Sample Scholarship Essays

Cold War

.. and told the US to mind its own business. The US has certainly lost some importance of its leading role in the world, and this is also due to its internal problems with which it seems unable to cope with. There is a tremendous high crime rate within the USA, and poverty is like in some Third World countries. The USA also has to cope with inflation and an either stagnating or declining economy (the last two problems previously unknown to the USA).

Thus criticism arose as to whether the USA is still suitable to take up the role of leading world power and interfere in conflicts between other states, since it seems to be unable to cope with its own problems. Recent criticism also arose over the role of the USA in the UN. It is argued that several other states should have a permanent membership on the UN security council with the right to veto a decision, since several other states (notably Germany and Japan) are economically much stronger than the USA (although not militarily). To reform this it will however take at least ten more years (or a major crises). The post-Cold War “new world order” is not, like in the Cold War, dominated by ideology, but by economics. Countries want to achieve economic growth and want to prosper.

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Poorer countries are eager to attract foreign investors and rich countries are eager to become even richer. Within this age of globalization, and with the iron curtain now something of the past, this aim seems to be easier to achieve than before. Companies can take up opportunities in the former Eastern Bloc states and by doing so help them to become more equal on an economic level to the Western States. Countries are unlikely to go to war just because they do not agree in terms of ideology. The reasons for war have shifted. This can be seen at the example of the war in former Yugoslavia.

Here the war was started by Serbia, and the reasons date back hundreds of years. One other big reason for them to start the war with Croatia is that Serbia was economically very dependent on Croatia. So here economic reason beyond any doubt also plays a role. Issues of (national) identity also may be a reason to take up arms. “Issues of identity will inevitably impinge upon the incident of armed conflict, whether this is between or within states. Thus national identity, ethnicity or religious affiliation is likely to contribute to the outbreak of conflict or to be used as a source of legitimation for recourse to arms.” (Charlotte Bretherton, p.103) This also contributed to the war in former Yugoslavia, as different ethnic groups started to fight for what they thought was “their” land.

(Ethnic cleansing was also a fact in the war in former Yugoslavia) Religion has always been a source of conflict, as several examples throughout history show us. Examples of this are the unrests in N. Ireland, the Muslim fundamentalists throughout the world (e.g. Afghanistan) and, to take an older example, the prosecution of Calvinists in the 16th and 17th Century. In N. Ireland the conflict consists out of a combination of conflict over national identity and religious affiliation; one Party is Protestant and wants to belong to Britain, and the other Party is Catholic and wants to belong to The Republic of Ireland.

One example of religion as a cause, which I think will be a source of conflict in the future (as it has been in the past) is the problem of the Palestinians and Israel in the Middle-East. So it is clear that armed conflicts mostly do not arise because of just one of the reasons mentioned before. Armed conflicts arise due to several reasons which can be interstate or innerstate ones (or both), and which can be quite complicated. The reasons I mention here are not new reasons (causes), and this brings me back to the point I mentioned earlier; the importance of these reasons has increased, due to the shift from the ideological reasons to the reasons mentioned above. This shift in causes does not significantly affect the effort of maintaining peace, since they always (or at least very often) played a part in resolving a conflict and maintaining peace.

In fact, with the importance of ideology not being such an important cause (or not being a cause at all) anymore, the people concerned with maintaining peace have one reason less to worry about, and one difficulty less to conquer. Potential sources of conflict can be found throughout the world. I think that armed conflict might arise in some of the ex-USSR states, and, if Netanyahu keeps up with his politics (and as I mentioned as an example before), in the Middle-East, notably in and around Israel. Another area where conflict might arise is in Africa. This is not alone due to internal tensions of various kinds, but also due to the “North-South Divide”. Europe can be under threat by Africa if there will be long-term economical dissatisfaction and if some charismatic leaders can unite Africa (or at least some African states) against Europe. However all these are just hypothesis and it remains to be seen whether any of them will take place in the future.

