The Cold War 19**-19**

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by putteesinmyhands, Oct 20, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Everybody over 30 years old has an appreciation of what the Cold War was, people younger probably haven't got much of a clue of the subliminal stress that was endured and the often exaggerated reaction to international affairs.

    I recall on one exercise, probably Crusader 80, being informed that the Soviets had brought forward their planned exercises and that war was a distinct possibility. Sobering.

    But, as a war that had no declaration, nor a surrender or armistice, nor even shots formally fired in anger, just when was the Cold War deemed to have started and finished?

    The start, arguably, could have been as early as May 1945, when with Hitler's death, thoughts of partitioning Germany and "assigning" Poland to one of the victors began. Or it could have been the Berlin Airlift in 1947. Perhaps at the start of the Arms Race, with the first Russian A-bomb test in 1949? Was it as late as the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961? Could it even be associated with the Hungarian Uprising in 1956?

    Even the end of the Cold War could be in dispute, though the range of likely dates spans a shorter period, measured in months, rather than years.

    Was it the creation of the Solidarity (non-communist) trade union in Poland in 1980? Maybe not the end of the Cold War, but perhaps heralding the end of it. Was it August 1989 when Solidarity formed the majority in the coalition government of Poland? November 1989 when the Berlin Wall was dismantled by the inhabitants of both sides of Berlin and nobody bothered to stop them? Or perhaps the removal of Checkpoint Charlie in April 1990, after which the Soviet troops seemed to disappear from Berlin?

    From personal choice, I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to the start. For me, the end was the removal of Checkpoint Charlie. I'm biased because I was there at the time. In the space of three weeks, the rules for crossing into East Berlin went from "in uniform" to "show your MOD 90" to "just wander across."

    Does anybody have their own ideas about when the start and finish of the Cold War should be formally designated?

    (PS November 1989 was a scary time. I was glued to the TV, expecting Soviet troops to intervene on the Wall. I'd stocked up with 3 months' supply of tinned foods and had containers ready to fill with water, just in case. My recce of the local area told me that the 3m deep manhole (serving a normally dry surface water drain) in my garden was my family's best hope of survival in the event of a nuclear attack. Did I over-react? Or did others do something similar?)
  2. November '89?
  3. Well spotted. Edited accordingly.
  4. I could not post educated comment, but would say that i was taught at school that the cold war started with the seperation of Berlin into sectors, and ended when the wall came down.

    Unfortunately for me, it was never much more of a definition then that, and a showing of the Zapruder film for the whole of the 1950-1980's.
  5. The end of WW2 and the start of the Cold War overlapped. The end of the Cold War hasn't happened yet.

    When I was in BAOR, had the Russians attacked I hoped they could get the TA in place and the TA held the Russians long enough for me to get back to the Channel to get on a Ferry back home. :D
  6. As a relatively young man, i caught the back end of the cold war. Strangely i think i miss the way the world was back then.
  7. What, mutually assured??

    I regret not going to a school that taught more on the subject!
  8. I know it sounds bizarre, but no-one did anything just gobbed off alot and rattled the sabre. Our biggest problem was purely domestic in the shape of NI.

    All the little upstart countries were kept in check.

    Now the world is just a turd!
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Started sometime in 1945 when the allies stopped Stalin from murdering the Krauts en masse.
    Ended late 1989 when Nikolai Ceacesceu of Romania was ousted.
    I was on my EPCa as it was then learning all about NATO/Warsaw pact, Berlin division, Formation of post war europe etc in November 1989. The Education corps freaked out because their syllabus was changing every day. Not that any of us were too bothered because the Captain teaching us had gorgeous Tots.
    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
  10. And at 8 posts in, a trend is starting to emerge of the perception in the 1980's.

    The posts by ViolentBadger and Dingerr show the point of view of the Regular Soldier. NI was the troublespot - a defined place where danger was definitely present. Germany was a potential troublespot - a place where, at the back of your mind, you were aware that your dependents may need to be evacuated quickly.

    ViolentBadger mentioned the TA and his post confirms what I was told of the role of the TA - get in quickly, stall the Soviet advance to allow the Regulars and dependents to evacuate and for the Regulars to regroup, either in the UK or closer to the Channel.

    The Regulars would be the counter-attacking troops, the TA the defensive troops. If all went to plan, there'd be a negotiated settlement before somebody pushed the button.

