermined to get Khrushchev toremove the missiles and nuclearweapons from Cuba. Kennedyordered American warships tointercept any Soviet shipsheading to Cuba as a way ofwar ning the USSR of hisseriousness. A clash seemedimminent in what came to beknown as the Cuban MissileCrisis. The prospects of this

3The Cold War Eraclash made the whole worldnervous, for it would have beenno ordinary war. Eventually, tothe world’s great relief, bothsides decided to avoid war. TheSoviet ships slowed down andturned back.The Cuban Missile Crisis wasa high point of what came to beknown as the Cold War. The ColdWar referred to the competition,the tensions and a series ofconfrontations between theUnited States and Soviet Union,backed by their respective allies.Fortunately, however, it neverescalated into a ‘hot war’, that is,a full-scale war between these twopowers. There were wars invarious regions, with the twopowers and their allies involvedin warfare and in supportingregional allies, but at least theworld avoided another global war.T h e C o l d Wa r w a s n o tsimply a matter of powerrivalries, of military alliances,and of the balance of power.These were accompanied by areal ideological conflict as well,a difference over the best andthe most appropriate way oforganising political, economic,and social life all over the world.The western alliance, headed bythe US, represented theideology of liberal democracyand capitalism while theeastern alliance, headed by theSoviet Union, was committed tothe ideology of socialism andcommunism. You have alreadystudied these ideologies inClass XI.WHAT IS THE COLD WAR?The end of the Second World Waris a landmark in contemporaryworld politics. In 1945, the AlliedForces, led by the US, SovietUnion, Britain and Francedefeated the Axis Powers led byGermany, Italy and Japan, endingthe Second World War (19391945). The war had involvedalmost all the major powers of theworld and spread out to regionsoutside Europe includingSoutheast Asia, China, Burma(now Myanmar) and parts ofIndia’s northeast. The wardevastated the world in terms ofloss of human lives and civilianproperty. The First World War hadearlier shaken the world between1914 and 1918.The end of the Second WorldWar was also the beginning of theCold War. The world war endedwhen the United States droppedtwo atomic bombs on theJapanese cities of Hiroshima andNagasaki in August 1945, causingJapan to surrender. Critics of theUS decision to drop the bombshave argued that the US knew thatJapan was about to surrender andthat it was unnecessary to dropthe bombs. They suggest that theUS action was intended to stop theSoviet Union from making militaryand political gains in Asia andelsewhere and to show Moscowthat the United States wassupreme. US supporters haveargued that the dropping of theatomic bombs was necessary toend the war quickly and to stop2020-21So near yet so far!I can't believe thatCuba survived as acommunist countryfor so long despitebeing located soclose to the US. Justlook at the map.

4Contemporary World Politicsfurther loss of American and Alliedlives. Whatever the motives, theconsequence of the end of theSecond World War was the rise oftwo new powers on the global stage.With the defeat of Germany andJapan, the devastation of Europeand in many other parts of theworld, the United States and theSoviet Union became the greatestpowers in the world with the abilityto influence events anywhere onearth.While the Cold War was anoutcome of the emergence of theUS and the USSR as twosuperpowers rival to each other,it was also rooted in theunderstanding that the destructioncaused by the use of atom bombsis too costly for any country tobear. The logic is simple yetpowerful. When two rival powersare in possession of nuclearThese pictures depict the destructioncaused by the bombs dropped by theUS on Hiroshima (the bomb was codenamed ‘Little Boy’) and Nagasaki(code-named ‘Fat Man’). Yet, thesebombs were very small in theirdestructive capacity (measured interms of kiloton yield) as compared tothe nuclear bombs that were to beavailable in the stockpiles assembled bythe superpowers. The yield of Little Boyand Fat Man were 15 and 21 kilotonsrespectively. By the early 1950s the USand the USSR were already makingthermonuclear weapons that had ayield between 10 and 15 thousandkilotons. In other words, these bombswere a thousand times more destructivethan the bombs used in Hiroshima andNagasaki. During much of the Cold War,both the superpowers possessedthousands of such weapons. Justimagine the extent of destruction thatthese could cause all over the globe.2020-21weapons capable of inflicting deathand destruction unacceptable toeach other, a full-fledged war isunlikely. In spite of provocations,neither side would want to risk warsince no political gains wouldjustify the destruction of theirsocieties.In the event of a nuclear war,both sides will be so badly harmedthat it will be impossible to declareone side or the other as the winner.Even if one of them tries to attackand disable the nuclear weaponsof its rival, the other would still beleft with enough nuclear weaponsto inflict unacceptable destruction.This is called the logic of‘deterrence’: both sides have thecapacity to retaliate against anattack and to cause so muchdestruction that neither can affordto initiate war. Thus, the Cold War— in spite of being an intense formof rivalry between great powers —remained a ‘cold’ and not hot orshooting war. The deterrencerelationship prevents war but notthe rivalry between powers.Note the main militaryfeatures of the Cold War. The twosuperpowers and the countries inthe rival blocs led by thesuperpowers were expected tobehaveasrationalandresponsible actors. They were tobe rational and responsible in thesense that they understood therisks in fighting wars that mightinvolve the two superpowers.When two superpowers and theblocs led by them are in adeterrence relationship, fightingwars will be massively destructive.

