Here is a term paper on the ‘Cold War’ for class 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘Cold War’ especially written for school and college students.

Term Paper on the Cold War

Term Paper Contents:

  1. Term Paper on the Origin of Cold War
  2. Term Paper on the Meaning of Cold War
  3. Term Paper on the Causes of Cold War
  4. Term Paper on the Struggle between Superpowers during Cold War
  5. Term Paper on the Truman Doctrine
  6. Term Paper on India and the Cold War
  7. Term Paper on the End of Cold War


Term Paper # 1. Origin of the Cold War:

Following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945 near the close of World War -II, the uneasy wartime alliance between the United States and Great Britain on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other began to unravel.

By 1948 the Soviets had installed left-wing governments in the countries of Eastern Europe that had been liberated by the red army. The Americans and the British feared the permanent soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the threat of soviet-influenced communist parties coming to power in the democracies of Western Europe.


The soviets, on the other hand, were determined to maintain control of Eastern Europe in order to safeguard against any possible renewed threat from Germany, and they were intent on spreading communism world-wide, largely for ideological reasons.

The cold war had solidified by 1947-1948, when U.S. aid provided under the Marshall plan to Western Europe had brought those countries under American influence and the soviets had installed openly communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

Term Paper # 2. Meaning of Cold War:

The cold war is the name given to the relationship that developed primarily between the USA and the USSR after World War II. The cold war was to dominate international affairs for decades and many major crises occurred the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, Hungary and the Berlin wall being just some. For many the growth in weapons of mass destruction was the most worrying issue.


Do note that USSR in 1945 was Russia post- 1917 and included all the various countries that now exist individually (Ukraine, Georgia etc.) but after the war they were part of this huge country up until the collapse of the soviet union (the other name for the USSR).

Logic would dictate that as the USA and the USSR fought as allies during World War II, their relationship after the war would be firm and friendly. This never happened and any appearance that these two powers were friendly during the war is illusory.

Before the war America had depicted the Soviet Union as almost the devil-incarnate. The Soviet Union had depicted America likewise so their ‘friendship’ during the war was simply the result of having a mutual enemy-Nazi Germany.

In fact, one of America’s leading generals, Patton, stated that he felt that the allied army should unite with what was left of the Wehrmacht in 1945, utilise the military genius that existed within it (such as the V2’s etc.) and fight the oncoming soviet red Army, Churchill himself was furious that Eisenhower, as supreme head of Allied command, had agreed that the red army should be allowed to get to Berlin first ahead of the allied Army. His anger was shared by Montgomery, Britain’s senior military figure.

So the extreme distrust that existed during the war was certainly present before the end of the war………… and this was between allies. The soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, was also distrustful of the Americans after Truman only told him of a new terrifying weapon that he was going to use against the Japanese. The first Stalin knew of what this weapon could do was when reports on Hiroshima got back to Moscow.

So this was the scene after the war ended in 1945. Both sides distrusted the other. One had a vast army in the field (the soviet union with its Red Army supremely lead by Zhukov) while the other, the Americans had the most powerful weapon in the world, the A-bomb and the soviets had no way on knowing how many America had.

So What Exactly was the Cold War?

In diplomatic terms there are three types of war:

1. Hot War:

This is actual warfare. All talks have failed and the Armies are fighting.

2. Warm War:

This is where talks are still going on and there would always be a chance of a peaceful outcome but Armies, Navies etc. are being fully mobilised and war plans are being put into operation ready for the command to fight.

3. Cold War:

This term is used to describe the relationship between America and the Soviet Union 1945 to 1980. Neither side ever fought the other-the consequences would be too appalling-but they did ‘fight’ for their beliefs using client states who fought for their beliefs on their behalf e.g. South Vietnam was anticommunist and was supplied by America during the war while north Vietnam was pro-communist and fought the south (and the Americans) using weapons from communist Russia or communist China.

In Afghanistan, the Americans supplied the rebel Afghans after the Soviet Union invaded in 1979 while they never physically involved themselves thus avoiding a direct clash with the Soviet Union.

The one time this process nearly broke down was the Cuban missile crisis.

So why were these two super powers so distrustful of the other?

America and Soviet Union

This lack of mutually understanding an alien culture, would lead the world down a very dangerous path-it led to the development of weapons of awesome destructive capability and the creation of some intriguing policies such as MAD—mutually assured destruction.

Term Paper # 3. Causes of the Cold War in 1945:

I. American fear of communist attack

II. Truman’s dislike of Stalin USSR’s fear of the American’s atomic bomb

III. USSR’s dislike of capitalism

IV. USSR’s actions in the soviet zone of Germany

V. America’s refusal to share nuclear secrets

VI. USSR’s expansion west into Eastern Europe + broken election promises

VII. USSR’s fear of American attack

VIII. USSR’s need for a secure western border

IX. USSR’s aim of spreading world communism

This feeling of suspicion lead to mutual distrust and this did a great deal to deepen the cold war.

