The Nazi-Soviet pact was responsible for the outbreak of war because France and Britain had decided to finally intervene. Since Hitler had taken Czechoslovakia as a cause of Britain’s policy of appeasement, this frightened USSR and Stalin felt that the only way to keep the USSR safe was by signing the Nazi- Soviet pact. The Nazi-Soviet pact gave Hitler confidence in invading Poland and was a way to avoid war on two fronts. Britain and France on the other hand felt it was time to react and as soon as Germany’s army entered Poland they themselves prepared their own military defenses causing the Second World War. The pact was the final cause of war as Hitler could now invade Poland without any interference from Stalin.
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.
This reasoned to long-term tension before the war. The Great Powers also began their preparations for war on land long before the war broke out. Again, Germany created the Schlieffen Plan 1905. Named after German general Count Alfred von Schlieffen who created the plan, which later proved unsuccessful (arguably, they didn't actually follow the plan). The main idea of this plan was to avoid fighting a war on two fronts simultaneously, first take out France in the west and then move to the East and fight a slower mobilizing Russia to the
Hitler was to blame is the common answer. By attacking Poland on all fronts, instead of occupying Danzig and the corridor, showed that Hitler was intent on conquering non German's, not simply to recover the German's lost as a result of the Versailles Treaty. Martin Gilbert ("The Appeasers," p.112), argues that Hitler's motive was to remove the stigma of Germay's defeat in WW 1. Hugh Trevor-Roper ("The failure of Appeasement", p.188) says that Hitler intended on a major right from the start because he hated communism and wanted to crush the USSR so the destruction of Poland was only the preliminary to his main goal. His non-aggression pact with the USSR was a fraud.
In 1919 Germany was handed a diktat by the ‘Big Four’, a treaty that they had no option but to sign. Germany originally signed the Treaty of Versailles with the belief that it would be based around President Wilson’s fourteen points, however it soon became clear to them that this was not in fact the case. Germany felt that the Treaty had cheated them and there was much outrage across Germany. The principle complaint Germany had was that they felt the War Guilt Clause, referring to article 231 of the Treaty, was totally unjust. Germany was forced to take all the blame for damages received by the allies.
Overall, Source W challenges source V, as it indicates that Germany’s aggressive actions since the turn of the century resulted in war. Source X implies how it is a matter of great controversy however leads more towards the fact that Germany had always wanted colonial expansion. Although it could be argued otherwise, it is evident that outbreak of war in Europe was due to an aggressive foreign policy which had been waged c.1900. Source V states that Germany, ‘felt encircled not only by the triple entente but also by the forces of change’. Although it is true that Germany was surrounded by an alliance system, indeed an extensive alliance system did surround Germany, whether they posed a threat or not is questionable.
Fischer, the provoker of this controversy, expresses this concept of German aggression by stating that since c.1900 Germany planned, and then was able to execute a war, due to their aggressive weltpolitik; based purely on expansionism. However, although many historians have agreed with, or adapted this argument, such as the view it was a ‘calculated risk’, or an ‘escape forward’ in order to relieve Germany from their domestic pressures, many have also criticised the approach. For instance, it is interpreted by some that Germany stumbled into a defensive war in order to protect themselves, and their ally; Austria-Hungary. However, considering these aspects, it could be argued that it is most conceivable that that Germany had planned the war and their aggressive foreign policy aimed to provoke a war in order to help their plans of annexation. Fischer’s argument that the outbreak of the First World War was due to Germany’s aggressive foreign policy, with a harsh focus on annexation, can be regarded as one of much significance.
So for example if the allies in the west did not promise to rebuild Germany and try to stop every country from becoming communist when they threatened to even if it through fair vote (rare as it was). It can be argued that the cold war was an avoidable one. Firstly the Russians were very aggressive in creating a buffer zone and in fact created communist states practically all over Eastern Europe and made much more than a buffer zone and Stalin was at the heart of all these communist political movements and was trying to spread his influence to even Italy and France. This worried the west very much because they thought their very freedom was being threatened but more importantly the more states that became communist the less ttade there was. The west needed trade partners in the east and they couldn’t trade with communist states.
Whilst the aims of Germany’s foreign policy had changed dramatically from under Bismarck’s rule, it could be argued that it began to lean towards more aggressive policies including Weltpolitik, which has given reason for some historians to lay the blame of the outbreak of war in Europe solely on Germany. Source X by John Moses agrees with this viewpoint, viewing Germany to have been planning to “unleash a continental war” for a extensive period of time, whilst source W by David Blackbourn still agrees that Germany was to blame, it however recognises the possibility that Germany had to act within their best interests and attempt to make the most of a bad situation. However opposed to this opinion Source V by Volker Berghahn disagrees with any opinion that Germany bared responsibility through their foreign policy, but through this belief that Germany believed others “wanted to destroy them” and combined with the “diplomatic isolation” that arose it was viewed that Germany’s foreign policy was once of defensive purposes, rather than being aggressive, which is the forms the main argument within historians as to what formed the true nature behind the actions of German foreign policy. Sources W and X both agree to different extents with the argument that aggressive German foreign policy was to blame for the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914. Both sources agree that following the Sarajevo murder that Germany actively pursued a course which would lead to continental war within Europe.
Why did the cold war start? The cold war is the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union over ideologies, through other countries, without direct armed conflicts, which was first used by a English author and journalist called George Orwell at the end of The World War II. This essay is going to focus on main reasons for the beginning of the cold war. One major cause of the cold war was a distrust of the Soviets by the United States and the same distrust of the United States from the Soviet Union. Though the need to defeat the Germans had made USSR a partner in the Allied forces from 1941 onwards, Stalin had displayed the tendency that he wanted to dominate the world, and he used dictatorial powers and military powers towards people of his own country as well as others.