5The Cold War EraResponsibility, therefore, meantbeing restrained and avoiding therisk of another world war. In thissense the Cold War managed toensure human survival.The smaller states in thealliances used the link to thesuperpowers for their ownpurposes. They got the promise ofprotection, weapons, andeconomic aid against their localrivals, mostly regional neighbourswith whom they had rivalries. Thealliance systems led by thetwo superpowers, therefore,threatened to divide the entireworld into two camps. Thisdivision happened first in Europe.Most countries of western Europesided with the US and those ofeastern Europe joined the Sovietcamp. That is why these were alsocalled the ‘wester n’ and the‘eastern’ alliances.THE EMERGENCE OFTWO POWER BLOCSThe two superpowers were keenon expanding their spheres ofinfluence in different parts of theworld. In a world sharply dividedbetween the two alliance systems,a state was supposed to remaintied to its protective superpowerto limit the influence of the othersuperpower and its RITAINATLANTICOCEANLondonBrusselsFRANCEThe gueCZECWESTHOSLOVAKIABern GERMANYViennaBudapestAUSTRIASWITZ.HUNGARY ROMANIAPORTUGALSPAINUSSRBerlinParisLisbon3. By comparing thismap with that ofthe European Unionmap, identify threenew countries thatcame up in thepost-Cold Warperiod.HelsinkiOsloNorthSeaDENMARKIRELAND2. Look at the mapof the EuropeanUnion in Chapter 4and identify fourcountries that werepart of the WarsawPact and nowbelong to the EU.FINLANDNORWAYNATO MembersWarsaw Pact MembersOther Communist NationsOthers1. Identify threecountries from eachof the rival blocs.ITALYRomeYUGOSLAVIABlack SeaBULGARIASofiaALBANIATiranaGREECEMap showing the way Europe was divided into rival alliances during the Cold War2020-21YaltaBucharestBelgradeAnkaraTURKEY

6Contemporary World PoliticsFIRST WORLDSECOND WORLDTHIRD WORLDIn the followingcolumn, writethe names ofthree countries,which belong to:Capitalist BlocCommunist BlocThe western alliance wasformalised into an organisation,the North Atlantic T reatyOrganisation (NATO), which cameinto existence in April 1949. It wasan association of twelve stateswhich declared that armed attackon any one of them in Europe orNorth America would be regardedas an attack on all of them. Eachof these states would be obligedto help the other. The easternalliance, known as the WarsawPact, was led by the Soviet Union.It was created in 1955 and itsprincipal function was to counterNATO’s forces in Europe.Non-AlignedMovementInternational alliances duringthe Cold War era were determinedby the requirements of thesuperpowers and the calculationsof the smaller states. As notedabove, Europe became the mainarena of conflict between thesuperpowers. In some cases, thesuperpowers used their militarypower to bring countries into their2020-21respective alliances. Sovietintervention in east Europeprovides an example. The SovietUnion used its influence ineastern Europe, backed by thevery large presence of its armiesin the countries of the region, toensure that the eastern half ofEur ope remained within itssphere of influence. In East andSoutheast Asia and in West Asia(Middle East), the United Statesbuilt an alliance system called —the Southeast Asian T reatyOrganisation (SEATO) and theCentral T reaty Organisation(CENTO). The Soviet Union andcommunist China responded byhaving close relations withregional countries such as NorthVietnam, North Korea and Iraq.The Cold War threatened todivide the world into two alliances.Under these circumstances, manyof the newly independentcountries, after gaining theirindependence from the colonial

