To What Extent Did Events in the Final Year of the Second World War Turn Wartime Allies Into Cold War Enemies?

1307 Words6 Pages
To what extent did events in the final year of the Second World War turn wartime allies into Cold War enemies? I against my brother, I and my brother against our cousin, I, my brother and our cousin against our neighbour, all of us against the foreigner. This Bedouin proverb strikingly summarizes the transition from wartime allies to enemies in 1945: it is the compulsion to fight the enemy that glues together even the most unlikely of allies. The reason why the USA and UK fought alongside the USSR during the Second World War was their common will to defeat Nazi Germany. This was also the motivation behind Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill’s cooperation during the Yalta conference of February 1945, as the war against Germany, although in its final stages, was still raging. This changed at the Potsdam conference of July, by which time Germany had already surrendered; the common enemy was no longer a binding force, the old allies were left to fall apart. This disintegration continued from 1945 until its climax at the Berlin Blockade of 1948. The orthodox reason for the change from allies to enemies, incessantly campaigned in IGCSE textbooks, is that, as the Wehrmacht retreated between the Yalta conference in February and the Potsdam conference in July 1945, the Red Army remained mobilised. Stalin, apparently defying decisions made at Yalta, did not liberate the countries in Eastern Europe, but instead occupied them with his troops, much to the vexation of the Western allies. It is customarily argued that it became established Soviet policy to make them ‘voluntary’ satellite states through infiltration and subversion[1], while Britain and the US nobly called for self-determination. However, what is often ignored by this simplistic argument is that Stalin could not merely haul the the largest army in history, millions of hungry, armed, bloodthirsty men, back to the
Open Document