Background Following World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), the United States was one of two “superpowers” in the world, the other being the Soviet Union (modern day Russia). A superpower is a country with a leading position in the world. It has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a world wide scale to protect those interests
Why the “Cold” War? The Cold War was “fought” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (1945-1991) The armies of the two superpowers never fought each other directly...it was more like a game of chess. Both produced huge stockpiles of weapons, including nuclear arms. Instead of fighting, they tried to spread their economic systems (capitalism and communism) and their “spheres of influence,” or countries that were loyal to them.
Capitalism vs. Communism Most view the Cold War as a battle between two distinct economic systems. Capitalism (U.S., Western Europe)- free markets, class disparity, private ownership, lassiez faire. Communism (Soviet Union, Asia, Latin America)- government influence in economy, class equality, common ownership, pure democracy accord. to Marx. Why did the U.S fear communism?
U.S. Interventions While the U.S. and Soviet Union never fought each other, the U.S. intervened in foreign countries over 200 times during the Cold War. Some examples: Korean War 1950-1953 U.S. supports capitalist S. Korea vs. communist N Korea. Iran 1953 U.S. overthrows democratically elected govt., installs dictator after nationalizes oil. Guatemala 1954 CIA overthrows democratically elected leader because of communist reforms, installs military leader.
U.S. Interventions Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos 1960-1975 Cuba 1961-1962 Failed attempt to overthrow Communist govt., Cuban missile crisis. Iraq 1963 Brings Saddam Hussein back from exile to head secret service Dominican Republic 1965 U.S. soldiers influence election Chile 1973 CIA ousts democratically elected communist president.
U.S. Interventions Interventions continued from the 1980’s, 90’s to today.