7The Cold War Erapowers such as Britain andFrance, were worried that theywould lose their freedom as soonastheygainedfor malindependence. Cracks and splitswithin the alliances were quick toappear. Communist Chinaquarrelled with the USSR towardsthe late 1950s, and, in 1969, theyfought a brief war over a territorialdispute. The other importantdevelopment was the Non-AlignedMovement (NAM), which gave thenewly independent countries away of staying out of the alliances.You may ask why thesuperpowers needed any allies atall. After all, with their nuclearweapons and regular armies, theywere so powerful that the combinedpower of most of the smaller statesin Asia and Africa, and even inEurope, was no match to that ofthe superpowers. Yet, the smallerstates were helpful for thesuperpowers in gaining access to(i) vital resources, such as oiland minerals,(ii) territory, from where thesuperpowers could launchtheir weapons and troops,(iii) locations from where theycould spy on each other, and(iv) economic support, in thatmany small allies togethercould help pay for militaryexpenses.They were also important forideological reasons. The loyalty ofallies suggested that thesuperpowers were winning thewar of ideas as well, that liberaldemocracy and capitalism werebetter than socialism andcommunism, or vice versa.ARENAS OF THE COLD WARThe Cuban Missile Crisis that webegan this chapter with was onlyone of the several crises thatoccurred during the Cold War.The Cold War also led to severalshooting wars, but it is importantto note that these crises and warsdid not lead to another world war.The two superpowers were poisedfor direct confrontations in Korea(1950 - 53), Berlin (1958 - 62), theCongo (the early 1960s), and inseveral other places. Crisesdeepened, as neither of the partiesinvolved was willing to back down.When we talk about arenas of theCold War, we refer, therefore, toareas where crisis and waroccurred or threatened to occurbetween the alliance systems butdid not cross certain limits. Agreat many lives were lost in someof these arenas like Korea,Vietnam and Afghanistan, but theworld was spared a nuclear warand global hostilities. In somecases, huge military build-upswere reported. In many cases,diplomaticcommunicationbetween the superpowers couldnot be sustained and contributedto the misunderstandings.Sometimes, countries outsidethe two blocs, for example, thenon-aligned countries, played arole in reducing Cold War conflictsand averting some grave crises.Jawaharlal Nehru — one of the key2020-21How come there arestill two Koreas whilethe other divisionscreated by the ColdWar have ended?Do the people ofKorea want thedivision to continue?Locate theflashpointsof the ColdWar on aworld map.