    But by this time, the TA would have been wiped out. One burst of glory at the IGB. Had I not been single when I joined the TA, would I have joined? The responsibility that comes with having a family would have weighed heavily. My admiration goes to those that had families, yet joined the Army (Regular or TA) at that period in time, though I'm also conscious that to do so must also be selfish and irresponsible, though from a different point of view. It was a hard time, one that isn't truly appreciated.
  11. msr

    msr LE

    I joined the TA in Oct 1989, so can only claim as small part in our victory....

  12. msr: The TA was a deterrent force, so by joining, you tipped the balance. :)

    Though, who won?
  13. Well, the beginnings off the cold war were certainly in place by the end of the European part of WW2. Us and the USA were a bit short sighted and maybe a bit naive, and saw defeating germany as the endgame, while Stalin was looking already to how much he could gain for Soviet Russia. Not all our generals were as trusting and I believe that Patton and Monty together suggested just carrying on east after defeating the krauts. At the very least it would have been possible to give the Soviets a good race for Berlin had the politicians been aware of the threat.
    As it was, Stalin got a good few weeks headstart in Berlin, where he managed to implement a fair few of his policies before the previously agreed allied council came into effect. From then on the Soviets were pretty much calling the tune in Berlin. Anything they didn't agree with got vetoed on the council, and I seem to recall from what I was taught that the communist rent-a-mob evicted the non Soviet councillors from the council house, making them set up their own council in a different building, in effect ending joint control over Berlin.
    The first real obvious signs of the cold war though was the 1947 airlift. The treaties concerning the dividing up of Germany guaranteed the western allies only one road through east-Germany to Berlin (it was assumed that we would have free access along all roads). Now when we called the Soviets bluff when they threatened us grief if we didn't give up control of west-Berlin, the Soviets found it pretty simple to block our one road on the grounds of "technical problems". Hence everything in by air. In terms of the cold war, this was the first piece of threats actually being backed up by action so I would probably mark the airlift as the start of the cold war in my mind.

    The end of the cold war for me would probably be the months from November 1989 to the end of the that year, starting with the fall of the Berlin wall and cumulating with the Velvet Revolution. I was still a small kid at the time but I remember going to Czechoslovakia with family and seeing much celebration and general drunkenness following the Velvet Revolution, and seeing mums side of the family is Slovak, that was the end of the cold war for us. (And thank-god it was that easy, wouldn't have liked to see a repeat of the "Prague Spring", mum still has bad memories from that.)

    P.S. Not entirely sure that the Berlin stuff is entirely accurate, but its what I seem to remember being taught at school.
  14. Bit bemused at your perspective on the so-called Cold War puttee? As you say nothing was formally declared nor surrendered, more it was a situation which developed, progressed, ebbed, flowed and subsided. IF you really want to put some form of start and end dates then as good as any is Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in 1946 and the advent of Gorbachev forty years later.

    Initially there was an Arms Race, but what did the Soviets was the Money Race. Whatever happened in Poland, Czecko, Hungary etc, even Berlin, was no prime factor as the finger on the button was in Moscow. If the Soviets wanted to initiate a Kursk II, not the TA, the Regulars or Uncles Sam’s Flying Circus was going to stop them, Neutron shells or no, (whatever happened to those?). The only question was, do we swallow or go nuclear? If the Soviets hit Europe and leave the US alone, why would/why should the Septics wade in? NATO? Sure, NATO in theory and NATO in practice. If we and the Les Froggies go nuclear we’d make a mess of bits of the Soviet, but we, the UK, would be totally intercoursed. Of course, that’s as far as our whiz-bangs go. Regarding things that you can’t see, smell, taste or hear, which we of course gave up years ago, then any surviving ‘victor’ might wake-up one day with an expression of smug superiority on their face to find things no longer worked. Things like their respiratory system, their digestive system, their immune system, their central nervous system. You have a nice day now comrade. :D

  15. Bloody hell mate, you’ve shattered my memories of Crusader 80. I thought we were there as well-equipped and trained troops, ready to defend Western democracy, not as mere cannon fodder. Thinking about it, a Saracen full of part-timers would not have provided much of a speed bump to the Red Army’s progress, but it was fun at the time.

    Regarding the end of the Cold War, for me it was the Soviet’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. When East Europeans realised that the lights were on but no-one was at home, they revolted.