This shows how the West we willing to let the soviets do something that was clearly wrong. The reason why they allowed them to do this was because they knew if they had intervened it would have escalated the tension between the two countries and would have possibly started war with the soviets. This is the idea of appeasement and some people said that it was showing a ‘soft’ approach to facing communism. The US didn’t want the soviets to think that they had the advantage over America so they made sure they kept a strong grip on the West of Berlin. Despite their willingness to coexist they were not willing to look weak or give in easily.
A recurring theme throughout the period is the regime’s desire to maintain autocracy, which Lenin’s disregard for democracy in any area and opposition shows. This point is further emphasized by Alexander III’s belief that change was a risk and not necessary, as he argued by criticizing his father and also practically demonstrated by reducing the powers of the Zemstva. Repression was increased substantially to deal with opposition and apart from Nicholas II under whom it was briefly paused, this set the basis for Russian rule in the rest of the period. Despite Khrushchev’s easing of repression, the damage had been done under his predecessors Lenin and Stalin in removing any threat posed by opposition and ensuring that their rule remained untouched, in a further demonstration of their opposition to change.
For example Alexander II was a humanitarian but Nicholas II mainly wanted modernisation for Russia. Alexander III just wanted to retain his power and keep in control to avoid the same fate as his father. Similarly, the communist rulers were not uniform either as they had different core aims, for example Khruschev’s main aim was destalinisation whereas Stalin’s was to create his own legacy. The Provisional Government and Lenin were alike in their policies in the fact that they both completely changed the system. In the case of the Provisional Government they changed it from autocratic to democratic and Lenin changed it to a one party state; although the result was different the basis was the same.
Another distinct event where their difference in ideology was clearly shown was during the Yalta Conference where the party declined strictly to have their say accepted about the liberal of the Eastern Europe. Stalin strictly insisted for Eastern Europe to be under USSR as they had given them aid as defeating Germany inwards her land but USA insist for them to have a free election and thus this results in the two superpowers to have a tension between them. Stalin’s continuation taking up action such as the Salami
‘Peaceful coexistence' is an ideology enunciated by Khrushchev after the Twentieth Congress which governed Soviet foreign policy during the so-called Khrushchev Thaw. This emphasised the possibility of ideological coexistence of both the Communist bloc and the capitalist bloc which marked a paradigmatic shift from the Stalinist doctrine of antagonistic contradiction and inevitable conflict between Communism and capitalism. Furthermore, it highlighted that countries should be allowed to take ‘different roads to socialism’ thus decreasing the role of the USSR for stringent bolshevisation of states as seen in the dissolution of Cominform. Due to the emergence of brinkmanship politics and development of nuclear weapons such as the H-Bomb, the ideology aims to minimise possibilities of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), alongside ‘military conflict with the West’. ‘Peaceful coexistence’ was argued by revisionist historians such as Alperovitz that it eased political tensions between the two superpowers through modus vivendi such as in the Austrian State Treaty.
Mao criticised Khrushchev for his policies such as de-Stalinisation and his secret speech. He was also very critical of the policy of Peaceful Coexistence as he believed it was a way of being friendly with the United States (the enemy) and also Mao saw it abandoning millions of comrades struggling to free themselves of capitalist and imperialist oppression. This, therefore, made the USSR an ‘enemy’. How could two countries work together if they had such differing beliefs about how to run their countries? This problem had a big contribution to the split as they couldn’t agree on anything, and if they did, it was because their national interests were at risk.
Is it reasonable to blame the breakdown of East-West relations that ultimately led to the cold war, on one or two men, is this rational, but even so, what roles did Stalin and Truman play and where can the blame of this breakdown of alliance and international relations be placed on. Many can argue that in one sense the origins of this breakdown of trust can be traced back to the 1917 Bolshevik revolution which set up the Soviet system - an alternative model of political, economic and social organization which proclaimed itself an enemy of and more significantly, the successor of the capitalist system. Communism was initially viewed by capitalist governments with great suspicion and during the civil war in Russia 1918 several capitalist states aided anti-communist forces and even though they were unsuccessful Stalin was still weary of these capitalist states and believed they still hoped to destroy the USSR. (Lowe, 2008) In many ways Stalin’s paranoia had stemmed from the actions of these capitalist states and it was this paranoia that clouded his senses and led him to make decisions that made Western governments wary of Stalin and the USSR. Roosevelt was keen to encourage closer ties with the USSR and although many Americans were skeptical, Roosevelt worked hard to keep the peace between America and the USSR.
Although Truman’s actions and the new ‘policies’ that he introduced were a major factor to the deterioration of America-Soviet relations, it is important to understand the pre-1945 factors that affected these relations. After World War I, European countries adopted an appeasement ideology: The world was horrified by what the war had done to Europe, and a war like that must never happen again, so peace must be protected at all costs. This led to many attempts to preserve peace in Europe, which ultimately failed as Germany invaded Poland and the world realized that another war was about to begin. However, one of the last agreements that the western countries signed with the Nazis might have been the start of the bad Soviet relations with these countries: the Munich agreement. This agreement said that Hitler was free to invade a portion of Czechoslovakia, as long as he went no further.
His “Great Turn” can be seen as a realistic and attractive policy, suited to the rank and file of the party, that he did not adopt earlier in the 20’s since it was not a fitting policy at the time. The problems in ideology could be seen to link to the problems with agriculture as it was the Kulak class that Stalin held responsible for hoarding the grain and demanding higher prices for it, thus if the ideology changed to rid Soviet society of such elements, then haste could be seen to be of importance. However this was not the only problem with Russian agriculture. Farming methods were
To what extent was the Cold War caused by Truman’s policies? The Cold War was a state of political and ideological conflict, military tension and economic rivalry after the Second World War. This ‘war’ was fought between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America (USA). After the Second World War had ended Europe was devastated and in ruins. The industry and agriculture sectors were severely damaged, governments were in disarray, there were supply shortages and a split had emerged between the Great Powers.