cold war research paper

            The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas: military coalitions; ideology, psychology, and espionage; military, industrial, and technological developments, including the space race; costly defense spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars.[1]

                The term “Cold War” was introduced in 1947 by Americans Bernard Baruch and Walter Lippmann to describe emerging tensions between the two former wartime allies. There never was a direct military engagement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but there was a half-century of military buildup, and political battles for support around the world, including significant involvement of allied and satellite nations. Although the U.S. and the Soviet Union had been allied against Nazi Germany, the two sides differed on how to reconstruct the postwar world even before the end of the Second World War. Over the following decades, the Cold War spread outside Europe to every region of the world, as the U.S. sought the “containment” of communism and forged numerous alliances to this end, particularly in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.[2]

            Meanwhile, it has been said that one of the primary regions actively involved during the Cold war was Cuba.

            Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Cuba is south of the eastern United States and the Bahamas, west of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti and east of Mexico. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south.

Cuba is the most populous country in the Caribbean. Its culture and customs draw from several sources including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and its proximity to the United States. The island has a tropical climate that is moderated by the surrounding waters; however, the warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea and the fact that Cuba itself almost completely blocks access to the Gulf of Mexico, make Cuba prone to frequent hurricanes[3].

            During this phase of the Cold War, Communist Cuba played a significant role alongside the USSR, while the Chinese, now deeply wary of the USSR, participated on the side of the United States.[4]

            The strong alliance of the Communist Cuba with the USSR was clearly proved when  United States’ President Kenny’s delivered his address though radio and television October 22, 1962. The address was said to be delivered by Kenny to re-emphasize to the Cuban government their close surveillance activity of the Soviet military buildup in Cuba. The US government has discovered then that there have been offensive missiles sites established in Cuba to strengthen nuclear strikes to be conducted by their enemies. The missile sites were said to have two distinct types of installations which include medium range ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warhead that can strike the whole of Washington DC or any other part of America. As quoted in the very speech of President Kenny, it also made mention that the “urgent transformation of Cuba into an important strategic base — by the presence of these large, long-range, and clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction — constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security of all the Americas, in flagrant and deliberate defiance of the Rio Pact of 1947, the traditions of this nation and hemisphere, the joint resolution of the 87th Congress, the Charter of the United Nations, and my own public warnings to the Soviets on September 4 and 13.” With this, the Kenny administration opted to command Cuba several activities involving great conspiracy and support to the Soviet nation. These were among the orders of President Kenny to the Cuban government which include, to halt the offensive buildup in their country and that US would enforce a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated; that US would have a continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup; that US as a state policy would regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union; that US would enforced additional military units on Guantanamo. Moreover, President Kenny has also appealed for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba under the supervision of the United Nations and for Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate the threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations.[5]

            In addition, another document presented was USSR Embassy in Cuba, “Informational Letter on Contemporary Cuban-American Relations,” 26 April 1979. This informational letter written by the ambassador of the USSR was about the relations of Cuba and America. There has been aid that the US wants to normalize the situation or relations between them in order for trade expansion to flourish in Cuba. Cuba’s Fidel Castro has indicated the readiness of Cuba in principle to improve relations with the United States, and as a mandatory condition has put forward the demand for an end to the economic blockade in early 1977, both countries undertook practical steps toward the goal of improving relations.

            In March, at the initiative of the Americans, the first direct negotiations at the level of deputy foreign ministers since the interruption of diplomatic relations took place in New York. In April, in Havana, agreements were signed concerning fishing rights within the 200-mile zone along with preliminary agreements on delimitation of the maritime economic zone. At the initiative of the Americans, interest sections have been opened in the embassy of Switzerland in Havana and the Republic of Czechoslovakia in Washington. American citizens with families living in Cuba have been granted the right for their families to visit the United States. In the course of meetings with official representatives of the Carter administration, Castro emphasized that the principal impediment to the normalization of relations was the economic blockade and the presence of the American base at Guantanamo. He stressed that Cuba regarded as highly immoral the policy of utilizing a blockade as an “instrument of pressure and imposition of demands.” It was stated to the Americans that the problems of Africa and Puerto Rico were not related to the economic blockade and that Cuba would not conduct negotiations on those questions in exchange for its lifting. It should be born in mind that a lifting of the economic blockade would not automatically result in the development of trade between the two countries.[6]

