Recommended Textbook ” Eugene Berger, et al. World History

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Chapter 30 deals with the effects of the Cold War and decolonization after World War II. It highlights the struggles between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as both emerged as war victors and global super powers. It also highlights the ideological conflicts between the two nations and the source of their differences. The chapter ends with a discussion of the Vietnam war.
The first event that I deem to be most important in chapter 30 is the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. This event was the climax of tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When Cuba began its socialist regime the U.S. looked down upon it and tried to put an end to it in an attempt to prevent the spread of communism. Cuba developed a relationship with the Soviet Union after they embraced the notion that the U.S. would not let them govern themselves in peace. The Soviet Union took advantage of this situation by secretly shipping missiles to Cuba. When the U.S. found out, they ordered Russia to withdraw the missiles or prepare for war. With tensions at their height and the world holding its breath the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its missiles and the U.S. withdrew theirs from Turkey. This is important because this is the closest the world had come to all-out nuclear war. Additionally, it is a defining moment in the Cold War.
The second event that I deem to be most important is the Vietnam War that took place between 1965-1975. The war began as an offensive to prevent the spread of communism and was influenced by the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident. By 1965 there were over 200,000 American military personnel in Vietnam. The war became the first majority televised war in history. The war’s brutal jungle fighting and use of volatile chemicals like Napalm and Agent Orange left much of the world in shock and horror. Additionally, the guerilla tactics of the enemy made it hard for American military to distinguish between Vietcong and civilians. This confusion led to numerous civilian deaths that elevated tensions around the world and at home. The anti-war sentiment and growing social changes in the U.S. took a large toll on the American government and public. Vietname is a very important war in American history. It had lasting effects on the American culture at the time and its effects can still be seen today.
The third event that I deem to be most important is the competition between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong for control of China after World War II. Once Japan had been removed from China, Chiang Kai-shek’s Guomindang fought Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist party for control of China. Though Kai-shek’s army had more weapons and control of major cities, Zedong and the communist party emerged as victors with help from experience in World War II. Once in control, the communist’s revolutionized the country from top to bottom. They expanded education and farming programs. This event is important because it is the founding of modern day China. Likewise, Mao Zedong would initiate many reforms in the coming years in an attempt to transform the country.
The fourth event that I deem to be most important is Kwame Nkrumah leading Ghana to independence. Nkrumah became the first prime minister of Ghana after leading the country to independence from Britain. He emphasized Pan-African unity and the importance of nation-building. This is important because it was the first of many countries that gained freedom from their European rulers after World War II. Additionally, Nkrumah became a symbol of African unity and independence in Africa and around the world.
The fifth event that I deem to be most important is the Hungarian uprising in 1956. In this uprising, the Hungarian people revolted against their Soviet communist government. This rebellion led the Soviets to invade and forcefully enforce their communist regime, again. Many rebels were imprisoned or executed and the revolt was crushed. This is important because it shows a country revolting against the Soviet Union and communism. It also became an example of where the U.S. related the horrors of communism to democracy.
During the Cold War and post-World War II era many changes occurred. The U.S. and the Soviet Union developed many tensions. Both sides sought to weaken the influence and politics of the other on a global level. Likewise, the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War at the height of the counter-culture revolution created immense tensions in the country as many youth fiercely protested U.S. involvement. The events of this time period would go on to shape how the country would develop.

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