When and where did it begin? Why? Who started it and could it have been avoided?
…Although its history is vast and complex, the Cold War was essentially a struggle for power between the Soviet Union and the United States. During most of its course, American and Russia were the principal protagonists, leaders of rival blocs in a bi-polar world. Midway through the struggle a new-old giant emerged, China, followed by two economic powers, Japan and, through its Common Market, Europe. The great powers, Russia and America, towered over the jungles of the world like prehistoric mammoths, for a time reducing all others to the status of “ant nations.”
But down below in the world’s underbrush, these ant nations soon began to stir- in Vietnam, Cuba, Algeria, the Congo, and Nigeria; in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland; in Israel, Iran and Chile- crawling discomfortingly up and down the trunks and stinging the rumps of the mammoths.
In one sense the Cold War was not a simple contest between America and Russia; it was a political and military passion play of great and terrible dimensions and consequences. But it did not exist above and by itself. It had a pre-history and it has a post-history, and it began, according to Henry Roberts of Columbia, with the Russian Revolution and the Western reaction to it. After the October Revolution of 1917, civil war broke out between the Reds and Whites of Russia. Allied leaders, fearful of the Revolution itself and of the consequences on the Russian front, began to move forces into Russia.
Woodrow Wilson approved the dispatch of American troops to be used in the occupation of the vital ports of Murmansk and Archangel, justifying the move by stating its purpose as “the protection of Allied stores and war material against threatened seizure by advancing German forces.” British and French troops, in greater numbers, not only moved in but actually joined the czarists and fought against the revolutionary Bolsheviks.
American troops were ordered not to participate in he fighting, but the embattled Communists drew no distinction between the Anglo-French and the Americans: all were capitalist troops fighting them and occupying their northern ports. ( to be continued)…