            Cuba would first of all have to comply with the provisions of the USA Trade Act of 1974 requiring it to guarantee the right to emigrate from the country and to conclude bilateral trade agreements. Failing this it will not be granted most favored nation trading status, nor will it be eligible for credits from the Export-Import Bank or the USA Commercial Credit Corporation. Without such status, products for Cuban export will be subject to high customs tariffs. In a closed meeting with representatives of the American administration in late 1978, Castro stated that the “primary factor” making possible the adoption of these decisions was the policy of the Carter administration, which had “ceased to encourage terrorist and subversive activity and intervention in the internal affairs of Cuba.” This, in his words, had created a new environment, making possible a new approach to the emigration issue.
An examination of the development in Cuban-American contacts permits the conclusion that the Cuban leadership is maintaining a firm position on the issue of normalizing relations with the USA, decisively rejecting attempts by the Americans to exert pressure on Cuba, and that Cuba will not yield on matters of principle relating to its domestic and foreign policy as a form of “payment” for the normalization of relations. The Cuban leadership understands as well the negative consequences in the domestic ideological realm and the international arena that would be brought about by a full normalization of relations with the United States. Considering the importance of the issue of Cuban-American relations in the context of the present and future interests of the Soviet Union and the countries of the socialist bloc, and the desirability and necessity of receiving information about it from the Cubans, it would appear appropriate and fitting to continue an exchange of opinions with our Cuban friends on this problem, utilizing for this purpose joint visits and meetings of governmental and party leaders as well as responsible employees of the Foreign Ministries of the USSR and Cuba.[7]

            However, it has been said that at first Cuba was reluctant to be in alliance with any country except for a fact that they do not have any other option left. In one of the  conversations of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, he made mention that his people began to address very sensitively the matter of sovereignty. Besides, after the current crisis the situation remained juridically constant, as the “status quo” did not change. It has been said that there are blockades organized by the US administration and are is still in place. The USA continues to violate the freedom of the sea; the Americans seek to determine what weapons we can possess. Verification is being organized. The situation is developing in the same direction as it is or was in Morocco, Guinea, Ghana, Ceylon and Yemen; the USA continues to violate Cuban airspace and we must bear it. And moreover, the consent for inspections has been given without asking us. All of this seemed to our people to be a step backward, a retreat. It turns out that we must accept inspections, accept the right of the USA to determine what kinds of weapons we can use. Our revolution rests firmly on the people. A drop in moral spirit can be dangerous for the cause of revolution. The Soviet Union consolidated itself as a state a long time ago and it can carry out a flexible policy, it can afford maneuvering. The Soviet people readily understand their government, trust it wholeheartedly. Cuba is a young developing country. Our people are very impulsive. The moral factor has a special significance in our country. We were afraid that these decisions could provoke a breach in the people’s unity, undermine the prestige of the revolution in the eyes of Latin American peoples, in the eyes of the whole world.[8]


“Cold War.” Microsoft Encarta Online Encylopedia 2007. 28 Apr 2007 <>.

“Cold War.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 17 Apr 2007. 28 Apr 2007 <>.

“Cuba.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 17 Apr 2007. 28 Apr 2007 <>.

“CNN Cold War.” Historical Documents. CNN. 28 Apr 2007 <>.

“Informational Letter on Contemporary Cuban-American Relations.” Virtual Archive: USSR Embassy in Cuba. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 28 Apr 2007 <>.

[1]              “Cold war”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia:1
[2]              Ibid.
[3]              “Cuba”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia:1
[4]              “Cold War”. MSN Encarta:1
[5]              “Kenny’s Radio and Television address. CNN website:1
[6]              “Informational Letter on Contemporary Cuban-American Relations”. Wilson center website:1
[7]              Ibid.
[8]              “Notes of conversation between A.I. Mikoyan and Fidel Castro”. Wilson Center:1

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