Term Paper # 4. Struggle between Superpowers during the Cold War:

The cold war reached its peak in 1948-53. In this period the soviets unsuccessfully blockaded the Western-held sectors of West Berlin (1948-49); the united states and its European allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a unified military command to resist the Soviet presence in Europe (1949); the soviets exploded their first atomic warhead (1949), thus ending the American monopoly on the atomic bomb; the Chinese communists came to power in mainland China (1949); and the Soviet- supported communist government of North Korea invaded U.S. supported South Korea in 1950, setting off an indecisive Korean War that lasted until 1953.

From 1953 to 1957 cold war tensions relaxed somewhat, largely owing to the death of the longtime soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953; nevertheless, the standoff remained. A unified military organization among the soviet-bloc countries, the Warsaw pact, was formed in 1955; and West Germany was admitted into NATO that same year. Another intense stage of the cold war was in 1958-62.

The United States and the Soviet Union began developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and in 1962 the Soviets began secretly installing missiles in Cuba that could be used to launch nuclear attacks on U.S. cities. This sparked the Cuban missile crisis (1962), a confrontation that brought the two superpowers to the brink of war before an agreement was reached to withdraw the missiles.

The Cuban missile crisis showed that neither the United States nor the soviet union were ready to use nuclear weapons for fear of the other’s retaliation (and thus of mutual atomic annihilation). The two superpowers soon signed the Nuclear Test-ban Treaty of 1963, which banned aboveground nuclear weapons testing.

But the crisis also hardened the soviets’ determination never again to be humiliated by their military inferiority, and they began a buildup of both conventional and strategic forces that the United States was forced to match for the next 25 years.

Throughout the cold war the United States and the Soviet Union avoided direct military confrontation in Europe and engaged in actual combat operations only to keep allies from defecting to the other side or to overthrow them after they had done so. Thus the Soviet Union sent troops to preserve communist rule in East Germany (1953), Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), and Afghanistan (1979).

For its part, the United States helped overthrow a left-wing government in Guatemala (1954), supported an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba (1961), invaded the Dominican Republic (1965) and Grenada (1983), and undertook a long (1964-75) and unsuccessful effort to prevent communist north Vietnam from bringing south Vietnam under its rule.

Term Paper # 5. The Truman Doctrine:

The Truman doctrine was the name given to a policy announced by US president Harry Truman on March 12th, 1947. The Truman doctrine was a very simple warning clearly made to the USSR-though the country was not mentioned by name-that the USA would intervene to support any nation that was being threatened by a takeover by an armed minority.

The Truman doctrine has to be assessed against the background of what had happened in Europe at the end of world war-II and in the immediate aftermath.

During the war conferences, Stalin had made it clear that he would allow free elections in the east European countries previously occupied by Nazi forces and that had been liberated by the red army in its drive to Berlin. To Roosevelt, his successor Truman and Churchill this seeming promise meant that anyone could stand for election, anyone over a certain age could freely vote and that voting would be done in secret-effectively a carbon copy of what the west took for granted when it came to elections.

Stalin clearly had other ideas. He wanted to put what Churchill was to call an ‘Iron Curtain’ around the USSR and that meant each eastern European country that was near to the soviet border had to have a loyal communist government in power with leaders who would do what Stalin wished.

Therefore, elections were never going to be fair. Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania all ended up with communist governments and had leaders who looked to Moscow for advice as opposed to the people of the country they governed. The only oddity for Stalin was Yugoslavia led by Tito. He was communist but Tito was not prepared to simply see the Nazis replaced by the influence of soviet communists.

Truman’s stated policy-the Truman doctrine-was not just about supporting the rights of a majority against the armed might of a minority; it also had a strategic bearing to it. Truman stated that it would be ‘the policy of the united states to support tree people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.’

Then in 1946 communists in Greece attempted a takeover. They were in the minority in the country but received moral support from the USSR in their efforts to overthrow the monarchy and actual material support from Yugoslavia.

Greece was in a highly sensitive position militarily and Truman, while not wanting to involve America in any military action, wanted to give the Greek government as much support as he could during the Greek civil War. The USSR’s black sea fleet was effectively bottled up in the black sea.

It had to use the narrow waterway through Turkey -the Dardanelles-to get into the Mediterranean Sea. All its movements were easy to monitor-even submarines, as listening devices had been placed on the seabed that easily picked up the noise of a submarine’s engines. If the USSR could get an ally physically in the Mediterranean Sea, then such a hindrance would not exist as a naval base could be built in a soviet-friendly state.

