How Did We Get Involved?
In 1945, one major war ended and another began. At the end of World War II, Germany and Japan were destroyed, Britain was broke and France was unstable and preoccupied in French Indochina. The Soviet Union and the United States were the only empires left on the planet. The tensions that would later grow into Cold War became evident as early as 1945, when the "Big Three" allied leaders—British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin (as seen above respectively)—met to coordinate strategy. Both the US and the USSR had opposite systems of government, and opposite desires for the postwar world.
During the time, the United States had a strong belief that communism was a threat to the stability and freedom of the world. The US believed that the Soviet Union would do whatever it could to spread its ideology to as much of the world as was possible.The US was fearful of the spread of communism and any kind of communist attack that might occur. The US believed that this would be detrimental for both the country and for the world. There was a great deal of tension and distrust between the United States and the Soviet Union. Because the US saw communism as a pernicious evil and expansive ideology, the US got involved in the Cold War.
A War With No Fighting
The Cold War lasted for about 45 years. There were no direct military campaigns between the two main antagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union, yet billions of dollars and millions of lives were lost in the time of the Cold War. The United States became the leader of the free-market capitalist world. America and its allies struggled to keep the communist, totalitarian Soviet Union from expanding into Europe, Asia, and Africa. Countries as remote as Korea and Vietnam, Cuba and Grenada, Afghanistan and Angola, became battlegrounds between the two ideologies. One postwar pattern quickly became clear. The United States would not retreat into its former isolationist stance as long as there was a Cold War to wage.