How Far Do You Agree with the View That the Origins of the Cold War in 1945-46 Owed Much to Ideological Differences and Little to the Personalities of the Leaders and Conflicting National Interests?

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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. Ideological differences were seen to cause tension as Communism and Capitalism and one of these differences was the economic policies of each ideology. A capitalist society such as that in the USA, was seen as ‘divided’ by communists, as their economy was based on private ownership and their was an emphasis on the individual whereas the communists in the USSR had a society based on nationalisation which enables the fair distribution of goods as well as state ownership of companies. This was a cause of tension leading up to the Cold War as the wealthy businessmen of the West, most of which were in high powered governmental or political positions, saw nationalism as a direct threat towards their wealth, power and status, so was an attack on the power structure of US society. As these figures were powerful, they had the potential to influence major decisions within the US government, so it can be said that the origins of the Cold War owed much to economic
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