8Contemporary World PoliticsTHE COLD WAR TIMELINE1947American President Harry Truman’s Doctrineabout the containment of communism1947 - 52 Marshall Plan: US aid for the reconstruction ofthe Western Europe1948 - 49 Berlin blockade by the Soviet Union and theairlift of supplies to the citizens of West Berlinby the US and its allies1950 - 53 Korean War1954Defeat of the French by the Vietnamese atDien Bien PhuSigning of the Geneva AccordsDivision of Vietnam along the 17th ParallelFormation of SEATO1954 - 75 American intervention in Vietnam1955Signing of the Baghdad Pact, later CENTO1956Soviet intervention in Hungary1961US-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of CubaConstruction of the Berlin Wall1962Cuban Missile Crisis1965American intervention in the DominicanRepublic1968Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia1972US President Richard Nixon’s visit to China1978 - 89 Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia1979 - 89 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan1985Gorbachev becomes the President of theUSSR; begins the reform process1989Fall of the Berlin Wall; mass protests againstgovernments in eastern Europe1990Unification of Germany1991Disintegration of the Soviet UnionEnd of the Cold War era2020-21leaders of the NAM — played acrucial role in mediating betweenthe two Koreas. In the Congocrisis, the UN Secretary-Generalplayed a key mediatory role. Byand large, it was the realisationon a superpower’s part that warby all means should be avoidedthat made them exercise restraintand behave more responsibly ininternational affairs. As the ColdWar rolled from one arena toanother, the logic of restraint wasincreasingly evident.However, since the Cold Wardid not eliminate rivalries betweenthe two alliances, mutualsuspicions led them to ar mthemselves to the teeth and toconstantly prepare for war. Hugestocks of arms were considerednecessary to prevent wars fromtaking place.The two sides understood thatwar might occur in spite ofrestraint. Either side mightmiscalculate the number ofweapons in the possession of theotherside.Theymightmisunderstand the intentions ofthe other side. Besides, what ifthere was a nuclear accident?What would happen if someonefired off a nuclear weapon bymistake or if a soldiermischievously shot off a weapondeliberately to start a war? Whatif an accident occurred with anuclear weapon? How would theleaders of that country know itwas an accident and not an act ofsabotage by the enemy or that amissile had not landed from theother side?

9The Cold War EraDrawn by wellknown Indiancartoonist Kutty,these twocartoons depictan Indian viewof the Cold War.The first cartoonwas drawn whenthe US enteredinto a secretunderstandingwith China,keeping theUSSR in the dark.Find out moreabout thecharacters in thecartoon. Thesecond cartoondepicts theAmericanmisadventure inVietnam. Findout more aboutthe VietnamWar.POLITICAL SPRING China makes overtures to the USA.FOOD FOR THOUGHT President Johnson is in more troubles over Vietnam.2020-21

10Contemporary World PoliticsFOUNDERFIGURESOF NAMJosip Broz Tito(1892-1980)President ofYugoslavia (194580); fought againstGermany in WorldWar II; communist;maintained somedistance from theSoviet Union;forged unity inYugoslavia.Jawaharlal Nehru(1889-1964)First Prime Ministerof India (1947-64);made efforts forAsian eacefulcoexistence forsecuring worldpeace.In time, therefore, the US andUSSR decided to collaborate inlimiting or eliminating certainkinds of nuclear and non-nuclearweapons. A stable balance ofweapons, they decided, could bemaintained through ‘armscontrol’. Starting in the 1960s, thetwosidessignedthreesignificant agreements within adecade. These were the LimitedTest Ban Treaty, Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty and theAnti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.Thereafter, the superpowers heldseveral rounds of arms limitationtalks and signed several moretreaties to limit their arms.CHALLENGE TO BIPOLARITYWe have already seen how theCold War tended to divide theworld into two rival alliances. Itwas in this context that nonalignment of fered the newlydecolonised countries of Asia,Africa and Latin America a thirdoption—not to join either alliance.The roots of NAM went backto the friendship between threeleaders — Yugoslavia’s Josip BrozTito, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru,and Egypt’s leader Gamal AbdelNasser — who held a meeting in1956. Indonesia’s Sukarno andGhana’s Kwame Nkrumahstrongly supported them. Thesefive leaders came to be known asthe five founders of NAM. The firstnon-aligned summit was held inBelgrade in 1961. This was theculmination of at least threefactors:2020-21(i) cooperation among these fivecountries,(ii) growing Cold War tensionsand its widening arenas, and(iii) the dramatic entry of manynewly decolonised Africancountries into the inter national arena. By 1960,there were 16 new A

Southeast Asia, China, Burma (now Myanmar) and parts of India’s northeast. The war devastated the world in terms of loss of human lives and civilian property. The First W orld War had earlier shaken the world between 1914 and 1918. The end of the Second World War was also the beginning of the Cold War. The world war ended when the United .

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