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The doomed empire

The Doomed Empire

Introduction: The 1940's and the next four decades after, were a time of bitter

struggle between the US and the Soviet Union. National identity as well as ideological

differences brought both countries to the brink of nuclear war, a revolutionary style of

warfare causing the most disastrous demographic disaster known to man. There are

numerous speculations on who actually started the war. It can be argued both ways that

both the US and the USSR acted offensively towards each other. But the only real fact is

that "one represented an open democracy and the other a closed totalitarian system" and

both were the only real superpowers left standing after World War II.1 This split

generated a bipolar effect bringing the entire world into a game of tug of war between the

two superpowers. Throughout the four decades actual combative war never broke out but

in turn a similar game of chess was played. One country would move and the other would

countermove. It was finally America that came out on top and the Soviet Union a

collapsed failure, but not necessarily because the US was stronger and out muscled the

Soviets militarily. The end of the Cold War was primarily due to economic factors.

What America proved was that the economy works best when the government

stays out and individuals within the society do the work.2 It is only the individuals within

the society that truly understand what products are in demand. Under Communist regime

a few select rulers decide what are the needs of the society, what resources are their

country's scarcities, and how to obtain these scarcities. Finding this information is a big

job and requires endless amounts of domestic attention. With this in mind the quote

"Nature's laws are immutable... Communism is only an ideal dream"3 becomes much

clearer. One leader simply does not have enough time nor money to invest in the

acquisition of thorough and accurate knowledge pertaining to the country's economic

system (especially a country as large as Russia). But I am not writing to debate whether

communism can or can not work but that America/Democracy did not really beat

Russia/Communism in the Cold War. Russia/Communism destroyed itself. Russia

blotched the job. How? By instead of striving to build the country's economic muscle

and develop mutually beneficial relationships with neighboring countries therefore

acquiring the otherwise unavailable scarcities, Russia chose to attempt building an empire

throughout Europe and Asia based on the ideological concept of Communism and by

competing with the United States in an arms race it could not support.

Directly after WWII, Stalin set Russia up under a Communistic regime. Having

suffered the greatest casualties during WWII, it would seem common judgment that

Russia's focus be more on domestic rehabilitation than international affairs. On the same

side the fact that Stalin set up a Communistic government would also lean in favor that

Russia must strengthen itself before turning to international affairs. As stated earlier The

Communist form of Government is similar to that of a car with a standard transmission. In

order to drive the car one must be able to shift the gears accordingly. Stalin does not

focus on the domestic issues fronting his Country and in no way shifts the gears of

Russia's economy. In 1948 Stalin begins to struggle with Yugoslavia's leader Tito with

the argument Tito's version of Communism did not match the Soviets.1 Also in 1948,

Stalin used military force to destroy the democratic nation of Czechoslovakia and reinstate

Soviet Communism.2 Much of Europe was already in such shambles from the effects of

WWII that the only hope was seen in the United States, furthermore whether it be

Communism or Democracy did not matter as much as simply getting moving. It was not

until 1949 when Stalin ordered the block around West Germany in order to obtain the

entire city, that the US stepped in.3 The United States rolled Russia back and the Cold

War began.

Stalin still avoided dealing with his Country's domestic problems such as the

economy, and issues of human rights, decided if he could not expand his weak deceitful

empire throughout Europe then maybe Asia would be a good place to try. Throughout

the 1950's Russia aided in developing Soviet communism throughout China, Korea,

Vietnam, and smaller third World Countries such as Indonesia, India, Egypt, And Syria.1

Whether by force of influence Russia tried to set Soviet Communism up and in each place

the US was also there to stop them.

Tensions between the US and Soviets grew and between the years of 1957 and

1962 an arms race broke out.2 The Soviets launched the first nuclear satellite called

Sputnik.3 Both Countries raced to develop ICBM and SLBM missiles.4

Russia was limited economically though. They had spent all the post-war time

meddling in international business trying to set up a weak empire of Soviet Communism

throughout the continent of Europe and Asia. Meanwhile unrest existed at home as the

Government shifted all spending into the arms race with the US. This economic decision

exhausted the Soviet economy and off balanced the entire industrial system.5 Russia's

final offensive against the United States was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. 6 This

offensive resulted in little more than a small trade of the US removing its missiles from


By the end of the arms race with America, Russia was economically destroyed and

before long collapsed. Although little is written about how the Russians dealt with their

domestic problems during the Cold War, We do know from looking at the results,

economic starvation and political depravation, that it was not enough. The powerful

country of Russia emerged from WWII with major domestic needs that were not met by

the leaders of the country nor were the leaders of the country ready to attempt the

beautiful theory of a Communistic society hence Russia/Communism destroyed itself in

the Cold War by ignoring its domestic and economic needs and not forming dependable

and mutually beneficial relationships with neighboring countries.

End Notes

Page 1 :

1. Spiegel, Steven. World Politics in a New Era, Harcourt Brace; 1995.

2. Allen William, The midnight Economist. Thomas Horton; 1997.

3. Feline Peter, Americans and the Soviet Experiment. Harvard University Press;


Page 2 :

1. Spiegel, Steven. World Politics in a New Era, Harcourt Brace; 1995.

2. Same as above

3. Same as above

Page 3 :

1. Spiegel, Steven. World Politics in a New Era, Harcourt Brace; 1995

2. Same as above

3. Same as above


Allen, William, The Midnight Economists. Thomas Horton, Sun lake, Arizona;


Feline Peter, Americans and the Soviet Experiment. Harvard University,

Cambridge, Ma; 1967

Spiegel Steven, World Politics in a New Era. Harcourt Brace; 1995

The Doomed Empire

BY: Eric Paul

Professor Spiegel

TA: Mr. Kalhor

Section: 1L


Source: Essay UK -

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