The blame for the Cold War cannot be placed on one person -- it developed as a series of chain reactions as a struggle for power. It can be argued that the Cold War was inevitable, and therefore no one's fault, due to the differences in the capitalist and communist ideologies. It was only the need for protection that had caused the two countries to sink their differences temporarily during the Second World War. Yet many of the tensions that existed in the Cold War can be attributed to Stalin's policy of Soviet expansion. Stalin's foreign policies contributed an enormous amount to the tensions of the Cold War.
1. Explain the origins of the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union were uneasy allies; their collaboration was really the result of a mutual fear that the Nazis would gain control over Europe, not based on any ideological commonality. Because of this, after the war was over and the restructuring of Europe began, a power struggle developed between the Soviet Union (who wanted Germany to be Communist) and the United States and Britain (who wanted democratic rule.) However, you shouldn't make the assumption that devotion to ideology was all that was behind Cold War animosity; countries tend to be more complaint trading partners with countries that share their political systems and both Stalin and the Cold War Era presidents in the US knew this.
In his work, Fleming explained that if the Soviets wanted to attack the united states of America they had done it because they had all the necessary equipment but at that period the nation was more interested in its inner politics than conquering the world. Seeing the Soviet Union as its biggest threat and being afraid of the “Domino” effect, the American government decided to take actions by supporting the rebels in Latin America and countries that were gaining their independence in a hope that these societies will adopt the capitalist ideology. The decisions that the USA made where not always elaborated and in some cases they did more harm than good. Isolating the U.S.S.R from the world politics was
The workers of the world had to be “liberated” from bourgeois exploitation. As the principle communist nation of the world, Russia had a duty to spread the revolution begun in 1919 to the rest of Europe. The view of many Marxist scholars was that the proletariat had been brainwashed by the rich, and thus were not capable of instigating a workers’ revolution themselves – therefore Communism had to be introduced by force. Stalin realised that the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe was a rare opportunity for Russia to act as this vanguard. Perhaps less importantly, though still a significant point in the domination of Eastern Europe, was the desire of Stalin to
The Soviet Union was structured to the tastes of the leader at the helm, and so served his interests. The policies in place served not to improve the economic, social or economic fortunes of the entire nation but to concur with the ideological leanings of the leader in office. So was the case with communism. Despite this production model failing utterly to satisfy the basic demands of the ordinary Soviet citizen, it remained in place. They thought a departure from this model would signify a Soviet surrender to the Capitalist West in the ideological war.
, highlighting that he believed without the use of atomic weapons, the Cold War was not an inevitability. Despite the pre-existing tensions between East and West, the use of atomic weaponry amplified the Soviet’s paranoia causing Stalin to authorise ‘a crash Soviet program to catch up’ , signifying the start of the Cold War which would shape the course of the twentieth century. A key significance of the use of atomic weapons in 1945 was the ethical implications that using such weaponry held. As Stalin stated ‘war is barbaric, but using the A-bomb is superbarbarity’ . Stalin’s view is supported by Admiral D Leahy, who in his memoirs writes ‘we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages’ This quote holds a substantial amount of weight to my argument due to Admiral D Leahy’s position as Roosevelt and Truman’s chief of staff, it would be expected for a man of such status to hold a view in support of America’s actions.
How far do you agree that the origins of the Cold War in 1945 and 1946 owed much to the ideological differences and little to personalities and conflicting national interests? The origins of the Cold War are undeniably due to the great ideological differences between the USSR’s communism and the USA’s capitalism. Their opposing beliefs over nationalisation and the system of government put massive tension on the leaders’ relationship. However, national interests such as the fight over Poland and the leaders’ personalities cannot be overlooked as each are important in the understanding of the growing hostilities between superpowers. The ideological differences are clearly some of the biggest underlying causes of the tensions between the superpowers of the world during the Cold War, especially the years 1945 to 1946; however the personalities of the leaders cannot be overlooked and were a huge contributing reason for the ever growing hostilities between them.
The main effect was to crystallise Truman's desire to take a very hard line, anti-communism approach to the Soviet Union and for Stalin it symbolised an increase in opposition to the USSR. The speech effectively signalled the end of the alliance between America and the Soviet Union and described the establishment of a Soviet sphere of influence. The impact of this was initially negative because during WW2 American propaganda showed the Soviet Union as a faithful ally working alongside America to defeat the Nazi regime so the speech was met with hostility from American citizens. Writing in the book The Cold War, John Gaddis comments that “most Americans had had enough of war and were not in the mood to maintain their armed forces”. This shows a reluctance to fight another war – a reluctance that would have undoubtedly been heightened by Churchill’s speech which looked to provoke hostilities.
There is a large debate into which factors where the most important in the origins and sowing the seeds that led to the Cold War in 1945-6. Many argue that the differences in ideology were the main cause, as the US and the Soviet Union had almost polar opposite views on how their country should be run, and therefore capitalist and communist countries could not co exist without tension. However, it is also argued that the personalities of the leaders of the three countries are a significant contribution to the Cold warfare – Roosevelt/Truman of the United States, Stalin of the USSR and Churchill of the United Kingdom. This is because the mentalities of the leaders often clashed. It is also debated that national interests of the individual countries during and post World War 2 created tensions between the nations of US and the USSR, because they each saw the others aims as a threat to their own national safety.
This, however, was seen by the Soviet Union as a form of economic expansion through which the Americans were bringing Eastern European states into their own sphere of influence, and was a direct challenge to their authority. It is possible to argue that the Americans were indeed trying to help struggling states with their growth and that the aims were purely altruistic in nature. However, it must be noted that the Marshall Plan did have strings attached, forcing the countries that it provided aid for to open their markets for American goods and not advancing it to countries who did not do