Western Bloc
The Western Bloc or Capitalist Bloc during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 refers to the powers allied with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and NATO against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, a more common term in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 than Western Bloc, because the governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World
Free World
The Free World is a Cold War-era term often used to describe states not under the rule of the Soviet Union, its Eastern European allies, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and other communist nations. The term often referred to states such as the United States, Canada, and Western European states such as the...

At the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the United States and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 emerged as the two superpowers. According to Matloff, “…the Second World War represented a fundamental shift in the international balance of power, for which a coalition strategy fashioned for victory provided no real or grand solutions” ( 702). Most of Europe had been divided by Nazi occupation and these two superpowers were responsible for setting up new governments within these countries. It was agreed that free elections would ensue, however the Soviet Union did not keep their end of the deal. Soviet non-compliance with establishing free elections in war torn European countries eventually led to a strained relationship with the United States and severe tension. According to Kissinger, “Tension with the outside world was inherent in the very nature of communist philosophy and, above all, in the way the Soviet system was being run domestically. Thus the Soviet Union’s implacable hostility
Implacable hostility
Implacable hostility arises after separation or divorce and denotes the attitude shown by one parent to another in denying access to, or contact with, their child...

to the outside world was an attempt to gear international affairs to its own internal rhythm” (Kissinger 454). Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States continued to be strained and “Truman perceived the emerging struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union as a contest between good and evil, not as having to do with spheres of political influence” (Kissinger 447). Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe prompted the United States and a few European countries to form NATO. NATO existed “to coordinate the military defenses of member nations against possible Soviet aggression” (http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/evans/his135/Events/nato49/nato49.html). The Warsaw pact was formed as a direct response to NATO. It existed to protect Soviet Satellite countries that were formed after World War II; and to ensure that no enemy invaded any of the Soviet satellite countries. It also had the power to intervene militarily if any one of its countries tried to establish independence. Kissinger states: “Although the Soviet Union cemented its dominance over Eastern Europe by means of the Warsaw Pact, this nominal alliance was obviously being held together by coercion” (447). The Soviets “became concerned when the West actively pushed West Germany towards rearmament, to help balance the power of the Soviet Union. The fear of a strong German military on the borders of Soviet controlled countries prompted action. In 14 May 1955, all nations under the control of the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact agreement.” (http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/history20/unit4/sec2_03.html)
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