Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy K. Zhukov is often credited for being one of the best generals in history, in the rank of Napoleon or Alexander the Great. He played a seminal role in the Soviet and, in turn, allied victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. Yet once the war was won and peace arrived, interest in his life dissipates. This poses a question - what happened to Zhukov after WW2?
After the United States faced defeat in the Vietnam War it seemed like both Cold War superpowers learned their lesson - do not interfere in unnecessary conflicts, especially when those are a civil war. However, in late 1979 the USSR repeated the American mistake, leading to the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan that would end in a defeat nearly a decade later. What went wrong and why is it sometimes considered a greater failure than Vietnam?
With the recent 35th anniversary of a disaster, popular series about it as well as recent signs of renewed heating up, Chernobyl once again came under the spotlight. Even without such recent trends, as the most serious nuclear disaster in human history, the Chernobyl meltdown is without a doubt a topic that has a long half-life. However, most research and stories revolve either upon what caused the catastrophe or the effects of its radiation on health and ecology.
Introduction It is hard to pinpoint the exact date when the Cold War began, as it was a gradual transition from wartime allies to peacetime opponents. Yet, the tensions and troubles on the horizon were clear from the get-go, maybe most picturesquely described by Sir Winston Churchill. In March 1946 he described a division of Europe by saying “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent”.
During Joseph Stalin’s long rule there weren’t many who managed not only to say no but to openly defy him, especially in the communist realm. Among those few who managed to stand their ground against “the man of steel” were Josip Broz Tito and Yugoslavia. For most of the world, the abrupt end of the Yugoslav-Soviet friendship was a shocking turn of events. Yet the question arises - was the event as important as some have claimed?
Introduction The New World envisioned by the Nazis collapsed with the defeat of the Axis in World War Two. Instead, a whole different world was about to be built with Communism as one of its pillars. As the war was ending, the red wave coming from the east was unstoppable, changing the political map of pre-war Europe along the way. The entire eastern part of the continent fell into the firm grip of Moscow, turning the countries in the region into de facto puppets of the Soviet Union.
The USSR has been unarguably one of the most significant factors of the 20th century, leaving a substantial mark on world history. It was one of two world superpowers and a leader of the communist bloc in the Cold War, without mentioning other various aspects and contributions to science, culture, technology, etc. Often depicted as a “world’s bad guy” and dubbed the Red Giant as a menacing figure indicating its leading ideology, most of the world thought the Soviet Union was a strong and stable nation that would endure for a long time.
Introduction The Cold War is often depicted as an era marked by a struggle for global dominance between two blocs led by the USSR and the US. Such representation is quite reasonable, yet it clouds our view on the past by focusing it on only a fraction of the historical horizon. There were more nations and states than just the two giants, many of which gained independence in their struggle against colonialism and imperialism.
As a new world emerged from the ruins of World War II, a novel confrontation began to emerge. It was much less volatile, earning the nickname “Cold War”. It was an ideological and political struggle between two major world powers – the Soviet Union representing communism and the United States heralding capitalism. This simmering hostility went on to define international politics for the rest of the 20th century. Yet this simplified portrait of the struggle between eastern and western blocs is rather misleading because as it depicts two alliances as unified monoliths. This wasn’t true in neither case, but it was substantially more prominent in the communist sphere where two larges countries came to the brink of an actual armed confrontation.
In May 1945 the war ended in Europe. The moment was welcomed with relief by millions on the old continent as years of death and despair came to an end. Still, the shadow of war still hung over Europe. Without Nazis on the scene, new hostilities were born. On the ruins of the European pre-war political system, Communism began to rise. Following the footsteps of the Red Army, communists seized the rule in the entire Eastern Europe. Only in Greece did the communists meet resistance. It was a prelude to the Greek Civil War - the first armed conflict in Europe after World War Two.