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Under the pressures of the Cold War, many nations experienced rapid change, social disruptions, and large-scale conflict.
Develop an argument that evaluates the extent to which cultural, political, military, or economic changes resulting from the Cold War affected ONE of the following regions between 1945 and 1991: Eastern Europe, East Asia and the Western Pacific, or Central America and the Caribbean.
America, for decades, has led the fight against communism, and put a lot of systems in place that essentially forced countries to reject communism and embrace capitalism and democracy. This fact was especially prevalent in the Cold War era, where a lot of policies were put in place to prevent communism from spreading. One area where anti-communist attempts by America were very common was in East Asia and the Western Pacific, the most important being China and Vietnam. During the Cold War, as a response to the growing influence of the Soviet Union and communism, the US, aiming to preserve democracy and capitalism for mostly their own benefit, deployed troops, gave economic aid, as well as many other things, to countries that were perceived to possibly be on the path to converting to communism.
In Vietnam, the US did a lot to prevent them from falling under the influence of communism, even going as far as to fight a war over it. The proposition of the domino theory in relation to communism really intensified the tensions between the US and Vietnam, as it stated that if one country converted to communism, the other countries around it would as well, and so would the others around those countries, so on and so forth. This ideology ed to justify a lot of the actions taken in Vietnam as well as other countries in Eastern Asia and the Western Pacific. The US and the Soviet Union started a proxy war in Vietnam, with the communist north going against the democratic south. This division within the country created a very harmful political and economic divide, which was still present even after the war in Vietnam. The attempt to stop communism in this region took a devastating toll on Vietnam’s economy, it’s population, and it’s politics, as the country came under a civil war and years of political unrest in Vietnam following the Vietnam War. After the Vietnam War, Vietnam changed their economic and political structure to support communism, and became a communist state. So, in short, the economic and political changes resulting from the Cold War, in this case being the tensions created by differing economic and political ideologies, had detrimental effects on Vietnam, as it left Vietnam with a lot of political unrest, as well as a political and economic divide that led to indecisiveness on how to govern, as well as political and economic instability.
In China, the US shift from being relatively lax on communism to cracking down on it on a large scale, as well as the Soviet shift to a policy of communist expansion, had a variety of effects on it’s economy and politics. At the start of the Cold War tensions, the iron curtain was being created, and many countries joined the non-aligned movement, meaning that they didn’t align themselves with either side. Many non-aligned movement members received trade embargos from both sides, severely inhibiting their economy as to force them to pick a side. China was one of these non-aligned countries, and it suffered greatly as a result. They were essentially forced to choose a side, and after a while chose to join the side of the US, albeit a very unstable alliance. The fight against communism and the tensions created by the Cold War affected China very heavily, as it had a lot of political and social unrest as a result, and got involved in many wars such as the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, and the Indochina Wars. So, in short, as a result of the fight against communism ramping up during the Cold War era, China suffered blows to it’s economy, it’s military, as well as it’s intra-national and international politics.
In conclusion, the Cold War had detrimental effects on East Asia and the Western Pacific, as the anti-communist policies that were created by the US and it’s allies inhibited the development of communism and created political tensions and even wars between communist and non-communist countries. Proxy wars were fought, and many countries that were affected by these conflicting policies of anti-communism and communist expansion were left with years of political instability and many other issues.