How far do you agree that the Cold War affected Europe more seriously than the rest of the World between 1945 and 1950? Explain your answer. (13)
Whether or not the Cold War affected Europe more seriously than the rest of the world depends on what yardstick or measurement we are using. It very much also depends on the time-line or period we are discussing.
I will like to argue that between 1945 and 1948, the Cold War affected Europe more seriously than the rest of the world in terms of territorial and border adjustments. This is because Europe was divided into two different spheres. The USSR set up Communist governments in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Bulgaria. New countries like East Germany and West Germany were created, both under Allied and Soviet influence respectively. These were known as satellite states. In a speech in USA, Ex-British PM Winston Churchill even delivered an Iron Curtain Speech in which he said Europe had split into Soviet satellite states in the east and democratic states in the west. In contrast, between 1945 and 1948, there was little movement in terms of border adjustments. This qualifies my argument that the Cold War affected Europe more seriously than the rest of the world between 1945 and 1948.
Even in terms of intensity, the period from 1945 to 1948 shows that the Cold War affected Europe more seriously. This is seen in examples like the Berlin Blockade where Soviet troops attempted to block all road, rail and canal links between East and West Germany in order to starve Berlin into surrender. The Berlin Airlift was ordered to give enough food and resources to West Berliners. This was an intense period because if US planes were shot down during the Airlift, this would have led to another world war. There was high intensity and drama in Europe. In contrast, conflicts in Asia were civil wars which did not involve the superpowers or the threat of global conflict. Therefore between 1945 and 1948, high intensity and drama was seen in Europe rather than in Asia.
Between 1948 and 1950 however, my argument is that the impact of the Cold War became more serious in Asia. In terms of territorial or border changes, China had become the first Communist country in Asia in October 1949. China had the largest population in the world and was a growing world power. Therefore, this shows that in terms of territorial or border changes, the impact of the Cold War in Asia during this period was more serious. It also began to pose more serious problems because the USA also began to fear that the USSR might give China the technology to produce its own nuclear weapons. There were also new tensions because the USA had a one-China policy which recognised only Taiwan or the Republic of China as the only legitimate China. In contrast, the territorial and border changes in Europe remained stagnant. The borders of Eastern Europe and Western Europe remained stagnant and tense.
Between 1948 and 1950, even in terms of intensity, the impact of the Cold War was more intense in Asia than in Europe. War broke out in Korea in June 1950 when North Korean invaded South Korea. It was at first a local event. However, when USA intervened in the war to prevent the fall of South Korea and later China became involved by end 1950, the Cold War had become a hot war. More than 400,000 Chinese soldiers and 50,0000 US troops had died in the war. There was also the constant threat of USSR getting involved in the Korean conflict. Therefore between 1948 and 1950, the impact of the Cold War was definitely felt more intensely in Asia than in Europe.
In conclusion, whether or not the impact of the Cold War was felt more intensely in Europe or Asia depends on the time period. Between 1945 and 1948, the intensity and border changes affected Europe more sharply than Asia because of the creation of Communist states in Eastern Europe. Between 1949 and 1955 however, the intensity and border changes affected Asia more sharply because of the rise of China and her involvement in the Korean War.