In April 1947, the term ‘Cold War’ was uttered for the first time to describe the geopolitical rift between the US and the Soviet Union.
The confrontation supposedly ended with the fall of the USSR. But did the cessation of tensions happen only in our imagination? While Washington and Moscow made invincible allies in the battle against Nazi Germany, the two ideological foes could no longer conceal their mutual enmity when World War II came to a close in 1945. Then, a severe chill swept the planet for nearly half a century that many feared would end in nuclear disaster.
Seventy-five years ago this month, Bertrand Baruch, the American financier and statesman, coined the term ‘Cold War’ to describe this protracted standoff. Speaking before a delegation of US lawmakers, Baruch, foreshadowing the Red Scare of the McCarthy years, told his audience: “Let us not be deceived, we are today in the midst of a cold war. Our enemies are to be found abroad and at home. Let us never forget this: Our unrest is the heart of their success.”
Historians tend to agree that the Cold War began in 1947 with the so-called Truman Doctrine, a program of ‘containment’ against America’s arch enemy as recommended by the US diplomat George Kennan, until December 26, 1991, when the Soviet Union gave up the ghost. Others argue that it actually began as early as 1945 when Washington dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final days of World War II.
That dreadful act, which took Moscow and the world by surprise, compelled Joseph Stalin to ramp up the Soviet nuclear program. On August 29, 1949, Moscow tested its first nuclear weapon, thereby achieving strategic balance with the US.
For millions of people around the world, this was the […]
We Often Feel Like David Taking on Giants
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