The Cold War Divides the World

Troubled by political, economic, millitary coflict & crisis

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Setting the Stage By: Marie Neville

Following World War II, the world's nations were grouped politically in three "worlds." The first was the industrialized capitalist nations, including the United States and the allies. The second was the Communist nations led by the Soviet Union. The Third World consisted of developing nations, often newly independent, who were not aligned with either superpower. These nations nonaligned countries provided yet another arena for competition between the Cold War superpower
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17-4 The Cold War Divides the World

By: Montana Marsh

Third World countries (Latin America, Asia, and Africa) were very poor and and did not have a set government that they followed. They could choose two different kinds of governments-communism or free-market democracy. The United States, the Soviet Union, and sometimes China would provide foreign aid to these countries-helping them liberate themselves from a dictator- to make them communist or democratic. The United States and the Soviet Union engaged in espionage against each other and even engaged in assassination attempts. There was a third force however, and that was the nonaligned countries. Nonaligned countries were independent countries that chose to not accept the United States and the Soviet Union’s help so they didn’t get involved in the power struggle. These countries included India and Indonesia.

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By: Dalton Jordan

After World War II, rapid industrialization, population growth, and the growing gap between the rich and poor led Latin American nations to seek aid from both superpowers. Although, US involvement in Latin America began long before World War II.

Cuba was ruled by an unpopular dictator, Fulgencio Batista, who has US support. Years later a young lawyer named Fidel Castro led a revolution that overthrew Batista in 1959. Castro was a harsh dictator as well, he suspended elections, jailed or executed his opponents, and tightly controlled the press. When he nationalized the Cuban economy, he took over US-owned sugar mills and refineries, which caused him to turn to the Soviets for economic and military aid.

The US had also funded the Nicaraguan dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. After Communist Sandinista rebels toppled Somoza’s son, both the US and Soviet Union gave aid to the Sandinistas and their leader, Daniel Ortega. The civil war in Nicaragua lasted more than a decade and severely weakened the country’s economy.

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By: Courtney Pack

Throughout the Middle East, oil industry wealth fueled a growing clash between traditional Islamic values and modern Western materialism. After WWII, Iran’s leader, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi embraced Western governments and wealthy Western oil companies. Fearing Iran might turn to the Soviets for support, the United States helped restore the shah to power. By the end of the 1950’s, Iran’s capital, Tehran, featured gleaming skyscrapers, foreign banks, and modern factories. The shah tried to weaken the political influence of Iran’s conversation Muslim’s leaders, known as ayatollah, who opposed Western influences. In 1979, with the ayatollah’s blessing, young Islamic revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran. The Islamic Revolutionaries took more than 60 Americans hostage and demanded the United States force the shah to face trial. Most hostages remained prisoners for 444 days before being released in 1981. Khomeini encouraged Muslim radicals elsewhere to overthrow their secular government.