Richard Nixon’s Role in the Cold War

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Two years after the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Cold War broke out between two superpowers, The Soviet Union, which supported the Eastern Bloc, and the United States, which supported the Western Bloc. The war was known as ‘Cold’ because it did not involve direct battles between the two sides.  The Cold War was a historical suspicion between the Soviet Union and the United States. Additionally, the war further generated commercial, radical, and military pressure on the two important states. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss the way forward after the end of the World War 2, but the states did not reach an agreement. The Soviet Union, under the headship of Joseph Stalin, intended to acquire Poland, but President Harry Truman overruled the petition. Another factor that led to the eruption of the war was that the United States of America could not abide by the communist ideology of the Soviet Union (Nixon 26). Similarly, the Eastern Bloc felt that the Western Bloc was dominating the other European Countries. After the end of the World War 2, Soviet Russia expanded its territory thus becoming a threat to the US. Therefore, the US decided to manufacture the atomic bomb, and this paved the way for the cold war which ended in 1991.

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Richard Nixon’s Biography

Nixon Richard was the 37th president of the United States, since 1969 to 1974, when he resigned in the midst of the Watergate Scandal. Before, Nixon was a Senator from California. In 1974, he resigned from office, therefore becoming the first US president to resign from the presidency. His place of birth was Yorba Linda, in California. He joined Duke University School of Law and later graduated in the year 1937 (Nixon 3). Nixon went back to California to practice Law.  In 1960, Nixon Richard ran for the presidency, but unfortunately lost narrowly to John Kennedy (Trahair and Miller 59). Nixon Richard won the presidency in 1968 by beating Hubert Humphrey and became the 37th president of the United States under the Republican Party, at the age of 55. President Nixon faced the compulsion to resign in 1974 due to the Watergate scandal. According to Trahair and Miller “… the Watergate scandal of 1972–1974 forced the resignation of Richard Nixon” (167).

Nixon Richard’s Role in the Cold War

The Cold War took place in seven phases. However, this paper will discuss Nixon Richard’s role in the Cold War in the sixth phase. Nixon Richard played a significant role in the Cold War, between 1969 and 1974. Even though he was a vocal cold warrior before he was elected, Nixon Richard took a dramatic event after announcing that he intended to visit China for a week. In fact, in 1949, he criticized Harry Truman for losing China to the Communists. However, in his first term, Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger started sending indirect proposals to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with the intention of establishing a good relationship between the two states (Trahair and Miller 59). At that time, the US and the PRC were known antagonists because, in the 1950s, the PRC and the US troops battled in Korea, where China supported North Vietnam in the war against the US. On July 15, 1971, Nixon Richard announced a visitation to PRC with the primary objective being to reduce the tension between two nations.

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President Nixon Richard kept his promise on the 21st of February 1972, when he visited the PRC. He was the first US president to visit China in history. The head of state and his consultants engaged in negotiations with the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the tour. Moreover, they visited the Shanghai, Hangzhou, and the Great Wall. The tour, which lasted for a week was successful because, in the end, the US, and the PRC governments issued the Shanghai Communique, a report of their global strategy visions and a document that remained the basis of the Sino-American bilateral relations. Additionally, the US government decided to withdraw its militaries from the Island of Taiwan (Arms 67). The two states vowed to work together toward the full standardization of ambassadorial role. Many historical records have given credit to Nixon’s role in the Cold War. In the view of Trahair and Miller “… the relevant papers indicated the role Richard Nixon played in baiting supporters of communism in the early 1950s” (151).

Besides, President Nixon played another key role in his fight against the Cold War when he became the first US President to visit Moscow in May 1972. His mission to visit the secretary-general of the Soviet Communist Party, Leonid I. Brezhnev, was to reduce the tension between the two states. Additionally, he wanted to enhance trade relations since both countries would benefit if they maintained peace and reduced nuclear warfare (Nixon 56). During the visit, both Nixon and Leonid signed seven treaties that covered the prevention of accidental soldierly clashes, arms control, as recommended by the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Besides, the agreement included the expansion of the market. Later that summer, the Congress approved the SALT covenant and the two states devoted to maintaining peace. Therefore, President Nixon Richard went against the odds to curb the Cold War.


Despite the fact that Nixon Richard resigned from office in 1974, he left a legacy based on the following facts. He made history when he became the first US President to visit China to boost peace and establish the trade. Additionally, Nixon was a leader who went overboard to bring transformation in his government. He collaborated with other states to promote peace and harmony, essential values that every leader should emulate. Indeed, Nixon was a leader who displayed exemplary qualities of leadership that can impact the current leadership positively. The modern society should learn that the choices we make have consequences, and anyone can bring change by correcting mistakes that the predecessors made. Nixon died in 1994, at the age of 81.

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  1. Arms, Thomas. The Encyclopedia of the Cold War. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1994. Print.
  2. Nixon, Richard M. The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Warner Books, 1979. Print.
  3. Trahair, R C. S, and Robert L. Miller. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. New York: Enigma Books, 2009. Print.
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