Effects of Cold War on Europe
The Cold War had great impacts that shook the stability of European governments. At the end of World War II, the United States and Russia remained as the world’s dominant military powers. However, they had different forms of government and economies. USA was governed by a Capitalist democracy while Russia was a Communist dictatorship. Besides, it should also be noted that the war left Russia in control of most parts of Eastern Europe while the US ruled the West. As a result of all the events that took place in the course of the Cold War, Europe suffered greatly. Read to on to find out more on the effects of the Cold War on the European front.
The division of Europe and Germany led to the formation of NATO by Western European countries. Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Norway, Canada, the UK, USA and Netherlands formed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Eastern European countries were taken by USSR as satellite nations. Between the two blocs that had been formed, there was very little contact, with each of them acting like they existed in different worlds.
Immediately after the Cold War, there was great instability; however, this was only short lived as proved in most parts. The gravest long term threat of the Cold War was the clash of civilizations that it caused. In fact, the end of the Cold War can be directly linked to the civil war that swept over Yugoslavia. According to some historians, the re-unification of Germany and withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Central and Eastern Europe, paved way for a volatile situation whereby old nationalist and ethnic rivalries are re-emerging with quite unpredictable results. It is possible to predict the areas where future conflicts may occur, however, it is most likely that they will take place along ethnic, cultural and religious fault lines.
In Europe, Truman doctrine was announced to stop the spread of Communism. United States President, Harry Truman announced the Truman Doctrine in order to contain Communism in Europe. He impelled the United States to support any state militarily and economically in case its stability was placed under threat b y the Soviet Union or its Communist ideologies. In fact, the Truman Doctrine became the president’s foreign policy foundation, placing the United States as the global watchdog.
Introduction of Marshall Plan is also another impact that the Cold War had on Europe. The Marshall Plan was a recovery program initiated by the US for Europe considering the losses that it had suffered from the Cold War. The initiative saw Europe receive $13 billion in economic support from the USA to help in rebuilding the weakened economies at the wake of World War II. Besides, the grant was also to ensure that Communism was able to be contained. This rescue plan was aimed at removing trade barriers, rebuilding devastated regions, modernizing industrial operations and making Europe a prosperous front.
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