Did the Cold War Start as the Second World War Ended?

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The Second World War ended in 1945 with the victory of ‘the Grand Alliance’ of the USSR, the USA and Britain. Although on the surface it appeared the West and the Soviets had reached a mutual understanding in their quest to defeat the Axis powers, strains in their relationship during the war and in the years preceding it suggests that conflict was imminent. Thus, certain actions by both the USA and the USSR can be interpreted as prompting the Cold War as early as 1945. As the Cold War did not involve direct conflict between the USA and USSR, locating its origin is a topic of contention. However, the breakdown in relations between the emerging superpowers during the war and the consequences of the disbandment of the Grand Alliance can be interpreted as the start of the Cold War. Tensions during wartime conferences paved the way for post-war conflict and it can be argued that as soon as the common enemy of Hitler was destroyed, the disparity in post-war aims of the superpowers led to the Cold War. The conferences of ‘the Big Thee’ at Yalta and Potsdam produced areas of tension surrounding plans for Germany and Poland, highlighting the USA fear of USSR’s expansion. Therefore Stalin’s policies for these countries can be construed as an attempt to form an ‘Eastern Bloc’, knowing this to be in complete contradiction with Western ideals for a world without spheres of influence. However, there is not much evidence to suggest the USSR’s was pursuing expansionist aims at this point, and in fact was simply securing its borders. In addition, although the USSR agreed to maintain ‘democracy’ in war conferences, a clear definition of democracy was never specified and from this confusion, hostility regarding broken promises arose. Nevertheless, regardless of intentions, the consequence of Russia’s treatment of Eastern European states as WW2 ended is a key reason for the
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