When Did the “Cold War” End?

Vladimir Acosta
https://cdni.rbth.com/rbthmedia/images/2020.10/original/5f8e88e015e9f941a2784133.jpgWhen did the “Cold War” end? The usual answer is 1991, to which another question immediately arises: what then should we call this world disaster provoked and led by the United States, of threats, blockades, endless wars, invasion and destruction of countries and genocidal massacres, a disaster in which we have been experiencing since that date?

The subject is more important than it seems at first sight, because it affects and threatens us today and I think it deserves even a brief reflection. The fact is that historical dates, especially if they are important and still dominated by politics, are not usually very reliable. On many occasions I have alluded to this, pointing out that, just as politics is history in the heat of the moment, history is politics once it cools down, which requires a certain amount of time. And that as it cools to near freezing, it moves away from politics and becomes more history. Putin is politics, Ramses II history. So, this war, which was called Cold, but was actually quite hot, has not yet cooled down. Not only because the current situation is a central part of it, but because this time its promoter, the United States, increasingly desperate in the face of its slow but inevitable decline, is capable at any moment of adding nuclear heat to it.

And there is something else. We all know that understanding a historical or political problem requires first clarifying its origin and the context in which it appears or takes shape. So, before answering 1991, we should first try to see how and when this Cold War began and who started it.

The fact is that the Cold War is a direct consequence and result of the Second World War. The United States, having become the world’s leading power at the end of the war, had to share its triumph with communist Russia, which had been its ally since 1941. This was unsustainable and could not last. Soon, returning to its usual anti-communism, it had to start another war, this time against Russia. Only in this way could it become master of the world, crushing communism in the process. And this new war, soon to be called the Cold War, began to take shape as early as 1945, at the end of the Second World War.

The first to threaten Russia was General Patton, a high-ranking Yankee military commander who, shortly before the end of the war, said over the radio that the US troops were on fire and it was time to attack those sons of bitches, the Russians.

More serious was what Churchill did. In May 1945, as soon as the Nazis surrendered, he organized what he called Operation Unthinkable, a secret operation that became known much later. He ordered the British army to prepare for an immediate surprise attack on Russia, counting on an as yet unconfirmed Yankee military support and on surrendered and imprisoned Nazi soldiers who would be given back their weapons to join the attack. It was truly unthinkable. It was the beginning of World War III. The project failed because the British troops did not want to follow such an order, the Nazis were demoralized, and at that time the interest of the United States was to finish the Pacific war by crushing Japan. Moreover, in August, the United States, which already had the atomic bomb, used it against a shattered and already surrendered Japan. This was also a message to Russia, which left no doubt as to which was the most powerful country in the world. The Unthinkable was no longer necessary.

In the following two years, tensions between Russia and the United States grew and the dominant McCarthyism in the United States brought them to the brink of war. The US accused Russia of wanting war to take over the world, the very thing the US was preparing. Russia did not want war. It defeated the Nazis, but was destroyed. It had 28 million dead, half of the total of the War and it was urgent to create a territorial barrier to prevent a third German invasion by controlling its border from Poland to Romania, with friendly governments, which it was achieving; and to achieve peace to begin to rebuild the destroyed country. Russia promoted Peace Conferences and the United States considered the defense of peace a crime.

In this context Churchill, already out of power in his country, launched the first Cold War declaration. On a visit to the United States, in 1946, in Missouri, he spoke of the Iron Curtain that Russia had brought down on Europe, and that in the name of democracy and freedom it was urgent to confront communist domination by defeating Russia. Truman, now president, followed Churchill with his Truman Doctrine, repeating the same thing in the name of the United States, to which England soon handed over the baton.

In the United States the climate was frankly one of war. Russia had to be wiped out. In this context, there were two events that were important because of what they revealed, but which are not very well known. The protagonist: Curtis Le May, supreme commander of the U.S. Air Force, one of those psychopaths and war criminals that his country easily turns into patriotic heroes. In 1947, Le May prepared a plan aimed at eliminating Russia: to launch without warning, in one month, 133 atomic bombs, the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, on 70 cities, starting with Moscow and Leningrad. The attack was to leave communist Russia a heap of ruins, death and ashes. The plan was not implemented. Not only because Truman, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had become more prudent, but also because the country’s nuclear arsenal had not yet approached that capacity.

In view of this, in 1949, Le May prepared a more complete and comprehensive plan. It was christened Dropshot, something like a trickle of shots, in this case of bombs. This time it was to destroy 100 Russian cities and urban localities by dropping 300 nuclear bombs and 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on the country. Le May estimated that the bombing would wipe Russia from the world and that the death toll would reach 60 million, more than the total of the Second World War.

This was no fantasy. It was a genuine madness, conceived by the American hero and emulator of Hitler, Le May. Had it been implemented, it would have caused an unspeakable world apocalypse. Fortunately it was not carried out. Not all the secrets of the operation have been revealed, but again it is reasonable to think that Truman was prudent, although perhaps the main reason was that Russia, which had been doing everything for years (from research and secret tests to espionage) to obtain the atomic bomb, tested its first nuclear bomb in August of that year. In addition, two months later, the Chinese Communist Party came to power, and the enormous China was integrated into the so-called socialist camp, which thus came to cover almost half the planet.

From this point on, things changed and to a certain degree even moderated. The threat of the United States bombing Russia receded, and except for hot moments, in the following decades it was limited to violent local or regional confrontations in which the interests of the United States and those of the Soviet Union clashed. Because the Soviet Union, which never thought of bombing or annihilating the United States and which since 1959 sought peaceful coexistence with the American Empire, supported the peoples, countries and governments that fought against capitalism and American imperial domination, while the United States used all its weapons and resources to continue to dominate them.

However, it is necessary to clarify several things about the very concept of the Cold War, whether it really ended in 1991 and, most importantly, how to describe and confront the daily situation of violence and nuclear threat in which we see today and how this situation is related to that of the Cold War initiated by the U.S. Empire since 1945. I will address this in the next article.

Translation by Internationalist 360°