East-West conflict, historical-political term for the systematic conflict between the Soviet Union and the communist states that have come under their hegemony (from a Eurocentric point of view mainly in the east; Eastern bloc) on the one hand and the group of parliamentary democracies led by the USA v. a. of Western Europe and their politically affiliated states on the other hand (the “West”) as well as the third world countries that are politically close to one of these groups.
The East-West conflict shaped world politics in the 20th century – primarily from 1946/47 to 1989/90. With the differentiation of power blocks, he established a bipolar world order and superimposed all other global and regional problems and conflicts, e.g. B. the north-south conflict.
In its geographic core area, the East-West conflict between the USA and the USSR as well as between the European states led by them always remained below the threshold of the “hot war”. Therefore it is often equated with the term Cold War. However, there were different phases of tension and relaxation in mutual relationships. Since the two leading bloc powers were at the same time militarily engaged in numerous non-European, regionally limited wars – predominantly indirectly, sometimes also directly – these are often referred to as » proxy wars ” designated. The system conflict, which was dominated by the Cold War until the 1980s, also included the economic and social contrast between private capitalism and parliamentary-pluralistic democracy on the one hand and state-socialist planned economy and communist party rule on the other, as well as the political-diplomatic efforts to overcome or at least contain the conflict (Disarmament and arms limitation negotiations).
According to SIMPLYYELLOWPAGES,the socio-ideological conflict potential of the East-West conflict in its beginnings goes back to the final phase of the First World War. The revolutionary social model implemented in Russia on a Marxist-Leninist basis in the course of the October Revolution of 1917 was at the same time opposed by the will of parliamentary-democratic states to adopt a world order according to their standards on the basis of the ” fourteen points ” of American President W. Wilson erect.
The impending confrontation was expressed early on in the fact that during the civil war that broke out in Soviet Russia in the wake of the revolution and World War in 1918, the anti-Bolshevik forces received support from the Western powers or the Western allies intervened directly militarily in some cases. While the USSR, founded in 1922, organized the communist parties that had emerged in other countries, especially in Europe, within the framework of the Communist International (Comintern) in line with their social model, the parliamentary-democratic states v. a. Europe’s political and social standards with the help of the League of Nations enforce. However, since the USA did not join the League of Nations due to the resurgence of “isolationism” and the power and foreign political weight of the USSR were still limited in the first decades, the conflict between the western democracies of Europe and the USSR remained weak until the Second World War.
With the swelling of racist-nationalist ideologies (especially National Socialism) and the Second World War, triggered by Germany, the ideological East-West conflict temporarily lost its importance and with the formation of the anti-Hitler coalition (1941) temporarily withdrew from the common goal of the military overthrow of National Socialist Germany and its allies. After achieving this goal, v. a. compared to Germany, the political opposition between the western democracies and the USSR became all the more pronounced and was combined with a worldwide power-political rivalry. This development at the end of the Second World War is often viewed as the actual beginning of the East-West conflict, especially in terms of its power-political perspectives.
First main phase
Already at the end of the Second World War (1945) the breakup of the war coalition between the USSR and the Western powers became apparent, but it did not hit the cold until the Sovietization of the states of East Central and Southeast Europe with the proclamation of the Truman Doctrine (1947) War over. The American President H. S. Truman initiated the policy of containment in order to counteract the policy of J. Stalin aimed at expanding the Soviet sphere of influence. This in turn refused the participation of the USSR and the states controlled by it in the American reconstruction program for Europe, the Marshall Plan (ERP), to prevent Western influence in the Soviet sphere of influence. A. Zhdanov formulated the “two-camp theory” according to which there is not only a power-political-military and economic, but also an ideological bipolarity in world politics, the main powers of which are the USA and the USSR.