Of two things however I remain sure; firstly, the importance of economic benefits in conflicts and in political decisions will increase, and secondly, that it will be impossible to have a world without war, since to me it seems that war is a part of human nature and one can see this throughout history. Wars have built and destroyed them empires, and people have lived just to go to war. So the only way how this shift in the causes of war will effect the effort of maintaining peace, is that there is one cause less to worry about. The effort of maintaining peace will always be needed, since, in my opinion, there will always be minor armed conflicts and wars (about 148 at the moment…) In order to prove my opinion that war will always exist, one would have to write another essay to explore the reasons for this assumption more thoroughly, all I can say is to look at history, and then one will find the answer….

Cold War

Cold War
In the post World War II era, a war arose between the Soviet Union and the
United States, but in reality there was never really any documented fighting between the
two nations, thus spawning the catch phrase Cold War. Even though both countries
were ready to go to war at the blink of an eye and almost did, the powers-that-be never
got the nerve to authorize a nuclear war that would have made World War II look like
childs play. This was a war fought in the political ring, and was also a war that did not
start at the end of World War II, this war started during the war against Hitler and lasted
for forty more years before peace became predominant over the crumbling Soviet Union.

Many events occurred in this political heavyweight bout, and both sides can be blamed
for the extremity the tensions escalated to, and this Cold War would have been tough to
avoid taking into account the political beliefs of the countries at hand.
During the war, once the Allied powers from the west joined forces with Stalins
Red Army, trouble was inevitable. Luckily for the world, America had a great leader and
foreign diplomat in Franklin D. Roosevelt while England countered with Winston
Churchill. This duo created a steady working relationship with Stalin, thus creating the
Big Three and the Grand Alliance. Even though it was far from a perfect relationship, all
three diplomats realized the task at hand, the mandate of stopping Adolph Hitler and the
Nazi regime of Germany. Sadly, this priority overwhelmed the Big Three, and no
solution was ever conjured up on how to handle the Post-War situation in Europe and
Asia following an Allied victory. Understandably, stopping Hitler was far from
guaranteed, but any plan that was taken by the Allies in Europe never even considered
the implications of how to handle the war-torn countries of Eastern Europe afterwards,
an area that the Soviets had suffered many casualties and other losses to free from facist
control. The few problems with Churchill and Roosevelt is that they both tended to do
things their own way, sometimes leaving Stalin out to dry, and also relied heavily on their
own diplomatic skills, leaving other politicians out of the foreign policy matters for each
country. While many United States Government officials were not fans of Stalin, they all
realized the urgency in having him on their side of the fight. In reality, no one in the
government knew how to handle Stalin except for Roosevelt, which creates one of the
first major events of the Cold War: the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. With
Roosevelt dying, the foreign policy of the United States was about to do a complete 180
in reverse. Suddenly, all the cabinet and legislative members have a significant role in
the diplomatic world, a world they had previously been shut out of for over a decade. In
the middle lies a man who had not a clue about what he was getting himself into. Harry
Truman was about to get in way over his head, and absolutely being Roosevelts fault,
Truman was about to get into a situation he was almost completely unfamiliar with. Poor
Truman had been briefed but only once in the matters involving the war, and the
decisions he was about to make would shape the world forever. With Roosevelt being a
pacifist with Stalin, a decent working relationship evolved between the two, and some
glimmer of hope can be seen to this day about what could have happened if Roosevelt
did not die and kept up the good standing with Russia. Imagining Stalins reaction after
the Yalta Conference with Roosevelt to that of the Potsdam Conference just months after
Roosevelts death with Truman at the helm being very aggressive towards Communism
in Eastern Europe is almost comical, if the severity of the situation is not understood.
This must be noted as one of the building blocks of the Cold War with Russia, because
this marks the official point where Americas stance towards Stalin and Communism
changes drastically and the time where Truman begins his diplomatic journey with the
forces in the Soviet Union, one that will engulf him for the rest of his tenure in office.
This also must be noted as being Americas fault. A countrys attitudes cannot visually
and verbally change so radically so quickly. Roosevelt should have briefed Truman
heavily on dealing with Stalin.America could stay on Stalins good side, leaving some
remote chance of having a settlement work itself out after the war. An angry Stalin is
much harder to reason with than a content Stalin, especially taking into consideration that
he was absolutely insane, something you cant play with carelessly.
The next event that shaped the worlds history and marked the official beginning
of the Cold War was the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After talking with
Russia and getting their consent on joining the war on Japan, the United States again acts
wrong and hastily by dropping a device that blew up the city of Hiroshima. The
agreement was with Russia that on August 8th, the Soviet Union would declare war on
Japan. Taking this into account, the United States went ahead and dropped the bomb on
August 6th, two days before. In another bold and careless move, the second bomb was
dropped on Nagasaki. This bomb was dropped before the Japanese even received an
ultimatum from the United States about an unconditional surrender before they will
destroy another city with one of their new weapons. That aside, the pertinent issue is that
America did not even talk to Russia about their plans to drop the bomb before it was
already done. So, the Red Army had to use the resources, raw materials, and not to
mention the man-power to move their troops over to Japan from Eastern Europe,
something that was taking in the ballpark of three months. Once they officially got there,
the war is over, and the United States gives them a bold statement by ending the war so
violently and quickly while letting the Russians know that the U.S. does not need or want
their help anymore. Also, the Russians probably realized that the Americans do not want
them anywhere in Asia, where Communism could spread, in fact, the United States did
not want to have to share occupation of Japan with the Russians, something that probably
frustrated Stalin. The Americans also wanted to demonstrate the power of the bomb, and
give Stalin a reason to be fearful of the powerful United States, so no troubles will arise
in the post-war era. If only the United States would have conversed with Stalin briefly
about their plans, maybe dropping the bomb would not have been so daunting and
unnecessary. Shunning the Soviet Union to end the war with Japan without any further
interactions in Asia was the first Cold War maneuver of many to come from both sides.
The United States was out to better their own country, and all the while not promoting
any kind of unity between the superpowers, something that democracy is supposed to be
all about.

