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Avoiding Armageddon

The Cold War – 1945 > 1989

   

            Explaining a hot war isn’t too tough.  One side wants something from another side.  The other side would prefer to keep it.  Tensions mount.  Both sides prepare for conflict.  Whether intentional or accidental, a catalyst erupts.  One side attacks the other.  The other defends itself.  Civilians help out.  Civilians are killed.  One side conquers the other, or one side just gets tired of fighting and gives up.  The war ends.  A peace deal is set.  Life goes on.

            That’s how a hot war works.

            But what about a cold war?  How does one of those things start?

            Within weeks of Germany's surrender, the highest military brass warned that World War III was just around the corner. 

            Within months, the Soviet Union secured its borders and prepared for yet another invasion from the West.  The Americans and Brits tried to slow the Soviets down, pushing their own forces as far east as peace would allow. 

            Within years, the world was again at war, but this time it wouldn’t be a conventional war.  It would be something totally different.  It would be the Cold War, a near five-decade struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States of America for mastery of the universe. 

            Their fight was as much for ideological supremacy as it was for geographic influence and self-preservation.  From 1946 to 1989, the Soviets and Americans spied, schemed, built up armies, built up weapons, created alliances, prevented alliances, expanded their science, economies and spheres of influence, all with the hopes that when the great civilization day of judgment arrived, their nation would stand alone as the preeminent superpower on the planet (while hopefully preventing a nuclear holocaust that just might vaporize all living creatures).

            But the roots of the war didn’t actually start in the weeks after Germany  Like all conflicts, the roots oftentimes find themselves buried deep within a previous conflict.  The way one war ends determines when and how the next war will be fought.

            In the final stages of war, when victorious powers fail to prepare for the peace, they might as well prepare for another war.  The failures at Versaillesfueled the tension and rage that spawned World War II.  And likewise, the missteps by the Allied powers in the final months of World War II started the world down an even more treacherous path where total annihilation would loom only moments away.

            So yes, World War II created the Cold War.

            The fragile alliance between America, Britain and the Soviet Union was never meant to last.  It was formed to take out...