Escalation in the Cold War
By Dean Pruitt and Jeffrey Rubin
This Article Summary written by: Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Selection from: Dean Pruitt and Jeffrey Rubin, Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement, (New York: Random House, 1986), pp. 88-9.
The authors discuss distrust and escalation in the early development of the Cold War. As the initial conflict between the Soviets and the West escalated, more and more issues were drawn into the conflict.
After WWII the Soviets were suspicious of the Western powers. In order to increase its security, the USSR attempted to gain control of adjoining nations. This made East-West cooperation even more difficult, and in turn increased the parties' suspicion and mistrust. In response to expanding Soviet influence, the US attempted to strengthen Western European states via the Marshall Plan. Western powers also began the reunification and rebuilding of West Germany.
Since they had very recently been adversaries, the USSR was very worried to see Germany returning to power. The Soviets first protested the West's actions in Germany. As Western support continued, the USSR brought stronger tactics to bear. Soviets attempted to disrupt communications between Berlin and West Germany, and ultimately blockaded Berlin.
The Western nations responded to the blockade by airlifting supplies to Berlin, and by forming NATO. NATO led to the rearmament of West Germany, which of course, further alarmed the Soviets and increased their distrust of the West.