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Undoubtedly, one of the more important Cold War origins belonged to the region
of Eastern Europe, where turmoil between the Western powers and Russia lasted for
decades. Russia, sacrificing so much to stop Hitler, desperately wanted the countries of
Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Poland. On the other hand, the United States
demanded that Poland be a democracy where free elections would be held. This is
certainly where the Cold War escalates, as Russia breaks a promise to uphold free
elections in Poland in the late 40s and early 50s, something that does not sit well with
Truman and his government. Through this whole debate, Stalin vehemently states that
the United States are not being sympathetic to the Soviet Union. For all that the U.S.S.R.

gave up during the war, they felt Poland should be theirs, but more importantly they felt
that Poland was a major security issue. The past two World Wars saw Russia being
invaded through Poland, and they felt that this could simply not happen again, therefore,
they wanted control so they could establish military and political defenses to any country
wanting to attack Russia. This, along with the same reasoning behind other Eastern
European countries, including a separated Germany, became a major debate of the Cold
War where tensions almost lead to a war. Russia felt that the West should establish their
own capital in West Germany and let the Russians have Berlin, since Berlin falls in East
Germany, yet another major Eastern European conflict. This was more Russias fault for
having such heavy tension in this area, but one can certainly understand where Russia is
coming from in wanting more control over this volatile region. On the other hand,
breaking a promise to hold free elections, especially in a region where popular opinion is
believed to would rather have a democracy is certainly an undeniable problem for both
sides of the Cold War. Hostility in Eastern Europe was unavoidable, especially with the
lack of communication during the war over the plans on what exactly to do with this area
after 1945.

