The Cold War
The cold war–the bitter standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union–lasted for over 50 years and polarized the world. The conflict had its roots in political and ideological disagreements dating back to the Russian Revolution of 1917–disagreements that intensified in the wake of World War II. Allan M. Winkler excerpts speeches by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to demonstrate the growing abyss between the two political systems. President Harry S. Truman’s announcement of the existence of a Soviet atomic bomb and his speech to Congress launching the Truman Doctrine testify to the gravity of the situation. The cold war was not always “cold”–armed conflicts were narrowly avoided in the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs, and war did erupt in Korea and Vietnam. The complex politics of the Vietnam War are represented by voices as divergent as Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh, President Lyndon B. Johnson, antiwar protesters, and a participant in the My Lai massacre.