How Far Do You Agree with the View That the Development of the Cold War in the Years 1945-49 Was Mainly Due to ‘Stalin’s Own Errors’?

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How far do you agree with the view that the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-49 was mainly due to ‘Stalin’s own errors’? It is certainly true that ‘Stalin’s own errors’ helped the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-49. The interpretation that Judt gives in source 7 emphasises that Stalin’s personality and the way in which he ruled the Soviet Union meant that ‘Cold War in Europe was unavoidable’. Gaddis, in source 8, also lays some blame on Stalin, however it opens up interpretations on the role of ideology, great power rivalry and misjudgments – showing that the cold war developed due to ‘internal and external developments’ in both the US and USSR. However McCauley, source 9, stresses that US economic strength and interests created and ‘informal American empire in Europe’, therefore increasing the divide. Deteriorating relations between the two superpowers cannot be attributed primarily to Stalin’s errors. Rather, US economic interests played the most important role in the development of the Cold War in the years 1945-49. Stalin’s own errors and personality undoubtedly played a key role in developing the Cold War, this is emphasised in source 7. Tony Judt argues that Stalin ruled with ‘uncompromising rigidity and confrontational tactics’, this is somewhat supported by source 8 as it highlights that the ‘personality of Stalin’ was a significant internal factor in the USSR. Stalin’s persistent drive to achieve security by creating a buffer zone meant that agreements between the two powers were difficult. However, his policy on Poland, 1945, and the Stalinisation of Eastern Europe, 1945-48, reflected a genuine desire to protect the USSR from any future Western attack. Stalin was also ‘uncompromising’ over the reparations for Germany, he was determined to strip the Soviet zone of raw materials, and this worsened relations with the West at

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