Several factors led to an end of the world war II, as a result of joint efforts by the allied forces to exert pressure on the Nazi Germany forces influence in the region. The Battle for Berlin carried out by the Russian Red Army was a big blow to Adolf Hitler’s forces who were caught unaware and outnumbered by the Russians. Germany had lost control of most regions that it had earlier dominated and the surrendering in Italy after the defeat, capture, and execution of Benito Mussolini(Hamilton) also weakened the Germans.
Germany had lost control over Budapest the Hungarian capital, and the Army lacked the qualified personnel to counter the Russians. Russia had to capture Berlin before the arrival of Western Allies. Russian leader Joseph Stalin was in fear that the Allies would establish authority in liberated areas. On 2 May 1945, German General Herman Foertsch surrendered to the Russians. This was followed by Hermann Goring, the second in command who had quit a day later. With the surrender of the two Generals, the German Forces there demoralized which led to widespread surrender of the once dominant German military(Hamilton). Western allied forces which comprised of the U.S Army and the Royal Airforce Mosquitoes heavily bombarded the city further weakening Hitler’s Forces. To avoid capture, Hitler shot himself in the head after he received information on the execution of Mussolini.
The Yalta conference held in February of 1945, by the big three leaders; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They called on immediate surrender of Hitler and planned for the reorganization of a post-war Europe. The three leaders deliberated on how to re-establish European nations after the devastation of the war. At the time of this conference, the Red army’s occupation of Poland and much of the Eastern Europe was three times as much to that of the western allies to the west.
The Potsdam conference held in July-August of 1945, in Potsdam Germany brought together Allied nations leaders namely; Russian leader Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, the British Prime minister who was replaced in the course of the conference by the newly elected Prime Minister, Clement Attlee and U.S president, Harry Truman. The big three discussed on how to demarcate post-war European borders following the surrender of Germany. The major issue taken up at this meeting was how to contain Germany. The Allied leaders agreed on demilitarization of Germany under four zones of Allied occupation. German military and paramilitary forces were to be abolished as well as all military hardware in Germany. However, controversial matters addressed at the Potsdam Conference dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders where some territories that previously fell under Germany became part of these three nations notably Poland.
Lack of a common enemy in the post-war era between the United States and the Soviet-led to supremacy war between the countries. The two countries emerged as the post-war world superpowers, the USSR and the USA instantly polarizing the world as they became competitors. This competition led to what was referred to as the cold war as it involved political subversions and espionage rather than combat engagements. After the second world war, The US helped to rebuild Western European countries and Japan under the Marshall plan. Eastern European countries which fell under the Soviet sphere of influence rejected this idea. It Consequently divided Europe into the Eastern and Western blocs. The two nations had nuclear deterrents against each other but still embarked on an arms race with each trying to outdo the other. Divisions between the two countries led to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement. It comprised of nations that were not in support of either superpower. The two nations had given rise to the creation of the United Nations Organization whose mandate was to prevent an occurrence of another global conflict. Arms race led to global tensions like the Cuba Missile Crisis. Russia had deployed ballistic missiles in Cuba an unfriendly nation to the U.S following a Similar action by the U.S in Turkey and Italy. The U.S objected, but as a condition, it had to dismantle the installations it had established in Europe. Cuba was a communist nation, and its proximity to the United States was a threat to the region with regards to the arms race. Resolutions of this crises significantly reduced the tensions of the cold war in the years that followed. The two world superpowers were at par, and therefore attention shifted in the coming years from arms race into economic development.
The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 led to the US-led the boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games held in Moscow. In retaliation, the Soviets boycotted the 1984 summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, California. Tensions between the two super powers grew to the extent that President Reagan branded Russia as an evil empire. The U.S would go ahead to make provocative military maneuvers in Russian territories in 1983. The Soviets invested heavily in military supremacy at the expense of the economy, education, and technology. Towards the end of the 80s, the USSR was crumbling with the rise of liberal reforms ad capitalist changes. Eventually, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 bringing the cold war to an end and the rise of the U.S.A as the single world superpower.
Hamilton, John. World War II. 1st ed. Edina, Minn.: ABDO, 2012. Print.