How did the two superpowers compete with each other in the period 1949-85?
Though the United States (US) and Soviet Union (USSR) were former allies, after the Second World War, they could not settle their disagreements and cooperate in peacetime. Cold War started as tension and hostility was development between capitalist bloc led by US and communist bloc led by USSR. Fortunate enough, there was not any large-scale and direct fighting. Yet, the two superpowers still used distinct methods to compete with each other.
First, spying operations took place. These were vital source of stolen information on each other’s upcoming actions and plans. So it was understandable that the Central Intelligence Agency of US and the Council for State Security of USSR were set up in 1947 and 1954 respectively. From time to time, both sides condemned each other’s spying actions, which worsened their relations beyond doubt.
Second, the two superpowers’ diplomatic policies showed fierce competition. For US, its President Truman was determined to check the spread of communism and so, economic and military aid are given to countries that were threatened by USSR, such as Greece and Turkey. The Truman Doctrine changed US’s foreign policy to ‘policy of containment’. So, it was understandable that USSR would react swiftly, in order not to counteract capitalists’ influence. And the most concrete examples were economic cooperation, Marshall Plan verse Molotov Plan, and military alliances, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) verse Warsaw Pact.
Under Marshall Plan, massive economic aid was given to Western European countries by US, so as to help them recover their economies and eventually she could resist communist expansion. Meanwhile, in order to prevent her satellites in Eastern Europe from accepting Marshall Plan, the Cominform was formed to cooperate activities between USSR and her satellites while Molotov Plan was launched and Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.