The Cold War and the change in the nature of military power
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was called by many observers of international affairs the end of the Cold War. However, fifteen years earlier, commentators such as Alistair Buchan had also declared the end of the Cold War. Was this just an premature error on Buchan's part or is there a link between the events of the early 1970s, which is referred to as the era of detente and those leading up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It is the intention of this thesis to argue that these periods are integrally related mainly by the fact that they were each periods when one of the two superpowers was forced to reevaluate their foreign policies. The re-evaluations were brought about by changes in the international arena, most importantly a change in the nature of military power. Because the two superpowers were to recognize the change in the nature of military power at different times, it was not until both the United States and the Soviet Union had re-evaluated and altered their foreign policies was the Cold War really over. This thesis will firstly discuss the theoretical approaches to International Relations and the issue of power. It will then identify and define this change in the nature of military power by tracing the evolution of war and conflict in the past century. The thesis then trace the development of both US and Soviet foreign policy from the origin of the Cold War, through its various stages until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through materials obtained from both US and Soviet archives, as well as interviews, this thesis will argue that this change in the nature of power was a central factor in altering the thinking of American and Soviet leaders at the time they brought drastic change to their foreign policies. Finally, this thesis will briefly look at the future role of military power as the world moves into the twenty-first century.