Other events that transpired in the beginnings of this long and potentially
devastating Cold War was two documents in particular produced by the American
Government. With forced pressure from the interior government, Harry Truman and his
administration took an aggressive stance on Communism, at any and all costs. The first
document was a speech by Harry Truman given in the spring of 1947. The document was
considered a Cold War Biproxy and has gone down in history as laying a foundation for
foreign policy and is called the Truman Doctrine. The main goal for this was to back up
anyone fighting Communist aggression. At any chances of stopping Communism from
spreading, the United States were prepared to stop any movement by Communist
countries into free countries throughout the world. It was truly the first document
proclaiming the United States as the World Policeman against Communism and just
amplified the fact that America is no longer an isolationist country and our involvement
in the global spectrum became very evident. The other very significant document in
American Cold War foreign policy was NSC-68, a document brought together by the
National Security Council in 1950, a relatively new organization set up to create a
department of defense, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. This document just
expanded thoroughly on the Truman doctrine, and packed the muscle behind Americas
new foreign policy. NSC-68 called for an immediate upgrade of our defense systems.
This was a pure military move, and would cost over $35 billion dollars a year. The threat
for massive retaliation started to surface from this as well, and the threat of a nuclear war
was ever-present, especially with the Russians successfully testing an atomic bomb in
1949. This just called for an increase in nuclear armament, and if a war broke out, this
document would guarantee that if the United States would have to fight to the death, they
would, and they would also go down in a blaze of glory if necessary. This marked the
first guarantee of a massive military response to any Communist forces wanting to test
the waters of democracy. This was also about the time where the rollback theory came
into play, and Americans debated about not just stopping but penetrating any Communist
movements. These bold documents from the United States marked the beginnings of the
height of the Cold War that would come about roughly ten years later, where if a large
scale battle broke out with Russia or China, human and land losses would be atrocious.

The origins of the Cold War would be one-sided and incomplete if it did not
include the actions that were occurring in Russia. An unorganized government, lead by a
drunken and insane leader who makes diplomatic decisions at four in the morning is
certainly a cause for action. The fact must be brought forth of the human casualties
suffered in Russia by the government and the military. Individuals did not enjoy freedom
to think for themselves in Russia, and if a Russian decided to speak out or question
authority, he would be killed with no remorse. The fact of the matter is that many
millions of Russian citizens were being massacred by their own government. That
certainly is a large reason for concern. Any alternative scenarios to avoid any Cold War
conflicts would have to of ended with these atrocities. The United States could not have
negotiated for Russia to cease these actions, so even though America could have reacted
better to some events during and after the war, Russia still would not have been easy to
deal with when it came to their own country, not to mention Eastern Europe.
The Cold War was more than likely inevitable, but it probably could have
transpired more peacefully and definitely not on such a grand level. Someone that crazy
as Stalin was and consequences so heavy as letting Russia into Eastern Europe could not
be ignored, and the Americans had every right to stop the advancement of Russia into
Poland. The Polish would not want to suffer those horrendous acts of oppression, and if
the United States wanted to be the policeman of the world and stop these human rights
violations, then Russia is the perfect place to start. The United States certainly did not
always act brilliantly, and indeed they caused plenty of their own problems by a lack of
good communication, but Russia was just as much to blame for the tensions throughout
the world during the origins of the Cold War in the late 1940s to early 50s.
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Cold War

Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world
disarmament – and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union
adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them to
do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude – as
individuals and as a Nation – for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And
every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and
wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward – by examining his own
attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the
course of the cold war and toward freedom and peace here at home. President John
F. Kennedy, American University Speech, June 10, 1963 The Cold War was a time in
American History during the twentieth century where the Communist nations were
fighting against the non-Communist nations. However, the main countries
involved, or the ones leading the two sides were the United States and Russia.

The United States led the fight against Communist nations, like Russia. But
these intense rivalries didnt just go on in the type of government that
should be used or in who could develop the most advanced and most powerful
nuclear weapon of the time. This rivalry went into the culture of American
societies. The Russians were always being viewed as the toughest rival and the
team to beat according to the US. It is similar to how teams think of the
defending champions in a sport. The team playing the defending champions wants
to come out hyped up and with their “A-game” every time they are competing
with them. Another impact it had on the American society was how people started
acting and thinking. In many of the movies and television shows of the time,
most people wouldnt have noticed, but the directors and producers were hiding
subliminal messages in them. Some of them depicting how awful the Russians were
or how supreme the Americans were. But was American society affected by the Cold
War, or was America just trying to make their society better to show it off to
the other countries? Basically, did Americas way of life and economy during
the cold war improve because they wanted it to show it off or was it a
necessity? The Cold War did affect the Americans way of life. America was a
young nation and it was just beginning to develop into a dominant country. It
first really just established itself as a world power during the two world wars.

