Despite the Cold War being most directly between the United States and the Soviet Union, the war between each nation played a lasting effect on other nations that were not directly involved. The Cold War spread its influence to many parts of the World, but this essay will describe the lasting effects of the Cold War on Cuba and Vietnam. Americans and Soviets were crucial and involved in many aspects of conflict in these to nations which made them the way they are today. The elements involved in each country during the Cold War can be summed up as follows.
The Sugar industry accounted for much of industrial profits after Castro nationalized industry.
First, starting with Cuba, the first effect that the Cold War had on Cuba was the immediate threat of attack on the island because of the Soviet Union's choices. Initially, the United States wanted nothing to do with Castro's rebellion and his eventual overthrow of the Cuban government as they would not accept Castro's plees for aid. This left Cuba in the hands of the United States' Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union. When Cuba asked the Soviets for aid, they accepted as they wanted to try and make Cuba part of their communist sphere. Soon after, the Cuban Missile Crisis had occured. The Soviets put nuclear bomb sites on Cuba that were capable of reaching the United States. This was an immediate threat to the US and this crisis caused these two nations to be the closest that they ever came to war. The US threatened attacking Cuba and proceding with airstrikes while the Soviets fled with the missiles. Cuba was directly impacted during the Cold War because of this. If the Soviets did not put medium range missiles in Cuba pointed at the US, Cuba would not have been the major conflict in the cold war and might not have been drug into it. There were other alternatives that the Soviets could have went about doing, but the chose the immediate threat route and almost took Cuba into another war alongside them. The conflct only lasted thirteen days, but it was essentially, one of the biggest, if not the biggest event of the Cold War.
U2 spy plane picture of the Soviet missile site in Cuba
Soviet Missiles being paraded in Cuba
A second way that the Cold War had an impact of Cuba was through the moderate isolation of the nation in general. Because of the Cold War and incidents in Cuba, after the conflicts and the war, Cuba and America did not have very good relations at all. Before any conflcits occured in Cuba, it was a very Americanized location with 95% of the industry coming from US countries. It was basically an American vaction spot. With the Cold War storming into Cuba basically on the agenda of the Soviets, Castro became a powerful dictator in the nation after the overthrow of the previous government and started making changes to the nation as the US was now the new enemy. A travel ban that had not been repealed until recently was placed on US citizens so Americans would not be able to go to the country. Castro also nationalized industry in Cuba and forced all of the American companies out. This leaves Cuba with the loss of modernization as American industry was a huge part to future prosperity of the country. This plays a large part of why there are many old American products such as cars in Cuba, but nothing new. Due to these factors, it is evident that the Cold War had a long lasting effect on Cuba. A lot of these effects of the Cold War had not changed until recently. Despite not being in power, Castro still remained a powerful figure up to his death this last year. The Cold War's influence on Cuba was one of the biggest on all of the nations that were somehow involved in the Cold War.
Old American industry like these vehicles are common sights in Cuba because of Castro's nationalization of industry during Cuba's involvement in the Cold War
As for the effect of the Cold War on Vietnam, there were many factors of the war that influenced the situation in Vietnam. The split of Vietnam into North and South Vietnam which further represented the gap in ideologies between not only Vietnam, but the Soviets and Americans also. This war could have stayed a civil war between the nations and none of the countries involved in the Cold War would have had to intervene, but instead, The US and Soviet Union brought the Cold War to Vietnam. Due to the communist North Vietnam being communist, they were backed by the Soviet Union and due to South Vietnam being anti-communist, it was backed by the United States. Because the Cold War was between the Soviet Union and the US, it had been now brought to Vietnam. This further escalated the crisis. The US tried to improve relations, but to no avail. The US and Soviet support caused a long, drawn out, casualty filled war between the North and the South. Both sides desire to unite the country under one specific government was so high that they were not willing to take defeat for a long time. This was the longest war in US history which further proved the impact that the Cold War had in Vietnam. It could have been over quickly and both nations could have mined their own business, but the Soviets and Americans had interests in Southeast Asia which essentially inflicted the Cold War onto Vietnam.
US soldiers in a battle in Vietnam.
Communist leader of fomer North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh
The Cold War also had a huge impact on the landscape of Vietnam as a country in general. Because the Cold War was severely present from US and Soviet involvement in Vietnam, a lot of destruction took place. Some destruction took place on the battlefield such as burning down homes, but a majority of the destruction occurred from the US air troops. More bombs had been dropped on Vietnam by the US than in World War Two by all the countries combined. Millions of tons were dropped. Another thing that was used to practically destroy Vietam was Napalm which would explode and then shoot everywhere, stick to anything it touches and burn it. This caused a lot of destruction and death. The US also used agent orange of the jungle which practically destroyed whole jungles and killed what was in it. Without US presence or Soviet presence, none of this air destruction would have occured. So in effect, the Cold War brought a lot of death and destruction to Vietnam and the people inside of it as the Vietnam War was another conflict that had been tied to the Cold War.
Agent Orange being dispersed over a North Vietnamese jungle.
The clothes burned off a Vietnamese girls by Napalm.
In conclusion, the Cold War greatly effect both Cuba and Vietnam. The Cold War brought about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the nationalization of Cuban industry basically kicking all American and their influence off of the island. In Vietnam, it brought about a long, extended war that was backed by the members of the Cold War in the Soviet Union and the US. It also was a basis for the destruction of Vietnam as without US intervention and Cold War ideology tension there would have been far less destruction. Overall, both nations and many others were severely effected by the Cold War between the US and USSR.