Before his death, President Roosevelt of the US had attempted to engage the Russian President Stalin in talks to make him loosen his communism grip over the Eastern European countries. However, after his sudden death, his predecessor, Harry S. Truman adopted an open confrontation against his Russian counterpart. Truman held that given the conditions of the other nations, any significant threat to the US ego could only be prompted by the Soviet if she advanced her army and war technology. If the US was to maintain its superiority, it had to defend the health of key industrial nations and to protect her allies from shifting towards the east in order to realize a viable international economy, a phenomenon termed as geopolitics. If the US failed in this mission, this meant the Soviet Union would have the better part of her (Painter, 1999).
Power was gradually acquiring a new meaning. It was interpreted in terms of ‘the control of resources, industrial infrastructure and overseas bases. On the hand, national security included more than defending a nation’s territory. In 1951, Truman and the security secretary Dean Acheson made it clear that the Soviet Union needed not to attack the US to undermine her security. Her absorption of free nations to communism was as bad as a direct attack to them. This is because the US would lose her friends and her sources of supply. The Soviet Union led by President Stalin was no better than the time of Hitler. Stalin still led with the same policies that the great dictator used. The Soviets did not have freedom of having many parties to choose their leaders nor did the press and people have freedom of expression. Stalin still held that authoritarianism was the way for the future and dedicated himself to implementation of such ideologies to eastern European countries (Gottfried, 2003).
Due to all these fears of attack and counter-attack, the US and her allies and the Soviet Union with her satellites engaged in confrontations that marked the onset of the cold war. In essence, the cold war meant the following to the two super powers; to the US, it included an escalating arms race, a competition in conquering space and risk-taking moves in helping her allies (brinkmanship). It also entailed fighting small wars that were euphemized as ‘police actions’. On the side of the Soviet Union, this war involved the spreading of communism ideologies and Moscow’s control of other Communist nations.