Describe how the Cold War changed one of the following places between 1945 and 1989.
Include examples of political, economic, and social changes. Pick one of the following: China; Japan; Korea, Vietnam, or Cambodia and Laos.
In discussing how the Cold War changed the country of your choice, be sure to focus more on effects than on events.
If you try and list all the events of the period, you may become lost in detail and exceed the word target.
Focusing instead on effects allows you to be more analytical and talk about results rather than an endless list of trivia.
- The brutality of Japanese forces throughout Asia (don't list brutal events, but do construct a good footnote that refers to events like the Rape of Nanking and the "burn all, rape all, loot all" policy) led to distrust and even hatred of Japan by people in many countries. This carried over into the Cold War, complicating the efforts of the US, Japan's chief ally.
- The US use of the atom bomb to end WWII accelerated Russian technology theft and research, and the explosion of a Russian device in 1949, the same year that China turned communist. This led to an international fear of worldwide nuclear war.
- The violence of the Korean War and the fear of nuclear conflict between the US and USSR may have encouraged India and Indonesia to convene the Bandung Conference in 1955, which led to the Non-Aligned Movement that opposed "neo-colonialism" by both the US and USSR
- Mao's trivialization of the huge casualties that might result from a massive nuclear exchange (Westad, p. 330) caused the Russians to think he was careless, and contributed in part to the Sino-Soviet split of 1960.
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Korea during the Cold War: A House Divided
The Cold War created dramatic political, economic, and social impacts on Korea, dividing the peninsula into two nations diametrically opposed to one another. Above the 38th parallel, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), more commonly known as North Korea, came under the rule of Kim Il-Sung, who fought in the Red Army during World War II, and sought to unite the peninsula under Communist rule. Below the 38th parallel, the Republic of Korea (ROK), led by right-wing leader Syngman Rhee, also sought to gain control over the North by any means necessary. Tensions came to a boiling point in June 1950, when the North Korean army, supplied by the Soviets, invaded and overran most of South Korea in a matter of weeks, precipitating the Korean War, which is technically still unresolved as of today.
Immediately following World War II, the Allies were unsure how to deal with the Korean situation. Kim states that “the Allied countries had no clear consensus on postwar policy towards Korea” (143). The Soviets quickly established Kim Il-Sung as a strongman in the North, by assisting him in removing his rivals, such as Hyon Chunhyok (Kim, 146)....
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