Congress agreed to send $400 million in military and economic aid to support the government of Greece. There was a shared view that if Greece fell to the communists, Turkey would be next and that the soviet union was slowly creeping towards the oil fields of the middle east. However, there was no support to send US military forces into Greece.

The Truman doctrine was to set the tone for US foreign policy throughout the world post-March 1947. Greece and turkey became members of NATO-a clear message to Moscow that an attack on either would be deemed by other members of NATO to be an attack on all of them.

Term Paper # 6. India and the Cold War:

As a leader of NAM, India’s response to the ongoing cold war was two-fold- At one level, it took particular care in staying away from the two alliances. Second, it raised its voice against the newly decolonised countries becoming part of these alliances. India’s policy was neither negative nor passive.

As Nehru reminded the world, nonalignment was not a policy of ‘fleeing away’. On the contrary, India was in favour of actively intervening in world affairs to soften cold war rivalries. India tried to reduce the differences between the alliances and thereby prevent differences from escalating into a full-scale war.

Indian diplomats and leaders were often used to communicate and mediate between cold war rivals such as in the Korea war in the early 1950s It is important to remember that India chose to involve other members of the non-aligned group in this mission. During the cold war, India repeatedly tried to activate those regional and international organisations, which were not a part of the alliances led by the US and USSR.

Nehru reposed great faith in ‘a genuine commonwealth of free and cooperating nations’ that would play a positive role in softening, if not ending, the cold war. Non-alignment was not, as some suggest, a noble international cause which had little to do with India’s real interests.

A non-aligned posture also served India’s interests very directly, in at least two ways:

First, non-alignment allowed India to take international decisions and stances that served its interests rather than the interests of the superpowers and their allies.

Second, India was often able to balance one superpower against the other. If India felt ignored or unduly pressurised by one superpower, it could tilt towards the other. Neither alliance system could take India for granted or bully it. India’s policy of non-alignment was criticised on a number of counts.

Here we may refer to only two criticisms:

First, India’s non-alignment was said to be ‘unprincipled’. In the name of pursuing its national interest, India, it was said, often refused to take a firm stand on crucial international issues.

Second, it is suggested that India was inconsistent and took contradictory postures. Having criticised others for joining alliances, India signed the treaty of friendship in august 1971 with the USSR for 20 years. This was regarded, particularly by outside observers, as virtually joining the Soviet alliance system.

The Indian government’s view was that India needed diplomatic and possibly military support during the Bangladesh crisis and that in any case the treaty did not stop India from having good relations with other countries including the US.

Non-alignment as a strategy evolved in the cold war context. With the disintegration of the USSR and the end of the cold war in 1991, non-alignment, both as an international movement and as the core of India’s foreign policy, lost some of its earlier relevance and effectiveness. However, non-alignment contained some core values and enduring ideas.

It was based on recognition that decolonised states share a historical affiliation and can become a powerful force if they come together. It meant that the poor and often very small countries of the world need not become followers of any of the big powers, that they could pursue an independent foreign policy.

It was also based on a resolve to democratise the international system by thinking about an alternative world order to redress existing inequities. These core ideas remain relevant even after the cold war has ended.

Term Paper # 7. End of the Cold War:

In the course of the 1960s and ’70s, however, the bipolar struggle between the soviet and American blocs gave way to a more complicated pattern of international relationships in which the world was no longer split into two clearly opposed blocs. A major split had occurred between the Soviet Union and China in 1960 and widened over the years, shattering the unity of the communist bloc.

In the meantime, Western Europe and Japan achieved dynamic economic growth in the 1950s and ’60s, reducing their relative inferiority to the United States. Less-powerful countries had more room to assert their independence and often showed themselves resistant to superpower coercion or cajoling.

The 1970s saw an easing of cold war tensions as evinced in the SALT I and II agreements of 1972 and 1979 respectively, in which the two superpowers set limits on their antiballistic missiles and on their strategic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This was followed by a period of renewed cold war tensions in the early 1980s as the two superpowers continued their massive arms buildup and competed for influence in the Third world.

But the cold war began to break down in the late 1980s during the administration of soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. He dismantled the totalitarian aspects of the Soviet system and began efforts to democratize the Soviet political system. When communist regimes in the Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern Europe collapsed in 1989-90, Gorbachev acquiesced in their fall.

The rise to power of democratic governments in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia was quickly followed by the unification of West and East Germany under NATO auspices, again with Soviet approval. Gorbachev’s internal reforms had meanwhile weakened his own communist party and allowed power to shift to Russia and the other constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

In late 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and 15 newly independent nations were born from its corpse, including a Russia with a democratically elected, anticommunist leader. The cold war had come to an end.

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