The Cold War In Detail

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					The Cold War In Detail

The Cold War took place between 1944 and 1991 and was the continuing
state of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, as well as
economic competition that remained after World War II had ended. This
conflict took place primarily between the Soviet Union and the Western
world. Although warfare as such never ensued between the main
participants, conflict was expressed through military partnerships,
strategic traditional force deployments, aid and protection to third
party states seen as vulnerable, proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, a
nuclear arms race, and the Space Race (Bevo74, 2010)
Proxy wars are wars waged by opposing powers using third party troops as
substitutes for fighting to minimize their own troop losses and thus
remain the dominant force in the war. War could be defined as a conflict
of interest between two or more nations around the world followed by a
threat of battle breaking out between the troops of said nations. Thus
war doesn't necessarily imply actual fighting between two opposing
forces, but rather the threat of an immanent assault on either one or
both of these forces.
With Germany defeated (Andromeda Oxford Ltd., 1993: 763) after the Second
World War, the leaders of the 3 big nations involved came together at the
Yalta Conference in 1945 to come to terms about the peace that were to
follow. Stalin announced that he would wage war against Japan three
months after Germany's initial surrender and that exiled Poles would be
allowed to become a part of the government he had set up in Poland
(Black, 1999: 52), while the Allies occupy certain areas within Germany
to remain in control of the country. A Declaration on Liberated Europe
was made in which was pledged that democratic elections would be made in
countries that have been freed from German control. This however never
came to pass. The Soviet alliance forced most German troops out of
Eastern Europe and established a pro-Communist government in Poland.
Stalin built the Iron Curtain during 1945-1946, cutting Europe in half
with a barrier that ran a thousand miles between the Baltic and Adriatic
oceans. Five months later another conference was held in Potsdam,
Roosevelt had died and President S. Truman had taken up office. Stalin
was furious that Truman hadn t informed him of the development of the
atomic bomb (Black, 1999: 52), and thus the "Grand Alliance" that had
dominated the battlefield and claimed total victory in World War 2, fell
apart as Europe became politically and ideologically divided (World Book
Inc., 2003: 8). The Cold War had begun.
During the Cold War various revolutions took place. One of the most
renowned being the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Byrne, 2002), where the
revolution was crushed after imminent triumph seemed at hand. Soviet
troops were being pushed back with daily household appliances before
gaining victory over the uprising against the regime, which started
twelve days prior to this massive defeat. According to Byrne (2002) The
defeat of the Hungarian revolution was one of the darkest moments of the
Cold War. A triumph from this revolution could have tipped the scales on
the war causing it to end sooner than it did.
As with all wars, the Cold War was a clash of ideologies between two
opposing sides, Capitalism of the West in direct contrast to the
Communist ideology of the East (, 2010). Both saw each
other as suspicious and believed that their own ideology was superior to
the others. Thus both parties aimed for world domination which would lead
to all countries following the same system.
In November 1958 an attempt to remove United States, Great Britain and
French troops from Berlin was made and the fore mentioned parties
received six-month ultimatums by Khrushchev. His attempts to free
Berlin were unsuccessful and his ultimatum was formerly rejected by NATO
and he was forced to withdraw it at the Geneva Convention (Bevo74, 2010).
The last major incident of the Cold War took place in Berlin during 1961.
Hundreds of thousands of Germans emigrated from East Germany to West
Germany through loopholes. In June of 1961 a new ultimatum was issued
that demanded the withdrawal of Allied forces from West Berlin, governed
by the four powers of World War 2.
In the following years the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
continually power and by 1989 the Soviet system was on the brink of
collapse. A final coup d' tat by the USSR failed and left them fatally
weakened. The USSR was officially dissolved on 25 December 1991 (Bevo74,
As with all wars, the Cold War also had its share of propaganda.
According to the World English Dictionary propaganda can be defined as
the organized dissemination of information, allegations, etc, to assist
or damage the cause of a government, movement, etc (2010). Thus
propaganda is always one sided, regardless of the position it is viewed
from. Propaganda has a variety of sub categories and could be seen as a
collective term for different approaches to illustrate an idea or
message, often being rumours or allegations, but also a call to arms in
certain situations. This essay will now discuss the six different
techniques used in propaganda to spark interest within the viewer. The
six techniques include: rhetoric questions, patriotism, stereotyping,
hate speech, heroism and demonisation.
Rhetoric questions are used by designers to get the reader to think for
themselves rather than just spoon feeding them ideas. Although they are
questions, no answers are expected from the viewer. The following image
is an example of rhetoric propaganda:
The image consists of people being assaulted and/or murdered with the US
flag burning in the background. The burning flag indicates the fall of
the US government and with it all hopes of peace. The loss of peace is
illustrated by the civilians being attacked by soldiers, trained fighters
and cold blooded murderers. The label at the bottom tells the viewer what
America under communism would look like, giving the viewer an idea and
