Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Proxy Wars and Decolonization

The Kitchen Debate is famous - took place in 1959 between Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev and (then) Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon. It looks jovial enough, but the Truman Doctrine and NSC-68 committed the United States to the idea of "Containment." That is, of containing Communism. Containing the spread of Communism would lead to the emergence of "Proxy Wars" - often tied to the theme of Decolonization.

As former colonized nations gained independence, a race began for the ideology of these peoples - between Communism and Capitalism. Although this is not precisely true. It was more of a fight between the American and Soviet spheres of influence.

Why would the Soviet system appeal to some of these decolonized nations? What made their message so powerful? What was the reality of Soviet expansion?

Here is a map showing the vast area "decolonized" between 1945 and 1975

A Communist Vietnamese representation of Dien Bien Phu

Scenes from the fall of Saigon in 1975

A pretty heartrending video about refugees toward the end of Angola's civil war in 2002 - when neither the USA or the Soviet union cared so much any more about the outcome:

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