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Therefore, the cold war was a time in which Americans were trying to get a name
for themselves by showing how great, life in their country was. Shows like Leave
It to Beaver and Father Knows Best portrayed the stereotypical American
families. Even though everyone knows that there is no such thing as a perfect
family, people still enjoyed watching these types of shows. Commercials, or
shows like I Love Lucy, showing the stereotypical woman or housewife in the
kitchen were another way of showing things off. It is really very difficult to
always own the latest models of things coming out. So a woman in a kitchen with
all the new appliances is really unlikely. This was another way of showing off
to other countries how life was or wasnt. However, the show I Love Lucy,
mainly showed how much freedom a woman had when her husband wasnt home. Lucy
constantly did foolish things that werent exactly the ways women were
supposed to have been behaving. Once again, the United States was portraying how
great life was in America compared to other countries. The majority of the
television shows during the 1950s showed no poverty, death, ethnic mixing, or
racial tension. It just presented the “perfect world.” Juxtaposed, it could
be argued that the Cold War didnt help shape the American society. American
life could have just formed like how it was supposed to happen; like human
nature. When the men all came back from World War II, many women lost their jobs
and werent as active as they were during the time of WWII. The jobs were all
given back to the men, and women were once again treated very delicately. They
went back to their old ways of life when a womans life wasnt supposed to
be strenuous. That then caused the emergence of the “in-the-house-all-day”
housewife. The idea of the housewife then became more exaggerated and led to the
creation of the various commercials portraying the “perfect lifestyle.” All
of these reasons point to the society being shaped naturally just by the way
things were turning out. The cold war affected all parts of the American society
including politics. The major political event during the time was the Red Scare.

The Red Scare started back a few years before the 1920s and went away relatively
for awhile during World War II. However, as soon as the war ended, the hysteria
over communism went away a little bit. The “Reds,” as communists were
called, were seen as a danger to the United States and their citizens. The Red
Scare brought out one of the most “politically repressive periods” in U.S.

history because it took away many freedoms of expression, political activism and
press. It kept on going, however, due to the American communists, communist
sympathizers, and citizens trying to achieve social justice. Most of these
people were intellectuals (writers and academics), government officials,
political figures, teachers, college professors, and entertainers. The main
effect it had on Americans was that off fear. Many Americans were afraid of a
communist take-over and all the violence that followed it. Most of these fears
were portrayed in science-fiction movies, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
The Thing, Invaders from Mars, and The Blob. These films all presented traits
similar to either the communists or the stereotypical description of communists.

In The Blob, the blob shows how the communism is spreading slowly, but
effectively over everything. Like it is “creeping” through relatively
unnoticed. In Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the aliens act like the communists
in that they possess similar goals, which are to “take over the towns
military, government, and other types of authority.” These are similar to what
Anti-Communist Americans believed that the “Reds” were trying to do. All of
these movies also show how directors and producers tried to show Americans
hidden messages about communism. Therefore, it is likely that the directors were
Anti-Communist. Another aspect of entertainment influenced by the cold war was
music. Rock and roll was the most popular style of music at the time and there
were some songs that werent really dealing with the cold war in general, but
there were some songs in which the topic of the song dealt with a situation in
the cold war. Its typical audience was teenagers and young adults, similar to
the listeners of rap and hip-hop in todays society. Elvis Presley, “the
King of Rock and Roll,” was probably the most popular rock and roll star of
the time. His music was different from others because he was the first to
combine both “black and white sound.” However, his dancing did bring on some
criticism from the older generation of people because they perceived it as
obscene and indecent. Elvis, though not directly in his songs, was influenced by
the Cold War. According to his Federal Bureau of Investigation file, he was an”undercover informant against radicals he saw as undermining the nation.”


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