How far do you agree with the view that the developments of the cold war in the year 1945-8 owed more to soviet expansionism than to USAs economic interests? The developments of the conflict within the cold war (1945-48) are something of intense debate for many years. Historians such as Wolfson and Laver (S7) accredit the influence that Russian expansionism contributed to the conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union. In contrast this prospective is contrasted by Terry Morris and Derek Murphy’s prospective (S8) which places emphasis on how US economic interests were seen as a threat to the USSR and thus contributed to East-West tensions. Source 9 written by Michael Lynch adopts both prospective of USSR expansionism and also US economic interests, however Lynch also emphasises misjudgement and misperceptions which contribute to the conflict conceived at Cold War.
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.
After the Second World War, the nations that were still standing strong were the United States of America and The Soviet Union. The domination of these two countries in the second half of the 20th century is known as the time of the Cold War, the diplomatic, geopolitical, and ideological clash of interests, also known as the rivalry between the capitalist democracy ( The United States of America) and the Marxist-Leninist communism ( The Soviet Union), which resulted in several proxy wars, but not with an actual war between these two superpowers ( Palmer 2014: 887).The distrust towards the U.S.S.R government was enormous and as a result to this, the State Department of the United States formulated the containment policy which would prevent the
In the period directly following Soviet liberation of Nazi-held Eastern Europe, it became evident of the Russian desire to dominate that very region. The reasons for this are manifold, but one of the most significant reasons was a desire to ensure the USSR’s security. Russia had repeatedly been attacked through Eastern Europe (and most specifically Poland), from the time of Napoleon to Hitler not 4 years ago. With America and its allies building up force in Western Europe, Stalin was bound to be suspicious of the capitalist powers, even more so considering the increasing level of anti-communist demagoguery in America. Having a series of puppet states in Eastern Europe would give the metropole invaluable security, ensuring that the states which bordered it were friendly and would support it in a theoretical invasion.
How significant was the Marshall Plan in contributing to the outbreak of the Cold War in Europe? The 1947 Marshall Plan was an economic outline put forth by George Marshall and the United States, a large-scale programme to provide aid to Europe and reconstruct flagging economies. It was a bold move that the Soviets rightly saw as infringing on their sphere of influence, and only served to heighten the tensions that had seemingly simmered down. A major turning point in the course of history, the Marshall Plan inflamed relations and crystallized the divide between Democracy and Communism, setting the stage for the ensuing Cold War. The main reason for the Marshall Plan as a turning factor was in its forthrightness.
Assess the view that the disagreements about the Second Front were the most significant cause of tension between Russia and the Western Allies between 1941 and 1945 It can be argued that the single most important cause of tension between the Allies during WW2 were the on-going disagreements over the opening of a Second Front in Europe by the Western Allies. However some historians have suggested that other factors were the primary cause of tension, including the core ideological differences between Russia and the West, the disagreements over Poland and Eastern Europe and finally the change in American leadership in 1945. We can begin to measure the amount of tension caused by each factor during the war by using as our principal criterion the intensity and longevity of any tensions caused, as well as looking at the reactions of the leaders from primary evidence. The disagreements over the second front were arguably the most significant cause of tension between the Western Allies and Russia between 1941 and 1945. This interpretation is presented by McCauley who argues that “the question of the second front was to bedevil tensions between the Allies during the war”.
Under Stalin’s leadership, many oppressive and rigid policies were put in place. After his death, there was a significant incentive to revise them as they had weakened Soviet standing, both abroad and at home. The United States had outpaced the Soviet Union in the nuclear arms race (Mc Dougall 2000). The Soviet Union was surrounded by United States bases located all over Europe. As a result, the Soviet Union had to buy time so as to catch up with its rival.
In my opinion, USSR actions were not primarily responsible for the division of Germany, despite that most of Stalins actions were very influent in terms of the division in Germany. On the one hand, the USSR actions were primarily responsible for the division of Germany in 1949, because the Stalins policies had very significant pressure of Western Allies, therefore they encouraged the Cold War as well as division. First of all, Stalin’s determination to create a buffer zone for the future protection of the USSR, and the breakdown of wartime cooperation as a result of Soviet encroachment in Eastern Europe resulted in discredit between Eastern and Western zones. Nevertheless, Stalin’ introduction of communist-style government in the Soviet zone and in other areas occupied by the Soviet army, which alarmed The USA in particular try to prevent communism spread, because its frightened Allies a lot, therefore the introduction of constitution on the points of Basic Law in FRG, proves FRG’s political and ideological aggression on GDR. Moreover, Stalins’ decision to impose the Berlin Blockade which led directly to the heightening of Cold War tensions, as well
, 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.
Truman’s foreign policy may have been a major cause to start up the cold war due to his aggressive economic policy. There are many arguments that support the theory that Truman did actually contribute largely in starting up the Cold War. In the Potsdam conference, Truman had replaced Roosevelt as the new president and told Stalin that the USA had tested an atomic bomb, in order to intimidate him and try to show him the US’s superiority. Truman also had promoted the European Recovery Programme and The Marshall Plan, these two projects provided economic aid to European countries in an attempt to keep them in a capitalist government instead of having them turn to a communist government in an attempt to solve their problem, this also led to create fear in the USSR since the USA was attempting to make allies in the Eastern parts of Europe, attempting to both contain communism and to enclose Russia. The Marshall Aid plan also created worry in the USSR since it was revitalizing the German economy and it was the Germans who had twice invaded the USSR and caused great damage to it, especially Hitler’s regime, which had invaded less that five years ago and Russia was still recovering from the damage caused.