The blame for the Cold War cannot be placed on one person -- it
developed as a series of chain reactions as a struggle for supremacy. 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 self-preservation 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. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the role of Stalin as a
catalyst to the Cold War.
Stalin's foreign policies contributed an enormous amount to the tensions
of the Cold War. His aim, to take advantage of the military situation in post-
war Europe to strengthen Russian influence, was perceived to be a threat to the
Americans. Stalin was highly effective in his goal to gain territory, with
victories in Poland, Romania, and Finland. To the western world, this success
looked as if it were the beginning of serious Russian aggressions. The western
view of the time saw Stalin as doing one of two things: either continuing the
expansionist policies of the tsars that preceded him, or worse, spreading
communism across the world now that his "one-state" notion had been fulfilled.
It also must be mentioned that Stalin is seen as wanting "unchalleged personal
power and a rebuilt Russia strong enough to withstand caplitalist
Admittedly, the first view of Stalin, as an imperialist leader, may be
skewed. The Russians claim, and have always claimed, that Stalin's motives were
purely defensive. Stalin's wished to create a buffer zone of Communist states
around him to protect Soviet Russia from the capitalist West. In this sense,
his moves were not aggressive at all -- they were truly defensive moves to
protect the Soviet system. His suspicions of Western hostility were not... [continues]
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