The role of the Cold War in shaping transatlantic relations in the period 1945 to 1970 Essay


The Cold War was remunerated from 1946 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The United States and the Soviet Union came out as the planets’ two superpowers as a consequence of World War II. A probable universal conflict between these two authorities emerged when the war stopped, and began to emerge in captions almost instantly as the conflict infringed further and further on Europe itself.

According to research, there is no certainty that the greedy political endeavors of Stalin could have been shortened by a countervailing United States supremacy after the Second World War (Painter & Leffler 2002). While the safety of the Soviet State and its settlement Communist organizations had precedence in 1945, Stalin’s expansionist goals rose throughout the last years of the Cold War.


Research shows that the menace of the Soviet Union expansionism after 1945 was the dynamic strength following the rising unity, and later incorporation of western European nations. Since both were in pain under the Soviet menace, it became likely for such opponents as France and Germany to join the similar coalition and lay the foundation stone for the European Union.

However, it seized less than a decade prior to safety and steadiness in the West to be understood and to be attached to a number of organizations. Research also shows that the external danger led to the worsening of relationships amid United States and Europe (Reynolds 1994). While the United States considerably amplified its military expenses, Europe struggled to reap the alleged peace bonus.

Unluckily, such an agreement was not in the United States’ concern; it sought for military “load division”. Actually, “load division” in the United States logically meant “load shifting” to the European states.

They were aloof to load this weight. When the Cold War stopped, Germany was barely the country which was capable of presenting the alleged “Gesamtkonzept”, or the future path plot outlining how European incorporation should carry on. This notion projected “intensifying” and “broadening” the European Union.

It demonstrated that the aged “German query” had been resolved, “that Europe’s supranational collaboration was no freak consequence of the Soviet menace, but a lasting denial of a two-millennium account of violence” (Lunderstand 2003).

The US foreign policy change in the Cold War period

The US observed an isolationist overseas policy before the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. The US had become influential before the WWII, but the US defense condition after the battle was diverse (Reynolds 1994).

The enhancement in technological growth of long-distance aircrafts, submarines, aircraft carriers, and atomic weaponry made the US rule makers to be vigorous to world rules. After WWII, the only state that would control the Soviet menace was the US, but this did not last for long as in 1947, the coalition was disbanded due to ideological disparity.

This is because of Stalin’s breach to the 1945 Yatta agreements, the aggressive pressure of the Soviet conquered governments on reluctant Eastern Europe nations, and a violent Soviet expansionism (Lunderstand 2005). During a long period of the Cold War, transatlantic relations seldom created deep separations in domestic politics.

In American politics, relationships with Europe were debatably the most consensual and least contentious constituent in the American foreign strategy. NATO quickly became a bipartisan holy cow; trade disagreement with the European Community rarely exploded with the resentment aimed at Japan.

In Europe, the US was sometimes a suitable political aim on the anti-nuclear left and the Gaullist and majestic right, but, with the significant exclusion of the communists, anti –Americanism did not become a constant line of political cleavage in politics of any main European state (Hughes & Dockrill 2006).

Even at times of strong difference between leaders on every side of the Atlantic, these interior relations were seldom demoralized for domestic political achievements.

As research indicates, Lyndon Johnson did not aim at the noticeably disliked Charles de Gaulle during the Vietnam War, despite the fact that such a policy might have prevented some of the domestic antagonism during the Vietnam War. Home politics served to steady transatlantic relations relative to intensifying elite disagreement (Lunderstand 2005).

This insulation of transatlantic relation politics began adjusting during the Reagan administration when the Cold War agreement in the US began to collapse. Until the Iraq war, Europe had not been a crucial subject to American politics, but home political style in the US now had obvious and, on equilibrium, negative insinuation for the steadiness of transatlantic relations (Kahler 2004).

The American communal view and the political results of financial interdependence served as fundamentals continued transatlantic relations. Political polarization, on the other hand, was a hazard to past accommodating relations, and could have been a potential medium for instability and probable disturbance. Foreign policy, in addition, was prone to be implicated by alteration in ethnic work.

Why the cold war dominated and hence shaped Atlantic relations

First of all, it was due to a bipolar arrangement between the US and Soviet Union, hence brought a stage of steadiness in the structure of the “long peace”. There were no developed wars among industrial societies throughout the cold war. Second, the notions of national safety and national concerns were considered during the war. The way of attaining them, however, varied from one to another (Kaiser, Leught & Rasmussen 2009).

Third, ideological dissimilarities between socialism and liberal capitalism also played an enormous role in the war. Ideology was not only a hypothetical device to assemble the masses and to give validations to what might otherwise be perceived to be unfair and illegal, but it was used to create an attitude to a better perceptive of cultures and organizations close to them.

It was considered to give a connotation to the international structure throughout the cold war and could work as a dynamic aspect in generating the dynamics of the east-west conflict.

Furthermore, alliances are said to have contributed much to the cold war (Kahler 2004). While the east-west conflict had broadened in capacity, and amplified the risk of a superpower nuclear confrontation, there appeared the need to bring together resources and intelligence, and create some kind of cooperation.

NATO is noticeably the first amongst contemporaries in terms of its permanence, elasticity that were accomplished during the cold war. Next, policy played a vital part during the cold war. The growth of nuclear weaponry called for a fundamental revision of strategic opinions.

In addition, the economic nature of the cold war, which was indicated by the Marshall plan, within the western, east-west operation, was the area where Western Europe and the USA clearly differed in the degree of limitations of trade with the socialist bloc (Hughes & Dockrill 2006). The Europeans sought for more business within the eastern bloc than their American equivalents did.

It should also be mentioned that the cold war was also concerned with cultural mediation, state-private systems, misinformation and popular ethnicities.

The escalation of information and technology and the diversification of cultures ranging from those previously independent nations in Europe to newly rising states in the third world predestined that a cold war society could simply find its means into the lives of the ample in form of books, movies, and periodicals (Painter & Leffler 2002).

Lastly, the United States and the Soviet Union both surfaced as anti-imperialist nations although the superpowers themselves became diverse hegemonic approaches to their customer’s nations or associates throughout the cold war.


The research above shows that Cold War occurred from the year 1945 to the year 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. With the United States and the Soviet Union having been the powerful nations, they controlled the war. However, the war seemed to support the transatlantic relations due to its strategic employment.

The US foreign policy which played a major part in the war, is covered in the research, as well as the strategies that the cold war employed in order for it to become dominant and hence shape Atlantic relations.


Hughes, G, & Dockrill, SR 2006, Introduction: the cold war as history. Web.

Kahler, M 2004, We are all Europeans now: U.S. Politics and Transatlantic Relations. Web.

Kaiser, W, Leught, B, & Rasmussen, M. 2009, The History of the European Union origins of a Trans- and supranational polity 1950-72, Routledge, New York.

Lunderstand, G 2003, The United States and Western Europe since 1945: from “empire” by invitation to transatlantic drift, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Lunderstand, 2005, The Atlantic Community, Germany’s role, and Western Europe’s Integration, 1950-1962, Oxford Scholarship, Oxford.

Painter, DS, & Leffler, MP 2002, Origins of the Cold War an international history, Routledge, London.

Reynolds, D 1994, The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: international perspectives, Yale University Press, New Haven.

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