Sample History Argumentative Essay Paper on Interpretation of Cold War (1956-1968)

Interpretation of Cold War (1956-1968)

War has never resolved differences, but people nations engage in the war to demonstrate their superiority, as well as to calm political pressure. When politics opt to follow a certain route and along the way an obstruction emerges, war becomes the best alternative to clear the way. The Cold War developed due to political rivalry, as well as military pressure, which emerged after WWII. Although numerous historians have written about the Cold War, they did not agree unanimously on the dates. The turning point of the Cold War was witnessed in 1956, when more tension rose in the communist world. Changes in political leadership, which was experienced on both sides, brought a new twist in the Cold War. Khrushchev’s utterances during the Soviet Communist Party’s meeting marked the beginning of Sino-Soviet split.

Khrushchev’s Reign

During the WWII, the US and Britain joined the Soviet Union to fight Germany, but after the war, all the three countries became enemies. The Cold War in 1956 took a new turn after Khrushchev took power in Russia following the death of Stalin. This was the year that Nikita Khrushchev began the de-Stalinization (Chen 101). In his message to the delegates of the Soviet Communist Party, Khrushchev affirmed that changes were necessary if the country was to move forward, as Stalin and his personality cult were dictators and murderers. Political prisoners were released while the Chief of Secret Police during Stalin’s reign was executed.  Khrushchev and his colleagues took full control of the Soviet leadership by taking the Soviet Union’s inner-Party while concentrating on domestic issues as their first priority (102).

Although the trip to Britain by Khrushchev has not been discussed by many historians, the trip was quite significant in the strife to move towards transnational reality. The British-Soviet relationship was still shaky, but de-Stalinization seemed to offer a broad sense of diplomatic ties even without any plan to halt the Cold War (Smith 539). Khrushchev was not ready to abandon communism, hence, his perceived relationship with Britain was to exist peacefully with a hope that in the future, the Soviet Union would overtake the West. On its side, Britain wanted to demonstrate to Khrushchev that it would remain as a world power, whose capacity on world affairs was even beyond the US (540).

Khrushchev thought that Eastern Europe could cope well if all leaders embraced communism in their countries. Hence, he made his second mistake in his de-Stalinization campaign by attempting to remove Hungary’s pro-Stalin leader. This action did not please the Hungarians, and the Hungarian Revolution emerged in 1956 to counter Khrushchev’s order. Hungarians did not like the Russian communism since it contributed to abject poverty while their country was under full control by the Russians.

From the Kitchen Debate, it was apparent that the US and the Soviet Union would never agree on anything to stop the Cold War. Capitalism would never be equated to Communism as both ideologies are built on different grounds. Capitalism allows people to have freedom as they undertake their daily activities while Communism does not encourage individual efforts.

The Berlin Wall became a mark of Cold War era, which separated communism and democracy. East Germany was marred with poverty under strict communist rule while West Berlin was exceedingly rich and free. In 1961, millions of people from East Germany crossed the border heading to West Berlin as the Cold War tension persisted for the fear that the border might be closed. Russia was not happy about mass the migration of the East Germans since it believed that communism served East Germany better than how democracy was in the West. The suspicion was confirmed when Khrushchev ordered the border to be closed and a wall to be erected to restrict the US from spying East Germany.

Cuban Crisis

Since the end of WWII, the Latin American countries had remained poor with low values of capita income. Illiteracy rates remained high, and so were the child death rates. On the contrary, North America was flourishing with investments while Latin America was the main supplier of raw materials and cheap labour. As tension grew between Russia and the US, a communist leader took power in Cuba through a revolution. Fidel Castro rallied Cubans to defend their country from external forces, making Cuba the first communist country within the Western Hemisphere.

However, Fidel Castro was shy of proclaiming Cuba as a communist country, but his style of leadership attracted criticism for oppressing economic and political freedom. The US could not believe that one of its closest neighbours could dare to practise communism, but the attempts to oust Castro from power were futile, as Russia was ready to assist Cuba to fight Americans. It seemed President Kennedy was smarter than Khrushchev in avoiding war after discovering missile bases in Cuba (Trahair and Miller 72). Eventually, the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union agreed to sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty on 1963, which banned the testing of nuclear weapons. The treaty only permitted any test to be carried out underground. Cuba remained a Communist dictatorship for the whole period of the Cold War.

Cold War in Asia

The Asian politics also suffered from the effects of the Cold War because communism advocated for state ownership of resources rather than owning properties privately. According to Miyagi, the US attacked Vietnam because it could not stand to see communism spreading all over Asia (27). This was part of the containment policy as communism was rarely confined to a single nation. The ideology would strive to affect other nations that border it as a revolution against exploitation and political control.

China contributed largely in the spread of communism and was quite happy to have neighbours, but the US wanted to liberate citizens from dictatorial forms of leadership. Mao Zedong, a controversial leader in China, managed to drive away imperialism in China, and replaced it with communism and Marxism.  China supported the Vietcog in rebelling against the US by offering arms. The attack eased when Vietnamese rebels launched the Tet Offensive in 1968, prompting the US to contemplate on leaving Vietnam to save the US administration from criticism.


The Cold War created the worst animosity among the strongest world nations due to political rivalry that developed after the WWII. History has proved that wars are categorised into two forms: just and unjust. If countries could have agreed to bury their pride and focus on how to take care of their citizens without interfering with other countries’ leadership, the Cold War could not have resulted in such animosity. The war took a new twist from 1956 when Khrushchev began his reign in the Soviet Union and commanded all communist states to adhere to orders from the Soviet Union. Tension ensued among communist nations, as Khrushchev endeavoured to rule through unjust means. Revolutionary wars generate antitoxin that poisons the enemy, but such toxins also cause harm to the user.


It was quite difficult to use only two articles to cover the Cold War between 1956 and 1968. The class work did not offer historical arguments that would relate to the war from 1956 to 1968. In addition, it has not been easy to interpret some of the events because they happened almost simultaneously.

Works Cited

Chen, Jian. “The Beginning of the End: 1956 as a Turning Point in Chinese and Cold War History.” Modern China Studies 22.1 (2015): 99-126. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

Miyagi, Taizo. “Post-War Asia and Japan-Moving Beyond the Cold War: an Historical Perspective.” Asia-Pacific Review 18.1 (2011): 25-44. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

Smith, Mark B. “Peaceful Coexistence at all Costs: Cold War Exchanges between Britain and the Soviet Union in 1956.” Cold War History 12.3 (2012): 537-558. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

Trahair, R C. S, and Robert L. Miller. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. New York: Enigma Books, 2009. Internet resource.