Sample Paired Term Essay Answers


Imperialism and The Cold War


Possible Answer 1:  “The Cold War can be seen as a logical extension of European Imperialism into a new, American age. By the end of the Second World War, the traditional imperial powers of France and Britain were beginning to crumble, and a power vacuum began to develop in parts of the world that these nations traditionally dominated, such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia. At the same time, the rise of the Soviet Union raised the possibility that that vacuum would be filled by Soviet-style communism, thus threatening American security. Rather than risk this, U.S. policy-makers from Truman onwards began to take over the commitments of the former imperial powers; for example, the United States took a primary role in securing order in the formerly French colony of Indochina, and replaced Britain as the protector of the oil-rich Arab states of the Gulf. The Cold War, therefore, represents the continuation rather than the end of the era of imperialism.”


Possible Answer 2: “The end of the era of imperialism after the Second World War served to greatly increase the tensions of the developing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the period between 1945 and 1975, nearly all of the former European colonies secured their independence from European powers. As a result, large areas of the world that were formerly under the sway of European powers now became independent political actors, and both the Americans and the Soviets wasted little time in forging ties to the newly-independent states. The importance that the Americans and Soviets gave to these new states is demonstrated by their willingness to engage in bloody conflicts over them, such as in Korea, Vietnam, and (through intermediaries) Israel/Palestine. The end of imperialism, therefore, served to further aggravate the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.”



Although very different, both of these possible answers are worth full marks, because: