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Civilization in XIX Century and Cold War Essay

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2021

Civilization in Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky

In his Notes from Underground, Dostoevsky depicts an unknown Underground man, who describes the rise of civilization as the primary cause of becoming cruel and thirsty for blood. Even though it might appear to be nonsense, the fact of the matter is that there is more truth in the words of this unknown man than we, people living in the twenty-first century, might want to admit, and history proves it.

First of all, it should be noted that the concept of bloodshed could be adapted to correspond with historical events. Thinking of bloodthirsty people, the first image, which comes to mind, is war. However, there is also another aspect of this issue. Why not interpret this word as the desire to own more lands and resources, however, without respect to human life? It is exactly what happened to Africa in the process of colonization during the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

The most civilized gentlemen, i.e. the European countries, were so thirsty in their desire to drive the economies with more raw materials that they decided to step over dignity and destroyed African political and economic systems. The same happened to Malay Peninsula, India, Burma, and some other Asian states as well as Latin America.

As the situation worsened, the gentlemen started opposing each other. The reason for their bloodthirsty behavior was the struggle for the spheres of influence and boosting the power of foreign policy. The Spanish-American War of 1898, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, two Moroccan crises, and, finally, Two World Wars. The wave of colonization and the conflicts mentioned above are just some instances, which prove that Dostoevsky’s unknown man was right.

At first, it might be complicated to draw the connection between civilization, i.e. industrial revolution and its consequences, and increasing bloodshed. However, taking a closer look at the causes of the mentioned events, it all comes down to the need for driving the economies with raw materials, and this necessity derives from the industrial revolution.

What were the major events in the development of the Cold War?

The beginning of the Cold War was put after the United States declared the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the end of World War II. It was a strategic decision focusing on growing influence in the region and opposing the Soviet Union because both the US and the USSR grew stronger during the war. The major events in the development of the Cold War were imposing communist regimes in Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia), the division of Germany, forming the NATO and establishing the Warsaw Pact, and numerous regional conflicts such as Arab-Israeli, the Korean, and the Vietnam wars, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

One of the other major events is the decolonization of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, which followed the war immediately. The reasons for the successful and fast decolonization can be seen in the weakening of the European countries’ military power after World War II. As a fact of the matter, it can be said that it was the Cold War that contributed to decolonization. The justification for this statement is the existence of only two superpowers in the world, the United States and the Soviet Union, which were not interested in supporting European countries in their desire to renew imperialist rule. The real results of decolonization were granting independence to all states, which were under the reign of colonists, and letting them choose their ways of further development.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Civilization in XIX Century and Cold War'. 28 April.

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