then asking a harmless question that starts the thought process, making
the viewer believe that this is exactly what communism is about.
Patriotism focuses on calling a citizen to arms and or to subtly force
them into siding with their country even if they might not agree with the
current system. It calls on a person s sense of loyalty to their country
and fellow citizens and it is thus a powerful technique to use.
The above images are examples of patriotism. Figure 2 is a poster of the
all renowned Uncle Sam calling US citizens to arms. It is thus recruiting
soldiers for the US armies by using a known figure head as the subject
calling the people to arms. People are familiar with this symbol and are
thus more easily persuaded to put their lives on the line for something
they connect with. Figure 3 on the other hand plays on the loyalty of the
Soviet citizens, telling them to reject capitalism and to rather remain
sided with the communist system. It depicts Uncle Sam as an angry old man
trying to force Capitalism on a Russian citizen, who blatantly refuses
to accept it.
Stereotyping can be defined as a simplified and standardized conception
or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a
group (2010). While stereotyping can be advantageous for gaining the
loyalty of the viewer towards your cause, either out of fear or anger
towards the opposing force s troops and/or system, it remains a double
edged sword. The viewer can be offended by the stereotype portrayed, be
it racial or something else, and might even become a supporter of the
opposing force s ideology. Stereotypes transcend wars, making them even
more lethal to unborn generations that didn t have anything to do with
the conflict in the first place. This gives rise to racism and a divide
between ethnic groups and could lead to even more conflict in the long
Figure 4 shows the Allied alliance represented by three greedy women busy
milking the Middle East for oil as well as blood. The Soviets
successfully portray the Allied Alliance as greedy and cold hearted, thus
stereotyping all Americans and their allies as greedy and cold hearted.
This inspires local citizens to defend themselves against these greedy
monsters which wished to invade their homes to milk their belongings.
Figure 5 on the other hand is a stereotypical image from the other side
of the fence. The US portrays the soviets as stone cold rapists in the
cover of this novel. Even though it might be true of a select few, all
soviet men were seen as rapists and feared as such. Men from the Allied
alliance countries took up arms to protect their women and their children
against these rapists in fear of being overrun by these immoral
savages. This image burns deep into the mind, scarring it and leaving a
big empty space for distrust of soviets within the minds of the US
citizens. This stereotype could easily be carried over from generation to
generation resulting in conflict born from lies and deception.
Hate speech is a direct assault against any person/ faction it is aimed
at. This mostly consists of name calling and can be used to make the
enemy seem weak and completely crazy in the eyes of the viewer. It deals
the first blow in the mind of the viewer bringing forth the feeling of
being superior compared to the enemy. It can be used to invoke anger and
frustration at what s happening on the battlefield and in doing so could
convince many a young male citizen to act rashly and join the armies to
defeat the hated enemy.
Figure 6 depicts a U.S. soldier flying over a dropped missile and raging
fire with wings as though he was the bomber plane that delivered this
capsule of death. The text at the top states that this is the Carrion-
Crow's Wings, in other words, the bringer or messenger of death. Thus
U.S. soldiers are compared to disease ridden birds that have no soul and
live to cause despair where ever they go. The David s Star on the helmet
indicates that this image is specifically aimed at two different forces
that are very much the same to the soviet alliance. The U.S. and Israel
are both being compared to the birds carrion-crows. This image doesn t
contain hate speech in its truest form, but that one little statement at
the top of the page denotes vast amounts of loathing from the artist.
A common technique used in propaganda to win people for the cause is to
give them a sense that in siding with the cause, they would become
heroes, or closely related to. Heroism plays on the viewer s ego and
boosts it by placing the viewer in the shoes of a national hero that
served his country with honour.
The Civil Defence male in figure 7 comes across has a hero because the
angle of the picture makes him seem monumental. The outline serving
followed by a bright red highlighted you makes the viewer seem
exceptionally important and thus raises the hero status of the Civil
Defence workers even more in the eyes of the viewer. Figure 8 is a
communist poster monumentalizing the leader of the revolution or faction
against the governing circle of dictators, indicating that their leader
is more important than the great minds that run things from a save
Demonisation is to represent something as evil by changing their physical
features to represent something that is feared and/or ugly.
Figure 9 shows Uncle Sam sitting in a ring of nuclear detonators with an
evil grin on his face, indicating that the U.S. takes pleasure in testing
their extremely dangerous weapons which could potentially harm anyone
that enter the area for decades after initial testing. Uncle Sam had been
given a long pointy nose, sharp chin and triangular eyes giving him an
evil frown as seen in comics and cartoons. In figure 10 a Soviet backed
machete wielding aggressor tries to gain influence in the Philippines
which appear as blood splatters at his feet indicating that even though
this man doesn t look like a demon, he remains a cold blooded killer that
would do anything to gain power and then keep it.
Thus all six propaganda techniques have been discussed and accompanied
with images. As for what role propaganda served in the cold war.

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